No doubt you heard of the 17-year-old who was mauled to death by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo.

And, if you read the Chron, you’ve seen the 1631 comments abusing the victims of the attack for their alcohol intoxication when the attack occured (among other signs of irresponsible behavior).

But you probably don’t know that Berkeley resident Sam Singer is the official PR guy for the Zoological Society of San Francisco, the managers of the zoo.

With his impressive resume of experience, is Singer just skewing the facts about irresponsible behavior to keep the crowds at the zoo?

Maybe so, but we don’t think the accident is entirely the zoo’s fault.
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Note Taking

While your friends at other University of California institutions go back to class this week, most Berkeley students still have about 14 days before sleeping in till 2 p.m. becomes a sweet, sweet memory.

Still, it may serve us well to brush up on important academic skills, like how to pass our classes. The New York Times has come up with a few interesting pointers for highly effective note-taking, which we have organized into neat bullet points. Freshmen, spring admits and desperate seniors–listen up!
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Macaque MonkeysAfter discovering the latest omen of the world’s coming demise, the Clog encourages Berkeley students to put down their books and enjoy their short-lived time on earth.

After watching macaque monkeys for nearly 20-months, Dr. Michael Gumert has come up with a novel theory: male monkeys pay for sex by grooming their female counterparts.

He based this theory on his observations of monkeys being three times as likely to have intercourse if grooming occurred compared to instances when it did not.

Dr. Gumert failed to mention if this trend was also found in humans, but we’re hoping Memorial Glade is filled with groomers this coming semester.

The sex part is great and all, but some Berkeleyites could just really use a good cleaning.

Image Source: LeaMaimone under GNU Free Documentation License
Study: Monkeys ‘pay’ for sex by grooming [USA Today]
Earlier: This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse: Santa’s Home is Actually in Kyrgyzstan

Isaiah Rider may not be much of a “celebrity” anymore, for his NBA career (which included stand-out time with the Minnesota Timberwolves) has ended.

But he’s still giving people something to talk about, as proven yesterday, when

Berkeley police officers responded to a report at 9 a.m. of a disturbance between a taxi cab driver and [Rider].

Rider, 36, was taken into custody on a bench warrant issued by Alameda County for unlawful possession of a firearm as well a $5,000 warrant for grand theft issued by the Oakland Police Department.

Sadly, Rider could probably afford whatever he was originally arrested for stealing.

Ah, celebrities. Why do they insist on doing what they shouldn’t be doing in Berkeley?

Ex-NBA star Rider arrested in Berkeley on outstanding warrants [SF Gate]
Former NBA star Isaiah Rider arrested in Berkeley [San Jose Mercury News]

There’s been a drought of Berkeley news, but now it’s just pouring with stories.

One man dead and another injured in a Berkeley hills fire on Keith Avenue. The house was up in flames. Are candles to blame? It’s “speculative.” [SF Chron]

The Bay Area needs your blood (if you have type O-negative). The Blood Centers of the Pacific “literally had only three bags of O-negative blood on the shelves.” Finally! Something for Berkeley stragglers to do. [SF Chron]

One tortured man seeks to sue Boalt School of Law’s John Yoo … for $1. Yoo’s torture memo is held at fault, and the accuser wants Yoo to declare he acted illegally. [Chron again]

History prof Thomas Laqueur won a Mellon prize for his hip history research on topics such as reproductive biology, masturbation and more sex (and gender). He and UC Berkeley can find up to $1.5 million in their piggy banks soon. [NewsCenter]

Oh, the weather outside is frightful–but that doesn’t keep us from our ever-pressing search for extraterrestrials! A few months ago, we told you about the university’s role in sweeping the stars for alien life. The search continues, but the scientists at the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence could use a little more computer power. You can help.

When the (SETI) team’s incoming data overwhelmed its ability to analyze it, the scientists conceived a distributed computing project to harness many computers into one big supercomputer to do the analysis.

This computing project is called [email protected], and it utilizes the computer power of its volunteers by taking the place of their “energy-wasting” screen savers. The [email protected] project began eight years ago, but with a larger radio telescope promising a huge influx of new data, they’ll need a lot more volunteers.

Who knows, maybe the [email protected] peeps will hand out prizes if your computer processes groundbreaking data. Free Jamba Juice cards are always nice. Then again, so is the satisfaction that, yes, you played an important part in discovering life on planet Xuquazuemallodextrin.

[email protected] [Website]
[email protected] ramps up to analyze more data in search of extraterrestrial intelligence [Website]
Earlier: Berkeley Astronomers Believe the Truth Is Out There

Plants rarely make it into the news (other than the occasional pot story). But the blooming of an “agave gentryi” is a worthwhile exception.

The 18 feet tall plant in the UC Berkeley Botanical Garderns is of a species that only blooms after an approximately 60-year-long life, then dies. And this plant (now resembling a giant asparagus stalk) is about to bloom.

The agave gentryi bloom is so rare that there is “no good description of the bloom elsewhere”. Some smaller blooms have been vaguely described, but none are of this size.

The 15-year-old plant–which is blooming prematurely–will die after its enormous yellow flower appears.

No doubt your life will be complete regardless of whether you ever see the blooming of an agave gentryi. But Cloggers are well aware of the importance of bragging rights. Who wouldn’t want to tell your friends that you saw the bloom of a plant so rare Wikipedia doesn’t even have a page for it?

Image Source: Stan Shebs
Agave is about to produce a giant bloom [Botanical Garden at Berkeley]

We know it’s the new year (happy new year!) and we should be looking forward, but we can’t help but love all the crazy Internet people of the past.

Consider this video a treat–a break from tree people obsessing and a peek inside the mental makeup of a typical blogger. We’re just upset the video missed “2 Girls 1 Cup.”

Internet People [Meth Minute 39]

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