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Friday, July 16, 2010


Wood Fungus Sequenced to Advance Biofuel Prospects


“When we go into a forest we don’t see layers of dead branches because wood decay fungi take care of them,” said Igor Grigoriev, head of the Joint Genome Institute's (JGI's) Fungal Genomics Program. “So when we think about bioenergy and degrading biomass and converting that into biofuel, we would like to learn the most efficient ways of doing that from fungi, which have invented many ways of doing that in nature." With colleagues from JGI and the University of Utrecht, Grigoriev published a study on the wood-decaying fungus Schizophyllum commune, which appeared online July 11 in Nature Biotechnology. More>

Wind TurbinesCarbon Smackdown: Urban Wind Turbines Topic of Today's Event

The third of five Carbon Smackdown matches takes place today at noon in the Building 50 Auditorium. Grab your lunch and learn how Berkeley Lab scientists are developing wind turbines to be used in an urban setting, as well as analyzing what it will take to increase the adoption of wind energy in the U.S. Glen Dahlbacka of the Accelerator & Fusion Research Division and Ryan Wiser of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division will also answer your questions. Can’t leave your desk at noon? We’ve got you covered with a live webcast. You can also go there to watch the two previous Smackdown lectures. Check out the complete line-up of matches pitting Berkeley Lab scientists against carbon dioxide.

In The News: There's No Such Thing as Gravity

Gravity[New York Times] In a recent paper, string theorist Erik Verlinde of the University of Amsterdam argues that the laws of gravitation “arise naturally and unavoidably in a theory in which space is emergent through a holographic scenario,” a view he says may shed light on vexing cosmic issues like dark energy and dark matter. Raphael Bousso of the Physics Division, who led a discussion of Verlinde’s paper at a spring workshop in Texas, says that even though no one understands it, “Erik’s paper has drawn attention to what is genuinely a deep and important question, and that’s a good thing.” More>

Outreach: Community Volunteers Invited to Take Survey

VolunteersDo you volunteer in the community? Are there specific volunteer activities that you would like the Lab to provide? Help the Public Affairs Department learn about the volunteer work employees are involved in by taking this five-minute survey. The results will help the Public Affairs Department align the humanitarian spirit of the Lab with causes and organizations that closely relate to Berkeley Lab’s problem-solving mission.

Facilities: No Power in Building 50 Tonight Through Sunday Evening

The Facilities Division will be turning off electrical power to Building 50 today at 5 p.m. Power is expected to be restored by Sunday at 5 p.m. Access to the building will be restricted for the duration of the shutdown. The shutdown will only impact Building 50. Buildings 50A, B, C, E, and F will have lights and power available as normal. For questions contact Andrew Lee (650) 720-5844 or Rhonda Ross (x7806).

Construction: Closures in K2 Parking Lot Monday and Tuesday

The K2 Parking lot adjacent to Buildings 2 and Building 58A will be partially closed for construction staging activities on Monday and Tuesday. Traffic near the entrance to the cafeteria parking lot will be disrupted periodically for delivery vehicles and several parking spaces on either side of the K2 lot will be closed during the day to allow truck access and unloading. Use caution when driving in the area and parking in the K2 lot. Pedestrian traffic will also be diverted around the parking area. Those traversing this area are cautioned to heed traffic control measures, barricades, and signage.

Construction: Parking Improvements at Lawrence Road, ALS User Support Building, Bldg. 80

Additional parking stalls are under construction along Lawrence Road to the west of the new User Support Building and east of the Cafeteria. A total of 27 new parking spaces are under construction and are scheduled for completion in late September. Upon completion of the Lawrence Road parking stalls, 14 spaces along N1 road will be reopened. During construction, traffic on Lawrence Road will frequently be restricted to one lane of travel and a speed limit of five mph is in effect. Use caution when driving through this area.

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