Reliable California Wildfire Information

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November is wildfire season in California, and this year has been no exception. Just when we thought it couldn't get worse than 2017 / 2018, it did.

Unfortunately it can be super hard to get good information about wildfires while they are happening. This is mainly due to every local news station eagerly exploiting tragedy for readership. Googling a fire returns pages of poorly and hastily written articles that contain, at best, out of date information (but plenty of shocking cell phone video) and at worst no information at all.


A Piece of Trash a Day

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The lines we make in our day to day lives. Placed on a heatmap of all our motion, our daily routines show up in blazing hot purple. We ride down the same streets on our way to work, walk the same sidewalks to get the groceries, wander familiar shorelines on sunset strolls.


Turn Off Mobile Data

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There's a lot of talk on the web about the dangers of always on technology and addictive social media. I'm here to give you a life pro tip.

Turn off mobile data.

You'll have wireless in most places anyway, but not being connected outside of wifi means less distractions on walks, at dinner, or in the movies. You can still turn on data if you really need it, but the barrier is high enough that you're unlikely to use it to get a quick hit of reddit.

I started doing this when AT&T made me give up my trusty nokia dumb phone and I got a smart phone. Seems to work great.

Demonic Plants of SoCal: Pt. 1 - Pitchfork Weed

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The first thing I noticed when I moved to Santa Barbara and started going outdoors was that everything just seemed a little more hostile than what I was used to. There are the ever present threats of overwhelming heat, lack of water, exposure and poison oak. By now, I've come to know some of the more subtle actors as well.

One of them I met today: Pitchfork Weed aka Bidens frondosa or, the Devil's Beggarticks, Devil's Pitchfork, Tickseed Sunflower… Would you believe it is closely related to the lovely sunflower? Neither would I, the family resemblance is illusive. Trust me, you don't want to run through a field of these, and their seeds are not pleasant.

2016-05-08-demonic-plants-of-socal-pt.-1---pitchfork-weed.markdown

The new Star Wars is Already Full of Fail

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I was waiting in line at the supermarket this morning when I came across this cover of the June 2015 Vanity Fair:


Immediately something struck me as very, very wrong.

I know we all hope the new Star Wars will be good and make up for the complete travesty of episodes I, II and III. But I'm going to make a quick and uninformed judgment based solely on this magazine cover and say: no, no it won't.


Feynman on "Computer Disease"

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The following is a excerpt from the book I am currently reading by Richard Feynman, Surely You Must be Joking, Mr. Feynman! that I found amusing. Well, Mr. Frankel, who started this program, began to suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. Read more...

Little Known Fact: Blue Jays are Vicious Carnivores

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Look at that Blue Jay, isn't he cute? They are so beautiful, and so are their songs! I wonder what he had for lunch, probably some berries or something. Such wonderful little creatures. Little does my grandma know, as she watches the birds fly and sing out her window, that Blue Jays actually readily kill and eat other song birds. I didn't know either, until today. I was sitting in the Cascade Dining Hall enjoying my breakfast looking out the window, when I saw a Blue Jay eating something in a tree. Read more...