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Many have said that journalists are a dying breed, that “citizen journalism” and social media have replaced their craft with a click bait frenzy based solely on accruing views. We, however, see journalism as alive and well, and we see a storyteller’s purpose as something far more than a number of shares. In one of the most influential and rapidly transforming industries, journalism faces a unique predicament in today’s society: how to keep up with a digitizing industry while still upholding the quality and integrity of storytelling. It lends us as writers to ask, if not for viewcount, what makes a story worthy of publishing today? A writer’s job is not simply to expose actualities, though that’s certainly an inherent part of our work. Journalism goes beyond this. A story should reveal perspectives that were formerly invisible or ignored. It should spark new questions, inspire further reading, challenge preconceived notions, and start conversations. In this issue, we aimed to fulfill this goal. Inside, you will find stories illuminating a collection of viewpoints as diverse and unique as Berkeley itself. You’ll hear from mixed-race individuals and from students struggling with mental illness. We share our writers’ thoughts on the pitfalls of America’s foreign language education system, of stigmas surrounding nudity, and of the hidden pervasiveness of human

trafficking. Then this issue goes even further—literally. International students tell their experiences moving to the U.S., and staff members contributed during their own stays abroad. We hope that you find Issue 12 as thought-provoking and inspiring as we did while

interviewing and reporting on this place we all—at least temporarily—call home. We hope you come away with something to share with your friends, questions to ask, and new points to raise.

With love, Sydney and Hannah



STAFF designers









print writers



head of photography

online writers


head of copy editing JOANNA JIANG

head of marketing


editorial manager ANKUR MANIAR

web content managers KATIE BERLIN RITA GUO

web cditors


social media manager ROSEMARIE ALEJANDRINO



business team



marketing team


Cover photo taken and edited by Lana Cosic. Caliber is a part of the Associated Students of the University of California. The content of the magazine does not reflect the opinions of the ASUC in any way.
























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Situated above Bechtel Engineering Center, Terrace Café is a perfect tucked-away place to grab a quick bite while enjoying a view overlooking Memorial Glade. One of two Chase ATMs on campus can be found here for your convenience.



The UC Botanical Garden is a 34-acre world-renowned living museum that displays diverse plant collections arranged by areas of the world. Check out mind-boggling succulent varieties, koi ponds, and larger-than-life cacti.


Tightwad Hill is part of Charter Hill – the hill rising to the east of Memorial Stadium. One of the many perks of Tightwad Hill is that you get a free view of the stadium’s field for game days. The view from this hill also provides a breathtaking panorama of the entire Bay Area.


The fifth floor balcony of McCone Hall offers a beautiful view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are chairs and tables where you can sit and take in the scenery and sunlight.




Evade the California heat, particularly during spring and summertime, by taking a stroll through the fragrant Eucalyptus Grove behind the Valley Life Sciences Building.


The eighth-floor conference room in Barrows Hall provides a phenomenal view of Oakland, San Francisco, and the UC Berkeley campus.



efresh, scroll, and repeat—the telling symptoms of someone who has FOMO, or an acute “fear of missing out.” From a college student’s perspective, it seems that more individuals experience this every day, habitually checking and refreshing their devices for social media updates almost instinctively. In 2008, UC Davis conducted a study to provide a numerical estimate of the amount of media we process daily. It was found that Americans consumed about 1.3 trillion hours of information outside of work that year—a staggering 12 hours and 100,500 words per person per day. As technologic advancements and social media have ballooned, these numbers have only increased.

Ironically, in our determination to stay up-to-date at all times, we often slack in creating face-to-face connections. We’ve all witnessed it—a group of people sitting in the presence of one another, but never looking up from their phone screens. It is astounding that pixelated humans could be more engaging or noteworthy than nearby humans IRL. The general expectation has become that people are constantly connected and available via text message, email, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. Such communication has become a necessity in the workplace, at school, and for networking; connection gives us a sense of worth—each message or “like” serves as a reminder that others are interested in our whereabouts and thoughts. In turn, we are consistently aware of what our friends, acquaintances, and even strangers are doing at all times. However, constantly keeping tabs on social connections can contribute to self-doubt. I, and so many of my peers, become susceptible to thinking, “Am I as successful as others at my job or university? Is my social and extracurricular life exciting or active enough?” This tendency to feel insecure in measuring up to the social and professional lives of our acquaintances makes us all unsuspecting victims and contributors. What is the real reason we keep refreshing our Instagram or Snapchat feeds? Do we actually care about the latest outings of our acquaintances, or are we comparing whether or not our daily lives are as action-packed as theirs? Say you’re enjoying a night in with some great company named Netflix, and you absentmindedly scroll to an image of friends spending a night out in the city. Instinctively, you may compare their exciting nightlife with your choice of activity, and in less than a minute, you are not enjoying Netflix nearly as much as you were before. At the root of media-induced

tendencies to experience dissatisfaction is social media’s deceptive capabilities. Our social platforms represent an idealized version of reality, one filled to the brim with friends, extravagant adventures, and accomplishments. Collectively, we attempt to project the best versions of ourselves through social media, which in reality only displays a fraction of our daily lives. Would social media be nearly as popular if it entailed a live feed of complaints, worries, and tribulations? Aside from that one melodramatic friend who seems to be in a state of perpetual break-up, social media has evolved into an escape from monotonous daily routine. Users can expect to see photos of cheerful acquaintances living adventurous and interesting lives, which is exactly what introduces FOMO in the first place—leading us back to square one. When six adolescents at a workshop hosted by were asked if they suffered from social media anxiety, all six answered no. However, when the conversation shifted towards “likes” on social media platforms and emotions resulting from personal dissatisfaction with their social lives, participants recognized the feeling. Cal student Marina Fox stresses the benefits of cutting back on social media, and how the choice to limit usage has reshaped her experiences and outlook. “As someone who has refrained from social media, I’m fortunate in that I don’t often envy where others are in comparison to where I am,” Fox said. Embracing what’s happening away from the screen makes comparing the way we each individually have fun irrelevant. “I think FOMO stems in part from the unspoken belief that there only exists a few specific ways to have fun. But it’s okay to realize that there are all types of people in the world, and we all define what fun is differently.” In 2013, a University of Michigan research team measured the correlation between time spent on Facebook

and participant emotions. Kross et al. recruited a group of Facebook users in Michigan and texted them individually five times a day for two weeks, surveying their current mood and time spent checking Facebook. Research subjects also reported current emotions and satisfaction with their life holistically. Results indicated negative shift in both short-term emotions and overall satisfaction, in addition to a direct correlation between time spent on Facebook and ensuing disappointment with participants’ own lives. Berkeley student Ben Papadopoulos reflects on those commonly affected by FOMO. “I think that because people can consume what anyone is doing at any given time, and contribute to their own social network, the people most affected by fear of missing out are those who may feel insecure in their friendships, or those who need their friends’ approval to feel fulfilled.” Our attachment to social media has caused many of us to miss out on enlightening conversations and experiences. Forbes writer Kristi Hedges comments on the struggle to balance work and other daily activities, saying, “We will always be missing something, but if we’re spending our time worrying about it, we’re missing everything.” So how do we escape this vicious cycle of utilizing social networking as a means to fill a void, if it can simultaneously exacerbate feelings of self-doubt? Take control of social media, and don’t let it take control of you. Step away from the newsfeed for a few hours at a time and occupy yourself with more rewarding pursuits. Most importantly—build real relationships with people, rather than with your follower count. Remember that you are capable of changing where you invest your time, virtual or not. words by RITA GUO photo by AISHWARYA ARAVIND









ike many new students, my first exposure to life at UC Berkeley was CalSO. The day culminated in what was called “Bear Territory Diversity Activities and Discussions,” in which facilitators read off a series of statements about personal identity and the ways identity fosters judgments and discrimination. We were asked to stand if the statement was true for us. To rise was a simple yet powerful move, and by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we gained a sense of unity in our diversity. I remember feeling particularly engaged that day. As a mixed woman from a predominantly white suburb in Minnesota, I was overwhelmed by the variety of people represented. Cal champions its diversity and much of our school pride can be attributed to it. The presence of so many different perspectives and experiences, as well as the voices each bring to the campus environment, is the foundation of not only our school’s collective personality, but of the comprehensive worldview within the student body. From my experience, diversity has been defined by discrete terms with more or less defined racial and ethnic categories. As much as we appreciate diversity at Cal, it remains a largely static topic. For those of us with mixed racial background, however, ambiguity is a reality. We have the power to embody diversity and mold our own identities. Our personal definitions of race and ethnicity are constantly in limbo. Even the socalled liberal, open-minded, diverse population of Berkeley

trails far behind in understanding mixed-racial identities, despite the fact that this is the fastest growing racial category in the United States. In an environment where a large variety of cultural groups are represented, students are allowed to embrace their backgrounds without being pressured to conform to social standards of behavior. As a result, everyone on campus can experience each of these cultures. But not everyone experiences diversity in the same ways. A lot of it has to do with perspective—where people are from, what communities they take part in, what racial or ethnic category they identify with, and how they define diversity all influence how this issue is perceived. And for many people, there is much more below the surface. “Cal isn’t as diverse as we’d like to think,” Gabriela Andrada, the second year Executive Director of the Mixed Student Union (MSU), said. As much as we boast about the interesting blend of cultures we have on campus, we often don’t experience those cultures firsthand. Moreover, there are gaps in representation and cultural understanding. “Cal is known for being a liberal school, but oftentimes minorities are marginalized,” Jasmin Booker, a first-year member of MSU, pointed out. Berkeley relegates diversity to the presence of a range of people on campus. However, this approach is problematic; diversity is not simply a sample size of colors, labels, and



