MAY 2013


after 5/13/13, here after 5/23/13, here



"'The Jetsons': A blast from the past" with video at

"The idea of what the future may hold was largely framed by a single mid-20th century family, the Jetsons - a family that raised our hopes and expectations for the future. "



"Bitcoin: A guide to the future of currency"

Bitcoin could just become the virtual equivalent of gold. Now worth considerably more than the USD, it may be worth your time to learn about this new form of global currency.

You have undoubtedly seen this word as of late, but what is it? Where did it come from and why is 't all the rage in the news right now? How does it work, why is it so complex to understand for the average person, and how is it that 1 BTC (shorthand for 'bitcoin") is currently worth considerably more than the USD and Euro? Why should anyone care about Bitcoin? Well, if the U.S. Government cares enough such that the Principal of Bitcoin, Gavin Andresen, was asked to give a presentation to the CIA about Bitcoin this week, then there is plenty of reason for care and concern. Additionally, many people see Bitcoin as a huge money-making opportunity and the next big thing to shape the world of currency. And I when I say many people see it as "the next big thing," I mean as in what Microsoft was to computers or like what Google was to search engines. All of the aforementioned and more will be addressed throughout this definitive guide about Bitcoin: the world's first global currency that may just stand a chance to succeed and thrive.

Simple Explanation: Bitcoin is a new form of currency that was once worthless, yet now has grown to be worth considerably more than the U.S. dollar. One bitcoin is currently worth ~$15 USD at the time/date of this post. Rather than a replacement for the U.S. dollar, the Euro, or other government currencies, bitcoins should be thought of like gold or silver where 1 oz. is equivalent to X amount of dollars. In that sense, Bitcoin is more like a commodity than a currency. Granular Explanation: Bitcoin is a global, decentralized virtual currency that first began in 2009 by its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. It operates on a vast P2P network which is currently comprised of thousands of systems. Its aim is quite ambitious: to solve many of the issues with currency today, such as providing near-cash anonymity with online transactions, governments being able to create their own money whenever they want, transfer fees associated with transactions, and more. No banks, no fees, and no traces. As a currency, Bitcoins are currently divisible down to 8 decimal places. What this means is that products or services that accept bitcoins as payment may accept .025 BTC, .00000643 BTC, etc. Once again, the comparison to gold and silver are applicable here. As opposed to a currency, bitcoins operate more like a commodity."


"About bitcoin and its mysterious creator" at

"There are lots of ways to make money: You can earn it, find it, counterfeit it, steal it. Or, if you're Satoshi Nakamoto, you can invent it. That's what he did on the evening of January 3, 2009, when he pressed a button on his keyboard and created a new currency called Bitcoin. It was all bit, and no coin. There was no paper, copper, or silver-just thirty-one thousand lines of code and an announcement on the Internet. Nakamoto wanted to create a currency immune to the predations of bankers and politicians. The currency was controlled entirely by software. Every ten minutes or so, coins would be distributed through a process that resembled a lottery. This way, the bitcoin software would release a total of twenty-one million bitcoins, most all of them over the next twenty years. Interest in Nakamoto's invention built steadily. More and more people dedicated their computers to the lottery, and forty-four exchanges popped up, allowing anyone with bitcoins to trade them for dollars, euros, or other currencies. At first, a single bitcoin was valued at less than a penny. But merchants gradually began to accept bitcoin, and at the end of 2010 the value began to appreciate rapidly. By June of 2011, a bitcoin was worth more than twenty-nine dollars. Market gyrations followed, and by September the exchange rate had fallen to five dollars. Still, with more than seven million bitcoins in circulation, Nakamoto had created thirty-five million dollars of value. And yet Nakamoto was a cipher."




"Does antimatter fall up or down?" at

The atoms that make up ordinary matter fall down, so do antimatter atoms fall up? Do they experience gravity the same way as ordinary atoms, or is there such a thing as antigravity?  




"Five myths about electric cars" Chris Paine at

"Chris Paine is a filmmaker whose documentaries include 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' ,'Charge' and 'Revenge of the Electric Car.'
The troubles of electric-car-maker Fisker Automotive have fueled another round of debate about whether plug-ins can live up to their promises. The California start-up, which had already halted production and laid off most of its employees, missed a federal loan paymentMonday and told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that bankruptcy may be unavoidable. This is likely the end of the road for Fisker. But definitely not for electric cars. Let's dispel some myths.'"




"Gun control: Futuristic 'arms race' could transform political debate" by Josh Richman at

"The white-hot debate in Congress over background checks, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines has cooled for now. But a new, futuristic 'arms race' is afoot that could turn the politics of gun control on its head.

One side wants to use technology to make guns safer; the other wants to make them much more widely available.
'Smart guns,' which are digitally personalized so only their owners can fire them, sound like the stuff of a spy movie -- indeed, the concept showed up last year in the James Bond film "Skyfall" with his beloved Walther PPK/S 9 mm short. But guns like Bond's could be on the market soon.

And 3-D printers that can produce gun parts sound like something out of 'Star Trek' -- an object seemingly materializing out of thin air. But while the technology is still in development, it eventually could be easier to download a gun than to buy one.

Both technologies could change how Americans view firearms -- and make moot some laws now in effect or under debate."
















Average hits per day for this site in April were just over 6000 and traffic on archived pages continues with some pages now reaching 8000 hits.


Tueday morning BFD was doing hose pressure testing

at their Folger Street warehouse




If I were a betting man I'd bet the Alameda County coroners report clears Berkeley PD of any wrong-doing in the recent in-custody death of Kayla Moore.




Our Tak Nakamoto emails a link to a link of classical music webcasts. And, Tak's favorite Internet jazz station is Of it Tak writes that the station is "from rural central France. Linas is south of Paris and best known for a auto racing track which is mentioned often in articles and the much less often mentioned nudist colony. The population is 6000."





