The Times Higher Education Rankings and UC Irvine

Here we analyze how UC Irvine did in The Times Higher Education Rankings of 2015-2016.

The Times Higher Education Overall Score is based on:

Teaching (30%) (Reputation 12%, Doctorates, Students to Faculty);

Research (30%) (Reputation 18%, Income, Productivity);

Citations  (30%);

International Outlook (7.5%) (Staff, Students, Research); and

Industry Income (2.5%).


As pointed out in the comments, a total of 32% of the ranking is based only on Reputation, not on quantitative evidence.


UC Irvine has an Overall Score of 57.7 out of a 100.  It scored:


Teaching 39.9

Research 41.8

Citations 91.6

International Outlook 59.2

Industry Income 48.9


We do excellently in Citations, which is a true measure of Research importance.  I know that we also do well in the grant funding part of research, and also the productivity part.  So we have to improve on Reputation, considering we are only a 50 year old campus, and do not yet have a large stock of Noble Prize winners or members of the National Academy of Sciences.  We have an excellent public relations department.


I am not sure what goes into a Teaching reputation, but, again, we have only been putting out graduates for 50 years with a slowly growing student body size.  We do have a student body with international language skills and links, which will eventually help our international reputation.  We also have a strong program in open online courses, and I see our University mentioned more to a national audience.  With the University of California relatively fixed student to faculty ratio of around 18 it is hard to improve the staff to student ratio, except UCLA comes in at 10.3 and UCSD at 6.5, probably counting associated hospitals and institutes.


University sports are actually a part of a national reputation, and a link to alumni donations.  We lack the presence of a Pac-12 level of football and other sports.  I am not advocating that we acquire a football team, which distracts from academic performance.  However, at televised football games there are always commercials for the teaching and research performance of the Universities.  On the other hand, Cal Tech, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, U. of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Yale U., Columbia U., UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis which outrank us do not have Division 1A status (Go UC Berkeley, Stanford, and UCLA football).


There is also the publicity factor.  Since US news media is centered around New York, when they need to call up an expert they appeal to those at the nearby elite Eastern schools.  From an international outlook, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford and Cal Tech appear on the map of California and the other campuses are somewhat hidden.


In International Outlook, the campus has many programs, and has been adding more international students.  I am aware of new ones in the young Law School, and the importance of the Climate Change work in Earth System Sciences.  I am also aware of our addition of many excellent international faculty.  We have a good ranking in that respect.


To be among the top 15 US universities in the Times Educational Rankings, we have to improve our reputations in Teaching and Research from 40% to 80%.  Since we do well in US University polls, the gap may partly be in our international reputation.  Part of this will come with time for a university of our large size, but we still need to recruit the highest quality faculty including young faculty, and support them and publicize their work.  We also need to recruit the highest quality graduate students to educate them and advance the important research projects here.  We have to keep up our efforts to return the University of California state funding to earlier levels, both with the governor, the state legislature, and the public.




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California Universities in The Times Higher Education 2015-16 Global Rankings

We present the rankings and overall scores for California Universities in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 Global Rankings.  The rankings are relative, but are not a measure of intrinsic excellence.  So we give the Overall Score on which the relative rankings are based.  We also add for the interest of students the Student to Faculty ratio of the top Universities, so that they can judge in which schools they are more likely to have direct interaction with the faculty.

The Overall Score is a combination of the Scores for Teaching, International Outlook, Research, Citations, and Industry Income.

For comparison, we first list the US Universities in the top 16 global rankings, which includes Cal Tech, Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCLA.  Then we add the other California Universities in the rankings.  When the ranking is preceded by an equal sign, it means that the University was tied for that rank with others with the same overall score.


