Cal Culture

Revisiting the Ghost Ship: A Cal Grad Recalls the Tragic Fire

Today marks the first anniversary of the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland which claimed the lives of 36 people, including five from the UC Berkeley community: students Jennifer Morris and Vanessa Plotkin, alumni Griffin Madden and David Cline, and KALX DJ Chelsea Dolan.

The tragedy had the effect of making some feel like Oakland and the Bay were a small town; it seemed as if everyone knew someone who had been touched by the event.

Money Talks: What’s a Fair Price for Free Speech?

If the past year has taught us anything about free speech at UC Berkeley, it’s that it comes with a price—and the university has to pay. In February, the damage reaped upon university property by the black bloc protests of Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech cost the university $100,000.

WATCH: The Play

Saturday’s Big Game marks the 35th anniversary of the five-lateral kickoff return so legendary that it’s simply known as The Play. Filmmaker Peter Vogt tells the story behind the historic moment in his eponymous documentary which features interviews with Cal coach Joe Kapp, Stanford quarterback John Elway, radio play-by-play announcer Joe Starkey, that one trombone player, and many others. Watch clips of those interviews and raw footage from the 1982 game below.

Soldiering On, Veterans Find a Home at Cal Center

This September, just three weeks into Laurina Sousa’s first semester at Cal, she was in crisis. “I had imposter syndrome,” she says. “I felt like I couldn’t relate to my classmates…I felt lost.”

A child of immigrants, Sousa grew up in Hayward, California. Money was scarce, so when she graduated high school, the thought of going to UC Berkeley struck her as comical. “I wanted to be a millionaire too,” she says, laughing. “College just wasn’t on the horizon.”

The Vagabonds of Tightwad Hill Have the Best View in Sports

“This man needs an escort!” the security guard shouted, as ticketholders decked in blue and gold filed past me through the turnstiles into Memorial Stadium. I had no ticket for the sold out game against Bears’ rival USC, but I had a scheme to watch it regardless.

Didn’t Win a Nobel? The Honors and Prestige Don’t End There.

On April 13, 1888, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who made millions turning his invention into munitions and selling them to the armies of the world, was aghast to read a story in a Paris newspaper that mistakenly reported his death.

It was actually his older brother, Ludvig, who had died, but Alfred was horrified by the headline: “The merchant of death is dead.”

The story went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever, died yesterday.”

The Longest-Running Friendship in Comics

Comics writers aren’t generally household names these days, but Matt Groening is close. For those who can’t quite place the name, say, “The guy who made The Simpsons,” and they’ll usually respond, “Oh, yeah!”

What’s the Deal with Gravitational Waves? An Explainer

After much speculation and bated breath, two-time UC Berkeley alumnus Barry C. Barish (BA ‘57, PhD ‘62)  has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics.

Barish shares the prize with fellow Caltech physicist Kip Thorne and MIT physicist Rainer Weiss. The trio earned the recognition for their groundbreaking detection of gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space that spread through the universe.

Whack-a-Milo: Inside That Expensive “Photo Op”

Former Breitbart commentator Milo Yiannopoulos spoke on the UC Berkeley campus yesterday, but I didn’t get to see it—and neither did most of the hundreds who showed up to see his speech.

In the end, it seems the provocative and flamboyant Yiannopoulos spoke for less than a half hour, without a microphone, sang the national anthem, took a few photos with his fans, then bailed.

What’s It Take to Get a Parking Spot Around Here?

I owned a bright orange 1973 VW Bug for 30 years. I loved and in many ways “identified” with it. I parked it on campus almost every day as close to the physics buildings as I could, and students and colleagues knew I was in when they saw the car.

In Flew Enza: Remembering the Plague Year in Berkeley

In 1918, America was at war and students arriving at the University of California in the fall of that year found their campus transformed. From the Center Street entrance, the view of the hills was now obscured by large new barracks and the dark smoke issuing from the powerhouse gave the place the look of a factory. Everywhere young men wore the khaki uniforms of the various military outfits represented on campus—the Student Army Training Center, the School of Military Aeronautics, the Naval Unit, and the Ambulance Corps.

From the Fall 2017 Bugged issue of California.

Berkeley Faculty Members Sound Off On Proposed Boycott

On Wednesday afternoon a letter was emailed to all UC Berkeley faculty, encouraging them to boycott all classes and campus activities from September 24th to the 27th—the dates in which Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and Stephen K. Bannon have been invited by a small, conservative student publication called the Berkeley Patriot to speak on campus.

Opening a New Chapter

On a late morning in July, 17 days after formally beginning work as Berkeley’s 11th chancellor, Carol Tecla Christ sat in her sunlit office in California Hall, reflecting on the meaning of her new job title. “It’s essentially a representational role,” she said. “As the chancellor, you’re the storyteller-in-chief.”

From the Fall 2017 Bugged issue of California.

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