Just In

Meet the Blogademics

In the latest issue of California magazine, contributor Cathleen McCarthy writes about Berkeley scholars who blog. For now, the activity doesn’t do much for their standing within the academy, where publication in peer-review journals and academic presses is still the coin of the realm. But blogging has given some academics, like economist Brad DeLong, a higher profile than he might otherwise enjoy, and along with it, greater influence on the body politic.

The Mother of Invention

In the Spring 2010 Issue of California, the theme of which is Truth and Lies, we go searching for Rube Goldberg’s Barodik. What’s a barodik? Well, according to the renowned cartoonist and Cal alum (1904), it was a scientific instrument so involved and complex that it filled an entire laboratory. Moreover, Goldberg said, it was the inspriation for all his famous ‘inventions’ — the cockamamie machines he dreamed up to accomplish mundane tasks. Naturally, we wanted a picture of the barodik for our pages, so we sent our intern Adam Mann to dig one up.

Sex Talk

It has been widely reported in various news outlets that women are more verbose than men. One commonly cited popular statistic held that women spoke an average of 20,000 words a day versus a mere 7,000 for men. While those figures have since been discredited, a number of rigorous studies purport to show the differences between how, and how much, men and women talk.

307 Gilman

“It’s a sort of will-o-the-wisp thing,” Glenn Seaborg once said of the discovery of plutonium. “We saw it and then it disappeared. Then we saw it again and then it disappeared and then finally we saw it and we could confirm it.” That confirmation happened in Room 307 Gilman Hall, on February 23, 1941. It was a stormy night, Seaborg recalled. The 5 microgram sample of “element 94” had been bombarded in Ernest O. Lawrence’s 60-inch cyclotron.

Starting Lineup

Jahvid Best Junior/Football

Cal football’s explosive running back Jahvid Best will return to the gridiron his junior year as one of the top contenders for the 2009 Heisman Trophy. Last year, the All-American was the conference’s leading rusher, boasting a Cal-record-breaking 8.1 yards per carry.

Pia Halbig Junior/Golf

Trolleyology

1. A philosophical study of moral choices as demonstrated by the “trolley problem”: An out-of-control trolley hurtling down its track will kill the five people in its path. A switch, however, will redirect the trolley to another track where only one person would be hit. Is it permissible to hit the switch? Now imagine five people are in the path of the trolley and there is no switch. A heavy man is walking along a bridge above the track. Pushing the heavy man onto the track would stop the trolley, saving the five lives but killing the man. Is it permissible to push him?

NL

Gerard Debreu, who won a Nobel Prize in economics in 1983, was the first professor at Cal to be awarded the prestigious “Nobel Laureate” parking space. The idea for the perq can be traced to Berkeley’s only Laureate in Literature, Czeslaw Milosz, who jokingly requested it after Chancellor Ira Heyman asked Milosz if the university could do something special to show its appreciation.

Pages

Subscribe to Just In