<![CDATA[Javier Arbona · Storify]]>https://storify.com/javierestNodeJS RSS ModuleMon, 22 May 2017 19:23:24 GMT<![CDATA["When I say 'city,' I mean..."]]>

this was spawned by @fitnr

Storified by Javier Arbona · Sun, Apr 07 2013 04:12:29

http://storify.com/javierest/when-i-say-cityhttp://storify.com/javierest/when-i-say-citySun, 07 Apr 2013 04:12:29 GMT
<![CDATA[Poster Child of St. Patrick's Struggle]]>

via @dead_wizard

Storified by Javier Arbona · Sun, Mar 17 2013 23:34:40

Mines totes dead. #rip #alcohol @sammarch19 http://pic.twitter.com/DLOFg67YVn · katie
Best decisions or worst decisions? #irishcarbomb http://pic.twitter.com/93Pa9CswUM · katie
Finally. @sammarch19 http://pic.twitter.com/StnIWvng9B · katie
Finally. http://instagr.am/p/W8RFG3rq0a/ · katie
http://storify.com/javierest/poster-child-of-strugglehttp://storify.com/javierest/poster-child-of-struggleSun, 17 Mar 2013 23:34:40 GMT
<![CDATA[The Golden City]]>

San Francisco in the present day has very little to do with its origins as a bustling trade port and commercial district, not to mention political node. But from faint traces we can see into the ways in which the city grew and was organized.

Storified by Javier Arbona · Sat, Sep 01 2012 02:32:05

The "discovery" of gold by James Marshall at Sutter's Mill, an incipient lumber yard on the American River, was but the confirmation of what the Americans (warring with Mexico) knew all along (see Brechin). 
We will head north on Montgomery, and make a quick stop at Commercial Street, where the original Branch Mint was built and is still visible, inset into the facade of the Bank of Canton. For anyone who wants to spend some time here later on, there is a Pacific Heritage Museum in the building that is open on Friday's. Note the architectural style — it is an austere brick romanesque that contrasts with the neoclassicism of the later mints (first in SOMA, and later at Duboce Triangle). This mint turned gold bullion into $4 million-worth of gold coins. (Also contrast to the later, post 1906 imperial/monarchical stylings of the architecture of the US customs house on Battery Street). 
This being a quiet little street, it is also a good chance to open up discussion about the fortification of the city and the human onslaught of all sorts of prospectors, speculators and workers after the signing of the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty. A street as this one gives us a bit of a sense of the scale of the earliest streets, and we'll see similar widths in and around Jackson and Pacific streets, aka Jackson square, the pioneer or golden city. (Also at this spot, the failed business location of the famous Hudson Bay Company, sort of a proto-department store).
A photo from @AlJavieera · AlJavieera
This preamble is also an opportunity to scratch the surface of what to anticipate on today's walk; all the "cities" that were rolled into one: the maritime city, the libertine city, the free market city, the male-dominated city (for most of its early years), the migrant city, the warehouse city. It was a city with an entirely different sense of public life, but mostly for Anglo pioneer men who established the first "rules" of class conduct, of solidarity and divisions, of communication, of the law, and of entertainments. (See also:)
Maguire's Opera House. North side of Washington between Montgomery and Kearny. Gas lights. Ca. 1865. Bancroft Library:
undefined · Berkeley
The center of the action back then was at Portsmouth Square, named after the vessel that brought captain Montgomery to take the town for the United States. The center of public life, so to speak; a hub of news and communication, as well as male-dominated political activity (including elections).
On the International Hotel, read up at: 
http://storify.com/javierest/the-golden-cityhttp://storify.com/javierest/the-golden-citySat, 01 Sep 2012 02:32:05 GMT
<![CDATA[Yerba Buena, the old city]]>

The unlikely spot of San Francisco's beginnings, proximate to the current day Montgomery BART station.

