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2007 November December New Media

Tiny but Mighty

Making a meal of the olive fruit fly Karen sime holds out a glass vial. Inside, dozens of Psyttalia ponerophaga, delicate, amber-colored wasps from Pakistan, float in alcohol. Each is only the size of this capital M, but powerful solutions come in small packages. Sime, a researcher in environmental science, believes P. ponerophaga could help safeguard […]

Image source: Eli Weissman

Where There’s Smoke There’s Opportunity

Westerners who grew up listening to Smokey the Bear’s pithy sermons on saving forests and now regularly choke through smoky summers are still adjusting to the idea that fire is a fact of life. But, says one Berkeley researcher, not necessarily a devastating one. For the past century, firefighters have risked their lives to keep […]

Life’s a Bowl of Noodles

I am sitting elbow on table, chin in palm, staring at what looks like a saucer of pink noodles floating in water. I poke one of the noodles with a plastic pipette. It twitches, then returns to its normal state: unmoving and seemingly lifeless. Could this marine Top Ramen, called nematostella, really have nearly all […]

It’s MySpace, Not Yours

If you think your teenagers are using online social networking sites to flirt with dirty old men and learn how to make bombs, take a deep breath. The biggest threat for teens online isn’t sexual predators or militia nutbags, it’s marketers, scammers, and phishers, says Danah Boyd, a Ph.D. candidate at Berkeley’s School of Information […]

Driving a Tank Through It

Macho men blast overcompensation theory According to Rush Limbaugh, the work of sociology professor Robb Willer is another volley in the “emasculation” of America’s “normal, red-blooded guys.” The accused shrugs. “He misinterpreted the research, unfortunately,” says Willer, who began studying “masculine overcompensation” (the idea that men react to perceived challenges to their masculinity with exaggerated macho […]

Glad You Asked

Q: Why do songs “get stuck” in your head—and how can you get them out? And why are the songs that get stuck in your head always the annoying ones you don’t even like? —Julia Williamson, Berkeley A: Our memory system is bombarded with inputs—people, food, places, actions, events, and, yes, songs. It preferentially remembers […]

Reading The Air

Biochemistry professor Allen Goldstein hadn’t intended to investigate the drug trade, he was just trying to build a machine that would let him measure air pollution. The instrument he’d been designing was one that could pluck compounds out of the air and analyze them on the fly. Other machines already existed that could suck in […]

Next Up: You, in 3D

A Berkeley undergraduate named Charles stands in the middle of a three-meter cube. He moves slowly, watching a ghostly projection of himself move on a screen in front of him. The colors are murky, and his dark pants have completely disappeared, leaving empty space between his shirt and his shoes. Still, what’s up on the […]

Image source: Photograph by Marcus Hanschen

All The World’s a Cyber Stage

Marianne Weems is artistic director of the New York–based Builders Association, the Obie Award–winning multimedia performance company known for breaking down the boundaries between stage and audience as they explore the impact of technology on human interaction. A performer with eclectic tastes, Weems has worked with Susan Sontag, musicians David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, and […]

Changed and Unchanged Serbia

Beautiful and historic Belgrade shows its pride, but not its secrets. At the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, on a high promontory at the Balkans’ edge, lies the city of Belgrade with its great fortress, Kalemegdan. When visiting, it is most instructive to take a walk out to the tip of the city, to […]

Image source: Televisa

Branding: How Univision and Other Corporations Invented The “Hispanic” Market

Throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, ethnic political grievance served as the dominant narrative for the Mexican American experience. In the 1980s, however, a new competing narrative arose out of the corporate sector’s growing interest in the so-called Hispanic market. [Wrote Earl Shorris in Latinos,] “With information provided by the 1980 U.S. Census […]

Plus: Branding: How Univision and Other Corporations Invented The “Hispanic” Market.

On June 30, 1993, Carlos A. Fernandez, a lawyer and activist from San Francisco, California, testified before the House on behalf of the Association of MultiEthnic Americans, an organization whose goal was “to promote a positive awareness of interracial and multiethnic identity.” Fernandez proposed that Directive No. 15, the federal government’s guidelines for categorizing Americans […]