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February 28, 2014

Disney World Breaks With Boy Scouts

Disney World has announced they will no longer make charitable contributions to the Boy Scouts of America because of their discriminatory policy. The Boy Scouts still do not permit gay adult Scout leaders.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

Emerson College Opens In Hollywood

That striking new building on Sunset Boulevard is ready for students.

Olivia McLean, 22, an Emerson senior who is studying film and television production, said she feels safe in the Hollywood neighborhood, although she does not go out alone at night there or in Boston. She and other refugees from Massachusetts' tough winters especially enjoy the facility's outdoor gathering spots several stories above Sunset, including one with gas cooking grills.
"Its amazing. It's like living in the Guggenheim," said McLean, who has an internship at the Comedy Central network in Santa Monica and plans to return West to look for permanent work after graduation this spring.

Emerson College
Emerson College
.

Filed under Architecture | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

Crystal Palace To Be Rebuilt

In London on the original site, full scale. I assume that the original site they mean is the one in Hyde Park. Wikipedia article here. Plate glass had been invented in 1848 and the Crystal Palace was designed around the largest pane of glass that could be made at the time which was 10 inches by 49 inches.

Filed under Architecture,History | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

100 Best Places To Eat In The USA

According to Yelp reviewers, not food critics. #1 is Da Poke Shack on the Big Island in Hawaii. The #3 spot goes to the very deserving Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas.
Oklahoma Joe's BBQ
This is Oklahoma Joe's
. Really. Not kidding.

Highest on the list in southern California is Porto's Bakery in Burbank which sounds like it also has very low prices.

I'm sorry to say the list has only one (1) restaurant in New England, and it's in Providence, Rhode Island. Los Andes Restaurant landed in spot #69.

Filed under Food and Drink | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

History Of The Creation Of The Salton Sea

Yesterday I attended a two-hour presentation on the history of the creation of the Salton Sea given by Will Kleindienst at the Oliphant Auditorium on the Palm Desert CSUSB campus. It was very entertaining and included more detail on the earlier attempts to irrigate the Imperial Valley and a lot more detail on the final successful attempt that led to the great flood that created the Salton Sea than I knew about before. I had often wondered about the effect of this great disaster on the greater disaster in San Francisco that occurred while our flood was happening, but none of the histories I've seen discuss that in any depth. Mr. Kleindienst went into it and shows that the San Francisco earthquake had a profound impact on attempts to end the flood - mostly because labor, equipment and money were all moved to the Bay Area. He showed us a photo taken in San Francisco in 1906 that appears to show pieces of a gigantic dredging barge that was being built to try to re-route the Colorado to stop the flood. The equipment and the factory where it was being made were both destroyed in the quake.

At the beginning he made it clear that he would not address any matter relating to the Salton Sea that occurred (or will occur) after 1907. This made it easier to stay on the subject. His presentation ought to be committed to video and shown to every high school student in the valley.

But even better than his very informative and entertaining delivery, Mr. Kleindienst created a powerpoint presentation that should be studied by just about everybody who has ever made a powerpoint presentation that I have seen. In almost every powerpoint presentation the maker lets the medium overcome his message. but Mr. Kleindienst kept the gee-whiz to an absolute minimum. Fonts were plain and clear and big and in colors that clearly contrasted with the background. Sometimes there were only 2 or 3 words on the screen. He never tried to use the display as though it were a substitute for an 8½ x 11 piece of paper. No borders or frames. No transitions. And perhaps most important, he really knew his presentation. He knew when to push the button to advance the presentation. That's a challenge for some.

Less is more with powerpoint presentations, and much less is much more.

Finally, I'm going to provide a little assistance to those who have never been to Oliphant Auditorium. Google "Oliphant Auditorium" and you will find many events scheduled there, but try to find anything on the web to tell you just which building it's located in. I know it's a small campus and it couldn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes to visit every building, but still... It is customary for colleges to provide some kind of map to indicate what's where. This is what passes for a map of the campus. Four buildings are identified, but none of the contents. I guessed that an auditorium would be in the building that is obviously a theater, the "Indian Wells Theater." I guessed wrong. There are small maps on campus which are not helpful. The map at the campus that identifies Oliphant Auditorium is right outside the door of Oliphant Auditorium and by the time you see that you will have already seen the sign "Oliphant Auditorium" on the side of the building. So here:
Oliphant Auditorium
That's Cook Street on the left and Google says the road at the top of this picture is Berger Drive West, but I don't think the street sign says that. I think it's something like Gateway Drive. Anyway, Oliphant Auditorium is in the Mary Stuart Rogers Gateway Building, so you don't have to look confused when you visit.

Another thing new visitors might be looking for are administrative offices. Sorry, I didn't search those out, so it's up to somebody else to tell us.

