January 2012

after 1/17/12, here








"A123 says batteries for Fisker have potential safety issue" Craig Trudell, Bloomberg News.

"A123 Systems, the maker of batteries for electric vehicles, said it found a 'potential safety issue' in batteries it supplies to Fisker Automotive."


"New Fisker Karma hybrid ready for a road test" by Patrick May at contracostatimes.com.

"You could almost hear them purring this week inside the Palo Alto showroom, the automotive equivalent of cheetahs lined up behind the floor-to-ceiling windows, each one ready to pounce.

The new Fisker Karma has arrived. Hot off the factory floor in Finland, 14 of the sleek electric hybrids are cooling their wheels at the corner of El Camino Real and Arastradero Road. The design is curvy enough to be X-rated. The 403-horsepower engine practically begs to be taken out and driven hard. And despite a battery problem that Fisker says will be fixed by Sunday, their environmental credentials are beyond reproach.

You can drive one off the lot for just north of $100,000, with a guilt-free conscience for no extra charge.

But you better hurry. Because earlier this week, the new dealership's managing director, Gary Anderson, was slapping SOLD signs onto one Karma windshield after another.

'This is fun,' said Anderson, a 27-year veteran of upscale car lots who has been walking around on a cloud ever since the showroom opened in October."









"California electric vehicle maker Aptera closes doors" at sfgate.com.

"Paul Wilbur, president and CEO of electric vehicle manufacturer Aptera just announced the company is closing today. The company was headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif., the district of House Republican Darrell Issa, a big critic of bankrupt Fremont solar manufacturer Solyndra.

Aptera hoped to make a three-wheeled electric car in the $30,000 range but has been unable to find private investors to match a conditional Energy Department loan committment of $150 million."





"Special Report: Breakaway Wealth" at washingtonpost.com.

"An ongoing series about how the rich are pulling away from the rest of America."















Kubik sends a

Happy New Year!


The Jive Ace's "Bring Me Sunshine"



remember 2012 is, also

The Year of the Dragon







at the grounds at the state fair, Rutland, Vermont, September 1941

Library of Congress photo courtesy Bob Kubik






"The electric car future that seemed so exotic and so distant just a few years ago is here, and California will again set the tone for the industry and the rest of the nation" writes Mark Glover at scrippsnews.com.

Chevrolet Volt

"Long the nation's top auto market -- 10 percent to 12 percent of new-car sales nationwide are made in California -- the state is even more of a leader in environmentally friendly vehicles."















Last month I posted

"I just received an email from an old friend who I thought had passed, 'As Mark Twain said, "The report of my death was an exaggeration." ' Yes, I am alive and, if not exactly kicking, walking about . . ."

When my friend hit Berkeley in the'60s with all his belongings in a Ford van, on his first night he wound up at a party in my Parker Street apartment and then stayed the night "on a pallet on the floor". Over the years we've become great friends."


is clearly alive and well






"Talented young musicians run the risk of burning out early" by Tim Page at washingtonpost.com.

"The author G.K. Chesterton called the act of stealing a child's toy the cruelest crime of all. But what if childhood itself is stolen away?

By now, some of you may have run across a certain young soprano named Jackie Evancho. The 11-year old from Pittsburgh, introduced to the public on the television program 'America's Got Talent,' has since gone on to release two full-length albums, which have collectively sold several million units. PBS went so far as to present a filmed 'live concert' of her album 'Dream With Me' on 'Great Performances,' once the domain of Leonard Bernstein, Vladimir Horowitz and the Metropolitan Opera.

According to Evancho's Web site: 'Her first on-air performance, in which she sung Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro,"' delighted the judges. .?.?. 'I can't believe that from this tiny body, this huge mature voice you have,' said Sharon Osbourne. Piers Morgan said, 'This is one of the most extraordinary performances that I've ever seen on "America's Got Talent." ' Howie Mandel simply stated, 'You're an angel. You're a superstar.'?

Very well: By certain standards, Evancho may now be a 'superstar,' as Andy Warhol would have understood the term. But she has many years of work ahead of her before she becomes any sort of musician - and I fear that this premature and unwarranted exposure will ruin a genuine and valuable talent. A sweet-faced child with a naturally pretty voice is being primed, packaged and promoted as though she were a finished artist. And she isn't - not yet anyway. Right now she reminds me a lot more of JonBenet Ramsey than she does of Maria Callas."

I've known Tim off-and-on through the years--we corresponded some when he was music critic for the Boston Globe.

Personally, I've thought the Jackie Evancho phenomena creepy.




"Electric vehicles' fast-evolving technologies are unfamiliar to drivers, mechanics" by Mark Glover in the Detroit Free Press.

"Those electric vehicles popping up in driveways look a lot like their gas-powered cousins. But under the hood, they're different machines, and their potential problems are foreign to many drivers and mechanics alike.

