31 January 2008

Always unprepared

I think a common feeling here at Cal is always feeling unprepared. No matter how many hours I read, study, or go to class there's always a moment of unpreparedness (my new word). For example there is guaranteed to be one question on your final that has no relevance/random/impossible. I realized today that there will always be those moments in life beyond Berkeley. I always have an umbrella (no this is not a random tangent), in fact I have two, just in case I lose one. Well of all the days to forget an umbrella and wear a thin sweatshirt, today was not the day. As I walked way across campus in the pouring rain, I got soaked through my sweatshirt and shirt, I started laughing. Yes this was my moment...when it all made sense. Even the weather in Berkeley has it out for me. I'm always prepared for rain...except for today when it poured! I know all my scheming professors were responsible and wanted to remind me that I'm always be unprepared at Cal, even when it comes to the weather.

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Posted by Marissa Ponder at 3:34 | Permalink

31 January 2008

The New Semester and Yes I'm Still Alive

Yes I am still alive and I am still blogging on this site. How long has it been? Forever has it? Well as long as they keep letting me sign on I'll still be blogging. I wonder when I'll finally go to the page and find out they changed the password. I can see it now, "Jonathan, give it up. You're not a fresh face anymore. You've been here for two years. What more can you say?! Please stop!" It keeps my brain young and limber to write like this anyway. I spend so much of my day writing lame stuff like, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs." I am taking an economic demography class. Now I've used this punchline a million times before but I'm still refining it for maximum hilarity. This could take years. In this class they really like to talk about demographics of our industrialized nations and how our more industrialized nations have aging populations and that eventually that population will slowly decrease in size because of plunging fertility rates. Now I'm a pretty normal guy (or so the voices in my head always like to insist) but every time I leave lecture I can't help but feel this need to go and reproduce. Like if I'm being compelled to have hundreds and hundreds of Asian babies to replace all the ones in Japan not being born. If it turns out that there are no Asians in Asia anymore, then it's my fault for not popping out 2.1 babies to keep replacing the population. Sigh. If you are reading this then you are bored. No question about it. Why don't you cheer yourself up by heading over to UC Berkeley's Wikipedia page and feel awesome at going to such an stupefyingly awesome school? I do it all the time.

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Posted by Jonathan Yu at 1:14 | Permalink

31 January 2008

Neat lecture on Microbes!

Today there's a guest lecture on campus that many will find of interest! Dr. Edward F. DeLong is visiting from MIT to discuss his work on Genomics in Microbial Oceanography. His seminar will be from 4-5 today, January 31, 2008 in 100 GPB. Here is a link to one of his papers, to give you a better idea of his research: http://pmb.berkeley.edu/~taylor/pmb290cg/pdfs/DeLong_2005.pdf

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Posted by Christina at 4:27 | Permalink

31 January 2008

Thanks, Trey & Dana!

If you're in GPB or MB, you're going to meet the awesome Undergraduate Advisors Trey and Dana. If you haven't spent time with them yet, you will be required to meet them soon. Be sure to ask them all the questions you have about course requirements - they can tell you all about creative ways to meet your elective requirements, or let you know that you don't really need that insane MCB class you were planning on taking. Now, something to know - they're new! And dangit - they know their stuff. But occasionally some paperwork gets lost in transitions like this, so don't be shocked if you need to remind them you've completed a requirement. For any of you transfer students out there - you're going to want to make super good friends with Trey and Dana. That's because they approve all of your course substitutions. If you've attended another four-year school like me, it can get pretty tricky. Like most upper-division transfer students, I took almost all of my lower-division requirements at another school. That means that Trey and Dana have to work some magic to make each one of those count toward graduation. It can be tricky at times, but worth it to not re-take courses.

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Posted by Christina at 1:57 | Permalink

29 January 2008

oh what a jolly semester!

I am happy to report that although I was number 88 on the waitlist for Bio 1A I actually got in! Wohoooo this means that I am on track and won't have to shuffle my pre-med heavily compacted double major schedule around. Speaking of schedule, this semester I am taking the following: Arabic 100B Arabic 104 Arabic 111 History 109c Bio 1A Bio 1AL Ph104 Yes, that would be 21 units 16 of which are upper division, and no none of them are seminars or easy classes and of course I'll have no social life this semester!!! Still, I feel like I am more in charge of my semester because I know so much more about the procedures in berkeley and my way around I no longer feel like a visitor on campus but rather a part of campus so hooooorray for me! If you're in any of my 2394820394 classes, say hello!

