Good morning. It’s Thursday, Dec. 22.
- California attracts most monarch butterflies in decades.
- Volunteers help Rio Dell recover after earthquake.
- And a photographer who altered our very consciousness.
One signature gatherer said the referendum would lower gas prices.
Another said it would ban oil drilling near schools.
A third explained that drilling near neighborhoods has no effect on health.
A group called Stop the Energy Shutdown announced last week that it had collected enough signatures to put a referendum on the 2024 ballot. But signature gatherers have been accused of blatantly misrepresenting the petition. What it would actually do: overturn a new law banning new oil and gas wells near schools, homes, and hospitals. A.P.
In the first months of his presidency, Joe Biden vented his frustration about Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her “a work in progress,” according to an upcoming book. When word got to Biden that Harris was unhappy about her portfolio, he was annoyed, the author Chris Whipple wrote: “He hadn’t asked Harris to do anything he hadn’t done as vice president — and she’d begged him for the voting rights assignment.” Politico
“We’re seeing them rebound.”
The numbers are in, and California’s overwintering monarch butterflies abounded this season in numbers not seen in two decades. The nonprofit Xerces Society reported that more than 300,000 of the graceful insects, each one weighing less than a paperclip, huddled in trees across the state, the highest total since 2000. That’s a massive jump from just two years ago, when only 2,000 monarchs were recorded. The Tribune
The former lumber town of Rio Dell on Wednesday grappled with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that shook homes off their foundations and damaged water systems. Power was largely restored by nightfall, but most of the town’s roughly 3,500 residents lacked safe drinking water, officials said. Twenty-six homes were deemed unsafe and another 37 were damaged, leaving an estimated 65 people displaced. Lost Coast Outpost | A.P.
At the start of the fall semester, Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of Berkeley Law, learned that a student group had created a bylaw banning supporters of Zionism from speaking at its events. Eight other groups also adopted the rule. Chemerinsky, who is Jewish and a Zionist, said he knew there would be pushback. But the story “went viral in a way that I could have never possibly imagined,” he said. N.Y. Times
Alameda County just became the first in the nation to ban background checks on tenants. The move is part of a national movement aimed at removing barriers to housing in a time of worsening homelessness. “There is this direct pipeline from prison on to our streets and into homelessness,” said Margaretta Wan-Ling Lin, who backed the ordinance. Landlords said the law would open unsuspecting tenants to potential harm. S.F. Chronicle | The Guardian
☝️ A few days ago, a Santa Cruz homeowner looked under her deck and saw this little creature, freezing cold and apparently orphaned.
She scooped her up and brought her to the Oakland Zoo on Monday, where veterinarians said the mountain lion cub was emaciated and hypothermic. She’s since brightened up with warmth, fluids, and medication. They named her “Holly” in honor of the season. KRON | KSBW
Scientists were once baffled by the Point Reyes peninsula, just north of San Francisco, where the rocks match those found in the Tehachapi Mountains more than 300 miles to the south. The explanation was found in plate tectonics: The cape is a park in motion, having slid along the San Andreas Fault for millions of years at roughly the same speed that your fingernails grow.
Few places offer a more stark illustration of tectonic forces. The NASA satellite image above shows how the triangular cape seems almost slapped onto the side of the continent. Its eastern boundary runs along the San Andreas Fault, which is submerged in part by the narrow Tomales Bay and set apart by contrasting vegetation on either side. The peninsula’s northernmost point has been compared to the bow of a ship sailing up the coast. Earth Story | NPS.gov
When UCLA launched a cannabis research initiative in 2017, campus officials said it accepted no funding from the cannabis industry. But documents unearthed by reporters under the California Public Records Act showed that to be untrue. Critics likened the hidden support to past efforts by Big Tobacco to bankroll favorable research. “Should universities accept money from Marlboro to study the benefits of smoking or Coca-Cola to study the benefits of sugar?” said John Ayers, a UC San Diego professor. L.A. Times
The photographer Alper Yesiltas imagines how people would look if they remained alive today in an artificial intelligence project called “As If Nothing Happened.” Above, his depiction of the lizard king of Venice Beach, Jim Morrison. @alperyesiltas | Bored Panda
Your Los Angeles Public Library card gets you free access to the New York Times, Washington Post, and the New Yorker, among other publications. Also free: nearly unlimited audiobooks and a library of more than 30,000 movies, all of which can be streamed on your Apple TV, Roku, or web browser. L.A. Times | Los Angeles Magazine
“I Am Not Your Negro,” “Pather Panchali,” “A Hard Day’s Night.” The N.Y. Times suggested some titles.
Two of California’s biggest industries — Silicon Valley and Hollywood — can be traced to one man’s photographs of a horse. In the 1870s, the photographer Eadweard Muybridge used multiple cameras to capture the stride of a galloping horse, revealing mechanics of motion that had been hidden to the human eye. “It was as though he had grasped time itself, made it stand still, and then made it run again, over and over,” wrote Rebecca Solnit in a biography of Muybridge. The study had been commissioned by the railroad magnate Leland Stanford, who later founded a university in his son’s name. Solnit continues:
“If one wanted to find an absolute beginning point, a creation story, for California’s two greatest transformations of the world, these experiments with horse and camera would be it. Out of these first lost snapshots eventually came a world-changing industry, and out of the many places where movies are made, one particular place: Hollywood. The man who owned the horse and sponsored the project believed in the union of science and business and founded the university that much later generated another industry identified, like Hollywood, by its central place: Silicon Valley.” The Marginalian
☀️ Brighten someone’s everyday.
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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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