Our most popular story this week was also one of the wilder political scenes I've witnessed here in San Francisco.
I was at home on Monday night scrolling through Twitter when I started seeing tweets from our politics editor, Scott Shafer, who was at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, waiting to hear if the board would appoint a new interim mayor until the June special election or stick with London Breed.
I followed along and was blown away when after hours of public comment and discussion, Mark Farrell, a moderate supervisor I hadn't heard mentioned once in the mayor's discussion, was appointed interim mayor thanks in large part to the machinations of the board's uber-progressive voices like Hillary Ronen. The chamber erupted in jeers with many of London Breed's supporters accusing the board of sexism and racism for not sticking with the city's first African American woman acting mayor.
Universal basic income, or UBI, is one of those ideas that I feel like I started hearing about all of a sudden a few years ago. Maybe it has something to do with moving to Silicon Valley, where some techies are particularly enamored with the idea of giving folks money, no strings attached, just for being people.
The city of Stockton is hoping a UBI can spur some economic growth as it rolls out a small pilot program where a few dozen families will get $500 a month for a year, and the city will study how they spend the money and how the money affects their self-esteem and identity.
Apparently UBI was first suggested by Richard Nixon as an answer to post-industrial job losses, and at least one Stanford professor says it could do more for a city than offering up millions to lure in big corporate residents (looking at you, Amazon.)
Quick background on me: I was born and raised in Minnesota, went to school in Missouri and now live in California. While those three states might not seem to share much in common, one thing they do share is they have been very slow to comply with something called the REAL ID Act.
Essentially, the REAL ID Act is a law passed by Congress that told states they had to make their IDs and driver's licenses meet certain standards by a certain date or their residents wouldn't be able to use those IDs to do things like get on an airplane. Most states fell in line, but my three states were laggards meaning I've spent the last several years nervously hoping I didn't miss a deadline and wouldn't find myself turned away at SFO or MSP.
Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that happening until Oct. 1, 2020, when the regulations kick into full effect. Some other stuff to know:
You don't need to get a Real ID. You just won't be able to use your state ID to get on a plane or military base.
Undocumented immigrants with IDs through AB 60 won't be eligible for Real IDs.
You must apply for a Real ID in person at the DMV.
We're living through a period of reckoning when it comes to sexual assault and harassment. One of the things we're learning is that harassment isn't just something that happens in the moment; its effects can last for decades. Those effects aren't just psychological or emotional -- they're physical.
Cindy Patterson had a competitive job at a high-powered financial institution 25 years ago, and she faced regular sexual harassment. Patterson says she's still dealing with effects from that harassment all these years later, and Stanford psychiatrist and stress expert David Spiegel says that's not surprising.
As in any potentially dangerous situation, sexual harassment triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which quickens heart rate and raises blood pressure, muscle tension and blood glucose levels. The response is evolutionary: The extra energy fuels our ability to flee or do combat.
An occasional spike in stress hormones isn’t harmful, Spiegel says, but if a victim starts living in a chronic state of high alert, it can be toxic to the nervous system.
“The office becomes a place you can’t assume your safety and go about your work; instead you’re also worrying about the potential for psychological or physical assault,” Spiegel says. “This chronic activation of the nervous system can lead to a kind of burnout, where your body is overreacting much of the time, and it exhausts you.”
Apparently, one of the most sought after ingredients for perfumes across cultures and civilizations is something called ambergris, which is effectively sperm whale poop.
How do I know this? Because there is a museum in Berkeley dedicated to everything olfactory. It's run by Mandy Aftel, and this is how she describes ambergris:
She holds the bottle close to her nose. “It’s got a kind of like a sparkly quality to the smell, if that makes any sense,” she says. “And it’s soft and deep but also light, and kind of feels like it reflects light. It’s a kind of wonder.”
KQED reporters have spent months listening through hours of 911 calls and dispatch calls from the first night of the deadly North Bay fires last October. They found that in Sonoma County, there was a one-hour delay between when Cal Fire asked local officials to send out evacuation orders and when the calls went out.