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Posted by Rola Abduljabar Rabah at 0:39 | Permalink

29 January 2008

Cell Phone no-no's

What you should NEVER, EVER do: - Never answer your phone and carry on a conversation in the library. It's going to bother at least one person near you. - NEVER leave your phone on "ring" during class. Turn off your phone, put it on silent, or put it on vibrate - Do not ever use your phone in a computer lab. Most have it posted on the wall as a no cell zone, but all expect you to know not to use one. - Never answer a phone during office hours. Just a bad idea. Terribly disrespectful. - Please do watch where you're walking when you're talking on your cell phone. It's no fun getting trapped behind cell-phone-talking, slow-walking, hand-gesturing oblivious folks on your way to class. - Please don't have a loud and obnoxious ring tone, in case you accidentally forget to turn off your cell phone in class.

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Posted by Christina at 5:21 | Permalink

28 January 2008

Housing Co-ops

About a week ago, my friend told me about housing co-ops. They're an unique living option for Berkeley students. The cost is pretty inexpensive, averaging a little above $3000 for a semester. The cost includes food, internet, and utilities. Another appealing factor about the co-ops is that the laundry is really cheap! The reason why co-ops are so inexpensive is because each person does his or her fair share of chores each week. By contributing to the overall maintance of the co-op, people get an affordable living option and a unique living experience in return. I've started looking at housing co-ops online, but I'm going to go visit them in person sometime soon. There's an application you have to fill out. I've heard they're some party co-ops, but in general, I think the atmosphere is close to that of a dorm. Right now, I'm considering

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Posted by Victoria Eng at 0:08 | Permalink

26 January 2008

Practicing Japanese and the University of California

Studying abroad means that one ought to take all the opportunities possible to improve one's language skills. One way that I do this is my watching dramas. I prefer to watch them once without subtitles, then once again with subtitles to catch the meanings I didn't get the first time. If the episode was fascinating, I might watch it once more without subtitles. For proper language skills, I would recommend that one not watch anime (Japanese cartoons). Many Japanese people mention that those to avidly watch anime talk oddly. They have a comic accent. On an awesome note, as I was watching a drama, this guy with this shirt pops up. santabarbra.GIF Go UC System!

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Posted by K. Lee at 0:17 | Permalink

25 January 2008

Washington State University visits

The Washington State University's sports coach Willy and five athletes (golf, baseball, and athletic related majors) visited International Christian University, Japan, where I am studying abroad. As a member of the baseball team (manager = girls pick up balls, bring tea to the players, etc. [not quite as cool as what a manager means in the USA]) I went for the welcoming and closing parties. I'm quite amazed at Japanese hospitality. They took care of U of Washington's people quite well. On the other hand, I found out that Berkeley has a baseball team. Did you know that? I only found out when the U of Wash captain of the baseball team, Simi, remarked on his experiences at Cal. Heh. Also, when they joked about Cal and the Pac-10, all I could really do was smile and nod. You see, all I know about Cal athletes is football, we hate StanfUrd, and we're in the Pac-10. That's not very much information. By the way, W Dub =/= Washington State U=WSU And, now I have a WSU hat. Yay! Come back and visit again WSU!

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Posted by K. Lee at 5:48 | Permalink

24 January 2008

Bioethical Issues on Kidney Transplants

A girl in my dorm is taking an English class on Bioethics presented me with the following case. A scientist/doctor in Japan has transplanted 42 cases of kidneys into patients on dialysis. The issue with these kidneys was that they were previously diseased but had the diseased portion cut out before transplantation. In none of these cases did complications arise. Due to the situation in Japan, the scientist was unable to present his findings/paper in Japan. Yet, he will be bringing the paper to present in the USA this month (or perhaps he has already presented it this month). She asked me about my thoughts: Q: Is this more acceptable in the USA? The USA is probably more open about presenting abnormal, groundbreaking, cases. However, this does not mean that the situation would be more acceptable in the USA. Q: Would you give your diseased kidney to someone? No. I don't want to deal with liability issues our legal system makes it easy to sue. Even with liability waivers, it is still possible to sue.

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Posted by K. Lee at 7:24 | Permalink

23 January 2008


The yuletide relaxations have been concluded and now our hero set forth to smite his final semester at UC Berkeley. Last semester was a mind bending decerebrational dropkick of sub-epic proportions. This semester he will surely be transformed into a photo-phobic corpse of the benevolently peering sort. Yay philosophical zombies!! Speaking of which you should all submit to Jonathan Coulton's Re: Your Brains.

