Posting History for Steve Masover
|Pre-apocalyptic fiction: The Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant
Peter Heller is the author of a finely crafted, deeply melancholy, but -- against type! -- hopeful post-apocalyptic novel The Dog Stars , published to wide and well-deserved acclaim in 2012. Heller ...
|Asking the wrong questions about GMOs for disinformation and profit
Even in 2015, the public doesn't trust scientists , according to Mark Lynas of the Cornell Alliance for Science. His article appeared in the Washington Post a couple weeks back, and the author isn't ...
|Students rebel against hostage-taking in California's higher ed war
I stopped by Wheeler Hall this evening, crossing from the NW corner of the Berkeley campus where I work to look in on the building occupation that began yesterday evening, following a UC Regents ...
|Data mining protest violence: activist boon or social control?
There's no getting around the record: protesters and police have a long and storied history of conflict in these United States. A few U.S. highlights: the May 3rd workers' rally in Chicago in 1886 ...
|Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs' journey from S. African freedom fighter to Constitutional Court Justice
I arrived at Oakland's Grand Lake Theater on Sunday just in time to buy one of the few remaining tickets to East Bay filmmaker Abby Ginzberg's biographical documentary, Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs ...
|Pushing the envelope: love story, with transman
Sunshine Mugrabi 's memoir, When my Boyfriend was a Girl , is a love story. In many respects it's a conventional love story: two people meet, there's chemistry, each has reservations about wading in ...
|The fossil fuel industry and the free sump that is our atmosphere: Zing!
Sometimes a letter-to-the-editor hits its target, right smack in the bull's-eye. Not that Ray Welch is your average letter-to-the-editor writer: a quick look around the intertubes reveals that he's ...
|Is data security worth it? Depends who's counting.
An article published by Reuters a couple weeks back caught my eye: Davos executives see data theft as too costly, too hard to beat . From the article, dated 24 January 2014: Fighting online data ...
|UC Berkeley's anti-apartheid movement: setting the record straight
By the time I finished reading what current UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks had to say on the occasion of Nelson Mandela's death in early December, I was ... let's just say taken aback . It ...
|Surveillance and power through fiction and fact: Max Barry's "Lexicon"
Max Barry 's latest novel, Lexicon , is something of a mashup: a compelling shoot-em-up thriller with a secret, control-the-world-grade weapon; a deconstruction of modern marketing technique; an ...
|After iGoogle: all your friends are belong to us?
I was an iGoogle holdout. Yup. To the very last day. For those who missed it: iGoogle allowed anyone with a Google ID to create a personalized portal stocked with any of a wide selection of Ajax -...
|Teju Cole's Open City: protagonist as open book or guarded guide?
There's something to be said for the view that the novel form is, first and foremost, a window into the human heart and mind. Novels tend to have protagonists, and the form -- unlike a play or a ...
|Radical conservatism vs the radical left
I've been mesmerized by the meltdown in D.C. these past couple weeks, how about you? Am I glad it's over? Heck yeah. If only it were over.... Frank Rich wrote a terrific putting-things-in-...
|Pervasive NSA surveillance + civil forfeiture = U.S.-flavored totalitarianism?
When Edward Snowdon's revelations about pervasive NSA surveillance first came to light, I thought the worst thing that could happen would be for people to be faux-raged for a little while and then ...
|On this week's SCotUS decisions: the scrum continues
I'll keep it short, there's enough bloviating on this week's SCOtUS decisions without me piling on too high. Bottom line: each of this week's key rulings, IMHO, challenges each and every citizen to ...
|Not your granddaddy's metadata: don't believe the PRISM anti-hype
There's plenty of news and pundit noise being extruded on the PRISM break, i.e., on reports originating with Glenn Greenwald of the U.K.'s Guardian about massive, broad NSA surveillance of phone and ...
|Brooklyn immigrants in fiction: the tale vs. the telling
Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a pretty conventional coming of age story, larded with more than its share of sentimentality ... at least from a remove of the 70 years that have passed ...
|Does driving less mean living in The Matrix?
