"Post Office Buildings With Character, and Maybe a Sale Price" Jim Wilson, The New York Times.

the main post office in Berkeley, Calif

"They are glad to get their mail, send off a package and maybe chat a bit while they still can. In December, the government said it planned to sell it.

'We don't know what's going to happen to this beautiful, Depression-era architectural jewel,' said Sara Meric, 87, a retired script analyst who has used this post office since 1959. 'If, God forbid, this slaughter does go through, some entity should make sure that this building is protected.'

The Santa Monica post office, with its distinctive PWA Moderne style, is one of about 200 post offices around the country, dozens of them architecturally distinctive buildings, that the Postal Service has indicated it may choose to sell in coming years because of its financial problems."        






"King of the Entree Roost at Angeline's" at berkeleypatch.com .

Fried Chicken

"The most popular entrée at Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen in downtown Berkeley is not the gumbo, or the jambalaya, or the Creole-style BBQ shrimp, or the hush puppies, or the fried catfish, or the crawfish etouffee.

If you want something a bit sweet and cool to smooth out the spicy accents of the deeply flavored gumbo at Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen in downtown Berkeley, you could go for the 'swamp water.' "




Café Leila

BPD Ofc Rashawn Cummings Area 4 Coordinator emails

Lieutenant Dave Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department is the Area 4 Commander and he invites anyone who wishes to have coffee with him to join him at: Café Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave, Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, from 2pm to 3pm.



The March 2013 Berkeley PD Newsletter is now available.






"Life on Four Strings"

is a film about virtuoso ukelele player Jake Shimabukuro by Tadashi Nakamura

Upcoming Screenings

March 12 2013, The exclusive PBS Hawai'i broadcast premiere

March 18 2013, FREE UC Berkeley 145 Dwinelle Hall, 6PM, UC Campus, Berkeley, CA

April 20 2013, NVC Memorial Hall, Seattle, WA

May 10 2013, The National PBS Broadcast Premiere




Councilman Worthington emails of events of importance

Tibetan Flag Raising Ceremony; March 10, 8:30am, Civic Center Park, Downtown Berkeley
Berkeley Tenant Union Potluck; March 13, 6:30-8:30pm, Grass Roots House, 2022 Blake, Berkeley between Milvia and Shattuck

Redistricting Berkeley; March 15, The City Council will be voting on new district lines.



"SF housing chief's leave under scrutiny" by John Coté at sfgate.com.

"San Francisco Housing Authority Director Henry Alvarez, who is on paid medical leave, reportedly is setting up a restaurant with his wife in Berkeley."




"Alice Waters' Chez Panisse restaurant closed after fire" Doug Oakley at contracostatimes.com.

"The world-famous Chez Panisse restaurant was damaged by a fire early Friday morning, but a sprinkler in a downstairs dining room may have saved the building, fire officials said.

As the sun rose over the Berkeley hills, a tearful Alice Waters stood in front of the iconic Berkeley institution that she cofounded in 1971, recalling a fire that started more than 30 years ago, as she cooked in the kitchen.

'It brings up a lot of emotional sadness for me,' a barely audible Waters said to rows of news cameras and microphones. 'It reminded me of the first time when the fire took out a wall between the kitchen and the dining room. I'm just glad nobody was in the building.' "










 "February unemployment report: What kind of jobs is the economy creating?" at csmonitor.com.

"The US economy added 236,000 jobs last month, with construction and health care being two big contributors. However, 12 million Americans are still officially counted as unemployed."















Mid 2012 CMC Bilogics, a Danish concern, purchased all of Xoma's Berkeley faclities which includes the 7th and Heinz facility. Among the changes made to the property are the trimming back of overgrowth including trees. The trimming nicely reveals the building. Hopefully new planting and some remodel will complete the project.


Seems the Friends of West Berkeley are suing our city over 740 Heinz, specially our position on Wareham's development of the property. (I've talked to dozens here in the west who, though friendly to Berkeley, are not memebers of the group and once more have never heard of it. But that's another story--or not.) Wareham now wants to completely demolish the old building. The Friends do not.


Two Saturdays ago an environment-Green tour of the west was given. I'm told Potter Creek's "environmentalist" Rick Auerbach was an active participant.

Think I'll have a beer

I'll have to go to Westside, our sour beer tasting-room isn't open yet.





"Berkeley Conference on Copyright Formalities & Registries, April 18-19" at cni.org.

"Copyright formalities, such as registration of claims and placing notices on copies, may seem outdated, pedestrian, and well boring. They are anything but. Formalities, which in the past three decades have largely disappeared from American copyright law, may be about to stage a comeback. Why? Because copyright formalities may be one of the most important strategies for reconciling copyright law and the challenges of the digital age. "
























Bob Kubik sends a link to the Wall Street Journal photo essay

"Inside the Sistine Chapel ".




a reader from Germany writes of Europes' late-Winter blizzard

Not much happening in Deutschland these days except [bleep]y weather.  But since we don't have to go out in it we don't particularly care.  It's hibernation time.

photo of our backyard fishpond taken from our living room


"Everybody has to believe in something.  I believe I'll have another beer."





"Twinkies buyers hungry for more Hostess cakes" Candice Choi, AP at sfgate.com.