Filed under California,Coachella Valley,History | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)

I Demand Literalness

Noah, The Movie will have a disclaimer saying it is not a verbatim re-telling of the Biblical story. I'm so disappointed. We finally have cinematic technology that will allow a depiction of the story as written. I want to see a boat built to the exact dimensions and then packed with more biomass than could be held in a hundred such boats. Either all the living stuff will have to be crushed to the density of a black hole, or it will all be stacked on the top deck to such a height that there is no way the boat could stay upright. Details on where they got the meat to feed the carnivores and the sanitary measures on board would really help the verisimilitude, too.

There are 7.77 million species of animals. Subtract those who live in water.

Filed under Film/Movies,Religion | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

Elected Coroner?

This is why most jurisdictions do not leave the selection of coroner to the voters.

| permalink | February 28, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

Bluetooth for GoPro Hero3+

The Hero3+ has got Wi-fi as well as USB and HDMI ports, but no Bluetooth until now. Sena has introduced a Bluetooth bacpac that will fit Hero3+ cameras only. It plugs into the Hero3+ with a novel connector that requires a special case, which comes with the device. The waterproof housing seems to be an extra purchase.

I looked in the Hero3+ manual to see what sort of port it plugged into. In the drawing below it's labeled as "8. Mini-USB Port (Supports Composite A/C Cable/3.5mm stereo mic adapter, not included)."
GoPro Hero3+ front view

Can anyone give me some help on what is meant by "Composite A/C Cable?" Those words are used nowhere else in the Hero3+ manual nor on the GoPro website. Searches of the web and Amazon and Monoprice specifically turn up nothing called "Composite A/C Cable" nor "A/C Cable" nor "Composite A/C." Any clue?

The Sena device is for audio only, but maybe there will be future enhancements. There's no price information on the Sena website, but Motorcycle USA reports that it will be $99. If I had a Hero3+ I would buy this SO fast!

The manual for the "GoPro Bluetooth Audio Pack" (the official name) is available here. The device has an internal microphone too. This can be used simultaneously with the Bluetooth mic. As an example of when you might use this, imagine a situation where we have attached a GoPro Hero3+ to an angry bull while you, the toreador, wears the Bluetooth headset. Imagine the excellent audio of the bull grunting and breathing as he charges accompanied by your screams of terror and final death gurgle! It'll get a lot of views before Youtube takes it down.

Filed under GoPro,Photography | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

About that Supreme Court video

I have a teensy-weensy bit of advice for protestors and civil-disobedients: whoever is photographing your history-making moment should be sure to set the date and time on their camera...especially if the camera is set to display the date and time in the video itself.

The Young Turks offer an edited version where the date shown is "2008/01/01." C'mon, the days of the blinking clock on the VHS recorder ended in the 20th century. But at least the date of the act can easily be confirmed by everybody who attended the Supreme Court two days ago.

Here's the list of Youtube videos uploaded by SCOTUSpwned, all of which were uploaded February 26, 2014, even though they seem to come from earlier dates. A lot of what you'll see is blackness. The photographer started recording and put the camera in a pocket long before pulling it out during Supreme Court proceedings.

This video says "2013/10/08" which is probably a correct date.

This one "06/14/2008."

This one "01/25/2008."

And this one is "2008/01/01" again. This seems to be the raw video shot this week. It's 18:53 long, and all but the last 30 or 40 seconds are dark or obscured with muffled audio. Only at the very end does the camera come out for the moment of protest.

A simple statement in the description giving us the actual date the video was shot would clear things up.

Here's the press release from the group that the protestors are with. As long as I'm being picky, I'm fairly sure that where they use the word "arcane" they mean "archaic." There's nothing arcane about a simple rule that bans cameras in the room. Archaic? Yes.

The brief SCOTUSblog post about the protest.

Filed under History,Photography | permalink | February 28, 2014 at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2014

Marijuana Business Banking

You have probably heard that there are some major glitches in providing banking services for both medical and recreational marijuana businesses. The state's overwhelming concern for our health & safety has had the unintended consequence of requiring great piles of cash to be somehow transported safely between a retail location (that may be in an industrial area) to the place where they store that cash safely, and back again. For most, I suppose that means a good fireproof safe in a lawyer's office, or maybe just at home. IOW, a system has been set up that may bring back something like the old tradition of robbing a train in the Old West. Just stack the railroad ties across the only paved road in and out of the industrial zone, set them alight and then hide in the sagebrush until the money car comes along.