Continue reading "BEHOLD!" »

Posted by Eric Thurston at 5:03 | Permalink

19 January 2008

new year's resolution, new academic semester

Well, I just got back into Berkeley today. It felt very different. For one, you don't have to tell your parents that you're going out, when you'll be back, or be forced to eat a plateful of veggies anymore!! But, waking up at 12 pm won't be an option or luxury anymore now that school has begun. Since it is a new year, I recommend that students set new goals for themselves. What had they wish they'd done last semester? Study more, get involved more, or exercise more? I guess I'd have to confess that I should have managed my time better with exercising and going to more clubs, but most importantly, managing my meal points. Definitely! Last semester, I was at 0 meal points 3 weeks before finals!! Not good. Thoough, the 1 dollar grill cheese sandwich at GBC was not bad!! This semester, I also decided to take 17 units, which isn't bad for a freshman since it usually depends on the types of courses, not necessarily the amount of units. This advice I got from the PAL program- mentor blogs in our department! I'm taking Psych2, english, math16a, chem 3a/3l, NST 11. I'm really excited about NST11 and even yes, organic chemistry. Everyone says that it's hard but I want to see for myself!! Let you know the details as soon as school begins!! By the way, books are sooo expensive. Sometimes, new editions keep appearing, I mean, it really isn't necessary to buy new editions.... i think...

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Posted by Casey Wang at 2:26 | Permalink

17 January 2008

Miami University Photos

Miami University of Ohio is a small school with a well-established Botany department. I am considering them for my graduate studies. Their graduate Botany department offers a small student - to- faculty ratio, ample funding, and graduate course offerings to drool over.

While I was meeting with faculty, Tom spent his afternoon touring campus and taking photos. A few highlights.

The Botany & Zoology Building

The Administration Building

The Stadium

Miami Univeristy is small, well-maintained, and filled with beautiful brick buildings. 

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Posted by Christina at 9:14 | Permalink

16 January 2008

Snowing in Japan!

I've never seen it snow before! It's 1 AM and my UC Irvine buddy texted me. I went outside to see for myself. Holding my hand out, tiny white droplets fell. Snowflakes!! They only lasted a second.. but.. SNOWFLAKES!!! As you can see, I am excited. :) Japan%20005.JPG

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Posted by K. Lee at 8:00 | Permalink

16 January 2008

EAP Singapore Spring 2008

Hi Guys! My name is Amy Lin. 4th year MEB major currently studying abroad in Singapore! I was one of the CNR peer advisors and I thought it's be nice if I can share my experiences abroad with you guys! I'll be updating some pictures and my daily happenings on this blog. So stay tuned! Today was the third day of school in National University of Singapore, NUS, where I study Life Sciences. I can't believe I've lived in Singapore for 10 days already. I spent the first part of my winter break in Taiwan and then I went to Singapore straight. Upon arrival in Singapore, the EAP program provided us a week of touring from Monday to Sunday last week. Everyday we woke up at around 8 and got home around 10 at night and we still have not yet finished touring and exploring Singapore! No, it is actually not that small, surprisingly. There are 30 UC students studying abroad in NUS for Spring 2008, mostly are from UC Berkeley. 9 of us did not get assigned to the on campus housing and thus we live in the apartment- Boon Lay Block 190- arranged by the school. I live with Tiffany Berkeley, Cindy from UCLA, and Katherine from Hong Kong. We've met international students from many countries around the world, Canada, India, Malaysia, Poland, France, Brazil, Germany, England, Japan, Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan... No country, however, tops the 30 people we have from the UCs, California =)

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Posted by Amy Lin at 2:16 | Permalink

