Laser POWAH!What happens when you shoot off 192 of the world’s biggest, hottest … laser beams at one hydrogen fuel-packed, pea-sized target? A massive explosion

of energy that would make even stars glow with envy and shake large planets to their cores (literally). That’s what.

And that’s what’s going on in the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Lab. The facility–which was officially dedicated on Friday at a ceremony attended by the likes of the Governator himself–houses the world’s largest laser. Scientists hope to mimic the nuclear fusion that powers stars and eventually harness the incredible energy reactions like that produce to replace other, dirtier, less efficient forms of energy. Mm, baby, clean energy. Is it just us, or did it just get hotter in here? Like, 100 million degrees hotter …

Oh, there’s just one tiny incidental detail we should probably mention: “Another of [the facility's] roles is to study the conditions associated with the inner workings of nuclear weapons.” Well, there’s the rub. Um, yeah, that’s kind of a buzz kill.

Image Source: Fenchurch! under Creative Commons
World’s largest laser opens [UC Newsroom download Loverboy

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The tobacco industry usually smiles as the undergraduate “Come on, give me your best shot” attitude toward lung cancer morphs into the “Just take me now” graduate student sentiment. However, these days the economy says lung cancer schmung cancer–quitting smoking is high fashion recessionista thrift. For those so inclined, a UC Berkeley study suggests

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that smoking cessation computer-programs are the way to go. And happily, read more »


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Staring down the angular, neon-lit Bear’s Lair Food Court, it is easy to be blinded by the sense of timelessness and unshakable prosperity gleaming from the vendors’ counter tops. In fact, the beloved Taqueria El Tacontento, The Coffee Spot and Healthy Heavenly Foods have been scraping by on month-to-month lease extensions for some three years now. Their fate lies precariously in the hands of the ASUC this week, as negotiations over more long-term lease extensions advance

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We snapped this beaut’ over near Gregoire

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Choke on dvd on Cedar Street earlier this week. A neighbor is ready to rumble over a precious flower now long gone. Darn you meddlin’ kids! Let’s knife-fight.

Image Source: Christine Borden

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Oh, see the FRUIT!

Ah, a classic tale of westward expansion.  Once there was a grocery store. Nay, it wasn’t merely a grocery store. It was a veritable produce orgy. It was an Eden of obscure comestibles, packed side by side into aisles upon upon aisles of deliciousness.  It seemed to be a foodie’s paradise on Earth–and all right here in Berkeley on Oregon Street.

But this promise land–this bastion of food purity, this oasis of organic in a world rapidly transforming into a desert of Safeways and Albertson’s–soon became a battle ground. read more »

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Already missing your “American Idol” fix? Well, our campus is hosting its own competition: UC Berkeley’s Next Top Cop*! Starring UCPD Assistant Chief Mitch Celaya and Oakland PD’s Deputy Chief David Kozicki. Hosted by Berkeley’s lovable Vice Chancellor of Administration Nathan Brostrom. Special Guest appearance by the soon-to-be-former Chief herself, Victoria Harrison!

Watch them dodge buckets of excrement! See how they orchestrate tactical maneuvers! Amaze at their handling of protest on ground, in air and in trees! Plus, whose line of new designer uniforms

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will parade down the runway at Bryant Park? And don’t forget all the singing and dancing!

Tune in, and by July 27, a winner will be announced. Who will be Berkeley’s Next Top Cop?

* Not a real TV show. Duh.

Image Source: loungeflyDE

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under Creative Commons
Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol release Campus Names Two Candidates To Fill UCPD Police Chief Post [Daily Cal]

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LOOK OUT FOR THE FALLING PENNIES!You probably heard about this, then promptly forgot, but there was a special election this week. Most of the propositions failed miserably. Ergo, more budget cuts. Please, people. You’ve only got yourselves to blame. [Daily Cal]

It’s OK, though, because as keynote convocation speaker Chris Gardner My Last Love movie said, even when it seems like “the sky is falling,” it’s really just “pennies from heaven.” Not to rain on the inspirational parade, here, but wouldn’t being hit by a penny falling from the sky kill you? [NewsCenter]

And while we’re on the subject of things you probably forgot about and pennies, it’s Memorial Day on Monday. This means banks and other things are closed. [SFGate

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Well-played, university. Distracting us with graduation and more budget cuts and stuff so you could slip past the appointment of a new ” … omnivorous … and … infectious … ” director of Cal Performances and play it off as practically uncontroversial. Sly devils. [Daily Cal The Crow video ]

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OK, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. There wasn’t quite as much brawling as we might have hoped The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King trailer

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during the face-to-face debate between Slow Food-pushing Berkeleyan Alice Waters Blonde Ambition divx and foodie vagabond Anthony Bourdain at last week’s Connecticut Forum.

Also, it wasn’t just the two of them going at it–Ace of Cakes baker Duff Goldman doesn’t say much in this clip, but he seems to play a kind of mediating role while Waters and Bourdain duke it out with words … and their eyes. Angry, angry eyes.

Anthony Bourdain, Alice Waters and Duff Goldman [YouTube], via SF Eater
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We’re about as sick of reporting Yoo news as yoo must be of hearing about Yoo, so we’ll keep this short and sweet.

Our favorite torture-touting law professor might lose his license if read more »


The annual Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival hits the Gourmet Ghetto at the end of this month. Get your nails polished a “chocolate color”! Taste an “adult” brownie! Try a chocolate chicken tikka kabob! The possibilities are endless … OK, not quite, but there’s plenty of chocolate decadence to go around.

Trust us, there’s no better way to say “buh-bye” to finals and “hello, summer” than by consuming your monthly allotment of chocolate in one go.

When: Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Cost: $10 for 10 tickets

Image Source: Jim Frazier under Creative Commons
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Earlier: Chalkin’ It Up: Chalk Artists Honor North Shattuck Businesses

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