Coming in at a jaw-plummeting average speed of 18.7Mbps, our humble college town takes the cake in high speed internet. According to the Akamai Technologies quarterly “State of the Internet Report,” this broadband speed, based on a data set of worldwide speeds and IP address usage, puts Berkeley not only at the top of the U.S., not the continent, but the world. The whole wide WORLD, you guys!

Now c’mon, everybody! Get out there and commit high speed internet crimes!

Image Source: roland under Creative Commons
Your fastest Internet in the world is found in Berkeley, CA [ars technica]

A go-getting college drop-out by the name of Bill Gates waxed political on a Persian rug today at Zellerbach Hall, addressing a randomly chosen assemblage of what our billion dollar guest referred to as the “talented, committed personnel” of UC Berkeley. (AKA disillusioned 20-somethings ditching class?) The talk, entitled “Giving Back: Finding the Best Way to Make a Difference,” marks his first public appearance at a university since his retirement from Microsoft.

Framed around unabashed self-promotion of his philanthropic agenda, Gates posed us with the following question: “Are the brightest minds working on the most important problems?”

What we gleaned from Bill:

- Bill Gates devoutly subscribes to UC Berkeley’s “Physics For Future Presidents” webcast.
- Bill Gates and his money are concerned about two things: inequity and education.
- While Bill Gates enjoys March Madness and goofing off with his friends as much as the next person, he’d much prefer to read more »

A bulletin issued by BART Police Chief Daschel Butler (who within the safety of our imaginations wears a three piece suit and has facial hair more impressive than your great grandfather sitting on his wrap-around porch drinking mint juleps in the antebellum South) called for an immediate kabash on the use of stun guns. Oh Daschel. The lengths you go to keep Bay Area citizenry untased.

The squadron will turn in their weaponry today. Rest assured, BART Police are waist deep in the development of a new Taser policy, prompted by recent Taser-related controversies due to mal-trained officers.

Our suggestion? Well, we’ve always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit cold-blooded BART criminals immensely.

Image Source: Jason Edward Scott Bain under Creative Commons
BART Cops Quit Using Tasers For Now [SF Appeal]

Visiting Scholar at the Center for Latin American Studies Daniel Alarcon, a writer in his early thirties with more awards, honors, fellowships and commemorative plaques than any war hero on the National Mall, has put together an anthology marketed for “every genius whose ideas are prone to bouncing away before they can be caged with a word processor.”

Alarcon will be discussing “The Secret Miracle: The Novelists Handbook” at City Lights in San Francisco tomorrow, April 13 at 7 p.m. and Diesel Bookstore in Oakland on Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

Alarcon’s newly edited anthology features fiction authors the likes of Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Michael Chabon, George Pelacanos, Amy Tan, Stephen King, Gary Shteyngar and Haruki Murakami.

Murakami, you guys!! Just go. In spite of yourself. We promise you won’t be the most pigeon-toed, disaffected 20-something there.

Image Source: mtkr under Creative Commons
Bay Area, join us for a Secret Miracle tour [826 National]

Today’s Nuclear Summit marks the largest pow-wow of world leaders hosted by a U.S. president since Harry Truman in 1945. As news of the Ukraine forfeiting its highly enriched uranium and Obama’s plans for the stockpile filter through our tweetdecks, we got nuclear on the brain. We can’t stop worrying about the fact that every nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal was designed by the University of California.

But enough with the Don DeLillo doom and gloom diatribe. We can’t reduce nukes to a mushroom cloud trope. As Berkeley Engineering reminds us in this month’s issue of “Innovations,” it’s time to rethink nuclear in terms of carbon-free electricity.

The Department of Energy has recruited Berkeley engineers the likes of Per Peterson and Brian Wirth to research hubs, working on high-fidelity computation modeling to better understand unclear fuel and materials. We don’t want another core meltdown a la Three Mile Island 1979 on our hands.

Image Source: WILPF under Creative Commons
Rethinking nuclear power [Berkeley Engineering]

So the other night on College Avenue we saw this bearded, inebriated-seeming 20-something male peddling his circa ’85 Peugeot hands free, due north. He had a box of 2 buck Chuck strapped above his rear wheel, what looked suspiciously like a didgeridoo strapped to his back, he was smoking a cigarette and here’s the kicker: he was texting.

Hate to be a buzzkill, dude, but uh, if a certain proposed state ban on texting while biking passes, you may be facing read more »

An anti-Scientology movement involving no resources, money, physical location or reliable followers sparked a recent U.C. Irvine academic paper, the fruits of which were presented yesterday at the Pacific Sociological Association conference in Oakland.

The paper is called “Project Chanology, Scientology & Memes: Shifting Notions of Movement Frames & Protest Strategy in the Age of Internet Culture.” From what we can tell, these protests seem to be a rick rollin’ way to let off some steam. Pseudo-libertarian stick-it-to-man efforts, like calling in hundreds of pizza orders to the orgs read more »

So, remember Quaaludes? Yeah, neither do we. From what we can tell, they’re basically glorified horse tranquilizers. Evidently there’s still enough of a market for the stuff that two CalCoast lab techs have been busy producing over three million dollars of the drug, amounting to some 100,000 pills.

The dual arrest of Kevin Yan and Thomas Fairley was the product of a three-year investigation of “Operation Lude Behavior.” Cute.  According to the feds, the pair drove a total of five luxury vehicles to distribute the ‘ludes to clientele extending from the Bay Area all the way to New York.

Look bros, take a cue from Penny Lane, why don’t you? Rock and roll is dead. It used to be about the music, man. You’ve changed.

Image Source: Curtis Gregory Perry under Creative Commons
Bay Area Lab Workers Pinched in a Quaaludes Bust [SFist]
Feds Bust Major Quaalude Ring; Two Locals Arrested []

UC Berkeley Law Prof. Goodwin Liu, Obama’s nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is facing mad criticism from Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee on account of some “glaring omissions” about his, er, checkered past.

And by checkered past we mean, you know, opposing supporting affirmative action, participating in an event sponsored by the Center for Social Justice at Berkeley, believing people have a right to health care and that the Constitution should be re-examined once in a while. Oooh the controversy is deafening.

Liu swung back with a heartfelt apology for his short-sights, though whether the slip-up will cost him the job remains uncertain.

Contrary to previous assertion, Liu is in fact a supporter of affirmative action as a means of “remedying societal discrimination.”

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Republicans Attack Judicial Nominee Goodwin Liu for Omissions [CBS]
Boalt Professor Liu Faces Republican Criticism [Daily Cal]

If there’s one thing we know for certain about Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, it’s this: the man can keep a secret. Well, that and he must own at least 365 hawaiian shirts. But seriously, Toy Story 3 has been churning through the Pixar catacombs in Emeryville for a decade. It’s about time Andy went to college.

The script, written by the guy who brought you 2006 Oscar darling “Little Miss Sunshine,” is rumored to be seeded with very morose, adult undertones. Andy hires an escort to talk about Woody separation anxiety? Buzz gets busted for embezzling Lincoln Logs? Jesse finally pays off those pesky student loans and is forced to live on edamame and peanut butter?

Landmark California is hosting a free screening read more »

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