University of California Berkeley

WATCH: Flashback to When the New US Poet Laureate Read at Cal

In describing  poet Tracy K. Smith’s work, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden says: “Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture. With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human.” Hayden named Smith  the 22nd U.S. poet laureate this Wednesday.  Read more about WATCH: Flashback to When the New US Poet Laureate Read at Cal »

Here’s to Comey: The Senate Testimony at a Movie Theater and Pub

Eight concerned citizens, one large dog and I gathered at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland at 7 this morning to drink complimentary Bloody Marys and watch former FBI director James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, addressing the cause of his firing and allegations that the Trump administration is colluding with Russia.   Read more about Here's to Comey: The Senate Testimony at a Movie Theater and Pub »

What Cal Experts Are Saying About the Paris Climate Accord Exit

Today, standing amongst the vibrant natural beauty of the White House Rose Garden, Trump said America will be “getting out” of the Paris Accord, an agreement among 195 countries to gradually reduce climate change to protect nature. Feeling the heat of this decision, UC Berkeley professors take to the Internet to explain what “getting out” of the agreement will get us into. Read more about What Cal Experts Are Saying About the Paris Climate Accord Exit »

Ann Coulter at Berkeley: Untangling the Truth

It’s been about a week since Ann Coulter tried but failed to speak on the Berkeley campus, and the outrage continues unabated. Outrage that once again a conservative was silenced on a liberal campus. Outrage that the university cancelled her appearance and refused to provide appropriate protection for her. Once again, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement is depicted as a place where free speech—at least for conservatives—went home to die. But what actually happened between the university, Coulter and the three student groups that wanted to host her? Read more about Ann Coulter at Berkeley: Untangling the Truth »

Cowboy Neil: How Western is Gorsuch and Does It Matter?

Most of the discussion surrounding the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court has, quite properly, centered around the jurist’s judicial philosophy and political leanings, and the opinions he has issued from the bench. (In case you’re just tuning in, court watchers place Trump’s nominee on the right of the spectrum, more conservative than Samuel Alito and on one side or the other of the late Antonin Scalia depending on the issue. Read more about Cowboy Neil: How Western is Gorsuch and Does It Matter? »

Is Right-Wing News Entering the Mainstream?

While progressives are scandalized by Breitbart’s nativist tone, it’s deeply appealing to millions of disenfranchised and largely white citizens. Indeed, it helped energize them to the point that they actually got out and voted in numbers sufficient to elect Donald Trump, much to the horror of the droves of Democrats who couldn’t be bothered going to the polls and the prestigious mainstream news outlets that predicted an easy Hillary electoral victory. Read more about Is Right-Wing News Entering the Mainstream? »

Greening the Planet: The Fertilizer Effect of CO2 Slows Warming

A new study led by UC Berkeley Lab researcher Trevor Keenan suggests that increased plant growth is slowing the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a finding that could help explain the mystery of why the uptick in CO2 concentrations has leveled off since 2002, even as emissions have increased. “We believed one of the planet’s main carbon sinks had unexpectedly strengthened,” Keenan explained in a Lab press release. “The question was: which one?” Read more about Greening the Planet: The Fertilizer Effect of CO2 Slows Warming »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

People Are Strange When You’re Sleep Deprived

Got a lousy night’s sleep? Feeling kinda grouchy? Turns out waking up on the wrong side of the bed won’t just make you cranky. It will make others seem that way, too. A 2015 study from the UC Berkeley Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory found that a single sleepless night can fundamentally alter the way we perceive others—making even the mellowest of fellows seem like the strangest of dangers. Read more about People Are Strange When You're Sleep Deprived »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Alumni Gazette: Rocket Science, Woman Power, and Updating The League

Ever hear that old cliché “This ain’t rocket science?” I wouldn’t use it around Ashley Chandler Karp because what she does is rocket science. A propulsion engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, she’s helping design the next generation of rockets, which will bring samples from Mars back to Earth for more extensive testing than can be done on the Martian surface.

As if that weren’t ambitious enough, they also have to figure out a way to transport the stuff here without getting any contamination from the Red Planet on the container. Read more about Alumni Gazette: Rocket Science, Woman Power, and Updating The League »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Vietnam Stories: Writing the “Disremembered” Histories of War

When telling a story, and it doesn’t matter if that story is long or short, fiction or nonfiction, the marginalized writer must be defiant.

So says writer Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Defiant is not the first descriptor that comes to mind for this particular writer, a Vietnamese refugee and UC Berkeley alumnus, who in fall 2016 wore a royal blue suit, purple tie, and orange socks at the Pulitzer awards banquet in Manhattan to accept the Fiction award for his debut novel, The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2015). Flamboyant, maybe. Defiant, no. Read more about Vietnam Stories: Writing the "Disremembered" Histories of War »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Keepin’ It Real with President Napolitano: The State of the State’s University

Janet Napolitano and I met in her office in downtown Oakland on the afternoon of November 4, 2016, just four days before Hillary Rodham Clinton was thwarted in her attempt to make history by becoming the first woman president of the United States of America.

Some people thought that Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security in the first Obama administration, might herself have been a candidate for the White House. Instead, she became the first woman president of the University of California in 2013. Read more about Keepin' It Real with President Napolitano: The State of the State's University »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Black Hole: The Injustice of Wrongful Incarceration Doesn’t End When the Prison Doors Open

Danny Brown was in prison for almost two decades for a rape and murder he didn’t commit, and he has evidence to prove it: a host of eyewitness accounts validating his alibi, a polygraph test he took, and passed, at the prosecution’s request, and DNA from the crime scene matching that of another man who is currently serving time for a factually similar rape and murder.

He was released from prison in 2001 at the age of 45. Read more about Black Hole: The Injustice of Wrongful Incarceration Doesn't End When the Prison Doors Open »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Mind Tricks: Bishop Berkeley and the Idea of Everything

Lately, I’ve been spending time at Founders’ Rock trying and mostly failing to get a grasp on reality.

Founders’ Rock is an outcropping at the northeast corner of the UC Berkeley campus, where Gayley Road and Hearst Avenue meet, a lonely spot shaded by toyon, oak, and eucalyptus. The rock itself—lichen-encrusted and moss-fringed—is an unassuming jumble. Read more about Mind Tricks: Bishop Berkeley and the Idea of Everything »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

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