There is a lot going on in this picture. In the foreground is San Bruno Mountain, which separates San Francisco from the rest of the Peninsula. The flat expanse just beyond contains the cities of South San Francisco, San Bruno, and Daly City, known as “Gateway to the Peninsula.”
What this picture reveals, however, is that this flat little expanse between San Francisco and the rest of the Peninsula beyond is actually an isthmus. What’s more, we are looking at two separate tectonic plates. Do you see that thin blue line of water coming in diagonally at the top-middle left hand side of the picture? That is the San Andreas Fault which divides the Pacific Plate from the North American Plate. It continues in a straight line right out to sea and then hits land again in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.
The thin blue line of water is actually two narrow lakes, formed when runoff collects in the narrow gorge between the two plates. The lake closest to us in the center of the picture is called San Andreas Lake. The fault was named after the lake and not the other way around.
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L.A.’S TWO STREET GRIDS
Los Angeles began as a city that belonged to the king of Spain. Its street grid, based on a traditional Spanish plan, was a three mile square centered on the Los Angeles River, whose streets were at a 45 degree angle to the cardinal points.This city plan served Los Angeles for its first hundred years, even for its first several decades under U.S. dominion. By the 1880s, Anglo-Americans from the Midwest began arriving and settling in Los Angeles in droves, and they wanted a city laid out with the standard U.S. grid aligned to the cardinal points, N,S,E,W. In the two photos below, you can see this dividing line where the original Spanish city ends and the American city begins, and the two street grids collide.
Usually when I fly south, I sit on the left side of the aircraft. This time I chose the right. Instead of the sweeping views of San Francisco and the Peninsula, I got a nice glimpse of Alameda and some offshore clouds as we banked south.
One of the great things about visiting Alameda is knowing that an old-school doomsday preacher like Harold Camping was going about his busy day on the very same island.
Sometimes I would even drive real slow by his house (pictured above) just to bask in his eminence and remind myself that the quiet, suburban tree-lined streets are often populated by people whose minds run deeper and wilder than we could possibly imagine.
The last time I drove past his house was on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, at 2:42 PM. That is when this photo was taken. He died 18 days later.
R.I.P. Good Reverend. I know that the world really did end on October 21, 2011, no matter what the others say.
Did you know that orange didn’t exist until the 1500s?
Well, that’s not exactly true, that’s just when the word became part of the English language. “Orange” originally described the fruit, not the color, by the way. It came to England along a linguistic path that originated in Sanskrit as the word “naranga,” then went through Persian, Arabic, Spanish, and French before being adapted by the English as “orange.”
From Sanskrit right up through Spanish, the word was “naranja”. Now if you’re a 1500s Englishmen and you’re beholding a specimen of this citrus fruit you’d call it “a naranja,” which would eventually become streamlined to your English-speaking ears as “an aranja,” or “an orange.” So that’s why “orange” didn’t exist until the 1500s, and why nothing rhymes with it.
Well then, did this color even exist on the English palette before then?
Yes it did. The color was called, quite imaginatively, “yellow-red.”