statistics that allows people to sensationalize or objectify what’s “diverse.” Diversity requires an active acceptance of and respect for our differences. It should build an educated community where discrimination and marginalization do not become a byproduct of ignorance. Diversity should be celebrated and recognized for more than its face value. For mixed students, fitting in at Cal doesn’t just mean finding a social space. We also act as agents for the recognition of diversity, seeking to cultivate an understanding of more than one culture, including cultures outside of our own. As ASUC Senator Sheena Paul puts it, being mixed allows one to “empower diversity,” and embrace not only the surrounding cultures but also the cultures within themselves. For those with more than one defining culture, self-discovery demands that they build an identity as well as uncover it. While this process provides space for choice and reflection, many mixed students shape their identities primarily out of their upbringings. The cultures that were present in their early lives; the food, music, and languages they were exposed to; the extended families around whom they grew up; and the belief systems they followed all played substantial roles in shaping their identity. The cultural and family histories that led to our existence span continents and years of completely divergent human histories. The understanding of all these layers, coupled with a generally unconventional upbringing— and the fact that there are few people who can relate to the mix of cultures, values, norms, and viewpoints specific to each of us—can heighten awareness of race and culture. Shazia Kalam, a first-year member of MSU, says she was raised in “two very traditional cultures,” and that this forced her to consciously evaluate her position in the mix. “I have a middle ground; […] it’s opened my mind to how I want to practice my beliefs.” Her mixed identity gives her an eyeopening perspective of the cultures she was brought up in. She exists both within and outside of them. Booker adds that her unique perspective also taught her to be accepting of other people’s experiences. “Other people don’t have those experiences.” However, identity can remain problematic for those of mixed backgrounds. College provides a new environment and with it the opportunity to mold one’s identity and reevaluate one’s intersectionality. This can provide a deeper understanding of what it means to be mixed. “Here, I’m not afraid to tell people, ‘This is what I am,’” Kalam said. Identities can be molded within spaces designated for common race or culture, which is where many people find their community at Cal. Our cultural student organizations are more than a testament to Berkeley’s diversity. They also provide safe places for fostering dialogue and sharing personal narratives. They foster “a sense of beauty in difference,” as Booker puts it. Despite the inherently categorical nature of certain clubs and student unions, many mixed students don’t



perceive their identities as limitations to finding a community. Rather, they are granted a choice, or even a multitude of choices. They can further widen their perspective by joining a specific cultural group, a mixed student group, or even multiple groups. For mixed individuals, choosing only one side of our heritage can be deeply problematic and oftentimes the mixed race category is entirely forgotten. Surveys and applications rarely have a “mixed” category or an option to select more than one box. “People are willing to coexist culturally without reducing the significance of any culture,” Paul said. Despite this general climate, the students and MSU members I spoke to have a positive outlook on their mixed identities, viewing them as sources of empowerment. They find a sense of community in their shared experiences, just like so many other groups. “We don’t really identify as what races we are, just the fact that we’re all mixed,” Paul said. Each of them comes from a diverse background and can relate to a wide range of people. They learn to be accepting of other cultures at a young age and are able to see shades of gray not only in the mixed community but in all ethnic groups. They understand that no one should be pressured into choosing an inherently limiting label. Mixed students see firsthand that race is largely a social construct and that they have the power to change the way it’s defined.



hen thinking about Korean music, one might automatically direct their thoughts to K-pop—we have PSY to thank for that. But while PSY may be considered a “one hit wonder” in the States, the South Korean rapper was already a well-established entertainer with multiple hit tracks under his belt since his debut in 2001. His influence on society’s perception of Korean music has been global to say the least. However, Korean music expands far beyond PSY’s catchy pop tunes and humorous dance moves. Although K-pop is a unique genre that includes tracks from nine-member girl groups and 12-member boy bands that can seamlessly sing, dance, and entertain, Korean music is not constrained to mainstream pop. It explores genres such as hip hop, indie rock, and electronic music with creativity, quality production, and clever lyrics. Here are four Korean non K-pop artists worth noting. words by ALLISON JEON illustrations by DANIELLE SONG


Beenzino is one of South Korea’s most popular hip hop artists. If you combined Drake’s passion with Childish Gambino’s musicality, you might find someone vaguely similar to Beenzino. Known for his feel-good beats and relatable lyrics, Beenzino’s vast popularity can be largely attributed to his free-spirited image and non-ironic sense of swag. The single “Aqua Man” pushed his career off the ground and quickly became a crowd favorite. Another funky track, “Nike Shoes” arguably played a role in the rise of sporty chic fashion (e.g. the Adidas soccer pants everyone seems to own) with catchy lyrics like, “Nikes on my feet make my love complete,” You can check him out on Instagram @realisshoman. LIYL: Primary, Zion T, Crush




Clazziquai is a three-member experimental band comprised of one DJ, one female vocalist, and one male vocalist that first widely popularized electronic music in South Korea. Their sound is reminiscent of General Elektriks, but also of soft vocals from the likes of Ben Folds and Regina Spektor. DJ Clazzi creatively combines electronic, acid jazz, lounge, and groove to craft a unique sound that is now widely imitated by other electropop bands. “Fill This Night” is a whimsical track with a subtle yet solid bass line that creates a captivating tone. “Still I’m By Your Side,” one of the trio’s newer songs, tells a modern love story that’s even more apparent in it’s music video. Clazziquai’s entire discography is up on Spotify. LIYL: Humming Urban Stereo, Casker, Urban Zakapa


Hyukoh is an indie rock band quickly gaining popularity for their artistic music videos and main vocalist Hyukoh’s deep, crooning voice. Influenced by Western dream pop and beach grunge sounds, Hyukoh can be classified with bands like The Drums and Swim Deep. Their beats are lighthearted and colored with mesmerizing electric guitar progressions, but the lyrics hit home for every soul-searching 20-something. “Wi Ing Wi Ing” and “Panda Bear” are both seemingly cheerful tracks that explore existentialist concepts and the loneliness of young adulthood. If you are into postmodernist themes with exceptional production value, make sure to take a look at their music videos. LIYL: 10cm, Thornapple, Jaurim


OOHYO is a singer-songwriter who has recently gained popularity in the K-indie scene. Having lived in the States for six and a half years, OOHYO effortlessly mixes both English and Korean throughout her repertoire. From her debut Girl Sense, “Teddy Bear Rises” showcases OOHYO’s refreshing vocals by pairing them with a simple acoustic guitar sound. “This Is Why We’re Breaking Up” is a two-minute track sung entirely in English with disco influences and keys to keep it grounded (think acoustic Purity Ring). At only 21, OOHYO is making a name for herself. Keep an eye out for her future releases! LIYL: Neon Bunny, J Rabbit, Acourve




’ll have a coffee,” the young American tourist says. The French woman behind the counter blinks, slightly startled, then clears her throat. “Is that all?” she asks. “Yup,” the customer replies. Such an interaction is not generally met with surprise, astonishment, or alarm in a coffee shop or bakery in the United States. However, in France, this can be and is often seen as highly impolite and intrusive. It was explained to us during study abroad orientation that in French culture, it is generally not acceptable to enter an establishment without greeting the proprietor—their space must be respected, and politeness is the norm. While in Paris this last summer, I witnessed many exchanges such as this one, in which tourists approached sales clerks, cashiers, market vendors, and the like and directly spoke in English, despite being in a foreign country. Once, a vegetable vendor replied, “Here in France, we first say ‘hello.’” The English language has become so hegemonic that many American travelers expect to be spoken to in English during their stays abroad. This is a fairly recent development, with numbers of English speakers worldwide steadily increasing. While hurtful intentions are not necessarily at play, the fact remains that such microcosms of disrespect showcase a broader cultural difference: that of foreign language education. The United States is one of the only industrialized countries in which a student can complete secondary education



lost in


foreign language education in the United States

without learning a foreign language. Less than one-third of U.S. elementary schools offer foreign languages, and less than half of all middle and/or high school students are enrolled in Foreign Language classes. There is no federal level foreign language requirement, and state policies range from no requirement to a two-year requirement. In Europe, on the other hand, more than 90 percent of children begin learning English in elementary school. Compulsory lessons in foreign language begin at the end of elementary school, with certain countries mandating such education starting at age six. According to Berkeley French professor and Director of the Berkeley Language Center Richard Kern, Europeans consider their first foreign language as their “first language,” because learning at least two foreign languages is a standard feature of schooling. While the majority of individuals in the world are multilingual, only 14 percent of U.S. students consider themselves bilingual, according to the Global Language Project. Not only is this a reflection of foreign language education’s absence, but also of its quality; only five percent of American schools practice language immersion. The gap in foreign language education is undeniable, and perhaps another manifestation of English hegemony, showcasing the lack of impetus for American students to speak another language. “It’s hard to incentivize individuals

in a vacuum—it’s the way the whole culture is organized,” Kern said. “There’s not a lot of cultural value placed on speaking multiple languages; in fact it’s often seen as kind of a suspicious thing.” Furthermore, globalization has bred conflict over which languages are worthy of instruction, according to Laura Sterponi, Associate Professor of Language, Literacy and Culture at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Sterponi says this competition has led to a commodification of language, in which they are “seen as capital—more specifically, symbolic capital in the analysis of French theorist Pierre Bourdieu–which has exchange value in markets thus bring[ing] economic and material advantages to the speaker.” This novel way of thinking can shed light on America’s—and other Englishspeaking countries’—position on foreign language education. According to Kern, English is thought of as a basic skill in China, “a category unto itself.” Yet native English speakers may not feel compelled to learn any other language, especially if they consider language to be a commodity with concrete, tangible functions. Language learning, however, imparts much more profound, farreaching cultural knowledge as well. It starts with language comprehension as a whole: it is difficult to fully understand language without learning a new one. Many of our conventions are not

