Sponsored: Let’s talk walkable communities and why they are important

An AARP report indicates that people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 47 percent more likely than people living in neighborhoods without sidewalks to be active at least 39 minutes a day

The term walkable community refers to an area with streets, sidewalks, and paths that enable and encourage walking. These communities are planned in a way that protects travelers as they move around the neighborhood, whether they are on foot, bicycle, or using an adaptive device.

According to Jaime Fearer, deputy director of California Walks, a walkable community is one that allows people to walk wherever they need to go, including work, school, shopping and to the doctor’s office. The ideal walkable community is designed for people of all ages and physical abilities and includes easy access to transit.

“It all begins and ends with walking,” Fearer said.

The real estate site Redfin recently launched a study aimed at finding the most walkable communities in the Bay Area. Using calculations based on Walk Score data, they found Berkeley to be the big winner with a Walk Score of 96 (out of a possible 100). While no South Bay communities made Redfin’s Top 10 list, Nancy McPherson, state director of AARP California, says that her organization set up a new team in San Jose a year ago whose goal it is to help create more walkable communities. In addition, California Walks has recently launched the Walk San Jose program with support from the Knight Foundation. The goal of that program is to establish an independent, staffed walk advocacy organization in the city.

Why are walkable communities important? An AARP report indicates that people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 47 percent more likely than people living in neighborhoods without sidewalks to be active at least 39 minutes a day. That physical activity not only provides significant health benefits but can also boost a person’s mood and give them an opportunity to interact with others.

An AARP report indicates that people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are more likely to be active at least 39 minutes a day than those who live in areas without them. Physical activity benefits both health and mood.

When asked what people want in a walkable community, Fearer pointed to a recent blog on the real estate-related website Curbed. “Different generations are looking for many of the same things when it comes to walkable communities: access to our daily and weekly destinations, access to parks and other public gathering spaces, and access to public transit.”

As McPherson looked for a new home, she knew that she wanted it to be in …read more

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

Silicon Valley singles are giving up on the algorithms of love

Melissa Hobley, an executive at the dating app OkCupid, hears thecomplaints about the apps regularly and thinks they get a bad rap. Silicon Valley workers "are in the business of scalable, quick solutions and love takes time, she said. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Andrew Harrer

By Drew Harwell | Washington Post

PALO ALTO — Kate Chan, a 30-year-old digital marketer in Silicon Valley, first approached dating apps with a blend of curiosity and hope that they’d help her find a great guy.

But after six months of dead-end mismatches with guys she thought were boring or work-obsessed, she has gone back to what she called “meeting the old-fashioned way”: without a screen. She now meets guys at do-it-yourself crafting meet-ups and her rock-climbing gym.

“I didn’t want to rely on the algorithms anymore,” she said. “When it comes down to it, I really have to see that person face to face, to get that intuition, that you don’t get in a digital way.”

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The singles of Silicon Valley, the heart of America’s technological ambition, spend much of their lives in quiet devotion to the power of the almighty algorithm, driven by belief that technology can solve the world’s most troubling ills.

Melissa Hobley, an executive at the dating app OkCupid, hears the complaints about the apps regularly and thinks they get a bad rap. Silicon Valley workers “are in the business of scalable, quick solutions and love takes time, she said.

But when it comes to the algorithms of love, many say they are losing faith. They wonder whether the valley has proven too vexing for even its own dating apps. But they’re also left with a more fundamental doubt: Maybe the human mysteries of chemistry and attraction aren’t problems big data can solve.

Melissa Hobley, an executive at the dating app OkCupid, hears the complaints about the apps regularly and thinks they get a bad rap. Silicon Valley workers “are in the business of scalable, quick solutions. And that’s not what love is,” she said. “You can’t hurry love. It’s reciprocal. You’re not ordering an object. You’re not getting a delivery in less than 7 minutes.”

Finding love, she added, takes commitment and energy — and, yes, time, no matter how inefficiently it’s spent.

“You have a whole city obsessed with algorithms and data and they like to say dating apps aren’t solving the problem,” Hobley said. “But if a city is male dominant, if a city is known for 16-hour work days, those are issues that dating apps can’t solve.”

One thing distinguishes the Silicon Valley …read more

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

Why is the ‘caviar’ of birdseed so costly? And are birds wasting it?

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DEAR JOAN: Last year I bought a finch feeder and some Nyjer thistle for the goldfinches that visit my yard. I hung the feeder high up in my English holly tree where the birds were perching.

Most of the seed seems to end up on the ground. I noticed this when sweeping up the driveway underneath the tree. Do you have any suggestions to waste less of this?

I swept it up a few times and tried to put it back in the feeder but it gets mixed with a bit of dirt, holly berries and leaves.

Should I hang a second platform under the feeder to try and catch the spills?

Steph Zervas, Bay Area

DEAR STEPH: I might be better able to answer your question if we first talk about what Nyjer is.

Although it is popularly called thistle seed, it is not. It’s actually seed from the African yellow daisy (Guizotia abyssinica) and was called “Niger” because it originated in Nigeria. When it became popular for birdseed, people called it thistle probably because that’s what it looks like. In 1998, the Wild Bird Feeding Industry trademarked “Nyjer” as the name for the birdseed.

The seed is grown only in Africa, India and parts of Southeast Asia. Because it is high in oil, it also is used in cooking and in some medicines, but its biggest use is as a birdseed. Because of the costs of growing, processing and importing the seed, it’s the caviar of birdseed, one of the most expensive ones you can buy, which also means it’s upsetting to see it spilled on the ground.

However, I think what you’re seeing is not the seed, but the hulls. The birds crack open the seed, eat the tasty nut inside and spit out the outer covering, or hull. Because the seeds are so tiny, it’s easy to mistake a seed for a hull.

That’s not to say the seeds don’t spill. It depends a lot on the type of feeder you’re using. Seed socks or feeders have less spillage than tube or platform feeders, but you definitely can buy a feeder with a platform underneath it, or install one on the feeder you already have, that will help with any spills.

The platforms also will catch the hulls, which could make cleanup a bit easier.

Spilled seeds serve a purpose, however, feeding the birds that prefer to eat off the ground. Most of them would like some …read more

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle