Posted by Ethan Strauss on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 05:41 pm
This Slate Mag article caught the eye of the Clog. Remember when Biggie made that “Ten Crack Commandments” song? Well this article’s like that–except the Slate piece guides you through a morally bankrupt network, the very existence of which may be compelling evidence of a society rotting from within. That’s the only real difference. Jump with us, and you’ll get an excerpt:
bq. Say you’ve been too generous with your friending policy, and a gaggle of strangers is now hogging your News Feed. You too can launch a Great Facebook Purge. The beauty of this is that no headline or notification pops up in your ex-friend’s inbox announcing, “You’ve suffered a humiliating rejection at the hands of _________.” It’s all very stealthy, thus making it the perfect way to deal with promiscuous frienders.
bq. But what if your so-called friend scans through their friend list and notices that you’ve gone missing? First off, anyone who is policing their Facebook account this rigorously is morbidly obsessed and thus best kept at arm’s length. If she confronts you about it, the best strategy is to plead ignorance: Perhaps the site’s massive growth has led to some unexpected technical difficulties? Re-friend, then wait at least six months before trying another de-friending.
Good advice, we suppose. But if you’re sacrificing that much mental energy, aren’t you as bad as the morbidly obsessed one? We’re reminded of Woody Allen’s “I wouldn’t want to be part of any club that would have me as a member” line.
It’s the quintessential story with all the right components to tear at the Berkeley citizen’s heart: a humble non-profit, an evil government agency, and a valiant fight to end global warming and allow underprivileged school children to have access to MySpace …
A center in Berkeley that recycles and restores computers and other electronics faces the possibility of closing after the Department of Toxic Substance Control cited the facility for failing to maintain a proper inventory of the material they divert and for stockpiling material for more than one year. So far, the center must get up to par or face gargantuan fines, unless further negotiations between the two sides solve this tiff in another way.
Not like we’re taking sides, but it is interesting that the recent drama with the Alameda County Computer Recycling Center has such archetypal Berkeley heroes and villains (Correction: Computer Resource Center).
OK, so according to the Department of Toxic Substance Control, the Berkeley-based ACCRC is violating one of their codes. And the Department of Toxic Substance Control is a division of the Environmental Protection Agency, so that complicates things.
It’s kind of hard to avoid setting aside some “still-salvagables” when you are scrambling to repair thousands of recycled computers and to donate them to schools, groups and individuals around the world. On top of it all, the ACCRC had to find time to be named one of four “Heroes” by CNN for “innovative efforts to preserve and protect the environment.” Saving the world happens on a busy schedule. Fines—or worse yet, closing—will make it bit harder for them to save the world.
In all seriousness though, while the DTSC supposedly protects the environment, it is demanding that things that can be recycled or donated instead should be thrown into the dump.
That doesn’t sound like a fairy-tale ending …
Image Source: Fruggo
Nonprofit Electronics Recycling Center Faces Heavy State Fines [Daily Cal]
State Tries to Reduce Waste by Penalizing Berkeley Recycling Center 
CNN Heroes: Ordinary people, extraordinary achievements [CNN]
Posted by Krista Lane on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 01:09 am
Those of you who might actually be interested in reading about “Halo 3″ are probably too busy playing it, but the Clog (and the Chronicle, apparently) found it worthy of expertise coverage following its long-anticipated arrival Monday night.Joystiq, a gamer’s favorite blog, noted the “Halo 3″ launch in New York City (despite other events happening in the area), complete with a live Master Chief and plenty of Game Fuel.
The crowd at EB Games on Telegraph Avenue wasn’t quite as, uh, dorky (perhaps more accurately described as sugar-addled and couch-deprived), but approaching the game’s midnight release, crowds made it as far back as the end of the block.
Several attendees had fascinating things to say. “Andrew” proved the most entertaining.
There are just a bunch of virgins in this line, except the ones who brought girlfriends. The marketers should have seen this coming and hired some beautiful women to stand in line. It would improve their image.
Thank you to a drunk mass communications major.
And the more practical advice of the evening (for the 21-year-olds) came from this Clogger’s roommate, who calls this Game Fuel-inspired and refreshing cocktail “The Needler”:
* 1 oz Campari
* 1 oz vodka
* 2 oz “Halo 3″ Soda over ice
The worst prank of the night was some annoying SUV driver circling the block and shouting incomprehensibly at the line.
And now for some interesting tidbits from the biggest entertainment retail release sales record (that’s right, bigger than movies) in history:
* If you can tear your hands away from the controller, here’s some free “Halo” crap.
* Looking to make a life-sized Master Chief of your very own? Try the immaculate paper doll, because plastic blow-up dolls are so juvenile.
* Thought video games were just for 15-year-old stoners? Even The New York Times cares. It highlighted what most of the non-gamers (or the Xbox 360-less) were wondering in our sparsely populated classes: “We expect that, like, no one’s going to go to class … and the teachers are going to know.”
