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Entries in University of California (2)

Thursday
Sep292011

UC Santa Cruz Scientist Captures Fish Using Tools to Get Food

Close up of the wrasse fish holding a rock in its mouth. ABC News(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) -- The first video of a fish using tools to extract food has been released by University of California Santa Cruz professor Giacomo Bernardi.

The footage shows a species of wrasse fish using a rock as an anvil to crush the shell of a clam to devour the concealed contents.

Initially, using tools was a trait Bernardi said “defined us [humans] compared to the animal world.”  However, since then, video of chimps and birds using tools to their advantage have been recorded, and now fish.

Bernardi first started tracking this species 15 years ago when he witnessed the wrasse using tools quite frequently off the coast of Florida. Finally, while on a dive two years ago in Palau, he filmed the underwater video. Studies and data have been taken on the wrasse using tools, but his video allows viewers to see the entire sequence in real time.

“People have taken pictures of fish doing things, but this is the first movie that shows the succession of it,” Bernardi said.

The wrasse displays very “forward thinking” as it sifts through the sand for its prey and swiftly swims to a large rock.

“It swims really far to find the most appropriate place to crush it into small bits to be able to eat it,” Bernardi said.

The orange-dotted tuskfish -- the specific type of wrasse -- is relatively old, so Bernardi believes it is possible the entire family of wrasse uses tools.

“They are carnivorous so their brain is very different from other fishes,” Bernardi said.

“Their brain has developed a sense of smell and they are very inquisitive and keen observers. That is what sets them apart. They are very smart,” he said.

According to the professor, this species uses tools frequently, but catching the action on video was quite lucky.

“It happens quite a lot, but you have to be in the right place at the right time.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

UC Berkeley Republicans' 'Pay-by-Race' Bake Sale Still On

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- The "Increase Diversity" bake sale planned by a group of Republican students in Berkeley, Calif., will still be happening Tuesday despite anger and criticism from fellow students who have called the event racist -- a reaction that the organizers say they hoped for.

At the University of California, Berkeley, College Republicans have scheduled a bake sale where the price of items depends on your gender and race.  Baked goods will cost $2 for white people, $1.50 for Asians, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for African Americans and 25 cents for Native Americans.  Women get a 25-cent discount.

Club members say the sale is a way of taking a stand against pending legislation that would let the University of California consider a student's race or national origin during the admissions process.

A posting on the event's Facebook page laid out that the sale was to draw attention to SB 185, a bill currently being considered by Gov. Jerry Brown, which would authorize California public universities admissions to consider race and background.

Affirmative action in public college admissions was banned in California when voters approved Proposition 209 in 1996.

"The Berkeley College Republicans firmly believe measuring any admit's merit based on race is intrinsically racist.  Our bake sale will be at the same time and location of a phone bank which will be making calls to urge Gov. Brown to sign the bill," the statement read.

"The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical, while urging students to think more critically about the implications of this policy," the statement read.

Berkeley College Republicans club president Shawn Lewis said the message that they are trying to get across has been misconstrued.

"It certainly is stirring emotions, and that's what we want," Lewis said.  "But we certainly don't want people to think we are making fun of racial issues or laughing at them, because that's not the message of the bake sale."

In response to the planned event, Associated Students of the University of California approved a resolution that "condemns the use of discrimination whether it is in satire or in seriousness by any student group."

Campus Democrats President Anais Lavoie says she isn't impressed with the College Republicans' method.

"The way that they made the statement, the words that they used, the fact that they humorized and mocked the struggles of people of color on this campus is very disgusting to me," she said.

According to the original event page, the pricing structure was put in place "to ensure the fairest distribution, and make sure that there are a DIVERSE population of races of students getting BCR's delicious baked goods."

"Hope to see you all there! If you don't come, you're a racist!" the original event page read.

The page has since been taken down and replaced with less controversial text.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio