A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ambition is like hunger; it obeys no law but its appetite. -Josh Billings
1. SF Park Bond campaign kickoff Sept 15
2. Potrero Hill sidewalk greening
3. The New New Deal - middle class moochers
4. Feedback: sycamores as weeds
5. The Spider puts trust in airy dreams more firm than any rock
6. New spider family from Oregon/butterfly genome helps explain mimicry
7. More thoughts from Loren Eiseley
8. Notes & Queries: Why and where did the now ubiquitous "No problem" arise?
9. Why do you ♥ the apostrophe so much? Repent and believe in grammar
1. San Francisco Parks Alliance
JOIN US FOR THE PROP B, CLEAN AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS BOND CAMPAIGN KICKOFF!
Please join Mayor Ed Lee, the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Parks Alliance, The Trust for Public Land, Laborers 261, SF Building Trades, Parent PAC and park supporters from every corner of the city.
Margaret Hayward Playground, on Laguna @ Golden Gate
Saturday, September 15 - 9:00AM
Proposition B improves existing facilities that are worn out from years of use; provides urgently needed seismic improvements that will make recreation facilities and playground equipment safer; constructs new waterfront parks; and provides for shoreline restoration.
The bond is focused on improving playgrounds, pools, playfields, trails, tree planting, ADA improvements, nature restoration, environmental remediation, water conservation and park creation along the waterfront.
Join us on the 15th to:
• Pick up your window sign. It's sure to become a collector's item!
• Bring your walking shoes. We'll be knocking on doors and talking with voters about the importance of Prop B to our neighborhood parks.
• Sign up for the many other outreach activities we have available.
If you can't attend the kickoff, visit the campaign website www.yesforparks.com and sign up to help. We'll contact you right away. If you have questions about the campaign please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
JS: San Francisco voters should be thinking hard about this bond. There is some opposition it, and not just the perfunctory knee-jerk response from the Republican Party. A few opponents are unhappy with RecPark because of Phil Ginsburg's drive to privatize our parks, because of the proposed industrial-scale Beach Chalet soccer fields, alleged broken promises, and possibly other complaints.
I share their discontent about the privatizing and the massive soccer field complex. Opponents think that if they can defeat the bond that they will get the City's attention to their complaints in the future, that this is a way to "send a message". Possibly they're right, but is the message sent the one that will be received? In the rough and tumble of competing needs I fear that a negative vote may be interpreted as parks being a lower priority for voters. If that happens, how long must we wait before there is another park bond? (One knowledgeable person thinks it may be 2020.) Knowing as I do the massive backlog of deferred maintenance, further delay is not something to contemplate. The bond is $195,000,000. If that is not raised from the public, it will add that much more pressure to the need to raise it from private sources. The potential for backfiring on bond opponents is great.
I intend to vote for the bond in part because RecPark delivered on all the promises it made to a coalition of environmental groups in the 2008 bond. We have no reason for distrusting them this time, and they have shown great care in crafting both the 2008 and 2012 bond.
2. Potrero Hill-> Sidewalk greening?
Many Potrero Hill residents have been tagged with sidewalk repair. Many sidewalks are very wide on Potrero, and there is a lot of space for sidewalk gardens.
I think this is an excellent opportunity for sidewalk gardens instead of concrete. Its good for the water absorption, and good for environment, especially if we can get native plants in front of many residents houses.
Perhaps we can have an organized process for all Potrero Hill residents to encourage this in mass? I offer to help.
Is it just a matter of pointing residents here? http://fuf.net/otherProjects/pdf/combined.pdf
Can DPW help facilitate this process? People typically received 30 day notices for sidewalk repair.
Here are some documents and links to help you learn more about how we can restore some semblance of normalcy to the water cycle by using native landscaping and pervious pavement in place of concrete squares.
Link on Low Impact Design from SF Power, water sewer - http://18.104.22.168/index.aspx?page=237
Better streets initiative for SF - http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/BetterStreets/index.htm
3. Excerpt from Marketplace interview of author Michael Grunwald by Sarah Gardner 6 Sept '12 on his book The New New Deal
Gardner: You decided to tackle this story partly by looking at all the things that are subsidized in your own life, you made it rather personal. So paint a picture for us.
Grunwald: Well, I had just written a book about the stimulus and had been sort of stunned by the way that it seemed perfectly logical to people that $800 billion would be completely wasted on people that had nothing to do with them. And I did realize that hey, government is in all of our lives. It's not like this is a maker and taker world. We're all makers and we're all takers. That my housing is subsidized because I have a mortgage interest deduction. That my savings are subsidized because the 401(k) has a tax exemption. That just about every part of our lives is subsidized in some way.
Gardner: So in your reporting was there any subsidy that actually really struck you as outrageous or really shocked you ?
Grunwald: Well I've banged my spoon on my high chair about farm subsidies for years. I think there are about $700 billion in spending that we do that's actually environmentally destructive, that's pretty crazy. And the mortgage deduction, in particular, which again it benefits homeowners over renters; it benefits wealthy homeowners over less wealthy homeowners. That's another one where it may have run its course.
On Sep 6, 2012, at 7:38 PM, kristen van dam wrote (re the sycamore trees on Jefferson St/tiger swallowtail butterfly):
Via my graduate program at UC Berkeley, I have done extensive research on Platanus species. Scientists are finding that London Plane trees are driving native sycamore (Platanus racemosa) extinct via hybridization from ubiquitous street tree planting and propagule pressure. Sycamore alluvial woodland (endemic to California) is a G1/S1 habitat type, in other words, as endangered as you get without being extinct. With all due respect, an (educated) person cannot love "all trees" equally and also make a distinction between trees that belong in California and others that are driving native California trees to extinction. You can't do both. Those who value native California sycamores should work to have London planes banned from all cities in California.