thought of as conventions until we have stepped outside of our own language; such structures lie below the surface. “The more you live in another language, the more you see that the ways that people do things, the way that English structures things, the way that we think using English is not necessarily the way that everyone else is thinking and engaging with language,” Kern said. “It creates a new perspective that I think is so important these days.” Lacking such perspective can lead to cultural illiteracy; the phrase “lost in translation” is certainly apt. Americans often do not meet other cultures halfway. Many American businesspeople, for example, do not bother learning other languages, expecting other companies to send English-speaking representatives. Not only is this expectation arrogant and culturally insensitive, Kern explained that it can lead to inadequate communication. “So much of business isn’t just about communicating information but creating relationships based on a deeper level of understanding, and that often requires some sensitivity to the linguistic and cultural dimensions of the other person, even if you’re communicating in English or some other language,” he said. Language learning greatly reveals new perspectives on social structures and identity. For example, in Japanese, number and gender are essentially absent while social relationships are grammaticized. While Romance languages distinguish between the



informal and formal “you,” in Japanese the speaker must account for the role they embody as well as their conception of their relationship to the person they’re speaking with. “It’s not the relationship between you and me but rather in what role I’m speaking to you,” Professor Yoko Hasegawa, co-coordinator of the Berkeley Japanese Language Program, said. “Each one [of us] has a lot of identities, and when I speak as a single person to you without any social prescript or relationship, that’s one thing, but if I’m talking to you representing our department, for example, then my role is different.” This deep entrenchment of social structures and definitions of identity in the Japanese language is not found at all in many languages, but it can profoundly influence the way its speakers think about and perceive the world. Knowledge of such identity conceptions and cultural values is essential to sensitivity and insight. That is why the European language learning skill set is so deeply tied to its ideals of “pluriculturalisme”—the embodiment of multiple cultural repertoires. Furthermore, foreign language education is also associated with other, perhaps more concrete, benefits. Studies have shown cognitive and academic improvements; bilingual patients can delay dementia and Alzheimer’s onset, and bilingual students have improved test scores. The College Board found that each year of foreign language study increases SAT scores significantly in both the math and verbal sections. While these correlations do not imply causation, there are inextricable links. Despite language’s capacity to change the way we think, the way we interact with others, and the way we see our place in society, it remains difficult to incentivize enrollment in foreign language classes here in America. The aforementioned English language supremacy, and language’s more elusive, abstract benefits are often not reason



enough for those whose objectives lie outside of liberal arts pursuits. As Hasegawa remarked, “Foreign language is a very important part of a liberal arts education, but it’s for rich people, don’t you think?” Kern spoke similarly, explaining that, “For an underprivileged, Englishspeaker living in the United States, the incentive to learn a foreign language is not going to be obvious.” However, he showed a glimmer of hope: the majority of the world is multilingual and “it’s at root one of the clearest things that makes us human.” While it is understandable that such education is not a priority for many Americans, this unfortunately leads to certain cultural deficits. Debates continue over whether the dominance of English leads to cultural imperialism and monoculture or whether it facilitates communication and cultural understanding. It has certainly become the language of international communication, the new lingua franca. If the position of English relative to other languages remains static or rises in status, the motivation to learn a foreign language becomes even more tenuous. In order to change our culture and outlook when it comes to foreign language, we must address the root of the issue–education policy and programs in the U.S. Sterponi explained that language programs have “been in vogue at times and unfashionable at other times, depending on the prevailing political climate and educational philosophy.” American education policy generally neglects foreign language education, and budgets for existing programs are perpetually endangered, as foreign languages, along with arts programs, are usually the first to go from state education budgets. For instance, in the 2012 budgetary process, a $27 million Department of Education foreign language education grant was cut. In 2008, only 18.5 percent of public school

students were enrolled in a foreign language program, and of that, 40 percent came from only five states. Sterponi explained that local initiatives have been the main impetus behind many of the existing elementary school programs in the United States. But in many cases, the issues extend beyond budgetary concerns. “Regardless of the type of program model adopted, districts interested in implementing language programs face challenges in finding teachers adequately prepared,” she said. Nevertheless, there may still be a silver lining. Chinese and Arabic instruction in American schools have increased significantly over the past decade. With many universities mandating at least two—but preferably three or four—years of foreign language instruction, high schools are more compelled to offer such programs, especially with the growing popularity of post-secondary education. The Francophone Charter School of Oakland opened in August 2015, providing public elementary-level immersion language education to students who cannot afford private language schools. Kern sees this as a sign of hope, perhaps an indication that attitudes are slowly changing, and mentioned that Berkeley is toying with the idea of introducing a one-year postadmission language requirement since its current requirement is nullified by the UC admissions requirement. They are awaiting statistics on infrastructure. Time will tell, or as my parents would say, поживём - увидим. words by HANNAH BERKMAN photos by LANA COSIC


You don’t need a broken-in pair of Birkenstocks to fit in on Telegraph Avenue—an appetite for a good meal however, is crucial. If the phrase “you are what you eat” holds any truth, then here’s the anatomy of a Berkeley consumer. words by LAUREN KIM photos by PAULA GOMEZ VILLALBA, ANOUSH RAZAVIAN, AND AISHWARYA ARAVIND

MORNING 8:30 AM Breakfast. After a session of sunrise yoga,

a healthy and delicious breakfast is well-deserved. If you are in the mood for some creamy poached eggs, a refreshing Blue Bottle coffee, and some local art, Guerilla Cafe (1620 Shattuck Ave) would be the place to go. But if you’re feeling extra bougie, try Café Clem (2020 Kittredge St), where you’ll find phenomenal French dishes like–pardonnez mon français–les oeufs saumon (that’s scrambled eggs and smoked salmon in French).

10 AM Coffee. It’s two hours before noon, and

you managed to go to yoga and have a healthy, organic, and locally-sourced breakfast. If you’re ready to tackle your workload, check out Philz Coffee (1600 Shattuck Ave). Known for its extensive coffee menu and taste-approved service, the café also has a large seating area in the back for a study session. If that Gourmet Ghetto coffee joint isn’t your cup of tea, try a cold brew at Highwire (2049 San Pablo Ave) in West Berkeley, or steep in their hand-crafted, traditionally made tea selection.

AFTERNOON 12 PM Lunch. You have been powering through

the books for two hours—time to reward yourself with some lunch. Berkeley locals love to explore global cuisine and Brazil Cafe (2161 University Ave) is an all-time favorite. For first-timers, you can’t go wrong with the tri-tip sandwich. If you’re looking for something a little cheesier, head up to Gourmet Ghetto. Chicago might have deep-dish, but we have Cheese Board (1504 Shattuck Ave). Our beloved, local pizza collective offers a single, delicious vegetarian pie option every day. Try the roasted eggplant and falafel chickpea crumble pizza—it never disappoints.

3:30 PM Groceries. Berkeley locals love their

organics, and the local grocery store Berkeley Bowl (2020 Oregon St) carries a large variety of some of the highest quality produce around (who knew there were so many types of peaches?). Closer to campus, the Berkeley Student Food Collective (2440 Bancroft Way) is a nonprofit that describes itself as a “cooperative grocery market that promotes community-building and environmental stewardship.” They stock exclusively vegetarian products including bulk dry nuts

and grains, five varieties of kale chips, great to-go lunches, and vegan baked goods lovingly whipped up by their student volunteers. On Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can find Berkeleyans roaming down Center St., shopping at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. You will find the best seasonal fruits and vegetables here, as well as handmade pastas, a jawdropping cheese selection, and artisanal jams of both edible and musical origin.

EVENING 6 PM Dinner. For Berkeley foodies looking for the

ultimate dining experience, dinner is where it’s at. Price is something that many Berkeley locals are most likely to compromise on as long as they are guaranteed tasty food. While Gather (2200 Oxford St) is on the pricey side, it’s worth sacrificing a few CREAM trips to try at least once. Their Northern California cuisine draws inspiration from local farmers and ranchers to produce a rotating menu of items such as lentil croquettes, ratatouille, or house-made burrata.

7 PM Dessert. A food tour throughout Berkeley

wouldn’t be complete without a cherry on top. Ici (2948 College Ave) transforms local, organic ingredients into homestyle ice creams in a wide range of unique flavors such as their famous Earl Grey or vanilla crème brûlée. Almare (2170 Shattuck Ave) is an authentic gelato shop located in Downtown Berkeley; the owners learned the craft from their great uncle who made it for more than six decades in Italy. They make a fresh batch each morning and their almond and caramelized fig flavor is to die for. Cinnaholic (2132 Oxford St) produces gourmet cinnamon rolls that are 100 percent vegan, dairy & lactose-free, egg-free, and cholesterol-free. You can personalize your own cinnamon roll by choosing from a vast selection of toppings and icing.

10 PM Bars. For locals who have passed the 21

mark, the Berkeley bar scene has plenty to offer. If brews and jams are what you’re looking for, visit Triple Rock (1920 Shattuck Ave) for their IPAX. Jupiter (2181 Shattuck Ave) in Downtown Berkeley has an indoor bar and an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy the music and mood lighting. Order the delicious Quasar beer, if you want to act like a regular. Just a block away on Center St, Eureka! (2068 Center St) is popular for an exceptional whiskey menu and gourmet burgers, but don’t leave until you’ve tried the truffle fries, or if visiting on the weekend, a $5 Bloody Mary and mimosas.





of SIGHT and SOUND For this collection of photographs, we wanted to experiment with articulating something we perceive non-visually as something visual. Namely, we aimed to capture what we thought the essence of a given piece of music was—straying away from literal depictions of lyrics and instead shifting our focus to interpreting instruments, voices, and crescendos as concrete images.