Any suggestion that they might be more dangerous -- true or not -- could stop sales cold, analysts say. That's why the industry shuddered last month when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the Chevrolet Volt's lithium-ion battery pack.

NHTSA said two Volt batteries caught fire after crash simulations -- one three weeks after the crash, the other a week later.

A nationwide survey by Bandon, Ore.-based CNW Research showed a sharp decline in consumer consideration of the Volt in the aftermath of the NHTSA investigation, even though Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Volt is safe to drive.

General Motors took the unusual step of offering free loaner cars to concerned Volt owners during the probe. It was characterized as a goodwill gesture, not an admission of safety concerns. GM says it has had few takers.

GM insists that the Volt -- which the automaker spent years and millions of dollars developing -- is solid, wave-of-the-future technology ... not unlike early internal combustion engine-powered cars that went through some growing pains.

'This technology should inspire confidence and pride, not raise any concern or doubt,' said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. . . .

'It's a huge challenge,' said Doug Brauner, a certified mechanic who runs two auto shops in the Sacramento area. 'We're just now after all of these years seeing an acceptable number of techs that have the appropriate amount of hybrid training.'

When it comes to fully electric vehicles, he said, 'I have yet to see anybody in this marketplace who has received appropriate and reasonable training.' "

Brauner said the auto service industry was 'slow to react to hybrid training. I hope our industry is a little more proactive' with EVs."

The full article appears in the West County Times and ends,

"Bauner and other local mechanics agreed on another break with the past: EV owners should never grab a wrench and start tinkering with the electronic components of their car.

'I don't want to scare anybody but you could kill yourself by doing the wrong thing.' "


Which gives further credence to Jerry Victor's comment that firefighters are concerned about their safety when fighting electric car fires.















Kubik emails a speech by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, The Saving American Democracy Amendment.

An Independent in the senate, he's also known as the former Socialist Mayor of Burlington Vermont.

Whatever your politics, this video is a straight-ahead twelve minutes.



Tavis Smiley's conversation with Harry Belafonte

is more than worth-a-watch and is here.



Quite exceptional really, is

Cliff Miller, Richmond Ramblers MC member email

a video of the parallel universe

Beauty of Pollination








Miscellaneous Ramblings

Reading printed material involves all our senses. You see, feel, smell, even hear the medium. And so sense its great variety--the crackle of magazine pages, the roughness of newsprint, the smooth slickness of the glossy magazine, the old of used books, the exploding color of the new book cover. All this is part of reading the printed page. Computer reading on the other hand is less fully involving, more a head trip--all keyboards"the same" all monitors "glowing." Does this mean you write differently for each medium? Maybe.


Things happened here in 2010.

While surrounding cities and towns are in financial difficulty including bankruptcy, Our Town is somewhat financially stable in large part because of the policies and administration of our City Manager, Phil Kamlarz. Yet unfunded liabilities loom large.

For the first time in over thirty years, the new Police Chief was chosen from outside the department. The full effect of this is yet to be felt.

Our West-Berkeley Bowl has become wildly successful, as has its traffic plan largely drawn up under the guidance of our city workers.

The composition of our City Council has remained the same, for all incumbents were re-elected--boring.

The results of our West-Berkeley Project affirm Leon Trotsky's axiom "A camel is a race horse made by a committee." Apologies to the city workers who labored long and hard to bring some sort of order out the political mishegas.

In less than a year our, our Chamber of Commerce has gone through two Chief Executive Officers and at last count had not yet found a third, proving that success in business does not necessarily include "playing well with others."

And the Ed Roberts Campus has opened, allowing its members to do their good works, affirming that indeed "The meek shall inherit the earth."


And there is in 21st Century Berkeley something to live-by in addition to "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Which would be "That which you resist, persists."


Yet, we all seemed to have survived and are more or less well.















The Most Significant Event of 2011?

Well, . . . a world ended.

Not as Harold Camping predicted, in a grand apocalyptic way, but personally, even quietly. There's not a person I know who hasn't experienced a traumatic end to something taken for granted, often dear.

Funny, the press missed it-- preoccupied I guess with ridiculing Camping.

"I'm sorry I can't hear you."

"I have a cigar in my ear."

Gordon and The Dorf about 1962


















Crescent Moon Tower Skyscraper in Dubai


" 'Time cloak' hid event in experiment, physiicists say" at washingtonpost.com.

"A team of physicists at Cornell University has created a wrinkle in time. Actually, it's more like a teeny tiny moth hole in time. Inside it things can occur that are entirely undetectable, at least to ordinary observers. It's as if they never happened.

This phenomenon, known as 'temporal cloaking,' is the latest addition to a world that once existed only in children's literature and science fiction - a place where objects are invisible and events are unrecorded.

