For us hardcore science fiction fans at the Clog, we have often wondered what it would be like to live among cyborgs. Due in part to excessively watching the movie “Blade Runner,” we think it would actually be pretty cool to be around someone who is part human and part machine. Yet that fantasy is thrown out the window once we realize that we’re college students and not some character destined to be acquainted with a cybernetic being in a sci-fi novel.

However, our dream is sort of becoming a reality in the form of Nigel Ackland, a man who lost his right forearm in a work accident three years ago, and has been fitted with a bionic prosthetic created by a company known as BeBionic.  Now of course we don’t refer to Ackland as a literal cyborg but he is very well close to being one in our science fiction addicted eyes. Like really, just look at that hand!

The bionic prosthetic that Ackland sports receives signals from muscle twitches in his upper arm which allows it to display different preset hand gestures as well as move his fingers into specific positions. Thanks to the arm, Ackland has been given back the ability to do normal day to day activities such as writing, typing and even cracking eggs for breakfast. Now if only he could hack a computer mainframe with that thing . . .

Speaking more seriously now, we have to admit that the technology behind BeBionic’s prosthetic hand for Ackland is definitely impressive. It really represents a step forward in the overall effort to help amputees or even those disabled by other means through the use of bionics. Surprisingly, Berkeley has also seen its own share of similar innovations through Ekso Bionics with their creation of eLEGS, a set of artificial legs used to help paraplegics walk.

Contributions like this really show how bionic technology can be used for the benefit of people. Admittedly, it’s hard for the sci-fi nerd in us not to get excited. After all, at this rate, the use of bionics just may allow our science fiction dream of walking among people similar to cyborgs to be a practical and realistic one in the coming years.

No snoring in class!So you’ve decided to take summer classes because you didn’t have the funds for that backpacking trip through Europe you’ve been raving about since last November. Bummer, but summer classes don’t have to suck (as much) when you have the Clog staff scouring through the session D schedule to find some interesting classes for your “enjoyment.” Here’s a list of a few classes we thought would make your summer at Cal fly much faster than it would taking Introduction to Financial Accounting or something equally dreadful. And please, let us know if you’re taking a class deemed interesting enough to stay awake through so we can add it to our list. read more »


Are you busy tomorrow night? We at the Clog don’t mean to pry, but as it turns out, there is a Scandinavian movie night this Tuesday, Nov. 24. This is for all of you who wandered around, bemoaning the fact that a university as widely acclaimed as Berkeley did not have one measly screening of a Finnish sci fi movie. You’re welcome.

If that doesn’t get your northern blood racing, we’ll just give you the title of the movie: “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning.”

Enjoy that for a moment. We’ll wait. And here’s the synopsis, to wash it all down: read more »