1. Native plant walk on Ano Nuevo Jan 1/native garden talk Jan 7
2. Join Audubon at Pier 94 on Jan 7
3. TED.com - the beauty of pollination
4. Coastside Land Trust Gallery want submissions for midwinter show
5. If coho salmon is endangered, why can you buy it at grocery store?
6. Amateur color movie of San Francisco, 1955
7. Do you know what happens to your cell phone when you're done with it?
8. Feedback: Columbus-Zheng He/Emilie du Chatelet/et al
9. We're highlighting failures that are truly systemic/Thatcher v Isaac Newton/Hitchens on atheism
10. How the rainbow works - clinging to things we can see
11. Navy's traditional homecoming kiss - but don't ask, don't tell
12. Defining political issue of 2012 won't be size of govt, but who govt is for
13. Our political debate hasn't found way of addressing most important: disempowerment and fear
14. It's time to embrace uncertainty. Why pretend we know everything?
15. Here's a poet willing to address that question:)
16. Folk art at Cayuga Park
17. Notes & Queries: Mass-produced clothing ever fit properly?
1. California Native Plant Society Santa Clara Valley Chapter
All are welcome to the following plant walk (Sunday) and gardening talk (Tuesday). Increase your knowledge and appreciation of our marvelous coastal plants, and
think about how to use some of them in your garden.
Plant Walk & Picnic: Año Nuevo State Park (Hwy 1 coast-southern San Mateo County)
Sun, Jan 1, 10am – 2pm
Join us as we celebrate a Chapter tradition of welcoming the New Year with a walk and picnic at Año Nuevo State Park on the San Mateo County coast. The park is located south of Pescadero on Highway 1, just north of the Santa Cruz County line.
Meet in the parking lot ($10 day use fee) at 10am. Latecomers will find us on the trail in the coastal prairie. We’ll enjoy sea cliff vegetation, raptors, songbirds and
maybe marine mammals. Pack a lunch: the tide will be at its lowest at 11:04am. We will picnic on the beach in the area in which seal tour reservations are not required.
The ending time and depth of botanical discussion may be extended depending on participants.
Bring binoculars and layers for variable conditions including wind, sun and fog.
Heavy rain cancels. For more information contact Carolyn Dorsch at email@example.com, or 650-804-6162 (eves).
What Do You Want To Do In Your Native Garden? – Creating a Program for Your Design
A talk by Peigi Duvall
Tuesday, January 3, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga.
Everyone loves beautiful gardens, and with our California climate we are fortunate to be able to enjoy them year round. But how do we make our own gardens delightful in every way? With this opening presentation in the Gardening with Natives 2012 series, Designing Your Native Plant Garden, we will walk through the first stage of the design process – creating a program. By exploring your wishes, recognizing important needs, and pushing all barriers to discovery, we will help you define the pathway to the garden of your dreams.
WHO: Golden Gate Audubon
WHAT: Volunteer to help with habitat for local birds
WHERE: Pier 94 in San Francisco
DIRECTIONS: Take Third Street to Cargo Way left onto Amador St., an industrial road which turns right. The address is 480 Amador St in San Francisco (a trailer office for a neighbor). Turn into the gravel parking lot before the chain link fence. Just ahead you will see a small light blue sign next to white barriers. This is the entrance to Pier 94. Public Transit: Use this Pier 94 map. .
WHEN: Saturday, January 7, 2012
NOTES: Please wear close-toed shoes, clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty, and a hat. Bring a water bottle if you have one to minimize trash. We’ll provide instruction, gloves, tools, snacks and water. Join us to view and improve a wetland in San Francisco along the Bay. Activities include learning about the local birds and planting native plants. This is a program called “Together Green Volunteer Days” inspiring people to take action to improve the health of our environment for all of us. If there is heavy rain on this morning we will cancel this event.
3. From TED.com
The beauty of pollination: http://www.youtube.com/v/xHkq1edcbk4?version=3%20%20%20%20
4. Hi Jake,
California Poppy with Blue Friends Beau Gill
The Coastside Land Trust Gallery is soliciting submissions for mid-winter art show, February 12 - May 11, 2012.
Artist's work must reflect our mission, all media are invited to be considered, and submissions will be accepted January 23 to 27. Please see details and application: http://coastsidelandtrust.org/gallery/gallery.html
Please visit our Facebook page
Native plants for sale, 1 gal, $10 each
Plant and Plant Communities of the San Mateo Coast, by Avis Boutell, Toni Corelli and Nancy Frost, $20
Still time to make a year end donation to permanently protect open space on the San Mateo County coast
DID YOU KNOW
If the coho salmon is an endangered species, why is it for sale at the grocery store? Most often these fish come from Alaska or the Pacific Northwest, where salmon habitat is healthier and the coho is not endangered. In this region, the fish is in a more perilous state. Learn more about sustainable seafood choices and coho salmon in the Bay Area.
