Home » Articles posted by Tor Haugan
Posts by Author: Tor Haugan
Virtual reality, fake news, do-it-yourself web design — what do these things have in common? All are part of our ever-changing information landscape, for better or worse. And all are explored in a new initiative, Level Up, which aims to help students take a closer look at the technology in their lives through dozens of fall workshops and online guides. Want to learn about 3-D printing? Need help getting started on a research project? We’ve got students covered.
“We want to empower students to create new media, experiment with emerging technologies, and be critical consumers of information in an age when bogus stories are increasingly common,” says E-Learning and Information Studies Librarian Cody Hennesy, who is designing and implementing the initiative.
This week, the Library launched a Level Up web resource, which includes information for students interested in enhancing their digital information skills and teaching tools for faculty members on these topics.
Russia has dominated popular discussion recently, as news junkies and casual observers alike can tell you.
But how much do you actually know about the country’s history?
As it turns out, 2017, which has been anything but uneventful so far, marks 100 years since the Russian Revolution. And although the Kremlin may not be officially commemorating the centenary, the UC Berkeley Library is exploring the topic in a vivid new exhibit at Moffitt Library.
For those who need a refresher, the revolution consisted of a pair of coups, both in 1917: The first saw the demise of the monarchical government of Tsar Nicholas II, and the other, led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks, led to the rise of the world’s first communist state, which would fall in 1991 (which, for some millennials, might as well be ancient history).
With feedback from key scholars on campus, Liladhar Pendse, Slavic and East European studies librarian at UC Berkeley, curated the exhibit, called “The Russian Revolution Centenary: 1917-2017: Politics, Propaganda and People’s Art.”
“The revolutions result in upheavals that generally lead to big transformations and social changes,” Pendse said. “How do those who have come to power behave? What kind of social and economic changes do they implement in the name of ‘humanity’? How do artists and authors behave and create new ‘transformative’ genres?”
The exhibit explores these questions through three major themes: politics, propaganda and the people’s art.
Because of the widespread illiteracy in the Russian Empire at the time, imagery became a potent force in conveying ideas. The result is an exhibit that is “highly visual.”
Revolutionary posters served as tools of propaganda for the early Soviet government. (You’re probably familiar with the aesthetic, which has served as an inspiration for everything from album covers to candy ads.) The Communists tried to replace familiar religious iconography with images of warriors or workers, symbols that were used to evoke the “just society” they envisioned. And the public art that was created by — and for — the people reinforced the expected norms of equality in the “new world,” Pendse said.
Pendse hopes the exhibit will help students learn about other viewpoints, encourage them “to think outside of the box” and remember the past, he said.
“At the back of my mind is what we can learn from history,” he said.
The exhibit is on view through Jan. 8. See the exhibit on the third floor of Moffitt Library — you’ll need a Cal 1 Card for entry. Click here to see the exhibit’s virtual counterpart.
From K-pop to the school-to-prison pipeline: Launch Pad program to offer rare glimpse into undergraduate research
Shelby Mack was scared.
She and a friend, both high schoolers in Southern California, had been heading to a fast-food joint — ditching class, admittedly — when a school security guard stopped them and took them to the principal’s office.
Mack remembers bursting into tears, not knowing what punishment would await.
One thing led to another. What started as a visit with the principal and a phone call to her mother (plus a court date and a fine) ended with Mack going to the Police Department and participating in a juvenile delinquency program known as Divergent, she said.
“We didn’t even make it to McDonald’s,” Mack quipped.
The experience — one of many from Mack’s life that underscores the disparity in discipline between black girls and white girls — helped influence the topic she would research as a Haas Scholar.
The UC Berkeley senior, majoring in American studies with a concentration in black education, is studying black female enrichment programs such as Oakland-based African American Female Excellence and how these programs can be used to replace and dismantle zero-tolerance policies — policies that critics say play a role in the school-to-prison pipeline.
On Wednesday, Mack will be one of two undergraduates discussing the research process with fellow students as part of of the inaugural Launch Pad event at Moffitt Library.
Launch Pad’s undergraduate talks on the research process open “a creative space for discussion and growth,” explained Ashley Bacchi, events coordinator for the UC Berkeley Library and creator of the series. “Rather than focusing on results of students’ research, the talks provide insight into the research process itself inviting participation from students from inside and outside of the discipline.
“The fourth floor Central Commons in the Moffitt Library offers a unique space for an event series that highlights the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and process learning that is embodied in this new addition to the Library system.”
For her research, Yena Lee, a senior at UC Berkeley who is majoring in media studies and minoring in journalism, also is focusing on a pervasive problem — albeit an entirely different one.
“The sexism in K-pop is very prevalent,” said Lee, a fellow with the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, or SURF. Along with misogyny, homophobia and other problematic themes are common in lyrics and other aspects of so-called star text, which encompasses not only artists’ work, but also their publicity and promotional materials.
The troubling lyrics have caused a rift within fan communities, causing tension that has played out across Twitter in the form of hashtags and, in some cases, cyberbullying.
On one side are the diehards, whose unwavering loyalty is consistent with the established norms of being a K-pop fan. And on the other side are the fans who are challenging the status quo by demanding that their favorite artists address their problematic lyrics. (#WeWantBTSFeedback and other hashtags were created for that purpose.)
“(Most) artists are not doing anything, basically,” Lee said. “They don’t want any fans to be excluded, so they just keep quiet.”
Through in-depth interviews and data analysis — and a trip to Korea, funded by the SURF Fellowship program — Lee is taking a look at the people who, by holding their idols to account, are redefining what it means to be a K-pop fan.
Both of Wednesday’s talks explore topics within the social sciences, but future Launch Pad events will focus on a variety of disciplines. October’s event will focus on science and engineering (formula-style racing, to be exact), and the talk in November will delve into the arts and humanities.
The subject areas are far-reaching, but the goal remains the same: to foster collaboration and innovation among students and to support the research process.
“I think it’s a really great effort by (the UC Berkeley Library) to bring everybody together,” Lee said.
Wednesday’s Launch Pad event takes place at 12:10 p.m. on the fourth floor of Moffitt Library. Each student’s talk will last about 10 minutes, and a Q&A session will follow.
Alice Waters is not your average celebrity chef.
The so-called godmother of California cuisine seems to prefer activism to television (Guy Fieri, take note) and has championed a variety of causes throughout her life, from free speech to free school lunches.
She spoke with Steve Wasserman, publisher of Heyday Books, at the Free Speech Movement Café at Moffitt Library on Thursday, in the first event tied to the release of her long-awaited memoir.
Here’s what we learned from the talk.
1. She recently gave a peach to Al Gore.
Hoping to draw attention to the connection between food and global warming, she gave the Colorado-grown fruit to the former vice president, who recently released a follow-up to his acclaimed documentary about climate change.
“Thank God, (the peach) was perfect,” she said.
Talk about delicious diplomacy.
2. She has a daily ritual that helps her stay in shape.
“I walk out and take a walk up the hill for 45 minutes,” she said, also noting she also does some “little exercises” as part of her routine. “It’s almost like a meditation.”
Oh, and one more thing: “I try not to have anything in my house that’s too tempting.”
3. She had an unfortunate incident with fish.
Once, Chez Panisse brought in live trout, which found temporary residence in the kitchen sink. Apparently not taking kindly to the chlorinated tap water, they began jumping out, causing — as you can imagine — a chaotic scene.
“It was before we had an open kitchen,” she said, which spared diners the possibility of an impromptu show during their meal.
4. She has strong feelings about President Donald Trump
What does she think about Trump’s announcement about the repeal of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program, or DACA, which protected nearly a million undocumented immigrants who came here as children?
“I think the most important thing is for us to all band together — in a spiritual way,” she said. “They need to know we support them.”
5. Her favorite recipe?
Get some fresh mint, boil water, and pour the water over the mint. And wait. Then drink.
“That’s the recipe,” Waters said.
Alice Waters was reluctant.
“Reluctant” isn’t a word often associated with the celebrated food icon and activist. But when it came to her new book, the third and final installment in a contract, she considered giving the money back and forgoing the project altogether. “I didn’t feel like I had something really to say,” she said in a phone interview.
But she talked to her agent, who offered encouragement, and secured help from a longtime friend, as well as a young writer who would take dictation (Bob Carrau and Cristina Mueller, respectively).
“And so we began,” she said.
The result is an honest memoir, out Sept. 5, which offers an intimate account of Waters’ early life.
By writing it, she said, she “hoped to empower the counterculture of this country.” (The memoir’s title? “Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook,” fittingly.)
In the book, Waters revisits a broad range of experiences, including her activism as a student at UC Berkeley during the heyday of the Free Speech Movement. And on Thursday, Waters will read from the memoir at the Free Speech Movement Café at Moffitt Library, on the campus where that movement was born. The event will include a conversation between Waters and her friend Steve Wasserman, who runs Heyday Books, and a book signing.
