Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two good men save a gull tangled in a fish line, Pacifica pier

After.  Not so pretty... don't worry,
I've been rescued before.

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 1/20/15.  "Gull rescue at pier" by Denise Buckley Crawford

adult, breeding
Before. Pretty huh.. we all look alike?
Total nonsense.
"Editor: On Sunday, Jan. 11, I was on the pier and saw a two men come to the aid of a gull tangled in fish line. The man in the grey shirt (pictured here) is Ryan Peters, of Clayton, CA. A regular at the pier, Ryan told me that it often happens like this, and that he had already saved two others today." 
Reference - National Audubon Society Birds/ California Gull. "Part of a complex of similar gulls, this bird closely resembles the Herring Gull or Ring-billed Gull, and is intermediate between those two in size. It nests around lakes in the interior of the west, and winters commonly along the Pacific Coast, including offshore waters." 

Note photographs:  California Gull by Glenn Bartley/VIREO from the National Audubon article; Gull being rescued on Pacifica Pier by Denise Buckley Crawford from her Pacifica Tribune Letter to Editor. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, January 26, 2015

Reminder City Council meeting tonight, Monday, January 26, 2015

We're big, we need big habitat, ribbit.

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local television or live feed Pacificcoast.TV, (formerly pct26.com).  If you miss civic meetings, view on  PCT 26 You Tube!  The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following.  City council updates and archives are available on the City website.   

 City Council Agenda article, 1/26/15.      City Council Agenda, 1/26/15.

Item 6:  Parcel lands transferred out of Pacifica to the State, pdf pages 1.  Colt property to be acquired by Pacifica to eventually complete that block of land transfer.

Note:  photograph from Olympic Natural History photos.  "Red-legged frog, Rana aurora. "Red-legged frogs are the largest native frogs in the western U.S. You can recognize a Red-legged Frog by the size, dark mask, light jaw stripe, dorsolateral folds and reddish color on underside of the legs."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Brush fire 1100 block of Fasler Avenue this morning

Open space burns off on Fasler Avenue.
Some residents evacuated, others kept in their homes.
Firefighters and other first responders are heroes once again.

NBC Bay Area/Lisa Fernandez and Shawn Murphy, 1/26/15.  "6-alarm grass fire in Pacifica prompts evacuations."

"A growing grass fire in a Pacifica canyon early Monday morning prompted evacuations and kept several people shut away in their homes as firefighters battled the blaze.

The fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of Fasler Avenue, and quickly escalated into six alarms. The scene was quite dramatic for the small beachside city in between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.

Clyde Preston of the North County Fire Authority said as of 6:30 a.m. about 90 people had been evacuated as a precautionary measure and being helped at the Pacifica Community Center. Residents were allowed back to their homes by 8:15 a.m.

The winds and steep terrain, he said, were making the vegetation fire challenging to fight. About 60 firefighters were working to quell the flames, which were pushing toward the ocean. ... "  Read more.   Article updated at 8:36 a.m., to include video 2:45 minutes, "5 acres, 6 alarm fire."

Related - Nextdoor email, 8 a.m./Pacifica Police Department,"Road closure due to major fire"."Due to a major fire, Fassler Ave. is closed between Driftwood Cir. and Terra Nova Blvd. Use alternate routes to Highway 1."

A six-alarm grass fire was burning in Pacifica. Photo: Evan Sernoffsky / ONLINE_YES
Fire contained, going, gone.
Update article, 8:31 a.m.: San Francisco Chronicle/Evan Sernoffsky and Henry Lee, 1/26/15, "Firefighers contain 6-alarm wildfire in Pacifica." ...  “Tinder-dry conditions” at the end of a rainless January contributed to the spread of the blaze, Preston said. The cause of the fire was under investigation. ....  Early-season rains came to an abrupt halt last month, and the landscape has dried out. San Francisco is on the verge of going an entire January with no measurable rain, something that has never happened 166 years of record-keeping." 