6. From the Prelinger Library
Amateur color film of San Francisco, 1955 <http://boingboing.net/2011/12/25/amateur-color-film-of-san-fran.html>
7. OBSERVATIONS: Do You Know What Happens to Your Cell Phone When You're Done with It?
Man stalks across the landscape, and desert follows his footsteps.
Herodotus (Fifth Century BCE)
"Extinction is a natural companion to evolution, but mass extinction is a dangerous strategy. Yet humans are unthinkingly obliterating the planet's species at a rate at least 1,000 times faster than normal, unthinking because this obliteration is accompanied by massive ignorance. Around 1.9 million species have been described, but nobody knows whether the world is home to 7 million of them, or 70 million.
This is a challenge that calls for serious science, serious action, and of course, serious money. Will this challenge be met?"
Excerpt, Guardian Weekly editorial 29.10.10
Jake, We must meet this challenge. We can not tolerate competing with 70 million species, and we'll do well to reduce even the 7 million to a number that we can easily harvest to feed our growing humanity. We have the science, money, and people itching to act, but the left-wing conservationists continue to challenge us with their "EPA", their "NEPA", their "CEQA", their bleeding hearts..... Ignorance is bliss, and we have to do an even better job of selling it.
On Dec 30, 2011, at 8:45 AM, Clark L. Natwick wrote (re funding appeal):
From: Population Connection <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: December 29, 2011 7:57:21 AM PST
Subject: Let's make 2012 a milestone year!
Clark: I'll tell you about my evolution. I formerly regarded organizations like this as guys in white hats. I now question that view. Here's why:
There are so many organizations addressing world population, and many of them duplicate each other. (This comment applies to many issues, not just population.) That means that a huge hunk of your contributions go into administration and infrastructure, not to the cause. And not all of them are run by good guys, as you would discover if you check into them via rating firms. (I posted two rating organizations in last newsletter: http://www.charitynavigator.org/, and charity watch.org.) Some pay their exec directors very well.
The older I get the more cautious I become as I see what an assortment of motives drive us humans. Feathering one's own nest is not uncommon, and of course there's always egos to feed.
I contribute to two that I know to be both honest and competent--the grand-daddy (I think): The Population Institute, and (focusing on California, but making waves well beyond our borders) Californians for Population Stabilization. I try to keep my list of recipients as low as possible, and give hefty sums to them. It is a mistake to give a little to a lot--your contributions just go into more mailings, and your name is spread around to kindred organizations, who share your name again. Our forests suffer and nothing is accomplished.
BTW, I do not cast aspersions on the Population Connection, whose record and competence I know nothing about. I just used this as a springboard to talk about the larger problem that we all need to think about.
This happens to be one of my hobby horses. But it took me a long time to figure out the problem, and I hope to stimulate others to think hard about it.
I agree with Barbara Corff's note of thanks to you in item !5. And just to make it official, Thank you very much, Jake. Yours is a newsletter so many count on for its integrity and value, and appreciate the time you devote to turning it out week after week.
I agree with you re your skepticism about the alone in the universe thesis. I sympathize as you do also with his apparent motivation, to motivate us to take care of Earth. For an alternative view, check out Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe, in which he argues that given the natural creativity and openness of the universe, our existence is not altogether surprising. That's an oversimplification, but I love how he challenges the neo-Darwinists who cherry-pick Darwin's survival of the fittest as the ultimate explanation for order.
On Dec 29, 2011, at 6:13 PM, Peter Brastow wrote (re 1493: Christopher Columbus or Zheng He?):
Yea, and in 1491 Mann also doesn't mention Zheng He. So check out Gavin Menzies, 1421.
He's the mann! as far as I'm concerned. http://www.1421.tv/
And incidentally, the Islam exhibit at the Tech Museum, does at least mention Zheng He.
Next time I"m in Rhode Island, I have to check out the Chinese Tower in Newport, which Menzies claims is pre-1492.
Thanks for this, Peter. Grist for the mill.
Making it around Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas* is believable. But rounding Tierra del Fuego beggars credence. It is not only very far south and near Antarctica, but is notoriously difficult and dangerous to navigate. Now, there are all sorts of unbelievable things that happen in this world, but I'm going to be a hard sell on this one. Arriving on the west coast is remarkable enough; east coast.....? And why wouldn't they hit the west coast first? That should absorb their time and energies for a long time--and permanent settlement. Questions abound.
