1. White-crowned sparrow habitat work party Saturday 20 - rain or shine
2. Pedro Point work day Sunday 21st
3. Los Angeles County voted to ban plastic bags. On to San Jose
4. Exciting doings on the Farallones: Great White shark with harbor seal in its mouth
5. Childhood learning laboratory in downtown San Jose
6. Ted Kipping potluck/slide show Nov 23: The Equadorian Amazon
7. Echoes of Mao: sending urban students to work in the countryside--but to get away from the internet
8. The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams
9. The world's largest and oldest madrone, the Council Madrone
10. Extraordinary eclipse: The lunar total eclipse of December 20/21 coincides with the winter solstice./Full Moon walk Sunday Nov 21
11. Beautiful 2011 bee calendar from Xerces Society. It's loaded with interesting information as well as beautiful pictures
12. A plant that eats organic food with its flowers. "Curious! that so unconscious a thing should have such a keen eye to its own interest.”
13. Scientific American potpourri: Vitamin D prevent some psychosis?/Koch Industries v. BP--who's your favorite?
14. Feedback: Predators taking up the cause of their prey
15. Notes & Queries
16. Some more simple things you can do to pave the earth
1. White-crowned sparrow habitat work party Saturday 20, 9 am
This week the bison are out of the pen. Participants will help to clean out the nesting boxes from last year. This is a great chance to study nesting material and likely some egg shells as well. Its also a great chance for birders and naturalists to walk and observe in this fenced off spot generally ruled by dangerous beasts.
Planting is also on the agenda as we continue efforts to create more habitat for our local Nutall's White-crowned Sparrows at the Bison Paddock. Meet at 9am along the fence on JFK and be prepared for the weather, we will be there rain or shine.
2. Pedro Point work day
... RSVP is greatly appreciated!
There will be a volunteer work day at the Pedro Point Headlands this Sunday, November 21st from 10 – 1.00pm. As always we'll meet at the Pedro Point Firehouse (Danmann Rd) at 9.45 to load up tools and carpool from there.
If it rains you decide whether we work anyway or take a hike to see how the water flows down the eroded slopes.
Dress appropriately. We can learn a lot from a rain!
"Play" Tasks for this month...
* Pampas Grass removal on Arroyo trail
* Return to the North Ridge to pull scotch broom and invasives that are popping up since our first ever work party
* Widen trails and disperse seeds from clippings on eroded slopes (coyote bush is great for this)
* (optional) Flag a Monterey Pine tree from areas that need to be removed if you would like a Charlie Brown tree for the Holidays. On December 12th we will target invasive Monterey Pines from open slopes and people receiving a tree can choose to make a donation to the Pacifica Land Trust to assist us with our work.
There is a lot to do. Please spread the word and bring a child, friend, family member! The more the merrier! Our record so far has increased to 31 volunteers.
3. From Save the Bay
Momentum to ban bags continues to mount! On Tuesday, Los Angeles County voted to ban plastic bags; and now the fight moves north to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The next big bag battle is brewing in San Jose, CA, where the region's largest city is poised to approve a ban on plastic bags that will reduce this toxic pollution threatening creeks and San Francisco Bay. With the plastic bag industry lobbyists running out of steam, now is the time for San Jose to prove its mettle.
Take action now -- tell San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed to keep the momentum going and ban plastic bags!
4. Wildlife Spectacle at the Farallones
Editor’s note: The following is a first-hand account by Bill Buck, a board member of FMSA, after sailing to Southeast Farallon Island with PRBO's Farallon Patrol. The patrol is an organization of boat owners (mostly sailing vessels) that deliver supplies and transport researchers to the island, a restricted National Wildlife Refuge. Click here for more information about PRBO's Farallon Patrol.
On an early morning in October, our Farallon Patrol boat set out to deliver supplies to the island's researchers. As our crew passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, I hoped for an opportunity to see whales and other wildlife on the 27-mile trip. None of us expected what was to come...
Our ride was smooth in the pre-dawn as the Charleete II, a 45-foot catamaran operated by Captain Laurie Chaikin, made good speed. The sun rose behind us and soon the islands came into view. Before I knew it we had been hoisted onto the island and biologist Pete Warzybok led us down a narrow walkway to the living quarters.
Since it was October, Shark Watch was being conducted on Tower Hill and we were invited to go meet the researchers on duty -- as long as we didn't mind the steep hike.
A small group of us elected to make the ascent and, working our way up the craggy switchbacks, the views were already worth the effort. Suddenly we heard someone hollering and figured someone had spotted a shark in the cove below. We quickly made our way to the top of the island and found a powerful telescope.
Looking through the lens was an unbelievable sight: a Great White thrashing violently with a harbor seal in its mouth. Even the researchers were yelling excitedly and, as we took turns watching, it was clear the shark had killed its prey. A large red pool spread throughout the water...
Amidst the chaos Pete explained that the shark had disappeared but would be back soon to take another bite... And as we waited, sure enough, more violent thrashing and this time the seal was visible at the surface -- a remnant of what it had been moments before.
5. Childhood learning laboratory in a downtown San Jose neighborhood
6. Ted Kipping pot luck/slide shows
4th Tuesday of the month at 7 pm at the San Francisco County Fair Bldg, 9th Av & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park
Served by Muni bus lines #6, 43, 44, 66, 71, and the N-Judah Metro
*Please bring a dish and beverage to serve 8 people
NOV. 23 RONN PATERSON “THE EQUADORIAN AMAZON”
7. Quote of the week: "My daughter spends all her time watching TV, or on the internet during the holidays. She does not have any social experience." Parent Zhou Yujun, from Chongquing in southwestern China, which is sending urban-born students to work in the countryside for a month as part of a community service plan. Guardian Weekly
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Williams wrote "The Red Wheelbarrow" in less than five minutes while observing a scene out of the window. - So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens we can understand the poverty of this sentence as it tries to be a poem. - The claim that so much depends upon this wheelbarrow is quite accurate. On a farm, a wheelbarrow is used for a number of important farm chores. - Notice that each stanza is shaped like a wheelbarrow. The colors stand out because of their contrast with one another: the white chickens contrast with the red of the wheelbarrow. - The wheelbarrow can be seen as important economically, - It adds beauty to its surroundings.
9. The Council Madrone
Ettersburg, CA - A legendary peacemaker, the "Council Madroña," the world's largest Coast madrone tree, was brought to the ground by the forces of nature. An unusual weather phenomenon created extreme winds that split the trunk of the aged tree. The venerable tree's health had been in decline since the 1980s. Coast madrones have striking features; young bark is deep red and very smooth and exfoliates in layers. As the tree ages the bark becomes dark brown in color and no longer exfoliates. Their broad, sprawling limbs beckon both children and adults. According to Jepson, "under (the Council Madroña's) spreading limbs the coast tribes met the interior tribes in former days for the discussion of intertribal matters and for the conclusion of treaties." Having survived through times of war and peace, it commanded attention and offered a peaceful serenity to those who rested under its canopy.
The Council Madroña was a fragile object of scientific and historical significance. Discovered in 1902 by botanist Willis Linn Jepson, the Council Madroña was estimated at 500 years old. In the mid-1980s the American Forestry Association listed it in the National Register of Big Trees. At a height of 96 feet and spreading 113 feet across, it was the largest specimen of Coastal madrone found anywhere in the world.
This majestic specimen and its surrounding pasturelands were acquired by Save the Redwoods League on March 20, 1975. The tree was gifted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation who vowed to protect it in perpetuity. Ranger John Jennings of California State Parks remarked, "we will continue to protect the site and allow the stately giant to lie in state and gradually decay back into the soil. This will complete the circle of life for the tree and provide a nursery for other forms of life and the expected root sprouts of the mother tree."
From the internet
(JS: I made a point of visiting this tree in the 1970s, accompanied by tape measure and a couple of friends with a camera. I frequently carried a tape measure then to measure the dbh (diameter breast height) of large trees. This madrone wasn't easy to measure accurately as it had massive limbs starting near ground level. Many of those limbs were more massive than the main boles of most madrones.
At the time the fierce battle to expand the Redwood National Park was taking place and emotions ran high, as loggers felt their jobs threatened by park expansion. As stated, the Save The Redwoods League owned the land containing the tree. The Save the Redwoods League questioned me closely when I asked how to get to the Council Madrone; they feared vandalism. When they learned of my longtime membership in the League and my dedication to historic tree preservation, they revealed its location.
It was sorrowful news when I heard of its demise. But at least I saw it before it began to reveal its aging problems, unlike the Hooker oak--a valley oak (Quercus lobata) near Chico, which collapsed on 1 May 1977. The Hooker oak was 1100 years old, and could reputedly harbor 9000 people under its generous canopy. Having missed seeing this grand old tree was a source of regret and pain for many years.)
10. EXTRAORDINARY ECLIPSE
The oddest celestial event? This year there's an easy winner. It's the millennium's first total lunar eclipse completely visible from all of North America and Hawaii. And whoa, beat the drums, it happens right on the solstice.