Well put, Spartan. We’re sure your teachers are waiting on tenterhooks for detailed reports about the riveting meta-narrative.
In the meantime, we’re going to go kill us some Brutes.
Image Source: Krista Lane
Halo 3 storytelling takes video game to next level, and then some [SF Gate]
The best thing you’ll see today: John P. Harvard goes Halo [Joystiq]
Joyswag: Joystiq’s Legendary Halo 3 Giveaway [Joystiq]
Master Chief papercraft is pinnacle of sadness [Joystiq]
Halo 3 Arrives, Rewarding Gamers, and Microsoft [NY Times]
Posted by Krista Lane on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 01:08 pm
New York college students were in a tiff over the presence of two prominent public figures on their campuses: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at Syracuse University and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University. But those aren’t the first times people get huffy over public figures visiting universities.
Last May, protesters gathered outside our own Zellerbach Hall where former President and author Jimmy Carter spoke about finding peace in the Middle East.
And in September 2006, Columbia University rescinded their invitation to Ahmadinejad, citing logistical reasons for the cancellation. We guess uninviting someone twice is a taboo in the etiquette of Ivy League universities?
Political leaders around New York were quick to offer their disapproval of Columbia’s invitation, rejecting Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site and, in New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s words, hoping that the citizens of New York would “make his time miserable.”
We bugged Yaman Salahi, an active member of the Berkeley blogging community on Middle Eastern affairs, for his opinion. He says of Ahmedinejad’s visit:
bq. … while he doesn’t represent everybody or control the country with an iron fist, or anything close to it, he does legally have a ‘right’ and legitimacy to be in his position. In shutting him out, we are effectively shutting out the country of Iran.
bq. … I think much of the hysteria surrounding his visit is based more on xenophobic stereotypes and rumors than it is on substantial facts or disagreements that people have about him. I’ve read several reports that indicate some of his statements have been mistranslated in order to make him sound crazy.
bq. The most questionable thing about him at this point, in my opinion, is the fact that he hosted a despicable Holocaust denial conference last year (actually I wrote about this when it happened). But then again he is not coming to Columbia to speak on the Holocaust.
Salahi ultimately notes that American students are being offered the rare opportunity to academically challenge an important figure in our lives. And that’s a point the Clog can stand behind, no matter what side of the politics we’re on.
In light of protests, public statements and the aftermath, we want to know: What do you make of the situation? Is this just mass hysteria over nothing? Setting a dangerous precedent? A cruel setup? What, speaker, let’s go play Halo 3?
Image Source: David Shankbone
Listening to Controversy [Daily Cal]
Ahmadinejad, at Columbia, Parries and Puzzles [NY Times]
Telling it Like it Isn’t [Slate]
Differing Groups Rally at Talk [Daily Cal]
Iran Leader Denied Bid to Visit Ground Zero [NY Times]
Stanford students, faculty protest Rumsfeld’s Hoover appointment [SF Gate]
Ahmadinejad’s Dangerous Game [Slate]
Looks like the UC Board of Regents spotted the financial potential in Haas’ recent climb to the No. 2 spot on the Wall Street Journal’s Survey of Business School Programs. Paying big money to be a slave to the Man just got a tad bit more expensive.
Not even a week after the survey was released, the mysterious Regents who get our tuition checks every month announced their decision to increase UC professional school fees by about $15,000 over the next three years (Clarification: The total fees will increase by $15,000.)
Their main reason? “(T)he fee increases were necessary to maintain quality programs and to stay competitive with other high-ranking institutions,” according to the Daily Cal.
Translation: The University of California would like to attain its rightful place on silly media surveys, which are about as revealing as psychics on the Montel Williams show. Aside from the Wall Street Journal’s Survey, there’s also the controversially simplistic rankings of U.S. News. (These rankings are usually deemed insubstantial; that is, unless one attends the No. 1 Public University in the country.)
Well, the regents may have broken the big-time professional dreams of countless prospective Boalt and Haas students’ moms and dads, but look on the bright side, all you disgruntled wannabe Cochrans and Trumps: You are now free to pick your own wardrobe, speak your mind and stick it to the Man. Maybe you can even go to art school, like you’ve always wanted!
Have you ever wondered about weird chalk writing around the campus? No, it’s not Student Action (oh, that joke will never get old). Apparently, it’s love, according to posters on the UC Berkeley LiveJournal Community:
bq. Since about two weeks ago, somebody chalked a series of phrases starting from Memorial Glade up to Sather Gate. They started out like “She always orders hot dogs,” “She kisses you even when you’re driving”; then they turned into “We’re fatasses,” “We make each other laugh”; and by Sproul Plaza they became pleads: “You were selfless. You are perfect. Please take me back. I’ll be different…”
bq. It was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen (made me cry a little, frankly). Anyone know the story behind this? (Did she take him back?)
And, more importantly, did he use hairspray?
