28 January 2010

Welcome back!

You may, or may not, have noticed that I went on hiatus at the end of last summer. Things just got to hectic for me but I realized that I enjoy contributing to this blog because someone out there, hopefully, finds what I have to say helpful...or at the very least entertaining. So just to catch up...

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Posted by Maria at 2:58 | Permalink

23 January 2010

Alumni Blogs

Just as a note, the alumni continuations have been put here http://nature.berkeley.edu/blogs/alumni/

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Posted by K. Lee at 9:37 | Permalink

21 January 2010

Farewell my endless summer

blog.jpg From the U.S. to Japan I welcomed the turn of our new decade by surrounding myself with palm trees, paw prints, and chilling 60 F [brrrrr] ocean breezes; and of course, I cannot forget running , well more like walking, with my mom. Quite a peaceful life to live if I do say so myself. But being the restless and free spirited soul that I am, soon I'll trade all of these perks of California living in for cherry blossoms and expensive fruits and vegetables- or should I say はなふぶき と たかい かさいるい - halfway across the globe in the wonderful country of Japan. Yes you've guessed correctly; those are Japanese characters. Recently, I was accepted to the Engineering and Science in English Junior Year Program at Tohoku University. Quite a mouthful huh? In addition to taking Japanese language and biology classes, I'll be researching in a lab for 15+ hours/week. Please don’t be fooled that I am one talented young lady who is so fluent in Japanese that she can carry out independent research projects in Japan. I confess, my proficiency in Japanese is that of a 5 year old or rather that of a 3 year old! Despite the language barrier, my enthusiasm to meet my second ‘lab family’ and figure out the purpose of my life [without my family inculcating their ideas on my decisions] far outweighs my fear of being in a foreign place all by myself.

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 1:18 | Permalink

19 January 2010

Chicago Trip

Another semester has begun! I hope you guys all had a great winter vacation! My winter vacation was pretty enjoyable. Just last week, my family and I went to visit our grandparents in Chicago. We mostly went shopping for things that our grandma needed, but we also got to visit the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where my mom went for her undergrad. I think our Campanile rivals their clock tower. Chicago%20Trip-%20January%202010%20066.jpg

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Posted by Victoria Eng at 2:54 | Permalink

19 January 2010

PMB 170 1st Day - Live Blogging

Damn you missing cell phone!!! First you decide not to work, then you flee my room with some unknown mysterious powers! Curse you! I only had 30 minutes to shower, eat and grab my netbook. This tiny room is packed! My hair is wet! The professor seems nice, I hope I didn't miss anything important. -Did I mention I got assigned a 40 page paper to read the night before? *sigh* Hello Cal. -Oh, she just made a joke about tuition I didn't hear...I gave a big smile, hopefully I look like I fit in. -Uh oh, someone left after sitting for 20 minutes before realizing she was in the wrong class. -Apparently one of my classmates has amazing vision...bastard... -Ugh, quizzes (We're going over the syllabus right now) -Sweet! No final exam!!!! -We're supposed to interact with 9 other classmates...oh crap, I suck at this. Ooh, we can make up stuff? My name is totally The Glorious Mr. Watterby! -Holy crap, I made the most boring group introduction to the class...*hide* -Morphine is in bread? -Mmm, copper sulfate -Class over!

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Posted by Josephine Wong at 2:09 | Permalink

18 January 2010

Any Given Sunday - Peace by Inches - Pacino

A friend told me to watch Any Given Sunday - Peace by Inches - Pacino this morning. Here are my thoughts on this clip: Life isn't perfect, but a player [either a person who is playing the game of life selfishly or altruistically] always needs to move forward. No matter what is being thrown at him/her, a player needs to suck it up and deal with the adversities- for the benefit of the team in order to save him/herself. Although what he/she is able to accomplish may not seem like much, 'inch by inch' the efforts of the entire team will bring about a wondrous outcome. But only with optimism, trust, loyalty, faith but especially a person's willingness to "sacrifice himself for [his/her] team because [s/he] knows [someone is] going to do the same for [him/her]" will that happen. Like the Asian proverb about how although an individual chopstick is easy to break, a bundle of chopsticks together makes it difficult for any force to break it. A team's strength and the sturdiness of its backbone are solely based on the resolved of its members to "heal as a team or die as individuals."

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 8:51 | Permalink

17 January 2010

Trees

sequoia.jpg one of Berkeley's 'young' Cupressaceae Sequoia sempervirens For the past couple weeks, my brothers have graciously accepted my presence in their lives again. They were even kind enough to let me tag along whenever they hang out with their friends. It's easy to understand how bumming in the UCI Science library and exercising at the Arc have quickly evolved into my new normal now...

