Archive for January, 2009

Breaking: Apple stock halted as Jobs announces medical leave

Reversing the message he gave two weeks ago before MacWorld that his dramatic weight loss was a matter of a “hormonal problem,” Steve Jobs today announced he was taking medical leave from his job as Apple CEO, saying “my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.”

Trading in Apple shares was temporarily halted, with the shares losing 8% when after-hours trading resumed.

Lawrence Lessig Appearance Tonight

Tonight Lawrence Lessig — copyright warrior and one of the brilliant minds behind Creative Commons, in case you haven’t heard — will appear at The Booksmith on Haight to talk about his new book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. (He’ll even sign copies, if you’re into that kind of thing.) The argument will be familiar to readers of Free Culture: our system of copyright places extraordinary power to control culture and entertainment in the hands of a small handful of powerful entities (can anyone say Disney?), because those entities can use the law to bring crushing lawsuits against individuals who would build on their work.

The well-supported thesis of this book is that all art is remixed art. Where would Shakespeare be without all those plot lines he cribbed from older sources? And imagine if independent artists in Renaissance Italy were barred from using Christian imagery in their work for private patrons because it would have been the “intellectual property” of the Catholic Church?

Well, you get the point: the subject of this book is relevant to you even if you didn’t read Free Culture on a laptop you refurbished yourself, running Ubuntu. (Yes, that was a geek brag.)

Lessig will be at the store at 7:30 PM tonight.

Google now displays BART, Caltrain lines

Saw this first on Curbed SF — Google maps now displays color-coded BART lines, along with the Caltrain line. Apparently the San Francisco Bay Area is the first metropolitan region to get this feature. Click the thumbnail to go to Google maps and see the BART and Caltrain lines (the latter being the grey line going down the Peninsula, of course).

However, the feature only displays a straight-line route map from station to station, often distorting the actual location of the route taken between stations.

See after the jump for an example.

Officer in BART Shooting arrested on Murder charges

This news is just popping up now, but Johannes Mehserle, the officer invovled in the BART shooting and killing of an unarmed man (previously discussed here and here) has been arrested in Nevada on Murder charges. The Mercury News has more info, but not much though I’m sure more will surface soon. Apparently this just happened this evening so more updates to follow.

UPDATE: TedR posts in the comments that SF Gate has a more detailed story up. They say:

Mehserle, 27, was taken into custody in Douglas County, Nevada, said Deputy Steve Velez of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The arrest was also confirmed by David Chai, chief of staff to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

Mehserle was arrested in connection with an investigation by the Oakland Police Department into the shooting of Oscar Grant, 22. An Alameda County judge signed an arrest warrant, and Mehserle surrendered without incident, authorities said.

Douglas County sheriff’s officials refused to disclose what crime Mehserle was accused of committing in the arrest warrant. Deputy Velez said Sheriff Ron P. Pierini would make a statement on Wednesday.

So according to them it’s not officially murder charges yet, just in connection to the shooting and the actual charges will be announced in a press conference tomorrow.

Stacey D’Erasmo’s new novel ‘The Sky Below’

The third novel by Stacey D’Erasmo — a New York writer but one who lived in the Bay Area for a couple of years as a Stegner fellow at Stanford, and whose second novel was set here — is about a young man named Gabriel and his struggle to become himself — whether that self is actually a bird, an artist, or something else. Along the way, he lives in a seedy motel in Florida, buys a house in Brooklyn, and flees to a commune in Mexico.

Reviews have praised the novel’s beautiful prose. On Sunday the New York Times said: “Gabriel’s voice is irresistible… he’s a brilliant narrator. Vibrant and precise, his storytelling is memorable not so much for its individual phrases (though plenty are exquisite) as for its overall sense of immersion into a distinctive world.”

D’Erasmo appears at City Lights Bookstore on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.

After the jump, a short interview

Participate in your neighborhood

Neighborhoods are only as good as the people that live in them to support and care for them. Last night I attended the Shotwell Street Neighborhood Watch meeting at Ginger Rubio in the Mission District. It was the second meetup with more than 40 residents in attendance.

The meeting was facilitated by San Francisco SAFE Inc., a Non-profit Crime Prevention Education Organization working in cooperation with the San Francisco Police Department. Many issues were addressed that are specific to Shotwell Street such as prostituion abatement, drugs and alcohol abatement, and graffiti prevention.

The Captain of the Mission Police Department, Stephen A. Tacchini, was in attendance and answered everyone’s questions and gave out his direct line for anyone to call him. Residents were asked to sign up for committees that were important to them and where they could make a contribution. I signed up for the Burglary prevention because my bicycle was recently stolen out of my yard and the Drug and Alcohol abatement because I have witnessed some drug abuse in cars at my curb and there are some neighbor kids that I don’t want subjected to it.

Meeting some of my neighbors and knowing that they have my back along with SF SAFE and the police has motivated me to participate more in making the place where I live a home rather than complaining and expecting someone else to do something about it. As Captain Tacchini put it, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

If you would like to find out about your Neighborhood Watch or start one up, contact SF SAFE.

The next Mission District Community meeting is at the Mission Police Department, 630 Valencia St. on Tuesday, January 27th at 6:00 PM Click here for more deets.

Mural love

Detail of mural on 13th St. and Bernice St. [map] across from Rainbow Grocery. Click the image for a Google Street View showing a wider swath of the mural.

BART closes shooting investigation as demonstrations continue

BART closed its investigation today into the police shooting of an unarmed passenger in the early hours of New Year’s Day without any testimony from the police officer who shot the man.

Former officer Johannes Mehserle, who resigned from the force last week without ever talking to investigators, claimed his 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. Meanwhile, California Attorney General Jerry Brown assigned an investigator to the case.

A demonstration last week in Oakland turned violent, with 120 people arrested, several cars burned, and storefronts damaged.

Demonstrators were gathering at this hour in San Francisco for another demonstration. (The last link courtesy SFist.) Update: The SF protest was relatively peaceful, with no arrests. You can read the somewhat juvenile account by a demonstrator on Indymedia.

NY Times visits Haight

In another of the curious takes by East Coasters, the New York Times visits the Haight and finds, yes, hippies. The writer, one Dan White (!), has been doing “American Journeys” pieces for the NYT for several months, finding “quirkiness” in Seattle and, predictably, “unspoiled” parts of New Mexico and Hawaii.

Just once I’d like a travel writer to visit our “unspoiled” Excelsior district.

SF doctor’s book released; film to star DiCaprio; interview

A year ago I blogged about Josh Bazell, a doctor at UCSF who had just gotten a million dollar book deal. Well, the book, Beat the Reaper, has just been released, and Leonardo DiCaprio has just been signed to star in a film of the comic thriller. I’ll let that E! Online article give the one-line summary of the book: it’s “a comic suspense tale about a former hit man hiding out as a Manhattan emergency room doctor whose cover is blown after a mobster recognizes him.” The main character is also a martial arts expert who kills people with his hands, as well as with — not to give away the ending — a particularly unique weapon.

I caught up with author Josh Bazell on Thursday and talked to him about his book and his work as a newly minted M.D.

How did you decide to write a novel about a hit man who has become a brilliant doctor?

I was interested in writing a book about the extent to which people can change their own identities. I was focused on that issue at the time because I was doing my medical training, and I was probably curious — and maybe fearful — about how it might change me.

Much more after the jump

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