Thursday, December 14, 2006

Whitewash This!

I swung by the Union of Concerned Scientists booth today and learned about the destruction of the EPA libraries. Hauling away a library in the dead of night is truly the modus operandi of despots.

Al Gore also gave a pep talk about how scientists had a responsibility to reach out to the public. I guess that I am a pessimist. I think that scientists would like to reach out, but hardly anyone is listening. Judging by search engine statistics, the public is more interested in Britney Spears' divorce than in this nation's loss of topsoil or ancient aquifers.

After the meeting, we had dinner with my dad. We walked from our Union Square area hotel to Chinatown. On the way there, my dad pointed out the Stockton Street tunnel and told me how he lived in Chinatown for two months before starting graduate school. He walked to work at Macy's every day via that tunnel.

On the way back, my dad pointed to the Maiden Lane marker on the sidewalk and asked if I knew the history of the street. I had never made the connection before he grabbed my arm urgently and pointed down. Instantly, I realized that Maiden Lane must have been an euphemism for the street of cribs.

I searched for "Maiden Lane"+"San Francisco"+crib and discovered that the street had been renamed from Morton Street to Maiden Lane in an effort to clean up the image of the city. At Berkeley, I read a textbook for an Asian American history class. The pictures of the women in the cribs were heartbreaking. Click here for a brief history of the Chinese American "crib girls" and a picture (courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California History).

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