Storified by Javier Arbona · Tue, Aug 06 2013 23:27:48

We begin today once we arrive at the Mongomery BART station, at the corner of Montgomery and Market streets. We're not staying at this intersection very long, since we're heading north of Market, up Montgomery. But it is a good spot to look at a few early maps of San Francisco and digest where we are, where the shoreline used to be, how the city grew, and talk about the first half of the day's walk. 

Back before statehood, Yerba Buena (i.e. the future San Francisco) was a very small village; an outpost of the the "frontier" (what was later in the 19th century theorized as "free land"). From here, some settlers and Mexican ranchers (also formerly known as Californios) were engaging in a bustling trade with the U.S. Atlantic Coast (a sea voyage back then that went around the southern horn of the continent), as well as South America and the Pacific world. 
SF Maritime NHP Chart of Apollo voyage · demilit
The name "Montgomery" itself is telling of the military conquest of the Bay Area. This station (and the street) are named after the naval Captain John Montgomery, who raised a flag over undefended San Francisco under the orders of Commodore John D. Sloat in July 1846. As Philip Ethington reports, California's population at that moment consisted of 5,000 Mexican citizens and perhaps a hundred thousand native people, many of whom slaved under rancher's rule in debt peonage. And of all California cities at that point in time, recall that the Spanish had first settled Los Angeles, Monterey and San José. Let's pause for a moment and think about why a city would have grown here?
undefined · Foundsf
Consider the type of topography here (rough; steep), examine how closely the water is to the slopes, think of the dense fog (which was very likely much thicker in the days before global warming), the wind, the sand whipping up on a cold day, no forest cover... This would have been, actually, a terrible spot for a city, as we might expect today, and yet it makes some sense as an entrepôt. There are no givens when it comes to where cities are founded; several sites could have worked. But to put it ever so briefly, this is where trade happened (see especially James Vance's study, uploaded here). Ships would enter the Gate, veer starboard, and could safely moor. And even though the town's defenses were set-up elsewhere (the Presidio), it was here that early public and political life took hold, including the adobe custom's house at the corner of today's Clay and Kearney. As we walk down Montgomery towards the north, let's keep thinking of the early nature of the city. We'll be back next week to explore the financial district. See also this link for more images of early Portsmouth square...

More Maps:

undefined · Noehill

Resources and References:

http://storify.com/javierest/yerba-buenahttp://storify.com/javierest/yerba-buenaTue, 06 Aug 2013 23:27:48 GMT
<![CDATA[The Peraltas come and go]]>

José Domingo Peralta's family ranch is barely discernible to the naked eye in the present day, yet evident in the shape of one Berkeley neighborhood. The Spanish ranchos are key to understanding California's subsequent urban development.

Storified by Javier Arbona · Tue, Aug 06 2013 23:08:29

Peralta's Codornices Creek ranch home 

The Peralta family was part of a new generation of mixed-descent inhabitants of the Americas situated predominantly around Mexico City and who proceeded to make their way north. The Peralta clan came to the Bay Area as part of de Anza's military expedition in 1776, a brigade that included Gabriel Peralta as one of its corporals. One of the elder Peralta's grandchildren, José Domingo, built what is believed to be either the first or second house in what is now Berkeley. Maybe this could be considered the original downtown! It's at the intersection, roughly speaking, of Albina Street with the Codornices Creek.
In 1818, the second-generation Peralta, don Luis, requested and received a land grant from the Spanish Crown for his military service. What he got was a chunk of what we tend to refer as "the East Bay" in the present time: (part of) San Leandro, Oakland, Alameda, Emeryville, Piedmont, Berkeley, and Albany; about 48,000 acres in total (including land that used to belong to the Mission Dolores).

Don Luis stayed behind in San José, but he had his four sons work the ranch, which also happened to drastically change the environment in this area. It might be hard to imagine, but whereas the tribes used fire to manage species, among other human-nature interactions, the new immigrants brought new species and a whole new management regime that prioritized their herds of cattle, which they drove all the way up from San José. 

By 1841, José Domingo was building his "pre-Berkeley" adobe home for his large family. By that point, in an independent and secularized México, the ranchos had become a seminal landed-property institution, and more of a presence in California, as new Californios started to take up land grants around rancho San Antonio. No longer supplying the Spanish Crown, the ranchos were incipient capitalist producers actively trading goods (hides, pelts, tallow) with Asia, England and the (smaller) United States to the east of here.

