The San Francisco Chronicle "Insight" section Sunday, April 17, is loaded with goodies for anyone interested in social media, print media, Internet trolls, selfie obsessions, smartphone abuse, technology addiction, etc. Here are two of the best pieces:
Sign up here to get an email whenever the International Space Station passes overhead. Warning: Don't bother on foggy or cloudy nights.
Here's some intriguing new research on what makes smart people happier: Is it more friends or more space?
It's complicated: part religion, part politics, part astrophysics. Historian and columnist Dr. Amanda Foreman explains at the link above.
Is Caltrans paying attention?
The night of February 23-24, observers across the western half of North America witnessed a spectacular cluster of bright lights in the sky. It was the re-entry and disintegration of a Chinese rocket body. Coincidentally, a geomagnetic storm was in progress at the time and more than one photographer caught the rocket's debris cutting across curtains of Northern Lights. Visit spaceweather.com for photos and more information.
Government pilots brave turbulent skies looking for answers to the California drought.
Tales of Woe
Carlos Avila Gonzalez, San Francisco Chronicle
San Mateo County Library (including branches in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay) now offers eReaders for checkout at all 12 library locations countywide. In an effort to expand digital collections, an initial 65 tablets have been added as part of the library’s In Luck collection. As with other In Luck items, the eReaders are available first-come, first-served for a three-week checkout. Nook HD eReaders are preloaded with selected best sellers and come with a carrying case, charger, and instructions.
Rapid growth in eBooks has created an even greater demand for digital content at public libraries. San Mateo County Library is pleased to help bridge the digital divide by providing these devices to those users who could not otherwise afford this technology. Upcoming expansions of this program will include additional eReaders with titles for children and teens.
We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for Connect14, our annual technology in government conference – which Facebook has graciously agreed to host. Join us on Wednesday, September 24 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for this groundbreaking conference!
Connect14 is our second annual citizen engagement and social media conference designed to encourage the leaders of San Mateo County, in the heart of Silicon Valley, to embrace technology and social media for the purpose of increasing public participation and involvement in government.
The focus of this year's conference is the communities that will be strengthened by use of technology, including local government, schools, nonprofits, and constituents these communities impact.
We have planned an exciting day, with presentations by thought leaders in both the private and public sector. Please visit www.connectsmc.org to register and review the day. As seating is limited to the first 150 who sign up, we recommend you register soon to ensure a spot.
If you were not able to join us last year, or would like to review last year’s event, we have archived the Connect13 material with embedded PenTV videos on our website. If you have any questions about Connect14, please contact either of our offices. We look forward to seeing you at Connect14!
Assembly Member Kevin Mullin (650) 349-2200
County Supervisor Warren Slocum (650) 363-4570
Net neutrality's dark side
The first round of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public-comment period on net neutrality ends July 15. The United States has the slowest Internet in the developed world. We rank behind even Estonia in Internet speed because major players in the U.S. wanted to be able to characterize the trashing of net neutrality as "the advent of a net fast lane" for the rich, rather than "the advent of a net super slow lane" for the poor and middle class, just good advertising.
The American people paid for the inception and development of the Internet. I recognize the tradition of turning over the fruits of research and development that our tax dollars paid for to for-profit corporate sociopaths, but I must say I disagree with the very idea of that longstanding practice.
This corporate power grab is not unlike "Citizens United" or the current lack of antitrust enforcement allowing corporate media and banking giants to merge into mega-giants, or allowing ALEC (a corporate lobbying group) to write our laws. Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
The end of net neutrality, if we allow it, would give mega-corporations freedom of speech while they take that freedom away from the rest of us. I oppose any and all transfers of wealth or sovereignty from the people to the corporations.
Please contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and say YES TO NET NEUTRALITY. Thank you.
Mail: 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554
Dan B. Underhill
"Digital First Media announced Monday the completion of a merger of its two largest companies -- MediaNews Group and 21st Century Media -- to create a new media company that will operate under the Digital First Media name. The transaction, first announced Dec. 17, brings together the two companies jointly managed by Digital First Media in New York City. 'This is an important moment for our company and positions us to accelerate our growth under a single and innovative brand,’ said John Paton, chief executive of Digital First Media. The two media companies have a combined $1.3 billion in annual revenue with more than 800 multiplatform products and a monthly audience of more than 67 million Americans. As the nation's second-largest newspaper company, Digital First Media is among the largest providers of digital news and information in the United States, and is the parent company of the Bay Area News Group, which publishes this newspaper.”
(News release from Jillian Sederholm of Digital First Media, reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News, December 30, 2013; the Pacifica Tribune is part of the Bay Area News Group referenced in the story above.)
The reason we rank behind Estonia in Internet speed is because the major players in the USA wanted to be able to characterize the trashing of net neutrality as "the advent of a net fast lane" for rich people and companies, rather than "the advent of a net super-slow lane" for poor people and companies.
The American people paid for the inception and development of the Internet. I recognize the tradition of turning over the fruits of the research and development our tax dollars paid for to for-profit corporate sociopaths, but I must say I disagree with the very idea of that longstanding practice. I oppose any and all transfers of wealth or sovereignty from the people to the corporations."
As a "complaint" (that section of their forms) at fcc.gov, please do barrage them with all the reasons we don't want to end net neutrality. Please do this every day until they get it.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—May 14, 2014—A lawsuit has been filed by the law firm of Brent, Fiol & Nolan on behalf of 50-year-old Patrice Motley, a self-employed executive recruiter from San Francisco, for damages she sustained in an accident caused by Nirav Tolia, the wealthy CEO of Nextdoor, a widely acclaimed neighborhood-building social network.
San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has also confirmed that his office will pursue a felony charge against Nirav Tolia for causing the car wreck and leaving the scene of the accident where Ms. Motley was injured in August 2013.
The complaint alleges Ms. Motley suffered neck and back injuries, fracture of bones in her left hand, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which have rendered her incapable of accomplishing routine tasks necessary for independent living and which have seriously impacted her ability to earn a living.
Joseph Brent, of San Francisco law firm Brent, Fiol & Nolan LLP, who is representing Patrice Motley, said he has never seen a more callous example of someone trying to get away with a crime. “By fleeing the scene of the accident, Nirav Tolia left Patrice Motley discarded at the side of the road and feeling as if she were a piece of garbage,” said Brent. “The trauma of not knowing whether her car would be hit again as cars sped by has left Patrice unable to live a normal life.”
Brent added, “I find it ironic that as a model citizen renowned for her kindness and community involvement, Patrice is exactly the kind of person Mr. Tolia would want using his Nextdoor online platform designed to foster community.”
ABOUT BRENT, FIOL & NOLAN LLP
Brent, Fiol & Nolan LLP is a personal injuries law firm known for taking on and winning tough cases that other firms have passed over. The firm’s broad knowledge, and extensive trial and mediation experience, have been instrumental in verdicts and settlements for clients valued in more than $10 million dollars since the firm formed in 2008.