solarCalling it a “major milestone,” the Obama administration has given the go ahead for the construction of the world’s largest solar power plant. The $6 billion Blythe Solar Power Project will be situated right in California’s Mojave Desert, and will allegedly double U.S. solar output while providing power to more than 300,000 homes.

A great day for our lovely planet, right? Not according to some environmentalists, who claim the project will interfere with the native wildlife. As such, the Department of the Interior has mandated that read more »


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 »

“What?” you ask, “Environmentalists escaping from Berkeley? That seems a bit paradoxical.” Well, the first-annual Escape from Berkeley relay which started this past Saturday challenges participants to get from Berkeley to Las Vegas by any means necessary, except with gasoline of course.

The vehicles (anything from car to tricycle to banana-mobile), departed from the Shipyard Labs in South Berkeley, and have until Monday to reach Vegas, weaving through Yosemite and Death Valley along the way. To help fuel the crusade for alternative energy sources (pun intended), competitors must scavenge for for any kind of liquid (we hear wood works too, actually) that will keep them moving.

“Crazy!” you say. “Why would people willingly put themselves through all this?” you ask. Well, not for the challenge or for environmental reasons, apparently. There’s five grand at stake, and we’d say that’s a good incentive to go green. Apparently of the six racers which set out Saturday, only four remained by the time they got to the first checkpoint. We just hope the other two racers weren’t stranded fuel-less somewhere in the desert …

Image Source: brentdanley under Creative Commons
Relay Helps Fuel the Use Of Alternative Energy Forms [Daily Cal]

This doesn’t warrant a Nuclear-Free Protest Bell post because there’s not a whole lot protesters can do now that the university officially signed the heavily disputed $500 million alternative energy research deal with BP earlier this week. Nevertheless, we thought we’d share our latest crankypants attitude about the critics who’ve got it all wrong.

  • The writing’s on the wall. We’ve all seen the scribbled bathroom stall “END CORPORATE IMPERIALISM–SAY NO TO BP DEAL” messages which seem to go nicely with the “Does he really love me?” and the “Stop writing on the bathroom walls! Take care of the Earth!” notes.

    Clearly, bathroom-stall writing is effective on all fronts. “Corporate imperialism” has won, he probably doesn’t love you if you have to ask and imploring bathroom walls to stop writing on themselves simply won’t work.

  • The protests didn’t work either. If anything, they called attention to the pitfalls of the early drafts of the BP contract, the later drafts of which, in our completely uneducated opinion, probably encouraged greater accountability and academic freedom that ultimately allowed the various legal staffs of the University of California to approve the final version.

Still, some remain cautious about who does what where and when. We see no problem with criticizing details that make or break a transparent contract, but it is with the bathroom-wallers of the world out there that we take issue. Calling the Energy Biosciences Institute “corporate imperialism” merely because the partnering institution happens to be a corporation gives as much credibility to the critic as it does to the toilet stall it was written on.

UC Berkeley Officially Signs $500 Million Partnership with Energy Giant BP [Daily Cal]
It’s a Dealbreaker [Daily Cal]
UC Berkeley, BP finally sign contract for research project [SF Gate]