In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011.11.23

1.   e.e. cummings gives thanks
2.   Correction on state parks closures
3.   McLaren Park raptor walk and post-Thanksgiving stroll
4.   Guided walk on the new trails in Claremont Canyon Nov 26/more events
5.   Phenomenal count on Monarch butterflies in Yerba Buena/Treasure Island
6.   A colorful look at caterpillars — sometimes woolly, sometimes spotted, occasionally sporting fake... 
7.   Tidal marshes in SF Bay - a complex story
8.   SaveTheFrogs T-shirts, and SaveTheFrogs Ghana T-shirt
9.   Progress on Project Coyote/and more work to be done
10. Feedback
11.  Shell should get the frack out of Sacred Headwaters
12.  Occupy's critics incapable of understanding
13.  Kings, emperors, pharaohs owned everything, including the people
14.  Choice thoughts  from our rulers
15.  How the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America
16.  Coming phase of international finance:  currency wars
17.  Teens rely on the pill for non-sexual reasons/are we biologically inclined to couple for life?
18.  If your eyes are not deceived by the mirage, do not be proud
19.  Notes & Queries

1.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
 
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
 
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
 
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
 
~ e.e. cummings ~
 
(Complete Poems 1904-1962)

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2.  Correction

The list of state park closures in last newsletter was incomplete (missing Annadel and Sugarloaf) and complicated by the fact that some, like Henry Coe and Jack London, are well along to being rescued by volunteers.

But the truth is that even with some parks on the verge of being rescued (for the moment), the list released by the state on May 13, 2011, is, far as I know, the only definitive list. Here's the Parks Foundations page for that, with map:
http://my.calparks.org/site/PageServer?pagename=2011ParkClosures

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3.  Sunday Nov 27, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
McLaren Park Raptor Walk and Post-Thanksgiving Stroll

After you've finished those Thanksgiving leftovers, join us for a cup of hot chocolate or cider and a pleasant meander around the park's hawk hotspots. It's migration season for raptors in particular, and Sam Hontalas, a park regular and volunteer with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, will help us observe red-tailed, red-shouldered, Cooper's hawks, and who knows what other surprises. Bring binoculars if you have them, we will have a few to share. Meet at the Upper Reservoir Picnic Area off Shelley Loop. Rain cancels. For more information, contact Ken McGary, ken@savemclarenpark.org.

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4.  Want a Family Activity on Saturday?

Guided Walk on the new trails in Claremont Canyon: 10 AM til Noon on Saturday, November 26. Join Tom Klatt, UC environmental planner, to learn about and experience the new trails in the upper canyon that were built largely by Claremont Canyon Conservancy volunteers.  Drive 1.5 miles up Claremont from the interesction of Claremont and Ashby and about a half mile up from the intersection with Alvarado Road. Meet at signpost 29 and our new redwood log bench on the south side of Claremont Avenue across from the chert. Park your car there and join us to walk the new trails from the trailhead up to Four Corners and back.

Coming in December
December 10 Stewardship Day in the upper canyon.
December 11 Bird Walk with Dave Quady.
December 17 Restoration Planting in Garber Park.

For hikes, stewardship and restoration work, remember to wear long pants, long sleeves and sturdy boots or shoes.
For a summary of all of the Conservancy's current activities, please see the home page of our website:  www.claremontcanyon.org

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5.  With the onslaught of the official Monarch Surveying Season commencing (November 20th - December 3rd), I was eager to return to the spectacular show I'd reported earlier in the month at Yerba Buena Island to get some data. Two fantastic sets of naturalist eyes accompanied me: Matt Zlatunich and Ruth Gravanis.  They called out "There's one" and I made hash marks.  Until a cluster was found, counting Monarchs clearly is not rocket science. We observed lots of sunning and nectaring high up in the canopy on the blooming blue gum eucalyptus.(One theory as to why these creatures might have moved over to these trees from their historic Monterey pines is that the eucs are full of flowers during their search for these overwintering sites. Makes sense.) At the summit, we dreamed of this place perhaps someday being as celebrated as the Natural Bridges roosts along the coast. The old Navy Tower would make an outstanding visitors center. Anyway, we witnessed lots of Monarchs flying about, following one another in lines of four and five. At the fear of anthropomorphising, it seemed like they were enjoying one another's company tremendously.  A grand total of 365 were counted.

