A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To read is to translate, for no two persons' experiences are the same. A bad reader is like a bad translator: he interprets literally when he ought to paraphrase and paraphrases when he ought to interpret literally. -W.H. Auden
1. Proposition F debate Wednesday morning on KQED FM
2. Exploring Mission Creek walking tour Sunday 14 October
3. Mountain lion massacre - what was Fish & Game thinking?
4. Harold Pinter, born 10 October 1930
5. Designing California Native Plant Gardens
6. California Native Plant Sale/The Wonderful Workings of Plants
7. Wastewater Whirl - a bike tour of the SF sewer system Oct 13
8. Rilke - May what I do flow from me like a river
9. How do we grieve for all that disappears into the maw of human appetite?
10. Rabbi strikes against the iPhone
11. Feedback: What are those morning planets?
12. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t
13. If Shakespeare's grave were ever opened, what might be found there?
1. Mike Marshall of Restore Hetch Hetchy will be debating Scott Wiener on KQED-FM on Michael Krasny's Forum Wednesday the 10th at 10:00 a.m.
88.5 San Francisco. 89.3 Sacramento.
2. Exploring Mission Creek
October 14, 2012, 01:00 PM
Exploring Mission Creek
A walking tour with Chris Carlsson, Leslie Golden, Megan Prelinger, and the Urbia Adventure League Date: October 14 Time: Urbia Quest 1:00-2:00 pm, Walking Tour 2:00-5:00 pm Location: Mission Creek Park, meet at the boat launch. Directions Register: Suggested donation $10.00-20.00 If you have any questions please contact email@example.com
Event posting online with more information: http://www.studioforurbanprojects.org/storefront/upcoming/
3. MOUNTAIN LION MASSACRE - El Dorado County, September 2012
October 8, 2012
John Laird, Secretary of Resources
Chuck Bonham, Director, DFG
Sonke Mastrup, Exec. Director, F&G Commission
Mike Carion, Chief of Wardens
Enclosed is a two-week-old story which has gotten near-zero press coverage, inexplicably. And see the comments. This does nothing to enhance the Department's image.
I'm hoping that someone here might be able to justify for me (and others) the killing of these four mountain lions in exchange for ONE domestic goat, tethered behind a four-foot fence. As noted, I think the goat's owner should have been cited for animal endangerment. It was his responsibility to put those animals in the barn at night for their protection. He acted irresponsibily, and the lions paid the ultimate price. Not right.
This is truly unacceptable, and the grounds for the issuance of depredation permits should be reviewed.
I would appreciate any responses.
Action For Animals
4. Harold Pinter 10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008
I know the place.
It is true.
Everything we do
Corrects the space
Between death and me
Harold Pinter, to vent his political anger, particularly about the invasion of Iraq:
There's no escape
the big pricks are out.
They'll fuck everything in sight
Watch your back.
(With keen comic timing, the reader adds: "That poem is called 'Democracy'")
Which friend of Pinter’s, on being asked for an opinion of his two-line poem Another Time, replied: ‘I haven’t finished reading it yet’?
1. Tom Stoppard
2. Simon Gray
3. Ronald Harwood
4. David Hare
Pinter once admitted that he first became aware of the dramatic power of the pause from seeing a popular American comedian. Which one?
8. Bob Hope
9. WC Fields
10. Jack Benny
11. Charlie Chaplin
(JS: I don't know the answer to these; I just stumbled across the item in my computer. My guess on second question is either Bob Hope or Jack Benny, both masters of timing.)
DESIGNING CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT GARDENS
Date: Saturday, October 20th, 2012
Time: 10am - 12noon
Location: Garden for the Environment, 7th Ave at Lawton Street, San Francisco
Instructor: Alrie Middlebrook, co-author of 'Designing California Native Plant Gardens" & owner/landscaper of Middlebrook Gardens. Cost: $25 or $15 for GFE Members
Fall is the ideal time to establish your native garden! But where do you start? Which California native plants will thrive in our climate? Learn from Alrie Middlebrook, co-author of Designing California Native Gardens, how to build and sustain a California native plant garden. Together we’ll explore:
- The best native plants for 12 months of flowering and color
- Which natives attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators
- How to approach your garden like an ecosytsem
- An brief explanation of California plant communities
- Tips for long-term garden management
This a rare opportunity to learn from an expert who specializes in gardens that reflect the natural beauty of California, conserve precious natural resources and link the urban landscape to nature.
6. Then come buy plants at:
The California Native Plant Society Yerba Buena Chapter's 18th Annual Native Plant Sale is coming up on Saturday, Oct 20 from 1-5pm at the Miraloma Park Improvement Clubhouse on O'Shaughnessy Blvd at Del Vale, San Francisco. (Good directions/maps at http://www.miralomapark.org/about/location/)
There will be a great selection of wonderful and beautiful garden plants native to our chapter area: San Francisco and northern San Mateo Counties. Most are hard to find in nurseries--and all are important plants for enhancing the wildlife habitat value of your garden.
We can never have too much publicity!. Please help us get the word out by telling your friends, colleagues, organizations,and putting a flier in your local cafe, library, etc. The link (which includes our fliers) is:
The Wonderful Workings of Plants
by Jim Bishop, CNPS Mt Lassen Chapter
Plants are a vital part of our world...but are often seen as "just there". Plants are not "just there". From the tiniest ones to the great trees, plants are an incredible life form. They are completely solar-powered, build themselves from on-site materials, are recyclable and virtually waste-free, can withstand weather extremes without shelter...and are the source of the food and oxygen that everything else depends on.
Think about plants' amazing capabilities, how they:
move water from damp dirt to tree-top;
use light to make food from air and water;
transport nutrients to where they need them;
endure extremes of heat and cold, dampness and dryness;
and some of the chemicals they produce for their own protection.
You'll never take the green world for granted again.
2nd Annual Wastewater Whirl
A bike tour of the sewer system
Saturday, October 13th: 10:30 AM-2:30 PM, Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant, 750 Phelps St. @ Evans
Join the SF Public Utilities Commission and friends for a spin through the City’s streets as we explore the wonderful world of wastewater. We’ll visit San Francisco’s treatment plants, pump stations, storm drains, outfalls, and innovative green infrastructure installations. We’ll learn from the experts about the fascinating city beneath the city and the need to invest in our sewer infrastructure for future generations.
10:30 AM – Meet at Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant, 750 Phelps St. at Evans.
Mix and mingle, pump up your tires, check out the Free Health Fair at the SE Community Facility, grab coffee at nearby Flora Grubb Gardens nearby. Street parking available; we encourage you to carpool or bike.
11:00 AM – Ride departs from Southeast Plant to Fort Mason (~8 miles, easy).
1:00 PM - Meet at Fort Mason parking lot on Buchanan & Marina Blvd. Grab lunch or a snack.
1:30 PM – Ride departs from Fort Mason to Oceanside Plant on the Great Highway, and back to Southeast Plant (~19 miles, medium to strenuous).
See our event at www.facebook.com/sfwater.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing to you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
9. Mourning the world we've lost
Op-Ed - August 16, 2012 by Sarah Gilman
"How do we grieve? How do we grieve for all that disappears into the maw of human appetite? How do we grieve for something as beautiful and terrifying as the polar bear?"
The white-haired woman’s voice broke as she stood to ask her difficult question, the other audience members turning somber faces toward her -- lines of attention spun inward like the spokes of a wheel, like mourners reaching hands to their most bereaved.
We panelists...paused to exchange glances. We were supposed to be discussing the future of writing in the West, closing a conference celebrating 25 years of Fishtrap, a nonprofit in Enterprise, Ore., dedicated to Western writing. It was an unwieldy topic, but it seemed suddenly manageable in comparison. How do we grasp the obliteration of so much we have known and loved?
Biologists once collected specimens of life from all corners of the world just to understand the variety it contained. These days, we catalog and collect to forestall complete loss and to understand our role in that loss, not just of distinct species, but of our collective memories of them, of what the world has been. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has his Photo Ark. Trish Carney has her meditation on roadkill. Even architect and artist Maya Lin, perhaps best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is working on a memorial to the nature-that-was, perhaps the most ambitious project of them all.
