Sunflowers in Escondido help Ukrainian refugees!

An effort is underway in Escondido to help refugees who’ve fled Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

I saw numerous beautiful paintings of sunflowers on display at the 2022 Escondido Street Festival today. Sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine.

The bright, optimistic paintings were created by artists who belong to the Escondido Art Association. Their project is called Sunflowers for Ukraine. Purchases and donations go to World Central Kitchen, which is feeding displaced Ukrainians.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Escondido Art Association’s website by clicking here! They’ve already raised ten thousand dollars!

Feeling inspired by this project? But you don’t live in Escondido? Certainly there are many artists who can paint sunflowers where you live! You can grow sunflowers like these, too!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Would you like to read a happy short story about sunflowers and spreading kindness? Then click here!

Fusion and the futuristic science of Star Trek!

A fascinating panel convened yesterday at San Diego’s Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. The Science of Star Trek – Travel at Warp Speed featured a Star Trek editor, a Star Trek writer, and three scientists from General Atomics, which is headquartered here in San Diego.

The event coincided with the Comic-Con Museum’s current exhibition honoring Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

Five panelists focused primarily on the technology of nuclear fusion, which has been pioneered at General Atomics for many decades. Fusion powers the fictional impulse engines of Star Trek’s starships.

It was fun to learn that Star Trek was a major inspiration of David Humphreys, a nuclear fusion scientist who has worked at General Atomics for 40 years! (Incidentally, his favorite captain is Kirk.)

All sorts of different Star Trek technology, like the matter/anti-matter warp drive, tricorders and communicators, were touched upon. The panelists loved that much of Star Trek’s speculative tech has been based on real physics and scientific possibility. Remember how Kirk would sit in the captain’s chair and sign off on a device that looked like a tablet? Some of that once-fictional tech exists today!

Other not-so-realistic Star Trek technology would be used merely as a plot device. The transporters allowed a story (and Dr. McCoy’s scrambled molecules) to quickly transition from scene to scene. Human scale teleportation remains a somewhat unlikely dream. (But who knows?)

The most exciting part of the discussion concerned the imminent emergence of sustained nuclear fusion as a potentially limitless source of cheap, clean energy. Unlike nuclear fission, with its dangerous radioactive waste and chain reaction, the technology that produces fusion is inherently safe. And its “fuel” is hydrogen, which is practically limitless. The trick is energizing and concentrating hydrogen atoms so that they fuse and become helium, as they do inside the very, very hot sun. No easy task!

Fusion has made such tremendous advances that the world now stands at the brink of major breakthroughs, due primarily to the ITER project–one of the largest scientific programs in human history–where 35 nations from around the world hope to perfect and share practical working technology. General Atomics produced the super powerful magnets utilized by ITER.

Another thing the panelists addressed is how young people today can take part in this exciting future. Diverse, good-paying jobs connected to fusion technology are going to be plentiful. General Atomics is looking for interns! Can you imagine a more interesting place to work and learn?

It was great to see how San Diego’s own General Atomics is helping to lead the way to a world that will be completely transformed in a positive way by nuclear fusion. And it was inspiring to see scientists from General Atomics out in the community. They also participated in the Barrio Logan STEAM Block Party, which I blogged about last weekend.

When I was in middle school, many moons ago, we went on a field trip to General Atomics. I remember how the scientists briefly fired their fusion reactor under a huge protective pool of water. Now, almost half a century later, we are at the cusp of something so huge, the world might be transformed beyond anything that even the creators of Star Trek envisioned!

Oh–the next photo, taken on the main floor of the Comic-Con Museum, is of Star Trek cosplayers belonging to the Science Fiction Coalition. Live long and prosper!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

It’s almost Time to Shine at Petco Park!

There are many reasons for optimism this year when it comes to our San Diego Padres baseball team. The potential is there for a very successful 2022 season.

And Opening Day is only a couple weeks away!

I walked around Petco Park this morning and in the early evening, just to see what preparations might be underway.

