On Wired, Matt Simon profiles Clayton Bailey, who makes spectacular rayguns out of junk and scrap, and who is possessed of a truly magnificent mustache.
Next you’ll notice the many steampunkish ray guns — from dueling pistols to rifles to turrets — that Bailey has constructed from materials he found at flea markets and scrap yards around the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead of shooting lasers, they utilize either lungpower or pump-action air pressure to launch peas, corks or bits of potato a third of the way down a football field.
They’re gorgeous and entirely nonlethal, unless you’re targeting someone with an especially bad allergy to peas, corks or potatoes.
Scrap Yards Yield Raw Material for Artist’s Amazing Ray Guns
(Image: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com)
In San Francisco, developers who want to build big projects are required to make space available to the public as part of their planning permission. Some of the most beautiful spots in town are in these privately owned public spaces. But you'd be hard-pressed to discover their existence, as many of them are hidden away with tiny, obscure signs announcing them, and in some cases, you have to sign in with a guard to get to them. Writing on SFGate, John King lays out the problem and suggests some solutions:
The solution: pull back the addition's 11th floor to tuck in a terrace that also maintains views from the west of the 1906 landmark's regal mansard roof.
The result is unique, a vantage point of the sort that until now was available only to penthouse dwellers or corner-office executives. The space itself is amply outfitted with benches and planters.
The problem, again, is knowing that it exists.
The 1985 plan states that when public spaces are located within or on top of buildings, "their availability should be marked visibly at street level." But because the guidelines are so vague, it's easy to fulfill their letter but not their spirit.
That's true of One Kearny's hideaway. By placing the sign at knee level - and making it less than 5 inches wide - the likelihood of outsiders finding their way to the roof is almost nil.
At another recent space, the enclosed plaza included as part of the Millennium Tower, the exterior sign is brushed metal. But at 6 inches square, it's too easy to miss.
Compare this with the signs required for similar private-but-public spaces in New York City. The city's planning code requires signs to be "12 inches square in dimension and dark green or black in color with a highly contrasting background," with "lettering at least two inches in height stating 'OPEN TO PUBLIC.' "
Privately owned public spaces: Guidance needed
Officials at San Francisco International Airport today unveiled what is said to be the first dedicated practice space for yoga in any airport, anywhere in the world. I'm not surprised to see it's in SFO's newly revamped Terminal 2, a swankily-designed space where Virgin America is based, and some really fantastic food vendors abound.
So much of the the blog/press coverage of today's SFO yoga room launch is cliché-ridden, scoffing at yoga as "woo woo" and so on. But I think it's a great, practical idea. I practice yoga, and when I'm waiting between long-haul flights in an airport, I'll often try and find a discreet, out-of-the-way spot to do a few poses before I'm crammed into my flying cattle pen. Gentle stretching and exercise before, after, or between plane flights makes good health sense.
I do hope this is the start of a trend at other airports around the world. One caveat: the idea of using their provided sticky-mats grosses me out. I'd definitely BYOM (bring your own mat).
More: SFist, MSNBC, SF Examiner, CBS.
Jonathan from Hackers and Founders
sez, "We're planning
SOPA/PIPA protests in SF
on Wednesday the 18th to coincide with the blackouts."
Remember this video, in which protesters ask an Oakland PD officer why he illegally covered his name-badge, then, when he won't answer, ask a supervisor why this was so? Well, both the cop and his supervisor have been disciplined for their roles in the incident (the cop for covering his badge, the supervisor for failing to report the illegal conduct). The supervisor, formerly a lieutenant, has been busted down to sergeant, and the officer has been suspended for a month (no word on whether he will be paid during the suspension, which he is appealing).
After an internal investigation, Hargraves was ordered suspended for 30 days, and Wong was demoted to sergeant for failing to report the incident to internal affairs, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because the department considers the case a confidential personnel matter...
"[An video the officer had seen on the net involving another officer] called for violence against the officer, including burning down his home," Hargraves wrote. "This caused me great concern for the safety of my family."
But civil rights attorney Jim Chanin said Wednesday, "That's like saying that you can steal from a store because you're poor. If you take that to its logical conclusion, every police officer every day faces possible exposure and danger because their names are on their badges."
Chanin added, "Officer Hargraves could have asked to get an undercover assignment. He could have asked to be taken off duty that day. Instead, he decided to go and get his pay and violate the law. There's no excuse for that."
Oakland cops disciplined for name-covering episode
In this video from the kettling of Occupy San Francisco protesters, SFPD sergeant Peter Thoshinsky (helmet #2197) is recorded walking the police line, ordering his officers, "If they do not do what you tell them, strike them."
The protesters who record this are understandably upset and try to engage the officers in a dialog about whether such an order is legal and should be followed. There's a certain amount of violating Godwin's Law here, which is understandable, even if it might not be the best way to win the day.
"If they do not do what you tell them, strike them." says SFPD while kettling OccupySF 2011-12-07
The neon Yahoo billboard, which sits by the highway on the way to the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, is about to come down. It has been an iconic (and quite lovely) sign of the Internet boom that remade the city starting in the mid-nineties.