hat if I don’t fit in?” These six words continuously raced through my mind as the day that I would pack up and move to America drew closer. I can remember a lot of lasts: walking home for the final time, seeing familiar faces, celebrating my birthday with friends I wouldn’t see for a very long time. Through all of this, the same thoughts kept repeating, dredging up anxiety again and again. “What if I don’t fit in?” The only way to answer this question was to face it, forgetting the overwhelming fear of uncertainty. On the day I boarded my plane, I was ready. Not only for a more difficult level of education, but for challenging experiences in and out of the classroom, such as making new friends in what for me was a completely new world different from the one I lived in for 17 years. Having lived in the small, landlocked country of Armenia all my life, deciding to go to UC Berkeley was my way of seeking new perspectives that I might not have otherwise come across at home, and though my decision to leave home seemed ambitious, I was lucky in that I had my parents’ full support and trust. Of course, this is just one story of what it felt like leaving home. Each international student has a unique experience coming to Cal. Some, like me, have grown up in the same country their entire lives, halfway across the world. Others are more accustomed to constant change and have moved, adjusted, and moved again all throughout their lives. But ultimately, we have all found at least a temporary home here

in Berkeley, miles away from what we are used to, yet among many others who came to Cal for the same reason: to begin a new chapter of life. For most international students, change isn’t simply a matter of stepping out of an airplane and onto new soil for the first time. It is a long transformational process that begins when you open your mailbox and read the first lines of an acceptance letter. Shortly after the overwhelming euphoria and joy, reality starts kicking in. What do I do now? After realizing that all the efforts to get into our dream schools were not in vain, we understand that we have to make a life-changing decision to accept or reject our educational offer and thus choose between the challenge of change or a familiar life at home. And although we start seeking for guidance and help in our choice, one thing’s for sure: no one knows better than us what the right choice is. Akshita Goyal, 18, an international student from Dubai, did not have the same support that I did when choosing Cal: “Most of my family and the people in my community thought I was crazy for giving up the London School of Economics for Berkeley and choosing to study farther from home.” “Not a single person inspired me to come to Berkeley,” Akshita continued. “Although my parents and sister ultimately supported my decision, there were plenty of people who tried to stop me, like my high school counselor.” At that time, Akshita had to choose whether to listen to the advice of her mentors or to trust her own intuition—a common challenge faced when deciding whether or not to move abroad.



Maaz Uddin, 19, said this experience held true for him as well. “Deciding to come to Cal was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make,” he said. “My parents and brothers wanted me to go to Canada, and I had every reason to go there. It was cheaper, I had friends going there, I could get citizenship easily, and it was closer to home and my close friends on the East Coast.” Having one of the largest decisions in your life questioned by someone, whether it be a family member, friend, or just an acquaintance, pits one against him or herself. Countless internal and external debates arise just in the decision-making process of whether or not we should leave home. Not everyone is proud of you when you say you are leaving your home country for an American education. Tensions can rise. Once the decision-process is settled though, and the difficulties leading up to the big move have subsided, another struggle sets in once landed in the Bay Area. Many international students have an idea of “the university.” It’s a dreamlike expectation shaped by films, stories and social media, but is often far from reality. Unlike American students who can oftentimes visit universities before committing, we paint a picture of Cal in our minds from our respective homes

without ever setting foot on campus. I, for instance, imagined smiling people, warm weather, a squeaky-clean campus, 30,000 friendly students, and faculty members waiting for us with open arms and shining eyes. I lived in this dream the summer prior, adding more and more idealistic—and unrealistic—details to it every day, polishing it, adjusting it, and curating it to whatever movie scene made my vision more glamorous. Upon arrival, my imaginary Berkeley faded; at first a montage of images from my naïve dream mixed with that of my new reality. Then, slowly but surely, the facade completely vanished and the weight of a new, unfamiliar world set in. The people we meet may not remember our names the next day— or, if they do, can’t pronounce them correctly—and it is obvious that the Berkeley fog had been photoshopped out of those sunny photos online. And while a misperception of weather might seem insignificant to locals, it’s a big deal for someone who moved here from thousands of miles away. “I expected things to be like in the movies—that is all I had to go on, getting ready for that California sun and palm trees,” Akshita giggles. “I really didn’t expect what I got, to be honest.” But for many of us, not knowing what

to expect was in no way limited to the unpredictability of Berkeley forecasts. “The greatest disappointment occurred when I realized that when you get to college, there is a period of social displacement, and you don’t know where you fit in or who you get along with,” Akshita said. “It was difficult adjusting to how people talk and learning what is acceptable to say and what is not.” Through her recollections, Akshita echoed my own memories of the first semester I spent abroad. Simple activities, like playing “Cards Against Humanity” with my new friends for the first time, caused panic. I was desperately surfing through the urban dictionary in attempt to “decode” the phrase on my white card. The exhaustion from interacting with and trying to absorb information from so many groups and individuals can sometimes lead to periods of loneliness, when we try to understand which community we fit into best. “There were glimpses of loneliness, but they just made me stronger, I think,” said Akshita. But those moments of loneliness might not be entirely bad. Rather, maybe sharing this vulnerability can help us find each other, and realize that we are not alone in our fears, insecurities, and even a yearning for home.

Maaz prefers to think positively of the changes and shocks he went through at Cal. “I was ecstatic to be in a new place once again, especially one with so many potential opportunities around every corner,” he said. For him, even the smallest challenge—cultural, academic, or social—represents an opportunity to gain direction and strength. At Berkeley, Maaz came up with his own way of creating the community he wanted around him. “Friendship to me is a very selfdefining mechanism, as the people I choose to be around are in essence a reflection of the person I am myself,” Maaz said. “The fact that I moved so many times has given me the opportunities to change my friend groups in accordance with the changes I have undergone as a person. I believe this sets me off from others in that my personality around others is much more dynamic and adaptable.”

Akshita believes that the friendships she made at Cal are ones that will last for a very long time. “I feel that our friendships mature with us, [which] makes them feel more long-term.” Indeed, college is where you can become an adult and take responsibility for your own life. This is when real long-term relationships are established, when we realize that friendship requires hard work and commitment to turn into something more meaningful than an acquaintance. And once we establish these relationships, which we certainly do after some period of exploration, we come to realize that we are not the only ones confused and scared of being misunderstood. We are all united by this confusion in the face of uncertainty, unanswered questions, and choices, and we become friends for life because we overcome the difficulties and build our lives together. And finally, homesickness. At some point, sometime further into

the academic year, we may no longer feel homesick—at least, maybe not as much as before. We quickly get caught up in the busy rhythm of college life, we create new memories, and we find ourselves with a new take on “home.” “I realized that I just miss my family, so if ‘home’ means family, then I do miss it a ton. But home ‘sick’? Not really. I think I can say that Berkeley did well for me.” Akshita laughs, and I laugh too. She’s a dear friend, and one of the people I see myself overcoming challenges with in the future—challenges just like the one she’s helped me overcome in finding where I fit in at Cal. words by MARINA CHILINGARYAN photos by KATE VLESSIS



the story of



lnce upon a time, in a land far away, there was a Once Upon a Time. That is to say, storytelling in its classic form. This is the dawn of one unique nonprofit’s tale—The Moth. In an age of texts and tweets, of terse dialogue and truncated memories, The Moth’s mission is to reinvigorate the art of storytelling and exalt in its unique form. Its genius lies in its power to reincarnate that of which the Digital Age has left us devoid: an opportunity to physically and verbally connect. Though our platforms for sharing have exploded, our sentiments have simultaneously been curtailed. In a tribute to the traditional oral narrative, The Moth hosts weekly and monthly live “StorySLAMS” across the nation. These events attempt to showcase the diversity of the human experience through the lens of simple yet stimulating themes. Each slam begins with a topic around which participants must craft five-minute-long, true stories. Contestants are judged based on adherence to the topic and time limit as well as their presentation of conflict and resolution. Though its origins lie in New York, The Moth has swept the nation and made its way to the free speech capital itself. Hip grad students, families, and elderly couples flock to Berkeley’s Moth at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, a nonprofit community arts center situated downtown on Addison Street. With its Persian rug-clad stage, vintage chandelier-strewn ceiling, and wood plank-paneled walls, The Freight is a cozy, ’60s-inspired spot. The venue typically hosts traditional folk musicians, but clears one night of its monthly schedule for The Moth, welcoming an eclectic audience—and a familiar gourmet grilled cheese vendor to satiate the crowd.

With hearty claps and cheer, 10 brave contestants were selected at random to bare their anecdotal souls this past spring. The theme was “Cohabitation,” and the stories that unfolded that evening were full of idiosyncratic characters one would wish to know beyond the stage. Some funny, some poignant, some frank, and others deeply articulate, each snippet imparted a piece of its teller’s past. A few lessons learned: a chain is only as strong as its weakest link when ascending the tallest mountain in South America. When you are choking on a string bean, your hospital-roommate’s husband—a perfect stranger—might happen to save your life. After raising kittens from birth in a Japanese apartment abroad, don’t let your cat get hit by a car upon your return to America. You might find that there is someone crazier than yourself when you board with a hoarder. When you discover a dusky-footed wood rat’s nest in your storage unit, you realize that there is beauty in destruction. And, if a crew of motley musicians in a psychedelic school bus park in your driveway, let them stay, and perhaps go with them for a ride. During each of these five-minute stories, an instantaneous bond is created ISSUE 11 / CALIBERMAG.COM between she who shares and he who listens. The narrative invites one to participate in the stranger’s journey, and once it is told, the stranger is not so strange anymore. The story compels us to stop and listen. To discover intimate truths about another person and to revel in their candor. To find a familiar friend. The End. Or is it the beginning?

words by ANNIE PILL photo by LANA COSIC






week after I met Cole Becker, he invited me and a few of my friends to his house in Piedmont for “Bundt Cake Tuesday,” a tradition his mother started years ago where their family will invite old friends over for dessert to meet one another. On this particular Tuesday, we were sitting at a long dining table with the Becker parents, Cole’s younger brother, and a family friend visiting from Greece. We played guitar, sang songs, and spoke about where we came from and where we wanted to go. As we sat there eating cake and homemade Greek food, it struck me how uniquely warm and inviting the Becker family is—particularly Cole, who made us a part of this family tradition after knowing us for little more than a few days. But Cole’s unabashed personality doesn’t stop at the dinner table. He’s used to entertaining guests, whether close friends or not. Usually, however, this entertainment comes from stage performance: Cole, along with being a student at UC Berkeley, is also the lead guitarist and vocalist for local band SWMRS. Formerly known as Emily’s Army, SWMRS has been on tour eight times and released five EPs and two



studio albums. Another album is set to drop in March 2016. Growing in the public eye rapidly since its inception, SWMRS has racked up a following of over 56.9 K on Twitter and 29.8 K on Instagram—not to mention worldwide admirers from Warped Tour to Burgerama and everything in between. Throughout the hype and growing stardom, Cole remains humble and welcoming. When asked about forming the band and why he’s in the business, his usual response is, “I like to play music with my friends.” Those friends he’s referring to are fellow SWMRS members Joey Armstrong (drums), Seb Mueller (bass), and his brother, Max (lead vocals/ guitar). His bandmates are spread out across the States: Max is recently back from Cal Poly, Seb studies Chemistry at Tulane University, and Joey is taking drum lessons all over New York. Now 19, the lead vocalist has little time between school and music, but he’s doing his best to keep his head above water. Cole is currently double majoring in Film Studies and American Studies, working as both a student and professional musician.