From Gallagher Square I noticed the bright green field looks immaculate. Walking around the ballpark, I saw that many new signs and graphics are coming.

What I also discovered was the Padres plan to shine!

Because it’s now TIME TO SHINE!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

An idea for San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital in 2024.

Last Saturday, at the conclusion of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House tour of the Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego, our group listened to a talk on the second floor concerning San Diego-Tijuana’s designation as World Design Capital in 2024. (Wow, that’s quite a sentence!)

Needless to say, it’s super exciting that our two-city cross-border metropolitan area has received such a distinguished award. Read more about the many efforts that were undertaken to achieve this recognition here.

As World Design Capital, San Diego-Tijuana will not only showcase our region’s optimistic culture of progress and innovation, but it will be a chance for people in the community to come together and catalyze positive change!

As I listened to the talk, full of high-sounding jargon, outlining future events for professionals, I wondered what would excite ordinary people (like me) and spur greater involvement from the public. And an idea popped: why not have a big, fun, family-friendly World Design Fair event in Balboa Park? Something akin to the parkwide, very popular Maker Faire?

Designers, inventors, educators, planners, makers, futurists, environmentalists, kids, scientists, students, museums, civic leaders, dreamers . . . all coming together to celebrate, share ideas, learn and have fun!

And on top of that, it’s our amazing, beloved Balboa Park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Join the San Diego River March in Mission Valley!

A beautiful morning photo of the San Diego River taken from Mission Center Road. This spot often floods and traffic must be diverted.

Would you like to help clean up the San Diego River? There’s a volunteer event coming up that might interest you!

I was in Mission Valley this morning when I saw a poster promoting the First Annual San Diego River March. This coffee, walk and cleanup is being put on by the Ecological Servants Project, a newly formed organization based in El Cajon.

The founder of the Ecological Servants Project writes in a newsletter how his difficult life was transformed, in part by an encounter with nature’s boundless beauty. He came to understand that life itself is beautiful.

I do know the San Diego River could use many helping hands.

The date for the volunteer cleanup is Friday, March 18, 2022.

You can find all of the details at their website here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Balboa Park’s community Christmas tree grows!

A new community Christmas tree was planted in Balboa Park a little over two years ago, across from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. It has visibly grown!

Back in 2016, the fragile, droopy, 35-year-old Community Christmas Tree that stood in this same location no longer held lights during the holiday season. I took a photo of the sadly misshapen old cedar during Christmas on the Prado:

In late 2019 a new young tree was planted! I posted a photograph of it here. Now, for contrast, I’ll share that pic again:

Yesterday I noticed the promising young tree has grown quite a lot! Check it out:

I know, it’s odd that I’m posting these photos in late February, with war raging in Ukraine, but during my walk yesterday I also encountered a new Peace Pole that has been installed by the International Cottages.

And it occurred to me: doesn’t a growing Christmas tree also represent Life and Hope for our shared future?

One coming December, perhaps this next one, San Diego’s growing community Christmas tree will light up for its first time. And that age-old message will shine forth once again: On Earth peace, good will toward men…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

So Good on an East Village wall!

Drive west down Market Street into downtown San Diego and you’ll probably see this mural. SO GOOD it proclaims!

The mural is located at 17th Street, just west of Interstate 5, at the edge of the East Village neighborhood. Very sadly, homeless people are often camped in front of it.

Yesterday morning there was a relatively unobstructed view of the mural, so I captured these photos. I noticed that written in the mural are the words: “Art by Channin Fulton and United By Design” and “A Good Measure project Sponsored by Mingei International Museum” and “Special Thanks: EVArts and Sherwin Williams.”

I found a page concerning the project here, which describes the “mural for San Diego’s creative community in the East Village area.”

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Bright, colorful butterflies fill National City parks!

Giant butterflies take flight in the blue sky above three National City parks!