"The new buyers of Twinkies apparently developed a sweet tooth for Hostess snack cakes.

Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., which made a joint offer to snap up the famous cream-filled cakes, have also entered the contest to buy Drake's, which include Devil Dogs and Yodels, according to a source who requested anonymity because the sale process is private.

The fresh offer poses a challenge to McKee Foods, the maker of Little Debbie cakes. Hostess had previously picked McKee's $27.5 million offer as the 'stalking horse' bid for Drake's that set the floor for an auction. The deadline to submit competing offers was 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

The offer for Drake's from Apollo and Metropoulos still needs to be reviewed to determine whether it qualifies, according to the source. If not, the auction on Friday would be canceled and McKee would be picked as the buyer.



a regular reader comments on the site choices made for the recent Green tour of west-Berkeley.

Again it's that battle/tale of the two West Berkeleys - the one that has changed and the one of the "mind's-eye". 
I also see this as Green Corridor not selling itself as the authority on manufacturing in the west. We still go to see the artisan cabinet makers and pinging hammers of jewelers, while West Berkeley actually perks new laundry detergent to save the world, new ways to sequester carbon and robot manufacturing that's world renown!



"Despite police confrontation, Berkeley protest ends peacefully" at ktvu.com.

"Dozens of people marched in the streets of Berkeley Tuesday night, demanding answers from police after a transgender person died during an altercation with officers."
























a rendering of the French School 9th Street campus-expansion

The result is more than just a nice schoolyard or living landscape; it's a sustainable outdoor learning environment that students can use year-round for learning, play and community gathering. This space includes: 
A tree-shaded allée to provide a visual and sound buffer from the street.
A basketball court and a half-size soccer field with real grass.
Separate areas for energetic play and quiet play.
Space for outdoor classrooms.
A stage for student performances or outdoor learning.
An expanded garden.
A seasonal creek where students can explore.
A permanent place for the PA and parent interactions.
A sustainable design.




"Jewish Urban Farming Fellowship" by Zachary Epstein at farmbasededucation.org is about Potter Creek's urban farm.

"Training program for young adults ages 21-31, that integrates urban organic farming, social justice work and progressive Jewish living and learning.

Twelve Urban Adamah Fellows are selected each season to operate an organic farm and educational center, intern with community organizations addressing issues at the intersection of poverty, food security and environmental stewardship, and learn an approach to Jewish tradition that opens the heart and builds joyful community. Applicants do not need any farming or Jewish knowledge to participate. Fellows come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. We are looking for individuals who are most likely to leverage the gifts of the program to make positive change in their own lives and in the world."





Patrick Kennedy builder of micro-units emails "What's behind sky-high Berkeley apartment rents?" by Doug Oakley at Oakland Tribune.

"Apartment rents hit an all-time high here last year as more affluent families moved to the city and competed for a stagnant supply of homes, according to the city's rent control board.

It's a situation going on all around the bay as former homeowners pummeled by the foreclosure crisis and new hires in the technology industry compete for a limited supply of rentals.

The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,850 a month in the last quarter of 2012, an 8.8 percent increase over the year before, according to the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. A one-bedroom now goes for about $1,325 a month, up 6 percent, the board said.

'It's pretty amazing,' said rent board Deputy Director Stephen Barton. 'The rents in new buildings downtown are crossing $3,000 a month for a two-bedroom because they are in new prime condition and in easy walking distance of the UC Berkeley campus and BART.'
Barton said about one-third of the renters in the city are students.

What's happening in Berkeley is similar to other cities that ring the bay: more affluent people moving in fueled by jobs in the technology sector coupled with a housing supply that can't keep pace. And people who lost their homes to foreclosure in the last five years are now renting."







"Office Depot on Gilman" is a report by Cooper Price in Berkeley High's Jacket.

"While Berkeley is known for its opposition to big business, a new Whole Foods Market is slated to take over the current Office Depot building on Gilman Street next year and does not seem to be meeting resistance. Whole Foods will not tear down the existing building, but instead plans to have it refurbished by Foothill/Pratt Ventures, a local development firm.

Whole Foods had previously tried to open a store in Albany, but local residents objected strongly to the project and sued Whole Foods into stopping the development of their proposed store. Regardless, a large business like Whole Foods will certainly contribute tax revenue to the city, as well as provide employment." 





"Evicted Berkeley food vendors seek new sidewalk space" Judith Scherr at insidebayarea.com.

"Ann Vu took on thousands of dollars of debt to buy and equip the Heavenly Healthy Foods trailer from which she used to sell her popular Vietnamese sandwiches near the UC Berkeley entrance at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way.

But since the city's Finance Department shut her business down with two days' notice in mid-December, the trailer has been collecting dust (and parking and insurance fees) at a lot designated by the State Health Department for food service vehicles.

Neither Vu nor the two other vendors whose Telegraph and Bancroft Way permits were yanked at the same time -- Michael Koh of Dojo Dog and Jack Huynh of Kettle Korn Star -- broke any laws. Their permits were suspended due to safety issues arising from the university's large construction project adjacent to the vendors' location." 








In what I believe to be irresponsible reporting "Digital frontier mentality extends to guns" by Caleb Garling is at sfgate.com.

