From a 1981 (!!) New York Times Article titled “Changing San Francisco is foreseen as a haven for wealthy and childless”:
A major reason for the exodus of the middle class from San Francisco, demographers say, is the high cost of housing, the highest in the mainland United States. Last month, the median cost of a dwelling in the San Francisco Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area was $129,000, according to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in Washington, D.C. The comparable figure for New York, Newark and Jersey City was $90,400, and for Los Angeles, the second most expensive city, $118,400.
”This city dwarfs anything I’ve ever seen in terms of housing prices,” said Mr. Witte. Among factors contributing to high housing cost, according to Mr. Witte and others, is its relative scarcity, since the number of housing units has not grown significantly in a decade; the influx of Asians, whose first priority is usually to buy a home; the high incidence of adults with good incomes and no children, particularly homosexuals who pool their incomes to buy homes, and the desirability of San Francisco as a place to live.
$129,000 in 1981 dollars is $360,748 in 2019 dollars.
The great earthquake of 1906 struck San Francisco on April 18, around 5 in the morning. While the earthquake already caused a lot of damage, it was the subsequent fire that ravaged the city: the earthquake had broken the water pipes, and so it was impossible to fight the fire because the hydrants were not working. Except for the hydrant at Church and 20th, which saved my house and a good part of the mission. The hydrant is painted golden, and once a year, on the anniversary of the earthquake, the fire department repaints it and leaves a token of appreciation. (They actually do it at 5 in the morning.)
By the way, there are two faults that can cause earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area. One is (our stretch of) the San Andreas fault, which runs close to the ocean, and which caused the 1906 quake and the 1989 one, and which may not be an imminent risk given the energy released in 1989. The other is the Hayward fault, which runs near Berkeley. The Hayward fault had big earthquakes in 1315, 1470, 1630, 1725, and 1868, that is about every 100-140 years, with the last one being 146 years ago…
25 years ago on April 15, Hu Yaobang died. The day before his funeral, about 100,000 people marched to Tiananmen square, an event that led to the occupation of the square, and which culminated in what in mainland China used to be referred to as the “June 4 events,” and now as the “I don’t know what you are talking about” events.
Also, something happened, according to tradition, 1981 years ago.
Tonight thousands of San Franciscans and visitors took to the streets to celebrate (and many more will tomorrow) and today was Alan Turing’s hundredth birthday. Now, correlation does not imply causation, but at least some of the people on the streets dedicate the night to Turing, may he forever prove theorems and hook up with nineteen year olds in heaven.
I just returned from a trip to Rome. While there, I was asked by my friends what I miss most of Rome. Of course what one misses the most is the city itself. Anybody who has walked around, and gotten lost into, the side streets around via del Corso or Trastevere, especially in the late afternoon, when everything is bathed in an odd yellowish light, knows what I am talking about. One thing I don’t miss is Roman traditional food. Roman cuisine is one of the worst of Italy’s and a lot of its delicacies gross me out. One famous dish for example, la pajata, has been (and probably still is) illegal since the emergence of mad cow disease, because it’s made from veal intestines, including digestive juices. The matter of its legality has preoccupied Rome’s mayor to no end, and he has threatened “eat-ins” of pajata as acts of civil disobedience.
The number 8 is considered lucky in Chinese popular culture. The Beijing Olympics, for example, took place in August, which is not the best month to be here, so that the opening ceremony could start at 8:08pm on August 8, 2008.
United Airlines, which has a major hub in San Francisco, labeled its daily flight from Beijing to San Francisco the flight United 888. The flight from San Francisco to Beijing is United 889. Without looking (no cheating!) guess what is United flight 887?