"Chez Panisse Sets Opening Date"

"The opening date is on the calendar, but the restaurant isn't taking reservations just yet"



"Dave Gold, founder of 99 Cents Only Stores, dies"

"The man who founded the 99 Cents Only Stores chain that offers everything from apples to school supplies for under a buck has died. Dave Gold was 80.

His son, Jeff Gold, told the Los Angeles Times that Gold died Monday of an apparent heart attack at his Los Angeles home.

Gold was 50 when he opened the first store in 1982. He told the Times in 2003 that while working at a liquor store, he discovered that items he discounted to, say, 98 cents or $1.02 never sold out but a 99-cent label was magic.

His stores eventually spread to middle-class and even upscale neighborhoods in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas."





"Berkeley City Council met Monday evening in the North Berkeley Senior Center to present and discuss potential redistricting plans, . . . "



"White House honors student working to stop human trafficking" by Gretchen Kell, UC Media Relations.

"Minh Dang, a UC Berkeley graduate student whose courageous personal story prompted her work fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children and launched her into the national spotlight, was named by the White House today (Monday, April 29) as a Champion of Change.

Dang and 14 other Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women ­- recognized for their 'extraordinary commitment to their communities, fellow citizens and the country' ­ have been invited to travel to Washington, D.C., to speak on May 6 at a Champions of Change event about the challenges and opportunities they've encountered."











"What Germany Can Teach the U.S. About Vocational Education" Harold L. Sirkin,

link courtesy Bob Kubik

"For years now, U.S. educators have invested massive amounts of talent and money on two goals: preventing students from dropping out of high school and increasing the percentage of high school graduates who go on to college.

We do everything possible to encourage college attendance. In the 2011-12 academic year, for example, one program alone-the federal Pell Grant program, intended to help low- and moderate-income students finance college-cost taxpayers $34.5 billion, about half the entire U.S. Department of Education budget.
Yet many Pell Grant recipients never graduate. They flounder; they drop out; they become statistics.

How can we prevent such waste?

A new report from the College Board, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offers a variety of useful ideas, such as larger grants for students who take heavier college course loads. Tougher schedules show that students are serious about graduating.
That's one good approach. But let me suggest another, which Germany has pioneered.

Our friends in Germany know-as we should-that some students are bored by traditional studies; some don't have the aptitude for college; some would rather work with their hands; and some are unhappy at home and just need to get away. They realize that everyone won't benefit from college, but they can still be successful and contribute to society.

Americans often see such students as victims. Germans see these students as potential assets who might one day shine if they're matched with the right vocation. And it has a system in place-a partnership of employers and unions with government-to do the matching and provide the necessary training.

As the New York Times Magazine recently noted, Germany's vocational education program doesn't focus entirely on factory work. Consider the story of the noted chef Claus-Peter Lumpp." 


















"Across America 2013

link courtesy Bob Kubik

Mission Kick-off

Are you ready to be part of the adventure? Because the historic solar-powered crossing of the United States is about to begin!

With Bertrand at the commands, HB-SIA is going to complete its first leg of the 2013 Across America mission, taking off from Moffett Airfield around 6 am PDT (UTC-7) on Friday May 3rd and landing at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix (AZ) sometime after midnight PDT (UTC-7).

Bertrand will fly southbound, west of Yosemite National Park, above Fresno and Lancaster. He will then veer westward toward Lancaster and Barstow, over the Mojave Desert in the direction of Phoenix.

The kick-off of the mission will also act as the launching of a global initiative - 'Clean Generation' - to promote clean technologies."






"Shanghai Auto Show 2013"

show models on break

If it didn't say Shanghai at the big auto show, would you know it was China? Could it have just as easily been Geneva? Or Paris? Or Detroit?
People in China now buy more than 14 million new passenger cars a year. And at the Shanghai International Auto Show, the big stars were Mercedes-Benz, with its GLA concept, the Lexus IS250 , Audi A3 and BMW X4.

After all, they sell more Buicks in China than they do in the U.S. It's a car guy's paradise."











"Bicycle Sharing Plan Goes to Berkeley Council" at

"On the Berkeley City Council agenda for May 7 is a proposal from Councilman Darryl Moore that the city join the growing ranks of U.S. cities with bicycle-sharing programs." 


Julie Sinai, Da Boz' former Chief of Staff and now Cal employee, has been

appointed to Our Town's School Board.



"Chancellor announces return to Berkeley-operated student health plan" Public Affairs, UC Berkeley.

"UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued the following statement today concerning changes to the student health-insurance plan:

Throughout this school year, student leaders and individual students have spoken with great passion and persuasiveness regarding concerns with the current health-insurance coverage offered through the university-wide program known as UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP), along with a desire to have a campus-operated plan where benefits and premiums could be tailored to the needs of Berkeley students.

Today I am stating my support for the students' position and, following their urging, announcing that UC Berkeley will be withdrawing from UC SHIP and returning to a UC Berkeley-operated student health insurance plan, effective Aug. 15, 2013."



"Cellphone Thefts Grow, but the Industry Looks the Other Way" at












Should Our Town's deliberating body approve a drone-ban, understand that enforcement could be a challenge.

So, . . . say that a young woman in Albany just got one of those nifty $300.00 drones from Amazon for Christmas. Flying her new drone along the bay in Albany, a wind gust blows it into Berkeley Air Space. Now Berkeley PD gets a call for service something like "There' s a drone over the Tom Bates Athletic Complex."

Officers are dispatched.

Now, bringing down even the low flying drone with a service weapon is a hit or miss proposition. But you say, most BPD radio cars are equipped with shotguns--still perhaps difficult. "Mike, you gotta lead it. Lead it!" Ok, the drone gets away. So, score one for the bad guys--well actually, the girls.

