Cal Culture

What I Hope to Achieve: A Letter from Chancellor Christ

In my first months as chancellor, I’ve been thinking a lot about journeys. I remember vividly the first one I made to California to take up my faculty position here. I was a young, freshly minted Ph.D.; I drove across the country with a friend, and it was the first time I had been west of the Mississippi. Indeed, it was the first time I had been west of Philadelphia.

From the Fall 2017 Bugged issue of California.

Bee-laboring the Point: Berkeley Researchers and Volunteers Track Native Pollinators

Halting mid-sentence, UC Berkeley entomologist Gordon Frankie swings a net towards a flowering beardtongue plant. He reaches into the net and pulls out a wool-carder bee. Holding it between three fingers, he offers it to the volunteers of the Sonoma Bee Count. “Do you see the horns on the tip of the abdomen? That’s clearly a male. Who wants to hold it?” All four volunteers bravely step forward to take it (male bees are unable to sting). “We were the first group to record this guy in California about six years ago,” says Frankie.

Acrostics from a Cross Scientist: Kammen Has a Message for Trump

Daniel Kammen, UC Berkeley professor of Energy and Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab, has publicly resigned his role as State Department science envoy. The U.S. Science Envoy Program, an outreach initiative started by the Obama administration, sends top scientists abroad to promote the country’s commitment to science and technology as tools for diplomacy; envoys typically serve for one year.

Reading Roundup: John Cho, Hair Bans, a World Record, and More

John Cho Is (Finally) the Leading Man

Star Trek actor John Cho, ‘96, stars in director Kognada’s Sundance hit debut, Columbus, in theaters now. Cho plays a translator who rushes from Seoul, Korea to his hometown of Columbus, Indiana to take care of his father, who is in a coma. Though best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the recent Star Trek revamps, Cho got his start as a fill-in for an extra in a UC Berkeley play. He went on to travel with the Berkeley Repertory Theater and star in the Harold and Kumar film franchise.

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.

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.

A Little Falcon Falls: RIP Lux, Campus Celebrity

When two peregrine fledglings took flight from the UC Berkeley Campanile last week, amateur bird watchers and ornithologists alike predicted a plethora of dangers: hungry crows, a steep fall, even ground predators. But there was little mention of what would ultimately lead to one chick’s foul demise—though it should have been transparent.

The baby bird’s greatest enemy? A campus window.

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.

Well, This Is An Honor

It happened again: California Magazine has been recognized as a top college and university general-interest magazine by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)! Over the past decade, California has been awarded two golds and one silver award in this category, and our writers and illustrators have also been honored numerous times by CASE.

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 22nd U.S. poet laureate this Wednesday. 

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