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Golden Scholars: UC Berkeley hacks at Memorial Stadium and explains Ebola

Our weekly look at the going-ons of UC Berkeley, featuring hackers and Ebola.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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A look back in appreciation of the glorious library system of UC Berkeley.

Chancellor Dirks says Berkeley has survived a storm of financial hardship and emerged "stronger than ever" with a unique, Berkeley-exclusive future.

President Obama awarded the National Medal of Science to three UC Berkeley faculty members: Judith P. Klinman of chemistry, David Blackwell posthumously, and Alexandre J. Chorin of mathematics.

Let's celebrate and reflect on the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, which is more than just that café where you flirted with that one cutie instead of finishing up that one problem set.

A bit tangential as Berkeley has yet to win one this year, but since this is Nobel Prize week, I present an interesting piece on why the award is so notable and why it's so significant that Berkeley is a perennial winner.

What do you think of when you hear "bang," "ultra-hot," and "fluid?" I'm sure it's the primordial liquid from the birth of the universe, which has recently been characterized by Berkeley Lab! It looks a little something like this:

As part of the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, UC Berkeley researchers will receive $4.5 million to advance microscopy, ecology, and astronomy.

UC Berkeley's Lina Nilsson and Shankar Sastry wrote a piece in the Washington Post about the significance of the nascent field of development engineering.

An update on our previous Scholar's discussion David Whitney's work with the "continuity field," which makes you miss movie errors, now addresses why your inability to distinguish between an actor and a stunt double is there to help your sanity.

We've got another update on Jennifer Doudna, who has found a way to apply her CRISPR technology to RNA instead of just DNA.

Lifehack: Shoehorn the word "hack" into everything

What was the biggest event at California Memorial Stadium this weekend? The inaugural CalHack, an event where over 1000 hackers—including several Berkeley undergrads—dedicated 36 straight hours to figuring out unique solutions to crazy technological problems with cash prizes and industry experts serving as judges. Lest there be any moral concerns, the students were neither up to no good nor starting to make trouble in the neighborhood. What exactly was the trio up to?

"Unlocking the potential of anything," said UC Berkeley sophomore Carlos Sanchez.

"Half reinventing, half problem-solving," said sophomore Robert Norte.

"Companies bribe you with a bunch of technology and see what you can do with it," said sophomore Jacqueline Liu.

And how did our Golden Bears do? They won, of course.

The top prize went to MindDrone, a team of three UC Berkeley students, one student from Pierce College and one from Duke University who built a flying drone maneuvered by neurological signals.

"We wanted to show the world that BCI (brain-computer interface) is not something in the future - it's in the present," said Tomas Vega, a UC Berkeley student and member of the winning team.

Kudos to these students for participating in such an event and applying their skills to practical problems. With their knowledge and initiative, there's little doubt these Bears will be immensely successful in the future.

Ebola: Not an electronic bola

So, Ebola. You may have heard about that on the news recently! If you don't know what it is, then now's your chance to take a course in Ebola courtesy of UC Berkeley and Arthur Reingold, professor of epidemiology.

tl;dr version? Keep calm. You will probably be fine.

We should not be concerned [with Ebola spreading in the US]. While we will have occasional introductions like this, in an advanced health care system, pretty much all accredited hospitals - including hospitals in every major city in the United States-have all the facilities, equipment, materials and competence needed to isolate someone with Ebola and prevent transmission to health care workers and other individuals. As Dr. Tom Frieden [director of the CDC] said correctly last week, we know how to contain Ebola, and we have the equipment and materials to do it. I don't expect there to be sustained transmission or outbreaks of Ebola here. That's not to say we might not get a transmission to an individual, but I don't think there's any risk of having an outbreak of the kind that we're seeing in West Africa.

In the video above, you'll hear Reingold discuss the virus, why and how it's spreading, and what the US should do right now (hint: don't worry about it, but help others). Take notes, because there will be an exam at the end of this post.

So, I'm hearing a bunch of big words, but I'm still concerned. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PROTECT MYSELF?

[For] the general public, I think the quick answer is, you don't need to do anything; you should go about your business. Other than avoiding travel to the affected areas, I think people should pretty much do what they were always doing in regard to their health.