Does San Francisco need another private bus? Well, it’s got one.


Do you like high-end coffee shops with distressed wood paneling? Have you ever woken up in the morning and wished that a coffee shop with distressed wood paneling would just pull up outside your house in the morning, so that you could ride all the way to work inside a coffee shop with distressed wood paneling?

If you answered yes to these questions, and if you happen to live in San Francisco’s Marina district or on Russian Hill, and if you happen to work either downtown or in Soma, and if you have $6, I am here to inform you that there is, finally, a special bus just for you. Cue the adventure music!

Leap, which just launched this week, is adding yet another private transportation service to the array of options available to the commuters of San Francisco — and most especially those commuters who live along the…

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Data Security – An Overview for Executive Board members [Part 5: Data Compartmentalization]



This part of the series will discuss Data Compartmentalization – the rational separation of devices, data, applications and communications access from each other and external entities. This strategy is paramount in the design of a good Data Security model. While it’s often overlooked, particularly in small business (large firms tend to have more experienced IT managers who have been exposed to this), the biggest issue with Compartmentalization is keeping it in place over time, or not fully implementing it correctly in the first place. While not difficult per se, a serious amount of thought must be given to the layout and design of all the parts of the Data Structure of a firm if the balance between Security and Usability is to be attained in regards to Compartmentalization.

The concept of Data Compartmentalization (allow me to use the acronym DC in the rest of this post, both for ease…

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Overfishing sucks — but this VICE documentary about it is pretty good


After opening its third season with a cheery refresher on global warming, VICE returns to the Grist wheelhouse with an uplifting exposé of the havoc we are wreaking on the world’s oceans.

Sharks kill fewer than ten people a year, but we kill tens of millions of the top ocean predators a year, along with millions of tons of other sea life — thus begins VICE’s ocean deep dive. It’s a good point, and one that can’t be made too often: Industrial-sized high-tech fishing operations have gotten so good at catching fish that they’re scooping up whole food chains’ worth of animals and dumping whatever they don’t want. Sharks are just one example of what we’re losing — but when they go, it’s a bad sign for everything else in the water, too.

And while industrial fishing boats empty out the oceans, closer to shore, subsistence fishermen resort to desperate measures to catch what little…

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Walmart is quietly going on a massive building spree


In January of last year, residents in Slidell, La., a suburb of New Orleans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, were shocked to discover that a wooded stretch of land tucked into the middle of their neighborhood was slated to be cleared for a Walmart Neighborhood Market. It not only seemed an unlikely place to put such a store, but just weeks earlier Walmart had announced plans to build a Neighborhood Market less than four miles south on Pontchartrain Drive. Furthermore, Slidell already had two Walmart Supercenters. Developing the wooded lot on Roberts Drive would be the fourth Walmart in a town of fewer than 30,000 people.

“We are beside ourselves,” said Caroline Poupart, who lived directly behind the site of the proposed Walmart. “That green space has been here since the inception of time,” she told The Times-Picayune.

Yet there was little residents could do to stop…

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8 bright ideas for a cleaner future


In November, OpenIDEO challenged the world to come up with new ways to achieve a renewable energy-powered future. Innovators submitted proposals of their designs and projects and got feedback from the community. The best entries were singled out for their potential effectiveness.

OpenIDEO’s Renewable Energy Challenge* — sponsored by the 11th Hour Project, which was founded by Grist board member Wendy Schmidt and also funds Grist — recently announced the top ideas from the challenge. Some are still in the planning stages, while others are further along, but all are absolutely applause-worthy. Here are the eight finalists:

1.  Avava Systems: This organization wants to turn vacant lots in San Francisco into spots for sustainable and affordable housing. They’re currently working toward a goal to deliver 10 units by Aug. 1 of this year.


2. Energy Lend: This team wants to connect NGOs, energy providers, and individuals to lenders around the…

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Google’s splashy campus plan aims to rewrite the office park book


The next Google headquarters — or Googleplex, as the company calls it — will be a collection of modular buildings that can be shifted around underneath a collection of giant glass domes that perch over the landscape like jaunty little sun hats.


Cars will be relegated to garages deep beneath the earth, but people can run or bike on a ground-level track that runs along the base of the biggest dome. Aboveground, people can pick fresh fruit from the trees. The landscape will be “re-oaked.” Wetlands will be enabled.

The Googleplex is more than just a headquarters. It is, we are told, a gift to the 80,000 residents of Mountain View, Calif., where Google has been based since it had 12 employees working in the Bay Area instead of 20,000.

“A motivator for the work that we do now is to be generous,” says Thomas Heatherwick, one of the…

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Half of Paris just took a mandatory day off of driving


As a former Angeleno who has spent hours (years?) stuck in L.A. traffic, A Day Without Cars sounds like a fucking dream. Back in 2011, government officials announced that a section of Interstate 405 would be closed for construction, which prompted predictions of “Carmageddon.” In reality, it didn’t do much more than inspire some daredevils to have a dinner party and try “planking” on the closed stretch of highway. However, the University of California Los Angeles did report temporarily improved air quality during the closure.

Which brings us to another smog-choked metropolis, Paris, where city officials are using partial bans on cars just to clear the air. The air quality in Paris occasionally beats New Delhi and Beijing for pure nastiness.

On Monday, the City of Love banned cars and motorbikes with even-numbered license plates. More than 1,000 police officers lurked around the city to enforce the policy, which could have been extended…

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The coal industry is so totally screwed


The American coal industry is terminally ill — and that should serve as a warning to investors who might be tempted to put their money into other fossil fuels.

That’s the gist of a new report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which warns that oil and natural gas could also wind up becoming stranded assets — property that under other scenarios could be worth a lot of money, but not in the real situation we face as the climate warms and the market shifts in response.

Coal use has been decoupled from America’s economic growth for a number of reasons, the report finds. The biggest is the availability of other cheap sources of energy — since 2008, the abundance of shale gas from America’s fracking boom has played a big role in driving that trend, but so have renewable energies like solar and wind. Increasingly strict regulations on air pollution…

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