The effective response to keeping drones from violating our air space? Simply install ground-to-air radar controlled anti aircraft guns along all our borders. (Absurd? Of course, yet in keeping with a like problem." ) Naturally our city council would have to approve this project and provide the millions of dollars to finance it.

Hmmm, . . . they weren't too excited about that lightly armored truck our police department wanted even for free.



More than you want to know about drones on Scrambled Eggs and Lox of the past, here.
















Sunday, May 5th is

Greek Orthodox Easter







Thursday I wrote "If I were a betting man I'd bet the Alameda County coroner's report clears Berkeley PD of any "wrong-doing" in the recent in-custody death of Kayla Moore."


"Transgender man died of toxic drugs"Henry K. Lee at

"A transgender man who died while struggling with Berkeley police trying to take him into custody for a psychiatric evaluation had a toxic amount of drugs in his system, Alameda County coroner's officials said Friday.

Xavier Christopher Moore, 41, lost consciousness after a tussle with officers at the Gaia apartment complex at 2116 Allston Way on Feb. 12, police said.
Moore's cause of death is listed as 'acute combined drug intoxication,' a coroner's official said, though the nature of the drugs was not specified. Conditions that also contributed to his death included morbid obesity and an enlarged heart."



"Newest 'Most Wanted Terrorist': Should Assata Shakur make the list?" at

"Fugitive Assata Shakur is the first woman named to FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. A member of a black militant group, she was convicted of the 1973 murder of a New Jersey trooper."




"NRA official: 'Culture war' more than gun rights" Jim Vertuno, AP.

"The National Rifle Association kicked off its annual convention Friday with a warning to its members they are engaged in a 'culture war' that stretches beyond gun rights, further ramping up emotions surrounding the gun control debate.

NRA First Vice President James Porter, a Birmingham, Ala., attorney who will assume the organization's presidency Monday, issued a full-throated challenge to President Barack Obama in the wake of a major victory regarding gun control and called on members to dig in for a long fight that will stretch into the 2014 elections.

More than 70,000 NRA members are expected to attend the three-day convention amid the backdrop of the national debate over gun control and the defeat of a U.S. Senate bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales. It was introduced after December's mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. A small gathering of gun control supporters were outside of the convention in Houston.

Porter's remarks came in a short speech to about 300 people at a grass-roots organizing meeting and set the tone for a "Stand and Fight"-themed convention that is part gun trade show, political rally and strategy meeting.

'This is not a battle about gun rights,' Porter said, calling it 'a culture war.'

'(You) here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors,' said Porter, whose father was NRA president from 1959-1960."


Some would say 'Class warfare' and not "Culture war."




"As federal sequester cuts hit home, the Bay Area's long-term unemployed brace for the worst" Patrick May at






" UC Berkeley Works on Drones That Won't Spy on and/or Kill You" Fred Noland,

" Coye Cheshire doesn't mean to be impolitic, but he can't help mentioning the FBI's search for the Boston Marathon bombers - and how it could be abetted by technology.

'The whole push is to find someone who had pictures, and who could provide high resolution information about public events,' says Cheshire, an associate professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information.

He's pretty certain he has a solution to this problem, and you're probably not going to like it: Drones. The small, unmanned, all-seeing aircraft are mostly considered in a military context, and thus used for nefarious reasons, Cheshire says. But set aside your paranoia - drones can actually be used for social good."


















today is

Greek Orthodox Easter




"The Jew of Lusk" by Kevin Moore at

Scroll down to March 9, 2012

"Riding a motorcycle across the country you stumble into fascinating folks. Some are simply standouts from the crowd who tickle a fancy and make us smile, then fade into the dormant vaults of memory. But others are complete outliers; true anomalies. The ones who become embedded in our consciousness, emerging from time to time when mood or surroundings invoke them. They are the fascinating characters who enter our lives as a natural result of wandering.

For me, one of the greats was Saul."




















"The sexiest damn grilled cheese you've ever seen"

"Sure, there are quick and dirty versions of the grilled cheese. You can melt something yellow between two buttered buns in less than 5 minutes. But where's the payoff there? Let's take it slow. Make it worth our while. If we learned one thing about Eric Greenspan in our recent two-part interview, it's that he's all about creating an experience. Nowhere is that more apparent than in his recipe for "The Champ" Grilled Cheese, named so because it took top spot in the annual Grilled Cheese Invitational in 2008."

the CBS Morning Show version here.



Sooner than later, 900 GRAYSON will be bottling and selling their fresh all-natural hot sauce. Will come in a 5 oz bottle and will need to be refrigerated.


Aw jeez! Bar talk at 900 last week included getting drunk without drinking --slimming.






"Robotic insects make first controlled flight" with video at

"In the very early hours of the morning, in a Harvard robotics laboratory last summer, an insect took flight. Half the size of a paperclip, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, it leapt a few inches, hovered for a moment on fragile, flapping wings, and then sped along a preset route through the air.

Like a proud parent watching a child take its first steps, graduate student Pakpong Chirarattananon immediately captured a video of the fledgling and emailed it to his adviser and colleagues at 3 a.m.-subject line, "Flight of the RoboBee."

'I was so excited, I couldn't sleep,' recalls Chirarattananon, co-lead author of a paper published this week in Science."




"How A Startup With No Revenue Can Be Worth A Billion Dollars," Megan Rose Dickey, at

"When Facebook snapped up Instagram for $1 billion last year, lots of people in the tech industry were baffled.

Instagram had no revenue, but for some reason Facebook decided the company was worth spending a billion dollars on. 

Earlier this year, Pinterest sold $200 million in stock to new and current investors for less than 10% of the company, effectively valuing it at $2.5 billion. Pinterest still has yet to generate any revenue, but investors are betting that the social pinboard startup could be the next Facebook. "





"Made in the Bay Area: Harsh realities in new manufacturing" by Mike Cassidy,

"Anthony Oliveri was among the roughly 4,700 factory workers who lost their jobs when the NUMMI auto factory closed down in 2010. Oliveri worked at NUMMI for twenty years. He hasn't been able to find a job with similar pay or benefits since the plant closing. He currently works as a security guard that pays a fraction of what he made at NUMMI.

