awesomeWith the seemingly unending stream of rankings that has sprung up, it’s hard to know which ones to pay attention to. We here at the Clog are happy to provide you with the quite obvious and simple answer: the ones that rate Berkeley favorably.

We’ve already ranted about the terrible injustices that have befallen us, so we’ll spare you the boredom. However, a rather promising ranking done recently by Washington Monthly has used a different approach to the traditional college ranking.

They’ve gone a little JFK on us and have based their ranking not on what “colleges can do for you,” but what “colleges [are] doing for the country.” UC Berkeley has earned third place on the list, which includes three categories: Social Mobility, Research and Service.

Social Mobility includes the number students receiving Pell grants and graduation rate. The second category, Research, includes research findings and undergraduates who go on to pursue PhDs. The final category, Service, is kind of self-explanatory.

The source article’s title is “College Rankings That Aren’t Ridiculous: Washington Monthly,” so you know this is legitimate.

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College Rankings That Aren’t Ridiculous: Washington Monthly [Huffington Post]


pfaOh, to be a freshman again when it seemed like the free things would never end. The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will be hosting an event which features free pizza and classic art posters this Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m. Not only freshman, but incoming transfers can get into the event free of charge with an official Cal I.D.

After this, students as well as the public can enjoy a free movie screening. Sci-fi movie “It Conquered the World” will be shown in the sculpture garden, providing a quaint little environment in which to see the movie.

Students will also be able to ask members of the BAM/PFA Student Committee questions about the museum, as they will be present at the event. So take advantage of your first year, opportunities for free pizza sadly diminish as time goes on.

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Posters, pizza and outdoor Roger Corman movie part of BAM/PFA’s fall semester welcome for new students [UC Berkeley NewsCenter]


circusIf you have frequent daydreams of running away and joining the circus, you may be able to live the dream (or at least the diet version) at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Next Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a performance by youth members of Trapeze Arts. Fun Fact: Trapeze Arts is one of the only full-time circus schools in the country.

You’ll be able to show everyone that you could totally join the circus if you wanted to — you’re just happy where you’re at right now by walking on sticks or even a tightrope (don’t get too excited, it’s low).

In case this isn’t enticing enough, tickets are free with admission to the Hall. And who knows, you may find your true calling in life.

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UC Berkeley Events [site]


whipIn case you forgot, or in your blissed-out summer stupor can’t exactly recall what month it is right now (it’s August), the Center Street Summer Movie Series starts this Saturday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m. The event, which actually sounds like it will be really cool, just got upgraded to the status of awesome.

On top of everything else, there will be a costume contest with prizes handed out at 7:30 p.m. As always, the Clog is here with some suggestions.

As “The Princess Bride” will be shown this Saturday, couples could of course go as a swashbuckling Dread Pirate and a pretty, pretty princess. For “Up” don’t just wear a bow tie — stick with the spirit of the movie and be adventurous! Wear a cardboard box and tie some balloons to yourself and voila — you’ve transformed yourself into a house.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” kind of demands the traditional Indiana Jones costume; just be careful with that whip. We’ve already suggested a bathrobe for “The Big Lebowski,” but we are a pretty big fan of the nihilists, and a giant bowling pin would be a pretty interesting sight.

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Costume contests match movies at new cinema series [Berkeleyside]

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hallowsIt’s not like we’re grasping at straws due to the recent end of the Harry Potter film series or anything, but we’re pretty sure that Harry and his magical universe exist. Xiang Zhang of UC Berkeley and his colleagues have, over years of research, developed an “invisibility cloak,” which is a material that changes the path of electromagnetic objects around a wave so as to render it imperceptible.

Granted, the cloak only hid an object around the diameter of a red blood cell, but it is still a significant development in this type of material. Most cloaking materials (kind of like the inferior invisibility cloaks that were not as exceptional as Harry’s) hide objects from vision by using infrared waves or microwaves, which are just out human sight range.

This material hides objects under layers of silicon nitride and silicon oxide and then refracts light away from the lump that the object makes, so that the cloak ends up looking smooth. We don’t care what you say, Muggle — magic is totally real.

