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Lincoln Highway, the first (attempt at a) transcontinental US highway

On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 17, 2013 - 33 comments

Hunger Strike Against Solitary Confinement

30,000 prisoners in California have launched a hunger strike to protest the conditions under which "segregated" prisoners are being detained.

The Five Core Demands:
1. Eliminate group punishments and administrative abuse.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons (pdf) recommendations and end long-term solitary confinement.
4. Provide adequate and nutritious food.
5. Create and expand constructive programming. [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Jul 10, 2013 - 87 comments

"..isn't a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare.."

The Center for Investigative Reporting has found that in 2006-2010 nearly 150 female inmates in California were coerced into sterilization without state approval. [more inside]
posted by seanmpuckett on Jul 7, 2013 - 89 comments

I prefer a wet San Francisco to a dry Manhattan.

"Adrift is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge."
posted by gman on Jul 5, 2013 - 27 comments

Hiding Public Land

For years in Malibu, CA, homeowners have tried to hide public access points to local beaches in order to prevent people from using them. A recently released app has tipped off the public as to exactly where these access points are, causing an outcry from the homeowners.
posted by reenum on Jun 23, 2013 - 114 comments

Form and Landscape

Form and Landscape - Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, 1940-1990 - is a series of themed exhibitions that tell the story of how Los Angeles 'became modern' by using photos from the comprehensive archives of Southern California Edison. The photos portray the many roles that electricity has played in the development and modernization of Californian life and culture (domestic life, signage, streetscapes, etc.). Part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents initiative.
posted by carter on Jun 18, 2013 - 7 comments

License Plate of the Future

South Carolina wants to switch to digital license plates that will display messages related to the driver's eligibility to operate a vehicle. In 2010, California considered using similar technology to display advertising.
posted by reenum on Jun 11, 2013 - 109 comments

Pacific Heights is just a movie, right?

I’ve recently joined the ranks of San Francisco landlords who have decided that it’s better to keep an apartment empty than to lease it to tenants. [SLNYT]
posted by BobbyVan on Jun 7, 2013 - 69 comments

America's 10 Worst Prisons

"'If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.' So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment." Mother Jones is profiling "America's 10 Worst Prisons." Facilities were chosen for the list based on "...three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 14, 2013 - 88 comments

Mapping transit inequality

Dan Grover and Mike Belfrage have mapped transit inequality in the Bay Area after reading a New Yorker piece on the New York City subway (previously). The ways in which a widening income gap are changing the demography of San Francisco have been widely reported of late (previously, previously). The project's code is available if you'd like to try mapping your own city.
posted by liketitanic on May 8, 2013 - 25 comments

"it’s one thing to survive, and another to live."

This past September, Jessica Ann Lum won a "Best Feature" award in the student-journalist category from the Online News Association, for her Master's project: "Slab City Stories." Less than four months later, on January 13, 2013, she passed away. She was 25. "Jessica loved to tell people’s stories. This is hers." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 1, 2013 - 12 comments

Motorcycle crashes at Edwards Corner

"The Snake" on Mulholland Highway is a notoriously twisty stretch of road near Los Angeles, especially popular with motorcyclists. So many crashes happen at "Edwards Corner" that photographers camp out to film them. The results can be terrifying, or oddly mesmerizing.
posted by gottabefunky on May 1, 2013 - 36 comments

SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Case

Earlier today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the California Prop 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry. SCOTUSblog has a round-up of their analysis of today's arguments here. NYT article. LA Times article. [more inside]
posted by insectosaurus on Mar 26, 2013 - 398 comments

I believe I can fly

R/C cameraman Robert Mcintosh takes you soaring high above Santa Monica, Venice, and San Francisco. Float through the air as you glide along the beach and up through the spokes of the Ferris wheel over the Santa Monica Pier. Then head a mile or two south and get a bird's eye view of Venice's Muscle Beach. When your head has stopped spinning you can take in San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge or get away from it all (including the ground) out at at Vasquez Rocks. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 10, 2013 - 44 comments

Welcome to the Rest of California

Lisa Hamilton's Real Rural project uses photographs and interviews to document the lives of people living on California's farms and in its small towns. [more inside]
posted by .kobayashi. on Feb 4, 2013 - 32 comments

"This was not a complex killing"

On Monday, a 12-year-old California boy was convicted of the second-degree murder of his father, regional Neo-Nazi leader Jeff Hall. [more inside]
posted by Benjy on Jan 15, 2013 - 114 comments

"Corporations are people, Officer!"