Glock g34 model parts made from plastic using 3-D printing process

an example of a new digital frontier in weaponn

"Three-dimensional printing is often seen as a key component for a new economy in which consumers simply -print' off products, rather than ordering them online or trudging through the aisles of the store. The idea of both customizing and producing new goods from the comfort of the home suggests a very different world of shopping.

Yet, that long view has also been met with resistance. Many fear that the technology could decimate key industries like manufacturing, retail and shipping. In other cases, as with any new technology set loose, critics fear that it could have other dire consequences, especially without proper regulation.

Those concerns found a poster child at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, this week.

A Texas law student, Cody Wilson, used the SXSW showcase to present a new website, Defcad.com - a search engine designed to provide unfettered access to files that dictate 3-D designs. The site, he said, will provide an unrestricted channel to the designs of any potential product, from a hammer to a prosthetic limb. (The technology to actually produce many goods is still a ways off, however.)

What raised eyebrows about Defcad was Wilson and the group behind it. Called Defense Distributed, the Texas group is home to the 'Wiki Weapon Project,' an effort to develop files to print off weapons, such as assault rifles like the AR-15, the model used in the Newtown, Conn., massacre."

Based on my life-long familiarity with firearms, I don't believe that this weapon as shown, can be assembled and/or fired.






"24-Year-Old Swedish Man Pilots Plane to And From the Stratosphere" by Jason Bittel at slate.com.

Maybe you'll never travel to space

but you could make your own aircraft to send up there

"Meet David Windestål. He lives in Hjo, Sweden. He has a beautiful wife, Johanna, and a dog named Neo. He is 24 years old. And he just got back from flying an aircraft through the edge of space.

Of course, Windestål wasn't in the jet. And a good thing, too. The aircraft was only about the size of a mailbox, and it crashed into a tree on return. Moments prior, the remote-controlled plane had been lifted more than 20 miles above Earth by hydrogen balloon where it could stare at the line between blue marble and black void. Once the balloon popped, the tiny jet plummeted until reentering Windestål's range of reception where he was then able to pilot it to a more or less safe landing.

Windestål doesn't work for the military or the Swedish equivalent of NASA. Yet he was able to bring back ISS-like images from the great beyond using only a couple of hundred dollars' worth of electronics sold on Amazon. His first person view (FPV) flight into the atmosphere displays the remarkable reach of hobby technology. And it raises the question: If David Windestål can pal around the stratosphere, what's to stop common folk like you or me from kicking down the door of the gods?

Windestål's even been kind enough to catalogue his FPV flight on RCExplorer.se, his site dedicated to remote controlled flight and discovery. (His tagline? 'Exploring the RC World, One Crash At A Time ') You'll just need a remote-control FunJet, a GoPro camera, and an army surplus balloon full of hydrogen."








"The U.S. is not ready for a cyberwar" washingtonpost.com.

A recent report by a task force of the Defense Science Board on cyber-conflict makes clear that all is not well in preparing for this new domain of warfare.

The U.S. military often uses 'red' teams to challenge established 'blue' teams in exercises. According to the report, small red teams, with only a short 'If this level of damage can be done by a few smart people, in a few days, using tools available to everyone, imagine what a determined, sophisticated adversary with large amounts of people, time, and money could do.' In another part of the report, the task force hints that U.S. nuclear weapons, hardened to survive an atomic blast in the Cold War, may not be ready to survive a cyber-onslaught. While the task force didn't say what the vulnerability might be, they called for 'immediate action' to make sure the nuclear weapons would survive."

What would cyberwar be like? Potentially, 'hundreds' of simultaneous, synchronized offensive and defensive cyber operations would be needed, and yet the task force found the U.S. military is not ready. The task force said it 'could find no evidence of modeling or experimentation being undertaken to better understand the large-scale cyber war.' In a recommendation that underscores the larger direction of U.S. policy, the task force declared, 'time is of the essence in developing a broader offensive cyber capability.'

A major offensive cyber capability now seems essential in a world awash in cyber-espionage, theft and disruption. Cyberwar may be over the next horizon." 






















"24-Year-Old Swedish Man Pilots Plane to And From the Stratosphere"


The plane is the "Multiplex Fun Jet, Park Flyer"

Multiplex USA introduces the FunJet, an exciting new park flyer jet-style pusher plane that is easy to launch, easy to land and flies great.





A European viewer emails

French is not a prerequisite to view "Le papier ne sera jamais mort" , vimeo.com.




"San Francisco Symphony musicians on strike" Joshua Kosman at sfgate. com.

"San Francisco Symphony musicians went on strike Wednesday over finances, just a week before a planned tour of the East Coast that is supposed to include a performance at Carnegie Hall."





"Berkeley creates the first graphene earphones, and (unsurprisingly) they're awesome" Sebastian Anthony at extremetech.com.

"Researchers at the University of Berkeley in California have created the first ever audio speaker (earphone). In its raw state, without any kind of optimization, the researchers show that graphene's superior physical and electrical properties allow for an earphone with frequency response comparable to or better than a pair of commercial Sennheiser earphones."

