Last week on the Clog, we got to sit down and talk with UC Berkeley’s own Electronic Sports Club president, Conan “Suppy” Liu. Through it, we got to find out some very interesting things about the competitive gaming community in Berkeley and what it takes to be a professional gamer. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
However, as we have also found out through Liu, the scene is very much growing and is on the move toward gaining an even broader mainstream appeal. So much so that it seems to have caught the attention of Kornhaber Brown, who has done a mini-documentary about the E-sports community for “PBS Off Book,” a Web series that explores new experimental artistic media.
The mini-documentary itself is very informative and really expands on the vast world of electronic sports in an easy-to-understand way. What’s also nice is that it breaks down the major genres of games played at professional-level tournaments, gives an interesting story of a real-life professional gamer and even dabbles in current issues that exist in the community, such as sexism and the exclusivity that E-sport gaming sometimes breeds.
Posted by Erik Swan on Tuesday, February 05, 2013 08:00 am
Nowadays, we are all pretty familiar with the term “cloud” as it relates to our Internet gadgets. Information is stored off of a device, with the device simply accessing it. So researchers on a multi-university team are taking this idea and looking into how to implement it on a massive scale. They are calling this the TerraSwarm.
Ambitious? Oh yeah. Risky? Of course. We already publish a ton of private information on the Internet. Mobile devices also have a ridiculous amount of access to your information: where you are, who you’re talking to and what you say. Being connected to a TerraSwarm — as the name suggests, an Earth-spanning network — may leave people vulnerable in ways we can’t predict.
But it also has the potential to improve everyone’s quality of life. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of this ambitious research project led by campus EECS professor Edward A. Lee.
According to a press release from the TerraSwarm Research Center, sensors would collect data such as “embedded vision, audio, location, movement, temperature and air quality,” and actuators would put that information to work. These things could be used to “direct the control of physical devices in smart buildings, transportation systems, medical systems, security systems, and homes.”
Just think about it: fully automated transportation systems (coupled with Google’s self-driving car), houses that sense when you’re hungry and cook you a meal (maybe we’re taking this too far) and phones that sense when you’re drunk-dialing and call you a jackass.
As students of Cal, one of the great things we have come to notice about walking around campus or the fine city of Berkeley is that there is always a chance you might run into something really interesting. As previously seen on the Clog’s “We Spy” series, there are a variety of things that we encounter. Most of them tend to stir up emotions of laughter, anger, fascination or even ironic sadness. However, never in our history of “We Spy” have we ever been so … well, creeped out.
It all started one day when we were walking around campus through the wood bridge walkway between the Old Art Gallery and Moses Hall on our way to Wheeler. It was on this walk that we noticed something rather peculiar. Observe the picture below.
From a distance, it looked like an odd circle-shaped segment of graffiti. At the time, we thought it could very well be just that. After all, as much as we are ashamed to admit it, remnants of graffiti always have a tendency to show up around this area of campus. But after taking a few steps forward, read more »
Music festivals are a fantastic way to revel in your favorite bands and stumble upon some brand new ones. There are even those huge outdoor ones that fill an entire three days with live music. It’s an exhilarating experience for sure, but it’s not for everyone. For one, you’re on your feet practically all day, sometimes in scorching temperatures (Coachella, eh?). And on the music side of the coin, some bands’ live shows just work better in an intimate indoor venue rather than in outdoor settings that could drown out the sound.
These festivals surely get more publicity in the long run, but if you’re looking for a different festival experience right here in the Bay Area, check out the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco! In its 21st year, the festival — happening from February 26th to March 6th — presents a plethora of shows in the city at a variety of different venues. You can attend as few or as many as you wish and with the festival pass you can score some sweet deals if you choose to milk the festival for what it’s worth. There are also some film, art and culture events as well! Here is a playlist highlighting some of the best of this eclectic shindig:
Posted by Erum Khan on Monday, February 04, 2013 08:00 am
Have you seen people walking around with funky green plastic containers? Well, those are part of Cal Dining’s new Chews to Reuse system. Not only do you get to giggle over the adorable pun (or snort, whichever you prefer) but you get to save money while being told you’re saving the environment — one fabulous, innovative to-go box at a time.
