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


Light traffic on the 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles last April.

Robert Gauthier/L.A. Times via Getty Images

It was nice while it lasted.

An analysis of traffic data found that the number of daily passenger vehicle trips across the U.S. has reached pre-pandemic levels for the first time in a year. In Los Angeles, passenger vehicle miles hit 99% of their pre-pandemic levels on the weekend of March 20-21. San Francisco was at 88%. Researchers said the increased travel reflected the return of a humming economy. A.P.


A view from Kensington toward the San Francisco Bay.

Ethan Daniels

The Washington Post published an eye-opening analysis of California's population slowdown, a consequence of three factors: an exodus to other states, a larger-than-normal baby bust, and slowing immigration. California has time to right the ship, the data specialist David Byler wrote. "Otherwise, states like Texas, Florida and Arizona will become the new promised lands of opportunity."


People waited to get vaccinated at San Francisco's Moscone Center on Feb. 5.

Amy Osborne/AFP via Getty Images

“Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles

“Walking on Sunshine,” Katrina & the Waves

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin

“I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor

At Moscone Center, the largest vaccination hub in San Francisco, they have an amazing playlist of happy songs on rotation. Peter Hartlaub got the story behind the song selections and compiled them on Spotify for all to enjoy. S.F. Chronicle


Cesar Chavez picketed outside the San Diego-area headquarters of Safeway markets in 1973.

Bettmann archive/Getty Images

Cesar Chavez, born on March 31, 1927, is all but a saint in California. But the labor leader called undocumented immigrants "wetbacks," embraced a ruthless foreign dictator, and ruled over his organization with an abrasive style that pushed dozens of people away. His conflicted legacy is nowhere near pure enough for today's "woke warriors," wrote the columnist Gustavo Arellano. "To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Every saint had a past, and every sinner has a future. And Chavez is perhaps as great an example of this in California history. It’s a thought that took me my adult life to realize and appreciate — and accept." L.A. Times


A bear displaying neurological abnormalities was studied at U.C. Davis in 2019.

Kirsten Macintyre

In 2019, a small bear was filmed ambling up to a Tahoe snowboarder, its head tilted at an inquisitive angle. The cute interaction help make the video go viral, but scientists sensed something was awry. The bear was later found to have an inflamed brain that made it uncharacteristically fearless around humans. California veterinarians have encountered four similar cases in the last year, and they don't know what's causing it. Sacramento Bee | NBC News


A ride through the forest at Sonoma Zipline Adventures in Occidental.

You can spend the night in Ewok-like redwood treehouses, then fly through the forest on ziplines.

Last summer, Sonoma Zipline Adventures added five yurts in the redwoods near Santa Rosa, suspended high above the ground and connected by swaying suspension bridges. A writer for Sonoma Magazine checked it out: "It turned out to be one of the most unique and memorable overnight stays I’ve experienced as a travel writer."

Some views of the aerial village: YouTube


An entomologist once bet a museum trustee that he could find a new species of insect in her backyard in Los Angeles. He did, and a new project was born to investigate the fantastic biodiversity of America's second-largest city. Since the BioSCAN project began in 2012, scientists have identified more than 800 insect species, 47 of which are new to science. The team has been sharing images of their fabulous finds under high magnification. Atlas Obscura | WIRED

See a few of the images below, and more at the digital exhibition called "Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of L.A."

Soldier fly, Euparyphus cinctus.

Lisa Gonzalez/BioSCAN/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Eucharitid wasp, Pseudochalcura gibbosa.

Lisa Gonzalez/BioSCAN/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Acorn weevil, Curculio occidentis.

Lisa Gonzalez/BioSCAN/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


Thanks for reading!

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

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