This was exactly the kind of spectacle that inspired the fun-loving Mayans to push their most annoying relatives off pyramids. (Does any scholar actually know how they selected people for sacrifices? "Annoying" seems logical.) These days, our own citizenry is much too overweight to engage in such energetic rituals. But if you're tempted, be sure to first check local ordinances before you perform even a single goat sacrifice.
At midnight December 20/21, we'll have the highest Full Moon until 2020. From the West Coast, that Moon will be in total eclipse at midnight--how cool is that? Observers in Key West will see the magical Moon straight up, an imperceptible 1/2" from the zenith. Count on crowds blowing conches at Sunset Pier at that overhead moment of 12:17 am. But like all Eastern time-zoners, they must wait 'til 1:32 am for the eclipse's umbral beginning.
...The Moon will occupy a very special place in the heavens that night. Our sky is a carnival of intersecting planes. There is the flat plane of our solar system seen edgewise, defined by the ecliptic. Then there is our galaxy's disk, the Milky Way. These eternal planes meet and cross at the Taurus-Gemini border. Astoundingly, a third plane called the solstitial colure--the sky-circling meridian running through the celestial poles in the precise direction of Earth's tilt--is right there, too.
It's an implausible three-way intersection. And yet that is where---within a few degrees--the Full Moon will stand during the eclipse.
So the Moon will be eclipsed while aligned with the galaxy's plane, Earth's tilt axis, and the centerline of our solar system all at once. Are you kidding? The Mayan priests would have tossed extra people.
...Can you imagine the uproar from the paranoid and gullible if this notable display had coincided with the Mayan calendar flip? Then they'd be sure it's Armageddon-time. Happily, no eclipse or conjunction will occur 2 years from now on December 21, 2012. To show your gratitude, that non-event deserves an additional goat sacrifice.
One more thing. The Full Moon's hot surface aims infrared radiation our way like a bathroom heater. This makes Earth's lower atmosphere 4/100 degree warmer whenever the Moon is full. Will we lose this warmth during the eclipse? Let's bring along our high-tech lab thermometers that night and really puzzle onlookers.
Wait a minute. Onlookers? After midnight in December? No, you and I might just be alone for this one. Unless we move to Key West.
'Strange Universe' by Bob Berman in Astronomy December 2010 (excerpt)
Two fearless predictions:
1. Jo Coffey will not be having a Full Moon walk that night. She will be having a lunar eclipse walk.
2. San Francisco will be fogged in. Count on it.
Full Moon time again, and we'll be taking our walk Sunday, Nov 21 starting at 4:00 PM.
As always, the walk will start at the Quarry Road Entrance Park by the Brisbane Post Office and Community Garden. The Brisbane Post Office is at 280 Old County Road, Brisbane.
These quarry walks are fun, a companionable walk with friends and neighbors. Come join us. Children and dogs are most welcome.
Round trip distance is about two miles on a nearly flat road. Dress in layers. It can be cold and/or windy. Heavy rain cancels, but a bit of fog or a few clouds won't stop us. Right now, they're predicting a 70% chance of showers in Brisbane on Sunday.
There will be a total lunar eclipse at the next full moon, which will happen in the early hours of December 21 (Monday night). For us, the moment of greatest eclipse is a little after midnight. One thing that makes this eclipse special is that it happens within hours of the winter solstice. Some of us plan to be someplace where we can see the eclipse. If you're interested in joining us, let me know.
11. Time is running out if you want to purchase the 2011 North American Bee Calendar. There is now less than two weeks until the November 30th deadline for guaranteed holiday delivery
12. “There is a kind of plant that eats organic food with its flowers; when a fly settles upon the blossom, the petals close upon it and hold it fast till the plant has absorbed the insect into its system; but they will close on nothing but what is good to eat; of a drop of rain or a piece of stick they will take no notice. Curious! that so unconscious a thing should have such a keen eye to its own interest.” Samuel Butler, English novelist 1835-1902
13. Scientific American
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND: More Vitamin D Could Prevent Some Psychosis
Low levels in pregnant mothers may put babies at risk of developing schizophrenia
OBSERVATIONS: Was Tycho Brahe poisoned? 16th-century astronomer exhumed--again
Brahe is being disinterred for analysis for the second time since he was buried in Prague in 1601 in an attempt to solve the controversy swirling around the circumstances of his death
BERING IN MIND: Not so fast ... What's so “premature” about premature ejaculation?
In the ancestral past, wouldn't there likely have been some reproductive advantages to ejaculating as quickly as possible during intercourse?
CLEANTECHNICA: Here's the Toxic GOP/Tea Party Agenda That Koch Industries Purchased
Wonk Room has published some of the legal challenges that Koch Industries has brought against the finally functioning EPA of the Obama administration
(I think Koch Industries is in competition with BP for the most-loved corporation. Which is your favorite? JS)
NATURE: Copenhagen failure could cost $1 trillion
World Energy Outlook highlights ongoing fallout from the summit
> Jake - I see you once again have returned to the Edwin Dobb's essay "Can humans help other species defy extinction?" Personally I think it is one of the most profound pieces of writing I have ever seen and I will always be grateful that you pointed it out.
Re-post of article:
>> 13. How much easier natural representation would be if plants and animals could speak for themselves. But not only does nature lack such a voice, it also shows no sign of possessing the values, beliefs, and ambitions that we might think appropriate if it could express itself. It shows no sign of wanting representation, either, or even grasping the concept.
>> Campaign on behalf of the natural world may seem like a natural thing to do, but there is nothing in the natural world itself that resembles such behavior, such awareness and concern.
>> Cooperation exists, yes, and community, but both are born of instinct and opportunism. So while human beings are increasingly responsible for the endangerment of other species, they are the only species that considers endangerment wrong or reversible. Given a chance, coyotes would chase black-footed ferrets into extinction. Ferrets would do as much to priairie dogs, without a second thought, without any thought at all.
>> By all indications, predators do not ponder the consequences of their actions, and they certainly do not take up the cause of their prey. They eat them.
>> Excerpted from Still Here, Can humans help other species defy extinction?
>> Essay by Edwin Dobb from High Country News 18 December 2000
Glad to hear this note of recognition and appreciation, Bruce. Yes, it is one of my favorites, and in this urbanized time when people are born, raised, and die having at best only the most minimal, tenuous contact with nature (we all get rained on and suffer from cold and heat, so we're not totally disconnected), this remorseless and unyielding fact of nature is too strong for many, even if they think of such things--which, mostly, they don't.
15. Notes & Queries from Guardian Weekly
Q. Why can't Afghanistan's poppy fields be exploited to produce legitimate opium products?
A. Afghanistan's poppy fields are owned by true "free marketeers", capitalists who believe in privatisation, deregulation, unsubsidised free trade in agricultural products, armaments, and other goods/services. They follow modern concepts of economics, globalisation, freedom, and spread of democracy around the world.
Nicholas Gerber, Columbus, Ohio, US
Q. When and by whom was the first paper aeroplane made? What was its shape?
A. The first paper aeroplane was the Handley Page A4. Crashes due to paper fatigue caused it to be scrapped and the larger A3 was pencilled in as its replacement. However, the A3 dropped out of sight and the company soon folded.
Jim Dewar, Gosford, NSW, Australia
Simple Things YOU Can Do to Pave the Earth (Part 2)
Excerpted from Darryl Henriques' 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Pave the Earth
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE A PARKING SPACE
In Los Angeles, a recent survey revealed that at any given moment 63% of all cars on the freeways are being driven simply because there are no available parking spaces.
o Aside from the obvious aesthetic value, one of the main reasons for paving the earth is that once it's paved there will finally be enough parking spaces. Millions of motorists who are now unable to stop their cars will be able to get out of their vehicles, stretch their legs and run like maniacs to the nearest restroom.
MAKE WILDLIFE USEFUL LIFE
Most endangered species are disappearing from the world because people have failed to find a use for them. Let's face it. Who wants to stick around if you're not wanted?
NEW USES FOR OLD SPECIES
o A grizzly bear is a wonderful home security system, an excellent garbage disposal, a no-nonsense babysitter and a genuine piece of disappearing
o A California Condor will keep your yard free of unsightly carcasses.
o Galapagos tortoises make fabulous footstools and are slow enough for children to ride.
EAT HIGH ON THE FOOD CHAIN
You are what you eat, so why be a vegetable. Eat someone stronger and more good looking than you are.
--The Swami from Miami
o If American meat-eaters switched to a fat-free diet, they would live longer and end up consuming more of the world's dwindling resources.
STAY THE COURSE
It doesn't matter what your score is as long as you make it to the 19th hole.
Here's a list of groups that don't need to be established, but could be if you get the urge:
Center for Asphalt Enhancement
Citizens for Better Cement
Earth Island Parking Lot
Freeway Action Network
James Watt League
Shopping Mall Club
Planet Pavers Unlimited
World Urban Fund
People for More Packaging
Citizen's Warehouse for Radioactive Waste
Friends of the Tarmac
FORGET THE RAINFOREST
Every second, two acres of the world's rainforests are converted into usable grazing land and parking lots.
CAN ROCK CONCERTS SAVE RAINFORESTS?
o No way, Jose.
o Sting couldn't do it.
o Madonna couldn't do it.
o The only pop star who stands a ghost of a chance is Elvis.