UCLA News Week: Obama's challenge, controlling the brain, Facebook and race
The Republican shift in Congress will make it more difficult for President Obama to deal with the GOP, but the switch to minority status could benefit the president by strengthening his hand with Democrats in the House of Representatives, says elections expert Tim Groeling, chairman of the UCLA Department of Communication Studies.
Speaking on UCLA News Week, Groeling said that Obama will bear some of the blame for such punishing losses at the polls by his party. "But paradoxically, he will be rewarded by this. He should actually have an easier time going forward now that he has lost Democratic control of Congress," Groeling argues. "He should be able to position the party better in ways that set him up for reelection."
Also in this edition of UCLA News Week:
- In a UCLA-Caltech collaboration, scientists have found that humans can regulate the activity of specific neurons in the brain, increasing the firing rate of some while decreasing the rate of others. The results of the subjects choosing their point of focus were seen as they manipulated an image on a computer screen using only their thoughts.
- Race may not be as important as previously thought in determining who buddies up with whom, suggests a new UCLA–Harvard University study of college students on Facebook. The researchers followed hundreds of freshmen who posted photos of fellow classmate-friends and then took the additional step of "tagging" the photos.
- UCLA biochemists have produced a three-dimensional structural model of the RNA "core domain" of telomerase, an enzyme that plays a surprisingly important role in aging and cancer.
UCLA News Week is a weekly videocast highlighting news and research at UCLA. It is produced on Wednesday most weeks during the year. You can subscribe to the RSS feed, sign up for e-mail alerts and view past programs at UCLA Newsroom.