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Tim O'Reilly
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Tim O'Reilly

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"You can add up all the yearly visitors to the city's baseball stadiums, its basketball and hockey arenas, all its performing-arts spaces, city-owned museums, gardens and zoos and you'll never get to 37 million, the number of people who used the city's underfunded, overburdened, utterly essential libraries in the last fiscal year."

via +lorcan dempsey 
Many libraries are old, crowded and falling apart, but Mayor Bill de Blasio can fix that.
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modern day; libraries are now a haven for the homeless, hence I tend to avoid them
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Zach Bogue - here I am wearing my Founder's Den t-shirt while hiking the Inca Trail!
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+Jennifer Pahlka has some visitors during lunch on our first day hiking the Inca Trail last week.
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Animals pigs
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That's a heck of a collection! Clever idea to display their impounded blades!
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Amazing difference.
Drought in California - my home

The picture shows snow in the mountains of California, 2013 and 2014.  Snow usually provides 30% of California's water, so that was bad news.  But 2015 was much worse.

"We're not only setting a new low; we're completely obliterating the previous record," said the chief of the California Department of Water Resources.  There's now only 5% as much snow as the average over the last century!

California has been hit by new weather pattern: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.  It's a patch of high atmospheric pressure that sits over the far northeastern Pacific Ocean and stops winter storms from reaching California.  It's been sitting there most of the time for the last 3 winters. 

We did get 2 big storms this winter.  But the water fell mainly as rain rather than snow, because of record-breaking heat.  It was enough to half fill Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville.  But it didn't help the snow pack, which holds more water.

For the first time, the governor has imposed mandatory water restrictions: a 25% cut in water use in every city and town.   This will save about 1.8 cubic kilometers of water over the next 9 months - nearly as much as Lake Oroville now holds.

He said:

People should realize we're in a new era. The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day - that's going to be a thing of the past.

But what about agriculture?   In California, about 50% of water is used by "the environment": rivers, wetlands, parks and the like.  40% is used by agriculture.  10% is left for businesses and residents. 

Brown didn't impose any cuts on agriculture!  That sounds unfair, and people are complaining.   More water is used to grow walnuts than to keep Los Angeles going!

We definitely need to improve agriculture.  But don't forget: for the second year in a row, farmers in California's big Central Valley are getting hit with big water cutbacks.  The ones who get water from the State Water Project will receive only 20% of their usual amount.  

Is all this due to climate change?  I heard a wise answer to that question:  instead of a definite yes or no, just: this is what climate change looks like.  This is the kind of thing we can expect.

And on the Road to Paris, this week the US submitted a plan to cut carbon emissions by 25% by 2030... but that's another story.  Or another part of the same big story.

What California is doing about the drought:

Water used by agriculture in California:

Make your own graphs of the California snowpack:

There's lots more water data here, too - click items on the menu above.

More on the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge or Triple R by Daniel Swain, the guy who coined the term:

In February he wrote:

In this sense, the Triple R of 2014-2015 is notably different from 2013-2014. California has certainly received more precipitation this year on a liquid equivalent basis, though we’re once again falling rapidly behind average as February turns out to be mostly dry. The extreme warmth and low snowpack, however, are very reminiscent of recent winters–as is the occurrence of infrequent but intense warm storms. It’s interesting to note that nearly the entire western United States has been exceptionally warm in recent months, while the eastern part of the country remains locked in a recurring nightmare of extreme Arctic outbreaks and almost inconceivable snow accumulations in parts of New England. This overall setup–with a big Western ridge and a deep Eastern trough–has become known as the “Warm West/Cool East” dipole pattern, and it has been a common feature of recent winters in North America. There are a number of hypotheses currently being investigated regarding the causes of an apparent recent increase in the occurrence of this pattern, though there’s not yet compelling evidence pointing to a singular cause (that’s a topic for a future blog post!).

What is more certain, at least as far as California is concerned, is that our severe long-term drought is unlikely to improve substantially until this newly-invigorated pattern of persistent West Coast high pressure is no longer dominant.
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there is a time for every season
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Fascinating piece by Larry Summers about educational attainment and income inequality.  Not what you'd expect:
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My latest @radar post: #SocialCivics and the architecture of participation. Inspired by @goldman joining @WhiteHouse. He said he was looking for advice, so I gave some. The key message: successful participatory projects, from open source software to wikis to social media, all have small, modular units of participation. Washington generally does not. Change that.
It was big news recently that former Twitter executive Jason Goldman is joining the White House to head up a new office of Digital Strategy. In his post, Jason...
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Good points. Of course much of political life is designed to obfuscate not enlighten, but picking away at the processes that can be changed is surely worth trying.
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Have him in circles
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Tim O'Reilly

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+Jennifer Pahlka and I share a moment of joy at the top of Warmiwanuska Pass, the highest point on the Inca Trail (just shy of 14,000 feet.) This was followed by 2500 steps down the other side, then a couple of thousand back up to the top of the next pass. But we had a blast!
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Great picture!
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Utterly magnificent views on the hike up from Urubamba to Maras.
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Beautiful photo.
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Texas has nothing on Peru. They like their Coca-Cola big down here!
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Hi hello how are you now? 
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Brilliant remarks by +Mikey D about what he learned from the rescue and why he left Google for the White House. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of our country.
Leader of U.S. Digital Service tells SXSW how he got roped into driving a new movement of technology in government…and h…
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+L Jean Camp I saw neither "the call to violence" nor the "celebration". Is there a video record of the talk?
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So Amazon fired a warning shot at supermarkets and everyone went April Fool?
By now you'll have heard of Amazon's "Dash" button . Is it an April Fool? Let's hope so if you're a supermarket but in all likelihood ... nope. It's a bell tolling for your future demise (except those who can carve out a specialist niche). So, what's the bi...
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so amazing
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Have him in circles
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Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media. Computer book publisher, conference producer, internet activist.  Involved in open source, open standards, web 2.0, and open government. Current interests: "gov 2.0", sensors and collective intelligence applications based on them, DIY, shaping how people think about emerging technologies. I also spend a lot of time encouraging people to work on stuff that matters.
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