Whenever you start planning your schedule for the following semester, you usually start off with yourA Tribute To Seminars core classes. Most of you may choose a math, a science, or an English course as your base, and go about building your schedule from there. And when you’ve finished grabbing the last few spots in every section, you’d likely lean back and take a deep breath, exhausted from fighting against our rotten class registration website.

However, a few of you won’t be so quick to log out and go about enjoying the rest of your day. Some of you have a couple extra units — and have an intrinsic sense of daring and adventure – so you go about signing up for seminars. Seminars are those things for underclassmen to have fun and experiment with their varying tastes in academia. These can range from how monsters roamed the ancient world, to discussing your vision for the University of California.

The great thing about seminars is that they can be totally random! The professors who teach seminars don’t have to be part of that seminar’s associated department, and the students don’t have to be affiliated with that major to enroll. Ever since its inception a couple of decades past, it’s been a way to bring both instructors and underclassmen with very diverse fields of study together to explore a unique avenue of knowledge that is probably not covered anywhere else. Best of all, it teaches you something that no other class would be capable of doing – do you think you’d really learn how and why birds sing, regardless of your major?

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Having chucked a few beers and started grinding a sorority girl on the dance floor, you might start getting so caught up in the pride of rocking out at a frat party in your basScreen Shot 2012-11-20 at 4.03.46 PMeball hat and a pair of vans with socks pulled up so high that it almost makes people think you just came from a soccer game. What a friday night!

So, frat party-goers, have you ever thought of the multitude of alternatives to a frat party on Friday night? Time to raise the stakes!

We often forget that just a 30-minute BART ride away is the hustle and bustle of the city and its phenomenal assortment of after-dark entertainment (another reason why Cal trumps Stanford). It is understandable that as college students our limited budgets don’t give us free reign in choosing the swanky and avant-garde sort of weekend’s we might wish for, but the wide spectrum of choices allows for a middle ground to accommodate our budgets without sacrificing the fun. So next time, quit the grueling contemplation of which frat to go and hop on the Bart for some city life!

Image Source: D.H. Parks under Creative Commons


Let’s get one thing straight – when trying to focus on a mediocre PowerPoint, we find nothing more irritating than

No, Professor, Im laughing because English is soo fun.

"No, Professor, I'm laughing because your powerpoint is soo fun."

an ESPN video flickering in our field of vision. But sometimes, despite the demand for undivided attention in class, one finds they just have to be on top of that ending eBay auction, or is overcome with burning desire to catch up with an exciting new Clog post. If you’re going to indulge your ADD symptoms – and we know you inevitably will, you slacker – here are some ways to do it discreetly, without bothering the rest of us (or earning a dirty look from your GSI).

Turn your brightness down. We’d prefer our last sight read more »


Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 4.21.09 PMWith the end of the semester rapidly approaching, the Clog knows what that means: empty wallets and Ramen noodle filled days. But, no fear, here is one way to get some quick cash…eBay! Whether its selling your old clothes, text books, or your soul — if you’re really desperate — eBay is a great platform to rake in some extra dough. Here’s why:

It’s is an international website, and serves many countries all over the world. Buyers and sellers use this platform to communicate with one another, and most importantly, to buy and sell goods from and to one another. It can be a great tool if you want to clean out your closet or tidy up your dorm room by unloading a bunch of semester-old textbooks or out-of-season clothes. Cashing in on the resale of those expensive books can be a much more economically feasible option than trekking to the campus bookstore where you can expect to receive pennies on the dollar for that pricey textbook.

Buyers and sellers exchange feedback with one another through eBay, in an attempt to keep the platform fair and honest, and so that both buyers and sellers know what they are in store for if they endeavor to conduct business with each other. Every time you complete a transaction, whether you are the purchaser or the purchasee, you are allowed to rate your experience. As a buyer, you are allowed to rate your experience based on a scale of 1 to 5 stars in four categories. These categories are: the fairness of the shipping price, the time it took for you to receive your item, the accuracy with which the item was described insofar as matching its true condition, and the level of communication between the seller and you.

As a seller, you typically can only rate a buyer as “good” if they pay; negative feedback rarely is given because a seller must report a problem with a buyer to eBay. Negative feedback on the buyer’s end is recorded onto the buyer’s record and can affect the ease with which they can transact purchases in the future.

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It’s one of the least hotly debated topics in all of America – something that the old Cents Might Actually Make Sensepeople in Congress have argued about a couple of times, and an issue that has spawned organizations to lobby for them. Should the country eliminate the penny – that which bears the vampire hunter’s face on it – from the currency system of the United States altogether. But considering recent circumstances, is that really the best idea?

Everyone argues over the mundane facts when it comes to issues like these, like how we must validate the late president with more than a measly five dollar bill, or how the penny is worth less than any piece of engraved metal in the world. Some might even say that melting down coins for their raw materials may be more profitable than being a drug dealer. But for all of us at Cal, we should focus on the truly important reason.

Remember that proposition that everyone on campus was blabbering on about a few weeks ago? Yeah, Prop 30! After the relentless campaigning by pretty much everyone who was politically active on campus – which is to say, everyone – it passed by a solid seven percent. When it hits, it’s going to raise sales taxes on everyone in the state – yes, that includes all of you hardworking, money-deprived college students – by a quarter of a cent. So regardless of how it costs more than a penny to make one and how limited their utility actually is, it’s imperative that we keep it. After all, we can’t go around saying that sales tax has gone up by one-twentieth of a nickel, can we? It’s just more catchy the way it is.

