Mars will lose its largest moon, but gain a ring

Mars’ largest moon, Phobos, is slowly falling toward the planet, but rather than smash into the surface, it likely will be shredded and the pieces strewn about the planet in a ring like the rings encircling Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.

UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Black and graduate student Tushar Mittal estimate the cohesiveness of Phobos and conclude that it is insufficient to resist the tidal forces that will pull it apart when it gets closer to Mars.

Mars tugs differently on different parts of Phobos. As Phobos gets closer to the planet, the tugs are enough to actually pull the moon apart, the scientists say. This is because Phobos is highly fractured, with lots of pores and rubble. “Dismembering it is analogous to pulling apart a granola bar”, Black said, “scattering crumbs and chunks everywhere.”

Read more about the fate of Phobos

Berkeley police respond to huge Southside riot
Thousands of revelers took to the streets around Channing Way and Piedmont Avenue in Berkeley's Southside...

So basically, last night 10/31/2015 a bunch of white college students, primarily from frats and sororities, threw a collective temper tantrum because their parties were shutdown. They threw rocks and bottles at cops and damaged property but nothing happened to them. Epitome of white privilege or what? #whiteprivilege #ucberkeley

Humans may soon echolocate like bats and dolphins

UC Berkeley physicists have created ultrasonic, lightweight loudspeakers and microphones that will enable people to echolocate like bats and dolphins. 

The wireless ultrasound devices complement standard radio transmission using electromagnetic waves in areas where radio is not practical, such as underwater, but with far greater fidelity than current ultrasound or sonar devices.

They can also be used to communicate through objects, such as steel, that electromagnetic waves cannot penetrate.

The device is made with graphene that consists of carbon atoms laid out in a hexagonal, chicken-wire arrangement, which creates a tough, lightweight sheet with unique electronic properties.

UC Berkeley physicist Alex Zettl explains:

There’s a lot of talk about using graphene in electronics and small nanoscale devices, but they are all a ways away. The microphone and loudspeaker are some of the closest devices to commercial viability, because we’ve worked out how to make the graphene and mount it, and it’s easy to scale up. 

Read more about why graphene is so advantageous in creating the communication technology.

GIF source: PBS

How your genes may be giving you the giggles

Next time you find yourself with an uncontrollable urge to laugh, you can thank your parents.  

Researchers at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University have found that a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin makes some of us more prone to spontaneous smiles and bursts of laughter.

And this “giggle gene” is the same one that is also associated with marital bliss or blues.

Specifically, researchers looked at two versions of the gene variant, or “allele” known as 5-HTTLPR, and found that people with the short version were more likely to smile and laugh while looking at cartoons and funny clips from the movie Strangers in Paradise.

They found that people with the short allele displayed a more genuine smile and laugh than people with the long allele.

While previous research has found that people with the short variant were more vulnerable to depression and anxiety, this study also shows that they are more responsive to the emotional highs of life as well.

“Having the short allele is not bad or risky,” said Dr. Claudia Haase of Northwestern University, coauthor of the study. “Instead, the short allele amplifies emotional reactions to both good and bad environments.“

Learn more about the giggling gene

Nest We Grow | UC Berkeley & Kengo Kuma & Associates
Location: Takinouegenya, Takinoue, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan


Repost: Berkeley Student react to ISIS flag (Ami on the Street) 

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz recently conducted a revealing social experiment on the University of California-Berkeley campus.

First, he waved an Islamic State flag while shouting statements supportive of the terrorist group and critical of the United States. He then switched to the flag of Israel and condemned Hamas, also a terrorist group.

The Islamic State flag demonstration appeared to result in essentially no confrontations, according to the footage published. One person even told Horowitz “good luck” and others seemingly expressed support for his cause.

However, when he began waving the Israeli flag, he was met almost immediately with angry students who accused the Jewish state of being “killers,” tyrannical and guilty of genocide.

Watch and compare the reactions to the two different flags

read here