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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Careers and Ed: Nurturing the drive

Two computer science programs at Mills College aim to build second-career confidence
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culture@sfbg.com

Sheri Wetherby was working at a casino in Tahoe when she decided to become a computer programmer. So she left Tahoe and came to the Bay Area to study. A few years later, she had a job at Microsoft.

Wetherby had hardly a lick of programming background before she got her MA in computer science at Mills College. Her undergraduate degree was in German and French. She'd taken some graduate courses at the University of New Hampshire, including a computer science course that inspired her to envision a second career in the field. Read more »

Careers and Ed: Bio the people, fuel the people

Tank yourself: Local biodiesel advocates guide newbies through the brewing process
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culture@sfbg.com

Cars suck. I have stickers that say so and a venerable beater of a bicycle that underscores the point. But for every one of the approximately 40,000 bicycle commuters in San Francisco, there are more than 10 registered car owners, and just wishing they didn't exist won't make it so. But I'm no hater. I'm sure glad my plumber drives a van, for instance, and my gardener roommate wouldn't get very far without a pickup truck to haul all that gravel and mulch. Read more »

Careers and Ed: Cocktail frosh

Mixed Drinks 101: Can a two-week bartending course impart real-world pouring skills?
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culture@sfbg.com

Swanky-ass bars, high-end restaurants, sex, drugs — they're all great things to love about San Francisco, but they can be cruel and constant symbols of failure to the scrilla deprived. With one-bedroom apartments currently priced at about $1,600 a month, cell phone bills hovering in the $75 to $150 range, and PG&E. religiously raping us for half our salaries, it's amazing anyone can afford to live in this city, let alone enjoy its vast array of entertainment. But San Francisco has a secret. Read more »

Sci-fi made me do it

Is speculative fiction in the blood?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Human beings are always bragging how cool we are because we plan for the future. That's probably why a team of neuroscientists recently did a study on the anatomy of future thinking. Turns out that pondering an upcoming event like, say, the release of Windows Vista, activates a very specific part of the brain.

At least, that's what researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis observed when they stuck people in an MRI machine and asked them to think about their next birthdays. Read more »

Off the record

Billion-dollar software company Mercury Interactive wants to keep details of a backdating scandal under seal
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gwschulz@sfbg.com

Among the mansions and box stores popuutf8g Silicon Valley are several major tech firms at the heart of a stock option backdating scandal that has metastasized through corporate America over the last two years.

The hall of shame includes Juniper Networks, McAfee, Nvidia, Brocade Communications Systems, and most notably for this story, a Mountain View–based firm called Mercury Interactive, which came under scrutiny in late 2004, making it one of the earliest companies identified for allegedly tampering with the lucrative stock options given Read more »

Taking on term limits

Out-the-door politics?
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EDITORIAL It's time to take a look at what legislative term limits are doing to San Francisco. Assemblymember Mark Leno, who is really just hitting his stride as one of the most effective members of the state legislature, is in his last term in office. Supervisors Chris Daly and Aaron Peskin, who are two of the most effective members of the Board of Supervisors, are in their final terms. Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who is the institutional memory of the left in city hall, will be gone in another two years.

In fact, Ammiano is a good case study for what's wrong with term limits. Read more »

Editor's Notes

Are the Dems ducking the "T" word?
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tredmond@sfbg.com

The biggest challenge facing Democrats in Congress this year is probably also the most boring. They're going to have to deal with taxes.

I'm not the only one obsessed with this. Really, I'm not. Edmund L. Andrews got into it in the New York Times on Jan. Read more »

Some questions for the mayor

A few things we'd like to ask ...
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EDITORIAL Gavin Newsom doesn't want to take direct questions from the supervisors. He rarely gets asked tough questions from the press and almost never from the public. Instead, as Steven T. Jones and Sarah Phelan report ("Mayor Chicken," page 13), all of his appearances are scripted, and he does a mighty job of ducking the hard questions.

But if he is indeed going to be holding a series of town hall meetings over the next few months, there's a chance for the voters to pin him down. Read more »

Mayor Chicken

Gavin Newsom is terrified to face real political debate. That's bad for the entire city
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news@sfbg.com

The format is always the same: Mayor Gavin Newsom shows up at a carefully scouted location somewhere in the city with his perfect tie and perfect hair. He brings a cadre of department heads in tow, sending the clear message that he can deliver government services to the public. He takes a few questions from the audience, but the format allows him to deflect anything tough, to delegate any problems to department heads, and to offer a thoughtful "we'll look into that" when the need arises.Read more »

A reporter stands up to the army

Sarah Olson fights a subpoena to tesify against an antiwar soldier -- and faces felony charges
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sarah@sfbg.com

Oakland freelance writer and radio journalist Sarah Olson has a tall, willowy frame; long silky hair; and a clearly articulated understanding of the reasons she believes that testifying against a source, First Lt. Read more »