'If Corporations Are People, Can They Ride In The Carpool Lane?' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 10, 2013 - 72 comments

Huell Howser, a fine example of California Gold, passed away

Huell Howser, best known as the host of California Gold, passed away today. He was 67. I hope he's up there swimming in the Neptune pool. (previously)
posted by kendrak on Jan 7, 2013 - 77 comments

La Madonna Inn E Mobile

Aria was an art movie/promotional stunt put out by Virgin Media in 1987 with famous directors providing a music-video take on various opera pieces. ( A full review by That Opera Chick). Of particular note is Julien Temple's (Of Earth Girls Are Easy fame) adaptation of Verdi's Rigoletto as a zany, cartoonish, ecstasy-fueled and very 80s farce set at the infamous Madonna Inn. Watch the whole delirious sequence here.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 31, 2012 - 14 comments

Adolph Sutro

Anyone who has spent any time at all on the Western side of San Francisco is familiar with the name Sutro. Being the 24th mayor of the City was actually one of his smaller and lesser-known accomplishments. Born in Prussia in 1830, he first made a name for himself with The Sutro Tunnel, which was used to drain water from underneath the Comstock Lode, improving working conditions and lowering the mine's operating costs. He sold his interest in the company he founded and left for San Francisco, where he built himself a mansion, among other things... [more inside]
posted by MattMangels on Dec 9, 2012 - 24 comments

The Inside Story of Pong

The Inside Story Of Pong - On Nov. 29, 1972, a crude table-tennis arcade game in a garish orange cabinet was delivered to bars and pizza parlors around California, and a multi-billion-dollar industry was born. Here's how that happened, direct from the freaks and geeks who invented a culture and paved the way for today's tech moguls.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 30, 2012 - 18 comments

A-MAZ-ing!

According to the Sacramento Bee, Huell Howser is retiring. Best known for his public television show, California's Gold and his boundless enthusiasm, Mr. Howser is "retiring from filming new shows or making appearances."
posted by Guy Smiley on Nov 28, 2012 - 40 comments

Up through Los Angeles came a bubblin' crude: Southern California was the Kuwait of the Jazz Age, turning a religious piano teacher into an oil baroness

"In 1925, California supplied [much] of the world’s oil (Google quickview, original PDF) and much of it came from pumps in the Southland (quickview, PDF). To date, around 9 billion barrels of oil have been produced in the Los Angeles area. There are still over 30,000 active wells here pumping around 230 million barrels of oil a year, making Los Angeles County the second most productive oil county in California (although the quality of the oil here is somewhat low by today’s standards). There are 55 known oil fields in the Los Angeles area and 11 of them are located in a very urban context. This setting makes the oil extraction process in Los Angeles unique." Things to do in LA: Urban Oil Wells In Los Angeles, Part I and Part II. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 19, 2012 - 43 comments

Why did Prop 37 Fail?

Why did Prop 37, the GMO labeling bill, fail? Ernest Miller of KCET argues that it wasn't money, but message. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Nov 15, 2012 - 154 comments

Prop 34

Among the ballot initiatives up for consideration on Tuesday is California's Proposition 34, which would eliminate the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment without parole. If successful, this measure would make California the 18th state to abolish capital punishment, following Connecticut's April 2012 abolition. It would also apply retroactively to the 727 people currently on death row in the state, the most of any state in the country by nearly 100%. While support has been increasing for Prop 34, as many as 17% of California voters remain undecided. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster on Nov 4, 2012 - 135 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

Southern California in the 1940's

Travel: My Father’s Color Images of Southern California in the 1940′s. Pretty much what it says on the tin. Some nice color snaps. The main reason I posted this is I can't stop looking at this shot of the Universal Studios' back lot.
posted by marxchivist on Oct 2, 2012 - 22 comments

Spare the rod

California has become the first state in the country to ban the so-called "reparative" ex-gay therapy for people under the age of 18 years old. "This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," Brown said in a statement to The San Francisco Chronicle. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 30, 2012 - 37 comments

From Abstraction to Zeitgeist.

The SCI-Arc Media Archive features 600+ video lectures on modern architecture and design, with an emphasis on Southern California.
posted by xowie on Sep 29, 2012 - 2 comments

Annotated Filmography of Charlie Chaplin

Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 17, 2012 - 35 comments

Death and Politics in the Great American Water Wars

LA : What's that smell? The Salton Sea! [more inside]
posted by Afroblanco on Sep 14, 2012 - 46 comments

"But what will I wear in jail?"

The Gangster Princess of Beverly Hills. (Single page version) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 4, 2012 - 30 comments

The Breaking Bad Art Project

The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 21, 2012 - 40 comments

"Abused people go one or two ways: They either self-destruct or make a difference, you feel me? I’m gonna make a difference."

