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Items in Publications> Article: 25


The utility of surfers’ wave knowledge for coastal management

By Dan Reineman

This study investigates the local knowledge of surfers through two surveys of more than one thousand California surfers and promulgates, based on survey data, a formal definition of surfers’ local knowledge as "wave knowledge." In so doing, this study makes the case that wave knowledge can be used to inform coastal management decision-making in those situations where wave resources, and thus the growing stakeholder group of surfers, could possibly be affected. View External Content »

Predicting Parole Grants: An Analysis of Suitability Hearings for California's Lifer Inmates

By Kathryne M. Young, Thomas Favre-Bulle and Debbie A. Mukamal

Shaping the Coast with Permits: Making the State Regulatory Permitting Process Transparent with Text Mining

By Iris Hui

How do agencies use the permitting process to shape policy outcomes? This article unveils the black-box by using various text mining techniques to retrieve valuable empirical data from unstructured texts, namely public meeting agendas and staff reports of the California Coastal Commission. The data reveal that outright rejection of permit applications is rare. A View External Content »

Criminal Behavior and Local Resistance: The Sociolegal Significance of the Hawaiian Cockfight

By Kathryne M. Young

Keeping Track: How Surveillance and Control in the Criminal Justice System Perpetuate Mass Incarceration

By Kathryne M. Young and Joan Petersilia

The Democratic Split over Electric Vehicles and a Petroleum Reduction Goal

By Bruce E. Cain and Esteban Antonio Guerrero Jaimes

To gain political support for his goal of reducing statewide petroleum use by 50%, Governor Jerry Brown will need to make zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) affordable to low and middle income earners. View External Content »

Overcoming Psychological Resistance toward Using Recycled Water as a Solution to California's Climate Change Challenge

By Bruce E. Cain and Iris Hui

As a consequence of climate change and a prolonged drought, California must now consider alternative water supply sources such as recycled wastewater. But state officials fear that a proposal to expand direct or indirect potable use wastewater programs would trigger strong public resistance due to the ‘yuck’ factor, an instinctive aversion to many recycled wastewater uses.  Read More »

The Politics and Ecology of Water: Notes on the Drought in California

By Daniel Polk

Rather than placing strain on lines of division, the current drought has resulted in the unchallenged perception of California as one whole. The drought has affected nearly every corner of the state. National and international media portray it as a uniquely California problem, threatening not only “the California lifestyle” but also the state’s defining industries of agriculture and suburban growth.  Read More »

‘Talk the Language of the Larger World’: Fishing Wars, Natural Resources, and the Birth of the Sovereignty Movement in the Postwar Pacific Northwest.”

By John J. Dougherty

A Closer Look at Local Coastal Programs: A Case Study of the North Central Coast

By Quito Tsui and Sharon Chen

Summer research assistants examine Local Coastal Programs (LCPs) created around the Central and North Central Coast districts of the California Coastal Commission. Read More »

Our Peculiar Reform Challenge

By Bruce E. Cain and Francis Fukuyama

An introduction to the oddities and limits of institutional political reform in the United States. View External Content »

The Transparency Paradox

By Bruce E. Cain

Contrary to the naive sirens of maximum democracy, writes Bruce E. Cain, greater transparency is as much a problem for good governance as it is a solution. View External Content »

General Stream Adjudications as a Property and Regulatory Model for Addressing the Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer

By Burke W. Griggs

Can water rights adjudication be justified in the High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer, where an answer is urgently needed? The Ogallala is the largest but most rapidly diminishing source of fresh water in the West. Groundwater pumping, almost entirely for irrigation, has depleted the aquifer by 276 million acre-feet since it began, and pumping over the past decade has only accelerated this depletion, which stands at more than 8.3 million acre-feet annually. View External Content »

The Real Cost of Closing Remote Communities

By Brian Codding, Douglas W. Bird and Rebecca Bliege Bird

Mining operations wreak environmental havoc to extract and process non-renewable resources; traditional Aboriginal economies provide valuable ecosystems services in the process of sustainably harvesting renewable resources.  View External Content »

All Over the Map: The Diversity of Western Water Plans

By Bruce E. Cain, Shane Lebow, Coral Page Abbott, Kaley Dodson, and Vanessa Casado-Pérez

Western states face water challenges unknown to Eastern ones. Textual analysis of their state water planning summaries confirms the differences in their policy priorities, but there is also a wide variance among Western states policies. View External Content »

