Be a part, not apart
English Lecturer Jennifer Arin read her essay "The Origin of Peace" during the Nov. 7 broadcast of the KPOO radio program Connect the Dots. The following is an excerpt: "I find myself thinking about the origin of the word "peace" -- not only because of current global perils, but because of the tragic death of a San Francisco State University student, Justin Valdez, who was murdered on a Muni train on his way home from class... One other resonant aspect of the murder is that no passengers on the crowded train noticed the killer in their midst, even as he waved his gun openly. They were focused on their phones, wholly detached from the scene before them... Let this be a time of peace among sisters and brothers, a time to engage not with our phones but with the issues of our day, and with the living, breathing brethren among whom, inevitably, our lives unfold."
Waking the collective consciousness
The San Mateo Daily Journal ran a feature Nov. 9 about the Veteran Documentary Film Corps, an online library of short films about veterans founded by Professor and Chair of Cinema Daniel Bernardi. "I came to the conclusion that we were eroding our democracy by divorcing our professional military from the people they signed up to protect," Bernardi said. "You couple this with the horrific number of suicides and it seemed to me that (we) were in a state of collective unconscious. I had access to film studios, a sound stage, equipment and, most of all, an amazing cadre of filmmakers. So I married professional filmmakers with courageous vets in an effort to tell the veteran story."
Still time for rain
Earth and Climate Sciences Lecturer Jan Null was quoted in a Nov. 10 San Francisco Chronicle article about this year's record low precipitation. "We've never had any year dryer through October," Null said. But he cautioned against panic with two months left in the year, saying that making predictions at this time of year is like predicting "the final score of the Giants game after eight innings."
Bacteria untangled by math
Associate Professor of Mathematics Mariel Vazquez's mathematical analysis of how E. coli chromosomes divide and multiply was the subject of a Nov. 11 Scientific Computing report. "It is important for people to know that DNA is not just a sequence of letters. It is a very long molecule that can adopt a complex three-dimensional structure when packaged inside a cell nucleus," Vasquez said. "Every biological process that involves DNA will be affected by its topology and topological changes can have important biological implications."
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