In 1842, Domingo, like his other three siblings, received formal title from his father to modern-day Albany and Berkeley, but their time of greatness was short-lived. Domingo moved to a larger wood house in the 1850s, at the location where today we find the Emmanuel Baptist Church. (The first house came down in an earthquake, and the second later was moved to the Schmitt tract and later torn down in the 30's by UC Berkeley, who owned the research tract).
Creek Map detail (see PDF link at the bottom of post):
A photo from @AlJavieera · AlJavieera

Decline and Fall

Although all of it was once Perlata land, of course, the blocks between Hopkins, Curtis and Monterey are a subdivision of Peralta's rancho that was called Peralta Park. The area of Peralta Park is usually bustling with the Westbrae neighborhood folks going to and from the gourmet Monterey Market, buying flowers from a sidewalk vendor, or popping in for a coffee at the Café Roma (notice it's a former gas station). 

The Gold Rush here in California inaugurated, at the same time, a clash between an already established property regime, under the Californios, with a new settler influx. The Peraltas, like all others residing in California, were guaranteed property and citizenship rights under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848. But California law had a provision that facilitated squatting on land, as long as the squatter claimed not to have knowledge of previous ownership, a rather low threshold of proof. As Charles Wollenberg explains in regards to how this affected Berkeley:

But these treaty obligations and constitutional protections ran head-on into the old American tradition of "squatter's rights," the idea that Americans could obtain title to "vacant" land simply by occupying it. This practice was strengthened in 1851, when the California legislature passed a law allowing an American citizen to "preempt" up to 160 acres of land, providing that "to the best of his knowledge and belief" the land did not belong to someone else. In 1852 Francis Kittredge Shattuck, a disappointed gold seeker from upstate New York, and his partners, George Blake, William Hillegass and James Leonard, each filed 160 acre claims on what is now central Berkeley. (It's hard to imagine that they did not have "knowledge and belief," of the existence of the thirty-two year old Peralta grant.) Further west, Irish immigrant Michael Curtis was farming near Domingo Peralta's home. In that same year, 1852, Domingo was arrested for assaulting two squatters with a sword. He was found guilty and fined $700 for the offense, but nothing was done to remove the squatters.

The development of Peralta Park by Anglo squatter settlers:
With various new settlers encroaching on "their" land (or course, land that the Peralta family was a part of seizing from the native population), the Peraltas went through decades of fighting in court, and against each other, to assure their land titles, all the while racking up legal fees and the new U.S. government's property taxes. After 25 years of fighting, the Peralta title was found by the courts valid, but they had lost all the land to development and to debts.

Domingo Perlata at first tried to retain the core of his ranch where his house was, peeling of parts close to the water. One example is where the race track now sits by Gilman street and the 80 freeway. The Peraltas fought land squatters and cattle rustlers, but eventually sold the land to William Chapman Ralston, the wealthy financier of silver mines, who then dies and the estate ends up in the hands of insurer Caspar Thomas Hopkins, due to the executor's fraud. Hopkins then sells to Maurice, "M.B." "Curtis," (Strelinger was his real name) who builds a great Victorian hotel and sells lots for massive homes, like the Lueders home (a Queen Anne on Albina street)

The neighborhood really takes off after the war, when UC Berkeley property was opened for University Gardens neighborhood.
The Curtis hotel, now disappeared (via the BAHA archives).
undefined · Berkeleyheritage
Note: From the corner of Hopkins and Albina, a good walk can be to head up Monterey and over to Posen (making a left), to head around the other side of Peralta's old house site. See the Golden Gate view—once again the gaze of conquest for the Californios. Once back around Peralta street, to return in the direction to Hopkins, head east on Hopkins and take a detour left at Acton to find...
...The Fallon home: 1307 Acton street, built originally on the site of the Peralta adobe, since subdivided after the 1950's. Imagine the Fallon home at its original location, during the 1890s, next to the Lueders home, to think of how eclectic and schizophrenic the Anglo tastes were, and just how diverse the supposed historical "character" of the place truly was.
Streetcar connections and development... See, for instance (click to go to flickr for large size): 
Pocket Map of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda (1939) · Eric Fischer
Explains cartographer extraordinaire, Eric Fischer, that this map is: Pocket Map of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda (1939)

