UCI News

Daily Pilot, July 13, 2021
UCI: Decline in carbon-eating vegetation will make it even harder for California to combat climate change
Losses in vegetation could cause up to a 16% decrease in the state’s natural carbon storage capacity, according to a recent paper by UC Irvine researchers. … Shane Coffield, lead author and UCI doctoral candidate in Earth system science, said the state is relying on models that don’t take into account the high vegetation losses, and assume that land management is all that is needed. … UC Irvine [Chancellor’s] professor James Randerson who co-authored the paper, said Orange County can play a role in saving vegetation through making investments in fire management. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

The Washington Post, July 19, 2021 (Opinion)
Opinion: Global spyware such as Pegasus is a threat to democracy. Here’s how to stop it.
David Kaye, UCI clinical professor of law and Marietje Schaake write, “For years, the global spyware industry has operated in the shadows, exposed only by human rights organizations and journalists. The industry claims it’s in the business of fighting crime and terrorism. But its members often sell to governments that equate “criminal” and “terror” with “critic” and “dissent.” [Kaye previously served as the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression.] [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/news/post]

Spectrum News 1 (City News Service), July 21, 2021
Orange County COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations continue to climb
“Basically, this is delta,” said Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine [associate] professor of population health and disease prevention, of the rising number of cases. “The fall has come early because we have a more transmissible variant. … This summer we have a lot more vaccinated and some other people who are survivors of natural infection so you would expect less COVID, but it’s punching through again because we have this new variant that is highly spreadable.”

Tech & Learning, July 22, 2021
Virtual Reality Teaching: Successes and Challenges
Part way through the 2020-21 academic year, Cristina Lopes, [UCI professor of informatics], like so many other educators, was tired of lecturing via video. But unlike so many other teachers, Lopes had an alternative. More than a decade ago she helped create OpenSimulator, an open source multiplatform, multiuser 3D application server. Lopes decided at the end of the fall semester that she would use OpenSimulator to create a virtual reality experience for the students in her introductory computer class “How Computers Work.” Using winter break to prepare, Lopes built the class into an immersive virtual world that hosted every aspect of the course.

Yahoo News (USA Today), July 21, 2021
Shameless shoplifters: Retail thefts getting bolder in California and beyond
But Charis Kubrin, a [criminology, law, and society] professor at the University of California, Irvine who studied Proposition 47 and its impact on crimes across the state, found the law had little to no impacts on crimes and while there was a small increase in larcenies and auto thefts, the shift was “nonexistent at best, very modest at worst.” Kubrin noted multiple examinations, including a recent study focusing on Los Angeles, came to the same conclusion.

Previously “In the News”