The first Google storage server, Stanford

6 Hidden Spots for Geeks and Nerds in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley houses more geeky nerds, and I mean this as an honorary term. There are some places that might be especially interesting for this group:

  1. The first Google server with a case made with Legos. 

This server is displayed in the basement at the Huang Engineering Building in Stanford. 

While you are there check out the replica of the HP garage.

Huang Engineering Building Stanford

475 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305

https://engineering.stanford.edu/about/visit

  1. Visit Facebook’s first office

The Face Book in Palo Alto is the first office of social media giant Facebook. A sign outside commemorates this place. This is an easier way to get a picture with a thumbs up. 😉

The Face Book - first Facebook office in Palo Alto.

The Face Book

471 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

  1. Apple Campus 3 

The spaceship, Apple Park, Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino is only viewable from afar at the visitor center. A great way to get a closer look of Apple is the Apple Campus 3, AC3 as insiders might call it. 

Apple

222 N Wolfe Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 

https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/03/19/apples-third-large-california-campus-is-already-built

  1. See the latest Android figure

Google celebrates its Android operating system versions by dedicating lawn sculptures. The naming used to be in alphabetical order after deserts and other sweets. The former OS figures can be seen near the visitor center. The latest Android figure is usually displayed at the Googleplex. For Android 11 you can also see it online, to stay with the candy theme, the internal name was Red Velvet Cake, the recipe is ‘taped’ to the sculpture, at least in its virtual version. 

https://www.android.com/android-11-ar-statue/

Google

Android Lawn Sculpture in Mountain View.

Android Lawn Sculptures

1981 Landings Dr, Mountain View, CA 94043

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_lawn_statues

  1. Tour Roblox headquarters 

See your favorite characters at the Roblox headquarters. Due to COVID-19 the 60 minute tours will be awarded in a lottery. Sign up at:

https://behindtheblox.splashthat.com/

Roblox

970 Park Pl, San Mateo, CA 94403

  1. Santa Clara NVIDIA Building

NVIDIA, inventors of the GPU, set themselves a building fitting for the creative potential. It is unique in how it used triangles, representing the building blocks for computer graphics.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA office in Santa Clara.

2788 San Tomas Expressway Santa Clara, CA. 95050

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2013/02/20/nvidia-to-build-a-new-home-20-years-after-our-founding/

Do you have any tips on hidden spots for geeks and nerds?

In my 50 things to do series I usually have ideas for nerdy fun.

Masked fisherman sculpture at Half Moon Bay.

Masks on Sculptures

The unfortunate fashion accessory of 2020, a facial covering, can also be spotted on various sculptures throughout the Bay Area.

Right now the smoke from the Santa Cruz and San Mateo wildfires have reached our city and exploring is on hold. I hope everyone is safe out there, especially because the heat wave isn’t over yet either!

Anyway, along the way I have started to photograph some sculptures with masks on. Thank you whoever thought this would be an additional statement.

Surfer sculpture on Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz.

The surfer on Santa Cruz cliff walk for example can be usually spotted wearing some protective gear – until the no-maskers demonstrated in front of the sculpture. I wonder if there is a correlation?

Gay Liberation a sculpture of four all white painted people from George Segal at Stanford.

The ‘Gay Liberation’ sculpture from George Segal at Stanford was responsible covering up, because they have a hard time social distancing.

Biker sculpture by James Moore, at the Bay Trail in Palo Alto.

Another masked artwork I found was the biker at the Bay Trail in Palo Alto. This work is called ‘Bliss in the Moment’ by James Moore. I love Moore’s statement about his art: “I want my artwork to add something positive to the world. By exploring themes of hope, strength, and playful possibility, my sculpture conveys a positive message of what I feel it means to be human.”

We are all in this together!

Have you taken photos of masked sculptures?

Do you want to explore more sculptures in Stanford? I recommend checking out my page on 50 things to do in Stanford.

Appreciate the MLK Legacy

Appreciate the MLK Legacy

I have spent numerous hours on Stanford’s campus and found 50 things to do. Recently I came across the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute in an article by the Mercury News. The nation’s most comprehensive collection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s writings were entrusted by his widow, Coretta Scott King, in 1985 to Prof. Clayborne Carlson, who is Professor of American History at the university.

Front door of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford.

Sadly the institute, founded in 2005, is underfunded and still housed in its temporary place. Dr. Carlson, the director, will retire this August and so far no replacement to head the institute has been called. 

Why funding of MLK’s heritage is important might be answered by King’s speech “The other America” he gave 1967 at Stanford and, thanks to the Institute, can be watched on YouTube. It still rings true today with America divided in two nations, with different experiences depending on the color of your skin. Amazingly he also talks about the idea of a base income for all people.

Besides its temporary location the center has hosted a remarkable list of guests which includes the Dalai Lama and Jesse Jackson. In early June students came together and founded the #StandWithKing initiative to raise money for the institute. You can sign their petition on change.org or check out the website: bit.ly/StandWithKing  and donate some money to the cause.

Picture of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford.

To learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. the institute put together two online exhibits on the Google Arts & Culture site: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/martin-luther-king-jr-research-education-institute

Would you support the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute?

Resources:

https://thesixfifty.com/watch-martin-luther-king-jr-s-speech-at-stanford-university-about-the-other-america-523e7e05df7

Intel building in Mountain View, Superfund site

Explore the Dark Side of Silicon Valley

Originally I wanted my next blog post to be about the Superfund sites in Silicon Valley. In Mountain View alone there are seven hazardous waste sites that are commonly leftover from manufacturing facilities, like the production of semiconductors. In the case of Mountain View, these are Fairchild Semiconductor, Teledyne Semiconductor, CTS Pintex, Inc., Jasco Chemical Corp.Intel, Raytheon Corp.. and Spectra-Physics Inc. 

William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain received the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The man who put the silicon in Silicon Valley through the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, William Shockley, has an even darker side to him. Shockley. A Nobel Prize winner for physics, weighed in on white supremacy and his view of genetic IQ differences. In a 2015 National Geographic article said about Shockley: “despite a complete lack of formal education in biology and genetics, Shockley tried to use these fields of study to support a set of racist ideas known as eugenics.” 

In 1956 Shockley lectured at Stanford and in 1963 was appointed as professor of engineering. He taught until 1975, but I could find no evidence that Stanford distanced themselves from the racist Shockley who published articles about his extremist ideas while teaching at the university.

391 San Antonio Rd. the site where Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory used to be.

The city of Mountain View acknowledges the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory as the birthplace of Silicon Valley with a plaque and an art installation at the site of 391 San Antonio Rd. The original building was torn down and nowadays is part of The Village, a complex of shopping malls, office buildings, apartments, and restaurants.

Part of the art work at 391 San Antonio Rd

Do you know of other dark sides of Silicon Valley?

Resources:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-real-birthplace-of-silicon-valley-mountain-view-california

https://www.wired.com/story/silicon-valleys-first-founder-was-its-worst/

https://www.sfgate.com/tech/article/Silicon-Valley-Shockley-racist-semiconductor-lab-13164228.php#item-95844-tbla-4

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/10/151005-nobel-laureates-forget-racist-sexist-science/

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/btshoc.html

https://www.pbs.org/transistor/album1/shockley/shockley3.html

https://ee.stanford.edu/about/history

Explore Stanford with my tips of 50 things to do at Stanford!

Judy Chicago interviewed in 2018 at the Stanford University.

Go on a Virtual Tour

Week five for shelter-in-place for the Bay Area has me going a bit stir crazy and longing for some art. I do get my daily art fix from Google’s arts & culture app. I really like the art projector where you can really zoom in on a masterpiece, for example, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

If you’d like to explore the local art scene without using up gas in your car (yeah we are really doing something for the climate now) here are some links to virtual tours.

Rosie Lee Thompkins crazy quilt at the BAMPFA, Berkeley.

Larry Rinder, BAMPFA Director and Chief Curator, walks us through Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective. Rosie Lee Tompkins was a quilter in a wider sense, and I am really thankful for Mr. Rinder’s explanations of her works. My favorite quilt was the crazy quilt, a style where different shapes are combined. (1 h 12 min, https://bampfa.org/rosie-lee-tompkins-slideshow#rlt-video) I recommend clicking on the link and watching it in full screen on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=232&v=T8NL3KAA8wQ&feature=emb_title).

The Hearst Museum of Anthropology has a few links to keep you busy, from online exhibits, over recorded lectures, to the sound and light archive. (https://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu/hearst-from-home/).

The Oakland Museum of California (https://museumca.org/omca-at-home) and the Cantor Arts Center (https://museum.stanford.edu/museums-home) have an ‘explore from home’ section.

Time-laps installation of Sonya Rapport biorhythm at the San Jose Museum of Art.

If you want a look behind the scenes of an art museum you should click on the link for the San Jose Museum of Art (https://sjmusart.org/we-are-listening).

MACLA is bringing you Stories from La Sala (https://maclaarte.org/stories-from-la-sala/) your daily dose of contemporary LatineX art.

The NUMU invites you to take a virtual spin through their exhibitions (https://www.numulosgatos.org/virtual).

And the Palo Alto Art Center teaches virtual art classes (https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/artcenter/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=4878).

While virtual tours cannot replace seeing artwork in person, kind of like looking at a cookbook doesn’t satisfy the need to eat, it helps in times when we are all housebound to get our minds off things.

I hope everyone is safe and healthy!

I also found some virtual nature tours to enjoy!

Map of the Stanford Dish loop.

Run Around the Stanford Dish

It is vital these days to exercise.  A lot of public parks and open space preserves have been closed off, due to the excessive use and therefore people not being able to keep the 6ft required distance. 

We were lucky two weeks ago when my son and I decided to hike the Stanford Dish it was still open. As of April 3rd, they closed access to the Dish. 