Ranking University Overall Score Student to Faculty Ratio
1 Cal Tech 95.2 6.9
3 Stanford 93.9 7.8
5 MIT 92.0 9
6 Harvard 91.6 8.9
7 Princeton 90.1 8.4
10 U. of Chicago 87.9 6.9
 11 Johns Hopkins 87.6 3.6
 12 Yale U. 87.4 4.4
 13 UC Berkeley 87.2 16.4
 15 Columbia U. 86.1 5.9
 16 UCLA 85.8 10.3
 =39 UC San Diego 72.2 6.5
 =39 UCSB 72.2 27.3
 =44 UC Davis 71.0 13.9
 68 USC 65.5 12.9
 =106 UC Irvine 57.7 16.1
 =144 UC Santa Cruz 53.9 22.7
 =167 UC Riverside 51.1 22

I won’t get into a discussion of how the scoring is done, or what it means, since others in the University know the details and their relative meaning more than I do.  I simply note that the California Universities ranked above 40 have Student to Faculty ratios less than 10.3, with the exception of UC Berkeley.

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Justice Goodwin Liu at the UC Irvine Symposium on Higher Education Access

Symposium on Higher Education Access
Friday, September 25, 2015
University of California, Irvine

The keynote speaker was Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court. Among his qualifications on education, he was Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Education, and on the American Bar Association Task Force on Financing Legal Education. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Stanford University, and the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Excellent Education.

He showed many informative slides, which I cannot reproduce here. Here are a brief rephrasing of his main comments from my notes.

There is a Crisis of Affordability of higher education for students from lower income families. People are asking “Does Higher Education Pay Off?” (it does for those who complete it). What will be the effect of online learning on the conventional college picture?


Janet Napolitano, President of the UC, calls it higher education in motion, not a crisis. Higher education matters. It is not a monolith.

Between two and four year colleges, there are 1625 public, 1675 private non-profit, and 1424 for-profit.

Student debt is less important for higher earning universities.

University educations have been described as Utility U. or Utopia U., while universities try to blend these two outlooks. One size does not fit all students or financial aid analysis.
There is a dearth of low income students at elite schools. This is important as these schools raise leaders.

In states that have banned affirmative action, there is a lack of black students (this includes California).

A vast majority of students are upper income.

UC Irvine placed first in the NY Times access rankings (see my previous post).

UC Irvine has more Pell Grants than all eight Eastern elite combined.

Every year there are 25,000 – 35,000 high-achieving, low income students, including those of ethnicity and diversity. More than half of them do not apply to the elite schools. They do not know that they would have less to pay at highly selective schools than at the ones that they choose (Hosby and Avery, 2013). Some are rural and have no other students for guidance. They would have more leadership opportunities and more earnings potential at the highly select colleges. Advising such students is a small cost.
California has studied the cost of leverage points to achieve college success.

20% of students drop out in high school.
40% of high school graduates do not go on to college.
50% of students at Cal State campuses do not complete.
Increasing completions at Cal State is the cheapest way to get more college graduates.
Next expensive is increasing transfer students to the UC campuses.
The most expensive is to increase the college enrollment.
California in 2025 will need one million more college graduates than we are now generating.

One third of the US population have college degrees.
Political candidates have discussed the “college for all” concept.
If we were to increase the college graduation rate to 50% of the population in the next 25 years, it would still leave half without a college degree.

We should provide technical training for non-college students.
That will provide “Pathways to Prosperity” for them. Some middle skill occupations pay well such as nurses, lab techs, contractors, electricians, and plumbers.

Students benefit from two year degrees or some college.
We could do more with certificate programs, online courses, and community colleges.
Tennessee and Oregon have made community colleges free.

We should make these opportunities available for low income families.
Of the lowest quartile income high achievers, 40% go on to low SAT schools. This is from a lack of information on financial aids at the more elite schools.
We need more high school counselors. Presently we have only one per 900 students in California.

A number of students visit schools outside California, but prefer schools closer to home.
Bob Schwartz writes about other countries, that they have not stigmatized vocational education.

A question was asked whether Globalizing Institutions would impact poorer students.
(I asked that of a UCI administrator at the break, and was told that more foreign students would impact California student admittance. The official UC line is that the increased tuition paid by out-of-state students will help support expansion of the institutions. A mixture of foreign students also helps educate US students, as well as capturing more talent to the State of California.  I looked at admittance data for UC Berkeley, and found that the same number of California students were admitted every year as the number of foreign students increased. )

The following talks were interesting, but got much more detailed. They also applied highly to law school admissions.