1939 Exposition Edition. Accurate Chadwick Guide Pocket Map of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Piedmont, Emeryville, Albany, San Leandro. Streets with index, street numbers, street car lines, bus routes, new tunnel routes, bridge approaches


Private property, squatters, credit defaults, architecture styles (neo-Gothic, Queen Anne), infrastructure, streetcar lines, electricity

Sources & References (some are only available from libraries or via UC online access):

Peralta ranches:
On capital, private property and the ranches:
http://storify.com/javierest/the-peraltas-come-and-gohttp://storify.com/javierest/the-peraltas-come-and-goTue, 06 Aug 2013 23:08:29 GMT
<![CDATA[Spanish conquerors arrive at the future UC Berkeley]]>

A commonly overlooked historical marker opens the world of Alta California's conquest and colonization, and offers a glimpse at an imperial viewing geometry towards the "Golden Gate" that United States and University of California rulers have subsequently adopted.

Storified by Javier Arbona · Tue, Aug 06 2013 22:53:30

Monument to the Gov. Pedro Fáges expedition and camp at the West Gate of UC Berkeley.

The marker commemorates the Lt. Pedro Fáges expedition through the state of California, also known as the Fáges Crespi Expedition, after Fáges and Father Juan Crespi, who kept a diary of the trip. This site is said to be a camp along Strawberry Creek (one of three) where they sighted the Golden Gate in 1772. 
The Monument was placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution, about 200 years after European contact with the indigenous American tribes—a period of much outright celebration of the European conquista of California.

Fáges was following the lead of the 1769 Gaspar de Portolá expedition to Monterey, which Fáges also partook in, exploring and colonizing the Bay Area for Spain, and trying to convert the indigenous peoples to catholicism and into the slave agricultural labor of the missions. Explorers like Fáges, Portolá, and later on, de Anza, who founded the SF Presidio, were all brutal military officers charged with the task of securing Alta California to protect the mining interests of the "mother country" in the face of increasing naval interests from Russian and English expeditions. Fáges twice fought indigenous people in Sonora. Fagés is remembered as the first governor of California (1770-1774 and 1782-1791)—a military appointee.

From San Diego to San Francisco, the Spanish conquistadores eventually built 20 missions, 4 military forts (presidios) and three towns (pueblos). The East Bay, however, got its first permanent Spanish institution—Mission San José (south of Fremont), late in the 18th century—much later than San Francisco’s Mission Dolores and the Presidio by the Golden Gate (de Anza, 1776). Obviously, the military focus was on the sea, not the land.

The objective of the Fáges Crespi expedition in particular was to establish a mission somewhere in the North Bay, but they probably had a very crude cartographic understanding of the water system, and they did not realize that what we now call Drake’s Bay was not connected to the interior bay; instead the expedition was eventually cut off by the Carquinez Straits, near present day Antioch. They retreated to Monterey, but this trip represented the first contact with the Bay Area tribes. By 1820, this area was no longer inhabited by native people, killed off by enslavement, invasive diseases, and the wholesale debasement and decimation of their social life, spiritual beliefs, and connections to the land and to each other. The missions themselves would also soon disintegrate under a newly independent México.

