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Hey Berkeley! It’s been a while (kind of) since we last took a stand on a politically contentious issue, alienating ourselves from much of red state/middle America. Is this a bad thing? A good thing? Well, that depends on your opinion, but here’s another stand-taking that might get ugly: Berkeley City Council is now thinking of honoring the man who allegedly leaked the first set of documents.

The Council will vote on Tuesday of next week on “a resolution to honor” Pfc. Bradley Manning, the guy suspected to be behind many of the leaks (including the leak of a video of a US bomb strike on civilians). It was drafted by City Peace and Justice Commissioner Bob Meola who told the AP that Manning should get a medal.

Unsurprisingly, Fox News has already weighed in on the issue with the classy headline “Berkeley Gives America the Middle Finger.” The headline is followed by a picture of a giant flag, in case you didn’t already get the extreme subtlety of their message.

We would wager a good amount of our freedom that this issue is going to get a lot of hackles up on both sides. So how about it, Clog fans? Whaddya think?

Image source: alexcovic under Creative Commons
Berkeley Council weighs honoring accused in WikiLeaks case [Associated Press] via Oakland Tribune


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We know you’re hankering for a break right about now. In fact, if you’re anything like us, you’re hankering for a break from taking a break from studying. Watching “30 Rock” on Hulu when you’re supposed to be studying can be very stressful. Either way, there’s a holiday concert tomorrow Dec. 8 at noon in Hertz Hall, and we think you might enjoy it.

It’s choral holiday music from around the world, people! We’re talking England, France and Germany! Well, those were the ones listed on the information site. There could be more, too! At any rate, we’re talking Christmas carols and “winter songs.”

Fingers crossed for “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.“ We’ve always wanted to see that taken on by a full choir of serious professional musicians.

P.S. In spite of this picture, we have no idea if the choirs will be wearing Santa hats. Probably not.

Image source: ethanlindsey under Creative Commons
Noon Concert: Holiday Choral Music [UC Berkeley Department of Music Calendar]


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While you’re studying for finals, you might feel like taking a break and listening to the radio. If you do, you might want to tune in to KPFA in Berkeley from 6 – 7 a.m. on weekdays for their new Al Jazeera English program.

The Pacifica Foundation owns that radio station, along with many others around the country. According to Berkeleyside, the show started broadcasting here and in New York and Houston today, but will continue to expand to LA and DC in January.

So as usual, we Berkeley-ans are among the first to adopt this new trend. Do we feel smug about it? Yes. Should we? Probably. At the very least, if you’re up from 6 to 7 in the morning and you’re hungry for news, you now have another source for it. And hey, kudos for getting up so early!

Image source: Joi under Creative Commons
Al Jazeera comes to Berkeley airwaves [Berkeleyside]


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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 »


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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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If you find yourself shopping for gifts this year (and let’s face it, most of us do) you might be in the classic Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/nondenominational winter holiday quandary: what do you get the people in your life? Scarves are safe, CDs and books are dangerous and gift cards are just too impersonal. If you’re looking for something Berkeley-esque, however, look no further: the ASUC Art Studio is currently hosting a holiday art sale.

The art sale is in the MLK building from Nov. 30 (today) until Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closes at 3 p.m. on Dec. 4). Little more information is provided, although they do advertise things that are both “handmade and original.” We don’t know exactly what type of art, either, but they’re taking classes on ceramics, drawing and painting and photography, so it’s sure to be a blend.

And it’s Berkeley, so there may very well be anti-capitalist motifs. As we all know, that’s perfect for Yuletide.

Image source: geishaboy500 under Creative Commons
Holiday Sale [Berkeley Art Studio]


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As anyone who has taken Astro C10 knows, (and yeah, that’s probably most Berkeley students) the solar system is really cool. Just ask anyone: new stuff shows up on planets all the time. For example, a brown stripe that had disappeared on Jupiter is now back.

We’ll leave the technical jargon to the people who, you know, actually know stuff, but we are still able to coo in awe at this discovery. An amateur astronomer noticed the stripe’s reappearance and UC Berkeley profs read more »


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It’s raining, you’re tired and you just want to go home. You know what will cheer you up? Why, Arabic calligraphy, of course! The Institute of East Asian Studies (2223 Fulton, sixth floor) is now host to a delightful collection of Islamic/Chinese calligraphy, and you can go see it any time you want.

We don’t pretend to know much about calligraphy, let alone Chinese Arabic calligraphy. But we definitely know that it looks beautiful and makes us wish we wrote all our essays with some kind of beautiful quill pen. Like this guy. Or this lady. Artful ink splotches never looked better.

Anyway, as the little blurb tells us, “Chinese Arabic calligraphy has its own schools, traditions, and techniques all little known in the West.” So there you go: there’s another reason for going. You’ve got another thing to talk about at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Image source: bazstyle under Creative Commons
Painting: Arabic Chinese calligraphy [UC Berkeley Events Calendar]


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Feeling antsy about Thanksgiving? What about traffic? Did you know that there are algorithms that can help us figure out highway traffic? And if you knew that, did you know that UC Berkeley’s very own Alexandre Bayen just received an award for doing stuff like that?

We realize “stuff like that” isn’t the scientific term for it, so we’ll get more specific. Bayen, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, was recently awarded one of the 2010 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). He’s one of six UC professors to get it, but he’s the only UCB prof.

He works largely with mobile Internet applications, writing algorithms for traffic as well as aquatic robots. These robots then send information about water quality to different places around the bay. Coolest of all, this is an early career award, which means that the National Science Foundation thinks Bayen has a lot still left in him.

So no pressure, Bayen, but we can’t wait to see what else ya got.

Image source: brdwatcher1 under Creative Commons
White House awards Alexandre Bayen with early career award [UC Berkeley News]


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How’s that for a hook? But seriously, guys, we have some news: UC Berkeley scientists have recently found that jet lag can seriously decrease the rate of neuron birth. So in layman’s terms, yes, this means that hamsters are dumber if they’re jet-lagged.

As adorable as the idea of hamsters flying on tiny planes from time zone to time zone sounds, these hamsters were just subjected to scientists advancing their day and night schedules by six hours (meant to mimic going from Paris to New York every three days for a month).

This led to a decrease of 50 percent in new neuron production in the hamsters’ hippocampuses, and the hamsters were still sluggish after 28 days on a normal schedule.

So what does this mean? Well, jet lag sucks even more, but we’re pretty sure that only silly people will say: Stop transatlantic travelling! It’s making you dumb! Maybe we’ll just go back to the old idea that sleep is good.

Image source: cdrussorusso under Creative Commons
Study: jet lag may mean brain lag [UPI]


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