As the buzz builds around new manufacturing and its potential to re-energize a key sector of the Bay Area economy, Anthony Oliveri represents the face of old manufacturing."


And, so does Gilman Street as now zoned.



















"Janos Starker, Master of the Cello, Dies at 88" by Margalit Fox at

·"Janos Starker, one of the 20th century's most renowned cellists, whose restrained onstage elegance was amply matched by the cyclone of Scotch, cigarettes and opinion that animated his offstage life, died on Sunday at a hospice in Bloomington, Ind. He was 88.

Indiana University, where he was a distinguished professor of music, announced his death.
A Hungarian-born child prodigy who later survived internment by the Nazis during World War II, Mr. Starker appeared, in the decades after the war, on the world's most prestigious recital stages and as a soloist with the world's leading orchestras. He was part of a vaunted triumvirate that included Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-76) and Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007), collectively the most celebrated cellists of the day.
He was also widely known through his more than 150 recordings, including one of Bach's six suites for solo cello for which he won a Grammy Award in 1998.
Mr. Starker played several magnificent cellos during his career - including the "Lord Aylesford" Stradivarius of 1696, a 1707 Guarnerius and a 1705 instrument by the great Venetian maker Matteo Goffriller - but he nonetheless managed to resist the seductions of the instrument to which cellists can fall prey.
The chief hallmark of his playing was a conspicuous lack of schmaltz. Effusive sentiment is an inherent risk of the cello, with its thundering sonorities and timbre so like the human voice. He also shunned the dramatic head tossing and body swaying to which many cellists incline. "   



Some Moments with Janos Starker

by Harold Lawrence

Harold Lawrence joined Mercury Records in 1956 as music director. During his twelve years with the label, he was music supervisor, editor, and later producer for over 300 Living Presence recordings, including eleven LPs with Janos Starker. In 1967 he was appointed general manager of London Symphony Orchestra, after a decade of association in the recording halls with that orchestra.

After the last notes of the Bach Allegro had faded, Janos Starker rose from his chair in the ballroom of the Great Northern Hotel Studio A of Fine Recording, where many of Mercury's Living Presence chamber music recordings were made in the 1960s.

Starker gently laid aside his Lord Aylesford Stradivarius 'cello, inserted a fresh cigarette into a long holder, and walked swiftly toward the control room.

He entered just as the engineer was rewinding the tape. Above the garbled sounds emanating from the three Altec Voice of the Theater monitor loudspeakers, he asked, "What was the timing of this movement ?" "Three minutes and fifty seconds", I replied. Lifting his dark, expressive eyebrows, Starker said he played it slightly faster these days. "It sounds lighter this way... and it dances."

Having cued the tape, the engineer pressed the start button. The magnificent sounds of the Lord Aylesford filled the room. Starker mentally ticked off the details that required adjustment: a stronger accent for the top note of a phrase, a wolf tone that needed replacement, a 32nd note figure that could be clearer, an A-string that was a bit sharp. . .

In rapid fire Hungarian, Starker discussed balance problems with his colleague, pianist Gyorgy Sebök, then turned to us for a final consultation before returning to the hall for the next take.

The atmosphere at a Starker recording session is one of efficiency -sotto voce. No stranger to the recording process, Starker began making records right after World War II, when he not only played the 'cello, but supervised the sessions and edited the tapes. He performed all these tasks not because he aspired to become a musical Orson Welles, but simply because the small company for which he worked lacked the necessary staff.

The fact that Starker seems absolutely at ease in the recording studio might be regarded as a sign of an easygoing personality. Between takes, he responds with charm and wit to people around him; he is a vivid raconteur: and he loves nothing better than to engage in a brisk and lively exchange of ideas on politics and contemporary literature.

But it's fascinating to observe Starker switch instantly from the entertaining social companion to the intensely concentrated performer. Before we were through chuckling over a particularly amusing anecdote, Starker would already have stubbed out his cigarette and left the control room for the studio, leaving behind him a set of suggestions for the next takes. A record producer has got to be on his toes at a Starker session.

My first recording with Starker began on the morning of July 6, 1962 at Watford Town Hall outside of London, acoustically one of the finest recording spaces in the world. The work was Dvorák's Concerto in B Minor, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antal Dorati.

A favorite haunt of the Mercury Living Presence recording team, Watford Town Hall was the site of over 150 Mercury sessions between 1956 and 1965, including dozens with Dorati, who had a long term exclusive contract with the label. Dorati was also a regular guest conductor with the London Symphony and was largely responsible for the orchestra's rise to recording prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Dorati was therefore familiar with the Mercury modus operandi. He knew that his job was to start rehearsing while the recording team listened intently in the control room for instrumental definition and balance between soloist and orchestra, made adjustments to the three Telefunken 201 microphones set up on the wooden floor of the auditorium, and checked constantly with the engineers in the recording truck parked outside in the courtyard to ensure that the tape and magnetic film recorders were in good working order.

There was a lot of traffic going on between the control room and the halls; doors opening and shutting, cables unraveling, microphones being lowered, raised or angled, canvas being spread on the floor here and there for critical dampening. But neither Starker nor Dorati seemed distracted by these intrusions. When the time-consuming procedure was over, I made my announcement to the musical forces that we were ready for a level check. The principal oboist played the 'A', the machines in the recording truck began to roll, "Stand by, please" sounded over the monitor loudspeakers in the hall, and Dorati conducted the orchestra in what was the loudest and densest portion of the score.

Out in the recording truck, meters were carefully noted as the Dvorák fortes poured out of the three Ampex reference amplifier-speakers suspended on hooks above the dashboard and the steering wheel. In a few moments, chief engineer Bob Fine told us he was ready for a take.