Walking the Grinnel pathway—a higher elevation view of the Golden Gate and the Sather Tower: The sightline is also significant, as it happens to be where an early UC campus architect, David Farquharson also chose to lay an axis line (1869), competing with Olmsted’s previous picturesque plan for the California College that set the axis through the memorial glade. 
Later on, in John Galen Howard’s Hearst plan, Howard picks up on this angle again, as a secondary campus axis to the main Olmsted one through the glade, anchored by his design for the Campanile. Grey Brechin calls the 5 degree rotation off the city grid “destiny’s gun sight” because Howard’s Beaux Arts Plan deliberately wanted to visually connect the university to the mining wealth beyond the horizon (recall that Sather Tower is named after a banker and regent of the UC). Farquharson also happened to design the Bank of California building in San Francisco, which absorbed Sather's firm. Also, notice the "grid shifts" in some of the new buildings on campus, like Li Ka Shing Hall and the Helios center nearby:
Walk to the sidewalk of Oxford Street: Before departing from this area, some informal topics of conversation might include the function of the creek itself in the location of the University and the historical uses of the creek, the vegetation we see today, the indigenous land patterns and environmental conditions in this area, and quick observations on some of the urban design features of the campus as it meets the town grid. To the West, the creek continues to run under Center street, and on the north corner of Center is the designated site of the future Berkeley Art Museum, with a design by NYC firm Diller, Scofidio and Renfro:
(Notice also how in the previous scheme for the museum, which was discarded during the economic downturn in 2009, showed the daylighting of Strawberry Creek):
* Depart on ACT Line 25 from Downtown Berkeley to Hopkins Street (or take BART to N. Berkeley station on Richmond line)

Sources & References (some are only available from libraries or via UC online access):

(Note: The item descriptions are embedded from their websites, not written by me).
On the Huichin inhabitants before Spanish conquest, and on their fate, see:
(Wollenberg's Berkeley: A City in History is also available --text only-- on the BPL website below)
http://storify.com/javierest/week-1-spanish-arrivalhttp://storify.com/javierest/week-1-spanish-arrivalTue, 06 Aug 2013 22:53:30 GMT

Since Darpa can pop out entire internets, we owe the agency eternal fealty. And because the Pentagon will now fund education, imagine what else they can do...

Storified by Javier Arbona · Thu, Feb 09 2012 19:25:39


In a nutshell, the Pentagon's research arm, DARPA, will fund a partnership between MakeMagazine and Otherlab, among two or three other pilot programs, to teach high-school student the ways of how to "build robots, drones and other low- and medium-tech gadgets" (CaliforniaWatch). 

Before the program was announced, BoingBoing had posted that DARPA was on the quest for some sort of way to tap the talents of hackers and makers. We (Demilit) pestered the editors at BoingBoing (BB) to hear if they would update the story with the latest development. BoingBoing, however, has two founding editors that also work for Make Magazine as chief editor (Mark Frauenfelder) and contributing editor (David Pescovitz). Thus far, none of BB's writers have posted an update.


Later on, in a sci-fi spirit, we imagined a bit of what this #DARPAHigh might be like:

(N.B. Storify has a bug where some timestamps are incorrect)


The chat with BB editors reveals some larger points about #DARPAHigh, and DARPA in general, as the new Warfare Welfare State (#WarfareWelfare). In the previous, Mark Frauenfelder—and to his credit he has been more willing to chat than others—seems to believe, first of all, that because DARPA has chosen to fund education, they are abstaining from spending money on "other things." But are they? ...Don't think so.

Also, by "other things," let's just be cognizant of the fact that the "other things" that DARPA funds are no less than prototype "defense" systems, a euphemism for nothing else but weapons and surveillance—war machinery, in short.

Second, here we go again with ARPA (the internet's pilot project funded by an early DARPA). We've covered this ground before. But to repeat, ARPA/DARPA happened a long, long time ago. Since then, history has witnessed, among many other atrocities, the Vietnam War, Iran Contra, COINTELPRO, Bradley Manning, Vieques, WMD, Cablegate, and the list could go on for pages. Not only that, but DARPA also wants, through other hacker outreach, to make the Pentagon even less transparent or accountable, and more capable of tracking whistleblowers—or average citizens.

