In a move that we’re still only half-convinced isn’t an elaborate troll, the University recently unveiled a completely redesigned “systemwide identifier” for itself. You’ve already heard our initial reactions to the new logo, but here is some further explanation behind (and outrage against) this change.

University of Fisher-Price Toys, really.

University of Fisher-Price Toys, really.

The cyan-and-yellow design is (somehow) modeled after the current book-and-crest seal, a boldly simple, modern nod to Silicon-Valley chic. According to the University, the redesign won’t replace the UC logo entirely, but is part of an initiative under the broader campaign Onward California. The new design, then, appears more intended to be a friendlier visual supplement, versus a complete overhaul of UC identity. According to Vanessa Correa, Creative Director at the University of California, the reworked design “is less of a rebranding exercise, but instead the creation of a coherent, consistent, and relevant brand identity where before there was none.” Some fancy tricks in Adobe Illustrator might indeed read “relevant” and modern, we must admit. But we’re thoroughly disappointed with this blob. It looks like a blue toilet flushing.

First off – ”brand identity”? Trendy marketable appeal is not something that necessarily encapsulates the centuries-old traditions, values, and honor behind the distinguished institutions that make up the University of California. In fact, part of the reason students choose to attend this very university or its siblings is because of its reputation of time-forged prestige. It is a reputation, of course, grounded in a long history of academic greatness, established by generations of students, academics, and many other bright individuals before us. We pay homage to historical roots of our reputation with the current classic, universally-recognizable emblem. For this reason, we think many would dispute the relevance of stylish appeal in the first place. read more »


As the Finals issue features a great article on study-friendly instrumental tracks, we got inspired to explore the relationship of music and focus a bit further. It’s no surprise that while studying, many students prefer white noise or music to the jarring sound of chairs scraping throughout Moffit. But are there particular types of music that are more conducive to learning or focus? Some research suggests there are.

Studies in music and cognition receiving most media attention are those focused on what many dub the Mozart effect. The term usually refers to several similar theories, all centered on the idea that classical music may aid in temporary or long-term learning enhancement. In one experiment, students exposed to classical music showed increased — but temporary — spatial-temporal reasoning ability.

Similarly, gamma waves can describe a specific pattern of neural oscillations — brain waves — at a frequency of around 50 Hz. Researchers such as György Buzsaki have published evidence suggesting that the nature of the frequency of these waves may aid conscious attention through facilitating activity within the thalamus, a brain structure partially involved in alertness and consciousness. While the theory remains in need of further support, we still suggest trying out gamma-wave music therapy for yourself!

Our favorite tracks
We love Youtube tracks (1) Biaural Beats: Study, Focus, Concentrate and (2) High focus – Gamma brainwaves in particular, because they’re repetitive enough to discourage distraction. For those who might prefer classical music, we suggest the (3) Study Music Project, also on Youtube. Happy finals prep week!

-R.S.

Image source: Karmalize 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 »


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.


No family feast for you? Not a problem.

No family feast for you? Not a problem.

Not going home for the holiday weekend? While most dread the holidays (our relatives’ drunken shouting matches over eggnog, Christmas song covers by Justin Bieber…), many of us college students won’t have the luxury of going home for the holidays this year. If you’re one of the 30% of Cal students from out of the state or country – or simply can’t make it out of town – we’ve found some alternatives to ruminating in your dorm room next week.

Lusting after turkey dinner? Crossroads sometimes just won’t cut it, so check out Opentable for a list of East Bay and San Francisco restaurants that are serving traditional Thanksgiving dinner. read more »


We’re back with another detailed infographic to illustrate a fascinating social trend that can be observed of many Berkeley undergraduate students, and is ultimately responsible for subpar library selection – stutentus dysfunctionus. This week’s productivity chart, organized from a compilation of various scientific data on library location amenities, aims to support study habits by streamlining study location options available to students. Why are you still reading this?

Click to expand.

Click to expand.

If you’re so dysfunctional to need to use the above chart, you probably won’t benefit this late in the semester… So we hope that you’ll at least feel more productive with the help of this graphic. Happy procrastinating! read more »


Picture this:

Can more invasive social contact by others indicate shrinking boundaries around privacy?

Can more invasive social contact by others indicate shrinking boundaries around our privacy?

It’s nearly 10 p.m., and you’re at home, brushing your teeth. Your iPhone starts screaming. You snap to attention, no thanks to that inherent anxiety that accompanies living as a young single woman in an urban environment. You grudgingly answer the phone, hoping to be greeted by an automated pharmacy reminder’s monotone, and not a friend needing a ride at this time of night. Instead, it’s some dude asking if you’ve heard about Prop Something for the third time and if you have a few minutes to talk. You grit your teeth and try muster up some manners.

Sound like last night? Join the club.
As you all know elections are today, November 6th. While we’re excited to be casting our ballots, we believe we can speak for nearly all in lamenting over the amount of recent “encouragement” we’ve received to cast those votes. Just this week alone, we’ve received half a dozen calls from local campaigns encouraging either a vote for a particular candidate, or a yea or nay on a particular measure (We’re looking at you, “Yes on Prop 32″-ers.) It’s a given that building support through direct contact methods like telephone calls is far from new, but we’d like to make a case for some boundaries around the use of those methods. Call us old-fashioned, but we fondly regard that old (and apparently outdated) custom of refraining from calling a lady after dark.

What going to Cal can feel like.

What going to Cal can feel like.

Sometimes we get a little psycho during stressful times in college. We find ourselves doing crazy things like staying up all night studying, or waking up with our heads on our desks. While that regretted crick in your neck will even itself out eventually, you might want to take a closer look at yourself if your bad study habits have forced you to trade your ID lanyard for a neck brace.

Here are ten signs that getting that perfect GPA might be more trouble than it’s worth:

1. The milk in your fridge isn’t for cereal, it’s coffee creamer. (Breakfast? What’s that?)

2. Actually, scratch that – Red Bull: Breakfast of champions.

3. Someone tells you your mascara is running. Turns out they’re talking about the permanent dark circles under your eyes.

4. You’ve re-read three textbooks to pass your history class, and still get a B.

5. You consider dropping out because of that B.

read more »


Lately, we haven’t been sleeping too well. We know many of you probably haven’t either, since the midterm season brings more than just exam stress. It brings an entire mid-semester slump! (Maybe it’s partly due to some bad sleeping habits?)

Here’s a few tips to getting better sleep, tailored to a sleep-deprived student body:

If you need rest, keep reading.

If you need rest, keep reading.

1. Organize your thoughts in a new, systematic way.

We’ve found that writing down a “to improve” list can be helpful. Why? In general, students deal with a large number of smaller stresses — exams, disagreements with roommates, buying textbooks — versus something larger. It can often feel overwhelming to try to constantly sort priorities, compartmentalize and keep focused with so many things to remember. As a result, we feel overwhelmed and plagued by worry! Keeping your priorities accessible and clear can eliminate an urge to mentally “search” and therefore lead to less struggle in falling asleep. (Read more about sleep and organization here.)

2. Take a closer look at read more »


Berkeley student life is punctuated by a wide variety of everyday campus issues – many that we drastically change our views on as the years go by here as undergraduates. We thought we would explore such a perplexing phenomenon through an easy-to-view infographic, where we’ve systematically compiled a rich look at how various students view several important, relevant issues affecting everyday campus life.

berkeleyragechart

(click to enlarge)

Okay, okay. So by infographic we actually mean a bunch of rage faces.

read more »


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