One LJ-er claims to have seen the denouement:
bq. actually the messages led to Sproul, where he played music and held up placards (like in love actually, when the guy who is in love with Keira Knightly) saying things about how amazing she was and how he was sorry. Then he gave her flowers and she kissed him, and everyone who figured out what was going on applauded.
Most of the LJ-ers seemed to think the whole thing sweet, cute, adorable–insert your sappy adjective here. It makes us think that A) they are either lowerclassmen or B) they are normal human beings untainted by blogger cynicism.
At least one LJ-er is on our side, saying that: “I thought it was an art installation that was meant to be kind of ironic. I guess I have no soul.”
Souls, shmouls. An art installation would have been an excellent idea. Plus, that would have guaranteed free wine and beer and cheese at its art-studio-sponsored opening.
Posted by Scott Lucas on Monday, September 24, 2007 08:36 pm
In an opinion piece in today’s New York Times, UC Berkeley sociology professor Jerome Karabel suggests that “despite their image as meritocratic beacons of opportunity, the selective colleges serve less as vehicles of upward mobility than as transmitters of privilege from generation to generation.”
We like think of colleges as meritocratic institutions, open to everyone who meets the standards. However, As Karabel explains it:
bq. The paucity of students from poor and working-class backgrounds at the nation’s selective colleges should be a national scandal. Yet the problem resides not so much in discrimination in the admissions process (though affirmative action for the privileged persists in preferences for the children of alumni and big donors) as in the definition of merit used by the elite colleges.
His proposed solution?
bq. One of my favorite [ideas] is a lottery. This could take the form of reserving a modest number of places in the freshman class — say 5 percent to 10 percent — for applicants who, having met a high academic threshold, would be selected at random. While the admissions office would know the identities of the students admitted by lottery, no one else — not faculty, not employers and not the students themselves — would.
The Clog’s two cents? It’s no surprise that unequal education at the elementary and high school level produces inequalities at the college level. Until we fix that, anything else is just a Band-Aid. Also, there is a place for students who can’t make it at the best schools.
The New College Try [NY Times]
Jerome Karabel [Department of Sociology]
Posted by Krista Lane on Monday, September 24, 2007 09:16 am
University of Michigan, or at least some of its students, seems to want a lot from everyone else: Coach Tedford from Cal, labor standards from clothing manufacturers and reimbursement for upwards of $6,000 in fines incurred against 12 protesters sitting in against labor standards for the companies that force six-year-olds to make university-licensed clothing without benefits.
Cry us a river. If students in Berkeley were willing to starve for their beliefs (even if for a totally unrelated cause and only questionably successful), we don’t see why Michigan should get its panties in a bunch over less than a month’s worth of rent. We pay our own legal fees.
Besides, protesting sweatshops is so two years ago. Even Stanford and Columbia caught on, students staged sit-ins or, in UC Berkeley’s case, naked picketing outside California Hall.
And maybe size doesn’t matter, but let’s take a look at each protest’s attendance:
* Stanford: 11
* Michigan: 12
* Columbia: 15
* UC Berkeley: 100
Oh, and did we mention our Campanile is bigger?
Image Source: Eli Weissman, Daily Cal
Protesters Demand Reimbursement for Arrests [The Paper Trail]
U of M students occupy Coleman’s office to protest sweatshop labor [Arbor Update]
Posted by Scott Lucas on Sunday, September 23, 2007 11:52 pm
Devo – Whip It Live in UC Berkley, Sproul Plaza 1988
Complete with props, the Clog’s favorite kitsch/kink New Wave band performs its biggest hit. On Lower Sproul Plaza? What? This makes no sense, until you realize that “Whip It” came out eight years before this clip. But still, crazy man, crazy.
The Grateful Dead- Scarlet Begonias 1988
The Dead? In Berkeley? Well, we don’t see the connection, but maybe you do. From the Greek Theatre.
Corinne Bailey Rae- Breathless
Also at the Greek. From a recent show. Turn down the lights, babe, the Clog is gettin’ its grove on.
Talking Heads- Warning Signs 1978
It takes about 30 seconds for the video to start, but stick with it. Devo … Talking Heads … it’s almost like we have a theme going here.
One graffiti piece reads: “This is Barrington. Get used to it!” And then, a line down: “Yoo people rite on wallz?”
Now, Barrington Hall is no longer, after the University Students’ Cooperative Association shut down the crazy co-op in 1990. Unlike Le Chateau, shut down in 2005, it was never converted into another, cleaner co-op. Nope, it’s under someone else (according to the Daily Planet) who leases out rooms, albeit much cleaner, less graffitied rooms.
Clark Morris made the above video, a testament to the co-ops’ affinity for drawing on walls. And if you were to judge a co-op based solely on murals/graffiti, you could easily comprehend how crazy Barrington really was. As the first co-op in the system, Barrington had the time to devolve into, quite literally, more than a happening joint–way more “co-opy” than Cloyne or Casa Zimbabwe could ever dream to be.