Category Archives: UC Berkeley

Events mark 50th anniversary of Free Speech Movement

An iconic image from the Free Speech Movement, which erupted on the Berkeley campus 50 years ago. Photo: UC Berkeley Libraries
Print Friendly

Oct. 1 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s.

On that day, thousands of UC Berkeley students surrounded a police car parked near Sproul Plaza. A young man named Jack Weinberg was inside. He had been arrested for distributing political material on university grounds despite rules that forbade it.

Many of the students who spontaneously surrounded the police car had been involved – or had been watching – the Civil Rights movement emerge. They were outraged by the injustices of the Jim Crow south. They had protested when the House Un-American Activities Committee held hearings in San Francisco. They had been furious when Clark Kerr, the president of the UC system, had declared that it was illegal to hand out political pamphlets on university grounds. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley’s colony of spotted hyenas closes after 30 years

The colony has donated seven hyenas to the Oakland Zoo, where the animals live in a wooded ravine and enjoy splashing in water. Photo: Oakland Zoo
Print Friendly

Tucked away in the Berkeley Hills is a swath of land where females are in charge and always get first dibs on dinner.

It’s no feminist utopia — just UC Berkeley’s captive colony of spotted hyenas. The noisy animals, whose whoops are audible from the fire trails, have been fixtures at the Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Reproduction for decades. But when the researchers who study them lost their funding, the animals had to start finding new homes. In a couple weeks the colony will shutter for good.

The 30-year project was one of a kind. In 1985, UC Berkeley biologist/psychologist Stephen Glickman, and animal behaviorist Laurence Frank, brought 20 newborn spotted hyenas from the Maasai Mara region of Kenya to Berkeley. What followed was unprecedented research on hormones, reproduction, and social behavior. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Cal prof Joshua Bloom makes earthquake alert kit for $110

Joshua Bloom's homemade earthquake early warning alarm, in a Gregoire box. Photo: Joshua Bloom
Print Friendly

When the Napa earthquake struck on Aug. 24, Joshua Bloom had a 5-second warning.

That’s because the UC Berkeley astronomy professor likes to tinker.

It was when Bloom was a beta tester in the prototype ShakeAlert system being developed by a consortium of seismological researchers (including UC Berkeley), that he came up with an idea.

“I thought it was silly that every time I closed my laptop, I couldn’t get a warning,” he said.

So Bloom cobbled together his own earthquake alarm for just over $100, using a Raspberry Pi single-board computer ($36.39), a wired speaker ($14.99), a mini-WiFi adapter ($6.71), and SD card.

To house it, he uses a box from Grégoire, the local restaurant group known for its crispy potato puffs. And he keeps the device in the living room of his North Berkeley home, next to the fireplace.

ShakeAlert triggered a 10-second early warning alert for the Magnitude 6 Napa quake last month. Bloom’s device provided a five-second warning. (Bloom details how it worked on his blog.)

Meet Joshua Bloom at Uncharted on Oct. 24-25. Get your early-bird tickets now!

For Bloom, this is tinkering with a definite purpose. He sees his demonstration project as validation that Californians could have an earthquake alarm in every home for about the same price as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. And he hopes it adds pressure to the legislature to fund the $80 million it will take to roll out the ShakeAlert network beyond its few privileged early testers. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,
UC Berkeley

4 arrested Saturday in 2 robberies near UC Berkeley

Image: Google maps
Print Friendly

Four men were arrested Saturday after two robberies near the UC Berkeley campus in the early morning hours, police said.

The University of California Police Department put out statements Tuesday about the incidents and arrests, which took place within the city of Berkeley’s jurisdiction.

Just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police said a 19-year-old woman was walking with friends near Bowditch Street and Bancroft Way when three young men approached.

They started “verbally harassing her and her friends,” police said in a prepared statement. “The group surrounded the victim, called her names, spit on and kicked her.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Gabrielle Selz’s ‘Unstill Life’ provides peek into the modern art world with its glamour, ambition, heartbreak

Gabrielle Selz and Peter Selz. Photo: Courtesy of Gabrielle Selz
Print Friendly

When Gabrielle Selz was growing up in New York in the 1960s, her house was filled with artists who have become icons of the time: Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, and Alberto Giacometti.

Selz’s father was Peter Selz – then a curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, a man whom the New York Times dubbed “Mr. Modern Art.” Peter Selz moved to Berkeley in 1965 to become the founding director of the Berkeley Art Museum, a position that allowed him to showcase West Coast artists. He highlighted Funk, film, and ceramicists like Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson who were not even considered true artists at the time. Peter Selz later became project director for Christo’s Running Fence, the 24.5-mile long billowing fabric fence that ran over the Marin County hills in 1976. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Berkeley program, teens learn the law, leadership

Meea Sheard spent her summer interning at the General Counsel's Office of the Peralta Community College District. Photo: Nancy Schiff
Print Friendly

Jay-Z and Beyoncé are working out their relationship problems. The celebrities — impersonated uncannily by two 17-year-olds — are pretty angry at each other. But eventually they restore their romance, thanks to the help of an articulate 16-year-old mediator.