In this article about the dispensary that has been permitted in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the owners actually name the bank that will handle their business, and it's Century Bank which promotes its independent ownership. The website prominently features the picture of the President & CEO, the Executive Vice President, and the Founder & Chairman, all of whom share the same family name. I imagine risk-takers like Century Bank will soak up a lot of cash until the big banks see that the kinks have all been worked out for them.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | February 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2014

Pueblo County, Colorado, Reports

Pueblo County is the only county between Denver and New Mexico that permits retail marijuana sales. It had two shops in January. Three more opened in February. The county announced yesterday that its share of the taxes received from the stores was $56,000 in January alone. Earlier the county had estimated about $33,000/month in net tax proceeds. If the current rate of sales is sustained, the county can expect about $670,000 in taxes this year.

Filed under Marijuana | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

Oklahoma University

Marijuana infractions are on the increase at Oklahoma University. Last year they had only 20 occurrences, but this year they've already had 11. The more interesting thing about the article is that it includes a pie chart showing how many marijuana infractions (they don't say anyone got arrested) have occurred at each of the residence halls. I'm afraid this may be counter-productive. Couch Center leads the way with 22 infractions - 37% of the total. Do you think Couch's residents will let their newly announced party status slip from their roach clips? I think not.
Couch Center
Couch Center, where the law is flagrantly violated
. Photo by Chris Hernandez

Filed under Marijuana | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)

Steepest Street In California?


Is this L.A.'s steepest street? Eldred Street west of North Avenue 48. Continue uphill and it becomes a pedestrian stairway for the final block of the ascent. Fixr claims it has a grade of 33% making it also the steepest street in California. San Francisco's 22nd Street between Church and Vicksburg, the 6th steepest street in California, is reported to be an easy 31.5%.

Other L.A. candidates are listed here.

Filed under California,Cities/Urbanism | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Busted For Cooking Meth

Los Pollos Hermanos
Daniel Kowalski of LaGrange, Illinois
, a far northern suburb of Albuquerque.

Filed under Public Safety,Television | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

5th Circuit Judge Strikes Down Texas Ban

Now it's Texas' turn. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has found that Texas' constitutional ban on same-sex marriage us unconstitutional because it violates due process and equal protection requirements. The judge also issued a stay pending appeal. The Texas Attorney General announced he will join the dwindling number of state Attorney's General who will waste taxpayer money defending the provision.

The State of Texas didn't come up with any new arguments defending the state constitution, but just hauled out the same old ones that have not held up in any other federal court.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

Dinah Shore Estate

The Real Estalker reports on the sale of the Dinah Shore estate in the Las Palmas neighborhood for $5,230,000. She includes a bundle of photos of the place that came from the real estate listing.

The 1.34 acre estate, in the heart of the fabled and celebrity-pedigreed Old Las Palmas 'hood, was custom designed as a series of glass-walled pavilions and built in the mid-1960s for the late and legendary singer/actress Dinah Shore by prominent mid-century modern architect Donald Wexler, now in his late 80s, who in his professional heyday plied his trade predominantly in and around the Palm Springs area.

She adds that all parties were required to sign confidentiality agreements, but passes along the rumor that the buyer is Leonardo DiCaprio.

Filed under Architecture,Coachella Valley,Film/Movies,History,Television | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

Leonard Knight Memorial Services

His ashes have been divided so that there can be two services:

  1. Ft Rosecrans Cemetery in San Diego
    Friday, March 14, (2014) at Ft Rosecrans Cemetery in San Diego.
    Please RSVP to bobl@salvationmountain.org if you will attend
    Arrive at 10 am for the 10:30 am ceremony (Confirmed!!).

  2. Salvation Mountain
    Saturday, March 15, (2014) at Salvation Mountain
    No RSVP required, all are welcome
    11:00 am?

Filed under Art,California | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

It'll be Burning Man #8 for me

Successfully bought one ticket and one vehicle pass with only about half an hour of waiting. Others in the Burner Buddies camp are reporting similar success. Here's a Vine showing you how it went.

This batch of tickets was sold out in 40 to 45 minutes. If it was 45 minutes, that would have been a bit more than 14 tickets per second, or $5,320 per second, not counting vehicle passes and service fees.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)

Ice Surfing With Wild Deer

And a GoPro.

Filed under Photography | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

San Diego To Re-allow MMJ DIspensaries

The San Diego City Council approved zoning regulations that would permit up to four medical marijuana dispensaries in each council district except for District 3 (no reason given for that exception). That made me go look up a map of the city's council districts. There are 9 (I'll let you do that simple arithmetic), but I was surprised to see that the part of San Diego that butts right up against the international border appears to be non-contiguous with the rest of the city. Is there a theoretical, legal strip of City of San Diego that runs down through the middle of the bay to connect the two parts of the city, or does California permit non-contiguous cities?

Each dispensary operator will get a CUP that expires in five years.

Filed under California,Marijuana | permalink | February 26, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)