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 0:35 | Permalink

17 January 2010

Storm warning

Shannon%20surfing%20resized.jpg cousin doing what she loves According to a family friend, "The next few weeks will not be very good riding weather in California. Might want to give this [email from the UC Environmental Protection Services] a read, sounds like it's gonna be a whopper!"

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 0:31 | Permalink

08 January 2010

Microbes are our friends!

The invasion is here, it's popping up in convenient places everywhere. There is a nation-wide obsession with it. It's going to change our lives forever... and not necessarily for the better. What exactly? Liquid hand sanitizer. There are dispensers in some campus buildings, and in the BART stations there are now fancy hands free machines that dispense a foamed hand sanitizer. It's hip, it's "healthy", and it smells nice. It's a nationwide trend! Compulsively killing common and widespread germs several times a day is NOT A GOOD IDEA. This trend is encouraging the mutation of germs into SUPERBUGS that will make us sick because our immune systems won't be able to fight them off. This is what superbugs look like: This is what happens: Hand sanitizer is applied and it effectively kills any bacteria or other microorganisms on your hands. Awesome! Then the microorganisms continue to be killed anytime anyone uses hand sanitizer (It's just so convenient when there's a dispenser next to the elevator. It's something to do when waiting for the elevator to arrive.). The microorganisms are living things that just want to eke out their own existence on this planet and therefore will do all they can to survive. They will mutate their own DNA so that they become resistant to the sanitizer. Yes, we are creating mutants everyday by compulsively cleaning our hands. This is what a mutant looks like: The idea is that our immune system has learned how to protect us from common germs. That's why people with healthy immune systems aren't sick all of the time. By killing these common germs and forcing them to mutate, our immune systems can no longer recognize the germs, and then we get sick more often, or antibiotics formerly used to treat the infection no longer work. The plot thickens my friends. There's this whole idea that babies shouldn't be kept in a sterilized, purified environment. It's important to be exposed to germs so that your immune system can build up an immunity and figure out how to protect you from it. Children that grew up in a sanitized culture are getting sick more often than kids that weren't wiped down with sanitizer every few moments. Perhaps we are becoming too clean for our own good. Here's a link to an article on the subject. A last random thought to ponder: When babies are born, they are entirely sterile. The womb is a sterile environment. Living our skin always, every moment of every day are billions of microorganisms.These microorganisms are referred to as our natural flora. Everyone has one and it's important to our survival. It's a good relationship, they protect us from other outside hazards, but too many of these microscopic friends and then you get an infection. Anyways, babies are sterile until the moment they are handled by another being. This means that when babies are being handled by doctors, nurses, parents, etc. they become "infected" with the microorganisms that make up the natural flora. How's that for blowing your mind? It's just one thing I learned in microbiology this last semester. By the way, yogurt has microorganisms living in it too... those are good for you as well. But that's a story for another day.

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Posted by Leighna Baxter at 3:58 | Permalink

06 January 2010

LA!

Wow. I haven't been to SoCal for some time, and embarrassingly, never LA. So of course, this trip was extra special. Yes, I am from Nor Cal, and while we don't have as many attractions to visit that are 1/2 hr. away, I will say, that I definitely prefer NorCal. Although the weather in SoCal is a little better, I would say that all that congested traffic and major cities with so many people, really confused me. For instance, Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills, Melrose Place, kind of looked the same- I couldn't really pinpoint any uniqueness...besides the beach and famous celebrities. But then again, I did only stayed for 1/2 the day at each place. I have to get used to all the driving, since by the time I reached my next destination, I was too tired to really take in all the excitement. Maybe it was because I crammed it all in. Or maybe because I am from a very small town, and stepping into the big cities where even movie theaters are jam packed where I had to elbow my way through the crowd, was surprising. Back in my little town, the wait for movie tickets took average 2 minutes! But, I have to admit, LA is more festive and busy, which I don't mind! I did stop by Pinks and the 1 and a half hour wait was worth it! How do they come up with the hot dog titles? Do the names change? I loved the jalepeno hot dog and the huge serving! Top Dog is great too, but juxtaposing the two rivals together would be a big mistake huh? I also went to the Getty Museum - wow! free admission, just paid for parking, and the museum was beautiful! I took a tram up to the museum and the art there, dating 1600s to 1800s, were very magnificent. Overall, the 5 days that I stayed in LA/Orange County, I enjoyed every minute: the night-life, the atmosphere and the beach! So many wonderful, clean, pretty beaches! This winter break has been a blast!

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Posted by Casey Wang at 1:18 | Permalink