'In 2002, five years before journalist Chauncey Bailey was murdered by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery, (Previously) a woman identified only as Jane Doe No. 1 stepped forward to report decades of sexual abuse, welfare fraud and violence by the bakery's leader, Yusuf Bey Sr. She was prepared to hand over to Oakland police DNA from her three children -- evidence that Bey had impregnated her, the first time when she was 12. This was a risky move, but the woman had powerful motivation: her daughter, then 18, had alerted her that Bey was trying to abuse her -- his own child. Now, Jane Doe No. 1 has decided she no longer wants to be nameless. Her name is Kowana Banks and she is the first of Bey's victims to speak publicly.' Video interview. Transcript. (Via) This post recounts experiences of rape and sexual abuse. Topics may be disturbing to some readers. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2012 - 8 comments

Ishi, last of the Yahi: of two worlds, and in three centuries

Throughout the west, prospectors and settlers clashed with native people, diminishing the populations of tribes greatly reduced by disease. By the 1850s, it was believed that all Native Americans were "civilized," before those in the young field of anthropology were able to record first-hand accounts of native people in their own elements. In 1853, a lone native woman was found on a remote island off the coast of southern California, but she contracted dysentery and died after she had been on the mainland for only seven weeks. Then in 1911, a bedragled native man was found in a farmer's slaughter house corral in rural Northern California. He was the last of his people, and he lived to share a glimpse of an ancient way of life, in his five years spent living amongst anthropologists, doctors, and linguists. He was Ishi, the last Yahi (Snagfilm; also on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 8, 2012 - 20 comments

Scientology headquarters

Scientology's international headquarters - known as Gold Base - is located on a 500-acre parcel of land south of San Jacinto, California. It "has a number of unusually strong security measures, including razor-tipped fences, motion sensors, snipers nests and a large number of regular and infrared CCTV cameras." It also houses a detention center for executives referred to as "The Hole". (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 5, 2012 - 125 comments

Municipal Bankruptcy in the United States

Over the last few months, a few cities around the United States have experienced their own, unique, fiscal crisis: bankruptcy. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 5, 2012 - 74 comments

in Oakland, the revolutionary pilot light is always on

Requiem for an Occupation: The New York Times visits Oakland, California, "the last refuge of radical America." Previously and previouslier. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Aug 1, 2012 - 47 comments

Trouble in the tragic kingdom

Last Saturday Anaheim police shot Manuel Diaz as he fled from questioning. Neighborhood residents approached the police and recorded the scene of the shooting. As tempers rose, the police attempted to control the situation. This did not go well. On Sunday, many people joined a protest at the Anaheim police department held weekly since 2010. On the same day, Anaheim police shot and killed Joel Acevedo, during an arrest for a stolen car. Further protests at the Anaheim City Council meeting on Tuesday turned violent with some protestors throwing rocks and smashing windows. [more inside]
posted by eurypteris on Jul 25, 2012 - 76 comments

US Rail meets the 21st century

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 and Japan 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 - 245 comments

LA Noir.

Since 2009, a thread on the Skyscraper Page forums has been dedicated to trawling for old photos and stories of Los Angeles, mostly from the LA Public Library and USC Archives. Thousands of posts have accumulated into a fascinating portrait of the city. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Jul 4, 2012 - 8 comments

Green Light for California's Frankenfoods Referendum

In November "The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act", will be on the California ballot. [more inside]
posted by snaparapans on Jun 13, 2012 - 81 comments

C'est parfait!

A food truck takes Paris. Lovely NYT video about 'Cantina California', an upscale food truck in France.
posted by xowie on Jun 4, 2012 - 40 comments

Public Finance, Prop 13, TFAs, and CRAs! OH MY!

Out of Cash - The End of the Nation’s Largest Redevelopment Program (and a major source of California’s local funding sources). [more inside]
posted by stratastar on May 15, 2012 - 13 comments

WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing

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 - 9 comments

Hanging judged

"Nooses spotted at Cal State San Bernardino" An art project garners attention and sparks debate, as reported in the San Bernardino Sun today:
A trio of nooses spotted Friday at Cal State San Bernardino drew some attention on the serene campus, and it wasn't all positive.
[more inside]
posted by Celsius1414 on Apr 27, 2012 - 37 comments

Soothing, captivating, fascinating. Underwater live cams.

Fishbowl, live cam at the Blue Cavern, Aquarium of the Pacific. Live cams at explore.org: Moon jellyfish | tropical reef live cam. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 14, 2012 - 8 comments

Dream Pictures: hand-tinted glass travelogue slides by Branson DeCou

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 - 16 comments

Slapstick comedy for your Friday the 13th!

This is why you don't text and walk. Via the Guardian.
posted by orrnyereg on Apr 13, 2012 - 82 comments

Voice in the Fog

“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 - 30 comments

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