In POST FROM THE PAST read about Sony light weight ear phones* and the Sony Discman, and the recorded music experience through earphones. Most important about earphone listening is that it's entirely and literally a "head-trip". And, coupled with a discman it can be the most music revealing of the all the ways to hear music.

*Sony Ultra Lightweight MDR-W08L Vertical In-The-Ear Headphones, $9.32 at Amazon. A Sony Disman is between $20.00 and $40.00.














Symphonic music isn't boring either, now read

Symphonic Music on CD and the Anti-System--Batteries not Included

In 1991 Sony issued CD SK 44939. This historic release contains Charles Ives' Symphony No. 4, five hymns quoted by Ives in the symphony, and Ives' Symphony No. 1. Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the Chicago Symphony and Chorus in these works-Steven Epstein is the producer and Bud Graham the recording engineer. The pieces were recorded in the Medinah Temple, Chicago on April 15 and 17, 1989. Listening to this digital production is a revelation. What strikes the listener immediately is the apparent ease with which Tilson Thomas reveals the massive and complex Ives' Fourth Symphony. Of the symphony Paul Echols, Ives Society Vice-President, writes: "Ives's Fourth Symphony has ranked as the ne plus ultra of the American symphonies. Its reputation stems partly from the formidable performance problems it poses. Although not overly long, . . . the work requires extraordinary forces-an augmented orchestra, an elaborate percussion battery, a mixed chorus-and this array of performers must negotiate a host of daunting rhythmic and textual complexities unprecedented in any symphonic composition up to Ives's time. . . . The first publication of the work was prepared by a team of editors for Leopold Stokowski's 1965 premiere performance. Despite the enormous amount of work done on the score, it was soon recognized that a more thoroughly researched critical edition was needed. In 1976 the Ives Society commissioned William Brooks to begin the work on such an edition, which in 1989 reached its final stages of completion." It is from this critical edition that Tilson Thomas conducts this Sony production. Michael Tilson Thomas also conducted the edition's premiere performance in 1988, in Miami, with the New World Symphony. Perhaps it is Tilson Thomas' early acquaintance with this score that explains his apparent ease of performance, or, perhaps by 1998 this revolutionary work of 1916 simply had become understandable. Echols further observes that the symphony's "compositional techniques themselves represent . . . Ives's most far-reaching and arresting musical ideas, developed over two decades of experimentation. Densely layered textures are formed by superimposing two, three, and even four separate ensembles, centered on different tonalities and proceeding in different meters and tempi, constantly shifting in and out of synchronization. This polytonal, polyrhythmic fabric is (made) from fantastically intricate webs of contrapuntal lines, moving in different rhythmic patterns and often at different dynamic levels-now prominently in the foreground, then receding to a middle or barely audible backround. The individual melodic lines are frequently derived from the familiar Ivesian mix of old hymn tunes and popular and patriotic songs (over thirty have been identified to date in the work). . . . The borrowed material is sometimes directly quoted . . . But just as often the tunes are skewed . . . or fragmented (as they) skitter, in a dream-like fashion, back and forth . . . now distinct, now fading into (silence)."

full story here,

then scroll down
























da boid

yesterday walking confidently toward The Bowl, on the sidewalk in front of David's




Carolyn Jones writes her more than usual cracker-jack story in "Berkeley mayor pushes city to prosperity.

Politics 1A, according to Berkeley's longest-serving mayor, Tom Bates:
(1) Hire a good staff and stay out of their way.
(2) Pick your battles carefully.
(3) Don't hold a grudge. Your enemies today could be your friends tomorrow.

This recipe has brought Bates, 75, more than 30 years of success in the fickle and thorny world of East Bay politics, and helped him shepherd one of the Bay Area's most famously ornery cities into an era of prosperity and relative calm.

Call it Pax Berkeleyana. Crime has plummeted to its lowest level in 50 years. Schools have improved. Home values have remained high (the median home price is $720,000, according to the most recent census figures). Major hubs for environmental and disability rights groups have opened. Hotels, theaters and galleries are all thriving, and more are on the way.

'I don't agree with him on everything, but when you look at what he's done citywide, he has been an incredible leader. I'd put him at the top,' said Boona Cheema, recently retired director of a homeless services agency in Berkeley who's worked with Bates since the early 1970s and often tangled with him over homeless issues. 'On the environment, public safety, schools, housing ... he has been fantastic for this city.'

Bates says this will almost certainly be his final term in office, capping a political career that's included 20 years in the Assembly, four on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and four terms as Berkeley mayor."




"How an Environmental Law Is Harming the Environment" Robert Gammon at eastbayexpress.com.

"California's signature environmental law needs to be reformed because NIMBYs are using it to block smart growth.

Parker Place, proposed for downtown Berkeley, is tied up in the courts even though it would be one of the greenest housing developments in city history

 Ali Kashani thought he had a sure thing. In 2008, the longtime Berkeley developer proposed to build one of the greenest housing projects in East Bay history. Kashani has long been an advocate for smart-growth development - dense housing and mixed-use projects built on major transit corridors in urban areas. And the architect that he commissioned for his smart-growth project in Berkeley designed it to meet LEED Platinum standards.

