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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012.01.31

1.   Speak up for historic preservation in SF, Feb 2
2.   Historic record for Green Hairstreak butterfly set Jan 28
3.   What is a mushroom anyway?  Feb 12
4.   Jumping spiders hunt prey with unique vision traits
5.   Audubon restoration at Pier 94 Sunday the 4th
6.   Birding for Everyone, Saturday the 4th at SF Botanical Garden
7.   Feedback: Crowboarding - crow or jackdaw?/et al
8.   LTEs on various
9.   A Word A Day:  wellerism
10. Crazy video on Fibonacci numbers - yes crazy.  whew!
11.  Robert Reich on representing Americans
12.  The moment - and say "I own this"
13.  There is nothing so American as our national parks
14.  door of being, dawn and wake me...
15.  Vernepator - what's that?


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. -Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)

            Another thought for today:

            insects, arachnids
            crawling in their cups
            know no other world

#############################
1. 
*** Speak Up Now for Historic Preservation in S.F. ***

What: Planning Commission Hearing, Item 11
When: Thursday, February 2nd, Noon
Where: City Hall, Room 400

In 2008, San Francisco voters passed Proposition J, which created the Historic Preservation Commission and would update the Planning Code to bring it in line with best practices nationwide. Over the past three years, SF Architectural Heritage has commented on proposed revisions to Articles 10 and 11 of the Planning Code recommended by the Historic Preservation Commission and further amendments introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener. Although some of Supervisor Wiener’s more controversial proposals have been abandoned, Heritage remains opposed to amendments that would: 1) impose unique procedural hurdles on the designation of historic districts; 2) potentially exempt market-rate residential projects from historic review; and 3) modify the Secretary of Interior's Standards which would jeopardize the City's Certified
Local Government status (required for grant monies, etc.)

For additional info., see:  www.sfheritage.org

############################

2.  From Green Hairstreak work party on Grandview Park Saturday 28 January 2012

Hey Folks -
Just want to let you also know that I was contacted by Ken Davenport from the Lepidopterist Society. He coordinates all the historic species sightings of butterflies and moths. He informed me that indeed that sighting the other day at our restoration was a new record.

The prior early sighting of Callophrys dumetorum was February 19, 1991 by Robert Langston in San Mateo County.  The new record will be January 28th, Grandview Terrace, San Francisco County. So as satisfying as it was to add 500 plants to our ecosystem, it was equally historic: the best of Citizen Science!

Liam O'Brien
http://www.sfbutterfly.com



############################

3.
What is a Mushroom Anyway?
A Talk and Discussion about Fungi by J. R. Blair
Sunday, February 12 from 3:00 - 4:30pm

Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum
9th Avenue and Lincoln Way
415.661.1316 x403

Whenever J.R. Blair leads a discussion about mushrooms, he makes a point of underscoring the lasting relationship binding humans and the fungus sprouting on the forest floor.

We will learn about the role of mushrooms in the life cycle of the fungal organism. Then we find out about the role of fungi in the environment and how other organisms, such as plants and animals, interact and are affected by fungi.  “They are really an integral part of life on the planet,” Blair said. “Bacteria and fungi are the primary decomposers in the environment, so if we didn’t have them we’d be knee-deep in dead things. … They are an overlooked kingdom.”

The exhibit is in correlation with our current/new art exhibit, Secrets of the Forest: Portraits of Wild Mushrooms, paintings in gouache and watercolor by Lucy Martin.

Blair, who lives in Moss Beach, lectures in the biology department at San Francisco State University. He’s also former president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, and leads the occasional hunt for “fruiting bodies” along the coast between the San Francisco and Santa Cruz. J.R. Blair received his Master’s degree in Conservation Biology focusing on mushroom taxonomy in 1999. Since then he has been a full-time lecturer in the Department of Biology at San Francisco State University. Classes he has taught include World of Plants, Ornithology, Nature Study, Animal Diversity, and Human Biology.

############################
4.
Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. -Bradley Miller, activist (b. 1956)
Jumping Spiders Hunt Prey With Unique Vision Traits


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/jumping-spider_n_1234873.html#s643098

#########################
5.
WHO: Golden Gate Audubon
WHAT: Volunteer to help with local bird and butterfly habitat
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, February 4, 2012
CONTACT: nweeden@goldengateaudubon.org
NOTES: Please wear close-toed shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty.  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.