It’s been a San Francisco icon for more than a decade. It’s graced our skyline through the dot.com boom and bust. And it’s one of the most recognizable pieces of advertising the city has seen in a long time. But the San Francisco Egotist has learned that in two weeks, the Yahoo! billboard will be no longer. Jon Charles, Vice President and General Sales Manager for Clear Channel Outdoor in San Francisco confirmed, “Yes, the Yahoo! board will be available starting in December 2011.”
So how did such a distinctive board come about in the first place? Who created it? And what will San Francisco lose when it’s gone? Steve Stone was the Co-Creative Director and Robert Boyce was the Media Director at Black Rocket – the agency that brought the Yahoo! yodel into existence (among other memorable advertising). They told us the history of the Yahoo! billboard.
The end of an era: The Yahoo! billboard comes down.
(Image: Yahoo sign, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from jacob-davies's photostream)
San Francisco's Custom Made Theatre Company is mounting a sweet, low-budget production of Little Brother
, and they're looking to raise the funds for a high-quality video projector
, which the playwright, Josh Costello, says "would make a huge difference." — Cory
The next installment of the always-awesome SF-in-SF reading series
features two exceptional writers: Kim Stanley Robinson and Ceclia Holland (check out previous mentions of Robinson here
). It's on Sat, Nov 12, doors open at 6PM, event starts at 7, and, as always, the authors will be interviewed by the estimable Terry Bisson. Free, suggested donation $5-10 (benefits Variety Children's Charity). The Variety Preview Room Theatre, 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery.
This week, San Francisco municipal election posters have sprouted Occupy-chic "corrections."
Political Posters Defiled Day Before Election Day
(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a photo by John Johnson)
Kayvan Sabeghi, a veteran of the US Army Rangers, is in the ICU at Oakland's Highland General Hospital after a clash with Oakland PD during the Occupy Oakland protests. Sabeghi claims he was "jumped" by OPD officers who severely beat him and subsequently denied him medical treatment.
The group Iraq Veterans Against the War said Sabeghi was detained during disturbances that erupted late on Wednesday in downtown Oakland and was charged with resisting arrest and remaining present at the place of a riot...
"He told me he was in the hospital with a lacerated spleen and that the cops had jumped him," Kelly said. "They put him in jail, and he told them he was injured, and they denied him medical treatment for about 18 hours..."
The veterans group said in a statement that police struck Sabeghi with nightsticks on his hands, shoulders, ribs and back, and that in addition to a lacerated spleen he suffered from internal bleeding.
Army veteran injured in Oakland clashes with police
The Oakland PD union is confused
by Mayor Jean Quan's approach to the protests -- they say that after they were ordered to clear the Occupy camp (a mission that led to bloody conflict in the streets), the mayor allowed the protest camp to be re-established in a larger, better organized form. Meanwhile city employees have been given permission to participate in today's Oakland General Strike -- but not the Oakland PD. "There is no clear mission here. The mayor is painting this picture that we're the bad guy. We're just doing our jobs, carrying out her orders, and we need some big leadership now."
The Occupy Oakland folks have been publishing designs for today's general strike, including this jaunty little number from R Black. Lots more to choose from, too, including the venerable IWW black cat, back from retirement and looking as spry as a kitten.
Awesome Posters for Nov 2 General Strike!
Next week marks the inaugural Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference (AKA Rightscon) in San Francisco. This event will explore the role that technology plays in the expansion -- or elimination -- of human rights and the ways that technologists and high-tech firms can either help or harm humanity. In an age when American companies supply "deep packet inspection" technology to the Iranian government so that Iran's secret police can figure out whom to brutally murder (to cite just one example among many), this is an important question.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is dispatching several staffers to speak at the event, and they've provided a helpful guide to the more interesting sessions to keep an eye on.
Google, a Rightscon sponsor and participating organization, as well as a member of GNI, is just one example of a company that has done a lot of thinking on human rights: its YouTube platform has been instrumental in getting news out of Syria, thanks to a policy that allows violent content to remain available if intended for documentary or educational purposes. And just this week, Google expanded its use of encryption technology to default to SSL search on Google searches.
Twitter, whose General Counsel Alex MacGillivray will be among the keynote speakers at Rightscon, is another company that has taken human rights under consideration when designing its policies, particularly when it comes to free expression. Another rights-thinking company is Mozilla, whom the EFF has praised for its stance on privacy.
On the lists of attendees and sponsors, EFF also sees several companies about which we have grave concerns. A prime example is AT&T, which famously acted in tandem with the NSA to illegally spy on American citizens. Also amongst the participating companies is Comcast, against which the FCC issued an order (crediting EFF research) in 2008 to stop blocking peer-to-peer traffic. Skype is also on our list of companies of concern due to its surveillance capabilities. Skype is also one of several companies in attendance that has been ranked in EFF's Who Has Your Back? campaign (so far, the company has zero stars).
Notably absent from the list are the myriad Silicon Valley companies that provide censorship and surveillance capabilities to authoritarian regimes, among them Boeing's Narus, Cisco (sign our petition here), McAfee/Intel's SmartFilter, and H-P.