Located on Shattuck Avenue, Kashani's proposed Parker Place development sits on a major AC Transit bus line and is just a short walk from the downtown Berkeley and Ashby BART stations. Residents are to receive free transit passes and have access to car sharing. Plus, there will be 120 bike parking spots, an onsite bicycle repair shop, and electrical plug-in stations for electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

The 155-unit project also includes adaptive reuse of the existing architecture, drought-tolerant landscaping, rainwater reuse, and an onsite retention pond for irrigation. Thirty-one of the units will be affordable housing, and there will be a medical clinic for the homeless onsite.

In other words, the Parker Place project is a liberal environmentalist's dream. It has won the endorsement of the Greenbelt Alliance, an environmental group that advocates for smart growth, and TransForm, a progressive organization that backs public transit. Both groups recognize that Parker Place will help Berkeley meet its climate-change goals, because it will provide much-needed urban housing near jobs and mass transit, thereby helping lessen the need for suburban sprawl and greenhouse-gas-belching commutes.

But nothing's ever a sure thing in Berkeley, a city that is home to some of the most vocal and stubborn anti-growth activists in the state. In November 2010, after the Berkeley City Council approved Parker Place, a small group of these activists sued to block the project, using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to do it. And now, more than four years after Kashani unveiled his proposal, it's still tied up in litigation. "




"Double shooting at Berkeley's Ashkenaz investigated" is a video update of this robbery-shooting at abc7local.







Planet Owner-Editor, Becky O'Malley writes in her 3/15/13 editorial

"It's again time to consider the question . . . : why are we here and what do we want to do? 

There's now a patchwork quilt of Berkeley-centric publications both online and in print which when agglomerated do a pretty fair job of letting the small number of those who care find out what's going on. That might be enough. What do you think? 

As always, we welcome your comments, as long as you're willing to sign your name to back them up. The address is still opinion@berkeleydailyplanet.com. "





"Berkeley school's gardening, cooking programs could be cut" abclocal.com.

"A popular gardening and cooking program at an elementary school in Berkeley may be cut if a new source of funding isn't found. That's because a change in the qualifying guidelines means that a decade of federal grants will no longer be available. " 




"UC Berkeley Department of Music Improvisation Symposium Concert" eastbayexpress.com.

"To non-musicians (and even to some musicians), improvisation might seem incomprehensible. Whereas playing a pre-written piece of music requires rote memorization, improvisation involves an entirely different set of skills, one that includes an attuned sense of listening to and dialoguing with others, as well as a solid foundation from which to deviate. The Improvisation Weekend, hosted by UC Berkeley's Department of Music, is three days devoted to mastering the art, a skill that could easily be applicable to other areas of life.  Sun., March 17, 8 p.m. , $20.50, $22.50"



"Access and excellence, locally and globally" at timeshighereducation.co.uk.

"On the scale of some of the world's great universities (such as Oxford and Cambridge) that date back to the Middle Ages, the University of California, Berkeley, chartered in 1868, is a relative newcomer. The flagship of the 10-campus University of California system, UC Berkeley has maintained its position as one of the world's pre-eminent universities for decades. It is one of the few public universities in the US that ranks alongside the nation's elite private institutions such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Created by the state of California as a public land-grant university, it serves the educational needs of local people  while maintaining a global reputation."




"Berkeley, A Look Back: Pensions, planting, global politics were big topics in town" by Steven Finacom, Berkeley Historical Society at mercurynews.com.

"The city was discussing a new pension plan for Berkeley firefighters 75 years ago. The Berkeley Daily Gazette for March 15, 1938, reported that the city manager was telling the City Council about 'the need for a complete pension system for all employees of the city.' Revised pensions for firefighters were a first step."



About a concern of his firefighter customers first voiced to me by Jerry Victor at the time of the Prius introduction "Tesla's Model S meets the jaws of life" with video is at sfgate.com.

"Brock Archer teaches fire fighters how to rescue crash victims from crumpled cars. To him, the sleek and sexy Model S looked like an ideal teaching tool.

Most first responders, Archer said, don't know what to do with electric vehicles. So long as they don't puncture the battery pack, the risks of rescuers electrocuting themselves are low, he said. But many fire fighters don't know that.

'There's a lot of confusion, a lot of myths, a lot of urban legends about fire fighters getting shocked,' Archer said. 'Rescuers have been working around gasoline-powered vehicles, with flammable fuel, for a long time, and in some ways, that's a lot more dangerous.'

So Archer approached Tesla Motors about making a training video for rescuers, using the Model S. Somewhat to his surprise, the company agreed."





"Using robots to drive down the cost of solar" by Dana Hull at contrcostatimes.com.

"When it comes to robotics, most people think of driverless cars, manufacturing, moon rovers and 1950s science fiction. But now QBotix, a venture-backed startup based in Menlo Park, is bringing robotics to the fast-growing solar industry, which is eager to drive down installation costs.

Rooftop solar panels are ideal for many homes, commercial buildings and schools. But facilities with greater energy needs often turn to larger 'groundmount' systems that feature a field of solar arrays. Some groundmount systems have 'single axis' tracking that allows the solar arrays to follow the sun as it moves across the sky, much like a sunflower. Other systems have even more sophisticated 'dual axis' tracking that also follows the sun's elevation, which slowly changes with the seasons.