###########################

6.  Hi Jake,
We are doing a Birding for Everyone outing on Saturday, February 4th and we'd like to spread the word to local San Franciscans who may be interested. It would be great if you could write a post to share with your readers.

Here is all of the information:
Feb. 4,10 am–noon. Meet us near the bookstore inside the main gate of the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park (MLK Drive near 9th Ave. at
Lincoln).

Adults $10, children free, no one turned away due to lack of funds.
For more information visit www.sfnature.org or email us at info@sfnature.org

#########################

7.  Feedback

Don French:  (re Crowboarding--the guy who forwarded said "I think the bird is a jackdaw")
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI_b-ao7djQ&feature=player_embedded:

The markings and morphology of the snow-tubing bird look to me more like those of a hooded crow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooded_Crow) than a jackdaw (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackdaw). The language being spoken is Russian.

Margo Bors:
Enjoyed your newsletter, especially the Crowboarding link.  Its hard to tell, but I think the bird may be a European magpie.  They are corvids and full of fun.

Trent Orr:
Hi, Jake.  I enjoyed the "crowboarding" video, and the star thereof is indeed a crow, the hooded crow, Corvo cornix, not, as the person who sent this to you guessed, a jackdaw, a smaller, shorter-billed relative.
Hooboy, Trent.  I've received different identifications.  Perhaps I'll poll readers what species it is.  Perhaps it's a matter of opinion, as everything else nowadays.  We used to have facts, but those days may be gone.  Makes life much easier, don't you think? :)
I've seen hundreds of hooded crows (and hundreds of jackdaws -- not sure what else folks think this is).  Tried to send a picture, but my computer skills aren't up to it.  Here's a link to some pictures:  http://www.globaltwitcher.com/artspec_information.asp?thingid=26307

The skiing bird has the same black head and wings, gray mantle, and crow love of play (shared, as you noted by even smarter relative raven).

David Tomb:
Hi Jake, Thanks again for the shout out on your blog this week. we received another nice one from the Huffington Post!

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/david-tomb-the-art-of-sav_b_1221882.html
I recommend you read his short bio here.  JS

Burton Meyer:
About number 4: Sigmund Freud posited a live wish (sex) and a death wish.  Humans rarely work out the combination.
4.  "Perhaps the most ironic aspect of the struggle for survival is how easily organisms can be harmed by that which they desire.  The trout is caught by the fisherman’s lure, the mouse by cheese.  But at least those creatures have the excuse that bait and cheese look like sustenance.  Humans seldom have that consolation.  The temptations that can disrupt their lives are often pure indulgences.  No one has to drink alcohol, for example.  Realizing when a diversion has gotten out of control is one of the great challenges of life."

Darla Hillard, who runs snow leopard foundation:
JS:  In my 1975 trek in the Himalayas I, of course, did not see a snow leopard or even a track.  But when I got to Darjeeling there, unfortunately, was one in the zoo.  We had brief eye contact, but I immediately broke it and averted my gaze, although I wanted to feast on the sight for awhile.
Darjeeling Zoo has, fortunately, one of the better snow leopard breeding centers, with a keeper who is absolutely devoted to them.  Still it would be nice if the cats weren't endangered and there was no justification for keeping them in captivity.  One good thing about cats -- wild or domestic -- is that next to a full belly, sleeping is their favorite condition!

I'm looking forward to reading your newsletter.  Thanks so much for doing this great service!


#########################

8.  LTEs, The Economist
The American civility war

SIR – America’s protracted love affair with anti-intellectualism has found its latest expression during the Republican presidential nomination contest (“Mitt Romney marches on”, January 14th). Jon Huntsman elicited groans from the Republican audience at a debate for, of all things, speaking Mandarin, a linguistic accomplishment most people would consider laudable. A superPac supporting Newt Gingrich launched an attack on Mitt Romney for, among other character flaws, speaking French, the implication being that no true American would stoop so low.
The dumbing down of America has been decried by both the left and the right. It is tragic that we seem to be entering a sillier phase where even knowledge of a foreign language becomes a liability. Woe to the polite candidate who blesses his sneezing competitor with a Gesundheit or wishes bon app├ętit when breaking bread. Should we now expect a bill in Congress to remove the offending e pluribus unum from our coins for a less pompous “out of many, one”?