Lin's “What is missing?” seeks to raise awareness that we are in the midst of -- and are ourselves mostly responsible for -- Earth’s sixth mass extinction. It includes permanent and traveling installations and sculptures displayed around the world -- larger-than-life gramophone-inspired listening cones that play film clips and sounds of threatened and endangered species, an “empty room” where viewers enter a darkened space and see species only by catching flickering projections on a hand-held screen, electronic billboards in Times Square, and over 75 films. Its center, though, is a spare website that opens with a black screen and a constellation of bright dots that rearrange themselves into mammal, bird and amphibian shapes before resolving into a map of the world’s losses -- a global “Map of Memory” -- including the West’s once mindboggling abundance of salmon and bison, its California grizzly bear, its undisturbed rivers and topsoil.
Viewers can add to this catalog: the meadowlarks they no longer see at the ends of their driveways, the horned toads that used to haunt their gardens.
But here is where the traditional concept of elegy breaks down. For Lin’s is a pre-emptive memorial, insisting that the cascade of loss-yet-to-come can be prevented. It lists ways to shrink your environmental footprint. And if you turn the clock on the map to the present, descriptions of current conservation efforts appear across the globe. The clock turned forward will eventually present “A Greenprint for the Future,” satellite images of Earth by night, with the lights rearranged to reflect how it would look if human needs were balanced with, well, those of everything else.
“‘What is missing?’ will allow people to see an entire river system as a place, or the African Plains migratory corridors as a place -- habitats that must be seen outside of man-made boundary zones,” Lin writes in her artist’s statement. More than that, though, it asks viewers to see the Earth itself as a whole place, characterized not just by its collective losses, but by the upswell of efforts to stem them and to re-imagine our lives.
Perhaps here is an answer to that woman’s question at Fishtrap. Looking forward, grieving for what has been, we must remember that loss is not new to the world, and that loss is also possibility.
In basic ecology, you learn that destruction is itself a creative force. Mass extinctions are followed by the frenzied development of new life. And habitats prone to strong forces of change -- volcanoes, blowdowns, wildfire, extremes of weather and disease -- are often the richest and most diverse. These landscapes provide a greater variety of niches for creatures to occupy, and force innovation through evolution. The end (and never-ending) result is a living menagerie that is continually reborn with improbably spectacular results.
You can think also of the creative world this way. As the writer David James Duncan pointed out at that same Fishtrap conference, artists often produce their best work from places of great pain, the personal and societal disasters that shape their vision.
Perhaps this world of deepening wounds is already multiplying our creative opportunities -- and our capacity to reflect, reinterpret, innovate and ultimately, hopefully, act.
Sarah Gilman is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org) in Paonia, Colorado. She is the magazine’s associate editor.
10. Rabbi strikes against iPhone
Bnei Brak rabbi holds iPhone-smashing ceremony: "A religious person who owns impure device is an abomination, disgusting."
(Back in a minute, rab; gotta go buy an iPhone first so I can join you. JS)
Apparently it’s called a job application
On Oct 8, 2012, at 4:17 PM, Doug Allshouse wrote:
Jake,This morning about 6:40am I step out for my morning mountain walk. The half-moon is directly overhead. The sky is beginning to lighten (twilight) and no stars are visible. Directly east of the moon is a very bright Venus. Almost in a straight line and west of the moon is a planet that is about half to two-thirds as bright as Venus and almost directly south of the moon is another faint planet. Am I looking at Mars and Jupiter?
Doug: You're seeing Venus, as you say. Jupiter should be high in the sky, west of the Moon. I don't know what the other "planet" is, and question whether it's a planet. When you say it's directly south of the Moon, how far is it? The planets move in the ecliptic, so it can't be too far south. No planet is supposed to be in that position.
Can't help you there. I'm envious that you have the gumption to get up and out there in the most beautiful part of the day. I used to delight in not just the early morning sky, but especially sunrises. I almost never see them anymore, because to do that I would have to get out of bed. That didn't used to be a problem, but it is now. I find I'm ready to get out of bed always about 10 minutes after sunrise. Why can't I get out sooner? I don't know, just can't. So I settle for virtual reality - pictures in Astronomy magazine. Definitely not the real thing.