Tracking systems are popular in California because the solar systems can harvest sunlight in the late afternoon, when there's peak demand on the state's power grid. But tracking systems are expensive to install -- they use a lot of steel and often require concrete bases and mechanical parts that are vulnerable to breakdown.
QBotix has created a robot, affectionately known as the 'Solbot,' that can adjust the angle of each photovoltaic array with remarkable precision, all while gathering data and feeding it back to the home office. "





Chip and Andy, Potter Creek workers, asked about the current use of the old chocolate factory.






Startups, LightSail Energy and JCAP have moved to Potter Creek. LightSail Energy at 2865 7th St Berkeley, are taking "all the space" occupied by the old chocolate factory--a space I had previously reported would be shared with other startups. They have financial backing researching "energizing compressed gas" among other projects.

"LightSail Energy, Inc "is a venture capital-funded start-up in the $100 billion field of energy storage. We are gathering a small, elite technical team to help bring our system from experiment to market".


JCAP at 2929 7th are partnered with LBNL. JCAP is an acronym for Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.

"The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub-a research effort built on the premises that a critcal mass of creative scientists and engineers working side by side can accomplish more, faster, than researchers working separately, and that a proactive approach to managing and conducting research is essential.Led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in partner- ship with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and a select group of universities, JCAP will involve scientists and engineers nationwide. JCAP will keep the United States at the forefront of solar-fuel research " reports solarfuelshub.org. More information on this webpage.

















Potter Creek's

Ben Schrider plays for St. Mary's H.S.

the first of some high school football stuff from PotterCreek





"Berkeley Rep's GROUND FLOOR Announces Residencies" at broadwayworld.co.

"This June, as part of an extraordinary new laboratory for collaboration, some of the nation's most prominent and promising writers, directors, and composers converge on Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Today, the renowned nonprofit announced 18 selections for the second sizzling summer lab at The Ground Floor, Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. During an intense four-week period, dozens of artists will live, dine, create, and collaborate at the Theatre's new campus in West Berkeley."


And, so . . . the new West-Berkeley conitnues to continue!





Berkeley Playhouse




Councilman Capitelli emails

Coffee with the Councilmember is this Wednesday, March 20, 2013. 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Café Roma, 1549 Hopkins Street, Berkeley
I hope you can join me for a short discussion about what is happening in District 5 and at the City Council. Bring your questions. I will have a few of my own. Rain will cancel.
Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5


"Federalization of Police" Berkeley Copwatch "Democratic Education" Series.

March 18, 2013, Oakland based civil rights attorney James Chanin will discuss the federalization of Oakland police and the recent movement to hire William Bratton, the champion of "Stop and Frisk" policing. With over 40 years in the struggle for police accountability, from the establishment of the Berkeley Police Review Commission to the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) that guides Oakland's police, James Chanin is a leading voice in the fight to stop police abuse.
Free and Open to the public 2022 Blake Street in Berkeley.




San Francisco's B Patisserie

Grande Macaron Cake


And, the perfect Morning Bun can be found and B Patisserie --the perfect bake, and so a not-gooey inside, a hint of butter, and just a moderate amount of sugar coating at around USD 6.00.

The Morning Bun as art. Has be tried to be believed!











" America's Latest Phony Fiscal Crisis"Simon Johnson at bloombergnews.com.

link courtesy Bob Kubik

'In most countries that experience a fiscal crisis, there is no ambiguity about the situation.

The government is unable to sell debt at a reasonable interest rate. This probably coincides with a broader shift out of domestic assets, as smart investors read the writing on the wall or in the newspapers. The currency collapses and, often, inflation accelerates. The government is forced to slash spending and, cap in hand, asks for help from the world's least popular ambulance service: the International Monetary Fund.

No part of this description fits the modern U.S. Rates on government debt are very low, the currency isn't depreciating rapidly and inflation seems stable. There is no imaginable circumstance under which the U.S. would need to borrow from the IMF. Yet this great land of innovation has undeniably invented its unique kind of fiscal crisis.

Or, to be more precise, we have reinvented the uniquely American way of ruining our fiscal affairs." 



















Berkeley Reps West-Berkeley Campus

65, 000 sq feet on one city block on 9th-to-10th at Harrison
























One of Potter Creek's oldest family businesses is experiencing an Internet attack. Not by computer hackers from overseas but by "being played" on Yelp with what seems a campaign of "bad reviews." Easy to do, unconscionable, yet effective.


Our Pete Hurney has visitors here from his native Boston, an old friend and his daughter are getting the Hurney deluxe treatment.


Potter Creek's Tippett is cutting back staff. Worst hit are the animation people with a 75 % reduction. Overseas competition is blamed.


Rocket restaurant supply is moving their retail entrance from Potter to 7th and is planning a bakery department.




"Exclusive: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Opening a Taproom in Berkekey" at Grub Street San Francisco on sfgate.com.

"Grub Street just learned this morning of a new taproom facility coming to Berkeley's Fourth Street from the ever popular Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Details are a few right now, and the Chico-based brewery is still working with an architect to design the new space, but a rep for the company says that it will be a full-time tasting room with food, though there won't be a full brewpub or restaurant. Timing remains up in the air, but the space is at 2031 4th Street, at University, and it joins the already popular Pyramid Brewery alehouse on Gilman, and the upcoming Rare Barrel, an all-sour brewery taking shape at 937 Carleton. We'll update you as soon as we know more."