Here’s how it works. You walk into Crossroads, or any other dining hall for that matter. When you tell the cashier you want it to-go so that you can take food back to your room and chow down while watching Glee, she asks if you’d like regular or reusable. What’s this? Shiny new boxes that don’t look at all like the boring cardboard to-go containers you’re used to. Say you want the exciting shiny stuff and you’ll be charged three dollars instead of the usual seventy-five cents. But don’t worry, you’ll get that whopping investment back at the end of the semester. This is the part most students might actually care about, no offense to all avid recyclers.
Pay once for the box in the beginning, and every time you go back for food you simply drop the box off in bins by the cashier and pick up a new one. Then, once you’ve made your last drop off of the semester – most likely in a well-deserved jubilee of exams being over – you get that money back. So instead of wasting more valuable meal points/dollars (since, believe it or not meal points do stand for actual monetary values) and killing landfills with boxes that apparently take ages to decompose into healthy, sustainable gunk, you reuse! You have to clean the thing before giving it back instead of just tossing it in the trash like you used to, but hey, the Earth thanks you.
Next time the dining hall depresses you too much to actually want to eat within its hallowed halls, Chews to Reuse! Grab that pretty green box and bolt as far away as you can.
The best and worst thing about Cal athletics is its inconsistency.
We all know that we don’t spend the most money on sports compared to other universities — or even close to the most. A decent intercollegiate athletic department like that of Oregon’s has an annual revenue around $88 million, with over a third coming from gifts and donations. Cal Athletics’ revenue for 2011 was $65.2 million, with 24% coming from gifts and donations. Note that these are both public schools who don’t get giant endowments from the school. They have to do the best they can with what they have.
Now the point is that it’s not about the money. Yes, it’s true that more money does buy better equipment and a better coaching staff. It does buy better scouting and ultimately attracts better players. All these factors do lead to better team standings and ultimately greater dedication from the fans.
Except at Cal. The beauty of Cal athletics is that it doesn’t have any of those things. We don’t need money to buy our fan’s loyalty. Our modest athletic budget results in teams that, except for rugby, can’t often do well in their sports. And that’s okay. Cal fans are resolute in their love of the school and our athletes. We don’t need an impressive record to start frothing at the mouth while cheering. It’s only at Cal where the players can take loss after loss and show up to a game against a top opponent and believe they can win. Once, just once in a long while, we get that win. And it’s enough.
Saturday, against No. 10 Oregon, was one of those wins. And it is sweet to know that our team can enter a game with a 12-8 record against a team that is dominating 18-3 and still give it their all until the last second. When our fans rushed out onto the court at the end of the game, it was clear that Cal was proud of the basketball team.
Quite frankly, Oregon’s basketball players have greater athleticism and stats than our own basketball team. But that’s the thing about sports in general, and Cal athletics in particular — the numbers don’t quite give the whole picture. Our athletes and fans do not give up. It’s the same reason Cal can lose to Nevada in football, but then goes on to beat UCLA.
Unpredictability makes each game more interesting and each win more satisfying. It’s the rare moments when we pull off an upset and everyone storms the court or field that makes each loss easier to swallow. And in those moments, all the loyalty and dedication of our fans pays off in a far greater way than if we were rooting for a team that is known to always win. The inconsistency only applies to how our teams perform, because our fans are consistently and passionately in love with the Bears.
Image Source: Jasmine Mausner, The Daily Californian
Posted by Erum Khan on Friday, February 01, 2013 02:27 pm
This Sunday will see the San Francisco 49ers pitted against the Baltimore Ravens, so whether you’re a football fan or not, you may want to come out and support our neighbors. San Francisco’s close enough to adopt for cheerleading, right? We’ve scoped out some places around Berkeley you can camp out, cheer for a team you care at least marginally about and — most importantly — scarf down food for hours.
Pappy’s Grill and Sports Bar. Right here on Telegraph Avenue, it’s an obvious choice for sports viewing. Lots of space, large screens and good ‘ol American/bar food will make for a good football Sunday.
Kip’s Restaurant.Head down Durant for another college bar if you didn’t like Pappy’s. Order pizza, burgers and more while you watch.
Café Durant. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food instead of American, stop by Café Durant. There’s also balcony seating outside if for some reason you need a break. (Especially from the overflow of excessive commercials.)
