Monday, January 14, 2013

Total Recall Technology

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 8:45 PM


There's a new technology on the market. Imagine a touch screen tablet with keyboard buttons that pop up on command and then disappear just as fast. Well stop imagining. Tactus, a Silicon Valley startup company has made such a thing. Here's the June 11, 2012 story and here's the story from the demonstrations at the recent CES convention in Las Vegas.

It uses a technology called microfluidics, and that's all I know about it. It's being referred to as "the tablet that turns itself lumpy," probably the worst possible way to describe it. Lumpy? That's a 50-year-old technophobic editor speaking, right there. The one who can't get his iPhone to put all the things into one folder thingy. But it's cool technology, nonetheless.

I remember when touchscreens started getting popular, and now they're mainstream. And when Minority Report came out, with Tom Cruise, he put on those gloves and moved windows around on clear computer screens. That happens now, too, but we don't need the gloves. And in Total Recall (the first one) when Arnold sits down and the newspaper is just a digital tablet-like device, THAT'S NOW! Man, I've got to start re-watching those '70s and '80s sci-fi flicks. Otherwise I'll be left wishing I had three hands, baby.

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Four (More) Jobs for the Marin County Kumbaya Patrol

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 6:23 PM

It's great that the Marin County Kumbaya Patrol is ready to talk about gun control, and even better that they've been ready for quite some time now.
Still, now that the entity that sprang full-formed from the brain of Jon Stewart is a Facebook page, perhaps it could turn its attention to some issues closer to home. True, the hot-tub lovin' mecca of open space and naked people is always chock-full of love, except when it's not. Here are four local issues that could use some kumbaya.

This is not what Kumbaya looks like.
  • This is not what Kumbaya looks like.

1. Stop the Lawsuits!
Central Marin Sanitation Agency and Ross Valley Sanitary District have long waged costly legal battles with each other, despite multiple grand jury reports on the pair's disfunction. The latter has also been associated with a million-gallon sewage spill, an EPA investigation, claims of eco-terrorism, allegation of mismanaged housing dollars and a blog called "Ross Valley Sewer Truth."

2. Do Something About Eldercare
All you need to start cashing in on the eldercare industry in California is a business license, and in this elderly county, the industry is veering out of control.

3. Address Affordable Housing
We've said it before: According to Marin Community Foundation, 60 percent of the workforce commutes in. Of course, someone brought up the helpful point to the New York Times—upping the county's supply of low income units could turn Marin into Syria.

4. Talk About Domestic Violence
The wealthy county's number one violent crime, this often-underreported tragedy resulted in 800 calls to police, 2,500 calls to local hotlines and 2 deaths in 2009, according to a 2010 Grand Jury report.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Silent History's Eli Horowitz Featured on Other People With Brad Listi

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Last fall, we covered the debut of The Silent History, an innovative, "new kind of novel" created by a team that includes former managing editor of McSweeney's (and part-time Forestville resident) Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn, a talented software developer and designer who lives in Cazadero. A serialized digital storytelling project, designed specifically for the iPhone and iPad, that project has the potential to redefine storytelling as we know it. It's also addictive, well-written and entertaining.

Eli Horowitz was interviewed last week over at Other People With Brad Listi. This is one of my favorite literary podcasts. Hosted by Brad Listi, founder and publisher of The Nervous Breakdown, at its best, the show sheds insight into the creative process and lives of writers and editors who fall between the traditional margins of literature. The interview with Horowitz should be a good one!

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Sell Your Guns to the Government

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 1:55 PM


An overflowing lobby surprised Sonoma County administrators last night at the public forum convened by Rep. Mike Thompson (D—St. Helena) at the County Supervisor's Chambers. Dozens spoke on both sides of the argument, both for tighter gun laws and calling for more guns for protection. Thompson was recently called upon to head a panel of 12 fellow Democrats called the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Today, Marin County's District Attorney weighed in with his thoughts on the matter.

In response to the Sandy Hook shooting, Marin County announced a gun buyback program taking place on January 15 and 21. “ I personally believe we are a society with too many guns simply sitting in garages, closets, drawers and who knows where else,” says Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian in a press release. “Let’s take a step to reduce the total number of these weapons.”

Residents of Sonoma County are invited to participate in the program as well, which doles out $200 for each operable semi-automatic gun and $100 for anything else. This is a “no questions asked” policy, according to the DA's office, and no police investigations will be launched as a result of someone turning in a gun.

Guns can be turned in January 15 between 11am and 8pm at: Novato Police Department, 909 Machin Avenue, Novato; San Rafael Police Department, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael; Larkspur police facility of the Central Marin Police Authority, 250 Doherty Drive, Larkspur; St. Andrew's Church, 101 Donahue, Marin City; and Pt. Reyes Substation of the Marin County Sheriff's Office, 101 4th Street, Pt. Reyes. Guns should not be loaded when turned in. Locations for the January 21 buyback are San Rafael and Mill Valley (1 Hamilton Drive, Mill Valley) police departments between 11am and 8pm.

Marin County has committed $10,000 to this program, with additional funds coming from the Marin Community Foundation ($20,000) and the community at large donating another $10,000 to the Marin County DA's office.

The dates were chosen to commemorate the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., one being on the day of his birth and one being on the calendar-observed holiday honoring him. A victim of gun violence himself, Dr. King was a ceaseless advocate of peaceful protest, decrying the use of violence for any purpose.

The most mind-boggling quote from the Press Democrat's story on last night's forum had to be this: “Children need to know how to protect themselves,” reportedly spoken by a self-described grandmother and National Rifle Association recruiter, saying the NRA already teaches gun safety to children. It's hard to imagine a lack of guffaws from the North Bay crowd after that comment.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five Simple Questions for Aspiring Santa Rosa City Council Members

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

The Santa Rosa City Council announced yesterday that in addition to accepting open applications for a vacant council seat, it will offer city residents the opportunity to submit their own possible questions for city council interviews, scheduled to take place on Jan. 28.

In the spirit of civic participation, here are five possible questions for the Council's consideration:

1. If the Sonoma County Economic Development Board weighs in favorably regarding the economic effect of Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger on downtown Santa Rosa, would you be willing to replace the water in every public fountain with beer?

2. If Guy Fieri offered the City of Santa Rosa $1 million to erect a 50-foot, blazing yellow statue of himself cooking up a batch of Rockin’ Lava Shrimp underneath a banner that says “WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN" in middle of Courtyard Square, would you vote "aye" faster than Fieri can chow down an order of PBR Pig Stix, or would you tell the man to go jump in a vat of Donkey Sauce?

3. When passing by the mall, what makes your sadder? That ill-sighted city planning allowed the creation of a brick behemoth cutting off one part of downtown from the other without an easy thoroughfare for pedestrians and bicyclists, or the fact that never again will you be able to pile food on your plate from the Fresh Choice buffet and wash it all down with an old-school Orange Julius?

4. If you had to choose to see one of these items blown up for the sake of raising city tax dollars, which would it be? a) Every Peanuts statue between Fourth Street and Steele Lane. b) The Cyclisk crushed bicycle obelisk on Santa Rosa Ave. c) The Measure O baseline funding levels. d) The hand statue in front of the mall.

5. Walmart Neighborhood Market—a terrific solution to the food desert issue on Santa Rosa Ave., or the worst idea to come along since the Press Democrat begin allowing unmoderated online comments?

Interested in submitting your own questions? The deadline to submit questions is 5:30pm on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. Questions may be submitted in person to the City Clerk’s Office located at 100 Santa Rosa Ave. Room 10, or by emailing them to

For more information, contact the City Clerk’s office at 707.543.3015 or

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Mourning the Loss of Mr. Teeth, Pot-Guarding Gator

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Mr. Teeth, a jovial caiman who worked as a security guard at a local residential marijuana distribution center died this morning. Though it is uncertain, Mr. Teeth is thought to have been 16 years old.

The caiman, often confused for an allligator, was found unresponsive on duty, leaving the 34 pounds of pot he was supposed to be protecting to be collected by authorities in Castro Valley. It's owner said Mr. Teeth was hired to commemorate rapper Tupac Shakur's death, which would have been about 16 years ago.

Mr. Teeth arrived at the Oakland Zoo in critical unresponsive and in critical condition. Cause of death is unknown at this point. No autopsy plans have been made public.

Funeral arrangements have not been released at this time.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Five Ways to Celebrate the Return of Downton Abbey

An assortment of amusements from the finer side of the Web

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Have you missed the elaborate hair combs, the Maggie Smith zingers, the scenery chewing that is always oh-so-polite? Now that Season Three has officially premiered on this side of the salty pond, here are five ways to celebrate that wide assortment of spoons, that scandal in stiff brocade, that heart-stopping drama that is Downton Abbey.

Maggie Smith, yall.
  • Maggie Smith, y'all.

1. Look at lamps!
Because, let's not kid ourselves, looking at lamps is at least half of what this show is about.

2. Watch "Sh!t the Dowager Countess Says."
Because you can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner.

3. Read this essay.
Because "ice berg" does sound alarmingly similar to "ice cube."

4. Bake a fruitcake.
Because the recipe only calls for 1/3 cup of rum, but you'll have to buy the whole bottle.

5. Buy paper dolls.
Because getting drunk on rum and playing with paper dolls is what adulthood is all about.

As an added bonus, you can watch this Eddie Izzard classic and contemplate whether we have, in fact, arrived at Room with a View of Hell.