I do, and I will.
Thank you, Kristen, for this valuable information. I used to be on top of this kind of information, but no longer, so I appreciate people telling me.
This "banning" business will not win us friends, but perhaps it has to be done. Today's consumer society is so divorced from reality and obsessed with its pursuit of immediate pleasure that it is unconcerned about the destruction of the very fabric of life. I could say that "history will say that...." However, in my darker moments (which are getting increasingly frequent) I wonder if there will even be history to write.
His science has progressed past stone,
His strange and dark geometries,
Impossible to flesh and bone,
Revive upon the passing breeze
The house the blundering foot destroys.
Indifferent to what is lost
He trusts the wind and yet employs
The jeweled stability of frost.
Foundations buried underfoot
Are forfeit to the mole and worm
But spiders know it and will put
Their trust in airy dreams more firm
Than any rock and raise from dew
Frail stairs the careless wind blows through.
Argiope, by Margo Bors
(JS: These spiders can be found in our natural areas every September and October, along with the equally striking pumpkin spider.)
New Spider Family from Oregon
Arachnologists at the California Academy of Sciences discovered a new family, genus, and species of spider in the caves of southwest Oregon. Trogloraptor (or "cave robber") is notable for its fearsome, raptorial claws, but its prey and attack behavior remain unknown, despite attempts to feed it in the lab. The last time an entirely new spider family was described from North America was more than 100 years ago.
Butterfly Genome Helps Explain Mimicry
Vivid color patterns in Heliconius butterflies are a warning sign to predators: "Don't eat me, I taste bad!" Furthermore, different species mimic each other's color patterns, allowing them to share the cost of educating predators. A large team of scientists, including Academy researcher Durrell Kapan, sequenced the Heliconius genome and found the genetic basis for this cross-species mimicry. California Academy of Sciences
Watch the Science in Action video to learn more.
7. More Loren Eiseley
Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.
It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man.
Like the herd animals we are, we sniff warily at the strange one among us.
Man is always marveling at what he has blown apart, never at what the universe has put together, and this is his limitation.
One could not pluck a flower without troubling a star.
One does not meet oneself until one catches the reflection from an eye other than human.
Tomorrow lurks in us, the latency to be all that was not achieved before.
When the human mind exists in the light of reason and no more than reason, we may say with absolute certainty that Man and all that made him will be in that instant gone.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/loren_eiseley.html#mUxZ0MVokEqA0XXA.99
8. Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly
No problem, Bwana
Why and where did the now, alas, ubiquitous "No problem" arise?
Years ago, during a Kenya/Somali border dispute, my unflappable daughter was resupplying our safari campsite with a 44-gallon drum of petrol, 40 five-litre tins of Avgas, three large LPG cylinders and a heavy-duty 12-volt battery. A spark ignited a leaking petrol drum and the ensuing explosion was heard 30km away by police, who arrived by helicopter to investigate, firing machine-guns into the smoldering remains to be on the safe side.
My daughter was thrown clear with only a broken leg. She was taken into custody as a terrorist suspect. Because of the unreliability of radio phones, I had instructed my staff to state important messages briefly. A call from my incarcerated daughter had reached me in Nairobi. "No problem, Bwana, but…"
Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya
• That's problematic, isn't it?
Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
• From denial.
Don Uhryniw, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
• Possibly from Spanish no problema, heard by Brits in Benidorm but rendered as "no problemo".
Ursula Nixon, Bodalla, NSW, Australia
• I have no problem with being told there is "no problem", as I prefer it to the alternative of being told there is a problem.
Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia
Garrison Keillor (as Guy Noir, private eye) on Prairie Home Companion:
Guy is having a bite to eat at the nearby delicatessen, where the teenager Wendell works. (Wendell has a squeaky voice that cracks frequently.) Guy orders something, and Wendell replies "No problem."
Guy: Uh, Wendell, would you mind not saying "No problem"?
Wendell: Why not?
Guy: Please, just don't say it.
Wendell: OK. Whatever.
Guy: Uh, would you mind not saying that one either?
Wendell: Which one?
Wendell: You don't want me saying "whatever"?
Guy: No, I don't. Please just don't say it.
Wendell: Why not?
Guy: I can't explain; it just annoys me. Would you just PLEASE not say it?
Wendell: OK. No problem.
9. From A Word A Day
Photo: Sarah Anne Edwards
So many people to hate, so little time.
If there's an apostrophe hell this has to be it. If you see that fellow with his banner, ask him, "Why do you ♥ the apostrophe so much? Repent and believe in grammar."
But don't let that banner push you away from apostrophes either. There are places where an apostrophe has its place. Each of this week's terms (omitted here, JS) answers the question: Whose what? And each of them takes an apostrophe. Go ahead, add one to each term every time you write it -- you can do so religiously, without thinking, with eyes firmly closed, blindly.
Finally, rest assured there's no hell, grammar or otherwise. You don't need to pay for the overuse of apostrophes in another life. Overall, the universe's apostrophe store stays in balance. It seems our linguistic world was intelligently designed -- for every gratuitous apostrophe there's an instance where it's omitted.
My thank's to the reader who sent me that mans photo.
(I trust "that mans photo" is a joke, but it's not clear in email. JS)
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God's infinite love. -Bill Hicks, comedian and social critic (1961-1994)