Update article, 10:58 a.m.Pacifica Patch/Renee Schiavone, Staff, 1/26/15, "Six alarm vegetation fire prompts early morning evacuations in Pacifica." "The fire was fully contained by about 7:30 a.m. and residents were allowed to return to their homes around 8:30 a.m.", North County Fire Authority Inspector Clyde Preston said. About 40 residents went to an evacuation center that had been set up at the Pacifica Community Center at 540 Crespi Drive, he said.Fire crews will be in the area all day Monday to cut live and burned vegetation and to put out any small fires that might spark back up, Preston said."

Note photographs:  Hillside fire from the NBC Bay Area article (their helicopter chopper); contained fire one of several by Steven Sernoffsky from the San Francisco Chronicle article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Astroid in our earth neighborhood Monday, January 26, 2015

Astronomy Now magazine, (UK):  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Press Release, 1/17/15.  "Asteroid to fly close by Earth safely on 26th January." 

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2004 BL86, which will come no closer than about three times the distance from Earth to the Moon on 26th January 2015. Due to its orbit around the Sun, the asteroid is currently only visible by astronomers with large telescopes who are located in the Southern Hemisphere. But by 26th January, the space rock's changing position will make it visible to those in the Northern Hemisphere. Click the graphic for a 1280x720-pixel animation. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Feel safer now?
An asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, will safely pass about three times the distance of Earth to the Moon on 26th January. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about a third of a mile (0.5 kilometres) in size. The flyby of 2004 BL86 will be the closest by any known space rock this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past Earth in 2027. At the time of its closest approach, the asteroid will be approximately 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometres) from Earth.

"Monday, January 26th will be the closest asteroid 2004 BL86 will get to Earth for at least the next 200 years,” said Don Yeomans, who is retiring as manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, after 16 years in the position. “And while it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more.”

----  Asteroid 2004 BL86 was initially discovered on 30th January 2004 by a telescope of the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey in White Sands, New Mexico.  Read more.

Related article- ABC 7 News/Science/Associated Press, 1/25/15. "CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- An asteroid up to 1,800 feet across is headed Earth's way. But don't worry: It will miss us by 745,000 miles, about three times the distance between Earth and the moon. Still, that's close for such a large rock."

Related history 2013 - asteroid much closer, much smaller.  National Geographic/Andrew Fazekas, 2/7/13. "Talk about too close for comfort. In a rare cosmic encounter, an asteroid will buzz Earth next week, missing our planet by a mere 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometers). Designated 2012 DA14, the space rock is approximately 150 feet (45 meters) across, and astronomers are certain it will zip harmlessly past our planet on February 15—but not before making history. It will pass within the orbits of many communications satellites, making it the closest flyby on record. (Read about one of the largest asteroids to fly by Earth.)

ReferenceNational Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).   Note graphic: from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, posted in the Astronomy Now magazine article above. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Nice warm/hot day in Pacifica

Memo to that other "best blog":  we can do weather here too.  Plus a message:  time to build a desalination plant somewhere nearby.

San Francisco Chronicle/Evan Sernoffsky, 1/25/15,"Sunshine brings balmy temperatures to East, South Bay."

Cindy Meyer snaps photos of waves crashing onto the coast in Pacifica. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES
Here's looking at you, Pedo Point
"Another dry day of sunshine spread across the Bay Area on Sunday, with some areas expected to nudge toward record temperatures, forecasters said.

A bubble of high pressure is hovering over most of the state, deflecting clouds and possible rain to the north away from the region, said Diana Henderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.
That pressure, coupled with offshore winds, has made for cloudless, sunny skies around all of the Bay Area.  Temperatures were expected to reach 66 degrees in San Francisco, well short of the long-standing record for Jan. 25 of 74 degrees — set in 1899."

