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Berkeley's New Smart Boot System: The Potential for Abuse (News Analysis)

By Thomas Lord
Thursday October 06, 2011 - 09:10:00 AM

[Editor's Note:This is the second of two articles. Yesterday's article described in greater detail how Berkeley's new SmartBoot system, to be implemented on October 18, will work.]

Under the recently announced SmartBoot program, the Berkeley Police Department will drive a "boot van" around town. Equipped with cameras, computers, and a network connection this van will automatically detect parked cars from the scofflaw list - those with too many overdue parking tickets. When the van spots a scofflaw it stops and a parking enforcement officer boots the car with SmartBoot. Violators can remove the boot themselves if they are able to pay their fees and past due fines over the phone with a credit card. -more-

Steve Jobs: Arab-American

By Shirin Sadeghi (New America Meda)
Thursday October 06, 2011 - 09:47:00 AM

Abdul Fattah Jandali, a young Syrian Muslim immigrant in Wisconsin, never met his son Steve Jobs. When a baby was born to the 23-year-old Jandali—now known as John— and his 23-year-old German-American girlfriend, Joanne Schieble, in 1955, there was no chance he'd be able to grow up with his biological parents. -more-


"Occupy Wall Street" Comes to Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday October 05, 2011 - 12:26:00 PM

As Jimmy Durante used to say, ever’body wants tuh ged in tuh duh’act. (If you’re too young to remember him and/or don’t come from Brooklyn, Everybody Wants to Get into the Act.) After a frustratingly slow start, the Occupy Wall Street action finally has legs.

Over the weekend, it became front page news in the big national papers. They all ran approximately the same story, recounting how the previously invisible campers took to the road and were arrested in impressive numbers while trying to cross the Brooklyn Bridge in the auto lane. Most of the stories featured approximately identical quotes from various Poli Sci professors at second-tier institutions, ones easily located in the metropolitan areas where the newspapers were published, on the order of “If they want to accomplish anything, they’ll need a program and identified leaders.”

Well, no. The most useful analysis of what seems to be going on could be found on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times Science Section, in a fascinating article about slime molds. Here’s the basics: -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Hancock Bill Extends Berkeley Solar Finance Scheme to State: Was it a Success or a Failure?

Thursday October 06, 2011 - 02:51:00 PM

Today the Planet received a press release from the office of Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), touting a bill she sponsored that would let homeowners borrow against the value of their property to finance installing solar energy systems, backed by government bonds, with payback billed with property taxes. This plan is similar to one originally floated in Berkeley by her husband Mayor Tom Bates's then assistant, Cisco DeVries.

The release describes the Berkeley experiment as being "highly successful" but for another point of view, see Berkeley's Solar Plan Goes Dark, The city has decided to abandon its once-touted home-solar financing program. an article by Judith Scherr in the East Bay Express.

You be the judge. Here's the release: -more-


Senior Power: The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. English proverb.

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday October 06, 2011 - 10:04:00 AM

Elderly musicians hear better than elderly non-musicians. Age-related hearing loss is a significant detriment to quality of life in the aged although it is poorly understood. Oxidative stress causing loss of hearing cells is one theory. Chronic exposure to loud noises in the environment is another. It would seem that listening and playing music throughout one’s life could damage the ear. However, a new study comparing aged musicians to non-musicians suggests that decline in cortical auditory processing may be reduced in musicians whereas decline in cochlear function is similar to non-musicians. According to lead researcher Benjamin Rich Zendel, being a musician may contribute to better hearing in old age by delaying some of the age-related changes in central auditory processing. This advantage widens considerably for musicians as they get older when compared to similar-aged non-musicians. -more-

American Pie: A Cautionary Tale About Three Sixth Grade Misfits

By Ruth Rosen
Thursday October 06, 2011 - 09:37:00 AM

We were bad. Incorrigible, they said. We had curious minds, awkward bodies and awakening hearts. When we disrupted the class with our chattering and chaotic behavior, the teacher asked us to leave the room and stand in the hall until we behaved properly. On our report cards we received "unsatisfactory" for our social behavior.

The year was 1957. Our teacher viewed us as difficult, inattentive, and troublesome, but no one ever suggested to our parents that we had a medical problem or learning disability that required medication.