Seeking politically compatible neighbors? The role of neighborhood partisan composition in residential sorting

By Iris Hui and James G. Gimpel

We find that the same property will be evaluated more favorably by partisans when they learn that it is situated in a predominantly co-partisan neighborhood  View External Content »

An historical land conservation analysis in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA: 1850–2010

By Maria J. Santos, James H. Thorne, Jon Christensen, and Zephyr Frank

Unprecedented rates of change in land-use and land-cover over the last century challenge the ability of conservation networks to meet their objectives of conserving biodiversity, and other goals. We reconstructed the history of conservation land acquisition (where, when, how much and what) from 1850 to 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, U.S.A. We hypothesized that the process of land acquisition would be characterized by a fill-in effect – as acquisitions are pursued over time, they complement prior acquisitions by adding more area and new or underrepresented land-cover types.  View External Content »

Comparative Wests

By Richard White, Jon Christensen, Judee Burr, Brian Codding, Douglas Bird, Jared Dahl Aldern, and Others

A special issue dedicated to the Comparative Wests project. Occasion is thus named both to signal the “event” of the convening and publication of a set of papers on a specific topic in interdisciplinary humanities, and to prompt—“to occasion”— such collaboration and exploration.  With the aid of a distinguished editorial board, we will publish special issues on timely and critical topics. View External Content »

Conservation for the land or for the species? Spatial and temporal relationships between protected areas and threatened and endangered species

By Maria J. Santos and Alexandra Peers

As multiple stressors affect biodiversity persistence, conservation land acquisition has become a key tactic in preventing habitat loss, fragmentation, and land degradation, and thus maintaining biodiversity. Here we ask the question of whether land acquisition prompted the detection of threatened and endangered (T&E) species or the detection of T&E species promoted land acquisition.  View External Content »

Building New Windows into Digitized Newspapers

By Jon Christensen and Andrew J. Torget

In building Mapping Texts we wanted to create more transparent windows into the extraordinary wealth of information available in online archives of digitized historical newspapers.  View External Content »

Producing a Collaborative Media Fellowship Model at Stanford

By Geoff McGhee

In our small lab at Stanford University, we've been prototyping new models of collaboration that bring journalists together with university researchers and scholars. We're eager to share them because we hope that others will take them up, use them, and improve upon them. View External Content »

Land Trusts Thrive Despite, and Because of, the Great Recession

By Jon Christensen, Judee Burr, and Jenny Rempel

The recession has afforded a unique opportunity for land trusts to protect more of the West’s private open land through direct acquisitions and, increasingly, conservation easements, writes a group of Center researchers. View External Content »

Fossil Fuels, Foreign Trade, and Foreign Investment in the American West

By Robert W. Jackman

This working paper policy brief sets out to examine fossil fuel production in the American West in the context of the global economy. Specifically, this brief intends to examine how foreign countries and foreign corporations influence fossil fuel production in the American West, and it examines direct foreign influence in the American West in the form of investment and indirect foreign influence in the form of demand for fossil fuels. Read More »

Notes from the Data Revolution

By Geoff McGhee

Article on the influence of data mining and visualization on news infographics.

Media Organizations Must Become Trusted Data Hubs

By Geoff McGhee, Nicolas Kayser-Bril and Mirko Lorenz

From Nieman Lab: Geoff McGhee teams up with two European colleagues — Mirko Lorenz, a German information architect and journalist, and Nicolas Kayser-Bril, head data journalist at OWNI in France — to argue that news organizations should restructure themselves as data generators, gatherers, and analyzers. They believe that selling trusted data should be the foundation of journalism’s new business model. Give their argument a look. View External Content »

Items in Publications> Book: 4


Bridging the Distance: Common Issues of the Rural West

By David Danbom (Editor) and David M. Kennedy (Foreword)

Edited by the distinguished historian David B. Danbom and with a foreword by Center co-founding director David M. Kennedy, the book explores the Rural West across four dimensions: Community, Land, Economics – and defining the Rural West itself. View External Content »

The Modern American Military

By David M. Kennedy and Foreword by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry

The advent of the all-volunteer force and the evolving nature of modern warfare have transformed our military, changing it in serious if subtle ways that few Americans are aware of. Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, this stimulating volume brings together insights from a remarkable group of scholars, who shed important new light on the changes effecting today's armed forces.  View External Content »

