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The Future of Food

When it comes to food in America, a lot has changed in the past few decades: 

  • Americans used to spend 15% of their disposable income on food, now they spend just 6.1%. 
  • In 1982, 12% of our groceries were processed food and sweets. Now it is 23%. 
  • The U.S. used to have 6.8 millions farms. Now there are about 2 million. 

“The food system has changed for the worse. Yes, food is cheap or appears to be cheap, but it’s not good for us and that’s a problem,” explained Mark Bittman, acclaimed cookbook author and NY Times journalist. 

The issue of ‘food’ is not just about sustenance and taste. It’s also about economics and climate issues. Health. Inequality. 

To explore these aspects of our food system, Bittman recently embarked on a series of interviews with scientists, farmers, policy experts and food researchers for his series California Matters.  

Subscribe to California Matters on YouTube

UC Berkeley students are fighting to get a building named after Assata Shakur

Tired of feeling overlooked and disrespected by the campus community, University of California, Berkeley’s Black Student Union recently issued a list of 10 demands to administrators meant to improve the university’s racial acceptance and diversity. These included hiring more black administrators and creating an African-American resource center. But the most controversial request was that the campus building that “houses Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies and African-American Studies” be renamed in honor of black rights activist Assata Shakur,

Naturally, some conservatives aren’t thrilled

Can a little bit of power turn you into cookie monster?

There’s an old quote,“power tends to corrupt — absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And while we’ve all seen obvious examples of this, is there really something to it? Psychologist Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkeley found that there is — and he did so by conducting what’s since been called the ‘Cookie Monster Study’.

“We brought in three people to the lab. We pointed to one person and we said you’re in charge and so that person kind of felt powerful. And they they had to do this really boring task. We bring a plate of chocolate chip cookies and we put it on the table. Everybody takes one cookie, right? All groups always leave one cookie on the plate because you don’t want to be that last person that takes the last cookie. And lo and behold, we find high-powered people, they reach out and they take it”, Keltner says.

And not just take it — they even ate it differently…

“Our high-powered person was more likely to eat with their mouth open, lips smacking, crumbs literally falling onto their sweaters. It’s ridiculous!”

With increased power came less listening, more talking and weaker inhibitions.

Watch “How Power Makes People Selfish” →

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We Are Built To Be Kind

Greed is good. War is inevitable. Cooperation is for suckers. 

Whether in political theory or popular culture, human nature is often portrayed as selfish and power hungry. UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner challenges this notion of human nature and seeks to better understand why we evolved pro-social emotions like empathy, compassion and gratitude.

Subscribe to Fig. 1 on YouTube

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UC Berkeley unveils first-of-its-kind, 3-D-printed cement structure

The freestanding pavilion, “Bloom,” is 9 ft high and has a footprint that measures about 12 ft x 12 ft. It is composed of 840 customized blocks that were 3-D-printed using a new type of iron oxide-free Portland cement polymer formulation developed by Ronald Rael.

The debut of this groundbreaking project is a demonstration of the architectural potential of 3-D printing.

UC Berkeley Gothic

-The chime of the Campanile wakes you up and you can not count the ringing of the bells. It plays a song and you think you must know it but you can’t remember. The ringing follows you.

-The squirrels all stop and look as you walk by. They are watching you. You walk faster.

-Again the weather report was wrong. There is no rain, no storms, there is only this blinding sunlight and gusting wind. 

-You lie on Memorial Glade and do not think about the ghosts. You do not step on the seals, do not anger those whose memorial you relax on.

-Inside the library, under the ground, you can not see the sun, can not hear the bell. What time is it? These questions have stopped having meaning. You find another book. Another appears. You can not stop studying.

-The protest sign in your hand has words you can’t read. What is it you are chanting? What are you raising? You can not remember. All you know is that you are angry.

-There is always another building you have never heard of, another place on campus you haven’t been. You know there are places you must not go, and as you walk past them you see the others huddled there.

-Up on the hill is the chancellor’s house. You do not stay long to watch it. The cameras turn to you and you run as the curtains in the windows shift and the lights shut off all at once.

-Your mascot is an animal killed by those who made this place. There are no more golden bears. None. There are no bears here except for us. There was no mauling last week on frat row.