Posted in Economies, Education, Income, UC Irvine, Wealth | Leave a comment

UC Irvine Places Number One in the NY Times College Access Index

UC Irvine has placed top in the Nation in the NY Times College Access Index.

UC Campuses have also placed one to five and seventh in the nation.

The rankings are based on the share of students who get Pell Grants, and the Net Price for Middle Income Students.

The Net Price for Middle Income Students is about $13,000 for the UC campuses.  Also included in the listing are California’s two other Universities which have a graduation rate of greater than 75% in five years, which are Stanford and USC.  They have a net price for middle income students for $7,000 and $21,000, respectively.

Here is the list for California Schools in order, giving the Pell Grant percent of students, and the combined College Access Index.  For comparison, the College Access Index is 1.00 for the average school.

1 UC Irvine with 40% Pell Grant Share and the top College Access Index of 1.91.

2 UC Davis, 31% Pell Grant and Index of 1.62.

3 UC Santa Barbara, 31% Pell Grant and Index of 1.61.

4 UC San Diego, 28% Pell Grant and Index of 1.55.

5 UCLA, 28% Pell Grant and Index of 1.53.

7 UC Berkeley, 23% Pell Grant and Index of 1.37.

19 Stanford, 13% Pell Grant and Index of 1.23.

85 USC, 17% Pell Grant and Index of 0.95.

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UC Irvine in US News College Rankings


US News includes UC Irvine in excellent positions in several types of best University and Departmental rankings. We present the rankings here.

UC Irvine in US News Best Colleges Rankings: we are ranked 9th in Top Public Schools; 39th in National Universities including Best Undergraduate Business Programs and Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. UCI is ranked 31st in Best Value Schools, 32nd in Best Colleges for Veterans, and 46th in Best High School Counselor Rankings.

UC Irvine in US News Best Graduate School Rankings: we are ranked 30th in Best Law Schools including tying for number 11 in Clinical Training and also listed in Intellectual Property law. We are 31st in Best Education Schools. We are 34th in Biological Sciences. We are listed 37th in Best Engineering Schools. We are ranked 29th in Computer Sciences. We are ranked 53rd in Fine Arts. The School of Physical Sciences is rated by Departments with 24th in Chemistry (with 12th in Organic), 34th in Earth Sciences, 29th in Physics, and 41st in Math.

For Graduate Programs we are also ranked 62nd for Best Medical School: Primary Care, and 45th in Best Medical Schools: Research. Individual Departments ranked in Graduate Programs are 5th in Criminology, 46th in Economics, 22nd in English, 36th in History, 30th in Psychology, and 25th in Sociology.

In US News Best Online Programs Rankings: UCI is number 1 in Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs.

In US News Best Global Universities Rankings: we are ranked 66th overall. We are 23rd in Computer Science. In subjects we are 25th in Neuroscience and Behavior, 28th in Environment/Ecology, 38th in Psychiatry/Psychology, 46th in Geosciences, 47th in Space Sciences, 75th in Biology and Biochemistry, 79th in Physics, 82nd in Social Sciences and Public Health, 92nd in Microbiology, 94th in Chemistry, and 95th in Molecular Biology and Genetics.



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Startling Results from Burning All Fossil Fuels in 250 Years

An article released this weekend in Advances in Science (by Ricarda Winkelmann, Anders Levermann, Andy Ridgwell, and Ken Caldeira) contained a very high tech and current calculation of what would happen to the Antarctic Ice and the sea level if all fossil fuel was to be burned in the next 250 years. The press announced that the conclusion was that all Antarctic ice would be melted in 10,000 years, and raise the sea level 60 meters or 200 feet worldwide. Since much of civilization lives in low lying areas near the coast, this would cause massive relocation and loss of valuable construction in coastal cities. However, it also makes it seem that the problem is thousands of years in the future, which means that we can forget it for now.

Such a reaction was shattered when a real reading of the paper showed that over the next three centuries, the average sea level rise from Antarctica will be 2.7 meters or 8.9 feet per century.  Over the next millennium, the average sea level rise from Antarctica will be 3.6 meters or 12 feet per century.  The melting starts slowly with only a 0.1 meter or 0.3 foot rise from Antarctica over the next century.

