uc-berkeley

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” →

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

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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.

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The December 4th occupation of the Golden Bear Cafe at the University of California, Berkeley by Cal’s Black Student Union. The action lasted 4.5 hours in representation of the same time Michael Brown laid in the streets of Ferguson. The protest featured Elaine Brown, the first woman to be a chairman of the Black Panther Party.

See more at: http://www.facebook.com/BLAKdrank

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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.

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

Adventures in the Nature of Matter

Dr. Darleane Hoffman is among the researchers who confirmed the existence of Seaborgium — aka element 106. She also made a key discovery about nuclear fission.

In the 1950s, women were often faced with stark choices: “At that time, women teachers in the U.S. at all levels were expected to resign if they married, so I proclaimed boldly that I would never teach,” she said. “I vowed to follow Marie Curie’s model, to marry if I wanted and have children if I chose.”

In the 1950s when she sought a research position in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the radiochemistry goup, she was told, “We don’t hire women in that division.” Undeterred, Dr. Hoffman got the position and became a division leader of the isotope and nuclear chemistry division, the first woman to head a scientific division there. 

For Hoffman, nuclear chemistry is a uniquely fundamental form of research, one that probes the deepest nature of what we call matter. But she adds, “There is also an array of practical issues that require the expertise of nuclear chemists—new and safer nuclear reactor designs, better medical diagnostics and radio-pharmaceuticals, more sensitive techniques for detecting proliferation, safer nuclear waste storage and environmental remediation, to name but a few. The field is wide open—there are many great discoveries yet to be made.”