que spicy!Dancing. We know you love it (admit it already).  So rather than busting a move behind closed doors and in front of your bathroom mirror, we suggest that you show off your mad skills at the I-House Salsa Social Dance Class that’s happening tomorrow night (Aug. 1 from 8 to 10 p.m.).

Si, amigos, learn the art of Salsa with teacher Tara Acevedo and her co-instructor Jason Ling. They’ll be there to guide you through all the shimmies, shakes and fancy footwork needed to get your groove on.

Everyone’s welcome — don’t worry if you’re an amateur or, god forbid, sans partner — just show up to the I-House (with $10, unless you’re an I-House resident, member or alumnus) and those smooth Latin beats will make all your doubts disappear.

Image Source: dark_mephi under Creative Commons
Salsa Social Dance Class [UC Berkeley Events]

Wren sunrise

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

Governor Brown’s nomination of UC Berkeley law prof Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court may stir a lot of Golden Bear pride, but in other spheres, the choice was potentially controversial. [LA Times]

Then again, there are those who argue that, at least in terms of Brown’s political career, the move was something positive — a step toward “mak[ing] amends for missteps he made in his youth.” [Sac Bee]

Yet another audit has found UC Berkeley lacking in the way of transparency. And this is news because … ? [SFGate]

Today supposedly marks the long-awaited trial of detained hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal in Iran. It is about freaking time. [Bay Citizen]

Image Source: Keoki Seu under Creative Commons
Earlier: Nerds and the New York Times

hallowsIt’s not like we’re grasping at straws due to the recent end of the Harry Potter film series or anything, but we’re pretty sure that Harry and his magical universe exist. Xiang Zhang of UC Berkeley and his colleagues have, over years of research, developed an “invisibility cloak,” which is a material that changes the path of electromagnetic objects around a wave so as to render it imperceptible.

Granted, the cloak only hid an object around the diameter of a red blood cell, but it is still a significant development in this type of material. Most cloaking materials (kind of like the inferior invisibility cloaks that were not as exceptional as Harry’s) hide objects from vision by using infrared waves or microwaves, which are just out human sight range.

This material hides objects under layers of silicon nitride and silicon oxide and then refracts light away from the lump that the object makes, so that the cloak ends up looking smooth. We don’t care what you say, Muggle — magic is totally real.

Image Source: rishibando under Creative Commons
Weekly Press Package [American Chemical Society]

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 »

let's go fly a kite!

Remember that truly excellent scene from the ending of “Mary Poppins” where the entire Banks family dances around singing about kite flying? No? Well, you should watch it again, because as we said, it’s excellent.

Or, if you’d rather experience the joy of kite flying first-hand, just make your way to the Berkeley Kite Festival. You heard us right: This weekend, July 30-31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cesar E. Chavez Park (at the Berkeley Marina) will transform into a magical place full of winged things.

There’ll be plenty to do — perhaps you fancy a lesson in stunt kite flying? Maybe you want to watch the Rokkaku kite battles (we don’t know what to expect with this one, but it sounds pretty badass. If you’re a kid, take advantage of the free kite making opportunities from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. If you’re not a kid, you should go anyway, because this is the kind of thing that’ll bring back wonderful childhood memories of blue skies and sunny days … even for those who never flew a kite before in their lives.

Image Source: satragon under Creative Commons
Berkeley Kite Fest [Highline Kites]

Yea, we can’t either.

A study by UC Berkeley professor Robert Levenson and his grad student James Gross has scientifically determined the saddest movie (or movie scene) of all time. To our astonishment — even though millions recently walked out of theatres bawling their eyes out — it wasn’t “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two” (we’ll let it slide only because this study was completed in 1995).

After evaluating hundreds of films and film clips, Levenson and Gross chose 16 scenes that would cause a certain emotion and found that the final scene in the 1978 film “The Champ” consistently made their test subjects sad. read more »


Why, yes, of course I'd like a side of charcoal with my burger.

So you missed your opportunity to sign up for Michael Pollan‘s new colloquium-style two-unit class this fall, Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement. It filled up in minutes. Maybe your stupid smartphone stopped working, or you accidentally spilled some nonfat vegan, gluten-free almond milk, carefully hand-squeezed by grass-fed, humanely raised orphans, across your keyboard.

We understand. We’ve been binge-eating Cheeseboard pizzas and Ici ice cream by the coneful since that fateful day to forget the void that was to be filled with inspiring talks about “organic agriculture, school lunch reform, food safety, animal welfare, read more »


The inaugural Berkeley Student Bear meme.

“Welcome … You’re about to become cynical, apathetic and jaded :D ,” the Tumblr, F Yeah, Berkeley Student Bear! informs you in bold white capital letters on a backdrop of gold and blue. The circular cut-out of a roaring grizzly completes the friendly message, courtesy of Katie Dominic, about to start her second year as an MCB major. (For more info, commence Facebook stalking.)

The meme’s witticisms hit close to home, capturing every frustrating, quirky particularity of Berkeley student life. The About page, however, refused to tell us anything at all about the mastermind behind the magic, so we corresponded with the clever creator herself to bring you everything you wanted to know (and didn’t) about this entertaining Tumblr.

Because her answers to our questions so beautifully convey her personality (and because we are lazy sons of b*tches), read more »

cautionWarning: this post may contain a hazardous amount of science. Peter Duesberg, a molecular and cell biology professor here at UC Berkeley, and his colleagues have come out with a theory that cancer is the evolution of a new species. Duesberg said that cancer is a parasite: it relies on its host for nourishment, but is otherwise an independent organism that is most likely doing damage to the host.

Duesberg’s argument isn’t exactly groundbreaking, as early forms of the idea can be traced back to the late 20th century. According to him, the prevailing theory of cancer as genes that mutate and trigger unstoppable growth in a cell, is false. He proposes that cancer is actually when chromosomes are disrupted, ultimately leading to damage that affects the balance of genes.

The good thing about this theory is that it could lead to new ways of thinking about cures and the like. The theory is of course a lot more detailed and intelligent-sounding than this, but hopefully this simplified version wasn’t too much for those of us who aren’t exactly amazing at science.

Image Source: s_jelan under Creative Commons
Are cancers newly evolved species? [UC Berkeley News Center]

buzzarThe space breathed with potential. Its indoor-outdoor ambiguity meant natural light illuminated every inch of its warehouse height. It was only the second week the Firehouse Art Collective was holding its Weekend ‘Buzzar’ in this canopied space when we visited, but it already carried the promise of a neighborhood fixture. Has Berkeley not always had a dedicated artist’s market? What took us so long?

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon and the sun, like a spotlight, singles out the organic soul food stand in the back. A guitarist read more »

Older »