It's been a big week for high speed rail proponents and infrastructure hawks. This week, the California Legislature approved startup funds for the $68 billion
high-speed line linking San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento and points in between. Today, Amtrak unvelied
its $151 billion plan (PDF)
for the Northeast Corridor. Both will take decades to complete. Detractors worry about exploding costs
and operating losses, while supporters
stress jobs, mobility, and international competitiveness. Europe
have lapped us a few times over. However, those who want to do this quickly and cheaply might want to take a lesson from once-ambitious China.
posted by moammargaret
on Jul 10, 2012 -
WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing covered a range of cultural issues and was widely known for its innovative use of graphic art. Started as a simple one-man operation that included artwork and text solicited from friends and acquaintances, the production, team, and circulation of the magazine would grow over the years. Its content also evolved to cover a wider expanse of stories that captured a smart and artsy Los Angeles attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but with its own distinct aesthetic. The magazine’s energetic creativity and flair for the absurd would remain a constant. As design problems arose, solutions were often improvised on the spot, creating a quirky and prescient editorial sensibility that remains one of WET's most enduring legacies. Its layout and design helped to catalyze the graphic styles (NSFW) later known as New Wave and Postmodern.
posted by Trurl
on May 4, 2012 -
Moscow of 1931
is a collection of hand-tinted lantern slides by Branson DeCou, an American photographer and travelogue lecturer who traveled the world for 30 years before his death in 1941. You can view more of the DeCou corpus online at the Branson Decou Archive
at the University of California, Santa Cruz where they've been attempting to sort, preserve, identify and digitize 10,000 DeCou slides received in 1971, a gift referred to the university chancellor by photographer Ansel Adams. [more inside]
posted by taz
on Apr 14, 2012 -
“It is startlingly loud,” he warns, “and it's loud enough that you can actually feel the sound wave going through your torso.” On East Brother Island
in California, lightstation
keeper Peter Berkhout is caretaker to one of the last working vintage foghorns
in the United States.
posted by Laminda
on Mar 30, 2012 -
About 2 miles into the park... things start to get strange. A forbidding padlocked wrought-iron gate, surrounded by a low lying stone wall sits nestled on the edge of the trail.... Strange rusted debris starts to appear on the side of the paths. What looks like an old water filtration system, broken pieces of farm equipment, half buried sinks, strange concrete slabs with graffiti . A lovely little steam appears and makes delightful background noises, lizards and birds scatter about your feet. And then you see it. A burned-out overgrown concrete building completely covered with graffiti. Cartoon of Hitler? Check. Declaration of undying teenage love? Check.... The bunker of the building is exposed and filled with trash; a metal cage sits menacingly in the corner, and outside a series of stone steps wind up to what seems to have once been a sustenance garden. The steps then continue all the way to the top of the canyon (3,000 steps in all) and ghosts of America Nazis patrolling the wilds fill your head. Baby, we aren't at the Grove anymore... We are at the Los Angeles Nazi Compound!
Well, it's actually the ruins of a small community built by Nazi sympathizers
, in the hills outside of greater Los Angeles
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Mar 19, 2012 -
Plenty of people collect Disneyana
, the toys, books, animation cels, and theme-park souvenirs. Then there are those fans who collect information and details on the Disney parks themselves, collecting official park maps
or drawing up their own ride blueprints
, assembling the design history behind the attractions
, and even collecting vintage tickets
and ticket books
) is an ever-growing collection of Disneyland history, and has an updated collection of links to similar fan sites and Imagineering blogs
, which is a whole collection of rabbit holes of nostalgia and behind-the-scense information. So grab a riding crop
and pretend like it's the 60s all over again
posted by filthy light thief
on Mar 15, 2012 -
was a California (by way of Uruguay and Boston) painter, sculptor, author, photographer and, most notably, map-maker. He sculpted the many figures
on the Monterey County Courthouse and designed the chapel in the Carmel mission
. He spent three years living with and photographing
the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona. He authored and illustrated a number of children's books
. Of all his many talents, Mora was probably best known for his unique maps
("cartes" as he called them) of the West. He created incredibly detailed maps, interesting, funny and maybe anachronistically racial, of California
. Music fans will recognize Mora's work from the Byrds' 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo
(full carte here
posted by one_bean
on Jan 26, 2012 -
A short film about the last paper shop, and the last letterpress, in Los Angeles. "There are days go by that there can be absolutely no business at all."
posted by OmieWise
on Dec 21, 2011 -
During the cold war Wartburg and Skoda exported cars from the Eastern Bloc to the United States. An action that was . . . controversial. One dealership received both love and hate mail
posted by Mitheral
on Oct 17, 2011 -
"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that a rubbish dump being created would, in the space of a century, become a protected area. Yet that is exactly what happened to what has come to be known as Glass Beach
, just outside Fort Bragg in California." [more inside]
posted by codacorolla
on Sep 1, 2011 -
Kudzu and the California Marriage Amendment
Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry: Initiative Constitutional Amendment
SECTION I. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the "California Marriage Protection Act."
SECTION 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution, to read:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
The biggest problem is that laws like the California initiative will make the courts decide who is male and who is female — and all available decision criteria create unavoidable miscarriages of justice that will, or should, dismay initiative proponents.
You're probably thinking, about now, that I'm going to exaggerate the sex-definitional 1 problem: Probably, you and everyone you know is unambiguously male or female — or at least has always believed himself or herself to be so, and nobody's challenged that, and nobody's likely to.
That's true, absolutely: Only maybe one live birth in 100 has some non-standard sex anatomy, and genetic anomalies are slightly rarer than that. However, let's talk about those 1-in-100 or 1-in-1000 cases — because those could be you, or your aunt, or your best friend — and because our system of law has to deal with 1-in-1000 situations, too.
posted by robbyrobs
on Jul 21, 2011 -
The Lazarus File. "In 1986, a young nurse named Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years—and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science—before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle. When they did, they found themselves facing one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 14, 2011 -
As California goes, so goes the country, they used to say. Well, yikes. Golden State
, an n+1
piece by Nikil Saval, presents a bleak picture of paralysis and conflicted interests that has rendered "The Bellwether State" all but inoperable. (via Arts & Letters Daily)
posted by Trochanter
on Feb 13, 2011 -
'Analysis: Texas vs California: A tale of two budget deficits'.
'Texas Governor Rick Perry treated guests to a barbecue lunch paid for by a wealthy businessman. Supporters of California Governor Jerry Brown munched on hot dogs at a union-sponsored picnic. The stark contrast in inaugural menus last month highlights the different approaches the two most populous U.S. states are taking to deal
with massive budget deficits. Perry, a Republican, campaigned on the strength of the Texas economy and made political hay of the fact the Lone Star state had avoided California's massive deficit, pegged at $25.4 billion through the upcoming budget year. Now Texas faces a budget deficit estimated as high as $27 billion
for the upcoming two-year cycle of 2012-2013. To close the gap, state legislators have proposed steep cuts in funding to education and welfare programs.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Feb 7, 2011 -
Two years ago, Mann says, he had never seen a pot plant. Today, he envisions weGrow becoming the "Wal-Mart of Weed", a vertically integrated chain of big-box stores perfectly positioned to cash in on California's booming marijuana industry as it moves from the shadows to the mainstream. In this "green rush" for semi-legal weed, Mann and his partner Derek Peterson, a 36-year-old investment banker, seek to be the modern equivalents of Levi Strauss and Samuel Brannan—the Gold Rush entrepreneurs who made a killing not from mining, but from selling pans, pickaxes, and victuals to the forty-niners.
posted by Joe Beese
on Jan 27, 2011 -