Things were looking pretty sunny for alternative energy sources back in 2005. Though still resisted by conservative politicians and allied voters, human-caused climate change was accepted as fact by the vast majority of scientists, many business leaders, and even the Pentagon. Energy security was a major concern for the armed services, given that U.S. troops were fighting and dying in Iraq, home to the world’s fifth largest reserve of oil—the substance that America was “addicted to,” according to President (and former oil man) George W. Bush.
In September, the university went to extraordinary lengths to support our commitments to free speech and the safety of our campus community. On September 14, at the invitation of the Berkeley College Republicans, the conservative speaker Ben Shapiro addressed an audience at Zellerbach Hall. His speech was not interrupted, and protests outside the hall were peaceful.
I live with my boyfriend, Chris, in a rent controlled, one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. It’s cozy, old, and definitely not big enough to fit both my extensive rock/bone/shell collection and his growing assemblage of street art—but overall, it feels clean. Or at least it did. Until about a year ago, when we found our first visitor crawling out of the kitchen sink, like a scene in some Japanese horror film.
This —2017—has been the year of liberal vs. conservative free speech arguments—from qualms over t-shirt logos at polling places to violent protests of alt-right speakers. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) the Supreme Court has decided to take on four free speech cases this year, all brought by conservative plaintiffs. This decision, according to UC Berkeley lecturer and constitutional law expert William Turner, author of Free Speech: Supreme Court Opinions from the Beginning to the Roberts Court, could provide a huge leg up for politically conservative causes.
Posted on December 13, 2017 - 3:37pm
The year was 1956. Barry Barish was a junior at Cal doing research at the California Radiation Laboratory, or Rad Lab (known today as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). When his professors were too busy to see him, he’d wander into the 184-inch cyclotron—a larger sequel to Ernest Lawrence’s fabled particle accelerators—invented at Berkeley and famous for blasting into existence an array of new heavy elements, including plutonium, berkelium, and californium.
In a letter to an Anglican bishop in the late 19th century, English Catholic Baron John Dalberg-Acton would drop what would become one of the most popular aphorisms about the nature of man: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For a hundred some years post-Acton, the bulk of scientific research supported this ubiquitous idea, with countless studies revealing that when humans are handed power, they become more self-serving and ruthless.
The Affordable Care Act, never a particularly robust program, now appears headed for the ICU. But that isn’t to say the dream of universal health care is dead.
Many advocates say we can still get there from here; we just have to go through the states. Or more accurately, big, blue and economically powerful states. California, specifically.
Posted on December 6, 2017 - 5:28pm
Robert Reich is one of the country’s most influential and prolific political analysts. While Reich has held a variety of high-profile media and advocacy positions and serves as the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, he remains best known for serving as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.
Posted on December 5, 2017 - 1:56pm
Having trouble keeping up with this week’s news? Don’t sweat it—here’s California’s summary of hot buttons in the press.
Tax the Poor
With the Republican tax bill now in the Senate, many students are worried about a provision that would tax tuition waivers as income. Such waivers are regularly granted to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and research apprentices.
Posted on December 1, 2017 - 4:56pm
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.
Posted on December 1, 2017 - 2:54pm
When Donna fled her abusive marriage with her two toddlers in tow, she left with nothing but dreams for a better life.
Finding refuge at a domestic violence shelter, Donna—who agreed to be interviewed under a pseudonym—learned about FreeFrom, a non-profit startup founded by UC Berkeley School of Law graduate Sonya Passi, that helps domestic violence survivors become entrepreneurs.
Posted on November 28, 2017 - 2:44pm
Of all the potential flash points around the world these days, none are more worrisome than North Korea. The Hermit Kingdom is a black box, and it’s exceedingly difficult to know what’s going on within its borders. A couple of things, however, are clear: its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities are improving, and the mutual bellicosity between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are making a bad situation worse.
Posted on November 27, 2017 - 4:53pm
Many famous names from the ancient world are mythical figures who probably never lived, like Hercules or Odysseus. Not Croesus (pronounced KREE-sus), King of Lydia, a fabulously wealthy region of Anatolia (now part of western Turkey), who ruled from 561 to 547 BCE. He was the richest man in the world and his wealth was built on gold that was present in abundance in the waters of the Pactolus River, which flowed through his capital, Sardis. The Lydians were the first people to mint coins of gold and silver and were the inventors of coinage itself during the reigns of previous kings.
Posted on November 22, 2017 - 10:30am