Dorati tapped his baton and Janos Starker and the eighty-five musicians of the London Symphony settled down to wait for the "slate"-the announcement of the first take. In many ways, the first take at a recording session can be the most critical of all. Musically and technically, it provides the artists and the recording team with a blueprint of the work to be done.

After the run-through of the first movement, Starker and Dorati, accompanied by members of the orchestra, crowded into the control room for the playback. It was clear that alterations were needed: there was not enough woodwind sound generally; the timpani lacked crispness (should the player use hard sticks?); the upper strings of the solo 'cello seemed slightly off focus. . .

Bob Fine and the technical crew were already on their way to the hall. Moments later, stagehands added a six-inch riser to the wind section and the 'cello platform was moved a few inches toward the center microphone. Critical adjustments were made in placing the "outrigger" microphones (left and right). Meanwhile, in the control room, I compared "notes" with the soloist and conductor.

Like his friend and long-time collaborator, Antal Dorati, Starker is meticulous but not fussy. He strives for consistency of expression rather than merely achieving "the best takes". Unlike some other recording artists, Starker has a conductor's view of the orchestral score and attempts to integrate his part into the overall fabric. If a passage is designed strictly as an obbligato to an orchestral melody, he never insists it be given prominence. Years of playing inside orchestras in Budapest, Dallas and Chicago nourished this broader perspective.

Beyond an awareness of how his solo part dovetails with the full orchestral score, "I make it a point to relate each work I play to the total output of its composer", Starker said in an interview I had with him last summer.

Janos Starker often has been called a musician's musician. Commenting on this description, he said; "I've always felt that my music-making was not for mass consumption. My appeal will never be truly for the casual concert-goer, but rather for the more knowledgeable music lover".
To discophiles, however, Starker's appeal is worldwide. His recorded output of more than one hundred recordings is distinguished by a high level of excellence.

Born in Budapest into a musical family, Starker began to study 'cello soon after he was six. He was already teaching the instrument at the age of eight. With his two violin playing brothers, he explored the basic works of the chamber music repertory. At ten he made his solo debut, and four years later he was assigned to his first orchestral post.

After graduating from the Franz Liszt Academy, where Sebök was a fellow student, he became principal cellist with the Budapest Philharmonic and Opera Orchestras. Between concerts and rehearsal, he practiced furiously, building up his large repertory. For income-and amusement-he played in jazz bands and Gypsy ensembles. He recalls the potted-palm pieces he often played in Hungarian cafés and still performs some of them for his friends, using a wide vibrato and soulful slides.

At the war's end, Starker went west to seek a more secure livelihood. He settled in Paris where, faced with a scarcity of jobs, he once worked as a movie extra. At a certain point, he took time out to reassess his artistic and technical achievements. During the winter of 1946, he isolated himself in Cannes on the French Riviera to work and study. He began to make his mark on the European musical scene when, two years later, his friend Antal Dorati offered him the post of principal cellist with the Dallas Symphony. After Dallas came first chair posts with the Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony, both under the baton of the great Fritz Reiner.

Starker gave up orchestral work in 1958, going on to create a legendary career both on the concert stage and in recording halls of several continents.

text by Harold Lawrence for our RECOLLECTIONS

photos by Mary Morris.


Starker and I shared a friendship with Harold. I inherited Harold's archives including personal correspondence between Harold and Janos as well as extensive correspondence between Harold and Antal Dorati. One of my prized sets is Harold's own copy of his Mercury recording of the Starker, Bach 'cello suites.



















for details

click on graphic

"Saddle up for Bike to Work Day" Cathy Cockrell, UC NewsCenter.

"Don your helmets and test your hand brakes. It's time for the Bay Area's 18th annual Bike to Work Day, next Thursday, May 9.





"Berkeley targets high interest 'payday' loan stores" Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune.

"New check cashing stores selling high interest 'payday' loans face a ban or severe restrictions as the city joins a growing number of Bay Area jurisdictions cracking down on the businesses.

Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguin, who authored a plan to draw up new rules on new stores in the city, said he did so because the stores "prey on our community."





"Feds sue landlord of Berkeley medical marijuana dispensary" by Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune.

"The federal government filed a lawsuit targeting the city's largest medical marijuana outlet and is aiming to seize the property from its landlord.
The suit, filed May 2 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, says Nahla Droubi of Moraga, who is the landlord for Berkeley Patients Group, is breaking federal drug laws by allowing the sale of marijuana and therefore is subject to seizure of her property."



"Medical pot: California Supreme Court allows cities to ban weed dispensaries" by Howard Mintz at

"Unless the Legislature intervenes, California will be dotted with a few cities that allow medical marijuana dispensaries but otherwise be ruled by large areas that outlaw the pot businesses.

That appears to be the medical marijuana landscape statewide under a ruling Monday by the California Supreme Court, which settled the latest legal battle over the state's 17-year-old experiment with medical pot by upholding local governments' right to ban dispensaries. The unanimous decision leaves intact a growing movement to forbid pot businesses despite a 1996 state law permitting medical use of marijuana."





Aw jeez, "Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun" at

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson, holding the world's first fully 3D-printed gun

"'Alright. One two'

Before 'three' arrives, a shot reverberates across the overcast central Texas landscape. A tall, sandy blond engineer named John has just pulled a twenty-foot length of yellow string tied to a trigger, which has successfully fired the world's first entirely 3D-printed gun for the very first time, rocketing a .380 caliber bullet into a berm of dirt and prairie brush.

'Fuckin' A!' yells John, who has asked me not to publish his full name. He hurries over to examine the firearm bolted to an aluminum frame. But the first to get there is Cody Wilson, a square-jawed and stubbled 25 year-old in a polo shirt and baseball cap. John may have pulled the trigger, but the gun is Wilson's brainchild. He's spent more than a year dreaming of its creation, and dubbed it 'the Liberator' in an homage to the cheap, one-shot pistols designed to be air-dropped by the Allies over France during its Nazi occupation in World War II."