* Incidentally--and off the subject--just a few days ago I read that Herodotus stated that the Phoenicians had rounded southern Africa pre-500 BCE. That is a boggler and raises questions, but Herodotus states they did say they saw the sun in the north, which is powerful evidence.
You should really check out 1421.
It's great stuff, full of thorough documentation and analysis. You could get it at the library.
He's convinced me 100%.
But then I'm not as much of a skeptic as you are, am I?
But check it out for yourself. :)
I'll place that on my list of things to do in the next life.
I will accept that he's given powerful, and possibly compelling, evidence on a subject that is not only intensely interesting but of great importance. However, the book will still have to wait its turn in line, a line that stretches beyond my lifetime. But you've sensitized me to be on the lookout for items bearing on this subject, and I do have an open mind on the subject. But then there's all these problems.....getting around Tierra de Fuego, and bypassing the west coast. Doesn't add up.
There have been a bunch of good books and two plays (in English) written about Emilie Du Chatelet.
Passionate Minds: Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, and the Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment
La Dame d'Esprit: A Biography of Marquise Du Chatelet
Madame du Chatelet: Scientist, Philosopher and Feminist of the Enlightenment (Berg Women's Series)
An eighteenth-century Marquise: a study of Emile du Chatelet and her times
Voltaire In Exile: His Life And Works In France And Abroad With Unpublished Letters Of Voltaire And Mme. Du Chatelet
Benjamin Gastineau , F. Vogeli
An Eighteenth Century Marquise: A Study of Emilie Du Chatelet and Her Times [1911 ]
Emilie du Châtelet between Leibniz and Newton (International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées)
THE DIVINE MISTRESS
Legacy of Light by Karen Zacarías and Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson.
Her own words
Dissertation Sur La Nature Et La Propagation Du Feu (1744) (French Edition)
Gabrielle Emilie Du Chatelet
I liked the Bodanis book, haven't read the others.
9. Two from The Guardian:
"...One final thought, sparked by all that coverage of Meryl Streep's role in the soon-to-be-released Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady. In the 1980s, we simply shouted "Maggie out", as if that was going to be enough; now, almost every activist I meet well knows that their priority is not to add to the thin noise of Westminster politics, but to highlight failures that are truly systemic...."
(Add this excerpted tidbit from Marketplace):
Ray Wootten: All you will see is a small rectangular plaque above the shop where Mrs. Thatcher lived. Apart from that, there's nothing at all in Grantham to say that she was from here.
He's called for a statue of Grantham's most famous daughter. He wants it to be erected alongside an existing statue of the town's most famous son: the man who discovered gravity, Isaac Newton.
Wootten says Thatcher allowed people to defy gravity and rise above their humble origins.
(Oooff!! Take that, Sir Isaac.)
Christopher Hitchens: I don't believe in God, so why is it that I don't want to be labelled an atheist?
As a definition, atheism belongs to the same dull category as non-driver or ex-smoker; an inadequate guide to self.
(JS: I understand his objection. I have no god, but seldom describe myself as an atheist. Hitchens puts his finger on it in that second line. The term has baggage. My experience in life is that most people are functionally atheist but don't think of themselves as such.)
How the Rainbow Works
(for Jean Cook, on learning of her mother's death)
Mostly we occupy ocular zones, clinging
only to what we think we can see.
We can't see wind or waves of thought,
electrical fields or atoms dancing;
only what they do or make us believe.
Look on all of life as color -
vibratile movement, heart-centered,
from invisibility to the merely visible.
Never mind what happens when one of us dies.
Where were you before you even get born?
Where am I and all the unseeable souls
we love at this moment, or loathed
before birth? Where are we right now?
Everything that ever happened either
never did or always will with variations.
Let's put it another way: Nothing ever
happened that wasn't dreamed, that wasn't
sketched from the start with artful surprises.
Think of the dreamer as God, a painter,
a ham, to be sure, but a divine old master
whose medium is light and who sidesteps
tedium by leaving room both inside and outside
this picture for subjects and scenery to wing it.
Look on death as living color too: the dyeing
of fabric, submersion into a temporary sea,
a spectruming beyond the reach of sensual
range which, like time, is chained to change;
the strange notion that everything we've
ever done or been un until now is past
history, is gone away, is bleached, bereft,
perfect, laving the scene clean to freshen
with pigment and space and leftover light.