Saying our good-byes at the bus stop to Ruth, Matt and I decided to walk around Treasure Island and check out the monstrous eucs scattered about. I'd never walked around this man-made island and was pretty sure no one had ever looked for Monarch roosts out here. My father as a boy attended the '39 World's Fair out here and I'd always wondered about the place. I decided to keep the data separate from YBI (that's how lots of folks in the nature community refer to Yerba Buena Island...YBI). Right off the road we had one float over our head. Outside this beautiful little church, Matt told me he'd attended a wedding there and they passed out envelopes of butterflies (Yuck).  His, upon release, flew straight to the nearest flower - like a starved prisoner coming out of isolation no doubt. Others fell out dead from their envelopes. We followed another Monarch to a grove of eucs just next to the church. Calling upon his training from a few seasons back, Matt suggested we check out this parking lot, circled in a u-shape with old, high eucs - just the kind of microclimate they look for. I would have walked right past it. Followed Matt under the canopy into the lot and BOOM!  An isolated, majestic display of hundreds of Monarchs wafting about using a piece of the city few folks give second glance too. 50 feet up, a cluster: a writhing ball of Monarch closely hunkered together. Hard to find on sunny days, but the Willa Wonka gold ticket of all Monarch surveyors! This was less than 15 minutes after saying good-bye to Ruth and I wondered if I could catch her if I ran back. Told her that night at a Dept. for the Environment meeting. She was thrilled and I told her I'd take her back to see it.

Matt took a photo with his small camera, but the cluster is 50 feet up. 240 counted in this grove - 50+ alone in the cluster.
My friend and I surely were the only two San Franciscians to see 605 Monarchs in our county this day. What a blessing from nature.
Liam O'Brien
www.sfbutterfly.com

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6.
Caterpillars by Marilyn Singer
A colorful look at caterpillars — sometimes woolly, sometimes spotted, occasionally sporting fake...    
 


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7.

Volunteers count shorebirds in San Francisco Bay!
November 22, 2011 - Over 100 volunteers and scientists will count hundreds of thousands of shorebirds in the San Francisco Bay to learn more about the needs of these migratory superheroes!
>> Read More (Press Release)
 


Bleak future for SF Bay marshes? Restoration reduces sea-level rise impacts over next 100 years.
New PRBO study finds that much of SF Bay's tidal marsh could be lost in the next 100 years. However, society’s actions, including major restoration projects currently underway, can keep more marshes intact as sea-levels rise.
>> Read More (Recent Media and Press Release)

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8. 
SAVE THE FROGS! T-Shirts
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-- Daniela Pennini, San Jose, CA

SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana T-Shirt

90% of West Africa's rainforests have been cleared and frog populations there are in trouble. Help SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana power Africa's environmental revolution by ordering these awesome 100% organic cotton t-shirts. All proceeds to SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana.





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9. 
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”
    ~ Charles Darwin

Project Coyote
With your help, we scored a victory for coyotes this October when the City of Calabasas, Callifornia voted unanimously to prohibit further spending of city funds to trap and kill coyotes!

Generating over 9,000 comments and petition signatures calling for a permanent ban on coyote trapping, Project Coyote delivered these petitions and testified before the City Council offering an alternative approach to killing.

We assisted the city in crafting a long-term coyote management plan that emphasizes public education, reduction of coyote attractants and human responsibility in mitigating coyote conflicts.

Calabasas Mayor Pro Tem, Mary Sue Maurer, said, "With the expertise of Project Coyote, the Animal Welfare Institute and the National Park Service, Calabasas residents and coyotes will mutually benefit and live more harmoniously together. encourage all Californians that live alongside coyotes to learn more about these wondrous creatures and how we coexist together."


SPEAKING UP FOR AMERICA'S SONG DOG

Victory! California City Unanimously Votes to End Coyote Trapping

Calabasas Offers a Cautious Olive Branch to Coyotes

Taxpayers Subsidizing Wild life Extermination Program, Probe Shows

Grim Anniversary ~ 80 Years of ADC Act

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10.  Feedback

On Nov 21, 2011, at 7:11 PM, Alice Polesky wrote:
Will do, Jake. I trust your knowledge on all things environmental!
You shouldn't.  I'm too fallible, operating on thin fragments of knowledge.  I am forced to combine that little bit with gut instinct.

On reflection, the above sentences portray the human condition, doesn't it?   The more I look at what is going on now the more I think that's the way the world operates.  The one-eyed leading the blind, and the one-eyed has astigmatism.  :)
I share your view. I find myself increasingly attracted to Buddhism, because they accept the reality of the world, our world, as it is, and not some fairy land Heaven, and try to make it better by making people take responsibility for their own consciousness. And for them, the world includes other forms of life, too, not like those solar god religions that are making the world such hell (you know who I mean!).
Rhymes with Todd, right?
You got it!

Compassion isn't easy, though.
The atheism of Buddhism appeals to me.  Once you get into monotheism you start getting into do's and don'ts, and you have to go through all sorts of contorted gyrations, such as is agonizing the Catholic Church now.  Better, like the Buddha, to recognize there is a transcendental reality that we can't understand, then stop.