The physics community let out a small gasp six years ago when researchers reported the first successful 'spatial cloaking,' in which light is bent around an object in a way that makes it disappear from view. The new report in the journal Nature shows how they can play with something that would seem to be even harder to manipulate: the perception of time.

'We think of time in the way that other people think of space. What other people are doing in space, we can do it in time,' said Moti Fridman, a researcher at the School of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University .

'I think it's a big step forward,' said Vladimir M. Shalaev, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, who has worked on spatial cloaking. 'It's another example of the beauty of "transformational optics,'which is behind all these ideas.'

Temporal cloaking, like spatial cloaking, is not magic. It follows all the ironclad laws of physics and is to some extent a parlor trick, albeit performed in a highly unusual parlor. Whether it will have a use isn't known, as the hole in time created by the Cornell team lasts only 50 trillionths of a second."




Of Potter Creek's XOMA pharmalive.com reports in their Warnings feature,

"XOMA Streamlines Operations to Invest in Value-Creating Activities.

XOMA Corporation (Nasdaq:XOMA) today announced it has implemented significant organizational and structural changes that are designed to sharpen the Company's focus on value-creating opportunities led by gevokizumab (XOMA 052) and the Company's unique antibody discovery and development capabilities.

XOMA plans to reduce personnel by 84 positions, or 34%, including 50 positions to be eliminated immediately and the remainder by the end of the first quarter of this year."






our Cameron emails

You may already know about the new barbeque joint named "Smoke" that opened on San Pablo, next to the car wash and down the street from the Trieste ... it's a nice addition to the neighborhood. Claudia and I tried their barbecued beef brisket sandwich and smoked salmon, both get high marks. The real treat is their homemade chocolate pecan pie! Check out what those foodies are saying on Chowhound.

Happy New Year!


here's more from chowhound

The address is 2434 San Pablo and the phone is 510 548-8801.
Hours are wed-friday 11-2, sat-sun 11-4, closed Monday and Tuesday

The website is here.

Menu includes a Feta Leek Tart, Salads and Texas Slow Smoked Beef
Brisket and South Carolina Pulled Pork plates, sandwiches and sliders.
Her Chocolate Pecan Pie won the Blue Ribbon at the Blanco County Fair
and is to die for. She is serving fresh squeezed lemonade. No sodas.

The food is fresh and locally sourced including the vegetables which
come from Catalon Farms.

Sounds promising.

Christmas Eve Day we went to our Everett & Jones for to-go barbecue--every bit as good as I remember with homemade hot-links, potato salad and store-bought white bread. Off-and-on I've gone to an Everett & Jones since their opening in the '70s.

Everett & Jones history is here.

Also while waiting, we picked up one of Berkeley's oldest (48 years) small newspapers, Berkeley Tri-City Post





"Berkeley city manager not unique retiring with bigger pension than salary" Daniel Borenstein, Staff columnist at contracostatimes.com.

"In November, Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz traded his $250,000-a-year job for retirement with a starting pension of about $266,000 annually.

The deal highlights the city's generous pension program, which is one of the better plans in the state but by no means unique. The costly program is also $420 million underfunded, a shortfall equal to more than three years of city payroll, according to the city's latest actuarial reports.

Kamlarz's hefty retirement pay was predictable. Three years ago, Mayor Tom Bates successfully persuaded his City Council colleagues to grant the city manager a series of raises to keep him on the job. As Bates pointed out then, Kamlarz could have collected just as much in retirement.

The irony was that the raises didn't solve the problem. Rather, they ensured that Kamlarz's pension would increase by roughly a like amount whenever he finally walked out the door.

As a result, whereas he could have left with a starting annual pension of $219,000 in January 2009, he left at the end of 2011 with 21 percent more a year for the rest of his life. The retirement pay also comes with annual cost-of-living adjustments.
It shows how absurdly lucrative some public employee pension programs have become. While Kamlarz's salary was more than those of other city workers, the pension formula is the same for most other Berkeley employees. Indeed, about one-fourth of agencies covered by the giant California Public Employees' Retirement System are at least as generous."

"Steel workers spend emotional last day at plant--On his last day of work, David Herrera of Bay Point, Calif., tells the story of getting fired. . . " Hannah Dreier, Contra Costa Times.

"Tuesday began like any other workday for David Herrera.

Only his mother's grave, distant expression as she cleaned their already immaculate Bay Point home suggested this would be his last day at Pacific Steel, where he worked for more than a decade.

A recent federal immigration audit found that approximately 200 employees, a third of the foundry's workforce, couldn't prove they are legal residents.

The company has been firing those workers in groups each week since October; the most senior employees worked their last day this week."






"As Population, Consumption Rise, Builder Goes Small" reports Christopher Joyce at npr.org.

"The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations.