Caliber Magazine: Why UC Berkeley? Cole Becker: I always wanted to go to Berkeley. I wanted to be the mic man at the football games—you know the ones that wear the ties and lead cheers? I really wanted to do that. I grew up going to Cal games because I’m from Piedmont and I’ve always been a huge Cal fan, but I never thought I’d get in. It also helped that I was a spring admit because I signed up to do a couple of tours in the fall—no other schools would let me do that. What was the spring admit transition like for you? It was so smooth for me, but I feel kind of guilty about it. I know so many people here—family, friends, and people I grew up with—so I already had connections and never felt lonely. [For] other spring admits I know, [the transition] is hard. I was really, really thankful for my experience. How did your band get together? You are all childhood friends, right? Max is my brother, and I met Joey through my parents because my dad designed his house. Our moms were pregnant at the same time [with our little brothers], so we always hung out and had playdates because our moms were always commiserating. Jacob and Cade, our little brothers, were born 10 days apart. Anyway, Joey and I were hanging out one day and School of Rock came on TV, and we watched it and thought, “Shit. We need to be in a band. These kids in the movie are our age, right? And they’re doing such cool stuff.” And even though it was fictional, it was so inspiring for us to see kids making music. We thought, “we need to start a band too.” We became Emily’s Army when I was 13. We played a lot of music before that, and we called ourselves the Raining Souls, which was tight. We did a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop”—hey ho let’s go!



My sister had a birthday party when she turned 18, and she asked us to play. Well, I don’t know if she wanted us to play, but my parents were like “you should have your little brothers play,” so we played at my sister’s 18th birthday party. That was our first gig. That was Emily’s Army. Where did the name Emily’s Army come from? My cousin Emily has cystic fibrosis, and that’s the name of her foundation. We wanted to spread the word and have an altruistic band name. With Emily’s Army, we did a bunch of pop-punk stuff, but we didn’t want to get lodged into the pop-punk [mold]. We wanted to just be our own thing, you know? But our record label really pushed our connection to Green Day. Emily’s Army started to become just Green Day Jr. How did Joey feel about that? We wanted a clean break. I mean, we all love Green Day. Even if Billie [Joe Armstrong] wasn’t Joey’s dad, we’d all be listening to Green Day because we’re angsty kids. It was weird when the record label signed us, because they just wanted to exploit our connection to Green Day to sell records. I think we were all unaware that was what they were doing, but that changed when they became really shitty to us. We eventually said, “Yo we don’t want to do this anymore,” and so we had to buy our way out with the little money that we made. We bought our way out with two grand—more than they ever paid us, which sucks. But then we started fresh, as SWMRS, because we wanted to cultivate an identity that was not dependent on Green Day. Where did the name SWMRS come from then?

We had an EP called “Swim” when we were Emily’s Army. Because of [tour complications under the name Emily’s Army], we booked a bunch of secret tours under the name SWMRS. We had to create a fake Instagram and everything—the only way we would accept your follow was if you had a fish emoji in [your profile] description. We were booked as Emily’s Army in Australia. The first time we played as SWMRS was with Rise Against. We were booked as Emily’s Army but we said, “We’re SWMRS, it’s whatever,” so we played all SWMRS songs. People were saying, “What happened to Emily’s Army?” because we had the SWMRS backdrop, too. And they thought that everyone had billed the wrong band. Luckily, the guy in charge of the billing wasn’t mad. After that, we officially became SWMRS. It became an identity. We all had colorful ocean hair. So, what’s with the hair? I had always been into the sea punk look—really faded, dyed hair. But I didn’t have the balls to do it in high school. I did it in middle school a couple times, because I was way edgier and cooler in middle school. I was super duper vanilla in high school. Then I got to college and thought, “Oh, I’m gonna branch out.” We were trying to define ourselves both aesthetically and musically. The thought process behind it was, “Well, I’ve always wanted to have dyed hair. Why don’t we dye our hair, Max?” It’s funny; since I dyed my hair in February, I’ll hang out with some people and later look on their Instagram or something and they’ll have dyed hair too. That’s when I started to know [colored hair] was an important branding move. SWMRS fans started to dye their hair. At shows, that’s a visible sign of support. What’s the craziest thing to ever come

out of the SWMRS experience?

works for]. It’s just for his photos.

When we were in a legit fashion show. That was trippy. In March, we played at Burgerama in Santa Ana. That’s a super hip festival. The head designer is a really passionate photographer, and he approaches all these hip-looking kids to be his models. It’s a very image-based scene down there. Everybody has to look good, but still in a very hip, grungy way. It’s very curated. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a thing. He saw Max and me—we had bright green and bright blue hair at that point— and said, in a French accent, “Who’s this band? I want to take pictures of them.” So he hit us up through our lawyer, and a week after school got out, we went down to his studio in West Hollywood and he took pictures of us in our normal clothes for his diary, which is actually his website that isn’t related to [Yves] St. Laurent [the brand that the designer

What was it like to work with Hedi Slimane? He’s so artistic and so genius, but he’s such an artist. He’s so far removed from anything that isn’t his craft, which is awesome. I wish I could do that. And he has the resources to be able to [create his vision]. All he has to focus on is the lighting... and he has people setting his exposure and lighting for him, and he just tells them to take the picture. How nuts is that? He knows how to do everything—he can hire people to do it for him. But then he also asked us to write his runway song—which was crazy for us, because that’s 15 minutes and we only write 2.5 minute songs. If you watch the St. Laurent Spring 2015 Men’s Show, it’s the full song, and it’s called “Harry Dean Stanton.” We’re

putting the first third of that song on the album, but there are two other movements that won’t be on there. They’re really cool. It was a really fun experience. We didn’t know how to approach it, so we got drunk in Joey’s basement and wrote the song—and then we recorded it about a week later. It was a very small amount of time, because we had to get it done. Then they called us up and said, “Hey, why don’t you guys model, too?” So Max and I got flown out. What were your thoughts at that point? [Basically,] “What the fuck is happening?” I went first to model for their photo campaign, and I wore a jacket with a sunset on the back, and you could see the back of my head—my green hair [and Max’s profile]. Then they put us up in a hotel for three days, just to be at the



set for 45 minutes to take that picture. Endless room service. It was tight. That was the first modeling gig—and then they hit us up again to model on the runway, and they said, “We’re also going to fly out Seb and Joey, so they can hear the song. Bring Taifa.” [Taifa was] a friend of ours who sells merch for us; he was just there at the time because he needed a ride to So Cal. They flew us all out there and put us up in hotels. That was so nuts. That was the weirdest shit that ever happened. Hedi Slimane. The most beautiful man. He’s great, I really like him. And his whole crew are just really sweet people. And, strangely enough, while we were getting fitted, all of his assistants were just beautiful women. They weren’t like the models—[they were] very fulllooking and of all sizes and all of them were so beautiful. What’s been a low point for you as a band? In November we went on tour with Pennywise and Rise Against—which was awesome. It ended up being the greatest experience and a defining moment for us. [At that time] we were trying to be more mellow, like Vampire Weekend, and went from being a punk band to writing slower songs. So when we played in front of the Pennywise crowd, we got booed. Does your band have any pre-show rituals, aside from dyeing your hair? A lot of times we do yoga and pushups to get the blood flowing. If we have our own dressing room, we’ll get down in our underwear and just jump around. Joey would listen to Danny Brown and Taylor Swift back to back to get pumped but also mellow-out. I like to have green tea before shows. One time I got wasted before a show—it was a house party—but I played so poorly that now I don’t do uppers [except] caffeine because I need something to keep me in check.

What do you think makes you guys unique from any other sea punk boy band? “Emotional Boy Rock.” We were all best friends first, which I think is really important in bands because you know how to deal with conflict on another level. We fight, just as much as any other band. We fight like brothers— and we resolve things like brothers. A lot of times, you don’t know how to approach a situation with someone who’s a lot more like your business partner, you know? But we know how to talk to each other in any situation, which is great. We tried to be in a couple of different scenes, including the Warp Tour and Burgerama scenes, but what sets us apart is that we have this huge, huge range of interests. Max likes pop-y songs. I like hip-hop. Joey loves The Strokes. We all bring a different element to our sound; it comes together especially when this record comes out. Like a nice little cacophony. I really like that. Do you have any advice for people starting out in music? “Just do it.”—Nike. It’s really hard to put yourself out there. Art is a really personal thing for me. Fuck classical artists who are curated. Do it for yourself. It’s really important to put yourself out there and work at it every day. I try to write songs every day. The more I write songs, the better I get at it—that’s just the nature of writing. There’s something unique about everyone [...], but the more you write songs, the more they’ll sound like your own. So that’s really important. To keep doing it. I know it’s discouraging sometimes. I quit playing guitar for a while because I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. But if you just keep with it, it just comes naturally. And any chance to play a show, you should take. If you’re starting out in college, make some friends

who throw house parties, and then play at their parties. If you’re in Berkeley, like most of [Caliber’s] readership must be, there are great DIY spaces all over the Bay, such as 924 Gilman, 1-2-3-4 GO!, Rock Paper Scissors Collective, and the Honey Hive Gallery in San Francisco. They’re all so good! I interviewed Gerard Way one time and he told me to “find the others”— there are other people who feel the same exact way as you. The more community you have, the more support you’ll get, the more you’ll bounce off each other. What is the biggest thing you’ve learned throughout all of this? This might come off cliché, but to know yourself and to love yourself. The biggest thing I learned in this past year was to love your flaws. In high school, I suppressed the stranger parts about me, because that was just the environment that my high school was. But embrace your flaws and your idiosyncrasies, because those make you you, you know? And if you don’t have any flaws or idiosyncrasies, I don’t believe you.

words and photos by LANA COSIC





t a place as vibrant, innovative, and forward-thinking as UC Berkeley, it is easy to fall prey to the idea that everyone is excelling across the board. Campus promoters will tell you we’re leading the charge in various fields of research and making one positive impact after another via student-governed community service organizations. But the hype of “the college experience” often obscures the harsh



reality that this time in our lives can, for many, be quite difficult. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year. Additionally, more than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do in the past year. Forty-five percent said they felt things were “hopeless.”

