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2011 Spring Articles of Faith

Child’s Play!

Preschoolers use statistics to understand others. As part of Professor Fei Xu’s recent psychology research, preschoolers played a game with Squirrel the hand puppet, in which they tried to determine his favorite toy. Would he pick blue flowers or red circles out of the box? Sounds simple enough, and for these toddlers, it may have been […]

Now Hear This

The brain is often depicted as a map divided into distinct “states,” each responsible for various cognitive functions—the language center, the taste center, and so on. Yet Berkeley graduate student Adeen Flinker’s new research on the auditory cortex could change our fundamental understanding of these regions by dismantling the long-held concept of autonomous sensory centers […]

No Longer a Loser

Before the costumed antics, Oski was a cartoon. When Warrington Colescott was an art editor at The Daily Californian in 1941, fellow student William C. Rockwell ’48 came to him with a request that would change Cal spirit forever. Rockwell wanted to create a silly-looking school mascot based on some of Colescott’s newspaper cartoons to replace the […]

One Percent

It’s a rainy Saturday night, and I’m huddled in a doorway, pleasantly buzzed after a few drinks with a beautiful Russian girl I will never see again. The sky is wet iron, tinged with bronze from the reflected light of San Francisco. Rain patters the concrete and nips at the hem of my jeans. The […]

A Barrel of Odds and Ends

In the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, the juices swap around. A few nations are composed all of town, and a few all of country, but most contain elements of both. In Trinidad and Tobago, the two-island republic in the southernmost Caribbean, the division is neat: for city you go to Trinidad, for country to […]

Chasing the Divine

Huston Smith and the seekers of Trabuco Canyon Huston Smith was at Berkeley working on his Ph.D. in 1945 when he stumbled upon the work of Gerald Heard, a British writer and philosopher—a man who would later be called “the grandfather of the New Age movement.” Smith, who would later write The World’s Religions, a book […]

Casting about for Your Vote

Death panels. Maybe you flinched when you heard it. Or fought the thought of moving to Canada. Or maybe the expression made perfect sense to you—”Obamacare” was going way too far. One thing is for sure: Whatever your stance, the phrase tapped into strong feelings. Can two words really hijack a national debate, sweep through […]

Being Big Ed

A portrait of the artist as an aging NFL lineman On mornings he can’t sleep, Ed White will brew up a pot of coffee, wander out to his studio, and paint through sunrise. Insomnia or no insomnia, he’s out there at least three days a week. He compares painting to digging. “You dig and you dig […]