That number will continue to rise, of course, and global incomes are likely to rise as well. That means more cars and computers, and bigger homes: the kinds of things Americans take for granted. It's that rise in consumption that has population experts worried.

Klaus Lackner, a physicist at Columbia University's Earth Institute, says as economies improve in places like India and Africa - where populations are growing fastest - they're going to want to live more like we do.

'It's very hard to convince people to stop consumption,' he says.

But maybe the world's next billion will be happy with Hondas instead of Hummers.

'I would expect consumption in the future gets larger, but we also learn how to do things more efficiently,' Lackner says, 'so the raw material consumption may well go down.'

But Lackner says consumption will eventually go up again; you can only tighten your belt so much. Physicist Daniel Kammen at the University of California, Berkeley, says there just isn't much incentive for rich countries to do that anyway.

'In many parts of the world, energy - and I hate to say this - is simply too cheap,' he says.

Kammen, the head of an energy laboratory at Berkeley, says cheap energy enables Western countries to live high on the hog. And people want to copy us."


Patrick Kennedy is building mini-condos in San Francisco and had planned the same for Berkeley but plans fell through here.

office of Selgas Cano in Madrid


"Unshackle land, go for high density" asks Times of India.

"Should Delhi go vertical? Town planners believe it is a wrong question to begin with. The question we should ask is how best we can house our people and manage population densities within the city, says author and urban studies expert Gautam Bhan, who is currently pursuing a PhD in urban planning at University of California, Berkeley.

While talk of Delhi going vertical - an idea mooted by urban development minister Kamal Nath - conjures up images of gigantic highrises painted across the Delhi skyline, experts in urban design say the best way to solve Delhi's housing woes lies in high-density low-rises . "When we think of Delhi going vertical, why are we thinking of going from three floors to 45 floors? Why don't we think, instead, of going from three to five floors?'' asks Bhan. He believes that the debate about Delhi going vertical has more to do with the image of the city as a worldclass metro like Manhattan and not about filling the gap in Delhi's housing market."





"California's Medical Marijuana Morass" David Freed at miller-mccune.com.

"In Northern California, where the drug laws can change with the mile markers, a supplier of medical marijuana risks going one toke over the (county) line.

In California, annual retail sales of medical marijuana may be as high as $1.3 billion. But to use it, people have to grow it, and deliver it, and the laws governing the substance are anything but clear. What's more, the feds' official position is: no marijuana is legal. And they're cracking down. Writer David Freed takes us on a road trip through the medical marijuana morass as part of the 'Medicine on the Front Lines' report in the January-February 2012 issue of Miller-McCune magazine.

We're riding south out of Northern California's Humboldt County, pushing 75 miles an hour along the 101 freeway in a tomato-red Toyota Matrix hatchback with a tiny quartz figurine of Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of compassion, glued to the dashboard. Stashed in the trunk, in a cheap plastic gym bag, are two pounds of what many would say is some of the best marijuana in America.

The Toyota's owner and driver is 'Mr. X.' (His wife asked that his real name not be used for fear that federal authorities, who recently began cracking down on the medical cannabis industry, might target him.) He's a bespectacled, sandals-wearing 57-year-old college graduate whose day job is inspecting properties for insurance and mortgage brokers." 



"Our State Legislators Get A+ in College Education" reports piedmontpatch.com.

"California leads the nation in the percent of state legislators who are college graduates, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education study. Piedmont's representatives in Sacramento are among those with college degrees. . . .

A Chronicle of Higher Education study reports that California leads the nation in the percentage of state legislators who are college graduates. The survey found that 89.9 percent of California solons have at least one degree, compared to last-place New Hampshire with 53.4 percent. (Possibly relevant is that California's 120 legislators are full-time, while New Hampshire's 424 are part-time.)

State Senator Loni Hancock, who represents Piedmont, has a BA from Ithaca College in New York and an MA from the Wright Institute. Hancock will be up for reelection this year. . . .

With redistricting going into effect this year, Piedmont will be moving from the 16th Assembly District to the newly configured 15th District. Much of that area is currently in the 14th Assembly District, represented by Nancy Skinner.

Skinner is among the 48 percent of California legislators with college education beyond a bachelor's degree. She holds a BS degree in natural resources and a master's in education, both from UC Berkeley."

Which proves?
















" 'Klez California' Klezmer Street Party - Saul's Deli in North Berkeley" is a youtube video.


Eric and Ruthie Shelton are reopening their Sketch Ice Cream parlor at a new location sometime in early Spring--they have leased the corner shop at 2070 4th. Though offering mainly ice cream they plan to also have pastries and confections.


900 GRAYSON has a mention in the Michelin Guide. Well Ok then. Althogether seven of our restaurants are mentioned.




Go figure!

My server Earthlink went to a new program last mid-year at which my site stats turned to s#%t--wide variations in volume day-to-day, late reporting, a month with no stats, etc.