“Alice Waters has dedicated her new memoir to the Free Speech Movement; she feels it enabled Chez Panisse,” Chancellor Carol Christ said. “Her reading, at the Free Speech Movement Café, will enable us all to understand this extraordinary conjunction.”
Waters’ connection to UC Berkeley runs deep. In fact, the alum (she graduated in 1967 with a degree in French cultural studies) still has a presence on campus. In 2001, The Bancroft Library celebrated the acquisition of historical documents and photos from her revolutionary restaurant at 1517 Shattuck Avenue.
“I was very honored when they asked for the papers,” she said. “I feel like I am forever part of that space.”
Waters’ journey at UC Berkeley began in 1964, when she transferred here from UC Santa Barbara.
“A lot was going on in Berkeley. And I really didn’t know what it was all about,” she said. “I wanted to know what was going on.”
It wasn’t long until Waters joined the Free Speech Movement, which gained considerable traction under the leadership of activist Mario Savio. (Waters’ new book is dedicated in his memory — and the Free Speech Movement Café was funded by a gift in honor of Savio.)
“(Savio) always seemed to see the big picture,” she said. “It wasn’t just about stopping the war in Vietnam. He was speaking about coming together and sharing values. … It was very, very important that we stood together and created this world together.
And it was from the influence of that world that Chez Panisse was born. Not long after she graduated from UC Berkeley, the restaurant first opened its doors.
It was 1971, and she was only 27.
Waters embraced local, high-quality ingredients, cooperative relationships with farmers and, importantly, the counterculture ethos.
“We did it differently,” she said. “It was doing it differently that made it what it is.”
The restaurant went on to inspire countless restaurateurs to adopt the “farm-to-table” approach. And Waters’ influence extends beyond her “little French restaurant.” Waters has championed free, sustainable, healthy school lunches for students; the importance of an edible education; and, famously, the creation of an organic garden at the White House.
Is she happy that First Lady Melania Trump vowed to keep the garden going under the new presidential administration?
“Any good news about the garden is good,” she said. “That’s all I can say.”
With wide-ranging acclaim and accomplishments, does she consider herself primarily a chef or an activist?
“I’ve never thought of myself as a chef-chef. I’ve never thought of myself as a really good cook. I’m a taster. I’m engaged. I’m a co-producer with the farmer.
“Yes, I’m a chef … because I can run a kitchen. But it’s always been a cooperation, (and) we, hopefully, create something that’s better than the sum of the parts.
“No question I’m an activist.”
But her story isn’t just about activism and food.
After all, no memoir about 1960s counterculture would be complete without the drugs.
Waters used acid only once, she said — knowingly, that is.
“One other time they spiked the punch at a wedding, and we all lay on the back lawn of the house where the wedding was held,” she said, “and there was the most glorious sunset.”
Was acid life-changing?
“Certain things made sense to me that hadn’t before,” she said. “In that sense, it was life-changing.”
It also was “utterly shocking,” she said.
“I never did it again,” she added.
“I’ve always been a wine person.”
All are welcome to attend the event (Free Speech Movement Café, Moffitt Library, 6 p.m. Thursday). No ticket is required, and seating is limited.
Free Speech Movement photographs [graphic] taken by Steven Marcus, BANC PIC 2000.002–NEG Strip 36:13. © The Regents of the University of California, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Want to spruce up your space with a Chagall or liven up your living room with a Landau — for free?
Not a problem.
Through The Graphic Arts Loan Collection, UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty can borrow from an eclectic collection of about 850 prints, across a wide range of artists and styles.
“It’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” said Jennifer Osgood, technical processing lead for the Arts & Humanities and International & Area Studies, who has been involved with the art exchange since 2015.
As it turns out, it’s popular among students, too. As of Tuesday afternoon, 91 pieces had been checked out already, and 101 were on hold — up from combined total of 103 from the previous year at the same time.
The collection grew by 24 works last year — all donations — so students have an evolving set of prints to choose from.
Among the items of interest this year? Two pieces that are perhaps the oldest in the collection (one from 1550 and one from 1613) were snapped up by the same student. (In case you’re wondering, the older one is by the artist Hieronymus Cock. Its title? “Ruins of the Greater Palatine Hill.”)
This year, the art became available for students Aug. 23 and will become available for staff and faculty starting Sept. 4. (Because the program originated in 1958 to serve students, they still get priority.)
The circulation of art stops at the end of April; the service isn’t offered in the summertime. Patrons can check out up to two pieces at a time.