However, the extreme temperatures that will occur, and the blocking of carbon uptake by ocean deposition of Carbon, will have severe consequences for the future of mankind.

A strong argument for acting now to limit or require maximum efficiency for fossil fuel burning other than coal, is that any released atmospheric CO2 will remain in the atmosphere adding a warming blanket that warms every hour of every day for the next hundred years. What the climate change model shows is that at the extreme of burning all Carbon sources, the absorption of Carbon by the oceans and deposition of it at the sea floor by plankton will essentially shut down, and the lifetime of Carbon in the atmosphere will have a half life of about 5,000 years. This will be an increase in the effective warming of each CO2 molecule by a factor of 50!

The other alarming result of the climate change model is that the average sea level temperature will rise 20.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the entire earth. Having experienced heat waves of 15 degrees F above average this summer in Spain and Southern California, I can guarantee that nobody wants to live anywhere on earth that is now in a temperate zone. If they did, it would require massive amounts of energy and cost for air conditioning. Furthermore, ask any farmer what that would do to crops, water reservoirs, and animal husbandry, and all present farms would be doomed. Almost everybody in northern latitudes would have to move northward, or southward in the southern hemisphere. Essentially all of the present countries, cities and agricultural areas would be uprooted.

In California we are now in our worst drought and the record year for wildfires. These are some of the auxiliary effect of climate warming. Burning all coal would increase the extreme air pollution in China and India and disrupt all manufacturing and energy in their cities, as well as extremely increasing asthma and shortening lives.

The effects in the last three paragraphs are just from the climate model, and do not even involve the detailed modeling of Antarctic ice melting.

At present the world is burning 10 Gigatons of Carbon (GtC) per year,  or 10 Billion tons of Carbon per year.  The total fossil fuel resources are estimated to be 10,000 GtC.   The model for full fossil fuel burning has the rate of burning rising to about 70 GtC per year in about 125 years, and being almost completed in 250 years.  If only a fraction of the total carbon is burned, the peak rate and duration are shortened.  The peak temperatures occur essentially after most of the Carbon is burned.  If all the Carbon is burned, the peak warming is 11.4 degrees C, or 20.5 degrees F.  If half of the Carbon is burned (5,000 GtC), the peak temperature is  8.2 degrees C, or 14.8 degrees F.  If a quarter of the Carbon is burned (2,500 GtC), the peak temperature is 5.5 degrees C, or 9.9 degrees F.  If an eighth of the Carbon is burned (1250 GtC), the peak temperature is 3.6 degrees C or 6.5 degrees F.  To avoid exceeding the 2 degrees C limit since pre-industrial times (0.7 degrees C is already attained), the future emissions can only be 600 GtC, or 60 more years at the present rate. That is only a sixteenth of all the Carbon resources.

While the future 250 years from now may seem far off, we must remember that the Founding Fathers of the United States came from Europe which had 2500 years of recorded history.  They believed in a Bible which was partly that old and partly 1800 years old.  They were establishing a new country on a continent that already had three hundred years of European exploration and settlement.  They had an outlook for the United States that looked forward on these time spans of hundreds to thousands of years.  We have to preserve and push forward such a future long term outlook.


Posted in Climate Change, Coal, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Oil, Sea Level Rise | Leave a comment

UC Campuses Crown the Rankings in US News Top Public Universities, 2016

We list the California Public Universities that ranked in the top 100 Public National Universities.  We also add the rest of the top 10 public Universities for comparison.  We also show the tuition and fees, which are fairly close for most public universities.  Then we add the number of undergraduates, and the acceptance rates of the listed universities.(As usual in these reports, we point out that rankings are nowhere near as good as having composite scores on which the rankings are based, or the statistical significance between rankings.)

Did I forget to mention that UC Irvine tied for number 9 among national public universities!

Also, six of the top 11 of the national public universities are UC schools!

Out of state tuition for the UC schools is about $38,000.