Exclusive, exschmoosive?

 from my 1/26/13 post



Rumor has it that Sierra Nevada 

will open a tasting room in West Berkeley

Their Pale Ale, a favorite of mine is reviewed 

in this youtube video


a regular reader writes

I agree with Brendan Behan: "I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer."





Yesterday morning a Berkeley PD officer received this text from a Berkeley High school student "Hey, why are we in lockdown" ?

Wednesday at 10:21AM, an employee of a business on the 2200 block of Shattuck Ave called 911 to report that a lone male in Army clothing
had attempted to rob the business using a simulated weapon. He left the store when employees refused to cooperate. One employee
followed the suspect at a distance until he entered the downtown Post Office. BPD responded en masse, arriving within minutes and
set up a perimeter around the Post Office. The police also contacted staff at Berkeley High and directed them to temporarily lock the
school down. Postal employees inside were notified as well. Officers contacted and detained the suspect without incident. He was
transported to the BPD jail after being positively identified as the robber. After re-contacting BHS to lift the lock down, a detailed
explanation was given to school officials.







 "Three Displaced Telegraph Food Vendors Will Move to Bancroft and College" at berkeleypatch.com.

"Dojo Dog, Healthy Heavenly Foods and Kettle Corn Star will be back in business adjacent to the UC campus within a few weeks, says Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates."



"Chez Panisse fire update: Damage worse than thought, 'more significant demolition project' looms"  Paolo Lucchesi at sfgate.com.

"Last week, Chez Panisse began the process of rebuilding following its March 8 fire.

As previously, noted that Kip Mesirow - the person who originally built the Berkeley institution - has been brought in from the East Coast. This weekend, the construction crew peeled back the layers to see what they're dealing with, and as often happens with fire aftermaths, the damage is worse than originally thought.

Sadly, it won't simply be an aesthetic reconstruction of the porch and facade, where the majority of the fire damage is. Instead, it turns out that Chez Panisse must remove both the top and bottom porches that face Shattuck Avenue." 





"Berkeley Symphony to close its season with a world premiere song cycle by Steven Stucky" Sue Gilmore in the Contra Costa Times.

"The Berkeley Symphony, under music director Joana Carneiro, has boldly incorporated a commissioned world premiere from a contemporary composer on each of its programs this season and is about to conclude that admirable project with a work from Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Stucky, who has been the orchestra's 'Music Alive' composer-in-residence this year. Stucky's 'The Stars and the Roses,' a song cycle for tenor voice and orchestra, will close out Berkeley Symphony's 2012-13 season in Zellerbach Hall on March 28, on a program that also includes Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E flat major."





"Gay marriage in the U.S. Supreme Court: Berkeley couple at the center of historic fight over Proposition 8" by Howard Mintz, mercurynews.com.












"Militant held in Daniel Pearl killing" Richard Leiby, washingtonpost.com.

"Pakistani security forces in Karachi have arrested a militant in connection with the murder of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was abducted 11 years ago in that southern port city and beheaded, officials said Tuesday."



"Computer networks crash at South Korean banks, media companies; North Korea attack suspected" at washingtonpost.com.

"Computer networks at two major South Korean banks and three top TV broadcasters went into shutdown mode en masse Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of a cyberattack by North Korea.

Screens went blank promptly at 2 p.m. (0500 GMT), with skulls popping up on the screens of some computers - a strong indication that hackers planted a malicious code in South Korean systems, the state-run Korea Information Security Agency said. Some computers started to get back online more than 2 hours later."






















"Yelp Extortion Allegations Stack Up : More business owners come forward with tales of unethical behavior by the popular San Francisco-based web site" by Kathleen Richards at eastbayexpress.com.

After my story 'Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0' was published last month, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman promptly launched into damage-control mode - and for good reason. The story, which was picked up by national news outlets including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, detailed the accounts of local business owners who said that sales reps at the popular user-generated review site offered to move negative reviews of their businesses if they advertised.

Stoppelman immediately denied the allegations on Yelp's official blog, criticizing my use of anonymous sources and the credibility of one on-the-record source. A few days later, he posted another response, optimistically titled 'East Bay Express Story Starts to Unravel.' But the reality was just the opposite.

Since then, many business owners from around the country have come forward - via e-mails or comments on the Express' web site - alleging similar tales of extortionist tactics by Yelp sales reps. To make matters worse, Stoppelman's handling of the allegations exposed the company's blaring hypocrisy. For example, he rebutted the story on Yelp's blog, which, ironically, doesn't allow comments. Business owners contend that they just want the same opportunity to respond to negative, false, or damaging information about their businesses. Instead, the only way for them to salvage their businesses' reputation is by paying Yelp - regardless of whether the reviews are true or false."

Have things changed since this report?

Perhaps an unimportant question, as the Yelp model itself seems flawed--for it is easily played and certainly lacks accountability.