About 3D printers here.

3D printers are for sale at













Potter Creek's "Dynavax Reports First Quarter 2013 Financial Results" at

"Dynavax Technologies Corporation today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013. The Company had $105.4 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of March 31, 2013. This compared to $125.1 million at December 31, 2012.

For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, Dynavax reported total revenues of $2.1 million compared to $2.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. Grant revenue from the Company's contract for adjuvant development awarded by the National Institutes of Health declined by $0.4 million from the prior year.

Research and development expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 of $14.2 million increased by $1.8 million from the first quarter of 2012. This increase was due primarily to the purchase of a HEPLISAV(TM) component as well as severance expenses, including non-cash stock-based compensation charges.

General and administrative expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 of $8.8 million increased by $3.0 million from the first quarter of 2012. This increase resulted primarily from incremental severance expenses, including non-cash stock-based compensation charges."




"The Top 10 Mistakes of Entrepreneurs"

"The UC Berkeley Startup Competition proudly welcomed Guy Kawasaki to the Haas School of Business. Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple and co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures, explained the top ten mistakes that entrepreneurs make. His talk covered all stages of a startup from inception to exit."



"Gas Power Needs Wind Generation Too, Says Study" by Thomas Overton at

The usefulness of gas-fired power in backing up intermittent generation from wind is well-established, but a new study suggests wind generation can also serve an important price-hedging role as gas takes more of the generation pie from coal and nuclear.

The study, released in March by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, begins by pointing out one key advantage wind generation has over gas: With the fuel-wind-being free, long-term costs are far more predictable, meaning long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) are good deals for both wind farm owners and utilities.

The same, obviously, is not true for gas."




"Chinese solar panel maker Suntech flames out" by Steven Mufson,

"Business was going gangbusters for solar module maker Suntech and its chief executive, Shi Zhengrong, just a few years ago. In 2007, Time magazine called him one of the 'heroes of the environment.'

In 2008, CNN named Shi 'China's Sunshine Boy.' In 2009, Fortune anointed him 'China's new king of solar.' That year, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman also cited Shi and Suntech as models of China's green leap forward - which he called "the Sputnik of our day" and a spur for U.S. clean energy policy.

Suntech's solar market woes are affecting the bottom line.

Now, however, the Chinese Sputnik has crashed to Earth, and the Sun King has been toppled. Buffeted by fierce global competition, faced with a worldwide manufacturing glut and hobbled by heavy debt, Suntech's directors ousted Shi on March 4 and defaulted on $541 million worth of convertible bonds 10 days later. The following week, a Chinese court declared the company bankrupt after a petition from eight Chinese banks. On Wednesday, the company announced that its 2012 revenue had plunged 48 percent from the previous year.

Suntech - which in 2011 was the world's biggest seller of silicon-based photovoltaic modules - was once valued at $13 billion on the New York Stock Exchange; it is worth less than 1 percent of that today. 





"Pentagon: Chinese government, military behind cyberspying" at

"Cyber-espionage targeting U.S. government and business entities appears 'to be attributable to the Chinese government and military,' the Pentagon charged Monday in the U.S. government's most explicit public accusation to date against Beijing.

Chinese hacking capabilities are particularly worrisome because U.S. officials fear that Beijing could use them as an offensive tactic.

'The access and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks' the report says.

The Chinese government has denied orchestrating or condoning hacking operations against U.S. government and corporate networks.
The Pentagon added that China is also stepping up its conventional weapons and aerospace systems, saying China is transforming an armed force that two decades ago was regarded as 'a poorly equipped, ground forces-centric military.'

Significantly, China rolled out last year its first aircraft carrier and invested heavily in short- and medium-range ballistic missiles."


















our Councilman Darryl Moore yesterday

speaking in opposition to the Federal suit against our Berkeley Patients Group'


There was a gathering of council members, the BPG, and citizens on the steps of city hall yesterday in support of medical marijuana and more particularly our Berkeley Patients Group. About half-dozen members of the press also attended. All council members present spoke in opposition to the Federal suit against BPD's landlord. The most effective were our Darryl Moore and Councilman Jesse Arreguin, Arreguin reading from a preparded, detailed statement.




"California Medical Marijuana Crackdown Ramps Up As More Dispensaries Targeted For Closure" Carly Schwartz at

"Several dozen protesters gathered in downtown Berkeley Wednesday afternoon to fight federal action against one of California's oldest medical marijuana dispensaries, targeted for closure by the Justice Department.

'The Obama administration's ongoing war against patients is despicable and has to stop,' Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, told the crowd. 'This is a mean, vindictive move aimed at shutting down one of the oldest and well-respected dispensaries in the country.'

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag on Friday served pot shop Berkeley Patients Group with a lawsuit that attempts to seize the property and ultimately shut the business. Berkeley officials say the dispensary provides significant benefits to the community.

'BPG has served as a national model of the not-for-profit, services-based medical cannabis dispensary," Berkeley City Council member Darryl Moore said in a resolution opposing the lawsuit. 'They have improved the lives and assisted the end-of-life transitions of thousands of patients; been significant donors to dozens of other organizations in our city; [and] shaped local, state and national policies around medical cannabis.' "



"U.S. attorney defends use of lawsuits against medical marijuana outlets" Doug Oakley Oakland Tribune.

"The U.S. attorney for the northern district of California defended her lawsuits against landlords of medical marijuana outlets one day after this city's largest provider revealed its landlord is being targeted in a drug asset forfeiture suit."










"Cyber-attacks behind possibly record-breaking bank heist" video report at

"It may be the largest bank robbery in history: A crime ring is accused of stealing $45 million from financial institutions from around the world.

But these criminals weren't wearing masks or waving guns. They were armed with computers."




