The Macaron District

The Macaron District could easily be an informal name for Hayes Valley in San Francisco. Assuming that the revived La Boulangerie continues to carry them as before and during their Starbucks period, as of my last count Hayes Valley has at least six places to buy macarons in fewer square blocks. Chantal Guillon’s store is entirely devoted to them. This doesn’t even count the restaurants which offer them on dessert menus.

Too bad I don’t like macarons.

Neighborhoods
Nicknames
Desserts

[This was a comment on the article “Great Big City, Tiny Little Districts” by Karl Sluis on Medium.]

Lighter Drinking and the Life of the Street

"(This essay by Dinah first appeared in the Hayes Valley Voice.)
If you haven’t gone before 5pm on a workday, you haven’t really been to our little neighborhood bar on the green. At opening time—2pm—on a recent sunny Tuesday I stopped in at Brass Tacks to talk with co-owner Matty Conway. My plan was to spend a quiet hour discussing a topic of mutual interest: low-alcohol cocktails…"

Oh Facebook, why do you show me the text preview when I write the post and then hide it when you post? Sigh.

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media I’ve enjoyed recently

Advertising and Selling

Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold (TEDtalks)

Full Price Beats Penny Saved for Selling Some Items (60-second Science)

Candidates Affect Viewer Reactions to Ads in Debates (60-second Science)

Creativity

Michael Pawlyn: Using nature's genius in architecture (TEDtalks)

Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion (TEDtalks)

100,000-Year-Old Art Studio Discovered (60-second Science)

Education

Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools (TEDtalks)

Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies (TEDtalks)

Science Grad Students Who Teach Write Better Proposals (60-second Science)

Doodles and Drawings Help Cement Concepts (60-second Science)

Food and Drink

Student Researchers Find Secret Tea Ingredients (60-second Science)

Molars Say Cooking Is Almost 2 Million Years Old (60-second Science)

High-Pressure Food Treatment Can Kill Microbes And Up Nutrients (60-second Science)

Health and Growth

Charity Tilleman-Dick: Singing after a double lung transplant (TEDtalks)

Molly Stevens: A new way to grow bone (TEDtalks)

Gamekeeper's Thumb Condition Outlives the Occupation (60-second Science)

Test Tells Viral and Bacterial Infections Apart (60-second Science)

Poultry Farms That Stop Antibiotics See Resistance Fall (60-second Science)

Endurance Exercise Has Stem Cells Make Bone Over Fat (60-second Science)

Carbon Nanotubes Impale Compulsive Cells (60-second Science)

Online Gamers Help Solve Protein Structure (60-second Science)

Health Data Could Spot Genocide Risk (60-second Science)

City Cyclists Suck In Soot (60-second Science)

Rapid PCR Could Bring Quick Diagnoses (60-second Science)

Pathogen Genomics Has Become Dirt Cheap (60-second Science)

Kid Scientists Show Medicines Can Be Mistaken For Candy (60-second Science)

Fever Increases Numbers of Immune Cells (60-second Science)

Nature and Sexuality

Christopher Ryan: Are we designed to be sexual omnivores? (TEDtalks)

Mole's Extra Finger Is Wrist Bone-us (60-second Science)

Full Moon May Signal Rise in Lion Attacks (60-second Science)

Send Ants to College (60-second Science)

Sea Lampreys Flee Death Smells (60-second Science)

Toxoplasma Infected Rats Love Their Enemies (60-second Science)

Modern Rivers Shaped By Trees (60-second Science)

Upright and Hairless Make Better Long-Distance Hunters (60-second Science)

Electrolyte Balancers Set Stage for Multicellularity (60-second Science)

Flesh-Tearing Piranhas Communicate with Sound (60-second Science)

Politics and Philosophy

Jody Williams: A realistic vision for world peace (TEDtalks)

Martin Jacques: Understanding the rise of China (TEDtalks)

El Nino Ups Conflict Odds (TEDtalks)

David Puttnam: What happens when the media's priority is profit? (TEDtalks)

Steven Pinker: Violence Is Lower Than Ever (60-second Science)

Technology and Physics

Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender (TEDtalks)

Leyla Acaroglu: Paper beats plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore (TEDtalks)

Dan Berkenstock: The world is one big dataset. Now, how to photograph it… (TEDtalks)

Medieval Armor: Was It Worth the Weight? (60-second Science)

Traffic Cameras Save Millions in Canceled Crashes (60-second Science)

Juno Mission Gets Goes for Launch (60-second Science)

Channeled Chips Can Spot Substances (60-second Science)

Smartphone System Saves Gas (60-second Science)

Sound Sends Electron to Specific Location (60-second Science)

Moon Not Made of Cheese, Physicist Explains (60-second Science)

Shower Pause Game

In the shower I was thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool if I could pause the shower and have it stay the same temperature?* And if while I had it paused—to shampoo my hair or shave or whatever—I could see a holding tank which showed the gallons I was NOT sending down the drain?"

I was picturing a tank in the shower wall with a clear side and an increasing scale of little green leaf icons, something like in the Prius or Nest consumption interfaces. I bet it would actually motivate me to use less water.

Then I realized, actually, I wouldn't need to see a real tank to be motivated. I'd just need a display which represented the water I wasn't using while the shower was paused. These silly little games are truly silly, but they also truly work.

I won't be surprised to find increasing amounts of conservation gamification built into appliances, house fixtures, and tools as the years go by. If it can make mundane things a bit more fun and save resources in the process why on Earth wouldn't we?

 

*I know this functionality exists, sometimes in quite inexpensive showerheads, but alas, ours does not have it.

A Case Study of Republicans vs. Democrats on FEMA

"The lesson here is simple. At a deep ideological level, Republicans
believe that federal bureaucracies are inherently inept, so when
Republicans occupy the White House they have no interest in making the
federal bureaucracy work. And it doesn't. Democrats, by contrast, take
government services seriously and appoint people whose job is to make
sure the federal bureaucracy does work. And it does."

Kevin Drum in Mother Jones