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
The sinews of old San Francisco lie in the water: the posts standing in the Bay mud that supported the docks and piers where the shipping that made the city possible, and later allowed it to flourish, flowed.
Most of the time, our brains are a big mystery. One minute, sparkly synaptic action urges our bodies to become one with the mid-'90s rhythms of La Bouche, and the next minute were sitting on the couch with a bucket of fried chicken, a splitting headache, and no memory of the previous sixteen hours. One minute were contemplating the psychological realism of Stendhals novels, and the next our minds eye is overwhelmed by the image of a life-sized banana wearing sunglasses and floating down a river in a flaming inner tube. Why, why? we cry. All this and more faces explanation at the science lecture "Take a Tour of Your Brain," one in a monthly series put on by Ask a Scientist. Real scientist Aubrey Gilbert, who holds a Ph.D. from the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley, holds court, blowing the audience's minds by filling them with scientific information about themselves, addressing such mysteries as how the brain and nervous system interact, animals that can put half their brain to sleep, and what your right brain and your left brain talk about behind your back. She will also bring several human brain slices, which the audience can pass around or nibble upon, as they see fit.
Tue., Sept. 1, 7 p.m., 2009