The UCs offer total tuition coverage for in-state students whose families earn less than $80,000 a year!

University Tuition and Fees Undergraduates Acceptance Rate

1        UC Berkeley

2        UCLA

3        U. Virginia

4        U. Michigan

5        U. North Carolina

6        College of Wm. Mary

7        Georgia Inst. of Tech.

8        UC Santa Barbara

9        UC Irvine tie with

10    UC San Diego

11    UC Davis

34   UC Santa Cruz

58   UC Riverside

79   San Diego State U.














































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Dalai Lama at UC Irvine Talk and Panel on “Compassionate Planet”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama celebrated his 80th birthday at UC Irvine’s Bren Center on July 6, 2015 by giving a talk and panel discussion called the Compassionate Planet: The Effects of Climate Change and Taking Action to Resolve the Global Issue. The announcement for this is at . The presentation has also been written up on the website.
I will give my notes on his words and that of the panelists. (The usual caveats apply to my lack of accuracy and completeness, but I think that I got most of the message.)
The moderator was Ann Curry, previously with NBC News. The introduction was by UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gilman. The Dalai Lama was introduced by Richard C. Blum, of the American Himalayan Foundation and a UC Regent.
The first speaker was Prof. Emeritus Walter Munk of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (he is 97 years old). He spoke of the sea level rise, and of the oceans being warmer. The data of climate change is overwhelming. The quest is can we do something about it in time.
At some point Ann Curry pointed out that 97% of climate scientists agree with human caused climate change.
The Dalai Lama has spoken about climate change since 2012. The compassion is needed to help people in other countries. We must develop a sense of oneness about humanity, he says. We must make an effort as many times as needed. The goal is the right one, it is relevant, and it will be a great benefit if we do something to reach it. We start by meeting with scientists. In Tibet, care must be taken not to pollute the water.
The Dalai Lama advised that we must not damage the environment. Taking care of the planet is like taking care of one’s own home. Once we notice the damage it may be too late. He noted the issue of human population growth, but said that seven billion people is already a huge population.
He noted that there are poor people in the area of the US Capitol. The level of poor must rise.
He said that he is a son of a farmer. As he flew over California, he noted that a lot of its area is still empty of crops for a lack of water. In Australia, there are also large desert areas. (I flew over California a few weeks ago and was surprised to see that only every other field was watered and green, due to our drought.) He noted that we have the ability to desalinate water. We can slowly move farmed areas inland by desalinating using solar power. (Actually, just evaporating water using sunlight and condensing it in a solar still can be more efficient than using only 15% efficient solar power. Fortunately, the planet is a giant desalination machine producing fresh water as rain, but we must learn to use it more efficiently, and recycle it.) India should start developing the country side, as well as it does for city development.
The next speaker was Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, who also advised Pope Francis on climate change science. He asked the question, What is Coming? He foresees drastic change in the next 30 years. He said that we will not be able to protect the poorest three billion people. He pointed out that two billion people depend on the water from the Tibetan glaciers. Yet the top one billion people on the planet are causing 60% of the CO2 pollution due to their high consumption. In the next 30 years we will add another trillion tons of CO2 to the trillion tons that we have already added. (He may have said this will stay up a thousand years, but the considered number is around one hundred years.) Compassion is the way to change our attitude toward nature.
Dr. Ramanathan said it would take $450 per person per year in the top one billion people to change from our carbon economy to renewables. He said that the temperature rise by mid-century would be 3.5 degrees F unless we act and start bending down the pollution curve. To switch the poorest three billion people to clean energy, such as in stoves, would require $250 per person in the richest billion people. The key to this is compassion, and his Holiness can lead in this.