But toward the end of November the statistics stabilized but . . . low-and-behold, . . . readership has doubled, some times tripled. Except for the dramatic increase, the pattern mimics that of the previous almost-decade. of our existence---and still the same Ole Fart cutting and pasting, and typing this stuff in a garage.




"Lure of Chinese Tuition Pushes Out Asian-Americans" Oliver Staley at bloombergnews.com.

"Kwanhyun Park, the 18-year-old son of Korean immigrants, spent four years at Beverly Hills High School earning the straight As and high test scores he thought would get him into the University of California, San Diego. They weren't enough.

The sought-after school, half a mile from the Pacific Ocean, admitted 1,460 fewer California residents this year to accept higher-paying students from out-of-state, many from China."




"What It Takes To Get Into UC Berkeley" by Jason Ma at forbes.com.

"My previous article provided a little bit of guidance on what it takes to get admitted to Stanford, an elite university. In this article, I'd like to highlight a few topical issues and provide tips that might help juniors and younger students in high school prepare for UC Berkeley ('Cal'), Stanford's healthy archrival across the Bay.

Although its ranking in America's Top Colleges has been mixed, and although its alumni network cohesiveness is no match to those of the better endowed private schools like Princeton, Harvard, or even Notre Dame, UC-Berkeley was again named one of the top five universities globally in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2011.

A record 52,966 students applied for freshmen admission to Berkeley this past year, with an overall admit rate of 25%. A range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including business and engineering, remains top ranked. UC-Berkeley College of Engineering (my alma mater)'s average weighted GPA of the admitted freshmen is a supremely demanding 4.46, and its freshmen admit rate is substantially lower than Cal's overall admit rate. About 25% of the 16,018 transfer applicants were accepted, but only 6.7% of the transfer applicants were admitted to the Haas School of Business.

Expect competitive intensity in admissions to rise for in-state Californians at UC Berkeley, and increasing enrollments from out-of-state and international students.

Though Berkeley is a public university, the State of California's funding to the school's annual budget of $1.9 billion has diminished in recent years to only 12%. Since 2004, state support has dropped from being Berkeley's chief source of funding to its fourth largest, behind (1) federal research funding, (2) philanthropy, and (3) tuition."



"From Homeless Barracks to U.C. Berkeley: The Jamal Samuel Story" at huffingtonpost.com.

"The road to U.C. Berkeley was not an easy one for Moreno Valley's Jamal Samuel. It included 4:15 am treks along the barren landscape of the former March Air Force base to catch the first of two buses that would get him to Riverside's North High School.

Unbeknownst to most of his fellow students and teachers, Jamal spent his junior and senior year of high school living at King Hall -- a homeless shelter on the base run by Path of Life Ministries. Once military housing, the barracks have been converted into small one-room apartments for the homeless."




"New Robot Design Gets Lizard Tail" Conner Flynn at technbob.com.

"To build a better robot, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley are adding lizard-like tails. They have created a new kind of robot inspired by lizards. Leaping lizards use their tails to control the orientation of their bodies when leaping through the air, and that's what the new design is all about.


The video shows how both the lizards and the robot are able to control their body orientation with the tail. The researchers came up with a mathematical model to determine how much tail swing would be necessary to compensate for various amounts of angular momentum of the body."

















"Berkeley city clerk dies after falling down stairs in Oakland home" Harry Harris and Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune.

"Berkeley City Clerk Deanna Despain, who was found dead Saturday morning in her home in Oakland's Oakmore district, apparently died from injuries suffered in a fall down a staircase, authorities said Monday.

Despain, 37, was found just before 2 a.m. Saturday by her husband inside their home in the 4100 block of Lyman Road. Authorities said he found her upon his return home from a business meeting.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities believe she had been dead for a few hours before she was found."






How can the dramatic increase in my website traffic be explained? Largely by the power of social media through linking, and by "computer accelerated-time" witnessed the relative explosion of internet business and the unusually rapid obcelescene of hard and software. Computer time, like dog and cat time, is "faster-fast." Of course, there's magic.




"RadiantBrands Creates a New Brand Experience for Pet Food Express With Roseville Store Opening" is a story relase at sbwire.com.

Berkeley Creative Agency Instrumental in Launching New Shopping Environment for People and their Pets at Fountains Mall.
RadiantBrands, a full-service creative branding agency, recently completed a new assignment for Pet Food Express with the opening of a new store location at the Fountains shopping center in Roseville, California.

This is the largest Pet Food Express location opened to date, featuring an integrated in-store brand experience for customers and their pets.

