Portal:San Francisco Bay Area

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The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

California Bay Area county map
SF Bay area USGS.jpg

The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.68 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels, and commuter rail. The combined statistical area of the region is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world with 8.80 million people.

The Bay Area has the second-most Fortune 500 companies in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area ranks second in highest density of college graduates, after the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and performs above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)

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Aerial View of the NASA Ames Research Center - GPN-2000-001560.jpg
Ames Research Center (ARC), commonly known as NASA Ames, is a major NASA research center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California's Silicon Valley. Named after Joseph Sweetman Ames and founded on December 20, 1939, as the second National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) laboratory, ARC became part of NASA in 1958 as part of the turnover from the dissolution of NACA, having (at the last estimate) over US$3.0 billion in capital equipment, 2,300 research personnel and a US$600 million annual budget.

Ames was founded to engage in wind-tunnel research on the aerodynamics of propeller-driven aircraft; however, its role has developed to encompass spaceflight and information technology. Ames plays a role in many of NASA missions in support of America's space and aeronautics programs, it provides leadership in astrobiology; small satellites; robotic lunar exploration; the search for habitable planets; supercomputing; intelligent/adaptive systems; advanced thermal protection; and airborne astronomy. Ames also develops tools for a safer, more efficient national airspace and unique partnerships benefiting NASA’s mission, the center's director is Dr. Simon P. "Pete" Worden (Brigadier General, USAF retired). (more...)

Selected biography

William Randolph Hearst cph 3a49373.jpg

William Randolph Hearst (April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American newspaper publisher who built the nation's largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced the history of American journalism. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 after being given control of The San Francisco Examiner by his wealthy father. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World that led to the creation of yellow journalism—sensationalized stories featuring crime, corruption, sensation and sex, and of sometimes dubious veracity. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak, he later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world.

He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906. Politically he was on the left wing of the Progressive Movement, speaking on behalf of the working class, he controlled the editorial positions and coverage of political news in all his papers and magazines and thereby exercised enormous political influence. He called for war in 1898 against Spain—as did many papers—but he did it in sensational fashion. After 1918 he called for an isolationist foreign policy to avoid any more entanglement in corrupt European affairs, he was at once a militant nationalist, a fierce anti-communist, and deeply suspicious of the League of Nations and of the British, French, Japanese, and Russians. He was a leading supporter of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932-34, but then broke with FDR and became his most prominent enemy on the right, his peak circulation reached 20 million readers a day in the mid 1930s, but he was a bad money manager and was so deeply in debt that most of his assets had to be liquidated in the late 1930s; but he kept his newspapers and magazines.

His life story was the main inspiration for the ridicule of the lead character in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane. His famous mansion, Hearst Castle, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, is now a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark. (more...)

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Broadway Plaza (Walnut Creek, California) 14 2017-04-29.jpg

Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a total estimated population of 67,673, Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighboring cities because of its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (I-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24) and its accessibility by BART. Its active downtown neighborhood features hundred-year-old buildings and extensive high-end retail establishments, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Walnut Creek owns more open space per capita than any other community in the state of California. In 1974, Walnut Creek voters approved a $6.7 million bond measure that allowed the city to purchase 1,800 acres (730 ha) of undeveloped hillsides, ridge lines, and park sites. Walnut Creek owns parts of Lime Ridge Open Space, Shell Ridge Open Space, Acalanes Ridge Open Space, and Sugarloaf Open Space. (more...)

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2010 Mavericks surfing competition
image credit: Mbz1

Recently in the Bay Area

2018
Cannabis performance art, 2016, San Francisco
Women's March, 2018
San Francisco interim Mayor Mark Farrell

The Bay Area by year

1904
Flood Building

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Did you know...

Emiko Omori and Victor Wong
Tim Stearns
The Oceanic, 1871
Ghost Ship warehouse interior

 • ... that filmmaker Emiko Omori (pictured, left, with Victor Wong) began her career in 1968 at KQED, becoming one of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries?
 • ... that Fisher Creek is tributary to the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, Laguna Seca, a seasonal lake important to groundwater recharge and migratory birds?
 • ... that San Francisco based architect Jack Hillmer is known for his meticulously hand-crafted Modernist homes built from redwood, and was an exponent of what Lewis Mumford called the "Bay Region style"?
 • ... that Stanford University Department of Biology chairman Tim Stearns (pictured), together with his wife, medical researcher Susan Cleveland, tend a fruit tree orchard at their home in Redwood City?
 • ... that the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's flagship, the Oceanic (pictured), set a Pacific crossing record of 16 days and 10 hours, 8 days less than the ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company?
 • ... that the building consumed in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire had at least ten complaints filed on it since 1998? (interior damage pictured)
 • ... that after Agnes Fay Morgan conducted a nutritional study with foxes, she presented her data wearing a stole made from the fur of her subjects?

Previous Did you know...

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January - June 2005

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Daniel Clowes at the Alternative Press Expo 2010

The Alternative Press Expo (guest speaker Daniel Clowes pictured) or APE, as it is more commonly known, is a comics convention, founded in 1994 by Dan Vado as an event for self-publishers, independent publishers and alternative cartoonists to showcase their books. APE is currently held in San Francisco.

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~ Twiggy
*more quotes about San Francisco from Wikiquote

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Bay Area regions, geographic features and protected areas

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GoldenGateBridge-001.jpg You are invited to participate in the San Francisco Bay Area task force, a task force dedicated to developing and improving articles about the San Francisco Bay Area.

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