Reads

by Gilbert Keith

#1: Visualizing Food Deserts:

A good perspective on what we can do with automated data collection, but understanding it in good context. Programmatic ways of finding food deserts might end up revealing actual deserts instead.

#2: A decent follow-up to the above.

#3: A map of Oakland from 1857.

Oakland a la 1857. Notice there's no Alameda... and nothing by present-day Emeryville.

Oakland a la 1857. Notice there’s no Alameda… and nothing by present-day Emeryville.

There’s more interesting stuff here and here.

Speaking of Oakland, 7×7 mag also has this series of posts called “Badass Block“:

There are certain blocks in this city that seem like mini-universes. Each week, we’ll highlight a stretch of pavement where you could spend an entire day and night.

This week’s badass block is in Oakland: it has an itinerary I can completely get behind.

Next up? Grand Avenue between Lake Park and Mandana

Where to see a concert and a movie:

Just follow the giant illuminated rooftop sign and you’ll find yourself at one of the oldest and grandest theatres in Oakland. The historic Grand Lake Theatre first hosted vaudeville and silent movies back in 1926; now, you can watch big blockbusters and small indie films alike at this elegant theatre. For a special treat, show up Friday and Saturday evenings when a Mightly Wurlitzer organ, usually hidden beneath the floor, rises for a brief concert before the show. If that’s not enough, Grand Lake even dishes out very affordable (and tasty!) popcorn and snacks. For those just passing by the front, make sure to look up at the theatre’s marquee sign which has regularly been known to display timely political messages in addition to film titles.

Where to stop for pizza and vino:

Don’t head to Boot & Shoe Service expecting to get your heels resoled. The second restaurant of Chef Charlie Hallowell (of Pizzaiolo), features excellent pizza, delicious pastas, well crafted cocktails and tasty desserts. The open dining area gives you a clear view of the kitchen featuring a tile-front pizza oven where pies are prepared to perfection and the adjacent lounge is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine before or after your meal.

Where to leave your business card:

The Alley, founded in 1933, is one of Oakland’s last piano bars. Sit down for an affordable steak, strong drinks and peruse the 40,000 to 50,000 business cards from visitors stapled to the walls. Look for official cards from Jerry Brown and Gregg Allman as well as other local celebrities. As the night wears on, you’ll eventually find yourself at one of the seats surrounding the piano where pianist Rod Dribble is ready to accompany you to whatever tune you like.

Where to summon your inner Thoreau:

Walden Pond Book Store is a neighborhood gem that’s provided Oaklanders with their reading material for over 40 years. About 60 percent of Walden’s more than 100,000 books are used and the store gladly buys back novels from its customers. The bibliophilic staff are very helpful and can guide you among the teetering piles of fiction, non-fiction, and specialty books to find what you’re looking for or make a recommendation. Walden’s Pond also maintains a rare book collection in an upstairs storage room that once hosted readings by Isabel Allende and other literary greats.

Where to snag kosher treats:

Jews and gentiles alike flock to Grand Bakery for the scrumptious black-and-white cookies, macaroons, Russian tea cookies, and challahs. The bakery, which also serves as the local meeting spot for the Jewish community, has been certified by the Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California for meeting strict Orthodox standards. But if you don’t feel like waiting in line for snacks (especially on Friday mornings when they’re busiest) then you can find their sweets in more than twenty local markets including Andronico’s, Diablo Foods and the Piedmont Market.

#4: This was a good thought from the Farnam Street blog. I didn’t know who this was until I saw Charlie Munger’s twitter account constantly retweet him. I like what he has to say. Here is his take on “Just in Time Info Acquisition/Decision Making Complex:”

Just-in-time is a production strategy aimed at, among other things, reducing the need for excess inventory. Parts are supplied only when needed in the amount needed. While it makes a business more capital efficient, it also makes it more fragile.

We’ve adopted a similar strategy for information gathering. We’re so consumed by noise and busy work that the only time we really seek out signal is when we need it the most: right before we make a decision.

This creates a host of problems.

The worst time to look for information is when we need it to make a decision. When we do that we’re more likely to see what’s unique and miss the historical context. We’re also more likely to be biased by what is available. And searching for information at the time of need is an indication that you have no idea what you’re doing.

#5: From a TIL on reddit:

A Michigan judge wrote a rap to support her reasons for dismissing a $1 million lawsuit filed against Eminem by an alleged junior high bully whom the rapper sought revenge against in song.

But Bailey denied that he ever harmed Eminem (Marshall Mathers back in the eighth grade). Judge Deborah Servitto saw things differently and her thirteen-page opinion was padded with a ten stanza footnoted explanation of her ruling, that included the lines:

“Mr. Bailey complains that his rap is trash
so he’s seeking compensation in the form of cash.
Bailey thinks he’s entitled to some monetary gain
because Eminem used his name in vain.
The lyrics are stories no one would take as fact
they’re an exaggeration of a childish act.”

In closing, she stated, “It is therefore this court’s ultimate position, that Eminem is entitled to summary disposition.”

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