15 January 2008

Busy Day in Oxford, Ohio

Today I visited with a large portion of the Botany faculty at Miami University of Ohio. This is one of the schools to which I have applied for graduate school. You can visit their Botany website here: http://www.cas.muohio.edu/botany/ Tom toured the little town and took photos while I met with faculty. My schedule for today: 8:45am - Hotel pick-up by Dr. Prem Kumar (Post-doc in Dr. Kiss' lab) 9:00am - Dr. Linda E. Watson (Botany department chair) 9:30am - Dr. John Kiss (NASA-funded space Botany) 10:30am - Dr. R. James Hickey (fern systematist) 11:00am - Dr. Mike Vincent (herbarium curator) 11:30am - Dr. Quinn Li (genetics) noon - Lunch with Prem Kumar (Post-doc for Dr. Kiss' lab) and Neela Kumar (PhD student Dr. Kiss' lab, vegetarian) 1:30pm - Dr. Richard Edelmann (electron and light microscopy specialist) 2:00pm - Dr. Nik Money - (Mycologist) 2:30pm - Dr. Beth Schussler (Biological sciences education researcher) 3:00pm - Dr. David Gorchov (Ecology) 3:30-5:15pm - Meet with Tom and discuss day. 5:30pm - Driving tour of campus with Dr. Kiss (Tom, too) 6:00pm - Dinner with Dr. Kiss (Tom, too) The weather was cold, but not at all unbearable. Dreary in the morning, clear blue skies in the afternoon. People asked me often my impression of the weather. It was pretty. I liked watching the little flurries of snow caught up by the breeze. Impressions of the program: Well-established Botany program. Knowledgeable staff. Focus on teaching. Kind people. Dr. Kiss is my favorite faculty member. His research is fascinating. The folks in his lab are kind and fun. Drawbacks of the program: May not be easy to petition into PhD program. Many encourage you to complete your master's, then move on to PhD. Described by one graduate student as having "low expectations" (challenged by other students I met, who found it quite difficult to juggle teaching, their own coursework, and research) Pluses: Excellent funding Diverse coursework offerings Gentle people Fun, fairly isolated college town, but driving distance from Cincinnati and Dayton. I like it.

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Posted by Christina at 7:46 | Permalink

10 January 2008


It's still vacation for Berkeley, but I'm in the middle of my second trimester here at International Christian University, Japan. Thus far, I've learned about international representations. When I think about America, I think about immigration. It's a soup bowl of people. It may be a melting pot or a salad, but either way we're a unique culture of combinations. There is truly no uniting force in the USA except that we are ... here by accident or by purpose (whether our own or some other force). Going overseas, we represent this conglomeration of cultures. Yet, because it is a glop of cultures, when we represent, we are unable to represent the entirety. We do not have a common history, ancestors, or thoughts to bind us together. The question of what is an American is a difficult question.

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Posted by K. Lee at 0:59 | Permalink

09 January 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

In the recent California storm, some of my family and friends went without power for up to four days. If you went without power for more than 48hrs, you qualify for some cash from PG&E. It's not much, but there's no reason not to take it -- is there? Also, if you lost a lot of food in your fridge or freezer, you can submit a claim requesting reimbursement for food spoilage. Check it out: Food Spoilage http://www.pge.com/includes/docs/pdfs/customer_service/claims/claimform_santarosa.pdf Safety Net The program provides a special, customer service staffed outage hotline, 1 (888) 743-4743 or 1 (888) PGE-4PGE, so you can speak to someone about your particular outage. Call and request a Storm Inconvenience Payment, which are provided in increments of $25, up to a maximum of $100 per event. Payment levels are based on the length of the customer's outage * 48 to 72 hours $25 * 72 to 96 hours $50 * 96 to 120 hours $75 * 120 hours or more $100

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Posted by Tay Feder at 9:42 | Permalink

09 January 2008

Less than a week...SIKE, or Psych if you prefer

It's hard to believe, for me anyway, that the beginning of the Spring semester is fast approaching. I've been out since December 15th and although I know I get a month off, it certainly doesn't feel like it. It's gone by way too quickly! I feel like I have so much more I need to do and although I love venting on Fresh Faces, I'm feeling pressured to keep it short! So I hope you all have had a great break and get everything together before the 15th! I'm going to miss just hanging out at home and not worrying about readings, problem sets, or anything else, but I am looking forward to being back at school. 'Till then, then, take care! [edit] Hmm...it seems that in my haste (from looking at a particular website, and for other reasons which will be touched on shortly) I was under the impression that classes began on Tuesday, January 15th. I feel foolish, very foolish (lmao). It must have been while looking at this (yes, I admit I only glanced at it and then proceeded to close it) that I somehow got the idea that the semester started on the 15th. I mean, it is in bold! And another thing: why the "heck" (substitute appropriate word here, lol) aren't the dates listed on either the schedule, BearFacts, or Tele-BEARS?! I think it'd be helpful having that information available! Anyway, lesson learned though. Next time I will definitely make sure to look for the "instruction Begins" date. Yeah, how about we bold that one instead?! :-P