The Sun Never Sets: Reflections on a Western Life

By L.W. "Bill" Lane, Jr. with Bertrand M. Patenaude, Introduction by Kevin Starr

Bill Lane was a Californian whose life spanned a vital period of the state's emergence as the embodiment (or symbol) of the country's aspirations. His recollections offer readers a rich slice of the history of California and the West in the 20th century. Recounting his boyhood move from Iowa to California after his father purchased Sunset magazine in 1928, and his subsequent rise through the ranks of Sunset, Bill Lane's memoir evokes the American West that his magazine helped to shape. Read More »

Railroaded : the Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

By Richard White

A history of the transcontinental railroads and how they transformed America in the decades after the Civil War. Their dependence on public largess drew them into the corridors of power, initiating new forms of corruption. Their operations rearranged space and time, and remade the landscape of the West. A new vision of the Gilded Age, often darkly funny, that shows history to be rooted in failure as well as success.  View External Content »

Items in Publications> News Article: 35

News Articles

Despite Recent Scrutiny, Review Finds Coastal Commission Sticks By Mandate

Iris Hui works at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University and examined almost two decades of the coastal panel's rulings. The findings are that the agency was pretty consistent and open about its decisions.  View External Content »

California Coastal Commission decision-making process appears stable and consistent, Stanford research shows

By Clifton B. Parker

Stanford scholar Iris Hui found that the California Coastal Commission approaches decisions through a consistent process. For her analysis, she used "text mining" to examine the commission's meeting agendas and staff reports between 1996 and 2014. View External Content »

Showdown at Sugar Pine Mine

By Tay Wiles, Center Media Fellow

How Oath Keepers transformed a local dispute in rural Oregon into a major Sagebrush Insurgency event. View External Content »

Women expand their home on the range

By Elizabeth Zach, Center Media Fellow

Today, counting principal operators and secondary operators, women account for 30 percent of all farmers in the United States, or just under 1 million. Researchers say they would like to learn more about the full contribution these women make, and what it means for the future of farming and ranching in the United States. View External Content »

Californians most concerned about water, the drought and state's economy, new Stanford poll shows

By Jenny Mayfield

As California begins a new year and a hectic legislative session in Sacramento, a new Golden State Poll conducted by the Stanford University-based Hoover Institution finds California's voters most concerned with the ongoing drought and the state's economic recovery. View External Content »

The Rising Tide Of Female Farmers

By Elizabeth Zach, Center Media Fellow

The number of women farmers, and women who own farms, has risen dramatically in the last four decades. This trend, and these numbers, has spurred the  U.S. Department of Agriculture to look more closely at the whos, hows, and why of this possible demographic transition. View External Content »

How to Make Maps and Influence People

By Geoff McGhee

Maps are one of the most trusted forms of communication – which makes them great for getting your point across. A look at the dark art of cartographic persuasion. View External Content »

Watch Western Wildfires Burn After Years of Drought

By Geoff McGhee

A new interactive map shows how wildfires have ravaged the western United States in 2015 – and over the past decade. View External Content »

Visualizing a Wet, Hot (and Also Very Dry) American Summer

By Geoff McGhee

Interactive maps of drought and precipitation show that U.S. weather in 2015 is a study in contrasts. View External Content »

Political affiliation factors into choosing where to live, Stanford expert says

Stanford scholar Iris Hui found that political party affiliation can change desirability of a residential location by as much as 20 percent. As a result, legislative districts may become more lopsided, creating more partisan legislatures. View External Content »

Mythbusting America's West

If you pick classes as if you're choosing from menus, The American West is where you go for fusion. Besides blending history, geography and politics with art and culture, the spring course brings together five noted professors in what amounts to an interdisciplinary banquet. View External Content »

Water Talk: Can cities keep growing in the desert?

By David M. Kennedy and Pat Mulroy

How does a city exist in the desert? And not merely exist, but grow by leaps and bounds? That’s what Las Vegas did, becoming an oasis of casinos, suburban expansion, golf courses and a water system surrounded by a waterless landscape. Pat Mulroy, the Las Vegas Valley’s former chief water official in a conversation with the historian David Kennedy together to talk water, cities, and the desert. Read More »

Silicon Valley Then and Now– To Invent the Future, You Must Understand the Past

By Leslie Berlin

I am a historian, and my subject matter is Silicon Valley. So I’m not surprised that Jobs and Zuckerberg both understood that the Valley’s past matters today and that the lessons of history can take innovation further. View External Content »

