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Engineering Magic

Few know better the crushing blow to idealism of undergraduate engineering courses than College of Engineering Dean S. Shankar Sastry. “They come out of high school ready to change the world, and they’re beaten into submission,” said Sastry in a phone interview. “Why do that? We need to find ways to celebrate their creativity, to help them integrate their experiences, so they leave with some of the same enthusiasm they had coming in.”

SCOTUS Ruling on Water Could Spur Change in Policy

Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over, goes the old saw about western water issues, and one of those fights was decided today in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

In a case that could have significant implications for regional water wars throughout the nation, the court ruled that Texas can’t jam a pipe into Oklahoma to get high-quality water for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Sino the Times

Has the Ugly American been supplanted by his Chinese counterpart?  In the upcoming issue, California looks at the growing resentment in the developing world over Chinese business ventures abroad.

It wasn’t so long ago that Chinese engineers and economists were welcomed with enthusiasm by struggling Asian, African and South American nations. The Chinese were seen as both technically proficient and simpatico. They didn’t have to tote the baggage of – well, Americans, who were often viewed as overweening, grasping and arrogant.

Talk about the Weather

 

The current flooding in Central Europe is already being hailed as the worst in decades. In some parts of the region, flooding is reaching or surpassing the destruction left behind by the 2002 “hundred-year floods” — not unlike those that hit California, as reported by Anne Pinckard in our upcoming Summer 2013 issue.

Citizentomology

California is positively crawling with insects, and entomologists have been collecting them for a long time. UC’s Essig Museum of Entomology, for example, has 6.5 million specimens. Similar hordes are housed at other museums and university campuses; altogether, between 30 to 35 million bugs have been preserved for posterity in the state’s major collections.

Ghanaian Rhapsody

Chase Livingston ’12 has been a musician all his life, and in December 2012 he released his first album, Black and White: We Are One. In large part, he says, the achievement was fueled by Berkeley professor of African music and dance, C.K. Ladzekpo (see our upcoming Summer 2013 issue for a profile of Ladzekpo).

Fire Forecast

As summer approaches, the potential for catastrophic wildfires looms large in California. Several big blazes already have scorched the south state, including one north of Santa Barbara that forced the evacuation of 4,000 campers and residents earlier this week.

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