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Bitcoin and Beyond: Is It Possible to Demystify the Coin of the Digital Realm?

We all know about Bitcoin: It’s that electronic currency that exists somewhere in the ether and can be used to buy illicit products on the Internet. And it isn’t backed by hard assets (such as gold specie) or a sovereign nation. And to create new Bitcoins you must  “mine” them, which means solving complex mathematical problems to demonstrate you put x number of computer hours into the process.

In Final Message, Brittany Maynard Urged Appreciation of Life and Choice in Death

As Brittany Maynard—the young UC Berkeley alum whose response to terminal brain cancer ignited a national debate—carried our her plan to end her life on Nov 1, she left behind a message that “it is people who pause to appreciate life and give thanks who are happiest. If we change our thoughts, we change the world! Love and peace to you all.”

In a public message on the website of The Brittany Maynard Fund, she also thanked supportive friends whom she “sought out like water” during her life and her illness.

Taking Control: Facing Terminal Diagnosis, Brittany Maynard Plans to End Her Life

Note: Just days after this article appeared, Brittany Maynard carried out her plan to end her life in her Oregon home, surrounded by those she loved. In a final message, she said that the happiest people are those who “pause to appreciate life and give thanks.” She left behind a foundation advocating legal changes so that California and other states give terminally ill patients the right to “assisted death.” In October of 2015, Gov.

Bearing Witness: Filmmaker Tells Story of Diverse Nazi Victims Branded by “Triangles”

The horrors of the Holocaust have inspired countless films, but award-winning documentary filmmaker Ann Meredith thought she had something unique to offer. She wanted to tell not just the stories of the millions of Jews who were killed, but also those of the lesser-known victims of the Nazi death camps, including Gypsies, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, gays, lesbians and transgendered people.

The resulting documentary “Triangles: Witnesses of the Holocaust” is scheduled to premiere in Los Angeles next month.

This Campus Tour Guide Isn’t Just a Character—He’s Several Characters

Once a year, UC Berkeley alumnus Peter Van Houten continues his now-decade-long tradition of leading a campus tour while portraying some of his favorite campus figures. An avid Cal history buff who received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the university, Van Houten has always enjoyed performing and doing skits. So after recalling that Berkeley Emeritus Professor of Zoology Richard Eakin donned assorted costumes to play the roles of scientists during his classes, Van Houten was inspired to create his own revival of the past.

Concrete Credence: More Bay Bridge Woes May Validate Concerns of Span’s #1 Critic

Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl has been portrayed as a Cassandra, but these days he merely seems prescient. The UC Berkeley engineering professor was one of the earliest and most vocal critics of the new Bay Bridge design. The self-supported span was inappropriate for a seismically active area, he said, insisting that what was needed was a more prosaic, anchored span fixed securely to the mainland and Treasure Island.

Bittersweet News for Dieters and Diabetics: New Study Suggests Grapefruit Really Helps

In the pantheon of fad diet crazes, perhaps the most enduring is the grapefruit diet—over the years it has inspired countless overweight Americans to guzzle grapefruits and their bitter juice in hopes of shedding pounds. But although fad diets are typically synonymous with dubious science, new UC Berkeley research suggests the grapefruit diet might actually work, at least on tubby rodents with a taste for Brie and butter.

From Six Feet Under to Sixty Miles High: Honoring Pets in the Afterlife

Professor Stanley Brandes spends a great deal of time in pet cemeteries—a habit that might be worrisome, were it not integral to his research. The UC Berkeley anthropologist says that changes in pet tombstone inscriptions over the last century reveal that Americans increasingly humanize their furry companions, and in many cases, even consider them members of the family. As this emotional connection grows, so too does the extent to which owners honor their pets in the afterlife.
From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.

Economic Leverage: UC Students Fought Tooth and Nail to Divest from South Africa

When Nelson Mandela died last December, it seemed that the whole world mourned his passing. Twitter overflowed with love for the former South African president. South Africans of all colors and ages sat vigil outside his Johannesburg home. Leaders from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe traveled to FNB Stadium to memorialize Africa’s secular saint, and Barack Obama told the assembled dignitaries, “Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done.”

From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.

Old-School Networking: Blues in Business Come Together to Give Each Other a Hand

At Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco, four recent Cal grads—Angus Hsu ’07, who works in portable housing finance; Fred Fannon ’08, an analytics consultant; Richard Zhu ’09 in the Securities division; and Dana Zhang ’13 from the Global Financial Institutions group—are hard at work creating an alumni network of Golden Bears at the bank.

“We know of at least 700 Cal grads working here, and that’s only the people we found on LinkedIn,” says Zhu. “There have to be a lot more.”

From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.

Free Speech Rhetoric and Reality: Why Savio, Kerr and Reagan Were All “Radicals”

Fifty years ago this October 1, thousands of UC Berkeley students spontaneously sat down around a police car on Sproul Plaza and held it captive for 33 hours in protest of a University rule against political activity on campus. Over the next three months, the Free Speech Movement, as it became known, led a series of demonstrations that convulsed the campus and defeated the ban.

From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.

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