Berkeley

All STEAMed Up: Retirement Takes an Unexpected Turn to an Elementary School

At Eagle Elementary School, located in a  suburban district in New York’s Capital Region, 12 fourth and fifth-graders are inventing. Two students are trying to work the bugs out of a miniature electronic sliding door. Another team is setting up the tiny equivalent of a washing machine drum. Still others are building a robotic fan.

Westering: Seamus Heaney’s Berkeley Year

The poem was originally titled Easy Rider. Westering, as it is now known, is probably the first poem Nobel Laureate in Literature Seamus Heaney wrote in Berkeley, after arriving here from Belfast in 1970 for a stint as a visiting professor in English. The poem’s original title evokes the 1969 film of the same namestarring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. In it, the trio motorcycle east from L.A. through the nineteen-sixties America of new styles, hair lengths, music, political activity, and sexual behavior.

So, About That “Well-Regulated Militia” Part of the Constitution

Bay Area demonstrations by right-wing groups scheduled over the weekend fizzled in face of massive opposition protests, defusing fears that Charlottesville-like violence could erupt in San Francisco and Berkeley. Indeed, protests in San Francisco were peaceful, and the few scuffles that did occur in Berkeley seemed instigated by black-garbed Black Bloc protestors, according to many reports.

WATCH: Flashback to When the New US Poet Laureate Read at Cal

In describing  poet Tracy K. Smith’s work, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden says: “Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture. With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human.” Hayden named Smith  the 22 nd U.S. poet laureate this Wednesday. 

Here’s to Comey: The Senate Testimony at a Movie Theater and Pub

Eight concerned citizens, one large dog and I gathered at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland at 7 this morning to drink complimentary Bloody Marys and watch former FBI director James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, addressing the cause of his firing and allegations that the Trump administration is colluding with Russia.  

What Cal Experts Are Saying About the Paris Climate Accord Exit

Today, standing amongst the vibrant natural beauty of the White House Rose Garden, Trump said America will be “getting out” of the Paris Accord, an agreement among 195 countries to gradually reduce climate change to protect nature. Feeling the heat of this decision, UC Berkeley professors take to the Internet to explain what “getting out” of the agreement will get us into.

Reading Roundup: Cal Clashes, Tragedy, Budget Cuts, Silk Road

Conservative Students on Political Hostility at Cal

Five UC Berkeley conservatives give firsthand accounts of clashes with others on campus, describing the tactics of those who oppose them to be “unnecessarily provocative.”

Ann Coulter at Berkeley: Untangling the Truth

It’s been about a week since Ann Coulter tried but failed to speak on the Berkeley campus, and the outrage continues unabated. Outrage that once again a conservative was silenced on a liberal campus. Outrage that the university cancelled her appearance and refused to provide appropriate protection for her. Once again, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement is depicted as a place where free speech—at least for conservatives—went home to die. But what actually happened between the university, Coulter and the three student groups that wanted to host her?

Cowboy Neil: How Western is Gorsuch and Does It Matter?

Most of the discussion surrounding the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court has, quite properly, centered around the jurist’s judicial philosophy and political leanings, and the opinions he has issued from the bench. (In case you’re just tuning in, court watchers place Trump’s nominee on the right of the spectrum, more conservative than Samuel Alito and on one side or the other of the late Antonin Scalia depending on the issue.

Editor’s Note

After the first of January, the real holiday season for canines starts—that week when discarded Christmas trees are laid next to compost bins, and all the neighborhood dogs take turns anointing them in their own special way.

From the Spring 2017 Virtue and Vice issue of California.

Exploring the Quirky in Berkeley

For Tom Dalzell, a small scratch on the elbow in 2011 prompted a whirlwind of events, one that would take him on a sinuous journey through nearly every street of Berkeley.

The author and labor law activist found his life teetering in the balance after a minor wound became mortally septic. Days later, Dalzell exited the hospital with a reinvigoration for life itself. “I came out very determined to live life very differently,” he says. “One of things I chose to do, as a manifestation of my appreciation of Berkeley, was to walk every block of every street.”

Mind Tricks: Bishop Berkeley and the Idea of Everything

Lately, I’ve been spending time at Founders’ Rock trying and mostly failing to get a grasp on reality.

Founders’ Rock is an outcropping at the northeast corner of the UC Berkeley campus, where Gayley Road and Hearst Avenue meet, a lonely spot shaded by toyon, oak, and eucalyptus. The rock itself—lichen-encrusted and moss-fringed—is an unassuming jumble.

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Editor’s Note

Every weekday, the dog and I head up a very steep hill for a compulsory early morning walk, an essential daily ritual for wearing out a highly energetic adolescent canine and fending off decrepitude in his older human companion.

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Flu Vaccines: A Long Shot, But Better Than Nothing

With the CDC admitting that last year’s flu shot was a considerable bust and other emerging research challenging the shot’s efficacy, some are questioning if they should even bother. As a spritely 20-something who feels like she’s made of steel and impervious to all disease, I planned to meet in person with Dr. John Swartzberg, UC Berkeley professor of public health and Editorial Board Chair of Berkeley Wellness, to discuss the controversy.

Bye-Bye Balance: Skewed and False News Is on the Rise

Democrats are still stumbling around in the smoldering rubble of the 2016 presidential election, struggling to identify just what went wrong for them. Several theories are vying for primacy: voting fraud (or at least, inaccurate ballot counting), the Democratic Party’s disconnect with white working class voters, Trump’s bonding with the same, Trump’s uncanny tapping of surging nativist and xenophobic sentiment, the American susceptibility to celebrity, and Clinton’s bedrock weakness as a candidate.

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