San Francisco's public defecation problem really stinks

San Francisco's new mayor, London Breed, blames homeless people for the piles of poop and ever present scent of urine that characterize the city. There is also awesome avocado toast.

Via the Modesto Bee:

“I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed told the station. “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.”

Breed encouraged charities and nonprofit agencies aiding the homeless to urge them to do more to keep the city’s streets clean, KNTV reported.

“What I am asking you to do is work with your clients and ask them to at least have respect for the community — at least, clean up after themselves and show respect to one another and people in the neighborhood,” Breed told the station.

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Help save artist Kal Spelletich's robots and the future of tech-art

For 25 years, my friend Kal Spelletich of Seemen and Survival Research Labs has lived and worked in a San Francisco warehouse studio where he's built myriad robots, fire machines, and sculptures, hosted music, art, and political action events, and provided support for more than 100 other artists, activists, and fringe characters. Guess what. Kal's been evicted. This is yet another gut punch for the Bay Area's creative community that inspired so many technologists but is now being eviscerated by today's big money tech bubble. Kal has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help him push through: Save Kal's Robots

Rented way back in 1995, my space is was one of the last remaining raw warehouse art spaces and I made it into a home for experimental, non commercial art. I hosted jaw-dropping, fire spewing, ear shattering robot performances, music, noise and art events with the likes of Chris Johanson, Johanna Jackson, Marie Lornez and her epic boat, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Matt Heckert.

I did all this without grants or outside support.

No trust funds, patrons or high paying side jobs here. I passed along the cheap rent.

I provided housing and studios for countless artists, freaks, traveling activists and radical journalists like Trevor Paglen, AC Thompson, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, worked on Survival Research Laboratories shows, and countless others.

My life and warehouse were the inspiration for Rudy Rucker’s sci-fi novel Realware. Another book that wouldn't have happened without my warehouse is Streetopia.

I ran my studio as an experimental art/live space that housed and supported over 100 other artists and activists.

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To do in San Francisco on July 15: The Fifth Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge!

JWZ -- proprietor of San Francisco's DNA Lounge -- writes, "This is one of my favorite events that we do all year: it's time for the Fifth Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge! Come see maniacal Rube Goldberg contraptions pour delicious cocktails for you! Mad Science Guaranteed. You probably won't get wet, probably." Read the rest

Restaurant servers can't afford San Francisco rents so restaurants are going self-serve

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world to live -- six figure incomes are considered "low" and even the tiniest homes are farcically expensive. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: an evening with science fiction writers Ellen Klages, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, and Meg Elison

The next installment of the excellent SF in SF series is tomorrow night, June 10, starting at 630PM and featuring Ellen Klages (previously), Lucy Jane Bledsoe, and Meg Elison, moderated as always by Terry Bisson. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: an evening celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog

I was practically raised on the Whole Earth Catalog and its successors like the Co-Evolution Quarterly, the Whole Earth Review and the WELL -- pioneering publications whose motto, "access to tools and ideas," turned into the maker movement and helped create the movement for free, fair and open internet infrastructure. Read the rest

Just the Tip: Documenting San Francisco's (undeniably phallic) Salesforce Tower

If you've been to San Francisco lately, no doubt that you've seen the 1,070-foot architectural monstrosity known as the Salesforce Tower. The new skyscraper is hard to miss as it's now the tallest building in the city's skyline and because it looks like a big, shiny phallus.

You can't escape it. It can be spotted from nearly everywhere you go in the city. I can even see it from various points in Alameda.

Married couple Nikki and Stone Melet noticed it too. They were so amused by it that they started the site "Just the Tip SF" as a humorous way to document what I have dubbed, the "TechBro Dick."

Nikki told ABC7News, "I was dropping my daughter off at school and I saw the tower. I was driving down the street and I saw the tower. I'm like, this is crazy, you can see the tip from everywhere."

People are encouraged to send in their own photos of "just the tip" from wherever they may see it.

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff, taken from Pier 39 pedestrian bridge Read the rest

A guide to the valuable electronics inside Bird's illegal-in-San Francisco scooters

On the occasion of Bird being ordered to remove its scooters from the streets of San Francisco, JWZ has published the beginnings of a costed teardown of the key components of any you find lying around after they become illegal litter: Read the rest

Bay Area nurses protest, demanding removal of Mark Zuckerberg's name from their hospital

Nurses picketed The Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital And Trauma Center (AKA "Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital") and covered up Zuckerberg's name on the hospital sign, citing concerns that patients would not trust a hospital that was associated with someone with such a long rap-sheet for privacy violations. Read the rest

The scene at 4:20 PM on 4/20 at San Francisco's Hippie Hill

Look at all these stoners... San Francisco, California, ladies and gentleman!

According to SFGate, an estimated 15,000 revelers attended the annual 4/20 gathering at Hippie Hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. This free, unofficial and unsanctioned event has been a tradition in the city since the 1970's but this is the first time it's occurred after recreational use of cannabis became legal in California on January 1.

The event began even before the gates opened about 40 minutes after the scheduled 9 a.m. start. The throngs that had gathered at the police barricades began chanting, “We want to smoke pot in the park,” and a collective whoop rose up as they were allowed inside...

One man holding an orange box full of immaculately rolled spleefs shouted, “Pot, pot, get your pot,” like a hot dog vendor at a ballgame, but most everyone already had the stuff. Still, vendors were everywhere selling tiny $5 gram baggies, cookies and gummies...

At 4:20 p.m., a New Year’s Eve-style countdown began for the “bud drop,” a phantasmagoric depiction of a marijuana bud descending a la Times Square, but it seemed to leave many people dazed and confused. Still, they cheered as if it was the highlight of a day jam-packed with highs.

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Cities' emergency sirens will play anything you send them over an unencrypted radio protocol

It's been a year since someone hacked all 156 of Dallas's emergency tornado sirens, setting them off in the middle of the night, and the security picture for cities' emergency PA systems keeps getting uglier. Read the rest

Thursday 4/5 at San Francisco's Cal Academy of Sciences: Space Age NightLife with the Voyager Golden Record

Please join me this Thursday evening April 5 at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences NightLife event celebrating the Space Age! At 8:30pm, I'll be speaking about the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials launched into space that my friends Tim Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released on vinyl for the first time here on Earth. I'm honored to be joined in conversation by my friend and mentor Timothy Ferris, the bestselling science author who produced the original Voyager Record back in 1977.

There's a stellar lineup of other presenters and happenings at the museum that night too: NASA astronaut Ed Lu, a workshop with the Vintage Synthesizer Museum, a panel on NASA computing technology, space-themed pinball machines, Vetiver's Andy Cabic and DJ Daniel T on the turntables, plenty of far-out art, and much more. I hope to see you there: California Academy of Sciences NightLife: Space Age

The Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Vinyl Box Set and 2xCD-Book edition will be for sale at the event and also available from OzmaRecords.com.

Here's an audio sampler:

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The Internet Archive is hosting a symposium on John Perry Barlow on April 7 (and I'm emceeing)

EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow died last month, and though his death had been long coming, it's left a hole in the hearts of the people who loved him and whom he inspired. Read the rest

Kids write sketch comedy and grownups perform it live

San Francisco's Killing My Lobster troupe teaches sketch comedy to kids in a program through the 826 Valencia writing center. Then, as KML writes, grownups "take their work, rehearse it, add zany props, and perform it in front of a live audience." How fun is that?

The show is in its fourth year and is called 826+KML=BFFs. They've got six performances coming up in April at PianoFight. Read the rest

What happens when you tack $80 in cash on corkboards

Zarinah Agnew lives at the Red Victorian, a modern-day commune in San Francisco's Haight neighborhood. Six months ago, as an experiment, she and her roommates thumbtacked $80 in cash on three different corkboards (at the Red Vic and another local intentional community called The Embassy). They then attached small pink signs that read, “Take what you need, leave what you don’t!”

They called each of their experimental corkboards, the "Great Wall of Money."

Here's what happened next, according to Agnew:

We left them up in our houses and watched. It was kind of amazing.

I watched them stay pristine for a few days, and slowly gain extra funds. Once they had been touched, the notes started to move and disappear. The $1s went first, but again once a $20 had gone, the others followed suit. But they oscillated back and forth in a healthy manner.

Then one night the board was cleared, presumably by a single person. It was full at 3am and gone by 6am that morning. I was sort of delighted by this as it demonstrated to me that the board wasn’t remaining replenished through politeness. People were using it as it was intended. And lo, after a week, the empty board, started to collect notes once more...

Before long the Red Vic Great Wall of Money collected bart tickets, maps, notes, and all sorts of things. Eventually, the community moved it out onto the street where it collected even more goods and services — half smoked blunts and items of clothing were pinned to the board.

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San Francisco: New contemporary and experimental dance from ODC

Next Thursday (3/15) to Sunday (3/18) in San Francisco, the visionary dancers of ODC will culminate their 47th season with the premiere of Brenda Way's "News of the World" at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts! This new piece, with music by David Lang and mise-en-scène by painter Doug Argue and set designer Alexander V. Nichols, will be complemented by a reprise of "What we carry, What we keep," a real stunner that I had the chance to experience last year. (Behind-the-scenes video below.)

Tickets available here for the performances. Also, Friday night (3/16) is the very special ODC Dance Around Town Gala Performance + After Party!

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San Francisco: Voyager Golden Record event at Tunnel Records this Saturday

This Saturday (3/10) from 5pm-7pm, my friends at San Francisco's Tunnel Records + Beach Goods are kindly hosting a Voyager Golden Record Party with complimentary beverages! I'll be there to talk about the iconic message for extraterrestrials launched into space on a phonograph record 40 years ago. My friends Tim Daly and Lawrence Azerrad and I co-produced the first ever vinyl release of the Voyager Record this year and we were honored with a 2018 Grammy award for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.

Tunnel Records will have the Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Box Sets and 2xCD-Book edition available for sale. Can't make it? You can also order directly from our label Ozma Records. Read the rest

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