Tue07292014

News

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

Bullis Charter School board members unanimously approved a five-year agreement with the Los Altos School District just before midnight Monday. The agreement, also unanimously approved by LASD trustees earlier in the evening, outlines facilities uses ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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‘The Long Earth’ steps into space travel among different worlds


Reading certain books can be like listening to a piece of beautiful music, with many of the work’s themes remaining in the mind long after you’ve finished.

“The Long Earth” (HarperCollins, 2012) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is one such book. It should come as no surprise, given that the British authors are giants in the science fiction and science fantasy genres with more than 100 books in their combined list of credits.

Their collaboration results in a science fiction tale that postulates that Earth is but one of perhaps an infinite number of earths, each of which evolved in a different way – but none seems to be populated.

“The Long Earth” begins in Madison, Wis., in 2015, when people have just discovered that they can visit, or “step,” among these different versions of earth by means of a small, inexpensive mechanical device.

Pratchett and Baxter devote most of the novel to the travels of Joshua Valienté, a teenager noted for his unusual ability to step without an aid, and Lobsang, part-robot, part-man, who builds a massive airship able to travel with ease among the earths.

The real fun of the book chronicles the sights and sites Joshua and Lobsang discover on their voyage of adventure – all kinds of plants, animals and creatures that have evolved on the different versions of the earths. There are worlds frozen in a perpetual ice age, worlds covered with enormous forests, verdant worlds with extraordinary plants and peculiar animals and, most interesting of all, worlds with strange elf- or troll-like creatures and other vaguely humanoid forms.

The premise of “The Long Earth” allows the tale to unfold with creativity and imagination. What if we really could run away from our present circumstances and start over – with other people or not? What kind of new colony would we like to start, and how would we like it to be organized and governed?

The loveliness of the book lies in the low technology and simplicity of these worlds, and the descriptions of the different earths and the new colonies that people begin to form.

I am quite familiar with Pratchett’s work, and “The Long Earth” doesn’t contain much of his sense of humor or wonderful wordplay. It is, however, charming and rather utopian in feel, not to mention thought-provoking and fun to ponder how one would go about organizing one’s own unspoiled earth.

Book clubs that enjoy reading science fiction should explore “The Long Earth.”

Leslie Ashmore is a longtime Mountain View resident who belongs to two book clubs.

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