University of California Berkeley

Back to the Land: Richard Sanford and the Tao of Pinot Noir

Richard Sanford graduated from Berkeley in 1965, served a combat tour in Vietnam, and by 1971 found himself working from a mossy old barn near Lompoc with no plumbing or electricity.

A geographer by training, the Navy veteran was engaged in an improbable quest—transforming the barn and adjoining bean fields into a classic, Burgundian-style vineyard.

From the Spring 2018 Edibles and Potables issue of California.

Great Debates: GOP Bill, Roy Moore and Meghan Markle’s Cali Cred

Having trouble keeping up with this week’s news? Don’t sweat it—here’s California’s summary of hot buttons in the press.

Tax the Poor

With the Republican tax bill now in the Senate, many students are worried about a provision that would tax tuition waivers as income. Such waivers are regularly granted to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and research apprentices.

Revisiting the Ghost Ship: A Cal Grad Recalls the Tragic Fire

Today marks the first anniversary of the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland which claimed the lives of 36 people, including five from the UC Berkeley community: students Jennifer Morris and Vanessa Plotkin, alumni Griffin Madden and David Cline, and KALX DJ Chelsea Dolan.

The tragedy had the effect of making some feel like Oakland and the Bay were a small town; it seemed as if everyone knew someone who had been touched by the event.

The Big Suck: Can Atmospheric Carbon Removal Stop Climate Calamity?

Strategies to deal with climate change have focused largely on reducing emissions of CO2 and other planet-warming compounds from industry, transportation and agriculture. The news isn’t particularly heartening on that front. After three years of leveling off, CO2 levels are expected to rise by two percent by the end of 2017, due largely to increased coal-burning in China.

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 22 nd U.S. poet laureate this Wednesday. 

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.  

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.

Reading Roundup: Cal Clashes, Tragedy, Budget Cuts, Silk Road

Conservative Students on Political Hostility at Cal

Five UC Berkeley conservatives give firsthand accounts of clashes with others on campus, describing the tactics of those who oppose them to be “unnecessarily provocative.”

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?

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.

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.

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 CO 2 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?”

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.

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

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