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2008 July August Summer Sports Issue

Terrible Lizards, Better Birds

How birds are helping scientists understand dinosaurs As you probably know by now, dinosaurs didn’t really go extinct—they evolved into birds. The paradigm-shifting moment came in 1964 when Yale paleontologist John Ostrom found a dinosaur fossil that reminded him more of a modern raptor than it did a lizard. The discovery led Ostrom to conclude that […]

Wolves in a Dogfight

Seven years ago, campus was rocked by this headline in The Daily Californian: “Stanford Forfeits Cal Rugby Game.” It was all explained in an email from Stanford coach Franck Boivert to Cal’s Jack Clark ’79, saying that while Stanford’s players weren’t afraid of losing to Cal (as they had for 19 out of 20 matches […]

Maz Jobrani

Wisecracks in the war on terror. A few days before the Iranian New Year, comedian Maz Jobrani takes to a San Francisco stage, casual in dark jeans and a black blazer. The largely Iranian crowd explodes with laughter as the bald, goateed Jobrani jokes about battling airport security over his cologne—a favored item among Iranian men. […]

Good News Bears?

There are more questions than answers about the Blue and Gold’s upcoming season, which isn’t to say it will be a bad one. It could even be better than last year’s, during which the team earned an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl by finishing 6–6, yet lost all but one of their last seven […]

Choosing to be Chosen

Religious leaders gather to challenge notions of “Who is a Jew?” Rabbi Capers Funnye, the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago, doesn’t look Jewish—at least to some Jewish eyes. “When someone comes into a synagogue, the last thing you’re supposed to ask them is ‘Are you Jewish?’ Well, if I’m […]

Planet of the Hominids

In Ethiopia, Timothy White and his colleagues have found some of our nearest relatives, and powerful evidence that we all come from Africa. During lunch at Chez Panisse, Tim White draws a map of places I should visit in Ethiopia, on the paper table mat. The famed professor agrees to rendezvous with me at the National […]

The Modified Man

Today’s athletes look perfect. What if they could be perfect? Nobody’s perfect. Not even Tim McNeill. A three-time All-American gymnast and team co-captain at Berkeley, in April McNeill won two NCAA individual championships competing at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion. He keeps up a 3.5 grade point average despite a rigorous training schedule. He’s even managed to maintain […]

GO: Jungle metropolis

Manaus, Brazil, is Sodom to some, but one exile to its banks finds a beguiling mix of European elegance and tropical funk. My first sojourn in the city of Manaus, at the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Amazon, the remotest metropolis on Earth, came at the invitation of Brazil’s air force and was instigated, […]

Athletes as Aesthetes

And vice versa The rumpus was loud around the playing fields inside the cavernous San Francisco Concourse. Athletes and dancers bent and stretched, slapping each others’ backs and muttering encouragement to themselves; students in the Straw Marching Band’s array of bashed-up boaters and tattered vests bleated and blared a series of ferocious fight songs; young members […]