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Spotted: Mama mountain lion and her babies roaming around the Berkeley hills and instilling fear in the staff of the Berkeley Lab.

This isn’t the first time this year — on July 19, a mountain lion and her cubs (perhaps the same one?) were spotted at the Greek Theater. read more »


4885669236_244fd066e0In an unprecedented attempt to make Emeryville worth a damn — unless you’re already a fan of E-ville because you really like Clif bars or suburban-style outdoor shopping malls — the Berkeley Lab has just opened a biofuel test center there with the 20 million dollars it received from the Department of Energy just last year.

This nice chunk of change actually comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and by that we mean that $787 billion stimulus that people are always hatin’ on.

Considering the current state of the economy, the stimulus didn’t quite fix everything. However, since we’re in a glass-half-full kind of mood at the moment, we’re gonna go ahead and say this whole biofuel testing center was a nice idea.

After all, the article clearly states that “[i]ndustrial scale development of these fuels would create jobs and help cut the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of energy.”

Jobs, clean energy, less reliance on foreign energy and Emeryville can be known for something other than ridiculous gentrification. Sounds like a whole bunch of wins to us. Thanks, stimulus!

Image Source: Argonne National Laboratory under Creative Commons
Lawrence Berkeley Lab opens biofuels test center in Emeryville [SF Business Times]
Senator McCain Says Stimulus Bill Was A Failure [MRCTV]


3910336227_4d519fa49bWhen we heard that Berkeley scientists were doing something for Burning Man — you know, that eight-day hippie debauchery festival that stews beneath the hot Nevada sun — we were shocked and, honestly, a little disappointed. Weren’t there other, more productive things for them to be doing, like working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab on an awesomely fast network for research scientists or continuing efforts toward creating sound zombies?

To be fair, we might be a little bitter because we’re not going (eight days off and $300 can be hard to come by) or maybe we were just a little taken aback since the science lab and Burning Man are not necessarily a match made in heaven. Either way, someone had some ‘splaining to do.

Well, it turns out the project, although it isn’t the most noble of undertakings, is read more »


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Slow internet speeds bumming you out? Well, you’re in luck, because Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Internet2 just decided to create one of the world’s fastest networks and therefore solve your First World dilemma.

But before you can go fast, you must first be patient, grasshopper; this project, also known as the Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI), has invested $62 million towards creating “one of the world’s fastest scientific networks,” which is presumably reserved for read more »


art rosenfeld

Beavis once agitatedly stammered, “Why does everyone wanna see my unit?”

In the case of Arthur Rosenfeld, “godfather or energy efficiency,” his unit may come to represent electricity savings of three billion kilowatts per year. Following in the footsteps of past unit-awarded Cal Faculty science people such as Nikola Tesla and Marie and Pierre Curie, the Rosenfeld promises to be the most distinctly Jewtastic unit. read more »


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Smoking is bad for you. So is secondhand smoke, and our world would be much healthier without it.  You know this. And now thanks to a new Berkeley Lab study, we know that third-hand smoke is bad for you, too.

Hugo Destaillats, a chemist with the Indoor Environment Department of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, described it this way:

“The burning of tobacco releases nicotine in the form of a vapor that adsorbs strongly onto indoor surfaces, such as walls, floors, carpeting, drapes and furniture. Nicotine can persist on those materials for days, weeks and even months.”

And when it stays, it reacts with “ambient nitrous acids” to form things called TSNAs.

Not scared yet? Do you scoff at the read more »


There is a nonzero probability that Dr. Manhattan will not appear at the event.

Have you ever sat in a theater watching some movie, only to scoff at the screen and think “that’s not even scientifically possible! … I think.” Lucky you, because science is here to think so that you don’t have to!

Consider going to “Hollywood Science Meets Berkeley Lab,” an event billed as a free-admission double feature tomorrowWednesday, Feb. 3 and FridayThursday, Feb. 4.

The first part taking place on Thursday Wednesday goes from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Berkeley Rep. Topics include how scientists are depicted on the big screen and how crazy surprise plot twisties sometimes rely on bastardized science.

The second part on Friday Thursday goes from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Goldman Theater, where the Berkeley Lab is launching a Science Café series. It will feature “an informal interview of SyFy TV’s Eureka co-creator, Jaime Paglia,” with an hour where the conversation will be “audience driven” (read: hour of Q&A).

Image Source: moneyworksillustration under Creative Commons
Berkeley Lab Goes Hollywood [LBL]


Check out the winning smile on that one.

Earlier today, our old (like, old as in silver fox old, of course) buddy Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy and hero of the universe, visited the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to catch up with his former colleagues.

He talked to them about all sorts of fun things, like the future of energy research, $151 million in funding for awesome ambitious projects and Wayne Gretzky. True story–just watch the webcast and check out the PowerPoint presentation he made … all by himself. D’awww.

Oh, Steven. You haven’t changed a bit.

Lawrence Berkeley Lab [Site], via Berkeleyside
Earlier: Capchuring and Storing Carbon


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It will be an alliance that no one will soon forget.

No, that isn’t the tagline to the newest hamster-related action comedy. In point of fact, UC Berkeley will soon be joining with the University of Incheon in South Korea to “explore the potential for joint scientific research in energy, biology, accelerators, cosmology, and space.”

The agreement, signed Wednesday (at 10:30 a.m. local time in the Republic of Korea, in case you were wondering) investigates possible collaborations between UC Berkeley and its South Korean counterpart. Apparently Incheon will be the rendezvous point read more »


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Sunday Shout-Out picks out the week’s stories that simply slipped our minds.

* The rest of us might be suffering the brunt of budget cuts up the ying-yang, but the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, still rollin’ in the dough. [Nanotechwire]

* In other victorious news, Cal football owns—in case you hadn’t heard. [Golden Blogs]

* Staying up all night texting leads to sleep deprivation. OMG NO WAY. [MercuryNews]

Image Source: David Herschorn [DailyCal]
Earlier: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems