Plant Trees SF Events 2011 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Event

 
1.   AT&T Utility Boxes hearing postponed to July 11
2.   Support Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings at SF Planning Commission July 14
3.   Restore bird habitat at Pier 94 - July 2
4.   Acterra is hiring a Communications and Creative Director
5.   Thinkwalk tours for July 2, 3, and 6
6.   New bird in town:  California condors hang out at Lick Observatory
7.   SF Planning Dept website shows complete list of all the plans and projects in City
8.   Don't sweat the small stuff - the surprising carbon footprint of some of your choices
9.   Lots of rocks out there beyond Neptune, some big enough for names
10. Bitter ruminations on the market crash
11.  For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics
12  Park steward's band playing the Bay Area - dates
13.  Walking in the body of being - essay from High Country News

1.
UPDATE - AT&T proposed installation of 726 Utility Boxes on City streets – New public hearing scheduled!!
Supervisors were to vote for or against this proposal on June 28th.  It now appears the vote will be delayed until after a public hearing at the Land Use Committee. 
Various City Department heads will speak on the proposed project and the level of its compliance with existing City legislation including Better Streets Plan,  General Plan: Urban Design and DPW order 175,566 (which covers utility installation on the public Right of Way).
It is anticipated the Supervisors will vote on the issue the following day, Tuesday, July 12th
 PLEASE ATTEND AND SPEAK UP AT THIS HEARING. .  Your voice will be important in this decisive vote.
					Land Use Committee, City Hall, Room 263
					Monday,  July 11, 2011
					1 PM or after (please check the agenda for more insight into the time this item will be heard) 
Meantime, please  email the following Supervisors.  Tell them you are counting on their vote to protect the streets and neighborhoods for all San Francisco from blight, blowing trash, street clutter, graffiti and structures which impede navigation on the street: 
                 Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org         Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org          David.Campos@sfgov.org           David.Chiu@sfgov.org             Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org  

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2.  Golden Gate Audubon is asking all its members and friends to support the proposed San Francisco Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings before the S.F. Planning Commission on July 14, 2011.  Collisions with buildings, communication towers, and windows kill approximately 1 billion birds in North America each year.  Migratory birds are especially threatened by collision risks.  There are clear steps that we can take in designing and operating buildings in our cities to reduce these unnecessary risks to birds.

The Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings provide information for project sponsors and their tenants to reduce potential hazards to birds, create a voluntary program to encourage more bird-safe practices, and establish requirements for buildings sited in the most hazardous areas for birds.
Check the latest version of the standards document.  See http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=2506#hearings   

We encourage you to either: 
1) Submit comments recommending that the Standards for Bird Safe Buildings in San Francisco be adopted or 
2) Attend and support the Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings in San Francisco at this Planning Commission hearing on Thursday, July 14, 2011 starting at noon at City Hall, Commission Chambers in Room 400.

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3,
Join Golden Gate Audubon at Pier 94 on San Francisco’s Southern Waterfront Saturday, July 2, 2011 from 9:00 am – noon
         
Lend a hand at Pier 94 in San Francisco where we will learn about and participate in invasive plant removal and caring for native plants and trash pickup.  We will focus on removing Algerian Sea Lavendar. The site is home to native California Sea-blite- an endangered plant, as well as habitat for shorebirds and waterbirds and a nesting site for several resident species of birds.
  
Directions:  Take Third Street and turn east (toward the bay) onto Cargo Way and take the first left onto Amador Street.  This industrial road turns right (480 Amador St.) in San Francisco turn into parking area just before the chain link fence.  Ahead you will see a small sign next to the left of white barriers. This is the entrance to Pier 94.
Park in front of the barriers and join us at the marsh.
Public Transit: The Muni Metro T-Line stops at Marin, which is located a couple blocks before Cargo Way on Third Street. Please visit www.511.org for a transit planner from your location. Follow the directions above from Third Street turning onto Cargo Way.
 
We’ll provide gloves, tools and snacks.
 Please bring your own water bottle to cut down on trash, we’ll provide water. 
 Wear sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, dress in layers of clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty – you’ll have fun while helping local birds.    
 
     www.goldengateaudubon.org/volunteer

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4.  Acterra is Hiring! Communications and Creative Director (Part-Time, Paid)


Acterra is seeking an experienced and personable professional able to effectively handle the organization's graphic design needs. This is a part-time (20 hours per week) contractor position.