Brennan’s Bar.For an old-fashioned sports bar complete with darts and hot plates, there’s Brennan’s on University Avenue. Old style with new flatscreens, what could be better?
Bec’s Bar and Bistro. Offering more than just burgers and wings, this restaurant also has seafood and flatbreads to snack on.
La Val’s. Not a place one would immediately think of, but once again there are TV screens and awesome game food like pizza and sandwiches.
Posted by Uday Mehta on Friday, February 01, 2013 08:00 am
Can you remember those days when you poured over college applications for days at a time, toiling away at every word to endear yourselves to those almighty essay readers? Back then, you had to wake up earlier than 8 a.m., and you got to return to the bliss of your relatively spacious home at around 3 p.m. Try to recreate those emotions of frustration and anger at the incessant amount of work that you had to complete, and contrast them with the elation of getting into your dream school. It felt pretty good, right? You were on top of the world, one of those elite few thousand. Savor those feelings, because we’re going to crush them right about now.
From 2007-2011, about 11,000 students were invited to enroll in the world’s best public institution annually. So it may seem that you’re just as special as the rest of the field, even though the raw number of admits has gone up minimally by year. But the number of applicants keeps skyrocketing, as more and more hopeful high-schoolers vie for one of those coveted spots. For the 2012-2013 applicant pool, almost 20,000 more people applied. In case that hasn’t hurt your ego enough, we’ll also tell you that there was an 18% rate of admission, a pretty sharp drop from the 23.3% back in 2007.
Even though there’s a tradition of respecting one’s elders — a matter of class pride and seniority at most universities — there’s definitely respect for all the people these newbies have beaten out. Most of the Cali kids are homegrown in the Bay Area or from SoCal — concentrated in the greater Los Angeles area especially.
There are some bright spots for us old hats, however. The admits had a collective 3.89 GPA, a figure we all surely expect to decrease once they finish their first semester in a rigorous UC Berkeley curriculum. And all that unimpressive stuff they did as teenagers — you know, like being internationally ranked athletes, television actresses and professional dancers — probably has nothing on your glowing college resumes. So even though every successive class has to fight off more read more »
Posted by Erik Swan on Friday, February 01, 2013 08:00 am
It’s a perennial question: Are there other Earth-like planets – or planets full of life – out there?
New research suggests that Earth-like planets are actually pretty common, according to an analysis of the results of Nasa’s Kepler mission. As the diameter of a planet decreases, its frequency increases. Once the diameter reaches twice the diameter of Earth, it remains about the same.
If you love astronomy like we do, then this news should be exciting. The research focused on Earth-like stars in a similar orbit as Mercury, but the article noted that “further evidence suggests that the fraction of stars having planets the size of Earth or slightly bigger orbiting within Earth-like orbits may amount to 50 percent.”
This is timely news, especially as the availability of resources on our planet becomes more worrisome. We finally have new planets for us humans to dominate and exploit of resources. We can skip any lessons in moderation — our galaxy is a treasure trove of planets waiting to be harvested!
Not to mention all of the food. Orion’s baked space-beef. Soda made from corn starch from the corn planet Gliese 876 d.
And it only gets better if there is intelligent life. Let’s get some space wars going on. Finally something to unite the human race: killing other intelligent life. Think of the economic and social benefits of a totally awesome space war.
Posted by Eunice Choi on Friday, February 01, 2013 08:00 am
“Cheeseboard is too f**king far,” seems like a common mantra for Southside UC Berkeley students who just want a slice of that amazing vegetarian pizza that makes you forget it’s vegetarian and then have to resort to Fat Slice or something. And I don’t think it’s a matter of laziness here, but seriously, sometimes it’s just not worth going all the way to Downtown Berkeley for pizza when we’re so busy with doing schoolwork, procrastinating, being on the fringes of frat-boy alcoholism and reading the “Interest” sections of our current crushes on Facebook.
So, what’s your reaction when I say that since you won’t lug your butt to Cheeseboard, the essence and glory of Cheeseboard brought itself to you? I’m not even kidding. I think it’s time to welcome and try out a new pizzeria that has already stirred up a growing presence in Berkeley, and that popular baby is Sliver Pizzeria on Center Street.