Good morning. It’s Friday, Aug. 25.
- Californians are producing more plastic bag waste.
- San Francisco gives out free downtown locations.
- And Nvidia collects $6.2 billion in pure profit on AI craze.
Nearly seven years after California adopted a so-called plastic bag ban, residents are producing more plastic bag waste per capita now than before the prohibition. That’s in part because the thicker “reusable” plastic bags now offered by grocery stores have become de facto single-use ones. While they are emblazoned with cheerful recycling arrows, you can’t recycle the bags in your curbside bin; reporter Jessica Roy was unable to find a single recycling facility in the state that accepts them. You can return the bags to “take-back” bins in stores. Where do those go? Landfills. L.A. Times
California firefighters are flying thousands of miles to work from other states. The ability to “stack” work shifts, up to 10 days in some cases, has made “super commuting” a feasible option for firefighters, who have increasingly fled to states such as Oregon, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Motivations vary, but cost of living is a major driving force, they say. Kyle Conforti, a firefighter with the Orange County fire authority, is moving with his family to Nashville. “We finally just ran the numbers and figured out it would be cheaper to live out of state and have me commute back,” he said. The Guardian
California has become a national leader in offering higher education to inmates, a strategy shown to sharply reduce recidivism rates. In 2016, Cal State Los Angeles became the first public university in California to offer bachelor’s degrees to incarcerated people. Since then, Cal Poly Humboldt, Fresno State, Sacramento State, CSU Dominguez Hills, UC Irvine, and San Diego State have established programs or made plans to do so. They have proven to be life-changing, EdSource reported.
San Francisco is giving 17 small businesses free tenancies in empty downtown storefronts as part of an effort to revitalize the moribund area. The arrangement is temporary, lasting for three months, put participants are hopeful that it will lead to something more permanent. The first cohort includes a radio station, apparel brands, artists, and three bakeries. SF Standard | SF Examiner
- Another proposal with enthusiastic backing from the mayor: a new soccer stadium on the site of a shuttered mall. S.F. Chronicle
“This has been too long in the making, but it’s here.”
Sacramento County’s first tiny-home village for the homeless welcomed its first residents this week. The “Safe Stay” shelter includes 100 cabin-style homes, each equipped with a locking door, a bed, a desk, and heating and air conditioning. People living on the street have been more amenable to relocating to such villages, which offer a modicum of privacy in contrast to dorm-style shelters. Fox40 | CapRadio
Nvidia just made $6.2 billion in pure profit on the artificial intelligence craze. The Santa Clara company makes graphics processing units, or GPUs, that are used to create the vast majority of AI systems. Quarterly earnings released Wednesday revealed that it generated $13.5 billion in revenue since May, driving a profit surge of 843% year over year. Nvidia’s market value has surged to $1.2 trillion, up from less than $370 billion at the start of the year, making it among just five trillion-dollar publicly traded companies. Barron’s | The Verge
Rising from the middle of Lake Tahoe’s celebrated Emerald Bay is a mysterious little island. Once home to an old British sailor with missing toes, Fannette Island is now a kayaking destination. Climb to the summit and you’ll find a crumbling stone structure called the Tea House. The views, by all accounts, are spectacular. A Tahoe tour company recently captured great video from overhead and inside the Tea House.
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Dashka Slater, who wrote recently in the New York Times Magazine about a racist Instagram account that convulsed Albany High School in 2017. Where the adults fell short, she said, “was helping kids understand that even people who do things that are very wrong should still have the opportunity to take responsibility, apologize, make amends, and go back to school.”
The authorities identified the gunman in Wednesday’s mass shooting at a biker bar in Trabuco Canyon as John Snowling, 59, a former officer in the Ventura Police Department. Snowling walked up to his wife, Marie, who had filed for divorce last December, immediately shot her in the face, then started “randomly shooting at patrons,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Thursday. At one point, Snowling returned to his truck, where he was confronted by a man from the bar. Snowling shot him dead, Barnes said. Marie Snowling was expected to survive. L.A. Times | O.C. Register
Many people tend to attribute homelessness to poverty and drug use. But in Mississippi, a place of deep poverty and drug overdose rates on par with those of California, the rate of homelessness is the lowest in the country. Los Angeles County has about six times more homeless people living on the street per capita than the greater Jackson area, where the climate is similarly warm. A typical apartment there rents for about $800, according to Zillow. In Los Angeles, it’s about $2,200. L.A. Times
The small coastal enclave of Newport Coast, and its 92657 ZIP code, had the priciest median residential listing price in the U.S. in July — at $10.645 million. Inside a seven-bedroom mansion currently listed for $69.8 million, all of the hardware — including door handles and stairway railings — are coated in 24-karat gold. The Wall Street Journal gave a tour.
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past week:
- The National Park Service shared an adorable video of two mountain lion kittens found in the Santa Susana Mountains this summer. They can be heard loudly purring and hissing. 👉 @santamonicamountainsnps
- Megan Rapinoe, the retiring soccer star and Redding native, answered her detractors in a new interview after America’s disappointing exit from the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Atlantic
- The Feather River isn’t the best known California river, but it’s one of the most important. A team of reporters spent four months tracing its journey for an ambitious project on how the Big Melt has transformed California. S.F. Chronicle
- During Hollywood’s Golden Age, the portrayal of stardom was largely an illusion, meticulously crafted by studios. That extended to vacation photos, which were often posed to look candid. The Ankler published a gallery of early Hollywood “on vacation.”
- Cameras were prohibited at Manzanar, the concentration camp in the Eastern Sierra that held roughly 10,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. But Toyo Miyatake, who was sent to the camp in 1942, felt a duty to chronicle what was going on there. He snuck in a lens and had a camera body constructed from wood. Aperture | ToyoMiyatake.com
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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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