The Fountains location provides a unique setting for the new Pet Food Express store, with a dramatic atrium. Radiant capitalized on this architectural feature by creating a mural that wraps around three walls, depicting a whimsical view of the Sacramento Capital and the Pet Food Express signature dog snowboarding across the scene. Pet Food Express wants customers to know that dogs are welcome at the store, so RadiantBrands designed a dog park with grass, a park bench and a metal fence accented with animal silhouettes. Other innovative features include new signage and a special checkout area where customers can leave purchases for pick up later. And the store features 'iPaw' stations with iPads that can be used to access product information on the company web site.

'We have been working with Pet Food Express for a number of years to help them expand the brand experience for their line of natural and holistic pet products,' said Steven Donaldson, co-founder of RadiantBrands. 'Our objective in created a branded retail experience for Pet Food Express always has been to tie the store to the neighborhood, which we have done with artwork depicting the local area and other features. We also have extended the in-store experience to the web with the help of the "iPaw" stations using an iPad customized for Pet Food Express. The entire experience is designed to bring the Pet Food Express brand to life for the visitor.' "

Steve's firm is here in west-Berkeley and they have been known to throw "beer bashes" now and then.



"Flotype garners more seed funding for enterprise Bridge" by Barb Darrow at gigaom.com.

"Flotype just scored $1.4 million in seed money for ramping up an ambitious enterprise software push. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners, Yuri Milner and Salesforce.com.

The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup has set quite a goal for itself. It's building, as GigaOM reported earlier, a 'massive scale, enterprise-grade bidirectional communication between any server and any device, ' in the words of CEO Darshan Shankar, CEO and co-founder. Now that technology has a name: 'Bridge.'

Bridge, which Shankar said is already being tested in the field by unnamed businesses, aims to make it easier for software developers to build applications that flow from any end-user device to and from corporate server-based applications. To do that, it has to handle all the heavy lifting and complicated work of real-time communications so developers can focus on what they do best. Theoretically, developers could also use Bridge to rebuild back end applications, but the initial push is to foster fast communication, borrowing on lessons learned from massively scaled web applications like Facebook and Twitter, Shankar said."




















"Laying down the laws" by Jim Sanders at sacbee.com.

"New California laws taking effect [January 1, 2012 ] target issues ranging from the open display of unloaded handguns to the sale of shark fins as well as recognition of societal contributions by gays and lesbians.

Here is a sampling

November ballot measures--SB 202 restricts ballot initiatives and referendums to the November ballot, when turnout tends to be higher and more advantageous to Democrats. (Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley)"




"Tax break for students sought in Calif. bill" Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle.

"As tuition steadily climbs at California's public universities, low-income students turn to financial aid for help and high-income students to the family bank account.

But middle-class students, who do not qualify for financial aid, often have nowhere to turn and simply don't enroll.

A state lawmaker is hoping that a tax break of up to $500 per year for each student from a family earning $80,001 to $140,000 would help."


"Bergeron Scholars Program for Women Expanded to University of California at Berkeley" at businesswire.com.

"Sandra and Douglas Bergeron Increase Commitment to $1.5 million to Fund Scholarship and Mentoring Program for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

Sandra and Douglas G. Bergeron announced today the establishment of a scholarship-mentorship endowment at the University of California, Berkeley, for undergraduate women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This extends the very successful program initiated in 2006 at Georgia State University to assist high-potential women with financial awards and a one-on-one mentorship program. Since 2006, 25 Bergeron Scholars have been named and several have already graduated and begun exciting technology careers.

'We look forward to working with them in recruiting some of the top women executives in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley to participate in the unique mentoring aspect of the program.'

At UC Berkeley, five women will be selected each year to receive scholarship benefits, academic support and pairings with executive level women mentors in their chosen fields. Mrs. Bergeron will serve as chairwoman of the mentorship committee tasked with the recruitment of successful female technology executives."


"Bay Area biomedical firms seek financing options" by Steve Johnson at contracostatime.com.

"Finding venture capital increasingly difficult to obtain, biomedical companies in the Bay Area and elsewhere in California are seeking financing through licensing deals, corporate investment funds and patient advocacy groups, according to a survey released Tuesday."








Good Afternoon Ron,
I work for Center for Early Education located at 1035 Grayson Street in Berkeley.
We have been experiencing a really bad chemical electrical burning smell in the afternoons. We have determined that the smell is not any electrical problem in our facility and is blowing in from a neighboring source. I was wondering if you would have any insight on who this may be? This happens in the afternoon starting at about 2:30pm and does not occur every day (this week it has been Monday and Wednesday).
Thank you so much,
Leah Dahlgren
Executive Administrative Assistant
CEID - Center for Early Intervention on Deafness
1035 Grayson Street, Berkeley, CA 94710


Let's be frank, there are those in Berkeley who through arrogance or ignorance and perhaps greed are "pissing in our environment."



Just who was that woman clad only in a towel on the steps of one of our Potter Creek neighbors?