The Stanford Dish

I have to confess I put the Stanford Dish hike in my 50 things to do in Stanford without ever being on the path. I am glad I did this hike before it got closed off. The path is concrete, which allows for wheelchairs and strollers, but keep in mind the alleviation changes dramatically – my health app said I climbed 22 floors that day!

Old radio telescope, Stanford Dish hike.

I always wanted to do this 3.8 mile loop passing the old radio telescope visible from 280. I was surprised that there are actually two radio telescopes! We parked at the Stanford parking lot, which is free. Be sure not to park in the residential area, because they will ticket.

The Dish is (usually) open from sunrise to sunset. No dogs, accept service dogs, or bicycles are allowed.

Stanford Dish

Have you hiked the Dish loop before?

Do you know of any hikes that are still open?

Arizona Cactus Garden, Stanford

Unearth a different kind of superbloom

Cacti with flowers, Arizona Cactus Garden, Stanford

After ‘El Nino’ there is usually a superbloom. Southern California has more of these overgrown wildflower spots than we in the Bay Area. I was wondering if succulents and cacti also experience a superbloom right now. The answer is ‘Yes!’

The Arizona Cactus Garden in Stanford is my favorite hidden gem. Once there, you’ll be transported to a desert like area, with lizards showing you the way. There are huge plants with a phallic like bloom that easily spans 10 feet and cute little ground covers.

Blooming succulents at the Arizona Cactus Garden, Stanford.

A fuzzy cactus looks like a face with its little pink flowers. Succulents exude the most interesting flowers and colors.

You can find the Arizona Garden next to the Mausoleum on the Stanford campus.

Do you make the effort to see superblooms?

Silicon Valley open studios directory

Chat with an artist

3 weekends

360+ artists

28 cities

150+ locations

These are the impressive statistics for the Silicon Valley Open Studios in the first three weekends in May 2018.

Silicon Valley open studios directoryEach weekend is dedicated to an area in Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, some artist’s work can be seen in multiple locations. The best place to start this adventure is by downloading the directory or checking out their website and consulting the map. You might also find the directory at a newspaper vending machine in the area.

Once you are on the road look for sandwich boards with arrows and “open studio”. This makes for a fun treasure hunt before you get to the treasure!

Chatting with the artist is encouraged. After all, the motto for the Open Studios is Connecting artists to the arts enthusiast. So, please ask questions, be enthusiastic, and buy a piece of art.

 

2018 Open Studio Dates – 11am to 5pm

WEEKEND 1: Northern Area – May 5th – 6th

Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Stanford, South San Francisco, and Woodside

WEEKEND 2: Central Area – May 12th – 13th

East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Stanford, Sunnyvale.

WEEKEND 3: Southern Area/Pacific Coast – May 19th – 20th

Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Saratoga, El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Miramar, Montara, Moss Beach, and Pacifica

 

Have you in previous years explored the Silicon Valley Open Studios?

 

Birthplace of Silicon Valley, HP garage

Geek out with computer artifacts

Have you ever visited the ‘Birthplace of Silicon Valley”? The HP garage is a national landmark, at 367 Addison Ave, in Palo Alto. Unfortunately it does not offer a public tour.

Replica of the HP garage and workbench, StanfordIf you really wonder what it was like to work in the garage you should go visit Stanford’s Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center. On what they call the terrace level, I would refer to as the basement, is a replica of the HP garage and workbench. This replication illustrates the size of the workplace and feels like a homage to the first tech-founders out of Stanford. The chairs and the table inside weren’t part of the garage, but they are a great way to collaborate with fellow students and let your creativity flow, like Hewlett and Packard did back in their days.

Other artifacts in the Engineering Center include Yahoo’s motherboard, the geometric engine chip (necessary to render 3D graphics), the Intel 4004 (the first microprocessor) and NVIDIA’s first GPU (the GeForce 256). All on the first floor.

The first Google storage server, StanfordMy personal favorite is the first Google storage server (on the terrace level). The case is made out of Lego’s and it is said that Google’s affinity for primary colors came from the building blocks color scheme.

All these exhibits remind us that Stanford’s engineering department has a longstanding history of enabling successful companies.

Stanford Engineering HerosYou can pick up a copy of the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center self-guided tour at the computer kiosk located at the first floor lobby or in suite 135. One hour tours of the Engineering Quad are offered 3-4 times a week and require reservations (https://visit.stanford.edu/calendar/index.html)

 

 

What is your favorite computer artifact?

Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River at Stanford University

Sit by the Stone River

Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures in San Francisco’s Presidio are well known and worth seeking out. But did you know that Silicon Valley has one of his nature sculptures?

Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River at Stanford UniversityAcross from the Anderson Collection at the Stanford University you can sit in the park and enjoy a picnic, while you marvel at the snake like sculpture. Goldsworthy’s Stone River. It took about 128 tons of material to build in one month. During his work on Stone River, Goldsworthy has also created a “heap of pieces with grasses and leaves” just a few yards away from the sculpture.Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River at Stanford University

Every third Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. there is a free 1 ½ hour docent led tour for the outdoor sculptures. Tours start at the front of the Cantor Arts Center.

 

Have you walked along the Stone River?