Month: February 2015

San Francisco’s “Hidden” Public Places, Public Art

San Francisco’s “Hidden” Public Places, Public Art

Like any large city, San Francisco has a myriad of government owned parks and plazas that are open to the public.

But unknown to many “locals” as well as visitors, are “Privately-Owned Public Open Space” (also know by the acronym, “POPOS”).

( David McSpadden Flickr Photo)
( David McSpadden Flickr Photo)

The city’s Planning Department says that they are “publicly accessible spaces in forms of plazas, terraces, atriums, small parks, and even snippets that are provided and maintained by private developers. In San Francisco, POPOS mostly appear in the Downtown office district area.”

The Department also points out that the city “has a ‘1% Art Program’ that requires that large projects in the Downtown and nearby neighborhoods provide public art that equals at least 1% of the total construction cost.”

But how do you find these places?

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Credit Cards vs. Mobile Payments: Which Is Best?

Credit Cards vs. Mobile Payments: Which Is Best?

Back on October 24, 2014, not long after Apple showcased its two new iPhones, the “6” and “6 Plus,” I took a fairly detailed look at “Apple Pay,” the mobile payments system that owners of those new phones (but not those with older models) could use with merchants’ “point-of-sale” terminals instead of swiping a traditional credit card.

(Mike Mozart Flickr Photo)
(Mike Mozart Flickr Photo)

One of my hiking buddies bought an iPhone 6 and has raved about the convenience of Apple Pay.

I’m still using an iPhone 5 (although a “6” may be in my pocket before long), so I haven’t had a chance to try out Apple Pay myself. (I do have the ability using Apple’s Passport app to pay for my coffee drinks at Starbucks stores by waving my iPhone at a scanner.)

But will Apple Pay be of any real value to U.S. consumers once they all are given “Chip and PIN” credit cards?

Is Apple Pay really more convenient to use and a more secure payment system than a credit card?

How many merchants will ultimately have Apple Pay compatible point-of-sale terminals?

Won’t I still need to carry my credit cards in my wallet just in case the merchant’s terminal doesn’t work, the merchant doesn’t have such a terminal, or my iPhone’s battery goes dead or my phone gets mislaid, left at home, or stolen?

Listen to reporters Robin Sidel, of The Wall Street Journal, and Nanette Byrnes, of MIT Technology Review, talk with host Ira Flatow of PRI’s Science Friday about these and other questions about credit cards vs. mobile payments.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/188701607″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

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Go Climb A Rock: In Yosemite

Go Climb A Rock: In Yosemite

Back in November of 1970, living on an Air Force Base in central Indiana that was flat earth surrounded by cornfields, I watched on TV as two men did something that had never been accomplished before: They scaled the sheer rock face of El Capitan’s “Wall of Early Morning Light” in Yosemite National Park.


(Click here if the video player does not appear)

I’d been to Yosemite twice in 1968, seen El Capitan, and had a strong sense of what effort it had taken to make that ascent.

El Cap 2

But last month, nearly 45 years after Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell made their historic climb, two of the newer generation of Yosemite “mountain men” did something even more unbelievable: They went up El Capitan, from top to bottom, free-climbing.

What makes people engage such death-defying endeavors?

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