The numbers indicate that mental health issues affect an ever-increasing percentage of the student population, yet asking for help is stigmatized, shamed, and even frowned upon in our own campus culture. According to ASUC Senator Madison Gordon, “We hear it in the way people talk, when they say things like, ‘That’s crazy!;’ ‘He’s acting bipolar;’ ‘Stop being so depressed.’ Those are all stigmatizing ways of talking about

mental health. It is a huge problem.” Such colloquial conversation with harmless intentions perpetuates negative stigmas surrounding mental health. The taboo nature of this topic necessitates change. UC Berkeley has many resources available to students already accustomed to mental health needs and for those who have recently developed them. The Tang Center, UC Berkeley’s health service facility, provides information about various options including individual counseling, group therapy, psychiatric help, and more. Despite a number of services offered, however, the Tang Center also has some serious shortcomings that students are attempting to address. During the most recent ASUC elections, students passed the Wellness Referendum to extend the Tang Center’s hours on both weekdays and weekends. Additionally, the Referendum will provide mental health experts at the Tang Center’s primary care clinics to assist students as an immediate alternative to the 10-day waiting period that existed previously. The complexity of mental health is augmented by a of lack of resources available, which in turn can lead to a lack of understanding. In a recently published Huffington Post article about mental health stigmatization, Diane Bederman states, “The shame of mental illness is the shameful lack of care and caring.” Not only do individuals struggling with their mental health often receive little societal support and understanding, but also many individuals who have never dealt with mental illness don’t know how to understand, evoking a sense of inappropriate alienation and fear. Many of these perceptions were originally cultivated decades ago in response to the early evolution of psychological research. Sigmund Freud first used psychoanalysis in the 1890s, and throughout the first half of the 20th century, treatments such as lobotomies, insulin shock therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy were

performed–some resulting in permanent brain damage and death for individuals tested. Modern psychologists rarely use those methods and theories the same way. A 1992 joint report by NAMI and the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group describes that the word “stress” was increasingly used in the 1930s with a biopsychosocial meaning directly associated with mental disorders. Our understanding of mental health through a medical lens has a come a long way in the past 80 years; however, there remains a societal misunderstanding of what mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and eating disorders entail. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “evidence shows that [mental illness] can be related to changes in the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the nervous system.” Differences in neurological and chemical processes, often involving neurotransmitters and hormones, give rise to many of these disorders. Additionally, one’s environment and past traumatic experiences can trigger mental health issues, especially if a genetic predisposition is present. Sometimes recognizing the presence of mental health issues in individuals is extremely difficult, but once this has been achieved, treatment options can be assessed and hopefully provided. This information is widely available to the public today. One well-phrased Google search can unearth mountains of data about the causes and symptoms of mental disorders, how to treat them, and how mental health is fiscally addressed in the United States. It can explain how the decentralization of mental health programs in the 1990s eroded their funding, or that psychiatric wings have closed as a consequence of hospital budget cuts, such as in the case of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center

in January 2014. One can be advised to try medication, but without concurrent counseling, this may treat only the symptoms and fail to address the root of the problem. At the same time, everchanging health care plans often fail to prioritize mental health treatment as ardently as other ailments, if at all. With all of this information readily at the fingertips of the public today, it is unfortunate that the stigmatization of the topic persists. Even the act of “going to therapy” carries a negative connotation for many people. Therapy is not exclusively designed dealing with mental disorders; family and marriage counseling is just one example. Both those experiencing mental health problems and those who are not may find it beneficial to speak with a therapist. Today’s lack of mental health education and resources fuels negative stigmatization. This then results in a lack of public attention which further perpetuates a lack of public understanding. If school curricula and job trainings required education in the field of mental health issues, then perhaps assumptions associated with them would slowly dissipate. While campus leaders are still working to improve mental health resources for students, we ourselves must consciously work to address our own prejudices. As one anonymous UC Berkeley freshman reflects, “I put off talking to someone neutral and professional for a really long time, but [therapy]’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”




in pursuit of perspective why uncharted territory is your friend


t a time before planes, trains and automobiles even existed, Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” A cliché no doubt, but hundreds of years later, the popular phrase still tickles the curiosity of its readers by asking them to evaluate their perspective. How much of the world have you seen? Perhaps you went to Cancun for spring break three years ago. Or maybe a roadtrip to L.A. last summer was enough to satisfy your wanderlust. There exists a vast array of countries that vary in everything from geography to architecture to communication or even nationally-hailed rock bands. Visiting an unfamiliar place allows us to gain an understanding of not only the world in which we reside, but how we as individuals fit into

the greater puzzle. From a very young age I was exposed to change, new people, and foreign languages. I have lived in four countries and visited many others. Through each of these journeys, I was fortunate enough to live the vibrancy of travel, of seeking and finding, and to experience a process that I believe has profound effects on our ability to mold our perception and invoke critical thinking. In a 2011 interview with The New Yorker, neuroscientist David Eagleman breaks down the brain’s perception of time. Through his research, Eagleman attempts to understand why, depending on the experience, the perceived speed of time varies. He concludes that as a result of expectations derived from previous experiences, the “more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down.” The brain pays more attention to the



unfamiliar aspects of one’s surroundings. When we travel, our mind actively works to absorb all the components of where we are. Our senses are raw and vulnerable to our environment, because our brain has not had the opportunity to classify and filter this abundance of sensory inputs. It has not yet deemed even the most seemingly commonplace information, like the color of the road or the size of the street signs, as insignificant. We begin to notice the details, parts of the world that our brain might skip over at home. I experienced this increased alertness during my trip to Colombia. It was here that I first I encountered street lanes completely filled with motorcycles. Such a simple observation led to the realization that Canada, where I lived at the time, did not rely on this mode of transportation nearly as much. I linked my present awareness with my past perception; my mind had never stopped to consider the modes of transportation that surrounded me at home and how they might differ elsewhere. This moment made me realize the importance of new observations. Now, when I go home, I take note of the motorcycles; they remind me of the many forms of transportation used around the world, and more importantly how much there is to consider even in our the daily lives. But the depth of travelling extends beyond simple sensations. In seeing new sights, we begin to see with new eyes. The changes and long-lasting effects elicited by travel ultimately make venturing outside the comfort of home worthwhile. While every trip ends eventually, you return from each one with a new outlook that has the ability to make even your home seem a little unusual. A study by Lile Jia at Indiana University looked at the effects of perceived distance on creativity. In the experiment, subjects were divided into two groups and asked to list different modes of transportation. One group was told that the study had been developed in Indiana, while the other group was told it was developed in Greece. The findings revealed that a global mindset produced more variable results. By detaching from common sights and routine, the study suggested that the mind becomes more open to possibilities that are not present or conventional in the current environment. When I visiting Rio de Janeiro, I learned that exploration increases appreciation for life’s simplicities. Detailed stone mosaics that made up the floors of the city fascinated me with each step I took. The intricately arranged pieces, varied in shape, size, and pattern, each stood out with vibrant colors. I was consumed by details I never could have anticipated, parts that they don’t tell you about in the guide books. The commonplace aspects of Rio drove me to appreciate the artistry present not only in architecture and monuments, but also in the minute features of the city. Since coming to Berkeley, I have met both people who love to travel and those who have never left home. While some may choose to stay local, it is true that the luxury of travel



is not attainable for all. It is estimated that only 30 percent of U.S. residents have a passport, and less than half of the population have travelled outside the borders of their country. But reasons behind the lack of travel by many Americans are not simple. The most common barrier to travelling is the financial expense that make it necessary to do so. Travel has become increasingly costly, and with tuition and other living expenses also at hand, $1800 round-trip tickets to Europe will leave more than a hole in your wallet. However, this isn’t to say that deals can’t be found, and that adventure is a lost cause. With planning and a persistent attitude, inexpensive travel can be made possible. Cheaper tickets can be purchased if found early enough, and dorm-style hostels and couch surfing have become popular, low-cost housing options for young people abroad. A tight budget forced me to make certain commitments and deadlines while away from home. It instilled in me more appreciation for and mindfulness of the available time I had. Since becoming a college student, I have faced inevitable changes in my own ability to travel as a result of rising costs of living. Flying across the world to a place that has mysterious aromas and fascinating traditions often seems more or less out of the picture these days. However, if moving to the U.S. has taught me anything, it is that spending even an extra hour in the car to make it to the next town or state over can yield many of the same benefits of travel that I experienced abroad. A small distance travelled can expose different scenery and introduce people whose unique perspectives make their approach to life different from our own. There’s another quote that never ceases to inspire the wanderlust within me. It’s by author Benny Lewis. He says, “There are seven days in the week and ‘someday’ is not one of them.” The world is rich in languages and cultures, but keeping them as abstractions is not enough. Best we experience new perspectives both near and far, and answer adventure’s call. words and photos by PAULA GOMEZ VILLALBA

