I couldn’t decide what made me feel dirtier—looking at hundreds of pictures of naked girls, or rifling through the personal belongings of a man I’d never met. But I was doing both one evening in the Bancroft Library reading room, traversing the late photographer Charles Gatewood’s massive archive chronicling the kink, tattoo, and body modification subcultures of America and especially the West Coast. Read more about Finding His Tribe: The Art of Charles Gatewood »
Road rage is hardly an acceptable response to the travails of driving. It signals inadequate impulse control, perhaps even sociopathy. People can end up hurt, incarcerated, or worse. Read more about Unlocking The Grid: Berkeley Gets $11 Million to Reduce Traffic »
Posted on November 14, 2016 - 2:22pm
Olga Mack was 13 when she accompanied her political refugee parents as they touched down on American soil in San Francisco. She was in an alien world and didn’t speak the language. On the day she registered to attend Washington High School, she was overwhelmed by feelings of being out of place and without a voice. Years later, she stood on stage as a Valedictorian at her UC Berkeley commencement and delivered a speech. “There’s nothing like an audience of over 10,000 people to make you feel you have a voice!” she said. Read more about All Aboard: Cal Grad Petitions For More Corporate Diversity »
Posted on November 8, 2016 - 2:04pm
Remember pneumatic tubes, those compressed-air pipelines that whisked plastic canisters from basement mailrooms to penthouse boardrooms? Imagine being in one, traveling at more than 700 mph. You could make the round-trip from San Francisco to LA in a little over an hour. That may sound like science fiction, but it could one day be a reality thanks to the efforts of engineering students at UC Berkeley and elsewhere. Read more about Whooshing into the Future: Aiming to Make Speed-of-Sound Commutes a Reality »
Andrea Broaddus considers herself pretty lucky—she and her husband recently closed on a Berkeley duplex next to BART. “We leveraged ourselves to the hilt, but we managed to do it,” says Broaddus, a lecturer in regional and city planning at Cal’s College of Environmental Design. Still, it was nip-and-tuck to the end. The couple were shocked when they began looking for a house, and not simply by the prices. Read more about Solutions to Sticker Shock? Exploring How to Create Affordable Bay Area Housing »
Posted on June 11, 2016 - 9:48am
So a lawyer with a disability and a Catholic monk walk into a bar…
What would be considered a bar joke for some is actually a description of a night with a friend for me.
In an era where the only difference between American politics and a WWE match is the amount of spandex involved, the time is right for me to tell the story of why I have regular phone conversations with a Catholic deacon. Read more about Frat Friends Forever: Monk and Lawyer with a Disability Agree on Almost Nothing, But... »
Posted on May 31, 2016 - 10:32pm
Joshua Miele has been blind ever since a violent acid attack took away his vision before his 5th birthday. But he says he no longer spends time wishing he could see. Instead, from his office at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, he dreams up new technologies for the blind, and helps turn those visions into reality: maps that can talk, YouTube videos that can speak, electronic gloves that can text. Read more about The Blind Leading the Blind: Designing an Inclusive World »
Posted on April 20, 2016 - 5:41pm
Lately, I’ve been thinking about an incident that happened in 1965, seven years before I was born. It centered on an antiwar protest in Berkeley, one of the first of countless such protests to come. Though just a blip in the grand scheme of Vietnam era turmoil, it seems to point to something important about America and the nature of patriotism.
It starts with a guy named “Tiny.” Tiny was 6’7” and 300 pounds. And he really liked to fight. Read more about Angels, Protesters and Patriots: What a Long-Ago Skirmish Says About Love of Country »
SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s start-up accelerator program, is housed on the top floor of the tallest building in downtown Berkeley. All four walls of the 10,000 square-foot penthouse have floor-to-ceiling windows, offering up a 360-degree view. This is where Cal’s fledgling entrepreneurs come for free office space and guidance while preparing to launch their product or service. They have six months to a year up here with SkyDeck, and then it’s time to jump out of the nest. Read more about Preparing to Launch: Inside SkyDeck, UC Berkeley's Start-Up Accelerator »
Posted on March 24, 2016 - 4:25pm
For superstitious reasons, 13th Street in San Francisco is called Duboce, and Duboce eventually becomes Division Street, running beneath a freeway that splits right to Oakland and left toward the Golden Gate Bridge. It was here, where the sidewalks had little foot traffic and there was some shelter from the rains, that a settlement of homeless people grew up in the past year. It was much like a smaller version of the favelas of Rio do Janeiro or the colonias of Tijuana, yet big enough to upset the San Franciscans driving by. Read more about Division Street Debacle: Nothing Else Works—Why Not Legalize Homeless Encampment? »
Posted on March 13, 2016 - 6:10pm
May 19, 1972—the day I graduated from Boalt Hall.
I wasn’t going to attend the ceremony, but I found out the day before that the featured speaker was going to be my favorite professor, Jan Vetter. He’d not only defended me successfully two years earlier when the university tried to throw me out for violation of the dreaded “time, place, and manner” regulations during an antiwar demonstration (translation: I was spotted leading a sing-along of “Yellow Submarine” during a sit-in at Sproul Hall), but had also given me the lowest grade I ever got on a final exam. Read more about Trivia Pursuit—How I Graduated From Law School and Wound Up Practicing Journalism »
For a brief moment, back when the tech revolution was young, I was an early adopter.
I was sucked in by that 1984 Apple ad that ran during the Super Bowl. I can’t recall a thing about the game, but I remember every detail of that ad: the woman running in her tank top one step ahead of the goons; the rows of corporate weirdos staring in open-mouthed horror; the hammer sailing toward the giant screen, smashing the Big Brother cult. Read more about Confessions of a Tech Reporter: Like Other Freethinkers, I Did What Steve Jobs Wanted »
When I first started writing my sex column, I was what one might consider “sex positive.” As a kid growing up in rural Maryland, I had been influenced by the sexually liberated Bay Area—the place that elected the first openly gay mayor, inspired famous sex writers Susie Bright and Carol Queen, and, of course, was home to the Sexual Freedom League of 1966, a UC Berkeley student organization that campaigned for legalized abortion and held massive orgies in protest of sexual stigma. Read more about Confessions of a Sex Columnist: Is Covering This Just a Freaky, Masochistic Act in Itself? »
Off-cycle elections—such as the one we mostly didn’t vote in on Tuesday—are the steamed peas of the American political process. They are tolerated, but they draw minimal interest, attracting far fewer voters than quadrennial presidential elections and biennial congressional races. Read more about The Forlorn Off-Year Election: Who Really Benefits from Low Voter Turnout? »
Posted on November 4, 2015 - 1:28pm
It was Berkeley in the 1920s. “The Fighting Swede” was driving through town, feeling even more pugnacious than usual. That’s because he was drunk. The Swede had carved out a reputation as a barroom brawler in the waterfront dives on both sides of the Bay, and he was always more than willing to defend his title—especially when he had a snootful of booze.
So he didn’t feel particularly tractable when a cop pulled him over at Ashby and San Pablo. Read more about Black Cop, White Cop: What can two Berkeley police from the century before tell us about race relations in America today? »