Samantha Larson

Staff Writer

Holiday on Ice

The author in Antarctica, where she climbed the sixth of the Seven Summits on her way to a world record.

“This does not feel like Christmas,” I thought between forced gulps of hot chocolate. I looked over at my teammate Doug, hunkered next to me in our kitchenette dug out of the snow, nursing his frostbitten hands. My dad and the other climbers in our group, Wim and our guide Victor, huddled in our shelter trying to warm themselves.

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Throw Mama From A Plane: Last-Minute Gift Guide

Strapped for Christmas ideas? Help a loved one jump out of a plane.

There’s a good reason so many chipper holidays fall in the height of winter: Spreading goodwill and cheer is the social antidote to the winter blues brought on by shorter days and colder temperatures. Luckily here in the Golden State, life’s just a little easier. There are plenty of places nearby that provide activities for the intrepid, from skydiving to ballroom dancing, so a gift certificate may be just the thing.

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Police Roust Occupy Santa Cruz Camp

Police cleared out the Occupy camp in San Lorenzo Park this morning. (Chip Scheuer)

The Occupy encampment in San Lorenzo Park had obviously thinned out by 5pm on Wednesday, the stated deadline for the eviction notice that police issued on Monday. A couple dozen onlookers stood around the periphery of the camp, some linking arms in solidarity, some shaking their heads in dismay. A few policemen strolled around them—a stark contrast to the scene around 7am this morning, when about 90 police officers in riot gear cleared out the approximately 20 tents and people who had stayed the night.

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Pop-Up Cards at Makers Factory

Just wait til we take the glitter to this thing. Photo by Samantha Larson.

The new Makers Factory—installed in its Cruzio building offices for two weeks now—invites the Santa Cruz community to drop by their downtown space for their first public event: making personalized lasercut holiday popup cards and decorations.
“Popup cards are a traditional form of greeting card,” says Makers Factory co-founder Chris Yonge. “The problem is that they require some planning and they require some skill and handiwork.”

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Reasons to Love Small Business Saturday

Stripe—one small local biz, many names crossed off by holiday shoppers. Photo by Chip Scheuer.

Smack in between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” “Small Business Saturday,” on Nov. 26, promotes the locavore’s alternative to America’s holiday shopping spree. American Express created the national event in hopes of shifting consumer spending toward small businesses—you know, the ones President Obama called “the backbone of our nation’s economy” in 2008.

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Missing The New Energy Wave

Don't expect it off California shores anytime soon.

The turbines planted in 2008 off the coast of Lincolnshire, on England’s eastern edge, brought the United Kingdom’s total of electricity generated from offshore wind turbines to 590 megawatts, enough to power 300,000 homes. Plans to double the growth of the U.K.’s offshore wind farms by 2016 will secure the country as the world’s largest producer of electricity generated from ocean winds. But on this side of the Atlantic it’s a very different story.

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