Posted on September 25, 2017 - 11:04am
Science + Health
Pete Oboyski worries about bugs eating his bugs.
In 1918, America was at war and students arriving at the University of California in the fall of that year found their campus transformed. From the Center Street entrance, the view of the hills was now obscured by large new barracks and the dark smoke issuing from the powerhouse gave the place the look of a factory. Everywhere young men wore the khaki uniforms of the various military outfits represented on campus—the Student Army Training Center, the School of Military Aeronautics, the Naval Unit, and the Ambulance Corps.
Eighty-six years ago, physicist Paul Dirac theorized the existence of magnetic monopoles; that is, magnet poles that exist independent of each other. Not north and south together. North. And south. Separately.
Nearly a century later, Felix Flicker, a Berkeley theoretical physicist and post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Norman Yao, is working to help prove Dirac’s theory. “There was this sort of philosophical point I was thinking of,” Flicker says. “You can’t have the left end of a stick without the right end, can you?”
Katherina Audley is afflicted by fish fever, but she didn’t contract the dire malady from sautéing a flounder. She was born in Alaska, where the five varieties of Pacific salmon flourish, and all are totemic species for the locals. Alaskans spend what Lower forty-eighters may consider an inordinate amount of time catching, preserving, preparing, eating and thinking about fish. And not just salmon, but halibut, rockfish, grayling, steelhead and rainbow trout, char, northern pike, and whitefish.
Posted on September 5, 2017 - 3:39pm
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.
Posted on August 31, 2017 - 5:25pm
Hurricane Harvey was declared a Category 4 storm late this past Friday, was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday, and is officially the most extreme rain event in U.S. history.
Posted on August 29, 2017 - 4:50pm
The last time many people on the campus of UC Berkeley were paying attention to Will Smelko it was 2010. Then 22 years old, Smelko was the ASU president and he made news by vetoing a resolution urging the University to divest from companies supplying military-related equipment to Israel.
Posted on August 22, 2017 - 3:59pm
If you’re considering ways to reduce urban heat and moderate global warming, cool pavements just seem like a no brainer. Asphalt, after all is dark; it absorbs heat. But light colored cement or asphalt treated with a whitish surfacing agent can reflect heat. That should make cities cooler and also reduce air conditioning demands, cutting back on electricity production and the planet-warming carbon emissions that spew from fossil-fueled power plants. Win-win, right?
Posted on August 17, 2017 - 3:25pm
If you’re in North America, chances are you’ve heard that there will be a solar eclipse on August 21. You may even be traveling—or know people who are traveling—a goodly distance for the best view of what is essentially a monumental overcast.
So what’s the big deal?
Glad you asked! We’ve got answers to your most burning questions about the solar event of the century.
Posted on August 14, 2017 - 4:35pm
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
For many swimmers, the bracing aroma of swimming-pool chlorine is assurance that pool water is free of disease-causing microbes.
Unfortunately, that summery smell may actually signal troublesome levels of urine, sweat, and body-care products in the water. And according to researchers, bodily fluids in pool water are worse than unsavory—they react with pool disinfectants, forming chemical compounds that may be hazardous to your health.
Posted on July 24, 2017 - 4:39pm
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.
Posted on July 18, 2017 - 3:44pm