UC Berkeley

Recipe for Success: Cal alum dishes on the Food Network

Allen Salkin has spent the majority of his career writing about the sometimes bizarre but always fascinating ins-and-outs of American culture. During his tenure at The New York Times, Salkin explored nearly every crevice of popular culture, from the Hollywood “Bling Ring” to Bernie Madoff’s beach house to the real-life adoption of Festivus—a fictional holiday featured in a 1997 episode of “Seinfeld.” Read more about Recipe for Success: Cal alum dishes on the Food Network »

Fire Fallout: Cal expert sees “cascading” loss of wildlife

From Mount Diablo to the Sierras, a significant portion of California’s woodlands are going up in smoke. The impacts on humans are, of course, distressing. And as we’ve reported, the trend of bigger, hotter wildfires bodes to change the essential composition of California’s wildlands: Mixed coniferous forests are likely to contract, while grasslands, chaparral and oak woodlands will probably expand. Read more about Fire Fallout: Cal expert sees "cascading" loss of wildlife »

Raspberry Ratified: But have such Berkeley student votes ever accomplished anything?

Janet Napolitano may have earned the support of the UC Board of Regents, but at Berkeley, the Associated Students of the University of California are not so easily swayed.

Convening for their weekly meeting, the student senators of ASUC have offered their collective assessment of the UC system’s controversial new president. And, lo, the former Homeland Security chief has been found wanting. Read more about Raspberry Ratified: But have such Berkeley student votes ever accomplished anything? »

Behind the Curtain

Berkeley psychology professor Arthur Shimamura is unabashedly obsessed with cinema, but his day job is studying the brain. So, as both cineaste and scientist, it made sense to merge his livelihood with his passion.

Shimamura has coined the term “psychocinematics” to describe the cognitive aspects of the movie-going experience. He has a blog and a new book, Psychocinematics: Exploring Cognition at the Movies (Oxford University Press, 2013). For anyone who revels in the smell of popcorn and the roar of the Dolby sound system, it’s fascinating stuff. Read more about Behind the Curtain »

From the Fall 2013 Film Issue issue of California.

Eruption Production: Cal researcher traces “heat fingers”

Many things—from relationships to assembling IKEA furniture—are not as simple as they seem on the surface. Turns out that’s the case for marine volcanoes as well. Most island chain and seamount volcanoes are found at the juncture of oceanic tectonic plates, where subduction, meaning one plate plowing under another, makes it relatively easy for magma to vent upward.   Read more about Eruption Production: Cal researcher traces "heat fingers" »

Cyber Stalking: Cal app creates “heat map” of your movements

At precisely 3:26 p.m. on July 17, Britney Spears was recording music at the corner of West Oak Street and South Glenwood Place in Burbank, California. On August 23 at 4:21 p.m., Katy Perry was in rural northeast Colorado, at the intersection of Highways 46 and 55. And on August 5 at 3:56 p.m., Oprah was cruising down the Kennedy Expressway outside of Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Read more about Cyber Stalking: Cal app creates "heat map" of your movements »

Friday Fishwrap: Is Fukushima radiation harming food chain?

Bad news keeps leaking from Japan’s tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—literally leaking, as in 400 tons of highly radioactive water a day. Or it may be more than that. No one is really sure. The squabbles between the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), and Japan’s nuclear regulators are further obfuscating the issue.  Read more about Friday Fishwrap: Is Fukushima radiation harming food chain? »

40 Signs You Fell for Berkeley “Click Bait”

It’s still ricocheting around cyberspace, shared via Facebook from alum to alum. Indeed the BuzzFeed post “40 Signs You Went to Berkeley” has proved an irresistible 2013 hit with its narrow niche of an audience, racking up more than 200,000 views and counting.

But it’s also become a flash point of controversy about what, if anything, its popularity reveals about the future of online “content”. Read more about 40 Signs You Fell for Berkeley "Click Bait" »

To prevent another Sierra inferno, thin and clean forests

If a transcendent lesson is emerging from the Rim Fire, it’s this: we need to manage our forests aggressively, thinning thick stands of young trees and clearing deadwood on the forest floor. Doing so would reduce fuel in second-growth and third-growth coniferous forests—the kind of fuel that has driven the Rim Fire to become the fifth largest wildfire in the history of the state.

And it would be well worth the cost. Read more about To prevent another Sierra inferno, thin and clean forests »

Bridge Over Troubled Bolts: Cal Experts Question Whether New Bridge is Safe

As the Bay Area celebrates the opening of a new Bay Bridge—an eastern span that transportation officials are hailing as elegant and seismically secure—UC Berkeley engineers are expressing serious misgivings about whether the structure is safe. And at least one professor labels it far less stable than the old bridge.  Read more about Bridge Over Troubled Bolts: Cal Experts Question Whether New Bridge is Safe »

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