About a year ago CalPIRG put out a report called Transportation and the New Generation . I wrote about it in If you don't want to drive you've got to be driven . In my own post, I quoted from the ...
|Robert Redford, the Weather Underground, and why we read books
Robert Redford's latest, The Company You Keep , isn't a bad movie as thoughtful thrillers go. The film is a roman à clef about 60's and 70's radicals shedding long-standing, carefully guarded, ...
|Remembering the activist Richie Havens: down to earth on UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza
Richie Havens ended his tour of Planet Earth yesterday, passing away at age 72 in New Jersey. As news outlets from the New York Times to Rolling Stone remind us, Havens was the opening act at ...
|Beyond gun 'debate' noise
I've shied away from writing about gun control. Since the unbearable massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in mid-December, it seems everybody with access to a keyboard or a digital video camera ...
|Nelson Mandela and the death of UC Berkeley's Eshleman Hall
UC Berkeley's Eshleman Hall was built in 1965. It served for decades as the home of student government on the campus, and a dizzying spectrum of student organizations. Last year the building was ...
|Six ways your electronica owns you
We would like to think that the devices we purchase are things we own and control, and that the accounts we create in social-media space to represent us also belong to us. If schools loan laptops to ...
|Microbiome research vaults science and politics in reach of Lao Tzu
I believe that our dawning understanding about how deeply individual living beings interdepend on other living beings -- not just at the species and interspecies levels but as individuals -- is the ...
|The controversy machine v the reality machine
It's so easy to focus on the sheer, staggering unfitness of Mitt Romney to meet the demands of the office he seeks that I sometimes lose sight of the sitting POTUS's strengths. So I was glad last ...
|North Korea, women's rights, and post-truth politics
The DailyNK -- what's up in North Korea from the perspective of its government's opponents -- ran an article last week called Rules on Bicycles Repealed at Last . The North Korean authorities have ...
|Pimped by our own devices: electronica, the cloud, and privacy piracy
It's been quite a year for technology "advances" -- particularly in the neighborhood of cloud and social media services, whether free or cheap. Apple released its iCloud service in October of last ...
|Monoculture v complexity; agribusiness and deceit
Earlier this week I wrote about the recently reported discovery that in the course of normal living human beings carry 100,000,000,000,000 bacteria in and on our bodies . We are legion. The ...
|Four eyes: 4 ways Google Glass might change the world
Samuel R. Delany 's Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand was published in 1984, five or six years after my most ravenous period of devouring science fiction novels ended. Thinking of it the other ...
|Race, voters, Google, and the 2012 presidential election
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes in a NY Times blog, How Racist Are We? Ask Google : Quantifying the effects of racial prejudice on voting is notoriously problematic. Few people admit bias in ...
|"Human are like rats and cockroaches": the coming feudalism
Is that too sensational a title for a Serious Diary? I took the bit before the colon from an article in The New Yorker of 14 May. It's a quotation from Michael Specter's The Climate Fixers: Is ...
|Fukushima Daiichi: a nuclear power disaster that keeps on giving
Last year's tsunami + nuclear disaster in Japan is one of those stories you'd rather skip over when you read the paper. Isn't it over yet? Don't they have it under control? Can't we move on to the ...
|Mutant food: agribusiness vs. everybody else
Late last week, activist-citizens around California showed up at county offices around the state to advance an initiative that would require genetically engineered food to be labeled as ... wait for ...
|Acting up, fighting back: AIDS activism in the '80s and '90s
The other day I was leaving Moe's Books in Berkeley with a fresh-bought copy of Ann Patchett's State of Wonder in my bag when a newspaper on the free-newspapers rack by the door caught my eye. It ...
|Democracy makes your head hurt? What else you got?
A fellow writer and thoughtful Facebook-friend posted a link the other day to an article titled People Aren't Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say . The article was published on ...
|Yesterday's blackout: does de-occupying the web herald a new form of general strike?
So many people have written about what went dark on the web and why yesterday, you'd think there'd be nothing left to say. Well I'm going to give it a shot. First the sound-byte version of the ...
|Rescuing freedom from U.S. government predation
The Congress of the United States voted last week to permit the government to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, without due process. This violation of a core principle of U.S. law and government ...
|Paying what things cost
I'm going tell some stories. They're not long enough to have titles, I don't think, so let's just call these their headings: Grocery bags A top-tier university's e-mail system ...
|Chancellor Katehi, Athens Polytechnic, and ... Janet Jackson?
