How close are we to an alien invasion?

The James Webb Space Telescope
NASA/Courtesy

On July 14, NASA held a panel discussion regarding the search for potentially habitable worlds and the existence of life on other planets. The panelists included some prestigious names — John Grunsfeld, an astronaut who personally repaired the Hubble Space Telescope multiple time while it was in orbit; John Mather, Read More…

The Albany Bulb homeless problem has not been solved, merely relocated

As the rich of the Bay Area get richer, the poor only become more vulnerable. As we struggle toward a more equitable minimum wage and affordable care, we must keep in mind that the lower classes are often a single disaster away from prolonged camping, living in a vehicle or street-living homelessness. The people of the Albany Bulb were not all cheerful nomads nor lifelong outcasts nor any kind of outliers. Some of them are simply people who fell on hard times and have become living harbingers of the difficulty ahead. Perhaps the real nuisance is that they make our economic divide impossible to ignore. Read More…

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What does it mean to be an individual?

My cohort is allegedly narcissistic and selfish. Recently, LinkedIn found through a survey that 68 percent of millennials would sacrifice a friendship for a promotion. Ouch. I, too, could feign superiority and look down upon my generation, but that would be disingenuous of me. I don’t think our fears and anxieties are unfounded. The cost of living is higher. More than a quarter of a million college graduates last year had minimum wage jobs. Still, I am hesitant to say that the academy has turned students into immoral, irrational players of commercial interest, as Allan Bloom suggests in “The Closing of the American Mind.” If anything, I am rather uncharacteristically optimistic about the broadening of disciplines and diversity in the modern university, which, though imperfect, opens up the potential for collectivity. And I am rather optimistic about what my generation has to offer. Read More…

Berkeley time’s time is up

Berkeley time appears to be a much-loved facet of campus culture. It is a saving grace that makes timekeeping and attendance somewhat casual, providing leeway for crossing the prodigious size of our campus, and the often-tight scheduling of classrooms. Berkeley time is treated as a civilized luxury, insulating students and Read More…

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6 things that only happen during the summer at Berkeley

The Berkeley summer population includes summer interns, people taking classes, foreign exchange students doing everything from studying abroad to taking on random retail jobs, worker bees and those just hanging around for a summer in Berkeley. For the most part, Berkeley doesn’t change much over the summer — there are Read More…

Whither Berkeley?

Whither Berkeley? Will Berkeley be Berkeley, or will Berkeley become just another street sign on the East Bay strip of cities running from Richmond to Fremont? Do you recall “Berkeley: The Athens of the West”? Is that gone? Will Berkeley become the west Walnut Creek or the east San Francisco? Are these things to aspire to? Read More…

Minimum wage, maximum challenge

The record shows that the better route for working people and their allies is the initiative. Minimum wage activists won an annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in 11 states. Significantly, only in Vermont was a COLA achieved by a legislative body. The other 10 were won via the initiative. The reason is that legislators tend to be more conservative than the voters who elected them. It is not surprising because the business community generally finances electoral campaigns, and furthermore, once in office, the pressure to cater to business interests is enormous. That is the case even at the local level, including the City of Berkeley. Read More…

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How college sports drag us down

Two Steps Forward

“Sports” are evil. They’re evil for making corporate tools out of extremely talented people. They’re evil for perpetuating the useless, stagnant habits of overconsumption and laziness. They’re evil for turning universities’ athletic directors into groveling ad addicts. But most of all, they’re evil for taking the beautiful facet of human experience that is athleticism, turning it into a whorehouse for rich advertisers to take their pick of the choicest bodies. You don’t have to support this corruption. Read More…