Apparently, because the Pentagon brought us the internet, we owe the Pentagon eternal fealty and unquestioning obedience. Frauenfelder's contentions here are patently absurd, sorry to say. Using the old red herring of ARPA, the implication is that if one is a pacifist, or an educator that poses questions, one may as well not go online. But if one were to avoid everything that has passed through a military lab at some stage, or has been first developed for the battlefield, we can pretty much shrivel into a ball and never leave the house. This is exactly the kind of power that some of us are questioning. Instead, DARPA's advocates are in favor of a society where warfare subsidizes welfare.

Frauenfelder also fantasizes with a 'what if' scenario where "kids"—teens, we suppose—would have taken part in developing the internet (see above). Surely DARPA agrees! If the Pentagon could have DARPA create a time-machine, they would go back to the mid-1950's, and root into high-schools. Imagine DARPA in 1950's high-schools. The DoD would likely ensure the eradication of the 1960's counter-culture. Talk about counter-insurgency!

Frauenfelder makes the assumption above, like his peers running this program, that this is actually "education." But is it? Can we call it that? As we've argued elsewhere, education must be truly open. Inquiry involves disagreement and debate. It involves transparency. We're skeptical of #DARPAHigh because we suspect that here, education is another euphemism, much like "defense," for something bordering on indoctrination.

More reading on the subject:

http://storify.com/javierest/darpahighhttp://storify.com/javierest/darpahighThu, 09 Feb 2012 19:25:39 GMT
<![CDATA[Some of Monday's perusing]]>

London is burning. Students are protesting. What I've been skimming... Some selected tweets and links (as a test, as well, of what else to do with this Storify thingamajig).

Storified by Javier Arbona · Thu, Oct 27 2011 07:33:31

RT @thinkprogress: London eye burning http://twitpic.com/6374u9 · javierest

(And add to that •possibly fabricated• image the following "ingenious" hypothesis...)

Musical interlude...

And now for more finds...

http://storify.com/javierest/monday-readingshttp://storify.com/javierest/monday-readingsTue, 09 Aug 2011 02:15:25 GMT
<![CDATA[Hortons Limited logo by Vignelli dot dot dot]]>

Some research sleuthing by @ou_grimley and @microkubo reveals some striking similarities to a "certain crimson design school." Judge for yourself.

Storified by Javier Arbona · Thu, Oct 27 2011 07:50:47

A bit of the "separated at birth?" game... First, the school's logo...

Second, according to Michael Kubo, the following images come from this book source: 

Jan Conradi. Unimark International: The Design of Business and the Business of Design. Lars Müller, 2010. pages 98-99, 184-185. 

Found in Unimark book. A logo for Hortors Limited that now represents a certain crimson design school. http://yfrog.com/kj31137094j · ou_grimley
Annals of a logo that is *not* the Harvard GSD: Massimo Vignelli/Unimark International, for Hortors, 1975. [1/4] http://twitpic.com/5t4m4h · microkubo
*not* the GSD logo, 2 of 4. http://twitpic.com/5t4n1a · microkubo
*not* the GSD logo, 3 of 4. http://twitpic.com/5t4nei · microkubo
*not* the GSD logo, 4 of 4. http://twitpic.com/5t4npp · microkubo

(And here, for kicks, is a reinterpretation of the logo in question by students at the school)

why is there pink tape on our school? · annshi

(+ a previous "Seperated at Birth")

http://storify.com/javierest/hortons-limited-logo-by-vignelli-is-now-the-harvarhttp://storify.com/javierest/hortons-limited-logo-by-vignelli-is-now-the-harvarWed, 20 Jul 2011 20:32:58 GMT
<![CDATA[I'm not asking you for the moon]]>

This song has enjoyed quite a ride...

Storified by Javier Arbona · Thu, Oct 27 2011 07:58:21

Fiordaliso - Non voglio mica la luna (1986) · majasko
Daniela Romo - Yo No Te Pido La Luna · labandido
Jeans "Yo No Te Pido La Luna" · Alexd83
Javiera Mena - Yo no te pido la luna · VideosTop
http://storify.com/javierest/im-not-asking-you-for-the-moonhttp://storify.com/javierest/im-not-asking-you-for-the-moonMon, 11 Jul 2011 23:06:40 GMT