Steven Hayward tells of his experience at UC Berkeley. But the most interesting part of this piece is the discussion of famed Berkeley professor Aaron Wildavsky.
I've read a little of Prof. Wildavsky's work and one part, in particular, I think very highly of. He was asked how in the world we as a society should prepare for the all the massive threats we face: plagues and meteor impacts and on and on. He replied--not his exact words, but the sense is accurate--that there's no way we could afford to prepare for them all. He stated we should 1) get educated and 2) get rich, and then take our chances.
UPDATE: Link added now.