"Hospital prices vary widely, report shows" is another video report at

There are dramatic price differences in what hospitals charge, even for the same procedure, according to a new government report. Time magazine senior editor-at-large Jeffrey Kluger speaks to the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts about the magazine article "Bitter Bill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us."


CBS News investigative report "Medicare fraud accusations at nursing home chain.

Each year, Americans spend hundreds of billions of dollars on unnecessary medical tests and treatments, which drive up health care costs. Jeff Glor reports on how one nursing home chain is accused of giving patients rehab they don't need, and billing the government for money they're not entitled to."




















While Iggy Pop was recording their new album at Fantasy they were lunching regularly on 900 GRAYSON takeout.


Our Anthy, John and Jerry Victor's friends will soon be opening Pathos, a Greek restaurant and bar at 2430 Shattuck Ave. It is next toGiovanni's.


Grubb Street writes about new Shattuck Ave restaurants "first there's Pathos Restaurant and Bar a new Greek restaurant from Kokkari alum and East Bay-native Nicholas Eftimiou. Diablo Dish reports that Eftimiou is aiming for casual, simple, and authentic Greek food that's 'Kokkari-esque but more cost effective.' He'll do staples like moussaka, grilled calamari, and baklava, and he's aiming for an early October opening."






"Six-week chase of Santa Cruz County fugitive Dimitri Storm ends in Berkeley arrest" by Stephen Baxter, Santa Cruz Sentinel.

"Ending a six-week crime spree that authorities said included two high-speed chases, assault of a sheriff's deputy and stealing more than 10 vehicles, fugitive Dimitri Koa Storm was arrested Tuesday in Berkeley.

Storm, 43, was caught about one block from the campus of UC Berkeley after a brief chase early Tuesday morning.
Storm told police his name was James Rollston -- the name of one of his victims in Santa Cruz County. Police later identified him by fingerprints, said Berkeley police officer Jennifer Coats.

Santa Cruz County deputies were told early Thursday morning that Storm was apprehended."


"When you arrest the right man, you don't have to right away arrest the right name" Raymond Zillich.



"Critics Blast U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag for Berkeley Patients Group Harassment" David Downs  at

"Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates took local U.S. Attorney (and rumored Berkeley resident) Melinda Haag to task Wednesday for harassing Berkeley Patients Group. The popular, permitted medical cannabis dispensary in Berkeley faces federal forfeiture efforts from Haag yet again, leading to a press conference yesterday where town leaders defended the Better Business Bureau member and ripped on the U.S. Attorney'

Haag said she is going after BPG because preschools exist in the area of the dispensary at 2366 San Pablo Ave. She said in statement: 'The marijuana industry has caused significant public health and safety problems in rural communities, urban centers and schools in the Northern District of California. Because some believe marijuana has medicinal value, however, we continue to take a measured approach and have only pursued asset forfeiture actions with respect to marijuana retail sales operations very near schools, parks or playgrounds, at the request of local law enforcement, or in one case, because of the sheer size of its distribution operations.'

'There are no schools around there,' Bates said at the conference. He said BPG has had 'virtually no problems with law enforcement.'
'It seems to me Attorney General [Eric Holder] has really messed up [going after BPG],' Bates said. 'He needs to say "stop this" '. "


Good 'nuff Boz, but in addition to those big black helos these guys have lots and lots of real armored vehicles.






Makers are on the move with "SJ startup to launch crowdfunded satellite into space" Jonathan Bloom video report at

"Silicon Valley is famous for the startups that have been launched in garages; Hewlett Packard and Apple, to name the most prominent two. Now some young men are using their garage to build a satellite and launch it into space.

Hunched over a small table in a cluttered garage, they're feverishly working toward a tight deadline. 'We are replacing the batteries,' engineer Rouslan Dimitrov said. 'Um, these ones are not charged and we are not sure whether they hold enough charge for us.'

'We're building a CubeCat,' Southern Stars founder Tim DeBenedictis said. 'It's a satellite that will launch into orbit in October of 2013.'This little science project will blast off on a rocket and fly high above the earth. It's powered by the sun and packs a tiny radio and three cameras.

'You'll be able to request a picture of the earth and the next time the satellite goes over that part of the earth, it'll take the picture and transmit it down to earth and send it back to your phone.' " 



"Hackers plan space satellites to combat censorship" David Meyer, Technology reporter,

" 50 years after Russia's first piloted mission, hackers plan to send their own people beyond orbit

Computer hackers plan to take the internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit.

The scheme was outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.

The project's organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites.

Longer term they hope to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon."





















Boz, Holder is in town. Maybe you could have a sit-down and . . . naw.


Though released in PDF from, Berkeley PD's Newletter, May 2013, is not yet on their website page.


Browsing our archives, I find that the May 10 2010 page now has over 12,000 hits.


Councilman Capitelli's May 2013 Newsletter

is here.



CBS News reports that Cody R Wilson has removed the plans for his 3D manufacturable pistol, the Liberator, from his website.

Well, Ok then!






"Open source flight, from the Drone Lab to Twitter: Q&A with Dave Lester" by Amanda Alvarez,

"We caught up with Dave Lester, soon-to-be graduate of UC Berkeley's School of Information and a web developer who told us about his drone hacking project, the importance of code integration, and his upcoming foray into open source at Twitter.

I recently had the chance to catch up with Dave Lester, a soon-to-be graduate of UC Berkeley's School of Information and a web developer who has been involved in a number of open source initiatives. Dave has been working on bringing technology together with the humanities and education through an un-conference he co-founded, and in his former role as assistant director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. We talked about his drone hacking project, the importance of code integration, and his upcoming foray into open source at Twitter in an email interview.

How did you become interested in open source and community building?