Potter Street is being upgraded with sewer work the focus. I'm told Wareham is involved.




reader Meridith Lear emails
Upcoming events on campus
Through Wednesday, May 1. Film series. History of Cinema: The cinematic city (A UC Berkeley course open to the public as space permits). Filmmakers have always loved how cinema can capture or create a sense of place. These works present the city variously as a dynamic visual attraction, a celebration of modernity, a dystopian nightmare, a psychic projection, or a vehicle for social commentary. University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way and Telegraph. Tickets, directions and parking.





"Algae façade makes house truly 'green' "at Germany's thelocal.de.

"An innovating new building in the northern German city of Hamburg is hoping to harvest heat from its algae-covered façade.

For many of us, the concept of living in a place with stuff growing on its walls won't necessarily be foreign. What will be unusual for those who have experienced the joys of residing in damp student flats and first homes away from the parental nest, however, is the idea that microorganisms flourishing on your walls is a good thing.

This is precisely the logic at work in the construction of a state-of-the-art apartment building in the once rundown, but increasingly trendy riverside quarter of Wilhelmsburg in Hamburg. Clad on its two south-facing sides with a transparent shell housing millions of microalgae, the five-storey Bio Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) house has been designed to harness heat generated by the microscopic plants and use it to warm building's 15 apartments.

Know as a "bioreactor façade", the shell works on the principle that the microalgae, most no bigger than bacteria, are cultivated through the supply of sunlight, liquid nutrients and CO2, a process that produces heat."









Cliff Miller, Ricmond Ramblers Motor Cycle Club emails a link to

exciting footage of a current Isle of Man motor cycle race.








From a Berkeley Central Press Release, blah, blah, blah.

"Berkeley has always been known for its diversity in thought, the arts, people, businesses and lifestyle - a place welcoming of new ideas, innovative concepts and distinctive design. 

Now, there is a new place to call home in the Center of Downtown Berkeley: Berkeley Central - a modern, new-for-rent residential property featuring 143 limited-edition loft-style residences created to provide the exceptional Berkeley experience just steps from everything! 

On Thursday, March 21, Berkeley Central celebrated the neighborhood with a unique Grand Opening event which also highlighted some of the neighborhood's finest restaurants, music and art.

Featuring fantastic food from Revival Bar & Kitchen, La Note and Skates On The Bay, the Progressive Floor Party format also showcased a unique photographic exhibit by local photographer Johnna Arnold from Traywick Contemporary Gallery and culminated on the Penthouse level with a live performance by American Nomad. 

Originally launched as Arpeggio, Berkeley Central provides Downtown Berkeley with a distinctively modern residence in the center of the city's hub. Berkeley Central offers a new-for-rent option for those who want to enjoy the urban surroundings and bustling atmosphere of downtown, but want to live in a modern, newly constructed rental community.

Remaining true to its commitment to invest in the Bay Area, CityView is excited to offer a unique living experience for those seeking the flexibility of leasing versus purchasing."







"After-School Music Program Asking for Instruments, Instructors" at berkeleypatch.com.

"Berkeley, an after-school music program, is currently recruiting college students to volunteer as instructors and hosting a citywide used instrument drive.

Magnus Mentors, a company comprised of Berkeley based undergraduate and law students, has created a new program called SCORE Berkeley that is about to rock the kids at Willard Middle School.
They have teamed up with the Berkeley Unified School District to create free after-school music classes for middle school students.
The group started the program to encourage creativity, engagement and teamwork in young people.
Students participating in the program will have the opportunity to learn the guitar, bass, piano and drums and will be encouraged to form their own rock bands.

The inaugural eight-week program begins on Friday, April 12, and is open to all students at Willard Middle School. A final performance will be held in June. "




"As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, so has the demand for people who know how to create and work with it, and UC Berkeley is looking to ensure that its graduates don't get left in the dust" at dailycal.org.

Its efforts come at a time when some experts are claiming that computer-programming knowledge is integral to staying ahead in the technology age. In fact, they argue, programming is a new form of literacy that may soon join the ranks of reading and writing skills.

In fall 2009, Dan Garcia, a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer sciences, piloted a new and revamped computer science course for nonmajors called Computer Science 10: The Beauty and Joy of Computing. CS 10 is a lab-based class in which students learn the basics of programming that can be applied to any field of study. The class serves as a model for the new AP Computer Science course being developed by the National Science Foundation for high school students."


















from our log

3/9/13 --10:34 AM---irritnat in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes, itchy dry skin, coughing, wear respirator.

3/19/13--7:05 AM--irritnat in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes, itchy dry skin, coughing, wear respirator.

3/20/13==irritnat in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes.

3/21/13--10:07 PM==irritnat in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes.






eternally useful links


You can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.



Richmond Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very

useful link

If you ever need to get a human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc., this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get you to a human being within a few seconds.




Best gas prices in 94710, as well as all of US and Canada, are here at gasbuddy.com

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com

Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com


Our City Council update is here.

Our Planning Commision update is here




Our City of Berkeley Boards and Commissions page is here--redone and friendly.



All reports of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911 or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of these City people.

The contacts are below:

Our Area Coordinator, Berkeley PD - 981-5774.

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Darryl Moore, City Councilman dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us

AND check out BPD feature "Who are these Suspects."






The original owner of all posted material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate.