Dethroning the King of LA / The Ebb of Car Culture

Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Art

Writing Coach, Nic Nelson IMN Mentor, Strategic and Ideational Leadership
Writing Coach, Nic Nelson
IMN Mentor, Strategic and Ideational Leadership

Finding
Los Angeles, California is known around the world as a place where the car is king. It is a bellwether city when it comes to automobile culture and traffic management. And on August 11, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council approved a controversial plan to begin removing, rather than adding, traffic lanes to the city’s most important thoroughfares.

018-LA-Traffic

Implications
Los Angeles has led the way worldwide in creative traffic management engineering for more than half a century. It was the first major city to be geographically and structurally determined by the capabilities of automobiles. Los Angeles’ first automobiles were designed and built there as early as 1897. Detroit soon took over as the heart of automotive manufacturing, but Los Angeles remained the heart of automotive passion and expression from the Roaring Twenties to the present day.

Yet the automobile was never without its challengers. From streetcars and bicycles in the late 1800s to CicLAvia-Ver-Latorre-Flickr_0residential canals, monorail, elevated trains, subways, and regular commuter rail in all the decades since, other forms of transportation have competed passionately against the automobile, and have either been utterly defeated or won very limited successes.

Automobile enthusiasts among urban planners have often pointed to Los Angeles as their inspiration for how a modern megacity can competently handle heavy automobile traffic. If Los Angeles gives up that dream, will another world-class city take its place as the heartbeat of the automobile-centric lifestyle? Or might this signal the beginning of the end of automobile-centric urban planning?

Quotes:

“The Roaring Twenties… set Los Angeles on an irreversible path as a city dominated by the automobile. L.A.’s population of about 600,000 at the start of the 1920s more than doubled during the decade. The city’s cars would see an even greater increase, from 161,846 cars registered in L.A. County in 1920 to 806,264 registered in 1930. In 1920 Los Angeles had about 170 gas stations. By 1930 there were over 1,500.”

“The approved plan places a high priority on traffic safety, including making Vision Zero official citywide policy. L.A. is now committed to ‘decrease transportation-related fatality rate to zero by 2035.’ Public testimony was limited to 20 minutes, and was heavily in favor of plan approval.”

“We’ve been building for the car for about half a century now [in Los Angeles, a whole century!], so it’s understandable that old habits die hard. But the evidence is growing that traffic does indeed disappear and that reallocating road space will lead not to commuter chaos but rather to better conditions for those on foot and on bikes. Research has established the theory of disappearing traffic. Now leading cities around the world are beginning to test it.”

Sources:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/nobody-walks-in-la-the-rise-of-cars-and-the-monorails-that-never-were-43267593/?no-ist

http://la.streetsblog.org/2015/08/11/l-a-city-council-approves-new-mobility-plan-vision-zero/

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-mobility-debate-20150809-story.html

On Bicycles: 50 Ways the New Bike Culture Can Change Your Life. Edited by Amy Walker; quoted article by Bonnie Fenton. Published by New World Library, Novato California (2011) p.349-354.

New subatomic particle, the “tetraquark,” constitutes an entirely new form of matter

TESA:
Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Arts

FINDING: Once again, there is much more going on in the universe than we thought we knew. Quarks combine in twos and threes to create protons and neutrons, which were formerly believed to be the basic building blocks of all matter. Confirming the existence of four-quark atomic particles opens the door to all sorts of new kinds of matter that might behave in all sorts of strange ways. If the “purely hypothetical” tetraquark is real, and we now know how to make one, “pentaquarks” and “hexaquarks” have moved from being “fanciful imaginations” to being acceptable topics for supercollider research.

IMPLICATIONS: So far, the only implications are philosophical. But the philosophical implications are profound. Over and over again, humanity’s scientific community has conveyed the impression that it has reached certain limits of knowledge about the world we live in: This is the smallest possible particle, and these are the only ways it behaves… This is the size of the universeThis is the age of the universeThe speed of light never changes… and each time those truths were made “doctrine,” the scientific community has had to eat humble pie.

Well, humanity’s scientific community apparently got used to eating that pie, because it now holds even its basic tenets with a gentle grip. We now know the universe still holds a great many secrets, none of them boring or simplistic! And most of them will be beautiful if we behold them in the right perspective.

Even though last week’s discovery makes all current physics textbooks obsolete, it has been welcomed by physicists as another reason for wonder and awe, another motive to keep exploring even those crannies of creation we thought we had all figured out.

Has humanity’s scientific community arrived at the same spot as its religious community, seeing all creation as wondrous, awe-inspiring, and always full of surprises? If so, what does this imply about its Creator?

QUOTES:

The newly nabbed Z(4430) is one of a handful of suspected tetraquarks that have been found in recent years… the particle’s existence was questioned after the BaBar detector at the SLAC accelerator in Menlo Park, California, subsequently failed to find it.

Now the LHCb experiment… has analysed 10 times as much data… and says it has found as many as 4000 of the particles.

Gathering more data on how this particle decays could help shed light on whether it is a tetraquark or something else. And that could help researchers get to grips with how matter behaves at the most basic scales. Could quarks bind together in even larger groups, for example? Previous hints of five-quark groupings, called pentaquarks, have mostly disappeared in recent years, but they have not been fully ruled out, says Karliner.

“What determines who can bind together and who can’t?” he asks. “It’s completely uncharted territory.”

There has been some experimental hints of tetraquarks, but this latest result is the strongest evidence of 4 quarks forming a color-neutral particle.  This means that quarks can combine in much more complex ways than we originally expected, and this has implications for the internal structure of neutron stars.

Sources:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25402-lhc-spots-particle-that-may-be-new-form-of-matter.html#.U0tOP-ZdXPQ,

http://www.universetoday.com/111110/how-cerns-discovery-of-exotic-particles-may-affect-astrophysics/