KUSP Latest

Watsonville Adds Water Restrictions

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A scene like like could lead to a $500 fine. Courtesy of Stephen Laufer

A scene like like could lead to a $500 fine. Courtesy of Stephen Laufer

J.D. Hillard | KUSP News
This week Watsonville’s City Council approved new restrictions on water use following an emergency mandate issued by Governor Jerry Brown last month.

The emergency measure was aimed at reducing outdoor water use in urban areas. A lot of water districts have a variety of restrictions already, the mandate specifies all districts have to adopt measures such as prohibiting watering that causes runoff or washing cars without a nozzle that shuts off.

In order to comply Watsonville adopted the mandated limit for outdoor watering: no more than two days per week for less than 15 minutes.

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At Farming Workshop: Drought and Salty Wells

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Mark Silberstein-500

By Wes Sims | KUSP News

During droughts cities tell residents to stop watering outside. Farms don’t have that option. This drought highlights the challenge growers face maintaining agriculture while preserving water supplies. It’s become part of the curriculum for a program that educates community leaders about local agricultural issues.
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Look Past the Smell: Anchovies Feed an Ecosystem

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Last week millions of anchovies swam in the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor and then died due to lack of oxygen. Beaches in Aptos also saw anchovy die-offs.

KUSP’s Adia White reports the die-off is a by-product of a periodic boom in the coastal anchovy population that is a boon for marine life.

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Environmental Groups Criticize Proposed Desalination Rule

By KUSP News

As numerous coastal communities face dwindling water supplies, state regulators Wednesday discussed how to keep proposed desalination plants from sucking marine life into intake pipes or damaging habitat with toxic brine.

As many as 15 coastal communities have proposals or plans in various stages of development for desalination to augment water supplies.

The State Water Resources Control Board is considering a proposed regulation that would require plants to draw their water from wells under the floor of the Pacific and dilute brine - the main waste created by desalination – before it goes back into the ocean.  The code does allow a project to use another method if geology or other conditions make these wells impossible.

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Santa Cruz County to Vote on Taxing Cannabis

KUSP News

Santa Cruz County may tax pot up to 10 percent according to a measure the Board of Supervisors will place on November’s ballot.

The goal is not to deter marijuana purchases, but to raise money for the county, according to the resolution calling for the vote. Proceeds would go into the county general fund and allocated in the annual budget.

The measure would initially tax purchases up to seven percent, but would allow the board to increase to ten percent in the future. Other cities with similar ordinances on their books include Oakland and San Jose.

Twelve businesses currently dispense cannabis in the unincorporated parts of Santa Cruz County, where the tax would apply. County staff hope it could raise as much as $900,000 annually.

 

7th Avenue Project: Persi Diaconis, Math, Magic, Deception & Probability

Broadcast on The 7th Avenue Project, July 20, 2014

When he was 14, Persi Diaconis ran away from home to become one of the world’s great magicians. Now he’s a world-class mathematician, and his two professions have more in common than you might think.

Persi and I had a very entertaining conversation about his careers in show biz and academe, covering topics such as:

His friendships with other magicians, including Ricky Jay, Randi and Dai Vernon
Some surprisingly profound mathematical card tricks
Why science needs statisticians
Duping others and being duped himself
Why he’s so secretive
Click the play arrow above to hear the interview, or the download icon on the upper right to get your own mp3.

Persi’s well-known as an inventor of original tricks and sometimes helps other performers come up with new routines. For instance, he had a hand in this classic bit from Steve Martin:

Labor Violations Remain Common in Farm Work

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By Adia White | KUSP News

The strawberry harvest last year in Santa Cruz County earned farmers  more than $390 million.  The Department of Labor says somewhere in that pile of money was about a million that one farm didn’t pay its employees. The Department of Labor recently announced it was suing a farm in Watsonville, charging the owner had underpaid and demanded kickbacks from employees. And in the ag industry that story is easy to find. Labor violations in the agricultural sector also include dilapidated housing and workers who simply go unpaid. KUSP’s Adia White reports.

Ocean Waves As You May Never Have Seen Before

A large wave on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, sucks sand off of the seafloor and into the wave itself. This photo is the cover image of Clark Little’s latest coffee table book, Shorebreak. Photo: Clark Little

By Barbara J. King

Clark Little photographs ocean waves.

Many of us do. We may be drawn to waves because they connect us with the moon and the tides, or with the magnificent marine creatures small and large who dwell in our seas, or just because it’s fun to surf and swim and float along the shore. And so we stand at the ocean’s edge, whip out our cellphones or our cameras and tripods, and aim to snap that perfect image.

Clark Little goes about things a little differently. Working on Oahu’s North Shore and focusing on shorebreak waves, he adopts what his website calls “a unique and often dangerous perspective of waves from the inside out.”

What exactly “waves from the inside out” means can be grasped by looking at this write-up of his work by Katie Hosmer on the My Modern Met site.

Even better, don’t miss this 3 1/2 minute video. In it we see Little’s technique in action, plunging right into the waves with his handheld camera. His passion for the ocean and its “heavy, four-lipped monster” is there for all to see.

 

Little’s photography is art. But it is science, too, I think, in the sense that it invites us to think and learn about the physics of waves.

On this summer’s day, enjoy the sight of Little’s awesome waves!

Note: It’s thanks to my Twitter friend biologist Malcolm Campbell that I learned of Little’s artistry. Malcolm is great fun to follow on Twitter, in part because each week he compiles a digest of online science posts and articles. (My July 6 post for 13.7 about stray dogs in Puerto Rico was a recent “read of the week” pick of his.) Thanks, Malcolm!


Barbara’s most recent book on animals was released in paperback in April. You can keep up with what she is thinki

Why Monterey Isn’t Rationing Water and Santa Cruz Is

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SC Water Dept

Before rationing took effect, Santa Cruz checked water use with an aggressive public information campaign. Photo: Wes Sims.

By Wes Sims | KUSP News

Two of the larger districts in the Monterey Bay area rely on rivers for their water. Under rationing, in Santa Cruz, if your family uses fifteen hundred gallons over the limit, Water Director Rosemary Menard says “You’d be looking at about 75 dollars a month in fines.”

Meanwhile, on the Monterey Peninsula, there are no fines. Here’s why there’s rationing in one place and not another.

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Independence Day Do’s and Don’ts

The temporary 'entrance' to Twin Lakes Beach, the day before. Photo: Laufer

The temporary ‘entrance’ to Twin Lakes Beach, the day before. Photo: Laufer

Monterey Bay area cities and Counties host numerous Independence Day events and a variety of regulations aimed mostly at fireworks. So here’s a brief digest of things to do and what not to do where. First off fireworks: they cause injuries and fires every year. Kids are proportionally more likely to get hurt. For some alarming quantitative outcomes of previous July 4ths check out this handout from Marina’s Web site.

Getting Around

Santa Cruz County’s Metro bus service will not operate.

Monterey Salinas Transit is operating on a Sunday schedule.

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