The unreasonable man, Shaw says, “persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.”

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11.  In their quest for ever greater profits, Shell is still pushing this dangerous fracking plan forward. This is the maze of wells and roads in the Sacred Headwaters they have mapped out:


      Can you help me keep the Headwaters sacred, not scarred?

Bring our opposition up the chain of command to the chairman of Shell Canada’s board -- Marvin Odum -- who is also the President of Shell in the US. Tell him to get the Shell out of the Sacred Headwaters for good.

On December 5, we will have only one year before Shell can start turning the Headwaters into an industrial wasteland. That’s not a lot of time to move an oil giant.

The good news is that the tide is turning for big corporations. People are standing up and demanding accountability. If Shell sees how many of us will fight back, we will be one step closer to ensuring that salmon, grizzly bears and caribou have a truly safe and sacred place to raise their young.

Send a message to Shell. Tell the company it must give up efforts to frack up the Sacred Headwaters.

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12.  Occupy

"...Those who deride it for its lack of concrete demands simply don't understand its strategic function.  The movement exists virtually without reference to electoral politics because the problem is not programmatic but systemic.  When what is both desirable and popular is no longer achievable, politics is transformed from the art of the possible to the task of creating new possibilities.

Fortunately that task has long been joined in myriad ways by people, rooted in communities and workplaces, who have been fighting foreclosures, redundancies, service cuts and tuition hikes, who refused to accept there was no alternative.  The strength of the Occupy movement at this stage resides in its ability to act as both conduit and co-ordinator for those fragmented groups:  a doula* for a revitalised, progressive coalition.

...Hope where there was cynicism; solidarity where there had been suspicion.  The occupations are more effective as a launch pad than a destination.  It's just great to be on the move.

Excerpt from Gary Younge's Comment article in Guardian Weekly, 11.11.11

*  doula |ˈdoōlə| noun
a person, usually a woman, who is professionally trained to assist a woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
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13.
"Throughout most of history, governments -- usually monarchies headed by kings, emperors, pharaohs and other major or minor tyrants -- actually owned everything under their rule, including, believe it or not, the people. In those regimes the population was considered to be subjects, not citizens. That means that the people were treated as the underlings, subjected to the will of the ruler."
Tibor Machan; The Orange Grove; The Orange County Register (California); Apr 15, 1999.


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14.
"Capital punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life."
-- Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah, explaining his support of the death penalty

"We do not have censorship. What we have is a limitation on what newspapers can report."
-- Louis Nel, Deputy Minister of Information for South Africa

"Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind." 
-- General William Westmoreland  (remember? - who kept seeing light at the end of the tunnel)

Senate Agriculture Chairman Jesse Helms:
"Attaboy, Senator! Atta, uh, girl... person... what are you anyway?"

Representative Paula Hawkins:

"I'm not a person, I'm a lady!"

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15.
Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
Author: Barbara Ehrenreich


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16.  The next global crisis:  currency wars

Kai Ryssdal: The dollar closed up against the Chinese yuan on foreign exchange markets today. But no sooner are those words out of my mouth than I realize they're kind of meaningless. Because Beijing maintains a pretty tight hold over its currency. So too does the United States, now that we're talking about it.

When countries do what both we and the Chinese are doing -- intentionally lowering the value of our currencies to boost exports and promote growth -- it's called a currency war. And it never ends well. Jim Rickards explains in his new book "Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis."

Interview:
Ryssdal: I try not to, when I'm about to ask the question I'm about to ask you, I try not to do it in exactly this way, but make me care. If I'm a farmer in Iowa or a businessman in Houston, how does this currency war affect me?

Rickards: Well let's just have a look at the last currency war, which was in the 1970s. President Nixon went off the gold standard in 1971 -- grossly devaluing the dollar. The price of gold went from $35 an ounce to $800 an ounce. So what happened? We had three recessions back to back to back between 1974-1981. It was one of the worst periods of economic growth in American history. We had three recessions. That's what happened the last time. Now we're going into it again. So I would say for all Americans, if you're worried about inflation, your retirement savings, your annuities, your insurance policies, any fixed income, that money is going to be eroded by the inflation that comes from currency wars. Every American should care about it.

Ryssdal: We're not seeing a whole lot of inflation though.

Rickards: Well that's because it's all going to China. So far the Fed has printed about $2 trillion in the last three years. What the Chinese did, the Chinese wanted to maintain a peg to the dollar to help their exports, but as we were flooding the world with dollars, they had to print their own currency to soak up all the dollars. Well now the Chinese have decided that inflation is a problem. They have let their currency go up, but that just means inflation is going to come back to the United States. So look out for it in the year ahead.

Ryssdal: In the year, 12 months you think?

