super tuesday

5 02 2008

[By Shideh]   Today is voting day (Super Tuesday), when nearly half of the states in the U.S. pick their republican and democratic candidates for the November Presidential elections.  The race has basically narrowed down to five candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for democrats, and Mike Huckabee, John Mccain, and Mitt Romney for Republicans.

It is definitely an exciting day here in Berkeley, a wave of enthusiasm for voting is felt as you walk through the south gate of the campus.  Mostly I hear Obama’s name on the student’s flyers and yes, they are hopeful for the future of their country.  It seems many older people see something nobel in Obama, something that reminds them of America’s older heroes, like Martin Luther King, or John F. Kennedy.  I like this feeling and atmosphere, and can’t get enough of it.  It reminds me of the presidential elections in Iran, for Khatami’s first campain.  I was a high school student then and one of his huge supporters at that time.   

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Photograph courtesy of New York News and Features

As an Iranian living in America, I naturally care a lot about the outcome of today’s elections and of course the November elections.  If I could vote, I would vote for a leader who would concentrate on improving this country (in terms of education, health care, infrastructure, research,…) more than focusing on offense and war, a leader who would advocate tolerance and deep respect for all.  I specifically want a leader who would unconditionally support direct dialogue (political, scientific, etc.) with Iran and many other countries that have found their way to the U.S. black list for one reason or another.  I want change, a deep change in current U.S. foreign policies and in the budget spent on propaganda, racism, hatred, and offense.  I want this all to end, yet is a president alone able to make all these changes?  Is this country ready for change?  Is the president really the one in power or is he really only a puppet in the hands of lobbyists, investors, bankers,…, you know those quiet powers that are behind the scene?  Is this a game or does it somewhat matter who’s the president? If so, to what extent?

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power of god

31 01 2008

[By Shideh]  

I am auditing an awesome course on “human behavior and organizational factors, …” with Professor Bea, here in Berkeley’s civil engineering department.  He’s an amazing lecturer, one of those professors that you just can’t forget. 

Here’s one of his quotes that I’d like to share with you:

“You have the power of God in your hands, as engineers.  You can save lives and of course can easily take lives when your design fails.  Based on 50 years of experience as an engineer having witnessed many failures, I tell you now that almost 80% of all engineering breakdowns happen because engineers are not well trained in dealing with people and fail in effective communication and management.”





richard frye

20 01 2008

[By Shideh]  A very interesting interview with an American scholar, Richard Frye, at Harvard University about his feelings for Iran.  Enjoy: 





engineering grad school application

20 12 2007

[By Shawhin]  In the past few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of getting questions on applying to grad school in the US and particularly Berkeley.  Most questions came from friends we made during our visit to Iran, blog readers, some family, etc.  Since I was sharing a lot of the same information, I thought it would be useful to put an entry here on tehranshake.  My timing is a bit off because most applications we were helping with were due sometime in the past few weeks.  Nevertheless, I’m sure applicants for next year could still benefit from this info – especially given that some advanced planning, in terms of getting familiar with professors, should be done well before the application. Read the rest of this entry »