(Email the next day, Tuesday 9 October)
Doug: By strange coincidence I had to get up in the early morning because I forgot to take my pee bottle to my upstairs bedroom.
It was clouded over; however, by another strange coincidence, there was a tiny hole in the eastern horizon, another around the Moon and Jupiter and - ta da!! - another to the south around Orion, with his hunting dog, Canis Major and its alpha star Sirius. That's the "planet" you saw.
If this all sounds too much, I agree, it does strain credence, doesn't it? When was the last time I looked at the sky at 4.30 am? Years. So, if I were a believer I would credit god. If she had anything to do with it, it was the first time she's shown any interest in me.
The art of prediction
How to look ahead—and get it right
Oct 6th 2012 | The Economist (excerpt)
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t. By Nate Silver
...“The Signal and the Noise” is a book about prediction, not politics. In the spirit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s widely read “The Black Swan”, Mr Silver asserts that humans are overconfident in their predictive abilities, that they struggle to think in probabilistic terms and build models that do not allow for uncertainty. He ranges over a number of themes, from seismology to chess-playing, but exhibit A is the American housing crash of 2007-08 that triggered the financial crisis. Hauled before Congress to explain why their assessments of mortgage-backed securities had proved so off the mark, the ratings agencies pleaded ignorance: no one had seen the crash coming.
As Mr Silver points out, this is untrue. Plenty of observers, including this newspaper, identified the housing bubble before it burst. More to the point, the wildly inaccurate performance of the ratings agencies (Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s were out by a factor of over 200 in their assessments of the default risk of credit-default options) merely illustrates the power of the forces that drive people to make dubious predictions.
Another target of Mr Silver’s ire is the idea that in a world with a surfeit of data there is no need for interpretation: that the numbers simply tell their own story. Far from it. The more data you have, the harder it is to distinguish the useful sort (“the signal” of the book’s title) from the misleading or confusing (“the noise”). A chapter on climate change points out that without a strong theory of the mechanism of global warming via the greenhouse effect, it would be harder to pick out the signal (the long-term warming) in the notoriously noisy temperature record.
Yet this book is not a counsel of despair. Drawing on the work of Philip Tetlock, a psychologist whose findings on the predictions of political pundits (they’re mostly bunk) deserved to kill off that industry, Mr Silver finds reason to elevate one species of forecaster, the fox, over another, the hedgehog. The fox keeps an open mind, adjusts theory to evidence and is wary of ideology. Hedgehogs do the opposite. Foxes, needless to say, produce more accurate predictions.
...For the most part those virtues are on keen display in this book, which in fox-like fashion does not attempt to construct a grand account of human prediction but simply to identify some of the common ways in which people make mistakes and some of the methods by which they could improve. Mr Silver has certainly earned the right to an audience. In the 2008 election cycle his model nailed the winner in 49 out of 50 states in the presidential race (Indiana was the exception), and correctly predicted the winner of all 35 Senate elections. As November approaches, many will be watching him anew.
13. Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly
If Shakespeare's grave were ever opened, what might be found there?
• The ghosts of Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
James Carroll, Geneva, Switzerland
• Dust, bones, Bacon's Reminiscences and De Vere's Poems.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
• The good that was interred with his bones.
Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
• Five words: All's well that ends well.
Cynthia Dummett, Basingstoke, UK
• Much Ado About Nothing.
Eddie van Rijnswoud, Kalamunda, Western Australia
• Alas, poor Yorick! A skull, of course.
Bronwyn Sherman, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
• A quintessence of dust.
Tijne Schols, The Hague, the Netherlands
• "Gilded tombs do worms enfold" (Merchant of Venice, 2.7).
Josh Beer, Ottawa, Canada
John Sang, Solothurn, Switzerland
• His ghost writer?
Alan Williams-Key, Madrid, Spain
• Will's will.
Jim Neilan, Dunedin, New Zealand