SHEDDING SHAME, SHOWING SKIN the role of nudity in feminism today


y mother raised me with a dichotomy of ideals regarding my body. For one, it is a temple, to be treated with utmost respect. But it is also a weapon against myself: exposing too much of it would “invite” unwanted attention. Such is the understanding of women like me, raised on this very specific misogynistic Eastern European rhetoric. Scarier still is that this understanding persists in a generation raised in a so-called “free” country on brassiere burning and The Feminine Mystique; for all of our “progress,” we still haven’t managed to move forward. My body, I was brought to believe, is a

tool of leverage—if I revealed too much, then I left nothing to the imagination. I sent out the “wrong message,” that I am “cheap” or easy, any man’s plaything. This operates under the absurd notion that something you wear reflects your sexual preferences, that a certain skirt means that you’re ready to bed anybody that asks—which shouldn’t concern others anyway—or that another article of clothing absolves one of the same sentiment. There was never a message I wanted to send out. I resented that my dress, my skin, and my existence would always be a statement. I would never simply be a

human, but only a series of signals—a broken traffic light. In acts of rebellion, I pierced holes in myself, asserting that this body is mine and I will do whatever I damn well please with it. But my mother’s voice is still present: to this day I can’t bring myself to get a tattoo. It is too permanent, too much of an imposition on my temple. Clothes can be changed, piercings removed, but there is something about altering my skin forever that I can’t get past. I realize now that my reluctance is linked to nudity, in the value I place on it. Ink would serve as an irremovable layer that kept me from being completely



naked, as if I were rejecting my body in its natural form. But I resent the constant attention paid to my body. Why do we care so much about nudity? Or more precisely, why are we so afraid of it? There’s social unrest over this issue all over the world. FEMEN, originally a radical movement from Ukraine, has a clear objective of “fighting against the patriarchy,” which they



achieve by protesting topless in front of churches, government offices, and various landmarks. They believe that the male-dominated world order has stripped women of ownership over their own bodies. The manifestation of the naked female body is therefore a form of liberation, making female nudity a “gravedigger” of the patriarchal system. Their tactic, “sextremism,” undermines

traditional female sexualization and oppression. In the face of intimidations, surveillance, and death threats, they were forced to move their organization to Paris, France. Stateside, there’s the Go Topless group, which in an interview with The Atlantic, says, “its objective is not to push for a world where everyone goes sans shirt, but rather to push back against

what they see as an infringement of women’s constitutional right not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender.” The laws governing censorship and public nudity favor the male gaze over women’s freedom of expression. This article stated that the problem was “perpetuating a degrading cultural norm towards sexualizing women’s bodies without their consent.” The group stages

Go Topless Days annually to support topfreedom—the movement for the recognition of any person’s right to be topless in public. We have arbitrarily assigned shame and ignobility to certain parts of our body. We need campaigns like Free the Nipple to challenge the stigma assigned to our temples. Why is it a-okay to expose everything but the nipple? And why are breasts taboo in our modern, hypersexual age but wholly acceptable in art? Who decides that nipples on Instagram are worthy of censorship but those depicted in Renaissance frescoes are not? To draw such a distinction is not only a form of censorship, but also a form of blatant sexism. This is not to say that art isn’t also censored—in May 2015, a Fox News affiliate in New York censored the breasts on a Picasso painting that had broken records at a recent auction—but we seem most uncomfortable with breasts in the real world, as opposed to their fetishized form in art, film, and fiction. We seem to fear the primal aspects of our existence. We shame the nipple because of its functionality, and we are accustomed to treating our bodies like ornaments instead of highly complex systems. The irony is glaring and inexcusable; mainstream culture grows more and more sex-obsessed every day, yet the progress that should theoretically come with such exposure is absent. Photographs of breastfeeding are blocked from Facebook, but Dolce & Gabbana commercials can hyper-sexualize women without fear of repercussions so long as they cover her nipples. Thousands of women agree with this notion, and the Free the Nipple campaign garnered tremendous attention on social media last summer, with support from celebrities and activists alike. Talking over my mother’s voice is the collective anger of a group of women blooming into their sexuality, demanding agency over their actions and their meanings. They insist that nudity has no objective meaning until we assign it ourselves. People can carry their own

values, their own moral code. We are too different in experience and background to all adhere to fixed notions of what our bodies should look like and what nudity signifies. However, notions of control over female bodies and nudity continue to reinforce paradoxical ideas. Female body images remains in flux. Women are told that they should be strong, ignore the voice telling them to lose weight or look perfect, love themselves, yet are exposed to nearly identical-looking models of women with digitally-modified bodies on every media system imaginable. The sexualization of the naked female form not only turns me into a traffic light, but it also compels countless other women to scrutinize their own bodies with a male gaze. It’s an imposition on our bodies and our culture. The argument against public female toplessness, which is illegal in many U.S. states and countries around the world, is that the display of the body is an inherently sexual act. We have inextricably linked nudity to sex, and in doing so we have turned our bodies into symbols. Our task is to move nudity away from the metaphorical realm and into the physical realm. Detaching sex from nudity is the first step to putting all bodies on equal standing and lift the stigma. words by GOHAR ABRAHAMYAN photos by KATE VLESSIS







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advocacy against a backdrop of unethical labor


That was the number that gave me after evaluating my lifestyle—what I eat, how I dress, where I work, what I buy—and cross-referencing my habits with industries and products tied to human trafficking and unethical labor. Yet I am what many might label an “average Berkeley resident.” I thrift most of my clothes, buy local and organic food, and believe in a common humanity for all persons. Despite all this, at least 31 slaves work for me. I was horrified. Was everything I had been told about “consumer politics” a scam? This realization got me thinking about my habits, my assumptions, and my perceptions. Last year, I spent several months volunteering with the Berkeley YWCA as part of their anti-human trafficking campaign, during which I realized just how little I knew about the issue. It was at this time that I became invested in another question: How society can reclaim personhood for the dehumanized? My mentors and experience at the Y taught me that to start off, we need more transparent information. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world after the sale of illegal drugs, but most people fail to adequately define human trafficking. That’s because today’s society buys into a series of popular stereotypes that distort the issue. Media campaigns, whatever their intentions, must appeal to a large, presumably apathetic audience. Images of human trafficking often involve a thin, pretty white girl with a bruised face forced into sexual exploitation. The UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, by contrast, uses these criteria: Act: Human trafficking involves any combination of recruitment, transport/transfer, harboring, and exchange of persons. The word “trafficking” sounds like a morning commute, leading most people to equate human trafficking with international kidnapping– basically Taken–or with smuggling, a voluntary contract where clients pay to be moved across international barriers. Although media tend to gravitate toward these more “dramatic” cases, human trafficking can also include harboring victims for forced labor, whether in a brothel, industrial farm, or sweatshop. Means: Human traffickers may rely on force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, and/or payments. Although media most often depict violent abductions, traffickers use psychological manipulation with equally horrific results. Perpetrators have

turned increasingly to the Internet as a means to recruit victims and exchange or advertise exploited labor. In lowincome communities, traffickers lure targets with the promise of work, only to confiscate important documents or withhold payments as leverage. Human trafficking does not exclude paid labor: some victims do receive pay, and it is economic desperation, rather than physical coercion, that keeps them in inhumane conditions. At the YWCA, we were taught to use the term “emotional poverty” to describes a sense of helplessness or worthlessness that makes individuals vulnerable to exploitation; such feelings stem from a society that devalues certain genders, races, and sexual orientations, and from the oppression and systemic discrimination that deprives individuals and communities of education, economic advancement and physical safety. Traffickers use prejudices and the emotional poverty that these prejudices engender to coerce and manipulate their victims: a homeowner tells her enslaved domestic worker “you won’t survive in this country without a visa” or a pimp tells his “bottom bitch” that she is nothing more than a pretty face. Purpose: Exploitation, which includes sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, removal of organs. Human trafficking does not refer exclusively to sexual exploitation. The International Labor Organization reports that 14.2 million people are victims of labor trafficking and debt bondage worldwide, while only 4.5 million people are trafficked for sexual exploitation. In the United States, labor trafficking generally occurs in domestic service, the agricultural sector, and industrial sweatshops. Mapping one identity or experience to survivors undermines the diversity of their suffering. Many survivors of human trafficking, especially in the Bay Area, are people of color, many are men, and many suffered labor exploitation. A human trafficking survivor can be fit,



strong, curvy, elegant, the sort of person with whom Berkeley students cross paths unaware; and human trafficking happens here in the Bay Area. A lot. In 2000, police arrested Berkeley restaurant owner Lakireddy Bali Reddy for human trafficking: Reddy brought three women to the United States from India and enslaved them. The women suffered sexual exploitation and were forced to work at Reddy’s restaurant, Pasand Madras on Shattuck. Authorities

our own community. It is something we often unknowingly partake in every day by being active participants in today’s society. Our ideologies, our business regulations (or lack thereof), our stereotypes, our prejudices, and our greed in consumption all contribute. The FBI has repeatedly named Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego among the nation’s worst thirteen urban hot spots for human trafficking, yet California policy has not addressed the




