Just Learned About You

Recently we stumbled upon some statistics about you – our visitors to Today in Montclair.  According to the Quantcast seers, you are an older, over-educated crew with eclectic interests.  Here are the detailed findings.

Quantcast Demos

Your Rank and Serial Number

Quantcast produces core demographics for Today in Montclair visitors, along with a number that displays how we vary from the “100” national average.  When 55 percent of visitors are male, this reflects a “111” index because the male-female split is usually 50/50.

Anyway, our demos reveal a crowd that’s settled and accomplished.  Over three-quarters of us have gone to college or graduate school.  We are doing pretty well financially, with 37 percent earning $100k+ per household.

We’re also long in the tooth.  Nearly half of visitors are between 35-49 years old, while another quarter are in AARP territory already.  Some 81 percent have no kids at home, which reflects our collective age.

Quantcast - Audience Likes

Your Myriad Pursuits

Montclarions turn out to be curious beings but not exactly Renaissance scholars.  Quantcast reports that our visitors are twice as likely to surf nature, political and travel sites as average U.S. web visitors.

Regional and local news, like Today in Montclair, would be consumed at 1.7 x above average.  However no one seems obsessed by local happenings, as other high level interests include non-profits, online trading and car rental sites.

Finally Montclarions are likely to continue learning by visiting school, books, news and reference sites at 50 percent above average rates.  Rounding out the probable pursuits are gardening, food and technology as well.

Although all these online results come with built-in biases, it’s still fascinating to peer into the mirror and see the reflection…of granola techies, perhaps.

Sibley Geology In Full View

Our local volcano is now dressed in its finest greenery, so this is an ideal time to stroll around Sibley Volcanic Preserve (map).  Typically the scenery is wonderful before things dry up and brown out – just look at the panorama snapped this week.

Classic Sibley View

Volcanic Time Capsule

Besides soaking in the views, it’s also worth contemplating the 10-million-year time capsule underneath your feet.  Sibley is one of four volcanoes that originally erupted near San Jose, and slowly traveled northwards.  Presumably it will pass us by, in another 10 million years or so.

Interestingly, the Sibley volcano tipped sideways and and was pretty much hidden from view.  When gravel rock mining took place years ago, volcanic features became more evident.  A few Berkeley geologists discovered this wonder and have studied the rocks and formations in detail.

One of these Berkeley geologists, Steve Edwards, first mapped the area in the 1970s and later joined the East Bay Regional Park District.  He shared the geological underpinnings in KQED’s Quest program last July.

Touring The Volcano

Just like all the earthquakes around here, the volcanic activities were triggered by plate tectonics.  You can walk up to Round Top (1,763 ft), the highest point in the park, where Pacific and North American plates crashed together and molten basalt lava flowed.

Then walk a quarter mile northeast, and arrive at the volcano top near the gravel rock quarry’s edge.  It turns out there are all kinds of lava flows, bake zones and lava holes scattered throughout Sibley as well.

Stop and stare at the basalt rock, and all their unusual shapes.  Geologist Andrew Alden recently pointed out spheroidal weathering.  “To paraphrase an old Grateful Deadhead saying,” said Alden, “the smaller they grow, the rounder they get.”

So head up to Sibley Preserve, for another perspective about your local volcano – those rocks actually tell quite a story.

More info:   Sibley Volcano Regional Preserve ExplorationVoice of the VolcanoBasalt of Sibley VolcanoSibley Volcanic Preserve Sibley Trail Map

Let’s Try Some Yarn Graffiti

Here’s a new kind of urban folk art that we could embrace.  Imagine if Oakland’s chain-link fences were decorated with yarn graffiti, displaying colorful patterns “painted” by aspiring artists.

We recently discovered some yarn graffiti in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh (PA), where three dream-catchers were woven into a bridge overpass.

Yarn Graffiti

What’s amusing is the initial response from a Pittsburgh councilman, who wasn’t quite sure what to say about this yarn-art when it mysteriously appeared on the Schenley bridge.  According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Before his chief of staff tracked down the source of the creations, city Councilman Doug Shields had fun with the idea that it might have been a bit of unsanctioned expression, saying, ‘This is yet another example of the worsening economy’ — graffiti by yarn instead of paint, ‘although this seems to be more pleasing to the eye and is far easier to remove.’

Just like our nice wall murals, this yarn graffiti seems like another way to dress up Oakland.  I’m wondering how you would feel if yarn designs starting running amuck around the city.

Oakland’s 13th Worst In Crime

Oakland does have high crime rates, when you look at both violent and non-violent crimes.  According to the MetroCrime 2008 Rankings, Oakland came in 13th worst out of 388 U.S. metro areas.

The CQ Press produces their rankings based on FBI crime statistics for six crimes:  murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.

Unlucky 13

For each crime type, CQ calculates the number of local crimes/100,000 population as well as variances vs. national averages.  Then CQ adds these six variances together to issue the metro results.

We’re not saying that violent crimes aren’t important.  However burglaries and motor vehicle thefts also contribute to quality of life, and should be included when assessing Oakland’s crime issues.

With this 13th ranking given to Oakland, we don’t have much farther to fall…sigh.

Oakland From Afar

We’re away from Oakland for a few days, and on the chilly East Coast.  There are no blossoms or signs of spring here.  There is plenty of crime and mayhem.

Essex County, NJ bears some resemblance to Oakland.  It’s home to Newark as well as Short Hills.  Of course, this is part of the Sopranos’ playground.

With all the Montclair and Oakland happenings, we are missing home now.  Please feel free to post messages about doings today in Montclair – and we’ll be back in a day or so.