~ Al Young ~
(In the wonderful anthology, Soul Food,
ed. by Neil Astley and Pamela Robertson-Pearce)
11. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Reuters Dec 22, 2011 – 1:41 PM ET
The kiss of Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell was posted on U.S. President Barak Obama's Tumblr account
PORTSMOUTH, Va — U.S. President Barack Obama has marked a year since he signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law by posting a picture of a lesbian navy couple kissing on his tumblr social media account.
The photo was taken on a Virginia Beach pier on Wednesday when the two women sailors, one just home from 80 days at sea, became what was believed to be the first same-sex couple to share the Navy’s traditional first kiss.
As a crowd had gathered to welcome home loved ones at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, 23, stepped off amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill and planted a kiss on the lips of her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell.
Asked if they were the first same-sex couple to share the tradition, Navy spokeswoman Ensign Sylvia Landis said the Navy “doesn’t really keep track of stuff like that … but it’s believed to be the first one.”
The kiss came after the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule regarding homosexuals was repealed earlier this year.
Landis said that “to the Navy, (it was) really just a normal homecoming.
12. Robert Reich on Marketplace this past week
The defining political issue in 2012 won't be the size of government. It's who government is for. Nearly 80 percent of respondents in a recent Pew Foundation poll said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.
After all, Wall Street got bailed out, but home owners caught in the fierce downdraft caused by the Street's excesses have got almost nothing. Big agribusiness continues to rake in billions in price supports. Big pharma gets extended patent protection that drives up everyone's drug prices. Big oil gets its own federal subsidy.
But small businesses on Main Street are barely making it.
American Airlines uses bankruptcy to ward off debtors and renegotiate labor contracts. But the law won't allow you to use personal bankruptcy to renegotiate your home mortgage.
Not a day goes by without Republicans decrying the budget deficit. But the cost of one of the deficit's biggest drivers -- Medicare -- would be lower if Medicare could use its bargaining leverage to get drug companies to reduce their prices. Big pharma won't allow it.
The other big budgetary expense is national defense. The basic defense budget -- unrelated to the costs of fighting wars -- is now about 25 percent higher than it was a decade ago, adjusted for inflation. We can't even cancel obsolete weapons systems. Could this be because defense contractors have carefully cultivated sponsors on Capitol Hill, and located their plants and facilities in politically important congressional districts?
"Big government," in other words, isn't the problem. The problem is the big money that's taking over government.
We need real campaign finance reform. And a constitutional amendment reversing the Supreme Court's bizarre rulings that under the First Amendment money is speech and corporations are people.
We've got to get big money out of politics if we want to get our democracy back.
Michael Sandel, Harvard University
hastily-scribbled notes on NPR (a few years ago, around 2007 - ish)
neither liberals nor conservatives are addressing the concerns and frustrations
1. disempowerment: in spite of affluence and gaining rights, people feel less in control of their lives
2. fear: moral fabric is fraying, erosion of sense of community
The political debate hasn't found a way of addressing these
Attack ads and sound bites don't address this
instead focus on more or less welfare, education, regulation, strengthen economic growth, distribution among population
Why don't political parties address 1 and 2? Both parties share same idea
14. Why pretend we know everything? It's time to embrace uncertainty
Excerpt from Suzanne Moore op-ed in Guardian Weekly 30.12.11
It is certainty that we need to worry about, as extreme ideologies prosper in these uncertain times
I don't know what I am talking about. And, quite frankly, you should be relieved that I know that I don't know. The world is full of people proclaiming about stuff they don't know much about. My trade depends on it. Pundits, politicians and economists, too, all depend on some kind of bladder-busting meta-analysis to keep us quiet. In fact, they are just winging it.
Too many nights I have watched economists on television being treated with undeserved reverence. "Economics is largely a made-up pseudo-science!" I want to scream. After all, it has been almost entirely useless in predicting the mess we are in. Indeed, by coming up with grotesque calculations whereby rich people's investments were effectively risk-free and financed by the jobs and homes of the poor, many economists were cheerleaders pre-crisis.
This is not another anti-bank rant. It is now self-evident that banks did some bad stuff, but the diplomatic immunity they were granted was not merely political. Anyone who makes out that they know what they are doing and can turn a fast buck and believes, yes really believes, in something – anything, themselves even – is facilitated by society. And, yes, this is usually backed up by a narrative of questionable facts.
What is valued is certainty. What is devalued in such a world is uncertainty. Those who aren't sure are weak. Poor. Faithless. Uncertainty is often worrying and feminised. Real men know real things. So they have been lining up to tell us that David Cameron's refusal to sign the EU treaty is the best thing ever to have happened, or the worst thing ever to have happened, when, actually, no one is quite sure.