"Berkeley Schools Top Bad Air Quality List" reports Kristin McFarland in our Planet.

"Last week's USA Today report that placed three Berkeley schools in the first percentile of schools with bad air quality has activists, community members and school directors in an uproar.

The report studied industrial pollution outside 127,800 nationwide schools for eight months. Thirty-nine Berkeley schools made the list, all within the worst 55 percent. The Black Pine Circle School, the Via Center and the Nia House Learning Center, all located in West Berkeley, were in the first percentile, meaning that the air outside
the schools is worse at only 377 other schools around the country. Berkeley High fell in the eighth percentile, with worse air at only 9,722 schools.

Since the article's publication, the issue has received wide media coverage with all involved parties pointing fingers at probable causes. For many, it's one more example of the health hazards caused by Pacific Steel Casting Company; for some, it's a sign that the Berkeley government should take a more active role in improving its own environment. . . .

. . . the USA Today study was more comprehensive than any study to date because it included levels of manganese and other metals. The study, he said, was not conducted by 'people running around with test kits,' as Pacific Steel representatives have suggested to other publications, but with science approved by the air-
monitoring district.

However, Larson also said that the study's results are limited because it monitored the air quality for only eight months of the year; with a longer study, more schools might have made the list because of changes in the prevailing winds. . . .

California Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has called for government action in monitoring the air quality at schools."


Potter Creek's French School was not mentioned in any west-Berkeley school air quality reports that I have read.


Here is the full report. Check it out!

"Toxic air and Americas schools" is a Special Report on USA Today.

Our French School was apparently monitored at the 9th and Heinz campus.

Here are the results.

E Bay French/Amer/Ecole Biling.

National Rank 25th percentile

(So, 75 % of the schools monitored had better air?)

31,506 of 127,800 schools have worse air.

Exposure to cancer-causing toxics
Ranked 5 of 10

Exposure to other toxic chemicals
Ranked 3 of 10


More and a School Finder here.

















where can I get me one of these niffty T-shirts?

Taken at last Summer at Berkelyside's Jazz at Fourth Street booth, Lance is balancing the entire tent on his head.


The California university system is planning to ban smoking over the next two years--ganja excepted. (I don't make this stuff up.)


Tired of potholes, bumpy seams, and crumbling pavement? Take a drive down newly paved, smooth as a baby's bottom, Sacramento Street.


Hostess, the maker of Twinkies has filed for bankruptcy again.











When Kimar, Moe, I and several others flew to London in the '80s, Kimar, my old friend, had Pan Pam's flight attendent serve me Twinkies as we flew over the North Pole. I've loved Twinkies since childhood in Milwaukee.

"Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into

What America Eats









Weatherford BMW's

new building

Located between the two existing sturctures, it will be a fully modern facility.

















today is

Martin Luther King Day

Miss Evelyn and The Dorf on McGee Street about 1962

just after arriving in Berkeley to start a new life



The extraordinary "Wynton Marsalis: My relationship to MLK" is at cbsnews.com.

video is here or on photo

" As America celebrates the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. today, Wynton Marsalis makes his debut as CBS News cultural correspondent. Using his words and music, the jazz great has created a stirring personal essay reflecting on King's long-lasting impact."


















Councilwoman Maio emails of the MLK posts


I'm sending the Marsalis link to my kids.  We're lucky to have so talented and decent a young person. 

Sweet little photo of you two back then . . .



our Cameron emails


San Pablo is becoming the barbeque capital of the East Bay ... A new restaurant from the chef at Brown Sugar Kitchen ... based on her inventive, delicious cuisine at BSK ... should be good! 

Cameron Woo


our Jarad emails

A New York Times Editorial

This truly is a wonderful, a hysterical column that makes an excellent point about the absurdity of America and American politics, which we appreciate even more in my household since we understand well the pros and cons of both Europe & the United States.


And, The Kubik emails

Great questions that won't be asked at the run up to the elections. . . . at questions-republicans-must-answer-in-debates-commentary-by-ramesh-ponnuru.

Oh ma gosh! RP



Andrew Stanton, of the Disney Studios in our Fantasy building, is working on the new Disney release, John Carter--the film to be released this March.


The peaceful end to our last Berkeley Occupy? A result of fresh thinking at City Hall and innovative planning at Berkeley PD.

LBNL's second campus? Word on The Street is that its location will be announced next month.








"Protecting patients in the workplace" is a report by Ellen Komp at dailycal.org.

"Greetings, UC Berkeley students. Are any of you graduating soon? Do you use marijuana for medical reasons? Do you want to get a job when you graduate? Tough luck.

Many are unaware that the California Supreme Court has ruled that employers may fire anyone who fails a drug test, even legal medical marijuana patients. "




"Lookout! Records is No More" is a story at mxdwn.com.

mxdwn photo

"Berkeley, California based record label Lookout! is officially closed for business."


















