Tuesday, April 9, 2013

3,000 and Counting!

Have I mentioned that this issue features my reviews of Prometheus, The Long Earth, Measuring the World, and more? Still don't care? Then how about a visit to CERN? An extensive episode guide to the original Battlestar Galactica? A quirky look at the wuxia strains in the Star Wars films? What are you, a robot? How can this not get you excited? Read Galaxis!

That's 3,000 views of this third issue of Galaxis, BTW, in case you were wondering about the blog post headline.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Iain M. Banks: Time Is Short

Iain Banks, the brilliant Scottish novelist, has announced that he has been informed that he only has months to live and that The Quarry will be his last book.

In a post on his website titled "A Personal Statement from Iain Banks," the author writes that he is being felled by cancer:
The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it’s extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.
Banks, born in 1954, wrote mainstream novels as "Iain Banks" and used the cleverly secretive moniker "Iain M. Banks" for his science fiction books, many of which featured the far-future galaxy-spanning drama of the Culture civilization. Banks' most recent Culture novel is The Hydrogen Sonata.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Values in the Sky

Better to build up than over wetlands and forests. (Photo: John Zipperer)
In which I brush off the slow/no-growth crowd. From the April 2013 issue of the Marina Times:

Values in the SkyBy John Zipperer 
Someone commented to me recently that he didn’t see where much more new building could take place in San Francisco. The City, already heavily built up and undergoing still more construction, seemed to be full to bursting. Certainly this city – one of the most densely populated in the country – couldn’t get any more dense, could it?  
It can, it will, and it must ...

We're Number 1 – in Housing Unaffordability

Don't bother telling me "unaffordability" isn't a word. That's unpossible.

Here's a quick real estate market report I wrote in the April 2013 issue of the Marina Times; and my apologies to any kind souls in Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, whose hearts are I'm sure pure and families shine like gold.

We're No. 1 – in Housing UnaffordabilityBy John Zipperer 
Consider it the price you pay for not having to live in Ogden-Clearfield, Utah. By the end of last year, San Francisco became the metro area with the lowest percentage of its households earning the median income able to purchase a home, according to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).

Technically, NAHB rates the city in the category of “San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California,” which is a rather large stretch of land. But ...

Micro-Apartments Come to the City

38 Harriet's micro-apartments get a lot into a small space. (Image: Panoramic Interests 2011)
In which I let out my inner commercial real estate and urban planning geek. From the April 2013 issue of the Marina Times:

Micro-Apartments Come to the City
By John Zipperer 
Micro-apartments. Twitter-apts. Mini-flats. There are many descriptive names one could come up with for the small apartments that we will soon be seeing more of in San Francisco. But judging from the opposition, you would think they were named like the media names disastrous East Coast storms: Apartmogeddon, Frankenapt, Apocalyptment.  
Scary thoughts aside, in November 2012 the Board of Supervisors passed legislation by Supervisor Scott Weiner ...

The Latest Site for Parking, Biker Clash

Big changes are in store for Polk Street (Photo: BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons)
In which yours truly reports on a meeting about traffic. Bikes. Shopkeepers. City planning. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll maybe read it.

From the April issue of the Marina Times:

Polk Street Latest Site for Parking, Biker Clash
By John Zipperer 
Whether they got there by car, bike, bus, or on foot, locals filled the basement hall of the Old First Presbyterian Church on March 18 to discuss plans to remove parking spaces to make room for expanded bicycle lanes on Polk Street. By the time they were done, the head of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said his organization is “committed to going back to the drawing board to achieve the goals of the project.” 
The proposal, part of an effort by the SFMTA to use Prop. B money to improve streets and safety, set off a heated debate in and around ...