UCLA In The Public Square

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block

Plants and Human Beings Are Profoundly Rhythmic

Gene Block has served as UCLA chancellor since Aug. 1, 2007. He previously was vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, where he was also the Alumni Council Thomas Jefferson Professor of Biology. Chancellor Block is a distinguished professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and holds a joint faculty appointment in integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College. Before taking part in a Zócalo/UCLA panel discussion titled “How Can We Reverse the Depression Epidemic?” at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles, he chatted in the green room about his father’s mid-life funk, why jet lag makes you tired, and what scientists learned from people living underground. ...

Why Oscar Wilde’s Life Was a Work of Art

More Than a Century After His Death, a Paris Exhibition Illuminates Both the Tawdry and the Transcendent

By Joseph Bristow

The French have always loved Oscar Wilde, just as he always loved them. Long before Britain sent him to jail for enjoying sex with other males in 1895, he made Paris his spiritual home. He wrote the erotic tragedy Salomé (1892) in French, but the Examiner of Plays in London banned it after deeming it “half Biblical, half pornographic.” Much later, when he left prison in May 1897, he had to escape London, since his reputation there was ruined. So he crossed the Channel to Paris, where he resided, as “Mr. Sebastian Melmoth,” for much of the next three and a half years. ...

Can Institutions Like UCLA Ever Truly Prepare for Campus Shootings?

Active Shooter Scenario Training is Highly Imperfect But Highly Necessary

By David N. Myers

A good part of what was so distressing about this month’s active shooter episode at UCLA was the familiarity of it all.

The death of William Klug, a brilliant and affable young professor, at the hands of a mad former graduate student, was the chief tragedy. But as our campus was taken over June 1 by a veritable army of armed law enforcement personnel in helicopters, police cars, and trucks, I couldn’t help but think: Here we go again. ...

How "The Donald" Trumps Satire

Supporters Aren't Laughing at the Overblown, Offensive, and Powerful Presumptive Presidential Nominee, They're Laughing With Him

By Leonard Freedman

A Cultural Touchstone Fends off the End of an Era

In the Age of the Angry Asian Man Blog, 113-year-old Japanese-American Newspaper 'The Rafu Shimpo' Reaches Out to New Readers

By Gwen Muranaka

Long before I was the English editor of The Rafu Shimpo—the newspaper that covers Japanese-American communities up and down the Pacific Coast and other Japanese-American hubs like Denver, New York, and Chicago—I was a Japanese-American kid from San Pedro seeking out my place in the universe.

In San Pedro, a blue-collar coastal neighborhood defined by the Port of Los Angeles and its large population of Italians and Croatians, I never thought about my cultural identity. Japanese-Americans were ...

What Constant Screen Time Does to Kids’ Brains

Internet Exposure Can Improve Children's Learning—but It's Still No Substitute for Real-World Experience

An 8-year-old American child has never known a world without an iPhone. For today’s kids, smartwatches, video chats, and virtual reality aren’t harbingers of the high-tech future that adults have dreamed of for decades, but the simple accessories of an always-connected present. In kids’ eyes, the future is now. The first car they drive will probably be able to drive itself.

The glue that holds this connected world together is, of course, the internet. And while many adults came of age at a time when getting onto the internet involved sitting at a desk and suffering through ...

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block

If I Had to Be a Mollusk, I’d Be an Abalone

Gene Block became chancellor of UCLA in August 2007. An expert in neuroscience, Block’s current research focuses on the effects of aging in the nervous system and how it impacts ...

Body Mass Index Is Not a Good Measure of Your Health

A High BMI Could Increase Your Insurance Premium, but the Notorious Metric Is Only as Accurate as a Coin Flip

By A. Janet Tomiyama and Jeffrey M. Hunger

You’ve just returned from your morning run and you’re rustling through your snail mail when you receive some shocking news—an official memo from your employer informing you that your health insurance premium is increasing by 30 percent. You’ve been deemed a health risk, and you are being charged accordingly.

Yet you’re the picture of health: A run is part of your daily routine, you passed your last physical with flying colors, and kale is your favorite food. This must be some sort of mistake. But you read the fine ...

UCLA Chaplain Lori Koutouratsas

I’m a Classically Trained Cellist, But I Also Play in Rock Bands

Rev. Lori Koutouratsas is a palliative-care chaplain at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Before joining a Zócalo/UCLA panel discussion on end-of-life care—“Does Medicine ...

UCLA Medical Ethicist Katherine Brown-Saltzman

People Don’t Understand How Important Nurses Are

Katherine Brown-Saltzman is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and the co-director of the university’s Health System Ethics ...

Copying Was Once an Art Form

Technology Has Made Replication Easier, More Accurate, and Less Personal

By Matthew Fisher

Copying and syncing digital files is easy now—perhaps too easy. A mere $10 a month buys you identical copies of a digital song on every device and computer you own. Hundreds of millions of people possess billions of copies of songs and movies that are exactly the same, each 0 and 1 of the underlying binary duplicated precisely on hard drives across the world. The notes and annotations we make on our computers and iPhones now sync up, so that the note you “scribble” in the margin or the page corner you virtually turn down on one of your devices appears on the others. ...