Ninna Gaensler-Debs

Science is rarely easy to understand and even harder to explain. But here at the Exploratorium, science isn’t hard – it’s fun. Why? In order to learn, you have to play.

Isidro Demry is playing with the Soap Bubble Tray exhibit. The name says it all: it’s a big tray with pools of soapy water. It’s simple, but surprisingly cool. Especially because I played with the same exhibit when I was six years old, then again when I was ten, and now, I watch as it’s used for what must be close to the last time before it leaves for a new home.

Alyssa Kapnik / www.alyssakapnik.com

This article was originally published on December 13, 2012. It has been updated to include additional photos from the event.

On Saturday, December 8, KALW hosted its second annual Live Crosscurrents in the James Moore Theater at the Oakland Museum of California. Hana Baba hosted the event, supported by Tin Cup Serenade as house band for the evening. 

Maybe you've just seen The Bourne Legacy and have nagging feeling that you're being watched at all times. Maybe you related a little too much to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So if you see low-flying helicopters crisscrossing the skies this week, you might think the government is after you, or that the aliens have finally arrived. But the more likely explanation is that you've caught a glimpse of the federal effort to measure "naturally occurring background radiation."

San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream parlor is known for its unique flavor selection. On a given week, your choices might include Sour Cream, Salt and Pepper, and Boccalone Prosciutto. Right now, they have a special option that will only be available until July 1st – a foie gras ice cream sandwich.

SF Chronicle // Starbucks has bought the Bay Area based chain La Boulange Cafe and Bakery for $100 million. Starbucks plans to start to replace its current pastry selection with La Boulange products in 2013. There are 19 La Boulange cafes across the Bay Area...

Courtesy of www.readingpartners.org

This week, the California Department of Education gave us some grim news: according to its biannual report on the financial health of the state’s school systems, nearly one-fifth of school districts in the state face bankruptcy, and that includes six Bay Area districts – four in Santa Clara County and two in San Mateo County.

San Francisco Chronicle // Some investors have reacted angrily to Facebook's debut as a public company, accusing the social networking giant of failing to reveal pertinent financial information in advance of its IPO. Several media outlets have claimed that Facebook gave banks information that would provide unfair advantage over other investors, prompting lawsuits and government inquiries...

(SF Chronicle) // After a one-hour stand-off, a suspect in a Rohnert Park murder case was killed by police in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. After firing numerous shots and setting fires in an apartment on Post Street, the gunman was shot dead at around 10 p.m....

California Watch // The Federal Election Committee recently passed a proposal to let consumers trade in loyalty program points for donations to their preferred political candidate. Now, regulators are reviewing Repledge.com, which would would make Republican and Democratic donations made through the Repledge system cancel each other out, redirecting the money to charities...

(SF Gate) // Protestors vandalized cars and more than 30 businesses last night in the Mission district. The protestors were part of a group that marched from Dolores Park and traveled down 18th Street and onto Valencia, where they smashed windows and threw paint and eggs onto buildings and hoods of parked cars...

(Contra Costa Times) // Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, two power players in the tobacco industry, have donated more than tens of millions of dollars to defeat Proposition 29, a new tobacco tax on the June ballot. Prop 29 would increase taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $1 to $1.87, which would generate approximately $735 million annually that would mostly fund cancer research...

The Assembly Committee on Public Safety has rejected a bill that would make it a felony for teachers to date students, voting it down 3-0. The bill was incited by the much publicized case of a 41-year-old-teacher in Modesto leaving his wife and three children to move in with an 18-year-old student. Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto pledged to keep pushing for similar legislation...

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan will not disclose the location of her "100 block" plan, a proposal to focus police operations and social services in the area where 92% of the city's violent crime occurs. City Council members have expressed frustration with the Mayor's office, demanding more transparency and voicing concerns that they have not vetted the plan.

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