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Ever Dream of Being on Santa Rosa City Council? Now's Your Chance!

Because anyone is better than Don Taylor, evidently, the Santa Rosa City Council is holding an open application process for Susan Gorin's seat.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM

As Susan Gorin exits stage left for her new position on the Board of Supervisors, the Santa Rosa City Council is looking to fill her council appointment (it runs through December 2014) as quickly as possible. Tuesday's council meeting saw the six current members deciding against a potentially expensive special election, or doing what might seem to be the sensible thing of filling the vacant seat with the November election's fifth-place finisher (Omelette Express owner Don Taylor, who came ahead of Caroline Bañuelos in the final tally by only 17 votes). Man, the council really does not want Don Taylor behind the dais, do they?

Instead, the council has opened applications to all residents who are registered voters in Santa Rosa. This means you! For anyone who's ever dreamed of having a little power in their hometown, or maybe yearns to become Santa Rosa's answer to Leslie Knope, now's the time. Applicants are required to fill out a nine-part questionnaire, which will be used as part of an interview process to take place on Jan. 28 and possibly Jan. 29, depending on the number of applicants.

Questions include: Why are you interested in this position? What particular skills do you bring to the Council? What are the top two pressing issues facing the City of Santa Rosa? How have you remained current and informed on City issues?

Be prepared to list personal involvement in community activities and potential economic conflicts of interest.

The new council member will tentatively be appointed at the Feb. 5 council meeting.

Along with the questionnaire, applicants must turn in a nomination form with the signatures of 20 registered voters.


For an application packet and more information contact:
Santa Rosa City Clerk
Santa Rosa City Hall, Room 10
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA
(707) 543-3010

Applicants must be residents and registered voters of Santa Rosa and must file a Statement of Economic Interests, among other requirements.

Applications will be available starting Thursday, January 10.

The application deadline is Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

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SF Weekly Sold to the Guy Who Also Owns the Bay Guardian

Basically, the SF Weekly and the Guardian hate each other's pulp. How's this going to play out?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 11:31 AM


Just in time to miss what would have been the world's most awkward company Christmas party, Village Voice Media announced today its sale of the SF Weekly to the boringly-named San Francisco Newspaper Company. The company, led by Todd Vogt, also owns the Examiner—which I guess is still a paper?—and more importantly, the competing Bay Guardian.

The sale creates strange bedfellows indeed. The Bay Guardian, sold by Bruce "Read My Paper, Dammit" Brugmann to Vogt last year, played the role of Riff to the SF Weekly's Bernardo in a much-publicized altweekly turf lawsuit that ended in a $15.9 million settlement to the Guardian. Basically, the SF Weekly and the Guardian hate each other's pulp. Now they're both owned by Pappa Vogt. How's this going to play out?

The Voice also sold Seattle Weekly, because duh, The Stranger.

Press Release, Come On Down:

Voice Media Group today announces the sale of SF Weekly and Seattle Weekly. Specifically, SF Weekly LP has closed on the sale of SF Weekly to the San Francisco Newspaper Company, which is the publisher of The San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

The deal, effective immediately, means that the San Francisco Newspaper Company (“SFNP”) will assume operations for the paper beginning today. The sale of SF Weekly will allow Voice Media Group to focus on growth opportunities for mobile and online platforms and to develop core digital offerings in its other key markets.

“This is a strategic decision aligned with the long-term business goals of VMG,” said Scott Tobias, CEO of Voice Media Group. “Todd Vogt is known for his expertise in the local paper space and he is a great choice to take ownership of SF Weekly.”

Todd Vogt, President and Co-Owner of SFNP, added, “This is an exciting day for our company as we add a title that is recognized as one of the leading alternative weekly newspapers in the country. Village Voice Media Holdings built a great company of excellent newspapers. SF Weekly expands our commitment to deliver the very best local media coverage in San Francisco.”

Best of luck to all our friends at the SF Weekly, who no doubt are very nervous right now. Don't worry, guys—Tim Redmond's "JDLR" speech is actually kind of endearing the first 28 times you hear it.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Giant Squid vs. Giant Douche

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Giant squid
  • NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel/AP

A giant squid was finally captured on video in its natural habitat. Why is this news? Why should the denizens of the North Bay care? Because giant squid are incredible, that's why.

Unfortunately, this clip is from ABC, the lowest common denominator of television news. So there's about 20 seconds of idiotic banter in this 45-second clip. Yeah, buddy, don't take a dip past TWO THOUSAND FEET.

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