University of California

Polling Suggests An Easy Win for Newsom—So Why Have a Recall?

Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Poll, remembers it all very well. It was 2003, and he was the assistant director of the Field Poll, California’s preeminent political survey. For months, DiCamillo and his fellow staffers had been querying voters on the state’s first-ever special recall gubernatorial election. But Governor Gray Davis, says DiCamillo, wasn’t worried.

Blockeley 2.0: A Virtual Commencement, 19th Century Style

UC Berkeley’s campus is a shrine to an ever-changing architectural aesthetic. The original 1868 campus plans called for the buildings to be created in the Second Empire style, a Victorian era architectural movement that modeled itself after the French Renaissance. (Think: mansard roofing and French oeil-de-boeuf windows.) Only one of those original buildings remains: South Hall, finished in 1873, still stands alongside Doe Library.

The Myth of the Asian Woman

“Why and how is it,” writes Laura Hyun Yi Kang in her 2020 book Traffic in Asian Women, “so many Asian women continue to suffer in the same coeval space of so much publicity, knowledge production, and activism?”

In the Navajo Nation, Fighting COVID and Years of Neglect

The scene is familiar: A hospital bed, a respirator, medical personnel in full PPE. But while the attending doctor is from San Francisco, California, the hospital is located 1,000 miles away, in the middle of 27,000 miles of vast, desert land.

We All Waste Food. One Researcher Wants to Know Why and How We Can Waste Less.

One July morning in 2016, in the predawn quiet of a Nashville suburb, Laura Moreno and her team of assistants looked more like investigators on a clandestine raid than scientists. With goggles, gloves, and coordinated efficiency, they removed garbage bags from every bin on the block, just barely beating the garbage truck to the spoils. They spent the next several weeks in an unventilated facility where they sorted and tallied everything from unpeeled bananas and sprouting russet potatoes to half-eaten take-out and sealed boxes of cereal.

We’re Four Months Into COVID Vaccines. Here’s What We Know So Far.

We’re well into the COVID vaccine rollout, and if you have more questions than ever, you’re not alone.

On Monday, March 15, Berkeley Events and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health invited four experts to a virtual public forum to discuss the ongoing vaccination strategy, focusing especially on questions of vaccine access, safety, and the results we’re seeing so far.

How COVID Is An Opportunity to Address Deep Anti-Vax Sentiment

As much as anyone in the world, Berkeley anthropology alumna Heidi Larson is confronted by public resistance to the COVID-19 vaccines. Larson is founder and director of the London-based Vaccine Confidence Project, a nonprofit that conducts global surveys monitoring public confidence in immunization programs. With the Project, Larson helps quantify vaccine approval by measuring people’s confidence in the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines.

A Formula for Funny: The Surprisingly Smart Humor of The Simpsons

FOR CENTURIES, FERMAT’S LAST THEOREM defied mathematicians to prove that there are, in fact, no natural numbers for x, y and z that can satisfy the equation xn+yn=zn when n is greater than 2. Countless great minds tried and failed, until 1995, when mathematician Andrew Wiles, after years of monk-like devotion, provided the undisputed proof once and for all. 

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

The Editorial That Split the Daily Cal (And May Have Provoked a Riot)

Editor’s note: The Daily Californian, Berkeley’s student newspaper, marks two momentous anniversaries this year. The first is its founding, 150 years ago. Since 1871, the paper—originally called the College Echo—has been published continuously, reporting on the campus and community through world wars and loyalty oaths, depression and recessions, student rebellions and global pandemics.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Will AI Write the Next Great American Novel?

IN SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR, a startling headline appeared on the Guardian’s website: “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?” The accompanying piece was written by GPT-3, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, a language-generating program from San Francisco–based OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company whose founders include Tesla billionaire Elon Musk and Berkeley Ph.D. John Schulman. “The mission for this op-ed is perfectly clear,” the robotic author explained to readers.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

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