Rickards: Oh, in 12 months it will start to show up definitely and then this will play out over years. Once these currency wars get going, they're not over quickly. They can last 5, 10, 15 years. So if you have young children, by the time they get to college, the value of the dollar could get cut in half.

Ryssdal: There is a certain "people who live in glass houses" element to this. Right? Because for all that the Chinese are doing to keep their currency cheap, we on this side of the Pacific Ocean have quantitative easing from the Fed. We have members of Congress saying China is a currency manipulator and threatening sanctions. It goes both ways.

Rickards: It absolutely goes both ways. There is no doubt the U.S. is the biggest currency manipulator in the world. Now just to be clear, all countries manipulate their currencies to some extent. It's a policy tool no different than interest rates or fiscal policy or borrowing, so all countries engage in it. The problem now is that the Chinese have throw in the towel, they've let their currency go up. That's going to be a problem for them and employment. But this is just the beginning and the inflation that results from that is going to come back to the United States.

Ryssdal: I was reminded as I was reading this book of that phrase -- and I don't know if it was Clausewitz or Sun Tzu or whoever it was -- war is politics by other means.

Rickards: That was Clausewitz. "War is the continuation of politics by other means." You're exactly right. Cheapening your currency against other currencies is just a different form of inflation. Economists say that. Doesn't really work. I'll give you a simple example: the iPhone. We all love our iPhones. They come from China. Only 6 percent of the value added in an iPhone is Chinese, so if you lowered the dollar 50 percent against the Chinese currency, it would only affect the price of the iPhone by 3 percent because China value added is so small. Most of the value added from an iPhone comes from Japan, South Korea, and Germany in terms of the touch screens, the processors, and the other components. So you've now got to lower the dollar against every currency in the world to affect the price of something like that. And that just means that everything we buy is more expensive. So it really feels good in the short run, it looks like it works, but history shows it doesn't work and that's what I elaborate on in the book.

Ryssdal: The book is called "Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis."  By Jim Rickards

NPR's Marketplace, 17 November 2011

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17.
NEWS: Many Teens Rely on the Pill for Non-Sexual Reasons
The study suggests that there are other important health reasons why oral contraceptives should be readily available to millions of women
http://links.email.scientificamerican.com/ctt?kn=19&ms=Mzc0NjkxNDcS1&r=NTM5NzIzNTA1NgS2&b=2&j=MTE5OTI0MzAzS0&mt=1&rt=0

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND: Are We Biologically Inclined to Couple for Life?
Jeannine Callea Stamatakis, who is an instructor at several colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area, responds
http://links.email.scientificamerican.com/ctt?kn=24&ms=Mzc0NjkxNDcS1&r=NTM5NzIzNTA1NgS2&b=2&j=MTE5OTI0MzAzS0&mt=1&rt=0

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18.


If your eyes are not deceived by the mirage
do not be proud of the sharpness of your understanding.
It may be your freedom from this optical illusion
is due to the imperfectness of your thirst.

~ Sohrawardi ~

(quoted in Imperfect Thirst by Galway Kinnell)

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19.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!
If toast falls to the floor, why does it always land buttered-side down?
• Usually when toast falls to the floor, it starts from a position buttered-side up and tends to slip from the table that is usually at waist level. The distance between the table-top and the floor only allows for a half-completed somersault, hence the toast lands buttered-side down.
If the questioner doesn't wish to increase the level of the kitchen table, he should always ensure that while buttering the toast, it is firmly strapped to the back of his cat. If then the toast were to fall, it takes the cat with it and we know cats should always land on their feet.
Jennifer Hor, Sydney, Australia

• Down here it's known as Murphy's law. Our toast of course enjoys the glorious addition of Vegemite, thereby increasing our sense of desolation.
Judy Kellaway, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

• It appears obvious that the questioner persists in buttering his bread on the wrong side.
Terence Rowell, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

• It lands butter-side down because it is turned in its downward passage to the floor by the weight of the butter spread on it. That fact causes the fallen slice to provide a naturally generated warning to those who struggle against obesity by only half-heartedly attempting to diet.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

• Because even if you're toast, you still hope for a soft landing.
Richard Orlando, Montreal, Canada

• You want your bread buttered on both sides.
Roger Morrell, Perth, Western Australia


Let's give them the chair
What would be the result of declaring all the world's stock markets illegal?
• Peace and quiet.
Börje Lindström, Stockholm, Sweden

• Goldman Sachs would get the death penalty.
YY Chow, Toronto, Canada

• Millions of investors would be arrested and placed in bonds.
Andy Marshall, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Any answers?
Why is it unacceptable to go beyond the pale?

Guy Clarke, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Is there more or less facial hair on males these days than in, say, the 60s?
Donna Samoyloff, Toronto, Canada

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