Don Yost forwards a Shell/Ferrari Commercial video from friend, James Furuich

Furuich writes

"Though you might enjoy this 2 minute video. Although it says there were no computer graphics involved, hmmm
 Here's a link to a Shell commercial shown in Europe .

Ostensibly, they're selling gasoline, but the cars used in the video steal the show.

Ferrari pulled several of their race cars from various ages out of storage, flew them around the world and filmed them running through the streets of Rome , Rio , New York , Hong Kong, Honolulu and Monaco . No computer graphics these are the original cars on the original streets.

The best part is the sound from the basso-profundo notes of the early, front-engine era, each scene cuts to a later generation, ending with the wail of a modern F1 car.

The sounds alone bring a tear to the eye.

Even if you're not a gearhead, this video will stir the soul. There's just something about 3 liters and 14,000 RPM ! "



"Chocolatiers Bring Latin American Flavor to Elmwood" is a berkeleypatch.com report.

"After Southern California proved 'too hot' for chocolate, the founder of Casa De Chocolates found success in a commercial kitchen in Berkeley. The chocolatier will open a store in Elmwood mid-February."



You gotta love science when

"Liquor triggers pleasure-inducing endorphins" are the results of a new scientific study posted at seattletimes.com.

Imagine, . . . "Scientists have found evidence that liquor triggers the release of pleasure-inducing endorphins in the brain."



Right now to buy Krispy Kremes, I have to drive to Union City or Daly City. If the their city council approves, Krispy Keme will open in Concord.




The 70 applicants for Berkeley Planning Director have now been cut to under a couple dozen with a decision to be made, hopefully, by late Febuary early March.







"11 More Solyndras In Obama Energy Program" is a CBS News video report.

The liberal mediamatters.org believes that it is "a misleading segment painting a skewed picture of the Department of Energy's clean tech investments."



The Washington Post reports of "A welcome rise in manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Fairly or unfairly , President Obama gets blamed for economic disappointments on his watch. By the same token, he gets to crow when things go well - whether he deserves credit or not. So he was entitled on Wednesday to trumpet the fact that U.S. manufacturing employment grew by 334,000 jobs over the last two years - the strongest two-year growth since the late 1990s. That's good news for Mr. Obama's reelection campaign, for the people who got jobs - and for the country, which had been shedding manufacturing jobs even before the Great Recession.

But let's put the celebration in context. U.S. manufacturing is hardly as weak as it is sometimes portrayed. In 2009, U.S. manufacturing output was equal to that of Germany, Italy, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Canada combined, according to the United Nations. In 2010, U.S. manufacturers produced nearly $1.8 trillion in goods (in constant 2005 dollars), about $100 billion more than China did."




from my log

12/30/11--7:12 AM----irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, "burning gas" odor .

12/31/11--7:32 AM---dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor . 3:34 PM---dry air in and irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse.

1/2/12--6:43 AM--dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor.

1/4/12--2:47 PM--"burning gas" odor in front room, mucus membrane irritation, light head, nausea. 3:11 PM--similar. 3:17 PM--dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation.3:32 PM--dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor. 7:54 PM---dirty dry air in front room, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation. 8:20 PM--similar, Marsha has cough attack. 9:17 PM--dirty dry air in front room, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation, burning chest.

1/5/12--9:41 PM---dry burning air in front room, mucus membrane irritation, overrides three HEPA filters.

1/6/12--2:37 PM--dry air in and irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor . 5:35 PM--dry burning air in front room, mucus membrane irritation, overrides HEPA filters. 7:03 PM--dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor.

Last 3 days ~ 7:00AM--short of breath, Marsha light head, dizzy.

1/8/12--9:30 AM---dry air in and irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor. Since ~ 5:45 AM almost all variant of irritant and/or odor were experienced.

1/9/12--7:31 PM--dry burning air in front room, mucus membrane irritation, overrides HEPA filters. 7:55 PM--VERY SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation, short breath, cough. Marsha similar.

1/10/12--9:50 AM--dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation, overrides two HEPA filter, leave.

1/12/12--10:03 AM--dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation, headache. Off-and on all day--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry burning air, overrides HEPA filters.

1/14/12--10:43 AM--glass amnufacturing odor in warehouse

1/15/12--9:00 AM--dry burning air in front room. 2:17 PM---dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor .

1/16/12--9:44 AM--"glass manufacturing" odor in warehouse. 2:29 PM--someone is "pissing in our environment."

1/17/12--12:04 AM--dry air in and irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor. 5:09 PM--VERY dry air in front room, mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor


The mucus membrane irritation,"epoxy/asbestos/hot roofing tar" odor continues periodically throughout many nights, a byproduct I assume of Potter Creek night-shift manufacturing.