To view the full announcement, please click here.

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5.  Thinkwalks

Hi SF nerd and natural history craver,

Here's your chance to take that Thinkwalk you've been waiting to attend! I've got three tours set up for early July. 

July 2 Saturday Walk the Wiggle
July 3 Sunday Water Walking
July 6 Wednesday Outside Lands walk

All start at 10 a.m. The water tour is 3 & 1/2 hours and the others are 2 &1/2 hours.

Check the Tours page at http://thinkwalks.org for full details and to RSVP.

If you know an organization that would like to have a staff or member outing involving a Thinkwalk, please mention it to both of us. I've found it a great way to collaborate and have done walks with classes, nonprofits, law firms out for a play day, conference attendees, and workshop participants.

Make sure to check out the latest Thinkwalks blog posts, which include a report of a 25 acre lake that I found to have existed in the Panhandle area.http://www.thinkwalks.org/2011/04/28/new-sf-lake-discovered/

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6.  New bird in town: Rare California condors hang out on San Jose's Mount Hamilton
By Lisa M. Krieger Mercury News @ Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Click photo to enlarge

A condor on one of the Lick Observatory domes atop Mt. Hamilton. (Peter E. Hart)

http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_18341487

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7.  This website maps and describes a complete list of plans and projects throughout San Francisco and is an invaluable way for every citizen to stay informed on plans in individual neighborhoods as well as the City at large.  Check in often.  
http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=2673

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8.  Don't sweat the small stuff

Does eating bananas make you feel guilty?  After all, they had to travel thousands of miles to reach your breakfast cereal.  But the carbon footprint of a banana is only one-fifth that of a pint of imported beer.  How about using plastic bags?  It turns out that a paper bag has a carbon footprint two to four times larger than that of its plastic counterpart.  These are among the surprising conclusions of Mike Berners-Lee's lively How Bad Are Bananas?, which refreshingly fesses up to the "impossibly complex" fuzziness involved in calculating climate impact.  A true life cycle analysis includes not only an item's manufacture and transportation but also everything from the extraction of raw materials to a prorated share of the company CEO's mansion.  Berners-Lee makes a stab at precise numbers but is mostly concerned with "trying to get the orders of magnitude clear," as show below.  Paul Rauber


Left to right:
Plastic bag 		10 g
One banana 		80 g
Paperback book 	1 kg
Being cremated 	80 kg
Buying and using a computer 					200 kg
Flying from Los Angeles to Barcelona and back 	4.6 tons
Buying a new car								6-15 tons
A space shuttle flight							4600 tons

From Sierra, July-August 2011

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9.  Beyond Pluto and Neptune

Last newsletter we talked about Neptune orbiting the Sun once (on July 12) since its discovery in July 1846.  Poor Pluto takes even longer than that to complete an orbit.  Remember Pluto, the one which caused heartburn when it was demoted from planet to--to some term which I can't remember.  Anyway, it's now (sob) just another Trans-Neptunian Object, TNO for short.  Here's a rundown of what they've found out there beyond Neptune so far--ie, of those big enough to have names:  Sedna, Eris, Quaoar, Haumea, Makemake.  Lots of rocks out there, but they only get a number, not a name.

Look at where this graphic starts--at Saturn, which is close to a billion miles from the Sun and takes 29 1/2 years to orbit the Sun.  It has orbited just three times since I was born.  Hmmm.  

The graphic caption says that on this scale, Sedna would lie 27 inches from the Sun at its greatest distance!  I don't think I'll wait for it to complete its first lap.



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11.  Book Review: For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics, By Walter Lewin, with Warren Goldstein, Review by Devin Powell

Everyone knows that rainbows appear after a storm. But in his new book, Lewin reveals nature’s more unusual rainbows hiding in spray kicked up by ocean waves, in fog swirling around headlights, even in glass particles floating above construction sites.

After more than 30 years of teaching undergraduate physics at MIT, Lewin has honed a toolbox of clear, engaging explanations that present physics as a way of uncovering the world’s hidden wonders. Quirky, playful and brimming with earnestness, each chapter is a joyful sketch of a topic — from Newton’s laws to Lewin’s own pioneering discoveries in X-ray astronomy.

The masterful explainer writes in a conversational style that’s light on math and peppered with real-world examples and autobiographical anecdotes. His grandmother, for instance, taught him that we’re all a little taller when lying down.