Edmund Tiryakian
Hillsborough, North Carolina  

SIR – History does not suggest that being a successful businessman is a good qualification for the presidency. The great majority of presidents were not, including Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman (a failed haberdasher), Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. Herbert Hoover was the last president who was an outstanding businessman. And if we look at other countries, Silvio Berlusconi, allegedly Italy’s richest man, comes to mind.

Humphrey Taylor
Chairman, The Harris Poll
Harris Interactive
New York

SIR – I thoroughly enjoyed your article on the joy of walking (“A path through time immemorial”, December 17th). However, there was no mention of the health benefits that come from walking. Walking is one of the best forms of physical activity: it doesn’t put stress on joints and can assist with weight loss. Recent studies have shown that people exercising for just 15 minutes a day were found to have extended their life expectancy by three years. Regular walking can halve the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It has also been shown that physical activity has benefits for mental health and can help people recover from depression and prevent them from becoming depressed in the first place.

Christine Hancock
Founder
C3 Collaborating for Health
London

#########################
9.
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Next week marks the 200th anniversary of the British novelist Charles Dickens's birth. The London of Dickens's time was a bleak place: little social support, debtor's prisons, pollution, and children working in factories.
If you look at the Republican presidential aspirants today you'd think they want to return to those good old times: no environmental regulations; no worker protection laws; no social safety net; and children working as janitors.

As a child Charles himself was forced to work in a boot polish factory. All that he saw around him and experienced is reflected in his novels. It's a sign of an author's genius when his characters step out of the stories and become words in the language. Dozens of Dickens's characters are now part of the English language. This week we'll meet five of them.

Contest: Can you come up with an original wellerism? Send it in to the contest.

Prizes: Best entries will receive their choice of any of the following prizes:
  o Word game: One Up!
  o T-shirt: AWAD to the wise is sufficient
  o Any of my books

How to Enter: Send your entries to contest@wordsmith.org by this Friday. Be sure to include your location (city/state/country). Selected entries will be featured in this weekend's AWADmail.

To get you primed, here are a few wellerisms from me:
"So far, so good," said the escapee as he looked at the prison in the distance.
"Beauty is only skin deep," said the woman as she received a Botox injection.

wellerism


PRONUNCIATION:
(WEL-uh-ri-zuhm)

MEANING:
noun: An expression involving a familiar proverb or quotation and its facetious sequel. It usually comprises three parts: statement, speaker, situation.
Examples:
"We'll have to rehearse that," said the undertaker as the coffin fell out of the car.
"Prevention is better than cure," said the pig when it ran away from the butcher.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Sam Weller and his father, characters known for such utterances in Charles Dickens's novel Pickwick Papers. Earliest documented use: 1839.

USAGE:
"A particularly telling example of a wellerism discussed by Dundes is the following:
'Shall I sit awhile?' says the parasite before becoming a permanent dweller."
Wolfgang Mieder; Alan Dundes; Western Folklore (Long Beach, California); Jul 2006.

Explore "wellerism" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the human heart can hold. -Zelda Fitzgerald, novelist (1900-1948)


############################

10.  Bob Hall:
You must watch this crazy video that uses flowers to explain Fibonacci spirals. Very arresting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXX0

It's actually a series  of 3.  Here are the other two
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOIP_Z_-0Hs&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14-NdQwKz9w&feature=relmfu
Thank you, Bob--for tearing a big hole in my Sunday afternoon.  I had to watch the whole thing.

Fortunately, I was familiar with the Fibonacci series and with basic plant physiology.  Otherwise it would have sprained my aging brain.  The lady was on caffeine, steroids, and speed. 

I hope this reaches some who otherwise would not become familiar with the Fibonacci and Lucas series and the seeming miracle of plant physiology.  If they're not already impressed by the grandeur of the universe, this may introduce them into some of its workings.

For those not familiar with the Fibonacci series and with phi, the Golden Mean (1.618), I recommend they at least get the gist before watching this hyper video.  Whew!  I'm going to lie down for awhile.


###########################

11.  Robert Reich, heard on Marketplace

Kai Ryssdal: You have to pair the economics of Apple and the iEconomy -- and the regular economy too -- with the politics of the moment. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, just as one example, was mentioned in both President Obama's State of the Union Tuesday night and the Republican response.

Commentator Robert Reich says there has to be government help for the American economy because the private sector has focused its efforts elsewhere.


Robert Reich: A defining issue in the 2012 campaign will be the relative roles of business and government in making Americans globally competitive.

But American business can't lead the way because it's increasingly global, with less and less stake in America. And its goal is profits, not better jobs.

According to the Commerce Department, U.S.-based global corporations added almost 2.5 million workers abroad over the past decade. But they cut their U.S. workforce by about 3 million.

Apple employs eight times as many workers overseas as it does in the United States. An Apple executive recently told the New York Times, "We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems."

At the same time, the National Science Foundation warns that Asia's share of global R&D spending now exceeds America's. One big reason: Over the last decade, American firms nearly doubled their R&D investment in China.

No wonder the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, dominated by corporate CEOs, is calling for lower tax rates and less regulation. These CEOs are beholden to their shareholders -- not to American workers -- and these proposals mean higher earnings per share. But they won't create better jobs.

Americans will get good jobs in the global economy only if they're productive enough to attract them. But a large and growing portion of our workforce isn't equipped to be productive. We're hobbled by deteriorating schools, unaffordable college tuitions, decaying infrastructure, and declining investment in basic R&D. All of this is putting us on a downward slope toward even lousier jobs and lower wages in the future.

Big American corporations aren't clamoring for better education and infrastructure. They want lower taxes and fewer regulations. And they have huge clout in Washington, with legions of lobbyists and boatloads of money for political campaigns.

That's the problem in a nutshell. When it comes to making Americans globally competitive, almost no one with any clout in Washington is representing Americans.

######################

12.
The Moment
 
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

~ Margaret Atwood ~

(morning in the burned house)


######################

13.
From 6 Billion to 7 Billion:  How Population Growth is Changing and Challenging our World is available on the Population Institute's website: www.populationinstitute.org
_______________________

“There is nothing so American as our national parks.  The scenery and wildlife are native.  The fundamental idea behind the parks is native.  It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.  The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle.”    Franklin D. Roosevelt   

Wilderness preservation is an American invention--a unique contribution of our nation to world civilization. As we mark the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act (1964), Americans should renew their pride in and commitment to the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is one of the best ideas our country ever had.

One place to start the celebration is with the recognition that wilderness is the basic component of American culture. From its raw materials we built a civilization. With the idea of wilderness we sought to give that civilization identity and meaning. Our early environmental history is inextricably tied to wild country. Hate it or love it, if you want to understand American history there is no escaping the need to come to terms with our wilderness past. From this perspective, designated Wilderness Areas are historical documents; destroying them is comparable to tearing pages from our books and laws. We cannot teach our children what is special about our history on freeways or in shopping malls. ..Protecting the remnants of wild country left today is an action that defines our nation. Take away wilderness and you diminish the opportunity to be American.

   Roderick Nash, Yosemite, Fall 2004


#######################
14.



door of being, dawn and wake me,
allow me to see the face of this day,
allow me to see the face of this night,
all communicates, all is transformed,
arch of blood, bridge of the pulse,
take me to the other side of this night,
where I am you, we are us,
the kingdom where pronouns are intertwined,

door of being: open your being
and wake, learn to be ....

~ Octavio Paz ~


( Sunstone/Piedra de Sol, translated by Eliot Winberger)


#####################

15.  Among the useless things you learn from Says You:

The "bluffing round" on the program calls for panelists to guess which of three definitions (two of which were made up by the opposing panel) is the correct one.  The word this week was vernepator.  Here is the definition:

Turnspit Dog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnspit_Dog
The Vernepator Cur was bred to run on a wheel in order to turn meat so it would cook evenly. This took both courage (to stand near the fire) and loyalty (not to ...

(I have become semi-adept at guessing the right definition--ie, I guess correctly > 1/3 of the time.  My recipe:  Of the three definitions take the one that makes no sense at all, the one I pour scorn on.  That is usually the correct one.  In this case, I got so carried away with the mere idea of a dog turning this wheel in order to - cook meat?  Scoff scoff.  I forgot my rule to choose the most ridiculous of the three.  JS)