In a post of Tuesday titled Athens Polytechnic comes to UC Davis , John Quiggin cites a report ...
|When authorities equate disobedience with violence
Much has been written about the Occupy movements in San Francisco's East Bay Area, but I think there's still room for further exploration of the core principles at stake in the relations of ...
|The Occupy Movement, Public Space, and UC Berkeley's Free Speech Monument
I've long wanted to rant publicly about the Free Speech Monument on UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza. The Occupy movement -- from Occupy Wall Street ...
|What Bioneers said 7 years ago about Occupy Wall Street
These past few days I've been reading Nature's Operating Instructions: The True Biotechnologies , a series ...
|Henry IV and Berkeley G.O.P.'s 'diversity bake sale'
I was out of town last week when the student group Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) ...
|SFO's Terminal Two: the Mire of Feel-Good Environmentalism
Last year, after saving up for years & years, I blew most of my accumulated United Airlines miles on a domestic flight. Then, in a startlingly callous act of customer disloyalty, I decided that ...
|Nuclear meltdown abroad and at home
In a sickening sort of way, news coverage around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown in Japan still has me hypnotized. It's news this week, by the way, that " the m-word ," as ...
|The radiation cloud is blowing in the wind
It's fantasy that safety, as engineers can deliver it, is a guarantee. Safety, as engineers can deliver it, is a reduction of risk. In May of last year, as Deepwater Horizon spilled oil into the ...
|Lessons from Egypt: demonstrations work
As a longtime activist I have often gotten this question from all sides: what good comes of all that protesting? On the one hand there are people who don't participate in grassroots politics and ...
|Starbucks' vacuum-packed greenwashing
I saw a wall-sized poster in a Starbucks recently. I love good coffee; I don't find myself in Starbucks very often. Maybe you haven't much alternative to chain espresso in your town, so you've seen ...
|Post-ideological health care
Haves and have-nots In A Tale of Two Moralities (13 Jan 2011, NY Times ) Paul Krugman describes a ...
|Tea Party Infusofascism?
It is a bitter winter that drives thuggery-as-politics from Beirut, Baghdad, Kandahar, and Karachi to Tucson, Arizona. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, seen, or read, on Saturday a twenty-two year ...
|Pension plans & moral turpitude at U. of California
Thirty-six executives of the University of California "believe it is the University's legal, moral and ethical obligation" to implement changes to the system's pension plan that would allow them to ...
|Immodest budget proposals for a broken California
Once and future California governor Jerry Brown is trying to get a jump start on the Sisyphean task of fixing the state's broken budget. Is California's budget the most broken among U.S. states? ...
|Unvarnished truth is hard to swallow
A summary for a study titled Global Warming Warnings Can ...
( or: Does entomophagy bug you? ) A week ago I had dinner in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I picked up a newspaper to keep me company (I was dining solo), a weekly ...
|Matrixed Higher Education
Henry Kissenger famously noted (even though the ...
|Making a world where queer kids thrive
A lot of words have been written since Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, and Tyler Clementi took their own lives after being subjected to callous humiliation and, in most cases, ...
|Californians aren't whores
I'm going to risk it. I know, it got the Chicago Tribune in trouble back in 1948, when they called the presidential election for ...
|Broken food chains
I wrote in late May about industrial food production, as an exemplar of a general thesis that complexity ...
|Public education and dumb analogies
In Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle , C.W. Nevius authored a column ...
|Apocalypse, the 14th Amendment, and opera in Vienna
It's always tempting to look at the news and, cherry-picking the bits and pieces that fit, to propose a Theory of Everything. Synthesis is fun. But I'm going to resist the temptation. For now. In ...
|Marriage v freedom: a modest proposal
Boy, oh boy. There sure has been a lot of cheering and moaning about U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker's decision to declare unconstitutional a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
A passionate Facebook exchange between five individuals, spanning nineteen comments last I checked, alerted me to a sad and convoluted Congressional tale about health care, 9/11 first-responders, ...
|TV Debate on Nuclear Weapons Needed Now
The west entrance to the UC Berkeley campus has been a site for quiet political vigils for almost as long as Sproul Plaza has been a nexus of boisterous student activism. I ride my bike past the ...
|Digging deeper holes
Oil continues to spill in the Gulf. That makes it as good a time as any to ...
|Right-wing cultural relativism
When I was a college student, so was Dinesh D'Souza. He majored in English at Dartmouth. I majored in English at UC Berkeley. He graduated the year after I did. I didn't make a noticeable splash at ...
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