Note:  photograph from the San Francisco Chronicle article above, 2 of 6 Pacifica slides by Paul Chinn. Nice!  
Related Pacifica weather - Weather Underground/Sharp Park. high today 64, yesterday 65.8; Monday 68, ouch!  Warm week -- cooler Tuesday, 1/27, 62; and Wednesday, 1/28, 63.  See 10 day forecast. 

Related State weather - San Francisco Chronicle/Tom Stienstra, 1/24/15. "Stinestra: Where's the snow?  Trips up Norcal highways reveal shocking images." Article includes 12 Truckee to Redwood Empire slide images, not much snow this time of year. Redwood Empire: "--- January has been so dry that the rivers are low and clear, and for steelhead, “rain,” as all the guides now say, “is desperately needed.”  Fix Pacifica blog article search:  "desalination plant".  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Improving our economy by painting utility poles

Smart looking utility box
Pacifica Tribune/Horace Hinshaw, Editor-in-chief, 1/20/15.  "This is the way I see it."

Oh yes, this will be a big improvement
....  "The City is in the infancy stage of working with PG&E to decorate utilities poles in the community. Last week the subject was on the agenda of the Economic Development Committee meeting; however, the PG&E representative wasn't able to attend, so the agenda item was tabled.

The idea is for Pacificans to submit art designs for poles to a selecting committee. Most likely the schools will be involved with children drawing a design.

I'm believing the purpose is to turn some unsightly utility poles into nice looking art work. It reminds me of years ago, when many cities painted fire hydrants. We'll hear more about this decorative program in the upcoming months."  Read article.

Note photographs:  decorating pole from Tom Hawthorn's blog, "Victoria, BC, Fernwood neighborhood"; utility box from Dullroar. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Dealing with dumb myths, Neanderthals different, not inferior

Science Daily/Universite de Montreal, 1/14/15.  "Stone age humans weren't necessarily more advanced than Neanderthals."

Say what, Pacifica cousin?
Big head more or less brain,
possible skills differences
 ....  "This is the first time a multi-purpose bone tool from this period has been discovered. It proves that Neanderthals were able to understand the mechanical properties of bone and knew how to use it to make tools, abilities usually attributed to our species, Homo sapiens," said Luc Doyon of the university's Department of Anthropology, who participated in the digs. Neanderthals lived in Europe and western Asia in the Middle Paleolithic between around 250,000 to 28,000 years ago.  ....   The tool in question was uncovered in June 2014 during the annual digs at the Grotte du Bison at Arcy-sur-Cure in Burgundy, France. Extremely well preserved, the tool comes from the left femur of an adult reindeer and its age is estimated between 55,000 and 60,000 years ago.

....  "It was long thought that before Homo sapiens, other species did not have the cognitive ability to produce this type of artefact. This discovery reduces the presumed gap between the two species and prevents us from saying that one was technically superior to the other.Read article.

RelatedThe Wire/The Atlantic/Adam Clark Estes, 9/6/11. "It wasn't just Neanderthals: ancient humans had sex with other hominids." Scientists have collected evidence for years that modern humans interbred with our ridge-browed Neanderthal ancestors in Eurasia. But in Africa, where the Homo sapiens species is said to have emerged, a lack of genetic evidence has left researchers scratching their heads about exactly how we came to beat out not only the Neanderthals, or Homo neanderthalis, but also the other archaic species like Homo erectus and Homo habilis.  ....  As recently as five years ago, researchers deduced that humans and Neanderthals had interbred at some point based on the shapes of skulls found in caves or buried under thousands of years worth of soil. Then, a ground-breaking paper published last year by Swedish evolutionary biologist Svante Pääbo in Science brought genetics into the equation. Pääbo provided genetic proof that Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa and into the Neanderthal-occupied Eurasian continent, where they met and mated with the more primitive men. Pääbo and his team made the discovery while comparing samples of Neanderthal DNA with that of modern human DNA."

