Posted on September 24, 2018 - 4:33pm
Gary S. May became the seventh chancellor of University of California, Davis last year—and the first African-American chancellor in the school’s history. May, who received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 1991, had served as the dean of the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology prior to coming to UC Davis.
When I was a kid, it seemed like all adults smoked. Cigarette butts littered the sidewalks, the stench of stale tobacco clung to the upholstery, and ashtrays were everywhere. We made ashtrays in art class as gifts for our parents.
Back then, people smoked in their offices, their cars, and on airplanes. On airplanes! In California these days you can’t even light up in a bar.
The world certainly seems more flammable these days. Thousands of homes were lost last year in Sonoma County alone, and wildfires have raged across California all summer. And not just in California: Records from the federal National Interagency Fire Center show that U.S. acreage burned in wildfires leaped from 1.8 million in 1995 to 10 million in 2017.
Posted on September 4, 2018 - 4:50pm
About three years ago, UC Berkeley psychology PhD candidate Craig L. Anderson started investigating the components and implications of awe. Not the bad kind of awe—the sort you might experience if a mushroom cloud suddenly loomed on the horizon. But the good kind, specifically the variety associated with nature and all its manifold wonders: A sunset on a South Pacific atoll, icebergs calving from an Alaskan glacier, a hike through alpine meadows. Or in Anderson’s case, river-rafting.
Posted on July 31, 2018 - 1:26pm
While it’s not news that the golden state has taken on a crackling red hue from recent wildfires, reports of the fires’ behaviors are blazingly bizarre.
It’s been commonly observed by firefighters that fires slow down at night, according to Scott L. Stephens, UC Berkeley professor of fire science. But a number of recent fires have said “to hell with the slow burn!” and begun spreading quickly even when the sun goes down.
Posted on July 20, 2018 - 2:51pm
It’s a cruel world, but a new Berkeley start-up aims to make it just bit kinder and gentler. Wild Earth, a company spearheaded by biohacking wunderkind Ryan Bethencourt, is working up a line of fungus-based pet foods. It’s the kind of venture that, at first whiff, lends itself to some Anthony Bourdain like lampooning: It’s not enough that you don’t want to eat anything with a face. You don’t want your dog to do any face-eating either.
Posted on July 11, 2018 - 4:38pm
UC Berkeley is consistently ranked one of the best research universities in the world, but what happens to researchers after they leave?
Earlier this month, four Cal grads—four! Can we get a Go Bears?!— were featured in the Lehigh Research Review for their remarkable work in sustainable infrastructure, college admission economics, and discourses on border identity.
Check out their research below to find out what these Berkeley grads-cum-Lehigh professors have been up to since they left the den.
Posted on July 6, 2018 - 4:17pm
Ongoing volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala are leading to speculation that volcanism in general may be on an upswing. The anecdotal evidence, at least, is tantalizing: There have been about 25 major eruptions around the world from 2000 to 2018, compared to 65 for the entire 20th Century.
Posted on June 14, 2018 - 4:26pm
Santa Rosa and Sonoma County officials are now in the post mortem phase of the North Bay fire storms, asking what could’ve been done to avoid the tragedy and what can be done in the future to prevent similar conflagrations. Discussions largely have focused on tighter zoning and fire ordinances. Those are appropriate areas to focus on, say many wildfire experts, but municipalities and counties inevitably face pressures that make effective wildfire risk reduction difficult.
Posted on October 30, 2017 - 2:39pm
As the late, great Tom Petty put it, you don’t have to live like a refugee. Except, of course, when you do, as I recently found out.
Or at least, like an evacuee, which can feel distinctly refugee-esque to a citizen of a developed country who has never been forced to leave home and possessions due to conflict or natural catastrophe.
Posted on October 11, 2017 - 3:33pm
Technoscenti titans Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have gotten into a bit of a tiff lately, with Musk repeating warnings that rapidly developing artificial intelligence (AI) poses an existential threat to humanity, and Zuckerberg countering that such concerns are much ado about not much.
Posted on August 10, 2017 - 4:23pm
Last week’s wild fire on Grizzly Peak Boulevard ended up scorching about 20 acres of brush and grass near the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with no major damage to property and no loss of life.
Posted on August 7, 2017 - 1:58pm
Like everyone else, Robert Bea was appalled when almost 200,000 Californians living below Oroville Dam were ordered to flee for their lives on February 12. The evacuation was necessitated by severe erosion of the dam’s primary and emergency spillways caused by massive releases of water following torrential winter rains. But unlike most citizens, Bea knew the incident wasn’t engendered strictly by the vagaries of nature or an act of God. Human error was at play.
Posted on July 27, 2017 - 1:07pm