Berkeley Alumni

No, Cal Isn’t Blocking the Ben Shapiro Speech

It’s been about two weeks since the media chatter started about student groups’ trying to bring conservative pundit Ben Shapiro to the UC Berkeley campus—and the hullabaloo has an air of déjà vu.

What Militants’ Hold on Marawi Means (and Doesn’t Mean) for ISIS

The Islamic State has been largely expelled from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and a coalition of Syrian, Iraqi, and Kurdish forces are tightening the noose around Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate. But while ISIS is rapidly losing territory, its “brand” is proving exceedingly difficult to eliminate. It’s much like a squishy stress-toy, popping up in one area when compressed in another.

The Skinny on Body Peace and Other Campus Resources for Eating Disorders

This spring, a handful of college kids were in a basement classroom of Barrows Hall gathered round an overhead projector. On the screen, there was a meme: a photo of a half-naked model with super-imposed text that read, “Real women have curves.” One of the students scoffed and said, “She doesn’t.” Everyone laughed. At about 5’7” and weighing in at roughly 110 pounds, she really didn’t. And noticing things like that was the point of why everyone showed up—to talk about body image.

What Does the Calving of that Huge Iceberg Mean for the Planet?

The calving of an iceberg the size of Delaware from the Antarctica Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf made a lot of waves, raising concerns that it might directly contribute to sea level rise or portend a sudden acceleration in the melting of the continent’s gigantic ice cap. But the event pointed to neither scenario, says UC Berkeley Professor of Ocean, Earth, and Climate Science Kurt Cuffey.

A Family’s History Tells the Story of California’s Great Floods

The Sacramento Valley came within a skosh of true catastrophe this winter when both the main and emergency spillways at Oroville Dam on the Feather River eroded due to high water releases necessitated by torrential rains. State officials ordered an evacuation of 200,000 residents in communities below the dam, and for a few days the possibility of a 30-foot-wall of water scouring the Sacramento Valley from Oroville to the Delta was very real indeed.

Not So Much a Tweet Storm as a Peregrine Plunge

When I started out as a reporter just a few years back, if you’d told me that this week I’d be standing on the UC Berkeley lawn staring up at live raptors (and documenting their every peep for FOUR days), I would never have believed you. Not just because the raptors are seldom-seen peregrine falcons, recently removed from a list of predators going extinct, but mostly because I never gave a flying flip about birds. Ever. And yet there I was this past Monday morning, peering skyward at the top of the campus Campanile, along with a team of concerned citizens on Bird Watch. Their mission?

Naked Ambition

I am a nudist by nature and an exhibitionist by inclination, so when streaking became a thing on college campuses, I was on the front lines. It was 1974, my second quarter at UC Berkeley. An 18-year-old free of parental oversight, I plunged headlong into whatever I felt like plunging into. By day I studied Marxist philosophy en route to a degree in political science, but the night belonged to cheap booze, Afghan hash, and windowpane LSD.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

A Life And Career By Design: Qualcomm Exec Paul Jacobs

At an age when most boys are learning to throw a curveball and struggling with elementary algebra, Paul Jacobs was writing code. Simple code, to be sure, but code good enough to let him play the video game Adventure with his dad on a clunky, early laptop.

It’s no surprise that Jacobs, who was in sixth or seventh grade when he wrote his first programs, grew up to be an engineer.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Spirited Away: the Life of the Ghostwriter

The year was 1986, and Barbara Feinman Todd was a writer in disguise. Her mission? To crash a party— the 45th wedding anniversary of the director of the CIA, being held at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. No press was allowed, but it was her job to find out who the guests were.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Is Brown’s Massive Water Project the Right Idea Right Now?

This week’s declaration by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service that the massive Delta tunnels proposed by the Jerry Brown administration would not cause the extinction of several imperiled fish species gave a significant boost to the behemoth project. Still, other impediments must be overcome before the digging starts and the concrete flows.

Five Questions for Jack Citrin

1 California Magazine: You were born in Shanghai to Russian-Jewish refugees who, after WWII, moved to Hong Kong and then Tokyo. You attended college in Canada and eventually settled in Berkeley and became a U.S. citizen. How did your upbringing inform your academic interests?

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Artificial Intelligence But Real Style at the Turing Conference

The Turing Award is basically “the Nobel prize of computing,” named after the founding father of the field and given to those who kick the most butt in computer science.  So if you had to guess which university has won the most awards over the last half-century, you’d probably say Massachusetts Institute of Technology, maybe Carnegie Mellon.

When the Elephant in the Room Is a Beached Whale

What happens when the world’s largest mammal washes up dead on your local beach? Residents of Bolinas, California were faced with this question in May, when a 79-foot blue whale turned up ashore on nearby Agate Beach. According to biologists present, the necropsy (an autopsy for animals) revealed that the whale had collided with a ship and died of blunt force trauma.

Pages

Subscribe to Berkeley Alumni