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  Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 spacer image
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A full listing of the Lab's activities is available on the

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Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Break


8 a.m. - Noon and 1 - 4 p.m.
Site Access
Red Parking Permit Exchange
65A Trailer

Yoga Club
Class with Naomi Hartwig
Bldg. 70-191


Wednesday, Jan. 2

Yoga Club
Class with Chris Hoskins
Bldg. 70-191

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spacer imageCAFETERIA MENU

The cafeteria is conducting its inventory this week, so the menu will be planned on a daily basis and not listed here in advance.

The Coffee Bar is closed today.

B'fast: 6:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Full menu

Installation of New NCEM
Microscope Completed

TEAM microscope

The TEAM 0.5 microscope completed installation Tuesday at the National Center for Electron Microscopy, and "we have beam down the column," says NCEM's Uli Dahmen, director of DOE's Transmission Electron Aberration-Corrected Microscope (TEAM) Project, a collaboration of national laboratories, universities, and private industry in the U.S. and Europe. TEAM 0.5's spherical-aberration correction and half-angstrom resolution go far toward the TEAM goal of 3-D images that reveal every atom in a sample. "It's the best microscope in the world," Dahmen says. "It puts NCEM, and in fact the U.S., back in the lead in electron microscopy." Go here for more information.

Sequencing Program
Delivers Moss Genome

Physcomitrella patens

Messages from nearly a half-billion years ago, conveyed via the inventory of genes sequenced from a present-day moss, provide clues about the earliest colonization of dry land by plants.  The Joint Genome Institute was among the leaders of an international effort uniting more than 40 institutions to complete the first genome sequencing project of a nonvascular land plant, the moss Physcomitrella patens.  The team’s insights into the code that enabled this seminal emergence and dominance of land by plants were published Dec. 13 online in Science Express. The moss genome project was enabled through DOE JGI’s Community Sequencing Program. Full story.

Science@Berkeley Lab Features Dark Energy

The cosmological constant, widely known as dark energy, made its premier public appearance in January, 1998. The latest issue of the online magazine Science@Berkeley Lab celebrates dark energy's 10th anniversary with a two-part history of the Supernova Cosmology Project. Other featured articles cover graphene electronics, new light sources, promising polymers, a tour of Central Asia, gene repair, new detector technology, and more. Go here for the entire issue.


Bus Final Departures
Altered for Today

The Lab’s shuttle bus service will adjust its hours today, in preparation for the holiday break. Final departures from the Building 65 bus stop will take place at 5:55 p.m. for the Blue Route, 5:58 p.m. for the Orange Route, 5:40 p.m. for the Rockridge bus, and 5:55 p.m. for the Green Route. The last Potter bus will leave Potter St. at 5:40 p.m.

Help Lab Save Energy
During Holiday Break

This year’s holiday shutdown starts today at 6 p.m. and continues through Tuesday, Jan 1. To save energy, staff are asked to set back thermostats and turn off nonessential lighting and equipment before leaving. Those here during the shutdown should be aware that a minimum work force will be on hand to continue essential functions, such as safety, mail, and plant operations.


Retirement Contribution
Limits; Class in January

Berkeley staff should be aware that there will be no change to the Maximum Annual Contribution Limits for 403(b) and 457(b) Plans for 2008. The deferral limits will remain as $15,500 or $20,500 for those who have reached age 50 as of Dec. 31, 2008. To change contributions, contact Fidelity (866-682-7787). A two-day workshop on retirement planning will be held at the Lab on Jan. 7 and 9. The course is free, but there is a cash-only $25 fee for materials. Go here for more information, and here to sign up.


New Omnibus Bill Offers
Limited Gains, Some Cuts

Earlier this week, Congress passed the FY'08 Omnibus Appropriations bill and sent it to the White House for President Bush's signature. Although the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology were all slated for significant increases in the President's budget, and in the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bills, the Omnibus failed to provide the expected gains. Instead of an increase of approximately 17 percent, the Office of Science's budget will grow by only 2.6 percent over FY 2007 - less than inflation. Some Office of Science accounts were hurt worse than others and were decreased from FY07 levels.  High Energy Physics received a 8.4 percent reduction.  Because of this, Fermilab has announced possible reductions in force and furloughs (see article).  Although it will be impossible to know the full impact of the Omnibus Appropriations on Berkeley Lab until program managers receive precise budget guidance from DOE, some things are known (go here for details).   However, DOE's response to the Appropriations Bill and possible Congressional action in the future could alter the budget picture significantly. Go here to read an American Institute of Physics story on the bill’s affect on science research, and here for an article by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Chu is Initial Signer
For ‘Science Debate’

Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu is one of the “initial signers” behind Science Debate 2008, a grassroots initiative calling for a “Presidential Debate on Science and Technology." Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing the United States and the rest of the world, a growing number of scientists and scientific leaders see a vital need for next year’s presidential candidates to share their views on the  environment, health and medicine, and science and technology policy. “No matter one's political stripe, these issues pose important pragmatic policy challenges,” the organizers state on their website. To read more about Science Debate 2008, go here.

Climate Expert’s ‘Senate’
Report at Berkeley High


Bill Collins of the Earth Sciences Division was a big hit at his Senate testimony this week about global warming and what Congress should be doing to help reduce CO2 emissions. But he wasn’t in Washington D.C. He was speaking to students in a Berkeley High civics class who were representing the Senate. Collins, a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, appeared as an “expert witness” at the request of Lab physicist Harvey Gould, whose son Ben is taking the class. “Bill was simply awesome, just breathtaking,” Gould said. “The teacher afterward suggested that he run for the Berkeley School Council, he was that good!”


Engine Developed at Lab
Lists Top Music Searches

SeeqPod, a search engine developed at Berkeley Lab that delivers audio and video results for music, has released its Top 100 search terms for 2007.  Not surprisingly, the Beatles rank number one, while Linkin Park came in at a somewhat unexpected number two. The first five were rounded out by Metallica, Pink Floyd and Eminem. “SeeqPod users and artists have been benefiting from our search results all year, so we thought it would be fun to release the terms that have been most sought after,” said CEO and co-founder Kasian Franks. Go here to see the full list.

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