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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

REFLECTIONS ON MY TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO AND LAS VEGAS

Goodbye San Francisco:


Hello Honolulu:


My ten-day trip, five days each in Frisco and Vegas, was cultural for the former and academic for the latter.  In both cities I also had the opportunity to get together with family and friends.

About Aquaculture America 2018 in Las Vegas, it was depressing to see what has happened to this field.  Nothing much has changed from two decades ago.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is still focused on modeling and monitoring, frustrating entrepreneurs and total system developers.  NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, but there is no sense of commerce and there remains an overwhelming attitude of protection over development.  Of course, in many quarters--scientists and environmentalists--that is great, but there are ways to farm the ocean while enhancing the marine environment.  The Blue Revolution could well be that solution.  Of the hundred and more presentations, I might have been the only individual providing any kind of vision.  In many ways, that graphic to the left well depicts the current situation.

The population of San Francisco and the City and County of Honolulu are relatively similar, with Honolulu being slightly larger.  However, if you include the entire Bay Area, you begin to approach 8 million, nearly ten times the population of the City.

Hawaii is my home and San Francisco is #2, for I I have lived on the Stanford campus (when I was a student there, plus a decade later when I spent the summer with the NASA Ames Research Center) and during my two stints at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore and Fremont).

I wanted to catch BART to both cities, but a future 5.5 mile extension to Livermore is undergoing public comment, and of all the coincidencies, that occurs today.   The line now goes past Fremont one station, with two more, one to Milpitas and the other to North San Jose, scheduled for later this year.  The $4.7 billion third phase to Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara is still on track for 2026, but is un-funded.  There is no plan to extend the system south of Millbrae.

BART trains look old and are screechily noisy.  The windows are plastic and stained by sunlight and wear.  You can't see outside well.  When you're inside, there is no indication of where you are nor the next stop, and the audio malfunctions. The buses are great, but that's because they're new.

About pricing, youths (5-12), disabled, medicare and seniors (65+) pay $9 for a fare value of $24.  There is also now a Clipper Card, and seniors get 62.5% off.  This card can be used on BART and any public transport system in the 9-county region, and can be purchased at selected sites, as for example the Embarcadero Station of BART and at Clipper Customer Service at the Ferry Building.  You need a state driver's license or passport.  Can also be obtained on-line.

This card changed my whole attitude about traveling about the city.  Just beep it once when you get on the bus.

Marijuana is now recreational in both San Francisco and Las Vegas.  Legally, you can only smoke this weed only at home.  The reality is that this smell pervades no matter where you go, and certainly on the streets.  But tourists do wonder where they can smoke, for hotels prohibit use.  State lawmakers are struggling with the allowance of special lounges, etc., and Denver seems closest to actually experimenting.  Of course, don't sneak MJ home.  Las Vegas has obvious green disposal stations.  Here is an ad in San  Francisco:


About that 2018 Winter Olympics theme this year, which was Peace, how perfect.  While the door is only slightly ajar, it seems like North and South Korea are now communicating with each other.  The USA is playing bad cop, and I just need to again show Mike Pence as he was depicted in the local media.  But the Donald is taking credit for scaring Kim Jung-un into capitulating.

Norway won 39 medals, breaking the record the USA set in 2010.  We placed far back at #4.  I wondered why.  According to Tore Ovrebo, director of Olympiatoppen, sure they have more snow, but they only had 109 competitors to 242 for the U.S., and have one/64th the population.  He also said there is free health care, no doubt a dig at Donald Trump, but they can keep their young athletes healthy.  A key factor is that youth sports teams do not keep score until they are 13.  The U.S. crowns 9 year old champs in everything.  Not sure why this develops Olympic champions, but it has something to do with the culture.

About the snow part (latitude):
  • 60  Oslo
  • 60  Bergen
  • 61  Anchorage
  • 47  Fargo
  • 49  Minnesota
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