Posted on June 7, 2018 - 3:40pm
Elon Musk has taken some heat over the past few months for selling flamethrowers through his firm, The Boring Company. The devices aren’t actual flamethrowers, though, hence their name: Not a Flamethrower. They’re more like hypertrophied blowtorches, perfect for caramelizing a crème brulee the size of a garbage can lid, perhaps, but thankfully unsuited for combat. Musk’s devices use propane and spout a three-to-four foot fixed flame. True military flamethrowers spew burning jellied gasoline up to 150 feet.
Posted on June 6, 2018 - 5:30pm
When most people think of Watergate, they likely think of the hotel break-in, the Saturday Night Massacre, or the Nixon tapes. But few know that, at its heart, Watergate was a campaign finance scandal. The Watergate Hotel burglars were paid with campaign funds, and the subsequent investigation uncovered millions in illegal payments to the Nixon White House by corporations—some of which arrived in bags of cash.
Posted on June 4, 2018 - 4:15pm
UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna has chalked up another award for her discovery of the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool. The Kavli Prize in nanoscience is worth $1 million and will be shared among the three recipients, which includes Doudna’s collaborator, Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute.
Posted on June 1, 2018 - 5:59pm
At first glance, the work of Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri couldn’t be more different. McCarthy’s intersecting swaths of color, “weaves” as she calls them, are hypnotizing and prismatic, calling to mind 1960s Op Art.
Posted on May 24, 2018 - 3:06pm
A lot has changed since the 1992 Summer Olympics brought worldwide attention to the northeast Spanish region of Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona. Today, Catalonia—the birthplace of architect Antoni Gaudí and painter Salvador Dalí, and one of Spain’s wealthiest regions—is in a bitter political struggle with the central government in Madrid over the issue of Catalan independence.
Posted on May 23, 2018 - 3:23pm
For a journalist it seemed the ultimate dream gig: working for the Great Gray Lady herself, the New York Times—but operating from a lovely California beach town, not the dreary main newsroom in Manhattan. And indeed, Mike McPhate appreciated his position as producer of the Times’ newsletter, California Today. He had, after all, paid his dues.
Posted on May 22, 2018 - 5:06pm
Compared to the opulent and tranquil UC Berkeley Morrison Library, the modest adjoining art storage room, at first glance, isn’t much to write home about.
But looks can be deceiving; what it lacks in appearance, it makes up with cultural richness. The Graphic Arts Loan Collection (GALC)—peeling white shelves, offset by dusty linoleum floors—houses more than 800 original pieces of art, diverse as the university itself.
Posted on May 17, 2018 - 4:59pm
It’s as ugly as a box of rocks and a literal scum-sucker to boot. But don’t judge a fish by its exterior: The dietary proclivities of the South American armored catfish excite aquarium hobbyists, who employ the homely bottom feeders to hoover up the algae and slime that accrete to their tanks.
Posted on May 16, 2018 - 5:32pm
The three-day strike of UC’s ten campuses and five medical centers is over, and the 24,000 service employees represented by AFSCME Local 3299 have, presumably, gone back to work, cleaning buildings, preparing and serving food in the dorms, and generally performing all the quotidian and often dreary chores required to keep the greatest public university complex on the planet functioning. The picketers were joined in a sympathy strike by 29,000 nurses and other medical staffers.
Posted on May 11, 2018 - 12:27pm
A visitor walks between Roc Nation and United Talent Agencies until she reaches the heavy glass doors of a beige building in a Beverly Hills office park: once inside, she tells the lobby attendant she has an appointment with Playboy magazine. If the visitor has an A cup and a complexion that can be accurately described as “dapple-gray,” the attendant will still permit her to access the elevator, provided the visitor has an appointment. (Fortunately, I did.) The attendant will not laugh; this is a city of dreamers.
Posted on May 10, 2018 - 1:07pm
Saru Jayaraman, director of UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center and lecturer with the Goldman School of Public Policy, has spent the last two decades advocating on behalf of restaurant workers. This may not seem glamorous but Jayaraman’s efforts recently brought her to the red carpet alongside comedian Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes, to HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and to interviews with NPR and 60 Minutes.
Posted on May 8, 2018 - 4:22pm
The 20 th century was the century of the megaproject, and as usual, California pointed the way for the nation. Southern California’s freeway system and the State Water Project, both largely completed by the 1970s, were mighty testaments to the conceit that we could build our way out of any problem. That view, of course, has since been tempered by inconvenient realities.
Posted on May 7, 2018 - 4:51pm
Two journalists who’ve spent varying amounts of time teaching their craft at Cal give themselves an assignment that, in the end, blows away that well-worn rubric of “who, what, where, when, why.”
They are Michael Pollan, famous for his smart writing about food, and Don Lattin, a.k.a. me, known for my reverently irreverent writing about religion. Pollan and I found a subject that falls within each of our “beats,” a magic mushroom that offers the omnivore a tantalizing glimpse of God.
Posted on May 2, 2018 - 4:27pm
It was a Friday morning and I was feeling distressed, unsettled. Maybe because I sensed the stress of Cal students as finals week approached… or maybe it was the bad lamb I had the night before. Regardless of cause, there was one thing for certain: I needed a reason to smile (and to get a paycheck). So I grabbed my notebook and headed to Llamapalooza, UC Berkeley’s first llama festival, in the hopes of lightening my emotional load.
Posted on May 1, 2018 - 2:54pm