COMMUNITY only discovered the women after one woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning; the inhumane harboring conditions had killed her. The surviving two women were referred to government services, and Reddy was arrested, but the building he operated out of remains: until recently, BUILD Pizzeria on Shattuck occupied the same building. Although those same media campaigns often tempt us to dismiss trafficking as a “foreign” problem, 84 percent of sex trafficking survivors in the U.S. and 72 percent of trafficking survivors in California are American citizens. Human trafficking is not a failure of a far away system; it is something happening in

issue. Trafficking cases have increased over the years, and the annual FBI reports have documented a ballooning risk in all three cities. We know there is a problem, yet we have done little to change things on a policy level. The same inertia plagues the Berkeley campus–a problematic shadow zone between acknowledgement and action. Everyone has heard of it, but few can say they understand the complete definition of human trafficking. No one supports it, but no one scrawls accusatory propaganda on the bathroom stalls in Wheeler Hall or protests the university’s Nike sponsorship on Upper Sproul, either. We tend to shy away from that which

we do not understand, and with a conflict as pervasive and unclear as human trafficking, trying to make a change can seem like an intimidating reach, yet we come in contact with this issue everyday. Odds are you bought something recently–maybe even today–that came from a victim of unfair labor. Was it a new phone? Produce? Sneakers? Makeup? Our society relies on unethical labor, simultaneously confronting us with human trafficking and requiring that we ignore the issue in order to live a normal life. This paradox of informed ignorance tears through our humanity, compelling us to go along with a corrupt system, and tricking us into complacency. Unfortunately, our silence is a tacit acceptance of the ugliest of hierarchies and prejudices. The commercial exchange of human life requires and reasserts privilege and status of certain humans over others; the notion that people can be property still persists today. This inequality includes race, gender, economic status, and sexual orientation. Statistics from the nonprofit H.E.A.T.Watch show that sex trafficking, especially in Oakland, disproportionately affects communities of color: black minors accounted for 63 percent of underage victims in Alameda county, Latino minors for 13 percent, and white minors for 12 percent. H.E.A.T.Watch also reports a strong correlation between a minor’s juvenile record and their risk for being trafficked. Since the criminal justice system lands disproportionately on communities of color, and since our economic and social systems disenfranchise individuals with a criminal record, such a correlation demonstrates how longstanding racism, gentrification, and economic stagnation have created unhealthy and antagonistic environments for young people. With regards to gender, 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are female, and pimps routinely fetishize women of different cultures and ethnicities when advertising their victims to clients. Homeless youth are also targets for

traffickers, who look for victims that might be desperate for a way out of poverty; moreover, lacking a support network can make homeless youth susceptible to coercion and threat. Prejudice against LGBTQ communities can similarly trap LGBTQ victims in abusive situations, as male survivors of queer sex trafficking explained to our group of YWCA volunteers. Stereotypes that cast sex trafficking as a straight women’s issue and misinterpretations of non-cisgender individuals make it harder for outsiders to identify the signs of human trafficking when the victims do not conform to a preconceived image. Worse, deepseated prejudice and phobia can prevent LGBTQ survivors from receiving the legal, emotional, and medical care they need. In nations that outlaw queer sexuality, this aid is virtually nonexistent. Ultimately, human trafficking is not an isolated crime, but rather a symptom of larger issues. Systematic bias—racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, queerphobia, and xenophobia—has laid the groundwork for trafficking by dehumanizing certain groups. As long as society sees certain people as less than human, perpetrators will continue to see victims as less than human. More importantly, systematic bias enables everyday people to dismiss victims of human trafficking, to write off the communities affected by it as unworthy of attention. Even if this dismissal occurs subconsciously, as long as anyone is brainwashed to think, “they’re not as human as me, that’s not my problem,” our society will not eradicate human trafficking. The great evil of trafficking is that it dehumanizes survivors, but on a broader scale, it strips whole societies of humanity. It desensitizes us to the suffering of fellow humans and mocks whatever egalitarian ideals we like to think we had. The worst choice we can make is to give up, to say, I can’t fix everything, I can’t completely scrub unethical labor out of my clothes and off

of my produce, so I won’t try, I won’t get started. Get started! A small quotidian change will help. Let break your heart. The website probes for information about your possessions, eating patterns, and consumer habits, eventually calculating a conservative estimate of how many slaves facilitate your lifestyle. Free2Work pinpoints unethical products and offers free labor alternatives. Love Never Fails manages casework in the East Bay but also accepts volunteers for on-the-ground outreach in San Francisco. And although fighting human trafficking requires exhaustive physical, on-the-ground aid, an individual can get started by combating social attitudes towards marginalized and oppressed communities. If you can’t—or won’t—try to douse the flames, at least turn off the gas. The most detrimental product on today’s market is the image we sell ourselves of a so-called “free” society in which we should shop profusely, regardless of the work that goes into the products we use everyday, and believe slave labor is a thing of the past. Save your breath and your money. Shelve that ignorance—its expiration date is coming up pretty soon, anyway.




a conversation with professor and world-renowned astrophysicist



Berkeley Professor Alexei Filippenko has been voted “Best Professor” at UC Berkeley by the student body a record-breaking nine times. He was also named the 2006 National Professor of the Year. In addition to his stellar teaching career, he has received numerous awards for his research on exploding stars, black holes, and cosmology including the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics as a member of the Nobel-prize winning High-Z Supernova Search Team. He also wrote his own textbook for Astronomy C10 and has appeared in roughly 100 TV documentaries. Caliber spoke to Professor Filippenko about the new Campbell Hall, teaching, and humankind’s significance. Caliber Magazine: How excited are you about the new 17-inch telescope in Campbell Hall? What does this new technology mean for you and the department? Alexei Filippenko: The new 17-inch telescope is a wonderful addition to the campus! For years, we have been using small, portable telescopes during the “star parties,” [or] celestial viewing sessions, held for introductory astronomy classes such as Astronomy C10, but they weren’t very powerful. Now that the new Campbell Hall has been completed and the 17-inch telescope has been installed, we can provide much better views of planets, clouds of gas, star clusters, and galaxies for Cal students. Would you say that your “calling,” per se, is more so doing research or sharing your findings via teaching courses such as Astro C10? I enjoy both teaching and doing research, and these two activities complement each other: my research

informs my teaching, and to some extent vice versa. Although I spend most of my time on research, I wouldn’t want to be at an institution where I didn’t teach and interact with students. If the scales involved in astronomy are so difficult to fully comprehend, and furthermore lead many to believe that the existence of humankind is incredibly insignificant within this scale, then what drives your passion to continue to learn more about astronomy? Does this kind of thinking bother you? Do you / have you ever thought this way? Sure, we humans are small compared with the Universe as a whole. But consider this: we have the intelligence, curiosity, and mechanical ability to ask and answer deep questions about the workings of the Universe and its contents. No inanimate objects are able to do this, and we don’t know of any animals on Earth that come close to our level of intelligence and ability at abstract thought. This makes us very important; in a sense, the Universe has found a way to know itself, through us.

equally good at this, and all of us can try to do better, but I think astronomers are already considerably more successful than most other scientists in this regard. What does it mean to be or do something significant? Being or doing something significant means that you have affected and influenced a substantial number of people, or that your actions have changed humankind’s view of some important aspect of life and the Universe. For example, the development of quantum theory may have seemed esoteric and largely irrelevant a century ago, but we can hardly imagine what life today would be like without an understanding of the quantum world or microphysics, on which so much technology depends, from computers to lasers to cell phones.

Do you think findings in astronomy are shared with the public enough in a way that many people are able to basically understand? What more do you think could be done? Astronomy has great popular appeal, and the research findings of astronomers get a lot of public attention. Just last week, for example, my group had a press release in which we announced the discovery of a supernova that has been gravitationally lensed into four separate images, consistent with Einstein’s general theory of relativity. We, and other astronomers, take a lot of time to think of ways to explain things so that the general public can understand and enjoy. Of course, not everyone is

words by JESSICA ROBERTSON left photo by LANA COSIC portrait courtesy of ALEXEI FILIPPENKO


foodstagram When it comes to sharing your food obsession with the social media world, be sure you’re doing it justice.




Find foods that stand out to you as delectable or intriguing. Challenge yourself to think about the food you encounter every day in an aesthetic way—not just through taste and smell, which are senses already activated by consumption. Bring your attention to the little details.

The availability of light also affects how appetizing your food looks. Natural light from the sun is the best way to go because it brings out the vibrant hues in your food.
 Avoid using flash at all costs, because it tends to lead to overexposure.

Finish your post off with a brief caption, using hashtags and lyrics sparingly. Keep it short and sweet or, better yet, let the picture speak for itself.

2 FIRST BITE Typically, food begins to lose its photogenic quality after you begin to devour it. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid taking a picture of your food after you’ve taken the first bite.


Likewise, pay attention to the color of your food in relation to its surroundings. The most aesthetically-pleasing foodstagrams appear to maintain balance among color, angle, and presentation.

3 PRESENTATION 7 TEXTURE First impressions apply to food, too; odds are, if something looks unappetizing, we won’t want to eat it. Find the best way to portray the food. 
Get creative with it.


How your camera lens faces your food affects how it’s perceived and how appetizing it looks. The two best angles to approach meals are “aerial” and “closeUp,” depending on how much food there is and what you would like to highlight. Another option may be to take a picture of the food in relation to your location (e.g. holding food up in front of a restaurant sign) to contextualize your meal.



Explore and exploit what makes your food appetizing in the first place. Find a way to communicate the food’s tangible qualities. Is it crunchy? Gooey? Creamy? Show us!

8 EDITING As much as we’d love to #NoFilter all our foodstagrams, we all secretly know that the key to a quality food post is a little bit of enhancement. Acquaint yourself with a multifunctional photo editor such as mobile apps AfterLight and VSCOcam to bring out the flavors of your meal by brightening and adjusting colors. 
A word of caution: be sure to avoid over-editing. Your food should still look natural and recognizable.

10 GEOTAGGING Last but not least, be sure to acknowledge where the food came from. Not only does geotagging create an archive of images for the location’s future newcomers, but it’s also a lovely way to let the restaurant or establishment know that you enjoyed their food. Congratulations! You’re now fully prepared to become the Diane Arbus or Irving Penn of foodstagramming. Don’t forget to enjoy your food after you exploit every last bit of its artistic potential. Post and dig in. Bon appétit! words and photos by LANA COSIC (@lanabananabear)






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Caliber Magazine – Issue 12  

Caliber Magazine Issue 12 Fall 2015

Caliber Magazine – Issue 12  

Caliber Magazine Issue 12 Fall 2015