Tested/science/life, (Jamie and Adam), Wesley Fenlon, 3/13/13,"Why bigger Neanderthal brains didn't make them smarter Us."  "We like to think that we're smarter than than the neanderthals that went extinct some 30,000 years ago. As homo sapiens, we have good evidence--the wheel, skyscrapers, rollercoasters--but the fact remains that neanderthal skulls were significantly larger than our modern human skulls, and that meant they had the capacity for brains just as big or bigger than our own. So why didn't they put that roomy brain cavity to better work? According to Smithsonian Mag, a recent scientific study from Oxford proposes a new explanation for why neanderthals never wrapped their big brains around farming or a written language. The study proposes that neanderthals dedicated far more of their brains to controlling their bodies than we do. Though they were shorter than humans, they were also stockier and stronger, particularly in the upper body. The study also suggests neanderthals had to commit more brain power to vision than we do."  Discovery/Evolution, 12/12/12, "Humans vs. Neanderthals: How did we win.?"

Science News magazine/Ashley Yeager, 4/30/14, "Neandertal's inferiority to early humans questioned." ....  "The results do not support the idea that Neandertals went extinct because they were inferior to early modern humans. Instead, the extinct hominids may have disappeared as a result of interbreeding with and assimilation into early human communities, researchers argue April 30 in PLOS ONE."

Note related photographs: cranial by Dr. Mike Baxter/Wikimedia from the Tested/Science/Life article.  Posing for photograph from the Atlantic Wire article/Getty.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Big Wave project again, Moss Beach

Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 1/22/15.  "Planning Commission approves Big Wave, appeal to Coastal Commission expected."

Big Wave:  What a really good community project
helping slow learners have a good, balance life.
12 years of NIMBIES protesting: "No",
"too big", "anywhere else, not here",
and so the process continues...
The San Mateo County Planning Commission voted 4-1 in favor of the latest iteration of the Big Wave North Parcel Alternative at a meeting last week. The dissenting vote for the eight-building option came from the commission’s Coastside representative, Zoe Kersteen-Tucker.

Wave spokesman Jeff Peck said he fully expects an appeal to be filed. Such was the case in 2011, when five organizations appealed that version of the proposal to the Coastal Commission. The state agency in turn denied it in 2012.

....  “We’re not going to change anything based on the opinion of nonprofessionals,” Peck said. “The letter from (Coastal Commission) staff was not done by professionals. … If the commission looks at the facts from all the professionals that reviewed this project, there should be no concerns.”

....  An appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval could come from Committee for Green Foothills. The group’s legislative advocate, Lennie Roberts, said the organization is considering it. While she said the Committee for Green Foothills continues to work with Big Wave backers, Roberts wrote a letter to the Planning Department expressing opposition to the project as it currently stands.  Read more.

Reference -  Big Wave project/Catherine, 1/18/15, "San Mateo County Planning Commission Hearing resutts." "Community living for individuals with learning disabilities." Big Wave has been fighting to become a reality for 12 years. Big Wave supporters have attended 27 hearings to help the project pass. We are almost there!"   Approved by Big Wave/North Project Alternative (NPA), agreed upon by Green Foothills (9/2013), approved by San Mateo County Planning Commission, 1/14/15, expected to be challenged by Green Foothills at the Coastal Commission.

Related - Loma Prieta Sierra Club/The Loma Prietan/Annelise Agren, Jan/Feb, 2010. "Situated west of Half Moon Bay Airport, "Big Wave" is a controversial proposed development for a gargantuan office park, a wellness center and residential units for developmentally disabled adults. The project's mission: "Creating an independent, inclusive community of people and businesses providing opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities— all while benefiting our neighbors and the environment." The Chapter doubts that the proposal can fulfill this mission." 

Note photographs global land view by Lisa Ketcham, from the related Loma Prietan article; girl with bucket weeding from the referenced Big Wave project organization.   For prior Fix Pacifica blog articles, search: "Big Wave".

Posted by Kathy Meeh