The Dalai Lama responded that this century should be a non-violent century. The interdependence of continents and countries makes this more necessary. If you destroy your enemy, you also will suffer destruction yourself. War is outdated. We must act according to reality. We must eliminate nuclear weapons, and turn the defense industry to other work. Nuclear and other weapons are a waste of money, which we could be spending on ecological protection.
Prof. Isabella Velicogna of Earth System Science at UC Irvine and the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab stated that there will be one to two meters of sea level rise by the end of the century. With a one meter rise, San Francisco and Oakland airports will be under water, and the LA-Long Beach Harbor will be flooded. There will be more floods, droughts, and heat waves. More will die, largely among the old and poor. There is a current California drought, and California will become dryer. This will impact the economy and society. Glaciers are disappearing, and this will affect the water supply in the Andes.
Prof. Velicogna, who is an educator as well, said that education was very important. Young students want to make changes. Each member of the audience should take advantage of clean energy.
A community organizer for climate justice, Mia Yoshitani, stressed the moral, justice, and equity aspects of helping relieve climate change. She raised the financial question of how to pay for it. To do so will require active compassion and courage. We should start with science and what we know. We are motivated by the opportunity to rebuild our relation to the planet. Otherwise we will have fires, sea level rise, and heat waves. We must stop CO2 pollution, dangerous oil tanker trains, and clean up refineries. We must live in a world where the dignity of our lives actually matter.
Dr. Ramanathan was asked What Do We Do? He replied, cutting pollution has to start now. He recommended rooftop solar. It was pointed out that buildings are a main source of power consumption. UC President Janet Policano has announced a goal of making the UC system carbon independent. Dr. Ramananthan said there are 100 steps to take, and that it is a solvable problem.
Finally, we got to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. She said she never voted for a war. Wars are projected over fresh water. UC Irvine is working on preventing such wars. There also will be population displacements to rising sea levels, such as in Bangladesh and in Vietnam. She believes that 97% of scientists agree on the cause of climate change. The Congress could not pass a climate bill because it represents a large change in the status quo. (Neither could the Supreme Court either.) We must start with education, and in particular with the education level of mothers is important. We need political will, so we need the public to provide this.
Rep. Sanchez also hoped to get rid of nuclear weapons. She encouraged the audience to call or write you congress persons. We have to be more open to the many news sources available today. We must educate the people around us. Important to us and to young people especially is to register to vote. Don’t give up your power.
The Dalai Lama pointed out that the reality has changed, but our minds have not. People still put their own nations first. We should take a global interest first, then our nation’s interest. This requires an education in a holistic approach, and a humanitarian one. When the planet is happy, each nation automatically benefits. We must serve humanity with compassion. Generations have to grow up with a holistic approach, and then politicians will follow. Society is dominated by money which is then used to acquire power with politicians. We have the ability to change that.
Richard Blum commented that China has to get its act together, as people in its cities are suffering from enormous coal emissions pollution. Coal has influence in the US since it is produced in 40 states. He also mentioned in the political sphere that his wife is California Senator Diane Feinstein. He also pushed hydro power. (China has a big potential in this area.)
Finally, the Scripps Institute gave a special award to the Dalai Lama by naming a new ocean species after him. It is named Sirsoe Dalailamai.

