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The Best Thing About the Desert Is That It's Clueless

I know a place in the Mojave Desert where there are rocks in the shape of Billy Martin. I visit the rocks every year to commemorate the return of spring. It makes perfect sense to me that the rocks are in the desert and not a mountain range or forest because the gone-but-not-forgotten Yankee manager was a kind of… » 4/28/15 3:07pm 4/28/15 3:07pm

What Are Water Rights?

While pundits point fingers at who’s to blame for California’s catastrophic drought, it seems that the state is finally taking one big step towards action. Last week, California’s water board sent a letter to senior water rights holders warning that their rights might be curtailed. But what does this really mean?
» 4/13/15 5:46pm 4/13/15 5:46pm

California High School Gets Rid Of Its "Arab" Mascot, Belly Dancers

Back in November, we learned that a California high school was using an Arab as its mascot: a hook-nosed, keffiyeh-wearing stereotype that seemed like something out of a very out-of-date cartoon. That guy will be gone, as will the halftime belly dancers, but the "Arabs" nickname will remain, for now. » 9/01/14 11:06am 9/01/14 11:06am

Meet April Atkins, Once The World's Strongest 7th-Grader

You might think that a huge amount of information about a 12-year-old girl once celebrated as the "world's strongest seventh-grader" would surely exist online. That's the sort of thing ARPANET was built for, wasn't it? That, and allowing mainframe computers all over the world to talk to one another. But really, those… » 4/10/14 12:10pm 4/10/14 12:10pm

Heart of Blandness: A Walking Tour of Silicon Valley

Walking is the only pleasant form of traveling by land. You need no special equipment, training, money, e-tickets, antidepressants, or Twitter followers. Whatever clothes you're wearing will do fine; a hat and shoes are optional. When I've got a few days to spend somewhere, I spend them walking around. So I spent a… » 2/28/14 5:44pm 2/28/14 5:44pm

How The NFL Lied Its Way Out Of Millions In Workers' Comp

Yesterday California's governor signed into law a bill that blocks athletes from filing future workers' compensation claims for games they play in the state, unless they played for a California team. It was shut down thanks to intense lobbying from the NFL and other pro sports leagues that hinged on the argument that… » 10/09/13 5:38pm 10/09/13 5:38pm

Student-Athletes To Be Slightly Less Exploited, At Least In California

We learned, from Taylor Branch's history, that the term "student-athlete" only arose as a (successful) attempt by the NCAA to avoid having to pay workman's comp to injured players. A Colorado football player, killed by a head injury in the '50s, wasn't entitled to a thing from the NCAA—no health care, no death… » 8/24/12 11:10am 8/24/12 11:10am

Cops, 49ers Will Work To Make Fans Less Drunk After Especially Drunken Raiders-49ers Game

The annual drunk brawl between 49ers and Raiders fans took place this past weekend, and it was, historically speaking, more drunk and brawl-y than usual. In what essentially amounts to a timeout for grown-ups, both teams have requested that the NFL "indefinitely suspend" the annual preseason "Battle of the Bay" so… » 8/23/11 3:45pm 8/23/11 3:45pm