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Graphic novelist (and former Golden Bear) Gene Yang spoke at the Berkeley Story Hour program yesterday, and it was awesome.  That’s all we can say. First off, the guy looks very much like a Berkeley student aged a few years, so we were delighted when we heard he was an alum. He’s a tall, soft-spoken man and a self-described nerd, but the guy is pretty darn cool.

He began his presentation by telling us that he is very much like Batman, both in his “uncanny resemblance to Christian Bale” and the fact that he has two jobs: he is a high school teacher by day and a cartoonist by night. As a high school teacher, he once drew comics for a math read more »



UC Berkeley graduate Sarah Shourd is one of the three American hikers who were imprisoned in Iran. She was taken with her now-fiancé Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal — both UC Berkeley graduates. Of the three, she is the only one who has been released. To build support for her imprisoned friends, Sarah Shourd released a music video for her original song, “Piece of Time.” Take a look.

Freed US hiker Sarah Shourd releases music video after release from Iranian jail [Adelaide Now]


diversity

Though UC Berkeley is often reputed to have a diverse student body, statistics released Thursday do not seem to support this assessment. While the student body may be diverse in terms of its set of interests and abilities (fire spinning for instance) the numbers for race are not as impressive.

For this year’s freshman class, UC Berkeley accepted ten times more white and Asian students than African-American students. The decline of acceptance rates for African-Americans started in 1998 when Proposition 209 went into effect. The Prop prohibits UC from considering race, sex or ethnicity when reviewing applications.

Currently, African-American students make up 3.4 percent of the student body with only 124 African-Americans in this year’s freshman class. Compare that with the 1,153 white freshmen and 1,662 Asian-American freshmen. Chicano students are slightly more populous at 420, and Native American students only number 28.

If these stats may seem surprisingly low, next time you are in a lecture hall look around (unless you’re in like, an African-American studies class) these numbers may start to make more sense.

Image Source: tedknudsen under Creative Commons
International students up at Cal, minorities decline [Berkeleyside]


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December is upon us. To some, this means losing the classy facial hair lovingly cultivated during the past month. To others, it means putting the Christmas playlist on infinite repeat. And to all of us students, December’s arrival means we have to start worrying about exams and impending end-of-semester deadlines.

Believe it or not, all that worry can have an unintended consequence: stress.

Luckily, there are many resources available to students for stress management. The Tang Center’s website has a detailed list of the common stressors in student life, along with advice on how to remedy them. Tang additionally offers stress and anxiety counseling, for those who are really stricken. There’s also a stress management seminar, lead by licensed psychologist Linda Zaruba, being held tonight at the Faculty Club (6153) from 6:30-8pm. Sure, it’s geared toward graduate students, but if you’re a really stressed undergrad we’re sure there’s nothing to stop you from showing up for advice and some light refreshments. Eating well is key to combatting stress, after all.

So relax! Enjoy this last week of classes. Or, if you can’t, at least try not to pull any all-nighters. That craziness is proven to lower your GPA.

Image source: bottled_void under Creative Commons
Be Well! [Tang Center]


math sex

In keeping with the trend of all things unusual and steamy and unusually steamy, the Clog would like to take this opportunity to tell you about “Rites of Love and Math.”

For starters, it’s a movie. One that was made by UC Berkeley’s Edward Frenkel — professor of, you guessed it … math. Frenkel seems to be quite the Renaissance man, because along with his penchant for multivariable calculus, he also wrote, directed, produced and stars in this 26-minute labor of love.

But how can a math-centric movie possibly capture the hearts and interest of audiences who could barely even follow the brainy parts of “Good Will Hunting?” By throwing in heaps of drama and the potential for world destruction, of course. “In Frenkel’s film, the mathematician faces a quandary familiar to theoretical scientists. He has found, at long last, the mathematical formula of love. But then he realizes that others could use his formula to cause harm — and that he must die to safeguard the world.”

Can you say intense? There’s something involving a tattooed formula, as well, but you’ll just have to see the movie to believe us.

Image Source: santheo under Creative Commons
Math Professor Creates Unconventional Film [Daily Cal]
The True Language of Love? It’s Math [UC Berkeley News]


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You may not have heard about “American Born Chinese,” Gene Yang’s graphic novel about being Chinese in America, dealing with race, assimilation and culture. And that would be a shame. Okay, we haven’t read it yet either, but it came highly recommended at our indie bookstore. And guess what? Gene Yang himself will be at Story Hour in the Morrison Library tomorrow Dec. 2 from 5-6 p.m.

This is the last Story Hour of 2010, so it should be a good ‘un. “American Born Chinese” is the first graphic novel ever nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the Printz Award too. Yang also just published two other graphic novels in 2010 called “Prime Baby” and “Animal Crackers.”

Seriously, you guys, watching authors speak about their work is always interesting. And indie graphic novelists are that much more interesting. What else are you doing tomorrow? Go learn some stuff.

Image source: .reid. under Creative Commons
UC Berkeley Story Hour 2010-11 [Site]


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