Winter jackets

Peacoats and knee-high boots are being dusted off and pulled from the closet and your umbrella begins to live in your backpack. That’s right, folks. Berkeley’s bipolar weather is turning the thermostat down, whether we like it or not (excuse the pun).

There seem to be two main reactions to the shift. NorCal people may be rejoicing, smiling and exclaiming “I love Berkeley weather!” SoCal out-of-towners are probably stifling their teas and yelling “I MISS THE SUN!” Sun dresses must hang lonely on their hangers, and shorts stow away in their drawers. For people who like fall fashion this isn’t a problem. But if you live by the beach it’s a real heartache to say goodbye to your lovely, airy summer wardrobe.

For the past few days the city’s been kind enough to share some sunlight, but it’s still deceptive as ever. You look out the window at that yellow glow and think, “Great! It must be warm!” Then you step outside and feel like stealing someone’s scarf to survive the wind. Maybe there should be a WarnMe system for sudden bursts of cold and rain. And heat too, for that matter. You can never count anything out here.

bipolar weather dog

He's ready for winter, are you?

If you’re especially prone to ‘extreme’ temperatures (it’s not Alaska, after all), then you’re probably one of the many checking their weekly weather forecasts constantly. You may even be checking the hourly forecast, which may prove more useful in your day-to-day dressing.

Apparently layering is the only way to do things in this bizarre setting. Tricky place you are, Berkeley.  Always keeping us poor students on our toes, as if we didn’t have enough to think about.

Image sources: (1) Andypiper and (2) Emily Penguin under Creative Commons


sensorThousands of tiny Post-it-note-sized seismic sensors hooked up to home computers are the future of earthquake forecasting. People who live in vulnerable areas (for example, everyone near the Hayward Fault, such as, oh, you know, almost every single UC Berkeley student) can volunteer to install one with a commitment of at least one year.

“With thousands of volunteers hosting our seismic sensors, forming dense networks in these regions, we’ll be able to get data on a level of detail and with a degree of accuracy that we could only dream about before,” said Jesse Lawrence, assistant professor of geophysics at Stanford University, where the project is based.

What this means in the long term is better earthquake forecasting, a more comprehensive understanding of seismic effects on a variety of building types and earlier warnings for Bay Area residents, so that when that big one finally hits, we’ll survive … even if our homes and baby earthquake sensors don’t.

Image source: Stanford University, Department of Geophysics
‘Citizen-seismologists’ sought to host tiny earthquake sensors on their computers [Stanford Report]