California Sun

Happy Sunday.

Here are a few stories you missed in the California Sun over the last week.

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Sun sampler


Not all forests are the same when it comes to capturing carbon.

As part of its efforts to combat climate change, California gives carbon credits to landowners who preserve forests; they in turn sell the credits to polluters for the right to emit more carbon. But different trees consume different amounts of carbon, a nuance that is obscured by the state's method of calculating carbon sequestration across giant, varied regions. The flaw, according to a new analysis, means the program is actually making the climate problem worse, adding tens of millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. MIT Technology Review/ProPublica


An earthquake early warning system is now live for cellphone users across the West Coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Tuesday. Years in the making, the system known as ShakeAlert relies on a network of sensors near fault lines that trigger alerts to nearby communities through television, radio, and phone. People could get anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute of warning, enough time perhaps to scramble to safety. L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle

Officials recommend downloading this app: MyShake


A group of giant California condors gathered at Cinda Mickols' home in Tehachapi.

Cinda Mickols

A surprise was waiting for Cinda Mickols, a retired teacher, when she returned to her home in the Tehachapi Mountains on Monday after a weekend away. California condors — around 15 to 20 of them — had commandeered her deck, tearing through plants and a spa cover and pooping everywhere. The enormous New World vultures didn’t seem to want to leave.

“She drove up and saw them on her deck and roof and was just in shock,” said Seana Quintero, Mickols’ daughter. “Some flew off when she went out on the deck, but a few others she had to get close and wave her cane at.”

Mickols stands about 5 feet 2 inches. The wingspan of a California condor, the largest flying bird in North America, can stretch more than nine feet across.

The rare condors seemed to have settled in.

Cinda Mickols

The majestic creatures went extinct in the wild in the 1980s. Captive breeding programs have since brought their numbers back to about 160 in California, where they are now regularly spotted over Big Sur, Pinnacles National Park, and a release site in Kern County, near where Mickols lives.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the condors were still circling overhead, seemingly waiting for Mickols to depart, said Quintero, who has been posting updates on Twitter. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee chimed in with advice: If they return, try yelling at them or spraying them with a hose.

Many other Twitter users cracked jokes. Several dubbed Mickols' home a "condorminium."

— This entry was written by Ashley Harrell, a journalist and guidebook author based in Humboldt County.


In decades past, great white sharks were thought to be somewhat rare in the waters off Southern California. That notion has been dispelled by the advent of drone photography. One day last month, the photographer Carlos Gauna sent up his drone off the Santa Barbara County coast and within two minutes spotted a great white about 100 yards from a father and son. "These types of encounters have always been happening,” he said. “Which shows you really just how low the number of attacks are.” L.A. Times

“Oh, my God, don’t bite him, don’t bite him, don’t bite him.” Here's the moment when a shark circled below a surfer: YouTube


To set eyes on Yosemite Valley from its most famous overlook is a moment few people forget. Magnificent vistas are often hard won after hours or days of hiking. By comparison, Tunnel View, a roadside perch connected to a small parking lot, feels almost too easy. To get there, motorists wind along State Route 41 before plunging into a dark tunnel, which stretches nearly a full mile. You know you've arrived when, immediately upon exiting, this bursts into view:

● ●

Yosemite is requiring reservations for day-use visitors this summer. There are still passes left.


While exceptionally dry weather suppressed much of California's spring wildflower display this year, an extraordinarily rare super bloom has erupted along the edges of Folsom Lake just northeast of Sacramento. As the shoreline retreated, dormant seeds took the opportunity to get their moment in the sun, creating a carpet of purple lupines in areas normally inundated by water. “Who knows how long those seeds had been laying in the soil," a limnologist said. "It could be decades.” S.F. Chronicle

A drone pilot got some nice aerial views: 4D ImpactMedia


Daft Punk built its biggest hit, “One More Time," on samples from Eddie Johns' 1979 song "More Spell on You." But Johns, who battled homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles for more than a decade, never saw a dime. While Daft Punk paid royalties, the rights owner said it was unable to track Johns down. More than anything, Johns said, “I just hope I can get some credit, you know?” L.A. Times


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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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