Daily Archives: February 17, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 02.17.11

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Relic of Mary Magdalen on display in Berkeley today

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The shinbone of one of Christianity’s most important people will be on display today at the St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Berkeley.

It’s appropriate that the shinbone will be on view at that particular church, since the bone comes from Mary Magdalene herself. She was the first person to witness Jesus’ resurrection.

The 2,000-year-old relic is supposed to be Mary Magdalene’s tibia. It has been touring the United States since 2009. It was … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student proved pivotal in the rise of Twitter

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Photo: Joi Ito/Creative Commons.
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It was a one-word tweet that did it. The word was “Arrested” and it was posted on April 10, 2008 by UC Berkeley J-School grad student James Buck who was in Egypt photographing anti-government protests, and ended up getting detained by the police.

Unwittingly, Buck played a pivotal role in the development of micro-blogging service Twitter, which until then had been seen primarily as a social tool — but from that moment on was viewed as having the power to change society.

At least that’s how Twitter co-founder Biz Stone sees it — as he explained to NPR’s Terry Gross on Fresh Air yesterday.

Stone said he first realized that Twitter could be used as a global organizing tool when Buck was arrested while covering the protests in Egypt — three years before Twitter was to play a key role in demonstrations in the same country which, this time, toppled the head of state.

Even though he was from the Bay Area, Buck had not heard of Twitter. It was Egyptian friends who told him about how they were using the service to organize protests and led Buck to sign up. After Buck tweeted the word “Arrested” on his way to the police station, his friends in California read it and were able to call the consulate and Egyptian authorities and help secure his release. His next tweet was simply “Freed.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Central Library gets a mini-makeover

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It was gray and rainy in Berkeley on Wednesday, but the Central Library provided a welcoming retreat.

On the third floor, along a row of magazines, a handful of people sat in tawny leather chairs, reading books, glancing at computer screens, or talking quietly with friends. They were taking advantage of a newly installed seating arrangement, part of a makeover of the first three floors of the library.

It’s been nine years since the Central Library reopened after a major retrofit and remodel and patron patterns have shifted dramatically during that time. Now more than 1,800 visit the main library each day and they take out about 1.1 million items a year – a 35% increase since 2006.

In 2009, the library administration did a new needs assessment of the building and came up with a plan to reconfigure the library’s first three floors. They hope the upgrades, which are almost completed, will make the library not only more comfortable, but more accessible.

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Indie band competes for top recording contract

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Tonight, a young Berkeley band will compete in Hollywood in a competition called “Gimme the Gig”, and, if they win, they’ll get the chance to work with legendary producer Don Was (think Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and almost any other big name in popular music, and Was has worked with them).

But Roosevelt Radio is already making waves on the indie music scene. Barely a year old, the five-member band has already produced its first album, was named “Artist of the Month” by SF Deli, and has graduated from rehearsing in a crammed living room in South Berkeley to performing at some of San Francisco’s biggest venues, including Slim’s and Café du Nord.

The band — which describes its music as a blend of Arcade Fire, Coldplay and The Strokes — was formed in early 2010. “We are a Craigslist band,” explains lead singer Ben Ross, talking about how they found each other through the online classified service. “We were unified in wanting to be a high-energy indie rock band,” he says. … Continue reading »


Former president of Chile to teach at Berkeley

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The former president of Chile will teach a number of seminars this year at UC Berkeley. Michelle Bachelet, who is currently serving as the United Nations’ undersecretary general for women’s rights, will talk about the challenges she faced as the president of Chile and the issues she will address in her new position at the United Nations.

Her first seminar will be on Friday and it will be open both undergraduates and graduate students, Continue reading »

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