In a time of economic crisis that seems to permeate every fiber of everyone’s being, Berkeley has managed to win a quantum of solace (you’ll see how cheesy that was in a second, here), in the form of an $11 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to build a Center for Integrated Precision and Quantum Measurement. This center is planned for the basement of the new Campbell Hall, which will eventually take the place of the old Campbell Hall … which is still standing. Hm.

Anyway, Berkeley’s proposal proverbially drop-kicked the competition, beating out about 100 other applicants for the big Science bucks. Michael Crommie, Berkeley physics professor and the project’s main dude, told the Daily Cal that “The facility at Berkeley is targeting research in a bunch of delicate quantum measurements in the realm of physics … ” Ooh, that’s tender, brah. He also stated that another goal of the project is “to create a low-noise, high-stability facility.” Because, lord knows those physicists can get some major ragers going when particles start a-flyin’. The Clog approves.

Image Source: cayusa under Creative Commons
Technology Institute Awards UC Berkeley $11 Million Grant [Daily Cal]

With the UC Board of Regents threatening to cut enrollment without more funding from the state and a recent phenomenon of beginning sentences with “With the economy as it is … ” it seems that Berkeley thinks it’s finally time to tell us what everybody already knows: the economy is failing, nobody has any money and we’re all screwed. Surprise!

Looming state budget shortfalls, declining endowments and tuition increases, oh my! Sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a symposium will be held this Tuesday to discuss the economic fate of the UC system and do what Berkeley does best: hold open forums for discourse on important controversial topics. Hopefully, though, this one will actually help solve the problem and not just provide a safe space for letting off steam. read more »

Got a deficit of laconic gunslinger, squint-eyed cowboy lady-killer, stone-cold sonofabitch and enduring icon of masculinity in your life? Have no fear–the Clog is here to tell you how to remedy that sad dearth in just two easy-peasy steps.  Graphic designers, sally forth!  In the meantime, those of us with pitiable amounts of design savvy will, uh, listen to the Gorillaz song on loop while shedding a single tear of sadness for our missed opportunity. read more »

Reports say a Wal-Mart employee died just a few hours ago, trampled to death by raging Black Friday bargain-seekers in New York. Shoppers tore down the front doors of the Wal-Mart at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y., knocking down the unidentified 34-year-old worker. Three other shoppers and a pregnant woman were taken to the hospitable for minor injuries.

According to eyewitness testimonials, the waiting shoppers pulled the doors from their hinges in their rush to get into the store. The surge, the NYT solemnly reports, endangered children, who had to be grabbed by their parents so as to not get lost and/or trampled upon in the mad stampede. Jeez. People really are nuts for their tech gadgets and Guitar Hero game kits.

Image Source: r_b under Creative Commons
Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death by Customers [NY Times]

After discovering the latest omen of the world’s coming demise, the Clog encourages Berkeley students to put down their books and enjoy their short-lived time on earth.

Zut alors! Even the French are feeling the sting of the declining economy and slim trans-Atlantic wallets. With an average of two cafes closing everyday, France shows that the U.S. isn’t the only one sweating finances.

Want more numbers? In 1960, France teemed with 200,000 cafes. Compare that to today’s less-than 41,500–and diminishing. Merde, indeed.

Small businesses are suffering, but the shrinking numbers also show a culture at risk. What is the Frenchman without his beret, baguette, cafe and cigarette? (Oh, and wine and cheese and an official Federation of Cafes, Brasseries and Discotheques.) Not much, apparently:
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UC Berkeley professor Christina Romer was announced yesterday to be the head of the President-elect’s Council of Economic Advisors. Romer is credited for her skillz in the Great Depression, a trait which Obama believes will help our country in this time of economic uh-oh’s.

Did we mention that this Team Obama add-on is a package deal? read more »

We thought about posting about this when we saw it happen in one of our classes, but A) we were lazy and B) we didn’t have our camera on us:

Also, since this is Berkeley, we’ve become extremely jaded and are no longer very impressed when random shit interrupts our lectures. That being said, something about the Gestalt or whatever (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts … Psych majors? Not at all applicable? Er, just forget it.) made this video seem significantly funnier than the one dancing guy in Wheeler Auditorium did at the time. So yeah. Three cheers for YouTube: Making things worthwhile that might not be otherwise, since … well–like, forever.

(Thanks for the tip, Moujan.)

jericho! Improv and Sketch Comedy [Web site]
How Did They Dance? [YouTube]

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, we’re talking about the third-party political activist who described himself as “a watermelon – red on the inside, green on the outside.” Peter Camejo helped found the California Green Party in 1991 and ran three times for governor of California.

He also ran as Ralph Nader’s vice presidential running mate in the 2004 presidential election and for president in 1976 as the Socialist Workers Party candidate. Camejo said that he never expected to win, but wanted to help elevate the Green Party to the mainstream political stage. read more »

We know you don’t want to think about it yet, but after Thanksgiving, we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. Just a week and smidge and then finals come to attack our sanity and happiness.

First, don’t panic–we’ve got you covered. Here’s a compacted version of some professor-approved tips. read more »

… about a novel new theory in evolutionary biology, that is. A paper co-authored by a UC Berkeley professor of computer science and a Stanford professor of biology suggests that sexual reproduction isn’t about maximizing “fitness” so much as “mixability.”

“This idea of genetic mixability … hits on the difficulty evolutionary biologists have had in understanding sex,” writes ScienceDaily.

The difficulty is in part due to the idea that an “organism,” or “thing,” can end up as the cumulative result of many generations of gene-swapping and fitness-maximizing, only to fail to pass on many of its super-duper qualities to Generation N+1. read more »

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