Lewin’s creativity offers lessons both for students and for educators. He sucks on cranberry juice to figure out the longest usable snorkel, swings from a giant pendulum to prove Galileo correct and lights cigarettes to create patches of blue sky from a white spotlight. Throughout it all, his sense of wonder is infectious. “It’s so much more important to me for students to remember the beauty of what they have seen than whether they can reproduce what you’ve written on the blackboard,” he writes.

As a physicist and an enthusiastic art collector, Lewin seems equally at home with Newton and van Gogh. Both, he writes, can provide everyone with “new ways of seeing.”

(From either Science News or Scientific American.  I lost the reference.)

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12.  Park steward Gary Schwantes and Hip Bones playing the Bay Area starting next week

Hip Bones Website:  http://www.hipbones.net/

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13.  Walking in the body of being

Essay - From High Country News May 16, 2011 issue by Sharman Apt Russell





In 1656, 23-year-old Baruch Spinoza, a Portuguese Jew in Amsterdam, was excommunicated by his community and formally cursed to the end of his days. The young man's supposed heresies were likely related to a burgeoning  pantheism, which he would later develop more fully -- the idea of God as an infinite being who contains everything in the world. God is existence itself, the universe, Nature, what is. Spinoza believed we were all modes in this Body of Being. We live in the Mind and Body of God, which by definition is perfect. What we perceive as imperfect, as pain and suffering, is a problem of our limited human understanding.

Today, in the philosophy called scientific pantheism, the universe with all its laws and properties is an interrelated whole that we can rightly consider sacred. In this marvelous universe, we are connected to everything. We have a relationship with everything. I have come to suspect that some of my existential loneliness -- and my angst about the future of this planet -- comes from the fact that I focus on just a few of these relationships and ignore so many others.

Which brings me to the pinacate beetle, genus Eleodes, which has roughly 120 species in the Western United States. You know this guy, marching about on long legs with raised rear end and lowered front, at home in desert, shrubs and mountains. Eleodes comes from the Greek for olive-like, the insect's general shape, and "pinacate" stems from the Aztec pinacatl for black beetle. It's also known as the clown beetle, for its habit of raising its posterior in a kind of headstand, and as the stinkbug, for the chemicals it emits while in that position. The particular species I have grown to admire, the one I stop and greet -- sometimes out loud -- is about an inch long: smooth, shiny, elegant (that attractive pinched waist in the thorax region), with the jet-black of obsidian and a hint of Aztec grandeur. ...

But also a little comic. Trundling across the path. A little officious. Then that headstand! You have to smile. Could a beetle be more personable than this?

I should admit that some insects make me anxious. Soft pulpy larvae, the plump bodies of moths -- it's that squishy element, the possibility of insides unexpectedly becoming outsides. By contrast, the hard carapace of the pinacate is what one guidebook describes as "extremely durable-looking." Its carcasses can last for years in the desert, like the debris of old cars.

I also like the beetle's public nature, the way it goes out for a walk much like I do, active year-round, even in the day if the weather is cool. The insect is looking for food, bits of grasses and forbs. I'm looking for beauty, insight, exercise. Often enough in the rural West, I get all three.

The pinacate's defense against predators is what permits it to be so visible. Eleodes armata can spray a noxious brew multiple times and as far as 20 inches. For humans, these chemicals are painful if you get them in your eyes. Some animals have found a way around this, of course. Before eating them, skunks roll the beetles in dirt, letting them discharge their offensive fluids. Grasshopper mice simply jam the insect tail-end into the sand and start with the head.

Even so, the pinacate has a certain air of fearlessness. It's already come a long way, from tiny eggs to pupae and adult. In a laboratory, this development can take nine months. The miracle of metamorphosis. The constancy of change. Insects understand this.

Yes, I know. The sin of anthropomorphosis. It's absurd that I think, "Oh, a friendly face!" when I see a pinacate trundling along the path. Up close, the face of a beetle is hardly friendly, and in any case why would the pinacate be friendly toward me -- an impossible giant casting an enormous shadow? You're Eleodes obscures. I'm Homo sapiens. We don't have that much in common. Or do we?

Call me an unrequited lover. But I claim this relationship. When I do, like Spinoza, I find myself walking through the Mind and Body of God, another mode in the Body of Being. Later in the day, I may also have a relationship with sacred datura or hairstreak butterflies. As a conflicted introvert, I need my solitary walks. Yet I don't want, really, to be alone.

The truth is: I'm not.
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.