Tag Archives: UC Berkeley

Op-ed: UC profits from the fossil fuel industry

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It doesn’t make sense for the University of California to hold millions of dollars of stock in the fossil fuel industry and at the same time espouse a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Students at UC Berkeley and throughout the UC system have demanded that the Regents vote to divest from their stock in fossil fuel companies. On Sept.17, 2014, the Regents ignored their wishes.

In a hasty process involving only four one-hour meetings over the summer, a task force … Continue reading »

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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
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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 »

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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
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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 »

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Gregory Grossman: Eminent scholar, always a gentleman

Gregory Grossman
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UC Berkeley economist Gregory Grossman, who died on Aug. 14, was considered a towering figure in the study of the Soviet economy who shaped the thinking of generations of scholars. Born in Kiev, and educated at Cal and Harvard, he went on to coin the term “command economy.”

Grossman was a polymath who also understood the political, ideological, social and cultural underpinnings of economic life in the Soviet Union. As a result, he was widely sought out by his peers for comments on their scholarship.

And Grossman, who always held a particular affection for Berkeley and the Bay Area, was also a consummate gentleman. As his UC Berkeley colleague George Breslauer noted: “I never saw him present his ideas aggressively. He let the evidence and logic speak for themselves. In the end, the passage of time proved him right on almost all scores.” … Continue reading »

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Obituaries

Remembering UC Berkeley economist Gregory Grossman

Gregory Grossman
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Gregory Grossman, 1921-2014

UC Berkeley, economist Gregory Grossman, considered a towering figure in the study of the Soviet economy, who shaped the thinking of generations of scholars, died on Aug. 14 at the age of 93, at a Berkeley care facility due to complications from a fall.

Grossman received his undergraduate degree in economics from UC Berkeley in 1942 and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1952, before returning to UC Berkeley, where he spent his entire career. He retired in 1993.

Grossman was born July 5, 1921 in Kiev, Ukraine. In early 1923 the family fled the post-Russian Revolution chaos and famine and took a month-long journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Harbin, Manchuria. After completing high school in 1937 in Tientsin, China, he headed to San Francisco aboard a Japanese ocean liner en route to attend UC Berkeley.

During World War II, Grossman served as artillery observer with the 731st Field Artillery Battalion during the Battle of the Bulge and completed his war duty in Czechoslovakia. … Continue reading »

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Cal mom to document her son’s life with Asperger’s

Nils Skudra poses with his dog, Beauregard. Nils has Asperger syndrome and currently attends UC Berkeley. Photo: Nils Skudra
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For teens across America, college is one of the major stepping-stones to independence, akin to getting a driver’s license or moving into your own place. Away from the constant supervision parents, young adults get their first taste of the “real world,” where they can finally take charge of their lives.

But that wasn’t the case with Nils Skudra when he entered UC Merced in 2010. His mother, Renee Skudra, went with him. And when he returned to the Bay Area to transfer to UC Berkeley, she followed. … Continue reading »

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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
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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 »

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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
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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 »

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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
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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 »

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Bay Area Book Festival to launch in Berkeley in 2015

BABF
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A book festival is coming to Berkeley. Doubtless many people will say, “It’s about time.”

On Saturday June 21, a launch party was held for the Bay Area Book Festival, an ambitious literary love fest which will take place in the heart of downtown Berkeley on June 6-7, 2015.

The festival is the brainchild of Cherilyn Parsons who decided that it was time somebody started a book festival given that, in many other ways, the area is a literary mecca.

Parsons, a Southern California native who has long admired the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and attends other literary gatherings around the world such as the Jaipur Literature Festival, was most recently the director of development and strategic initiatives at the Center for Investigative Reporting. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Departing Cal students leave debris piles behind

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

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

One Medical has opened a Berkeley office at 1801 Shattuck Ave. ( at Hearst). Photo: One Medical Group
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ONE MEDICAL GROUP The “fastest-growing primary care practice in the country” has opened an office in Berkeley, at 1801 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst. One Medical Group says it offers “high-quality care and modern conveniences that you wouldn’t find at your typical doctor’s office” and its services are “designed around patients’ needs and busy lifestyles.” One Medical is throwing an opening celebration at its new office on Thursday June 5 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. There will be food from Liba Falafel , wine and beer, and a raffle to win some local goodies. RSVPs are appreciated. … Continue reading »

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Real Madrid to play Inter Milan on grass (!) at UC Berkeley

Real Madrid star player Cristiano Ronaldo likes pointing to himself. Photo: RealMadrid.com
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Real Madrid and Inter Milan will meet in the first-ever international soccer match at Cal Memorial Stadium on July 26.

For fans of what the rest of the world calls football, the chance to see two of the most storied teams in the game on — for this game only — natural grass at Memorial Stadium should prove a treat. The teams are playing in the confected International Champions Cup, which brings eight great European squads for a round of so-called friendly matches in the U.S.  … Continue reading »

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