Daily Archives: December 5, 2011


The Berkeley Wire. 12.05.11

Print Friendly

How do you spell Nobel Prize? At Cal, incorrectly

A sign erected at UC Berkeley shortly after Saul Perlmutter won Nobel Prize
Print Friendly

Berkeleyside reader Sandy Hamburg was walking through UC Berkeley shortly after it was announced in October that Professor Saul Perlmutter had been awarded a Nobel Prize for physics. As Prof. Perlmutter himself put it, one of the best perks of the prize is a permanent parking space at the car-challenged university. Hamburg laughed when she saw this sign, as it spelled Nobel incorrectly, transposing the e and the l.

Then a few weeks later Hamburg returned to the … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Seismic risk of soft story structures goes unheeded

Examining a soft story structuring on Channing during Saturday's tour
Print Friendly

Soft story structures — buildings with large openings at ground level for garages or tuck-under parking — pose a particular hazard of serious damage, including collapse, in seismic activity. Because of the danger, Berkeley passed its soft story ordinance in 2005, mandating that soft story buildings with five or more units notify tenants of the danger and perform a seismic analysis. But, if a walking survey on Saturday is any indication, the ordinance is going largely unheeded.

Rent board commissioner Igor Tregub organized the survey as part of what he called a “seismic compliance day of action”. Tregub and his interns picked several dozen buildings from the city’s soft story inventory, and led a tour of the buildings. The idea was both to see whether the ordinance was being followed and to alert tenants to the potential dangers. The survey was a personal project of Tregub’s, not an official rent board initiative.

None of the 15 buildings visited on Saturday had any visible notice, contrary to the requirements of the ordinance. There were also no signs of retrofits, which would increase the safety in the event of a quake (retrofits are not required by the ordinance). … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

City looks to tackle noise issue from news helicopters

Print Friendly

The city government will consider taking action on the issue of the noise pollution caused by news helicopters with councilmember Jesse Arreguín (district 4) bringing an item to the consent calendar at Tuesday’s City Council meeting this week.

“This is a quality of life issue and, as community leaders, we should  engage in a dialogue with media organizations to try to find some solutions,” Arreguin said.

Choppers are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and there is therefore a limit to how much Berkeley’s leaders can do to restrict their time in the air.

Because it’s been a news-heavy few months in Berkeley recently — with the Occupy Cal protests, a shooting on campus as well as a series of earthquakes —  media helicopters have been taking to the skies at a particularly high rate, causing angst among local residents. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Is this a Death Cap? Mushrooms: the good, bad, and ugly

Print Friendly

This weekend saw a veritable mushroom extravaganza in Berkeley, as the Lawrence Hall of Science hosted the 42nd Annual Fungus Fair. Over two days, no stone, log or root was left unturned in order to bring to the public’s attention the fascinating and abundant life of beautiful, tasty, inedible, and downright poisonous fungi.

In the marketplace, visitors were offered the chance to buy chanterelles and tree oysters; there were educational displays and talks on urban foraging and fungimental mycophagy — as well as a lecture entitled “Spores Illustrated”; cooking demonstrations; and make-your-own mushroom kits.

Kids painted cardboard mushrooms in the family center, while in an adjacent room, a booth showcased psilocybin varieties, otherwise known as magic mushrooms, or shrooms.

At the Mushroom Identification table, Erin Page Blanchard was on hand as part of a team of experts willing to identify fungi brought in by members of the public.Continue reading »

Tagged ,

Snow in Berkeley? Yes, in the Gourmet Ghetto

Snow day 2
Print Friendly

On Sunday, the Andronico’s on Shattuck was transformed into a mini winter wonderland as kids, unaccustomed to seeing the white stuff in their hometown, donned boots and mittens to throw ice balls and build snowmen.

The free “Snow Day” event, which included holiday crafts, hot cider, cookies and a snow queen, was sponsored by the North Shattuck Association, AT&T and Andronico’s Community Market.

Tagged ,