But that was then, when we were 11 years old and the great waves of hyperactivity/ADHD diagnoses and stimulant medications were still a thing of the future. Now we wonder what would happen if we were misfits in 2007. Would we be referred for medical diagnosis? Would we be among the nearly 10% of children currently treated with psychoactive drugs? -more-

Arts & Events

Berkeley Arts Festival Continues

By Bonnie Hughes
Thursday October 06, 2011 - 02:10:00 PM

The Berkeley Arts Festival, now in residence at 2133 University Avenue, carries on throughout October. Here are the events, day by day: -more-

Back Stories



"Occupy Wall Street" Comes to Berkeley 10-05-2011

The Editor's Back Fence

Hancock Bill Extends Berkeley Solar Finance Scheme to State: Was it a Success or a Failure? 10-06-2011

UC Mines Our Brains for the Sake of Corporate Profit 10-04-2011

This is the Weekend Issue 10-01-2011

Bill Gutting CEQA Passed in Sacramento, Signed by Brown--
Skinner and Hancock Voted Yes


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins: The Happy Couple Dan O'Neill 10-04-2011

Public Comment

Beware the Hurry to Build at Haste and Telegraph By Carol Denney 10-05-2011

How Berkeley Employee Costs Eat Up the Rest of the City's Budget By David M. Wilson, Berkeley Budget SOS 10-04-2011

Pepper Spray Times Grace Underpressure 10-04-2011

Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street Forwarded by Estelle Jelinek 10-05-2011

Who has the Right to Remove Benches At Bus Stops? A Bus Stop Bench Story By Lydia Gans 10-03-2011

Laura's Law Revisited: Response to Ralph Stone By Jack Bragen 10-01-2011

Tom Friedman Tries to Scapegoat Baby Boomers -- He Should Remember That We Helped Forge American Prosperity By Ruth Rosen 09-30-2011


Berkeley's New Smart Boot System: The Potential for Abuse (News Analysis) By Thomas Lord 10-06-2011

Steve Jobs: Arab-American By Shirin Sadeghi (New America Meda) 10-06-2011

Parking Ticket Scofflaws Take Note! Berkeley's About to Boot Your Car By Thomas Lord 10-04-2011

Mumps Outbreak on UC Berkeley Campus Prompts Call for Vaccination Boosters By Patricia Decker (BCN) 10-05-2011

Charles Rawson Collier, 1935-2011 10-05-2011

Updated: Nobel Prize News Wakes Berkeley Professor By Jeff Shuttleworth(BCN 10-04-2011

Berkeley's Northbrae Neighborhood Called One of America's Great Places 10-04-2011

Updated: Daniels to be Interim Berkeley City Manager 10-04-2011

Press Release: UC Berkeley's Saul Perlmutter awarded 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics From Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Media Relations 10-04-2011

Press Release: Public Meetings Planned for AC Transit Redistricting Process From Clarence Johnson, AC Transit Media Affairs Manager 10-03-2011

Does Signing a Petition Give Parents a Voice in Schools? By David Bacon 10-03-2011

Dr. Toy's Best Toys By Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. 10-03-2011


Senior Power: The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. English proverb. By Helen Rippier Wheeler 10-06-2011

American Pie: A Cautionary Tale About Three Sixth Grade Misfits By Ruth Rosen 10-06-2011

Dispatches From The Edge: Why The Drone Wars Threaten Us All By Conn Hallinan 10-04-2011

My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.) By Dorothy Bryant 10-04-2011

On Mental Illness: The Expectation of Employment By Jack Bragen 10-03-2011

The Public Eye: There is No Political Middle Ground By Bob Burnett 09-30-2011

Senior Power… My Generation’s War By Helen Rippier Wheeler 09-30-2011

Arts & Events

Berkeley Arts Festival Continues By Bonnie Hughes 10-06-2011

American Teacher Has a Lesson: Superman Is a Myth; Teachers Are the Real Heroes Review by Gar Smith 10-04-2011

Theater Review: Patience Worth by Symmetry Theatre Company By Ken Bullock 10-05-2011

Friends of Negro Spirituals Heritage Day is Saturday By Ken Bullock 10-05-2011

Press Release: Afghanistan Peace Day: On the 10-year anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan, the Afghan and American people call for peace. From Adam Hudson and Fatima 10-04-2011

Eye From the Aisle: PHAEDRA at Shotgun Players—heart-rending, masterful drama By John A. McMullen II 10-04-2011

BAY AREA CHILDREN’S THEATRE brings MAGIC SCHOOL BUS to life at Freight and Salvage thru Oct 23 By John A. McMullen 10-02-2011

Don't Miss This in October By Dorothy Snodgrass 10-01-2011

Sarah Palin: You Betcha! Film review by Gar Smith 09-30-2011