When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, its a good core workout. If youre sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king.More
In the past 30 years, light artists have reimagined an art form that has always had the ability to turn the night sky, or a simple window, into luminescence. Last fall, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts turned its southern glass wall into a parade of sound-sensing lights, Lightswarm, that changes with the movements of nearby people and things. Future Cities Lab, the San Francisco design company behind Lightswarm, has originated another notable light sculpture. Located by the YBCA's steps at 701 Mission, Murmur Wall will light up in arresting ways as it incorporates local trending search engine results and social media postings. Onlookers can offer their own contributions, which will feed into the Murmur Wall's data stream and light up the sculpture. What's trending in San Francisco? If you're walking by the YBCA, you can see firsthand — at least through light patterns that reflect the city's volatile internet habits.
Murmur Wall debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues through May 31, 2017, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. Free; 415-978-2700 or ybca.org. More
For the last 100 days, the Exploratorium has posted pictures and quotes by particle physicist Frank Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer wasn’t routinely pithy, but his curiosity, wonder, and brilliance shine through, as does his compassion for the human experience. In K.C. Cole’s biography, Oppenheimer is described as “Tom Sawyer in a business suit.” And visiting the Exploratorium, NOVA pointed out, is like being inside his brain. As we approach Frank Oppenheimer’s 100th Birthday Anniversary, we might recall that Oppenheimer once followed his more famous older brother J. Robert into the Manhattan Project where they developed the A-bomb. Both were blacklisted, perhaps as much for outspoken dismay as for their membership in the Communist Party but, unlike J. Robert, whose spirit was crushed along with his career, Frank came into his own during the Red Scare. He taught high school while in exile on a Colorado ranch. He was a very good teacher. By the time he got a university post, he had developed a “library of experiments” that encouraged students to physically follow the threads of their own curiosity. Today, you can recreate some of those threads -- the giant bubble tray may be a biproduct of Oppenheimer’s Guggenheim Fellowship for bubble-chamber dynamics -- watch his favorite movies, and see footage of the man during the birth of the “museum of human awareness.”
Sat., Aug. 18, 10 a.m., 2012