Stanford course aims to cultivate future leaders of the American West

Developed by the Bill Lane Center for the American West, the interdisciplinary course introduced undergraduates to the unique history, literature, art, politics, and environmental challenges of the North American West. View External Content »

California’s Biggest Water Source Shrouded in Secrecy

By Lauren Sommer and Craig Miller, KQED Science

There’s an “alarming lack of information” about California’s biggest reservoir, finds a major new analysis of the state’s groundwater resources. Public information about groundwater is sketchy, even in regions where over-pumping is a chronic problem, according to the report from Stanford University’s Water in the West program, a project of the Woods Institute for the Environment and Bill Lane Center for the American West. View External Content »

Stanford panel lays out drought-survival strategies

By Sue Dremann

As the state's drought deepens, Stanford University's water conservation efforts and strategies for expanding water resources for the future could serve as a helpful model for the rest of the state, a panel of Stanford experts said at a public forum on Tuesday night. View External Content »

Warming Climate Could Transform Bay Area Parks and Open Space

By Lauren Sommer, Center Media Fellow

By the end of the century, the Bay Area’s landscape could look more like Southern California’s, raising tough questions for land managers trying to preserve the region’s protected lands. View External Content »

Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

By David M. Kennedy and Karl W. Eikenberry

A chasm has opened between our citizens and our men and women in uniform. Soldier and citizen must once again be brought to stand side by side, write David M. Kennedy and Karl Eikenberry, the former commander of US forces and US Ambassador to Afghanistan. View External Content »

Stanford humanities scholars harness the power of crowdsourcing

By Corrie Goldman

Researchers at Stanford's Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis are incorporating the knowledge and resources of the public into three digital humanities research projects. View External Content »

Oil, gas drilling rile West's energy embrace

By Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press

The Best Scientific Figures of 2012: Gardening Fire

Wired Magazine cites data visualization by our Comparative Wests project as one of the Best Scientific Figures of 2012. View External Content »

Stanford's Bill Lane Center for the American West moves into news

By Max McClure

Already an interdisciplinary hub for regional studies of the West, the Bill Lane Center has also become a journalistic destination, partnering with newspapers and making forays into academic reporting. View External Content »

American West's changing climate spells economic changes, too, according to Stanford symposium

By Max McClure

The State of the West Symposium, hosted by the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, featured a discussion of the Western United States' future of extreme heat, declining snowpack, and what it all means for the region's industry, electricity generation and policy. View External Content »

Obama's victory won't transform America

By David M. Kennedy

Think of the extravagant hopes and promises that attended Barack Obama's election in 2008.This time around, a chastened Obama notably failed to offer a grand vision for the American future and instead contented himself with delegitimizing Mitt Romney and dwelling for the most part on small-bore issues.  View External Content »

Obama’s Second Chance to Be Historic

By David M. Kennedy

With Obama’s re-election we now have for only the second time in American history three back-to-back two-term presidencies. But our presidential trifecta, ironically, has been attended by stasis and seemingly irreconcilable conflict. Can the re-elected president now induce congressional Republicans, at last, to get in touch with their inner Jefferson, find common ground, and usher in a new Era of Good Feelings? Now that would be one for the history books. View External Content »

Conference Tackles Tough Issues in the Rural West

By Heather Scofield

On the heels of two years of preparation, the Bill Lane Center gathered more than 50 professionals for two days of intense talks surrounding issues impacting the rural West. The conference was not superficial, or designed for networking and socializing. It was a two-day event where some of today’s most pressing national issues and concerns were seriously engaged. View External Content »

Gold fever heats up in Mother Lode

By Jon Christensen

"California has caught gold fever again," writes Jon Christensen, citing record-high prices for gold, a depressed economy in the Sierras, and a lingering sense that there's gold left to find. But, he writes, "For all the talk of a new gold rush, there is precious little gold coming out of the Mother Lode these days." View External Content »

Visualizing California's changing delta with Stanford and KQED

By Max McClure, Stanford News Service

A new interactive website – a collaboration between Stanford's Bill Lane Center for the American West and KQED's QUEST, using research from the San Francisco Estuary Institute – offers non-specialists an intriguing glimpse into the historical Delta.  View External Content »

Stanford scholars give political edge to Obama when it comes to foreign policy

By Brooke Donald, Stanford News Service

During a discussion at the Freeman Spogli Institute, foreign policy experts say elections can turn on international issues, debunking the dictum that 'all politics is local.' View External Content »

New interactive database lets Stanford scholars map a mindset

By Camille Brown, Stanford News Service

Mapping Texts, a collaboration between Stanford University and the University of North Texas, allows scholars to explore visualizations of language patterns embedded in almost two centuries of Texas newspapers. View External Content »

California's Real Rural Tells Hidden Stories

By Lisa M. Hamilton

"With these stories, I would simply reintroduce rural California to the rest of us. The result is not a comprehensive survey - that would be a life's work or more. Nor is it a portfolio of outliers and unusual looking people, as is often the case with portraits of unfamiliar places." View External Content »

Railroad hyperbole echoes all the way down to the dot-com frenzy

"The Stanford Historical Society, one of the sponsors of the event, has as one of its missions to study and understand 'the ideals of the university's founders.' Rarely if ever has the university's founder gotten such a drubbing at one of the society's gatherings. Stanford knew nothing about railroads, nor did any of the railroad barons, according to White." View External Content »

Water Course

By Kevin Cool

From Stanford Magazine: "Twelve sophomores spent two weeks rafting through the Grand Canyon, immersed in the issue that will determine the future of the West: Is there enough water to go around?" View External Content »

How to Fix California’s Democracy Crisis

By James S. Fishkin

Our project, known as What’s Next California?, was the first statewide deliberative poll — a poll that gathers a scientific sample of respondents to answer questions both before and after they have had a chance to deliberate competing arguments and trade-offs.  View External Content »

Items in Publications> Presentation: 12


Making Borders, Constructing Waterways: Infrastructure, Institutions and Contested Histories in the Borderlands of California

By Daniel Polk

In this dry northwestward borderlands, the region encompassing Mexicali, Mexico and Imperial Valley, California, a shared water source (the Colorado River) has led to both conflict and cooperation. For a century, disputes have followed the flow of river water south of the US/Mexico border. With present scarcity, times of water crisis are placing in new relief prior institutional relations, stressing infrastructure to meet new needs. This paper reviews how the connections between people, communities and environments on each side of the border are re-imagined in times of crisis.

Mel Lane and the Formative Years of the California Coastal Commission

By Todd Holmes

Projecting sea level rise impacts on waves and surfing

By Dan Reineman

Climate change and sea level rise will impact coasts, threatening infrastructure, property, livelihoods, and ecosystems, including beaches. Millions of people visit beaches each year, many of them to go surfing.  Read More »

Sea level rise impacts on wave resources

By Dan Reineman

Surfers observe wave quality in order to optimize their surfing experience; they have been described as amateur oceanographers and meteorologists because of the acuity of their individual and collective attention to the interactions between swells, winds, tides and coastlines. This insight, colloquially referred to as Wave Knowledge, accumulates over lifetimes and across both generations and oceans and thus represents a significant repository of local knowledge of coastal oceans worldwide.  Read More »

Reading the Landscape: Infographics, Interactive Scholarly Works And the Future of Media

By Geoff McGhee

Adopting a Landscape-Level Approach to Managing our Nation's Public Lands and Open Spaces

By Hon. David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

The Honorable David J. Hayes, who as Deputy U.S. Secretary of the Interior has oversight over major governmental land management agencies, delivered a speech to the Center on campus in late April. View External Content »

The Making of "Envisioning California's Delta"

By Geoff McGhee and Lauren Sommer

Geoff McGhee and Lauren Sommer talk about their interactive map and data visualization on the historical Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Read More »

Telling Stories with Data and Interactivity: Perspectives from Journalism and Academia

By Geoff McGhee

Presentation to Tableau Software in Seattle, Washington on July 30, 2012. Read More »

Infographics for a Post-Flash World

By Geoff McGhee

Presentation to the Show, Don't Tell workshop at the 20th Malofiej Infographics Congress. Read More »

Data Visualization in the Humanities

By Geoff McGhee

Presentation to Adobe Education Community on Jan. 26, 2012, looking at applications of data visualization at the Bill Lane Center, the larger Stanford community, and in academia in general. Read More »

Telling Stories With Data Visualization

By Geoff McGhee

Presentation to the Data Visualization Meetup Read More »

Getting Started With Data Visualization

By Geoff McGhee

Presentation slides for the May 6, 2011 session of the Tooling Up for Digital Histories workshop (HIST299D/ENG299D). The topics addressed include genres of visualization and the basic process from concept to execution. (from short description field) Read More »