4885669236_244fd066e0In an unprecedented attempt to make Emeryville worth a damn — unless you’re already a fan of E-ville because you really like Clif bars or suburban-style outdoor shopping malls — the Berkeley Lab has just opened a biofuel test center there with the 20 million dollars it received from the Department of Energy just last year.

This nice chunk of change actually comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and by that we mean that $787 billion stimulus that people are always hatin’ on.

Considering the current state of the economy, the stimulus didn’t quite fix everything. However, since we’re in a glass-half-full kind of mood at the moment, we’re gonna go ahead and say this whole biofuel testing center was a nice idea.

After all, the article clearly states that “[i]ndustrial scale development of these fuels would create jobs and help cut the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of energy.”

Jobs, clean energy, less reliance on foreign energy and Emeryville can be known for something other than ridiculous gentrification. Sounds like a whole bunch of wins to us. Thanks, stimulus!

Image Source: Argonne National Laboratory under Creative Commons
Lawrence Berkeley Lab opens biofuels test center in Emeryville [SF Business Times]
Senator McCain Says Stimulus Bill Was A Failure [MRCTV]

resurected recordingScientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) are raising the dead, you might say, if by “the dead” you mean sound recordings that are old and super banged up. The phrase “damaged beyond repair” is getting a serious ass kicking from scientists like Dr. Carl Haber his team of fearless researchers.

By applying methods used in high energy physics to recorded voice patterns, this innovative bunch has found a way to give sounds from the past a new voice. The science itself gets a wee bit tricky, but it involves a light beam scanning surfaces and deciphering the peaks and troughs it finds into something audible.

So maybe it’s a little like creating sound zombies, but until the recordings start running around trying to eat us, we’re going to go ahead and say that this is pretty darn cool.

Image Source: lucianvenutian under Creative Commons
Scientists build software to resurrect old recordings [abc7 news]

shorts11-235x30011The second of two probes built by UC Berkeley as part of a mission to study the moon in 3-D is scheduled to drop into orbit this Sunday. In addition to being awesome, the project is relatively green, as it is “reusing existing spacecraft to save a lot of taxpayer money.” How considerate. [News Center]

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have resuscitated a 123-year-old singing doll … which ranks among one of the creepiest things we’ve heard of late. [Alameda Patch]

Berkeley scientists have also determined that gray whales changed their diet in order to adapt to “extreme environmental conditions” … which ranks among one of the most obvious things we’ve heard of late. [Daily Cal]

On another note entirely, Ju Hong, one of our student senators-elect, was arrested at an immigration rally in San Bernardino on Tuesday. He and six other students were released early this morning. [Daily Cal]

Earlier: Be Very Afraid

shorts11-235x3001Everyone’s surprised that our hard economic times have actually produced a drop in rates of violent crime. Berkeley professor Neil Gilbert has an explanation — the reinforcement of social norms. [Washington Post]

On the subject of hard economic times, the California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations approved one of two bills comprising the DREAM Act. Should undocumented students receive aid from the state? We welcome your thoughts in the comments below. [Daily Cal]

In better news for Cali, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has tips on how meet our target of 80 percent reduction to greenhouse gas emissions. Whether we’ll actually do it is, of course, another matter entirely [SolarServer]

And further in the way of Lawrence Berkeley research, here’s a headline we don’t even begin to understand: “Scientists Analyze Substrate Candidates to Preserve the Intrinsic Properties Grapheme [Azom]

Earlier: We Love Technology, Always and Forever

algae eater

This fish is powered by algae, but it seems as if your car and household appliances won’t be, at least not for awhile.

According to a report by the Energy Biosciences Institute, led by Nigel Quinn at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it’ll take some major scientific and technological advancements before we can reasonably start using algae as fuel.

The idea itself seems to make sense, and plenty of investors are already onboard. But as it turns out, in order for algae to be an economically viable source of oil, we’d need a lot more cheap land, sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

It looks like it’ll be awhile before we get real green energy.

Image Source: Scott Kinmartin under Creative Commons
Report Analyzes Economic Viability of Algae Biofuels [Daily Cal]

shorts11-235x3001Best way to celebrate our sudden influx of warm weather: dreaded return to academic grind? Right. Try PFA’s screening of many shorts–not to be confused with our own informative pantaloons. [UC Berkeley Events]

When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who YOU gonna call? Um, the twofer that is Berkeley’s campus-city ultimate crime-fighting combo. Obvi. [Mercury News]

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s ongoing research in the strife-ridden Gulf points to a quick-moving clean-up that may or may not be taking place as the handiwork of a very small, surprising source. [Wall Street Journal]

Lynne Cheney thinks we suck. [Huffington Post]

Earlier: Many Boo-Boos

greenThe hot topic in campus energy research news is predictably the BP partnership and what it means in the wake of the oil spill.

Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times mused as to why there has been “no campus protest over Berkeley-BP connection,” which of course is completely untrue.

We’re pretty confident in saying we’ve attended more recent UC Berkeley campus protests than Hiltzik, and there has been plenty of outcry ever since the deal was penned. Reading the article, it seems want he was really trying to say was, “Why is there no campus protest now?” To which we respond: Everyone’s on summer vacation. read more »

We’re sure that you, like most of the first world, were abounding with endless excitement last night as the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland began to collide protons at energies too obscene for publication in this blog (and that’s saying something). But in the midst of all your geeky late-night pizza parties, you may have forgotten Berkeley’s own participation in the events leading up to a world record-breaking experiment.

Exhibit 1) read more »


Ack—it has been FAR too long since we’ve heard from our favorite DOE Secretary. Where’s the love, Steven Chu? Apparently, in the brand-spankin’-new Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, to which Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s old director just appointed 15 members this past Friday.

One of said members is read more »

Check out how excited they are!

You see all those people above, leaning seemingly inexplicably to their left? You know why they’re leaning? It’s because they’re stoked. Super, super stoked. You know why they’re stoked? Because they just signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding … and Friendship … for Everyone!

OK, maybe we made those last bits up, but they did sign on to a very special partnership with the Building Trades Council of Alameda County that will allow four lucky electrical apprentices to try their hands at their craft in the high stakes electrical world of a national laboratory.

And all under the glaring lights of scrutiny focused unflinchingly upon them by reality television cameras. Do they have what it takes? ONLY TIME WILL TELL. OK, we made that up too. But seriously, it sounds like a pretty cool program. Way to streamline resources, Berkeley Lab and Alameda County!

Image Source: Roy Kaltschmidt, LBL site
Berkeley Lab Launches Apprenticeship Program for Electrical Resources [LBL]

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