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Winter Solstice 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

Winter starts now in the northern hemisphere, Summer south of the equator. Rendered in Catfood Earth (Windows, Android).​ Now read why mornings will continue to get darker for the next couple of weeks.


Four Parties

The Washington Post fantasizes about a four party system:

"If we assign members of Congress to political parties based on the spending votes, we end up with four parties. The Liberals bucked the Democratic president to oppose the spending package. The Democrats voted for it. The Republicans followed Boehner and McConnell's lead. The Conservatives didn't."

It's time.

News: The War Nerd: More proof the US defense industry has nothing to do with defending America

News: Prototype Companion Cube, 1980

Prototype Companion Cube, 1980

And I ordered my 80s outfit right before reading this... (posting mainly to test my spanking new Feedly integration)

Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods

Coastal redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Parson Jones is over 310 feet high, Colonel Armstrong over 1,400 years old.

Hike starts at 38.532406, -123.002853 (Google Earth, Google Maps).

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park on the Sonoma coast. Stunning views, plentiful seals and some cool tide pools (although the rocks on the way down are like greased butter). Apparently the sandstone from Salt Point was used to pave San Francisco which goes a long way to explain the state of the streets...

Hike starts at 38.566568, -123.331860 (Google Earth, Google Maps).

Book reviews for November 2014

You're Not Much Use to Anyone by David Shapiro

You're Not Much Use to Anyone by David Shapiro


Maybe I missed something but a character I didn't particularly care for got a blog which got fairly popular and then ran out of steam. If it wasn't short I don't think I'd have finished it.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


A World War Two yarn of intersecting French and German lives - bit players dragged into the war. Affecting and very well written.


Night sky from Marin Headlands

Night sky from Marin Headlands

15 second exposure from a NatureBridge night hike last night. Then s'mores!

California 2014 Propositions

California 2014 Propositions

My quick voting guide for the California 2014 Propositions:

1: Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.

Yes: Doesn't help with the current drought but might help with the next one.

2: State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

Yes: Should help even out funding by forcing the state to save excess capital gains revenue.

45: Healthcare Insurance. Rate Changes. Initiative Statute.

No. We have Covered California now. Not clear that this helps.

46: Drug and Alcohol Testing Of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

No. Too many issues in one confusing package.

47: Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Yes. Time to stop putting everyone in prison already,

48: Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.

Yes. I'm not a casino fan in general and the whole compensation through casino monopolies mystifies me. But that's the system we have and this seems like it's a tribal casino on newly minted tribal land. I'm not likely to go there but I don't see a great reason to block it.


San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures

San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures

My voting guide for the San Francisco 2014 ballot measures:

A: San Francisco Transportation and Road Improvement Bond

Yes: This borrows half a billion dollars to improve bike lanes, transit lanes, pedestrian crossings, etc. I walk, drive and bike around San Francisco as well as taking MUNI. We're killing too many people, especially pedestrians, and need to do a better job.

B: Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth

No: More money to MUNI from population growth instead of tax base growth. These seem like they should be related and if not fix the tax base not the funding formula.

C: Fund; Public Education Enrichment Fund; Children and Families Council; Rainy Day Reserve

Yes: Continues existing universal preschool for 4-year-olds and other kids programs.

D: Retiree Health Benefits for Former Redevelopment Agency and Successor Agency Employees

Yes: This fixes a kink in benefits for a few city employees. Seems fair.

E: Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

No. I'm somewhat torn on this one. It probably would reduce sugar consumption but is that displaced spending going to broccoli? It's a regressive tax and I'd rather see more effort on education or making healthier alternatives more available and appealing.

F: Pier 70

Yes: Looks like a good development.

G: Additional Transfer Tax on Residential Property Sold Within 5 Years of Purchase

No. Covers way too many sales without many exemptions. Unfair to property owners.

H: Requiring Certain Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields To Be Kept As Grass With No Artificial Lighting

No: H and I are fight over installing artificial turf on the fields by the Beach Chalet. I've played soccer on gopher-ridden grass and it's lethal. I don't want to be responsible for twisted ankles so no on H and yes on I.

I: Renovation of Playgrounds, Walking Trails, and Athletic Fields

Yes. See H.

J: Minimum Wage Increase

Yes: It would be nice if more people who work in San Francisco could afford to live in San Francisco.

K: Affordable Housing

No: Not because it's a bad idea to add more affordable housing but it's a non-binding policy statement and doesn't actually seem to change anything.

L: Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities

No: This seeks to change policy to favor cars over other transit options. Nuts.


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Robert Ellison's blog.

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