Mediation role-playing is just one sliver of the Summer Legal Fellowship Program at the Center for Youth Development Through Law. Each summer, the non-profit offers 30 disadvantaged youth from Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond paid internships and training in law and leadership.

This year’s program ended with a graduation ceremony last week. The teenagers worked hard until the end, juggling their internships at various government agencies and non-profits, attending college prep and constitutional law classes, and preparing their resumes for mock job interviews. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Cal, city of Berkeley take steps to curb water use

Water runoff from one of Cal's lawns is a relatively common occurrence on campus. Photo: Patrick Hickey
Print Friendly

In response to the severe drought conditions that plague most of the state, Cal and the city of Berkeley have ramped up efforts to curb water use.

Runoff from several university lawns has been of particular concern to some local residents. Water from nearby sprinkler systems sometimes flows onto pathways and sidewalks around campus, but the runoff is unintentional and closely monitored, according to Sal Genito, associate director of Grounds, Custodial and Environmental Services for the University of California at Berkeley.

The university has already cut back on watering by 10 percent, as per a mandate from the governor’s office. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Soccer mania hits Berkeley, as do crowds, traffic

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler
Print Friendly

Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium, in a game that drew more than 62,000 spectators. Inter Milan and Real Madrid tied 1-1. Then, after regulation time, Inter Milan won 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

The game practically paralyzed the streets of Berkeley as fans tried to make their way to the stadium. Traffic came to a standstill all over town on major arteries like College, Claremont, Ashby and University avenues. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Traffic delays in Berkeley expected with soccer game

Photo: Courtesy of Real Madrid
Print Friendly

Berkeley police are warning residents to expect road closures, traffic, and major delays on Saturday when two international teams play a soccer match at Cal’s Memorial Stadium.

Real Madrid will play Inter Milan in a 3 p.m. game. The teams are playing in the Guinness International Champions Cup, which brings eight great European squads for a round of so-called friendly matches in the U.S. Organizers expect to sell out the 60,000-seat stadium for the match, which will also be broadcast on television. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

With big soccer game approaching, UC Berkeley addresses impacts from Memorial Stadium

Cal's Memorial Stadium has a a capacity of over 60,000 and regularly draws large crowds to the area. Photo: John Morgan
Print Friendly

Representatives from the city of Berkeley and Cal invited residents near Memorial Stadium to discuss the impact of upcoming events — including the July 26 International Champions Cup soccer game — on the neigborhood. Fire safety, public intoxication, illegal parking and what to do in case of a significant disaster were among concerns raised by attendees.

Christine Shaff, communications director for facilities services, moderated the meeting Wednesday night, which featured members of the Berkeley Police Department, UC Berkeley Police Department, Berkeley Fire Department, Cal Athletics and the city manager’s office. Councilman Gordon Wozniak was also in attendance. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cal Athletic director Sandy Barbour to step down in July

Current athletic director Sandy Barbour, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and designated interim athletic director Michael Williams sit down for a press conference on Barbour's transition. Photo: Drew Jaffe
Print Friendly

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced Friday that Sandy Barbour, the university’s athletics director, plans to step down from her post in mid-July.

“After numerous discussions with Sandy, we came to the conclusion that the time was right for her to pursue a different set of professional interests, which she has long harbored and which we have spoken about for several months,” Dirks said during a press conference Friday afternoon.

Dirks and Barbour cited a combination of organizational and personal interests as the motivation for her decision to leave. Michael Williams ’82, a former student athlete at the university and current vice chair of the Berkeley Foundation, will serve as the interim director in Barbour’s absence. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Berkeley Police seek info, suspect after sexual assault

There have been 58 sexual assaults reported in Berkeley since January 1. Image: CrimeMapping.com
Print Friendly

The Berkeley Police Department is looking for a man reported to have sexually assaulted a woman in her 30s early Sunday morning not far from the UC Berkeley campus.

According to a notice released by the department Wednesday evening, the assault took place just after 2 a.m. Sunday.

The woman told police she had been walking alone on a side street west of the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue, just south of the University of California at Berkeley campus, when she was attacked from behind by an unknown man. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Photos: Departing Cal students leave debris piles behind

A heap of trash near Prospect St. Photo: Jasper Burget
Print Friendly

Around this time each year, thousands of UC Berkeley students move out of their accommodations and head for home. And each year they leave behind a colossal mess. Walking through the area south of campus near Piedmont Avenue, which hosts a number of fraternities, sororities and other student housing, the evidence of the exodus is everywhere. Discarded belongings line the sidewalks. Couches and mattresses are especially common, but other items included a television and a teddy bear. Also present are heaps of debris whose original form can be difficult to identify. Even when students make an effort to place everything in appropriate receptacles, the contents inevitably overflow.

Before all Cal students are labeled slobs, it should be noted that there were also numerous signs of attempts to clean up. U-Haul trucks lined the streets and students were hard at work packing belongings into car trunks and trash into dumpsters. The city and university have also taken steps to minimize the mess. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,