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News

Hills council strikes down proposed moratorium on substandard lots

With a divided vote, the Los Altos Hills City Council Wednesday (June 3) struck down a proposed 45-day moratorium on substandard lot development.

Mayor Courtenay C. Corrigan and Councilmember John Radford cast dissenting votes opposing the moratoriu...

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Schools

MVLA foundation recounts first year of Learning in the Cloud

MVLA foundation recounts first year of Learning in the Cloud


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Robert Barker, Los Altos High World Literature teacher, demonstrates how students use online discussion in class.

Technology is no longer seen as a distraction in the classroom, as students in the Mountain View Los Altos ...

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Community

Faria and friends unite to raise funds for cancer research

Faria and friends unite to raise funds for cancer research


Courtesy of Joseph Faria
Supporters of last month’s Relay For Life event in Mountain View include, from left, Los Altos residents Matthew Aufricht, Connor Chu, Matthew Demele and Dominic, Eileen and Joseph Faria. The Los Altos Relay For Life is sla...

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Sports

Right  on track

Right on track


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High sophomore Rachael Estell leaps for the win in the girls long jump Friday at the CCS championships.

As far as locals go, the underclassmen overshadowed the seniors at the Central Coast Section track ...

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Comment

Coffee with cops? We'll drink to that: Editorial

The recent “Coffee with a Cop” event proved a good public relations move for the Los Altos Police Department. It also provided a great opportunity for residents to ask questions and converse with several officers, including the police chief, in an in...

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Special Sections

Deciphering the irksome sounds cars often make

Ahh – the troublesome, telltale auto noise. It’s that squeak, screech, squeal, groan, grind, hum, hiss, rattle, knock, clicking or ticking that drives drivers crazy.

Even with all the technology in modern cars, the sounds our cars make t...

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Business

Local couple launches downtown restaurant

Local couple launches downtown restaurant


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
The Turn Bar & Grill crew prepares for the restaurant’s impending opening.

Jim and Julie Otis are prepared to realize their longtime dream.

The couple – lifelong Los Altos residents – wanted to ensure ...

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Books

Horan's 'Loving Frank' offers fictionalized account of famed architect's illicit affair

Horan's 'Loving Frank' offers fictionalized account of famed architect's illicit affair


In the 1920s, two married people fall in love, leave their spouses and children and set about living and traveling together. Affairs of this sort were considered shocking at the time. But the scandal was heightened given that the man was Frank Lloy...

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People

DR. WALLACE IRA SAMPSON

DR. WALLACE IRA SAMPSON

     

Dr. Wallace Ira Sampson, 85, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 25, at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He leaves his wife of 59 years, Rita (nee Landry) Sampson, brother Sandy, sons Robert, Paul (Suzanne), Buck (Kathryn), ...

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Travel

Flying south for the winter: Antarctica trips are not just for the birds

Flying south for the winter: Antarctica trips are not just for the birds


Photos Courtesy of Dave Hadden
Los Altos residents Dave and Joan Hadden watched the scenery from the large boat and a smaller Zodiac.

Standing on the beach with hundreds of thousands of penguins is “the experience of a lifetime,” according to Ga...

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Stepping Out

Kushner's 'Angels' arrives at Foothill

Kushner's 'Angels' arrives at Foothill


David Allen/Special to the Town Crier
Harper Pitt (Sophia Naylor) describes her life to Joe Pitt (Dan Martin) in “Angels in America,” playing in the Lohman Theatre at Foothill College through June 14.

The Foothill Theatre Arts Department’s produ...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

GPS guru explains its immense capability in Rotary Club of Los Altos appearance


John Hammerschmidt/ Special to the Town Crier
Frank van Diggelen, an expert on GPS, addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos Oct. 24.

That tiny global positioning system chip in cellphones has had a big impact on society, according to GPS expert Frank van Diggelen, Ph.D., who appeared at the Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting Oct. 24.

Van Diggelen is senior technical director at Global Navigations Satellite Systems, chief navigation officer at Broadcom Corp. and consulting professor at Stanford University, where he teaches a graduate course on GPS. He holds 69 U.S. patents and won the Institute of Navigation’s Thurlow Award for outstanding contribution to the science of navigation in 2010.

We are living through a huge technology transition that allows access to navigation, formerly limited to the elite, to the general population, van Diggelen said, a shift equivalent to the development of the printing press in the 1500s, which brought literacy to the masses, or the development of computers in the 1980s, which made personal computing available to the general public. Smartphones produced since the first 3G iPhone have GPS capability linked to the 32 satellites now in orbit, he added.

Satellite navigation began when Sputnik was launched in 1957, van Diggelen said. It broadcast radio signals that reached Earth in 70 milliseconds. The time delay and Doppler effect could be measured to establish locations on the planet. The U.S. Navy built the first GPS for Polaris submarines. Satellites’ atomic clocks keep time accurately to a billionth of a second. There is just one line of code in smartphones that establishes their GPS location, van Diggelen said.

In geoscience today, fixed reference stations measure crust motion on Earth accurately to millimeters. A receiver near Stanford University indicates that the Los Altos area moves northwest 3 inches per year, van Diggelen noted.

He predicts a “big future” that includes GPS forensics to prove where a person’s cellphone is located at any time, and autonomous vehicles that communicate other vehicles’ positions for safe, automatic driving. With GPS, even “economically efficient” traffic lights may become available.

“How much are you prepared to pay for green lights?“ van Diggelen asked the Rotarians.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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