Phytophthora ramorum. That is the name of the plant pathogen that causes what is being called “sudden oak death.” The disease was first reported in 1995 and is killing hundreds of thousands of trees.

In order to get a better grasp on the disease, UC Berkeley scientists created a smartphone app for hikers, or whoever, to report sudden oak death. The OakMapper mobile application allows you to submit a oak tree death and list the visible symptoms such as seeping, bark discoloration, crown discoloration, dead leaves, shoot die-back, fungus, beetle frass and beetle bore holes.

However, Phytophthora ramorum is not the only cause of oak tree death. The only way to know for sure is to get the tree sample tested at a California Department of Food and Agriculture or University of California laboratory. The Oakmapper app thus has a map which detects known and suspected locations for the pathogen in the area and country. Red dots indicate the known locations which have been lab tested while yellow dots indicate locations that were submitted by the app users which have not been tested.

Image Source: James Marvin Phelps under Creative Commons
Smartphone users can report sudden oak death [CRS UC Berkeley]


Our school needs more residence halls. The Long-Range Development Plan points out the need for housing for 1,600 more students. Part of that need is currently being taken care of as the charming plot of land facing People’s Park east of Telegraph between Haste and Channing is on its way to holding UC Berkeley’s new residence hall.

Sadly, Berkeley has one of the most expensive residence housing prices in the country ranging from about $15,714 a year for a single in dorms like Stern or Unit 1 or 3 and up to $17,000 a year for Clark Kerr.

The new building will have 424 beds in a 4 to 6 story complex. It is set to open in 2012 when it will hold 160 sophomores and 224 upper level classmen — for those upper level students still willing to pay that kind of money for housing.

A university report announced:

“The residential units are located around courtyards which provide usable outdoor areas for social gatherings or quiet study and which provide for outdoor views, maximum natural ventilation, thermal mass and daylight. One of the courtyards is designed around a Queensland Kauri‐Pine, which is identified as a rare specimen tree for the Bay Area.”

We’re not too into university residence halls but that Kauri-Pine does sound pretty cool…

Image Source: litlnemo under Creative Commons
New student housing in Berkeley’s southside [Berkeleyside]

Are you as sick of seeing all those lame ads on the side of buses as we are? Our new favorite is “The perfect trip … The perfect trap” slogan for “The Tourist.” Like, really? Though we probably will see it if for nothing but to satisfy the superficial drive of our existence … Johnny Depp AND Angelina Jolie, ’nuff said.

But now we are digressing, back to lame bus ads. In March, something worth some real thought will finally be placed on the side of an AC Transit bus: artwork by students from Berkeley High’s Arts and Humanities Academy. The bus, specifically, will be the Freedom Bus, a collaboration between AC Transit and Alameda County Office of Education. It marks the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to get up during the infamous bus ride in Montgomery, Alabama.

Kids from Alameda and Contra Costa school districts are competing to have their art chosen for the Freedom Bus. The art competition helps educate children about civil rights movements.

Until then, I guess we’ll just have to put up with Johnny and Angelina.

Image Source: Metro Cincinnati under Creative Commons
Berkeley High student artists to take the Freedom Bus [Berkeleyside]

UC Berkeley graduate Sarah Shourd is one of the three American hikers who were imprisoned in Iran. She was taken with her now-fiancé Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal — both UC Berkeley graduates. Of the three, she is the only one who has been released. To build support for her imprisoned friends, Sarah Shourd released a music video for her original song, “Piece of Time.” Take a look.

Freed US hiker Sarah Shourd releases music video after release from Iranian jail [Adelaide Now]


Though UC Berkeley is often reputed to have a diverse student body, statistics released Thursday do not seem to support this assessment. While the student body may be diverse in terms of its set of interests and abilities (fire spinning for instance) the numbers for race are not as impressive.

For this year’s freshman class, UC Berkeley accepted ten times more white and Asian students than African-American students. The decline of acceptance rates for African-Americans started in 1998 when Proposition 209 went into effect. The Prop prohibits UC from considering race, sex or ethnicity when reviewing applications.