I was contributing to an open source web publishing system for digital archives called Omeka. The primary goal of Omeka is to make publishing digital archives of historical photographs and stories as easy as publishing a blog. We patterned our community strategy around Mozilla and WordPress, trying to create a ladder of contributions where people of varying skill levels could get involved, and I was helping coordinate developer community growth. Shortly after launching our first public beta, we realized that the community of interested users was more diverse than we imagined, not only from museums and archives but also libraries. . . .

You're also interested in hacking hardware, such as drones. What has this taught you about coding?

This semester I helped organize a group of fellow graduate students at UC Berkeley to form what we've called 'Drone Lab', an informal group that has met weekly to hack, discuss, and investigate creative and problem-solving uses of consumer-grade quadcopters. These are hobbyist toys that you can buy at your local shopping mall, but the ability to control them using software that you script unleashes the potential to tap into their cameras and sensors from heights and hard-to-reach places that are new and exciting. What we ended up focusing our hacking on were new ways to control the quadcopters, including voice and tracking head movements.

What I found fascinating the last several months was introducing several of my classmates to Node.JS through programming these drones. Learning to program can often be a frustrating and unrewarding experience, but with just a proper development environment and a few lines of Javascript, you can fly a copter. Programming shouldn't be limited to terminal windows, and the feedback of seeing the drone fly can be very rewarding. This also fosters creativity and unexpected things ­ sometimes you'll see the drone do something in flight that seems odd, which prompts new questions about your code and experimentation that can be less common in programming. . . . "



















this coming weekend

is the Oakland Greek Festival




Here's some of last year's Oakland Greek Festival

where our John Victor

was grilling lamb








You'd asked about where I bought used computer gear for-cheap. Last week I went to

I bought a 17 inch LCD Lenovo/IBM monitor for $30 +tax. It works fine. It is only 2 years old. They also had Apple monitors in various sizes. If you go, bring CASH. No checks or credit/debit cards accepted.

They're located off the Fruitvale exit from 880 in East Oakland. Fascinating neighborhood. Along with old line industries and marginally used or vacant industrial spaces, the area also has a Koi farm. The area north of Fruitvale on the estuary side of the freeway has a lot of live work spaces, art studios and also modern condos. The warehouse used by the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale is also there alongside the boat house for Cal's rowing team. It is very densely populated and very lively.

Tak Nakamoto


Sounds like a great place for west-Berkeley's out-of-date manufactures to relocate.



 "Foreclosed Homes: How Many in Berkeley and on What Streets?" at

"Berkeley has 172 homes still in some stage of foreclosure, according to information released today by Realty Trac. Of those, 22 are for sale."




"Great spots for beer in the East Bay" at

"With the Bar Bite on Oakland's Old Depot running in the Chronicle last week, we thought we'd raise a pint to some more of the great beer that's brewing in the East Bay right now. We've focused mostly on Oakland and Berkeley, with a dip down in to Hayward and San Leandro, though we are well aware that other East Bay areas have much to offer (Walnut Creek's Ol Beercafe and Bottle Shop, Dublin's Caps & Taps, Concord's EJ Phair Brewing Company are just a few that spring to mind). We'll try to explore outward in another installment."










"Tesla Electric Model S Sedan Grabs Consumer Reports Top Rating" Alan Ohnsman,

"The 2013 Tesla Model S. The Model S was built from scratch, unlike the company's Roadster, which is built on the chassis of a Lotus sports car.

Tesla Motors Inc.'s electric Model S, Motor Trend's 2013 'Car of the Year,' received the highest rating from Consumer Reports in an evaluation of the luxury sedan that led first-quarter North American plug-in car sales.

The Model S from Palo Alto, California-based Tesla scored 99 out of 100 points, the non-profit magazine said in an e- mailed statement. The $89,650 car bought by Consumer Reports 'performed better, or just as well overall' as any vehicle it's ever tested, the Yonkers, New York-based magazine said.

'It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car, it has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy efficient than the best hybrid cars,' said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' director of automotive testing, in a statement. Still, the magazine said it isn't recommending the car yet as there isn't enough reliability data so far to do so."





"Bubbles Deconstructed: New Study Explains The Mathematics Behind Foam" by Tamarra Kemsley with video at

"Bubbles are at the center of a new study published in the journal Science, as researchers describe via mathematical models just how they form and pop.

Their results, according to applied mathematician and study participant James A. Sethian, could have far-reaching effects.

'This work has application in the mixing of foams, in industrial processes for making metal and plastic foams, and in modeling growing cell clusters,' Sethian said in a UC Berkeley press release ­ and nor does it stop there, he explained. 'These techniques, which rely on solving a set of linked partial differential equations, can be used to track the motion of a large number of interfaces connected together, where the physics and chemistry determine the surface dynamics.'

One of the main challenges facing Sethian and his colleague Robert I. Saye as they set about their work was the fact that the evolution of a bubble cluster just a few inches across depends on what occurs in the walls of each individual bubble."


















Our Sunday morning ride was interrupted when around 10 o'clock we ran into a homocide on Grizzly Peak road.  The road blocked by tape and a "UCPD" radio car, a crime scene unit and what appeared to be a BPD command unit were also present. Tents had been erected over the immediate crime scene where investigators appeared to be working. A car apparently belonging to the victim was also present. 
After about 10 minutes we turned around and left.  



19 were wounded Sunday afternoon in a shooting at a New Orleans parade--two were children.















5/6/13--9:29 PM--"manufacturing" odor in front of warehouse and warehouse front, mucus membrane irritation, watery burning eyes, etc. 10:25 PM--similar.

5/8/13--4:25 PM-odor in front room, mucus membrane irritation.Similar off-and-on all day.

5/10/13--7:17 PM--"manufacturing" odor in front of warehouse and warehouse front, mucus membrane irritation, watery burning eyes, etc.

5/12/13--7:25 PM--odor in front room, mucus membrane irritation.






eternally useful links


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

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out 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

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from

Bay Area foreclosures from


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

Darryl Moore, City Councilman

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.