UC Berkeley

Gut Check: Based on New Microbe Study, Should We Blame Geography for Obesity?

Does this bacteria make me look fat?

I ask because in the latest search for causes of the obesity epidemic, the one victim of sausage-like finger pointing is the community of microbes residing in the human gut. And according to the surprising recent work by UC Berkeley grad student Taichi Suzuki, it seems that where you live goes a great way to determining what microbes you have.

Jogs for Jill: Runs Honoring Late Cal Coxswain Net $500,000 to Combat Lung Cancer

More than 1,200 runners, walkers, strollers and joggers are expected to gather March 16thfor the fifth annual Jog For Jill, a 5-K course around UC Berkeley’s campus in honor of Jill Costello—a political economy major who died from lung cancer just a few weeks after graduating from Cal in 2010.

Not Licked Yet: The Fight to Keep an Iconic UC Observatory Open

A move to pare a modest $1.8 million from UC’s operations budget has blown up into a public relations storm, with the fury directed at the Office of the President. That’s because the savings would result from halting funding for Mount Hamilton’s Lick Observatory, the world’s first permanent mountain summit observatory and a facility still responsible for major cosmological findings—most recently the discovery of scads of earth-like exoplanets.

California Universities Form Alliance to Diversify the Top of the Ivory Tower

Throughout academia, key fields remain decidedly male and monochromatic—particularly math, engineering, and the physical and computer sciences. And despite the pride it takes in being progressive, UC Berkeley is no exception.

That’s why this week the university announced it is forming an alliance with Caltech, UCLA, and Stanford to encourage more underrepresented minority Ph.D. candidates to pursue postdoc and faculty positions within these fields.

Goalball in Blindfolds, Soccer in Wheelchairs: Cal Busts Barriers to Competitive Sports

Ann Kwong could not see the ball hurtling toward her, but she knew who had thrown it—a member of UC Berkeley’s rugby team easily twice her size. Lying on the gym floor, she could hear its insistent rattle and sense the speed.  She tensed for the impact as the ball hit her thighs with a solid thwak.

Spectators winced. As for Kwong, she jumped up and hurled the ball back.

“I’m usually a safe person,” she says, “but this has taught me to take risks. You just have to dive on the ball.”

Blowing Racial Dog Whistles: Berkeley Prof Blasts Conservatives For “Coded Messages”

Sarah Palin recently posted one of Martin Luther King’s most famous quotes on her Facebook wall: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And then she topped it with a zinger aimed at Barack Obama. “Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.”

A Brain Busy Cataloging All Things Berkeley: True Confessions of a Cal Tour Guide

I stared out at a mass of vibrating middle school students awaiting their campus tour. Before unleashing them on me, someone thought it would be a great idea to let them get energy drinks and coffees. Before me, 7th grade girls chugged Rockstars and one boy complained that his mocha needed more sugar. I wanted to yell “No! You cannot complain about needing energy! You are 12. You don’t know what it’s like to pull an all-nighter and write 25-page papers. Also, it’s a mocha, it basically IS sugar!”

Scratch That: Berkeley Biologist Traces Cellular Circuitry to Explain Itching

There’s no way into the animal mind, you say? No plumbing of a beast’s true feelings? Not so. Simply observe any footage of a bear rubbing its back against a tree, or even your own mutt vigorously scratching behind the ear with a hind paw. Observe the slack-jawed, stuporous expressions of relief and satisfaction. Yeah. We know what’s going on.

We are not bound by cosmic harmony: It is the Itch that unites us all.

Drivin’ on Sunshine: Cal Team Is Crafting Solar-Powered Car for National Race

As flocks of wild turkeys and geese look on, about 50 members of the UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle Team—aka CalSol—are laboring from dawn to dusk every day at the Richmond Field Station, a 152-acre lot six miles northwest of campus. Their goal: the construction of “Zephyr,” a solar-powered car that can cruise along at 55 miles per hour on only the energy needed for a portable hairdryer.

It’s Cal’s latest entry in an international collegiate competition that has been going on since the early 1990s, before many of CalSol’s current members were born.

Facebook’s “Compassion Team”—Academics Try to Convince a Billion Users to Play Nice

Imagine a gentler Internet. Imagine a world wide web where comment sections aren’t the lowest common denominator rhetorical melees we know them to be but forums for reasoned debate and thoughtful discussion. Imagine your life online in which social media sites serve as a breeding grounds for empathy, introspection, and compassion, rather than for bullying, smut, and smarm.

Now imagine a pig with wings.

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