Currently, African-American students make up 3.4 percent of the student body with only 124 African-Americans in this year’s freshman class. Compare that with the 1,153 white freshmen and 1,662 Asian-American freshmen. Chicano students are slightly more populous at 420, and Native American students only number 28.

If these stats may seem surprisingly low, next time you are in a lecture hall look around (unless you’re in like, an African-American studies class) these numbers may start to make more sense.

Image Source: tedknudsen under Creative Commons
International students up at Cal, minorities decline [Berkeleyside]

Ever feel like some people can pick up on your emotions without you even saying a word? Well it may just be that this person’s ability to read emotions is related to their socioeconomic status.

According to a study published in the November issue of “Psychological Science,” people of lower socioeconomic status are better at reading emotions than those of high socieconomic status. Michael Kraus, co-author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at UCSF (Berkeley researchers also contributed), claims that the higher level of empathy amongst those of low read more »

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.

Yup, prepare to put on your sad-caps because director Melanie Mayron is coming out with a sequel to one of the finest teenage high-school movies of our generation, and it’s called “Mean girls 2.”

Agh, it’s painful to the fingers to type it. The movie simply cannot be topped, especially by some straight-to-DVD wannabe film with an unknown cast — except for you, Tim Meadows. Wtf are you doing in there, you are breaking our hearts!!

In the new film the “Anti-Plastics” try and bring down the Plastics. Didn’t all the plastics-related drama get resolved at the end of the first film? We hope this obvious commercial exploitation of a movie that was perfectly perfect as it was will not taint your original love for “Mean Girls.”

Earlier: Like, OMG, the Science Guy Just Collapsed
Mean Girls 2 Official Trailer [YouTube]

Sorry, football fans, but it looks as if this Saturday’s game against Washington will be the last in Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium until 2012 football season. The culprit is, unsurprisingly, earthquake renovation and seismic-retrofit.

The 2011 season, then, will have all its games in San Francisco at the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park. Besides the fact that it is a mission to get to, the relocation of games means a major loss of business for a lot of restaurants and hotels in Berkeley.

With this in mind, envisioning next year’s football games is sort of difficult — not that we were all that involved with football in the first place. But really, how are all the football shenanigans going to go down? Will students still head over to the frats or whatnot for pre-gaming then drunkenly invade the BART by the thousands before somehow finally making it home? Football games are exhausting enough as it is! Luckily this situation only lasts one season, and will make later visits to Memorial Stadium a lot safer.

We can power through this, Bears!

Image Source: CarbonNYC under Creative Commons
Last home game until 2012 poses economic questions [Berkeleyside]

In an interview, Christine Carter expresses the importance of teaching gratitude to children. Carter, a sociologist, happiness expert and director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Parents program says that this gratitude can make for a happier family.

She draws the differentiation between gratitude and entitlement in kids, stating that often children feel like they are entitled to what they have rather than gracious. Entitlement, according to Carter, leads to feelings of disappointment and frustration while gratitude results in happiness and satisfaction.

When asked about the best ways to teach kids appreciation, Carter emphasizes a straightforward approach, “Simply counting your blessings in a routine way works wonders. In my family, we talk about what we are grateful for at dinnertime. Again at bedtime, my kids tell me about their “three good things” that happened during the day.”

And what better time to start practicing gratitude than Thanksgiving season?

Image source: Mikey G Ottawa under Creative Commons
Teaching kids gratitude instead of entitlement [UC Berkeley News]

berk high

Ever get that high school nostalgia? Recall the sports games, spirit weeks, school dances, showing up to class drunk and/or high. Wait what? Reeeeeewind and pause. As far as we’re concerned, attending class whilst crunk is neither conducive to the activity (learning) or even fun for that matter.

Still, Berkeley High students seem to find some appeal in it, perhaps because they believe (delusionally) in a certain status of badassness attained in doing so. Ah, high school, the place read more »

Older »