Continue reading "Less than a week...SIKE, or Psych if you prefer" »

Posted by Juan at 5:32 | Permalink

09 January 2008

Send Certified

The UC Riverside Biological Sciences Graduate Division has officially lost 2 of my transcripts, GRE scores, supplementary application information, check, fellowship application, and 1 (of 3 total) letter of recommendation. 5 separate envelopes. 2 of which sent from outside the state of California. They tell me it's all lost in the mail. "If you sent it certified, we might be able to track it." I didn't. Let's have this be a lesson for all of us: Choose to mail everything certified. Oh, and... Don't plan on getting small-school attention from UC Riverside. No matter how small the program is that you're applying to, the school is massive and you can still fall through the cracks.

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Posted by Christina at 5:09 | Permalink

08 January 2008

Captain Vegetable!

This was my favorite super hero when I was a kid! He still is! Stopping sugar-eating criminals in the act, Captain Vegetable convinces all of us that eating veggies is cool.

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Posted by Christina at 3:52 | Permalink

07 January 2008

Letters from Winter Vacation

I try hard to monopolize your attention. This time my new tactic is to write during vacation when I assume that nobody else is writing because their lives do not revolve around school like mine does. Yes. Today I am going out to buy lead for my pencils - this day is rife with excitement and pregnant with pungent anticipation. I am very picky about my pencil lead. I only use 0.7 mm 2B lead because it gives me the darkest line and the strength to hold up under my hard pressed hand. Being on semester schedule is unusual. All my other UC friends are on the quarter schedule so their classes start today. This essentially leaves me with more reading and eating time. I wonder if this semester thing is a plot from Berkeley to deliberately isolate itself and its students from the rest of the system. The chess club in my high school did this too and it lead to two things: 1) Unparalleled chess genius-ry - I mean seriously. They'll win even if they give you their queen and let you continually beat them over the head with it. and 2) They danced with only themselves during the school dances. My search for peace, purpose and good TV reception on CBS continues. I HAVE to watch the Patriots game on Saturday even if it means me wrapping myself in aluminum and sticking my arms out of a 2nd story window.

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Posted by Jonathan Yu at 6:18 | Permalink

07 January 2008

For Future Oral Surgeons

Getting gum grafts during the winter break definitely ruined my break for a week. Let me tell the experience I had in the chair first. I had to get gum grafting for three teeth that were semi-wiggling which meant I didn't have enough gum/bone to hold them up. Remember, only on three teeth. This is very important to remember. So, I walked into the "operating" room, and my doctor was nice and amiable. She walked in and was like "What movie would you like to watch?" The movie was to help distract patients so we couldn't see the blood I guess. Well, Catch me if You Can was my all time favorite and an adventurous one- actually, it was either that movie or Material Girls. Anyway, after she put the numbing medicine on, I felt a little better about the this whole ordeal. But, if she thought not being able to see was supposed to comfort me, I felt like she should've given us ear muffs or plugs!! I could hear all kinds of drills and knives and suction. My imagination was taking over and my heart was beating so fast that I swear, my chair was pounding too. Anyway, she took a knife-like object, split open the gum. First, though, since a gum graft requires an addition of extra tissue, she had to get the tissue from somewhere right? Yes. She took it from the palate- the roof of my mouth. So, this is the feeling I got. It felt like she took a spoon and was digging into my tissue, like scooping ice cream. It hurt so much. Mind you, she did this to the whole roof of my mouth, not just a tiny section of it!!! Then, all of a sudden, I feel this string-like material coming out of my mouth and it was long(tissue perhaps?). She then told the dental hygienist to cut it. The next step was excruciating. In order to add the tissue to the lower jaw, she had to tie it. Literally. I thought maybe she'd just stuff the tissue in but no, she tied it into my jaw, like tying a shoelace. With each knot, jolts of pain ran down my mouth and entire body. After an hour, she was like, "how do you feel? That wasn't so bad." Sure..... "By the way,during the operation, I decided to put tissue on the whole lower jaw instead of just on 3 teeth."

Continue reading "For Future Oral Surgeons" »

Posted by Casey Wang at 9:29 | Permalink

05 January 2008

School Spirit!

So check out what popped up on my TV when I was playing Super Paper Mario: Click to view B-)

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Posted by Juan at 2:06 | Permalink