Towse: views from the hill

October 31, 2007

I felt the earth move …

Filed under: food,life,quakes,San Francisco — Towse @ 6:11 am

We walked the 1.7mi or so down to Postrio for a 7p dinner so we could use a gift certificate we placed the winning bid on at a non-profit event last June. The certificate was good for a chef’s tasting menu for two. We splurged on the wine pairing with the meal and were well into dinner when I felt my chair give a shake.

“Earthquake,” I said to his nibs. He nodded.

My chair shook again. “A good earthquake,” I said. He nodded again.

My chair shook a third time and we looked up to see the inside of the light fixture above us begin to sway. The light fixture itself was locked in solid.

The shaking stopped and as we always do, we began to guess what the magnitude had been. I guessed a 3.2 somewhere in the near East Bay.

No one in the restaurant seemed fazed by it all. The women sitting next to us mentioned it to the waiter. “You probably just had too much to drink,” he replied.

re the magnitude Turns out I was nowhere near: the quake was a a magnitude 5.6. 5 miles NNE of Alum Rock, CA (in East San Jose, up in the hills where I grew up). 9.2 km (5.7 miles) deep. Lasted quite a while too. We didn’t feel the quake as strongly as we would’ve if the quake had been shallower.

We haven’t had anything as strong as a magnitude 5.6 in quite a while.

Hadn’t seen this at the USGS site before. His nibs says he’d seen it: it’s a relatively recent addition to their set of earthquake goodies:

Real-time Forecast of Earthquake Hazard: Maps showing the probability of strong shaking at any location in California within the next 24-hours.

The Web is a wonder.

Update: According to the Chron, the quake was the strongest since the Loma Prieta in October 1989. I thought so last night, but couldn’t find any verification for the gut feel. The Chron also quotes folks saying that this quake, which happened right where the Calaveras splits from the Hayward, might have consequences for spots further north on the fault lines. Batten down those hatches!

October 30, 2007

Potrero Point power up for vote

Filed under: environmentalism,politics,San Francisco — Towse @ 7:57 pm

The yackyackyack (or some of it) these days on San Francisco blogs, at the Port Commission and in San Francisco newspapers (SFExaminer and SFChronicle) is all about the Potrero Point power station and moves afoot to supplement/replace it.

Even Aaron’s gotten into the spirit of things, making a half-hearted attempt to eliminate the San Francisco Department of the Environment — firing all its employees, keeping only the department director — because Jared Blumenfeld, the director, is against the proposed new natural-gas-burning power plant at Potrero Point.

Ah, the smell of politics in the morning.

What is this proposed power plant and why is it taking so long to make a yay or nay decision?

Well, part of the time delay is due to political maneuvering, part of it is due to neighbors who don’t want any power plant at all in their backyard (although how to shut down the existing Potrero Point power plant without creating the energy resources required by the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) is a question) and part of it is due to folks, including Jared Blumenfeld mentioned above, who want San Francisco not to build a fueled plant but instead to tap into wind/sun/wave generation to provide the energy required by CAISO and the FEC.

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