Posted in Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Politics | Leave a comment

Earthquake in the Movie San Andreas Far Greater Than That Expected

The truly frightening scenarios of total San Francisco and Los Angeles destruction in the movie San Andreas is far greater than earthquake science expects. There is already an article at establishing this. The error lies in mixing up the largest earthquakes as in Japan that result from a subduction fault, with the smaller ones along a slip-slide fault as the San Andreas fault is.

The island of Japan is just West of the subduction fault where the Pacific plate, underneath the Pacific ocean, is subducting under an extension of the North American Plate or the Eurasian Plate. That can produce large land displacements. It also causes uplifting , and the water that is lifted up by it then flows back down to level as a tsunami. Being under the ocean, the plate becomes covered by sediment containing water. As that plate subducts, it heats up and the water boils up to the surface. This causes volcanoes. The island of Japan was built by the volcanoes and the subduction. The strength of the Tsuhoku earthquake in 2011 was a 9.0.








The San Andreas faults is called a slip-slide fault, where the Pacific plate on the Western side is moving Northward, and the American plate on the Eastern side is sliding Southward. The leading part of the plate used to be a subduction fault that built up the Sierra Nevada. This is not expected to produce an earthquake greater than 8.0. That is a factor of 32 in energy less than the 9.0 in Japan. This is not explained in the movie. They do present the scenario that maybe a long distance along the fault ruptures at once. A rupture along the entire fault is estimated to produce an 8.3 earthquake, because it is a long fault stretching from the Mexican border, but the earthquake effects die off with distance. An 8.3 quake has about 2.8 times the energy as an 8.0.

california-earthquake-probabilities-up to 8.0















There is a subduction fault going North from Northern California, where the Juan de Fuca plate is still subducting under the American plate. This covers the coast of Oregon, Washington, and Canada. A map is below. This subduction can cause large tsunamis, and that is evaluated for California ports. While some reviews of the movie claim that the San Andreas quake cannot cause a tsunami, the fault does parallel the ocean as it leaves the San Francisco Bay. Even though it is not going to subduct, any earthquake can cause a landslide into or under the water, and this can produce a tsunami (probably not the massive one shown in the movie).

Block diagram of southwest B.C. showing the Juan de Fuca plate descending beneath North America along a subduction zone.

Block diagram of southwest B.C. showing the Juan de Fuca plate descending beneath North America along a subduction zone.












One of the dangers that the movie did not mention was the presence of liquifaction zones in places such as central LA, , Huntington Beach, and West Irvine. In San Francisco there is the Marina District and the East side on the Bay.  Of course, skyscrapers are built on solid rock, but many other smaller structures are not.

SC liquifaction












SF liquifaction














Another danger not mentioned is that thousands of older building in LA are built over car garages that are minimally supported at the garage level. Rather inexpensive cross beam and post systems can upgrade these to prevent collapse, as occurred in the Northridge quake. These have to be required to be updated immediately.

While the movie is filled with spectacular rescues, it fails to mention the simple standard earthquake preparedness kit, such as stockpiling a gallon of water per day for each person, for as long as fresh water might be unavailable. It also recommends stockpiling food that doesn’t need refrigerating or cooking.  Since people will probably be sleeping outside due to aftershocks, you also need a tent, air mats, and warm clothes.  A portable radio with batteries can cover the internet being down.

Earthquake and government experts are now studying the hazard that the canals carrying water to Southern California cross the San Andreas fault, and will likely be broken in an earthquake along the fault.

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What’s New in Big Data. Talk at UC Irvine by Prof. Michael Franklin of UC Berkeley

This is a brief account of the talk by Prof. and Chair Michael Franklin, of UC Berkeley Computer Sciences Department, on May 29, 2015.

Advances of Data Science and Big Data Analysis:

Massively scalable processing and storage

Pay as you go also scalable

Flexible schema on read

Data lakes for storage

Easier integration

Multiple languages

Open source ecosystem driving innovation


He pioneered and operates AMPlab at UC Berkeley.  It develops:



Machines cluster and cloud computing



Parts of the system are:

Berkeley Data Analytics Stack

Apache Spark processing engine

In-memory dataflow system

Tachyon storage

Hadoop visualization


Genomics is an application for this.


At UCB, data science is coordinated at the UC Berkeley Institute for Data Science

It is run by Saul Perlmutter in Physics (he shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the acceleration of the Big Bang from Dark Energy by astronomical analysis of type 1a supernova.)

Data Science involves the overlap of Computer Scientists, Statisticians, and Domain Experts.

It also requires Inference, Visualization, and Communication.

Another consideration is the ethics of data collection and usage.

At UC Berkeley, 5,000 out of 6,000 freshmen learn about computing, also involving some Python programming.

At UCB, he is on the Rapid Action Committee on Data Science.  Its report will come out soon.

It recommends a basic course for all freshmen.  Connecter classes are then recommended leading into the student’s major.

UCI has a major in data science.

I was especially interested in the references for further information that he pointed out.

Big Data Analytics for Dummies, a free pdf from Alteryx.

Frontiers in Massive Data Analysis, another free pdf, from the National Academies Press.

He referenced the Berkeley Institute for Data Science

His lab also developed the free app Carat, which collects data and gives a collaborative energy diagnosis of what apps are causing energy drain on your cell phone.

This was a very informative and non-technical talk.





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