Should you visit Butterfly Park, Kimball Park or Las Palmas Park, you’re certain to spot many large butterfly wings! The colorful sculptures were created in 2015 by families throughout the National City community.

Every butterfly is composed of two pieces of cut aluminum, and the separate sides of each butterfly are uniquely decorated with different colors of reflective vinyl tape. I’ve been told that car headlights shining on the butterflies at night reveal bright bursts of life!

The project, led by local artist Roberto Salas, is called Butterfly Path. Its creation was made possible through a commission from the San Diego Museum of Art’s “Open Spaces” program, supported by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

The first time I spotted some of these butterflies–last year at Kimball Park–I didn’t know a thing about them. Comments made by readers provided great information. Revisit that old blog post here.

Since then I’ve seen more of the beautiful sculptures, and have learned more about them, particularly during an amazing tour of Butterfly Park, which you can read about by clicking here.

These artistic butterflies symbolize an ongoing metamorphosis in National City. The transformation is to an even more proud, healthy and environmentally friendly community that shines with greater and greater beauty.

Here are just some of the butterflies you might encounter, in no particular order…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

South Bay exhibit of youth creativity, optimism.

The 2021 Fall Exhibition at A Reason To Survive (ARTS) in National City opened yesterday!

I was walking around Kimball Park when I noticed this event, and I was graciously permitted to have a look at all the inspirational youth artwork a few minutes before the exhibit’s big open!

What I discovered were lots of great creative pieces by South Bay youth. There was art in comic and cartoon form, cool designs, sketches, paintings, sculptures, and even a few robots! There were many colors and diverse visions, all produced by hands that are destined to transform our world.

A Reason To Survive (ARTS) is a community organization that inspires young people in San Diego’s South County. Kids who create, learn, and proudly share their achievements become confident, compassionate and even more creative! Learn more about ARTS here!

You might recall ARTS has an exhibition at the newly opened Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. You can see some of that great artwork here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek at the Comic-Con Museum.

The Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park opened this weekend. One of the museum’s inaugural exhibits is titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary. Gene Roddenberry was the creator of Star Trek.

Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary celebrates the achievements of a writer and producer whose storied life was filled with optimism about the human race and our shared future. That optimism was embodied in Star Trek, and is one very big reason why generations of fans have loved the many television series and movies in the enduring science fiction franchise.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and reruns of the original Star Trek series. I loved the space travel, strange new worlds, sense of wonder and discovery, how Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov . . . Picard, Riker, Data, Deanna, Geordi, Beverly, Worf . . . and a family of diverse characters overcame strange, sometimes daunting challenges, mostly using their moral sense and intelligence, never losing their faith in the potential good of humanity.

I loved the philosophical themes and the alien encounters. It all was fun, original, thought-provoking, exciting. I still enjoy watching the original series, even if the special effects are dated. My attachment to Star Trek is permanent. Like legions of other fans.

So, obviously, I was excited to view this major exhibit at the newly opened Comic-Con Museum. Gene Roddenberry’s creative genius and humanity is on full display–his writings, sketches, quotes, screenplays–plus there are original props and costumes from Star Trek.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek and happen to be in San Diego, this is a must see exhibition.

Here’s a little of what you’ll discover…

A colorful pathway through the exhibit details the life of Gene Roddenberry. He was a World War II pilot, police officer and Hollywood writer, before launching his enduring idea of Star Trek.
Original costumes from Star Trek productions on display.
The optimism and imagination of a curious mind are recalled.
Lexoriter word processor used by Roddenberry writing scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Roddenberry’s personal film projector used to screen Star Trek episodes at home.
Historical documents, letters, artwork and scripts are displayed, pertaining to the creative work of Gene Roddenberry.
Lyrics to the musical theme from Star Trek written by Roddenberry.
Star Trek communicators foresaw today’s cellphone technology. “The Menagerie” script of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, Gene’s wife and actress who portrayed Nurse Chapel.
May Gene Roddenberry’s hopeful, positive world view Live Long and Prosper!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!