Image source: Louis under Creative Commons


It’s been weeks since the election, so hopefully by now we’ve all scrubbed the blue and red eyeshadow from drooping eyelids and peeled the ‘I Voted’ stickers off our jacket lapels. Our neighbors finally have muted Baracka Flacka Flame. Some of us are elated, others disappointed; but one thing is clear for all of us it was a wild ride, and everyone’s first instinct is to simply exhale.

But a long-awaited conclusion to this race should be no cue to abandon political momentum, wherever it carries our respective lives. You’ve probably heard if not repeated that now-famous quote by activist Mohandas Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Considering the leader’s lifelong commitment to pacifist social reform, Gandhi’s rhetoric was perhaps more literal than popular Western reiteration might suggest. No, we’re not suggesting our readers drop out tomorrow morning to join the Peace Corps. However, we do note that armchair academia and box-checking will only get us so far. We are often divided in opinion over the President’s fulfillment of his first-term campaign platform of “Change” and “Hope,” but regardless of our feelings on any issue, we as citizens must also remember to look to ourselves as sources for progress, no matter what our leaders are up to. Real people create real ideas, and the often-seemingly small but deliberate efforts we make is what alters the course of society.

Remember John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address? “Ask not what you can do for your country,” he implored us, “but what your country can do for you.” And the man was right. Those ballot measures don’t write themselves, you know.

R.S.


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Remember this man? It was just two weeks ago we were joking about Chancellor-Elect Nicholas Dirks’ beastly brow. We predicted that once he took office he would be called “The Brow.” Just look at him, posing effortlessly in this soft-featured scenery. Doesn’t his face just say, “If I don’t get you, my unibrow will?” In a mere moment, these hopes were shattered, cause … read more »


As the beginning to each holiday season starts to set in, Cal students tend to zoom intoWhat Cal Students Should Be Thankful For overdrive. We fantasize about winter break, especially after Thanksgiving has come and gone. In case you didn’t take a couple of seconds to say your thank-yous this past week, there’s still time! Marvel at all the reasons that being at Berkeley should make you thankful:

1)      You’re still a Cal student… hopefully! That’s something to be proud of, right? After all, you can’t really get higher than #1 for a public school.

2)      Finals are still two whole weeks away. That gives us all extra time to procrastinate on studying, because that’s no way to spend dead week! Sure, you may have had some homework to do over the holidays, but that has to be better than those college applications you were frantically filling out a year or two ago.

3)      Jeff Tedford is finally getting yanked after yet another dismal 3-9 season for the men’s football team. That means you only have to wait 10 more months for a well-coached football team!

4)      There have been less than 10 days that have had more than 0.10 inches of rain so far this school year. Considering that November is the fifth wettest month, it’s not saying much, but enjoy the good weather before February rolls around!

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So what do you do for a 4-hour flight going halfway across the country? Some flights offer Wi-Fi, the panacea for boredom, but if you’re like us, you don’t want to pay $5 because you simply cannot admit you’re that addicted to Wi-Fi. So we’ll offer some of the things we do…feel free to chime in on the comments:

A very nice picture of an airplane.

A very nice picture of an airplane.

  • Blogging (apparently the altitude or something is great for blogging)
  • Reading (no pesky texts, emails, social networks to distract you)
  • Movies
  • Podcasts (Personal favorite: Intelligence Squared from NPR)
    • Talk to the people around you…we haven’t tried this very often
    • Sleep…although, some of us just can’t sleep on flights
    • Eat all the peanuts!
    • Catch up on email (they won’t get sent, but you can’t use more incoming email as an excuse for not responding to things you already should have)
    • Skymall?

    Image source: Kuster and Wildhaber Photography under Creative Commons


    A universal struggle of student-dom is trying to get things done. One of the main deterrents of productivity is procrastination, which we’ve written a piece or two about recently, with one in the making. But at the heart of this problem is a lack of proper goal-setting. In a perfect dream world, we’d all say we want to do something and that sheer will alone would be all we need to carry us to the end. Unfortunately, only a very small number of people are wired like this.

    Good intentions are not enough to make the whole process “worth it,” unless the end goal is mind-blowingly great. The average person needs incentive and stakes to rationalize the process of carrying our the goal.  The new goal-setting website stickK does just that: it turns the process into a little game, since it’s proven that people are more likely to comply if a fun incentive is involved. And who doesn’t like games? Your goal is now a Vegas gamble! In a fun way. Not in a ‘oh gosh, I’m in mad debt’ kind of way.
    Je ne peux pas parlez francais
    StickK operates on the simple behavioral economic logic that:

    1) “People don’t always do what they claim they want to do.”

    2) “Incentives get people to do things.”

    And they’re integrating this principle into their interactive goal-setting model designed to ease users in achieving that one pesky goal they’ve been trying to get done by making the process like a game, thus ushering them into the desirable ‘it’s not work, it’s fun’ mindset.

    First, you choose a goal. It can be anything from losing weight to quitting smoking to simply hanging out with your friends more often. At each week or month, you can set micro-goals that you can measure your progress with. Next, you set the stakes, which is optional. If you haven’t reached your goal for the time increment, they charge your card the stakes you set. (They profit off of your failure? Great.)  Then, you get a referee, which is any third party member who monitors and reminds you in your goal. And finally, you can add friends who will be there for moral support and can encourage you in your private journal, which adds to the community aspect of the “game” setting. Everyone’s a player, so they’re all in it together!

    If you have trouble setting goals and keeping them, we highly urge you check this out!

    Mmmm, imagine if you could make the stakes candy.

    Image source: Graela via Creative Commons


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