With all that art moving from place to place, has there been any serious damage to any of the pieces?
Just “the normal wear and tear,” said Scott Peterson, head of Morrison Library, emphasizing that those wishing to borrow shouldn’t be discouraged by the fear of causing a little bit of damage here and there. That sort of thing is expected and won’t cause sky-high fees for students.
What students will gain, however, is a deeper appreciation for art, Osgood said. The program helps show that art is not just something you see in libraries and museums.
“I love when (students’) faces light up when they realize this art is for them, too,” she said.
If you’re interested in the service, go to Morrison Library at 5 p.m. Aug. 30 for a presentation about The Graphic Arts Loan Collection. Students who attend and sign an agreement form can walk away with free art.
Going to college ain’t cheap, what with tuition, room and the ubiquitous yet mysteriously named board. (Does anyone know what that last one actually means?)
If that weren’t enough, the cost of course materials have soared to sky-high levels. Textbook prices have risen 88 percent in the past decade, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. And with undergrads here expecting to pay about $900 — a low figure for some — on books and materials this academic year, students are shouldering a large burden.
“This is something that every major university is grappling with,” says Rachael Samberg, scholarly communication officer at the University Library at UC Berkeley, who is directing a cross-campus effort to provide students with free and openly available course materials starting this fall.
The pilot programs, with support from the Arcadia Fund, are broken into three parts: providing free course packs — the often hefty sheafs of assigned readings that students are usually expected to pay for; paying professors to switch to free digital versions of their books; and supplying grants for the creation of new, openly accessible course texts.
The first two — the free course packs and the digital versions of course materials — are available starting this semester, and the new course materials — referred to as open educational resources — will be available this spring or next fall.
More than 20 classes, with subjects ranging from economics to earthquakes and class sizes ranging from 15 to 350 students, are part of the pilots.
Daniel A. Rodríguez, a professor of city and regional planning who arrived at UC Berkeley last year, is familiar with the concept of free class materials for students. Previously, when he was working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he took it upon himself to scan readings and make them freely available as PDFs for his students.
Expecting students to pay $300 for a course pack, he said, was “unconscionable.”
So when an email popped into his inbox asking if he was interested in the pilot, it was a no-brainer.
“This was just a much more institutionalized and easy way to do it,” he said.
This year, instead of each student paying a total of $150 for a roughly 600-page course pack, students in Rodríguez’s undergraduate course, called Sustainable Mobility, will have access to online readings.
The cost for students to access the materials? Free.
“(This is) a very, very welcome outcome,” he said.
In addition to providing students with free course materials, and professors with grants totaling roughly $25,000 to make it all possible, the initiative provides fair use counseling to professors who choose to participate, which eliminates the fee — which is passed on to students — that commercial copy centers charge to legally clear the material they’re reproducing.
Based on the findings from the pilots, the project team will provide recommendations about the next steps to achieve broader reach across campus.
Regardless of what lies ahead, the pilot programs alone have a potential impact that reaches far beyond Berkeley, Samberg said.
The creation of new course materials, for example, offers a chance to provide students with cutting-edge, and even interactive, textbooks, and those materials will be available to anyone wishing to access or download them from around the world for years to come.
“We’ve got the innovation on campus to take (ideas) and make them a reality to benefit a global community,” Samberg said.
It’s bird! It’s a plane! It’s — an eclipse?
On Monday, the moon will completely cover the sun and cast a shadow across the country, marking the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States since Feb. 26, 1979 — and the first one whose path has traveled from one American coast to the next in 99 years.
Although the forthcoming solar spectacle will be fully visible only from a 70-mile-wide, 3,000-mile-long band — “the path of totality” — which stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, you won’t have to travel far to get your eclipse fix.
Earth and physical sciences librarian Sam Teplitzky, who recently chose the items for a Cal Day eclipse extravaganza in the Physics Library and a Maps and More pop-up event at the Earth Sciences Library, says she has noticed a surge in interest in the topic.
“We’ve had several patrons use the eclipse-related maps to help chart their own eclipse-chasing plans,” she says, “and the new books I purchased related to next week’s eclipse have been checked out all summer.”
Those who can’t make it to the path of totality to witness the full-on phenomenon in person can check out the eclipse-centric displays here on campus. One, on view until Oct. 1, is outside of the Earth Sciences & Map Library (open weekdays from 9 to 5 p.m.), in the lower level of the lobby of McCone Hall. The other, which will be up through the end of the month, is at the main reading room of the Physics-Astronomy Library (open weekdays from 1 to 5 p.m.).