...But in public, and especially in politics, an admission of uncertainty is seen as problematic....This relentless reduction of politics to point-scoring, this public-school obsession with certainty, is a turn-off. Look where it leads. Not so long ago, George W Bush said that if America "shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift towards tragedy. This will not happen on my watch." Apart from war, this "certainty" helped to produce the debt crisis. It is certainty that we need to worry about, as extreme ideologies prosper in these uncertain times.
...Of course those who most understand the value of uncertainty are scientists themselves. As the delightful Jon Butterworth wrote this week, science has nothing to fear from uncertainty. The sexy little Higgs Boson particle, which may have flashed up in the data in Cern (I imagine it as a burlesque sort of particle) has meant we have listened to physicists telling us very excitedly about how much we just don't know.
This has been wonderful. The opposite of political discourse: to hear clever people talking about the limits of their own knowledge. How weighed down is public life with its emphasis on certainty. How dumbed down is belief. The big divides are not between different beliefs, but the differing degree of certitude in which those beliefs are held.
No one knows. No one has the answers. Uncertainty is where we are. It is to be embraced. Christopher Hitchens, when asked which word he had most overused, said he was shocked to find on rereading his work that it was "perhaps".
I love that. Perhaps, right now, is the best word. I'm sure of that. Perhaps.
(Right on, Suzanne, right on.)
"To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day." Lao Tzu
"Recessions catch what the auditors miss." JK Galbraith
A poet should be of the
old-fashioned meaningless brand:
obscure, esoteric, symbolic, --
the critics demand it;
so if there's a poem of mine
that you do understand
I'll gladly explain what it means
till you don't understand it.
-Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)
16. Cayuga Park
You may have seen the SF Chronicle story of yesterday (30 Dec) about this Cayuga garden. I have periodically carried stories on it over the years, and I re-post one below. The pictures were taken two weeks ago by Margo Bors. Both hers and the Chronicle's are of the works that have deteriorated too far to be restored. They are worthwhile; however, you may want to wait until the restoration is complete. I don't know when that will be.
It's fortunate Demmy Braceros, the artist, is still around, because his talent includes sense of placement. One is surprised and delighted by the unexpected. That may include a bird or a lizard looking down on you from a tree. (Not present at the moment; presumably will be restored.)
Here is the Chronicle story: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/30/BARH1M9N4Q.DTL
Following re-posted from several years ago:
Demmy Braceros is the gardener at Cayuga Playground, at the extreme southern end of Cayuga Avenue, one block west and north of Alemany. He is also a delightful and appealing artist. Visitors to this little jewel of a park where Cayuga deadends are treated to one of the most delightful living museums we have. It started after a winter storm in the late 1980s, when about a dozen Monterey cypress trees were blown down. A quiet little park way out in the boondocks was low priority for the Recreation-Park Department tree crew, and the mess was not only unsightly, but prevented people from using much of the park. Demmy took things into his own hands, cutting the trees up with a chainsaw and turning them into imaginative sculptures, which now populate the park. I was his supervisor at the time, and I went to the park nursery to obtain plants for him to enhance the sculptures and the park. He integrates the plants, sculptures, and inspirational quotations, and creates charming nooks and crannies that lead one on and on. Do go see it.
One feature disappointingly no longer there is the topiary. My favorite was a 12-foot long pittosporum hedge which was originally the generic boring clipped hedge. He let it grow for awhile, then turned it into a long dragon, with undulating body ending in a head with a topknot. Gentle humor characterized his work. I don't know why the hedge disappeared.
17. Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly
The birthday suit will always fit
The Dance by Henri Matisse. Photograph: Barney Burstein/Burstein Collection/Corbis
Has an article of mass-produced clothing ever properly fit anyone, anywhere?
• The Birthday Suit.
Philip Ewing, Kirkwood, Missouri, US
Clothing for the mass is a surplice; clothing for the masses is army surplus. Since the army is a broad church, both are fitting, for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia
• The fig leaf has provided many with fitting attire.
David Tucker, Halle, Germany
• Ties, perhaps. Other than that, as my mother would say: "They fit where they touch."
Nigel Grinter, Chicago, Illinois, US
Of human bondage
Do any creatures besides humans and ants deliberately enslave their own species?
Yes, there is a barely humanoid sub-species known as Bondium traderus porcinii that has, through great subterfuge, managed to enslave an entire planet.
Jacques Samuel, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
What is my fair share of the wealth of the world?
Donna Samoyloff, Toronto, Canada
Why do people hop up and down when they need to pee? Can this really be helpful?
Jennifer Beer, Toronto, Canada