February 2009 Archives

No Fremont A's

I'm delighted that the planned move of the Oakland A's to Fremont looks pretty dead.

Stadium deals are pretty uniformly bad deals for the affected communities, which often end up paying huge subsidies to private businesses, while dealing with unwanted environmental, traffic, and economic impacts.

The Fremont A's stadium proposal isn't all that different. In the midst of an incredibly rancorous and one-sided debate, local activists seem to have been able to do a reasonable job of getting their message heard, giving context, rebutting A's statements, and organizing neighbors, one person at a time.

Wow. There are enough jobs in the U.S. government/public transparency sector that the Sunlight Foundation has a whole website for jobs in the transparency field. Who knew?

Among these, at least two of the jobs are in Berkeley--Research Associate and Program Assistant positions at MAPLight.org.

MAPLight.org's a great resource on bills, issues, and politicians. Here's Barbara Lee, my representative, and Loni Hancock, my state assemblyperson. (They both get love from unions and lawyers. Go figure.) I also love the interests view; while nobody always gets what they want, some do better than others, e.g. animal rights campaigners vs. international trade associations.

Know transparency-minded campaigners and hackers? Pass this along.

I really enjoyed listening to CBC Spark's short radio documentary piece on the proliferation of USB drive-borne computer viruses in Sierra Leone. It's a very short peek into everyday technology culture in a far away place, and reminded me both of my virus-laden early 1990s, as well as technology culture in India.

Listen to it online on the Spark episode page, or just grab the MP3; the Sierra Leone section is from 18:50 to 25:50. Associated photos of Sierra Leone computer spaces are online at Flickr.

White House front lawn

Heard the story about the solar panels on the roof of the White House?

For years now, I've been hearing stories about how Jimmy Carter installed solar panels in the roof of the White House, in an attempt to inspire Americans to invest in clean renewable made-in-America energy. As the story goes, the panels were ripped out during the Reagan administration. Reagan's takedown of the White House solar panels have long been used as a symbol of right-wing inattention to environmental and energy issues.

Turns out the original White House solar panels are still around, and the Google Blog reports on the story.

There's also a documentary in progress about Carter's solar panels. The film, A Road Not Taken, is still in progress. The trailer's on YouTube:

Now if we could only get Obama to support a White House victory garden...

Color this Berkeley desi happy. The new Tamil movie Vaaranam Aayiram has several scenes set in Berkeley, including a few song sequences shot in Berkeley and SF. Watch for loads of local shots.

Here are snippets from an undoubtedly unauthorized copy of the movie on YouTube.

Part 1

Part 2

(My fave bit? Dancing in the Bancroft Library, at 3:56 into the second video.)


I'm sick and tired of local businesses I like shutting down. In the last few days, we lost Cafe de la Paz, Elephant Pharmacy, and Cafe Intermezzo.

I'm trying to muster up a little sadness, maybe a smidgen of outrage, but it's not coming. After losing Cody's, I'm ready to see it all go.

So here it is, my (in-progress) list of favorite Berkeley businesses. The way I see it, knowing my luck, they're all going to shut down anyway, so why delay the inevitable? I can start mourning now, even as I continue to patronize them, knowing any day could be their last.

  • Cheeseboard
  • Vik's Chaat House
  • Thai Temple brunch
  • Amoeba Records
  • Moe's Books
  • Black Oak Books
  • Comic Relief
  • The Other Change of Hobbit
  • Impact Theatre
  • Aurora Theatre


Anirvan Chatterjee is a San Francisco Bay Area tech geek and bibliophile.


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This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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