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Weekly Press Package [American Chemical Society]


cautionWarning: this post may contain a hazardous amount of science. Peter Duesberg, a molecular and cell biology professor here at UC Berkeley, and his colleagues have come out with a theory that cancer is the evolution of a new species. Duesberg said that cancer is a parasite: it relies on its host for nourishment, but is otherwise an independent organism that is most likely doing damage to the host.

Duesberg’s argument isn’t exactly groundbreaking, as early forms of the idea can be traced back to the late 20th century. According to him, the prevailing theory of cancer as genes that mutate and trigger unstoppable growth in a cell, is false. He proposes that cancer is actually when chromosomes are disrupted, ultimately leading to damage that affects the balance of genes.

The good thing about this theory is that it could lead to new ways of thinking about cures and the like. The theory is of course a lot more detailed and intelligent-sounding than this, but hopefully this simplified version wasn’t too much for those of us who aren’t exactly amazing at science.

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Are cancers newly evolved species? [UC Berkeley News Center]

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operaglassesDon’t worry, not the school kind of class. In case you were too busy (or maybe lazy, we don’t judge) to make it all the way into San Francisco for the free concert on July 24, there’s something a lot closer to home for you.

On Aug. 5 and 6, the Berkeley Summer Symphony will perform in Hertz Concert Hall from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are technically free, but if you want to reach deep into your lamentably shallow college student pockets to support the always-in-need arts, the suggested donation is $10.

The Summer Symphony will play a Beethoven Overture, two Mussorgsky pieces, and another piece by Berlioz. The Symphony consists mostly of students, though it does have members from all over the Bay Area. If you still don’t feel classy enough from simply going to see the Symphony, maybe try bringing a pair of opera glasses and talking in an English accent.

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UC Berkeley Events [Site]


unclesamBeauty comes at a price, and the Berkeley Rose Garden knows this all too well. There is a lack of funding to maintain the Garden and it’s looking a little worse for the wear.

Plus, Friends of the Berkeley Rose Garden, which was founded to aid with the Garden’s maintenance, needs more volunteers. The group currently only has six members — an insufficient number to get all of the work done. Ideally, these new volunteers will be younger, said group volunteer Christina Platt.

Although the Berkeley Landmark will receive $325,000 from the city, that too will not be enough to restore the park to its former glory, as $4,000,000 worth of repairs was suggested. The pergola (archway), the pathway, and the disabled accessibility are the things that are highest on the agenda.

Volunteering doesn’t require any serious commitment. Simply show up at the Berkeley Rose Garden any Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Be there or be square!

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Berkeley Rose Garden Needs a Little Help from Its Friends [Berkeley Patch]


musicIf you’re looking for another way to stave off that summer boredom or are looking to treat your more sophisticated half that’s been repressed due to lack of funds, then listen up.

Tomorrow, Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. the San Francisco Symphony will play a free concert in the Sigmund Stern Grove. The venue, an outdoor amphitheater, seems like a lovely place to while away the afternoon.

Sponsored by International House, the concert will feature two works by Beethoven, plus Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. The venue is located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco, and did we mention that the concert is free? Yes, we did. But it could definitely be said again.

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Summer at the SF Symphony: FREE Concert at Stern Grove, San Francisco [UC Berkeley Events]


booksIt’s a sad day for poets, but we guess if you’re a poet then that’s pretty much true everyday. The UC Press has recently announced that it will put its New California Poetry series on an indefinite hiatus.

Although the Press saw a recent success with the “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” they are set to receive a 10 percent cut in funding from the University. New California only sells around 1,000 copies of each title, though it has received some critical acclaim.

This critical success may be due in part to the fact that, according to Forrest Gander of Brown University, books have been selected based on quality rather than marketing potential.

Although three titles will be released in 2012, they are not reviewing any for 2013. However, they are looking for funding. So buck up, humanities majors — there’s a bright future out there for you.

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Facing cutbacks, UC Press will suspend poetry series [LA Times]


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