Bonita Dyess, circulation supervisor at the Earth Sciences & Map Library, was instrumental in putting together the eclipse displays.
“I hope people gain a different outlook on our science libraries from looking at our displays,” she says. “I also hope they gain a better understanding of what a total eclipse truly is and how rare this extraordinary event occurs, especially in the U.S.”
We pored over many of the eclipse-related offerings at the Library, full of little-known tidbits and fun facts. Here are just a few things we learned.
1. Eclipse chasing is old.
Heading to Oregon in time for the big event? You’re not alone. Many eclipse enthusiasts are making their way the path of totality — from Boiler Bay in Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina — for primo viewing. But eclipse chasing isn’t new: It is said to have started in 1715. In fact, that year, Sir Isaac Newton created diagrams of the eclipse in England for the public, according to “Total Solar Eclipses and How to Observe Them.”
Interested in the history of eclipse chasing? Rebecca Joslin’s “Chasing Eclipses: The Total Solar Eclipses of 1905, 1914, 1925” tackles the subject, and its beautiful imagery makes it one of librarian Teplitzky’s top eclipse-related picks at the Library.
2. Eclipses come with their own weather.
Like a neighborhood in San Francisco, eclipses are said to come with their own microclimates. Solar eclipses are associated with a drop in temperature — the moon is blocking the sun, after all. Tracking software, however, isn’t sophisticated enough to predict the the weather changes they trigger, according to “Total Solar Eclipses.”
But rapidly fluctuating weather? That’s something all of us in the Bay Area are used to.
3. According to legend, a dragon (or frog or vampire or werewolf or dog) ate the sun.
Eclipses have been explained throughout the years in legends and lore, which vary from culture to culture. The Chinese and Indonesians, for example, historically held that the eclipse is caused by a giant dragon eating the sun, accounting for its apparent disappearance. In fact, the Mandarin word for eclipse is “shi,” which means “eat.”
Eclipse myths involving creatures eating the sun are not uncommon, although the beast ingesting the planets can vary depending on the stories’ origins. In Bolivia, it was a huge dog; in Vietnam, a ginormous frog; a werewolf in Serbia; and a vampire in Siberia, according to the fascinating tome “Total Eclipses: Science, Observations, Myths and Legends.”
4. Eclipses have appeared in many books throughout history — including maybe the Bible.
Eclipses are featured in some of the most highly regarded works in history, including those by Shakespeare (“King Lear”) and Mark Twain (“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”). Even one of the “Twilight” books is called “Eclipse.”
Most notably, though, is that the Scriptures may depict a solar eclipse. The Bible mentions three hours of darkness in the daytime during Jesus’ crucifixion, according to “Total Eclipses.” But whether this was a religious miracle or a normal (albeit rare) astronomical occurrence — or something else entirely — remains up for debate.
5. Someday, solar eclipses will no longer be visible.
The moon is drifting away from the Earth at a rate of 38 mm per year — which is the thickness of about five iPhones stacked on top of one another. Someday, the moon will appear so small in the sky, it will be unable to obscure the sun, according to “Total Solar Eclipses.”
But don’t worry, chasers — it won’t happen anytime soon.
How to see the eclipse
If you do want to see the eclipse but are stuck in the Bay Area on Monday, fear not: Although the region doesn’t lie on the path of totality, we can catch a glimpse of a partial (or about 75 percent) eclipse — that is, if Karl the Fog is cooperative.
Set your alarm to 10:15 a.m. — or a few minutes earlier, for some wiggle room — so you don’t miss it.
If you don’t end up seeing it in person, of course, there’s the Eclipse Megamovie Project, a crowdsourced venture spearheaded by UC Berkeley and Google, which pulls together volunteer-submitted images of the eclipse from across the country. So, like the sun come Monday, you’ll be covered.
Librarian Teplitzky says, if the weather allows, she’ll likely step outside to look at the eclipse — “with my eclipse glasses,” she adds, referring to the protective eyewear that filters out harmful rays.
You’ll want to nab a pair, even if you’re watching from the Bay Area. After all, you wouldn’t want to risk your eyesight for when the next total solar eclipse is visible in the United States — in 2024.
Sources: ABC Channel 7, American Astronomical Society, “Chasing Eclipses: The Total Solar Eclipses of 1905, 1914, 1925,” NASA, “Total Eclipses: Science, Observations, Myths and Legends”, “Total Solar Eclipses and How to Observe Them,” Washington Post