February 27, 2006

Duly noted: Nerve's Sex Advice From Urban Planners. (Psst... there are twenty-seven principles.)

Valerie, 26

How can becoming an urban planner help me get laid?
Urban planning opens the door to the exciting male-dominated world of architects, builders and engineers. Merge those parcels. And for men, saying you're an urban planner is at least cooler than being an accountant.

How can I get an urban planner to go home with me?
Talk shit about Wal-Mart, brag about your frequent public-transport ridership and drop phrases like "spatial morphology."

How can I delay my orgasm, besides going slow and taking breaks?
Recite the twenty-one principles of New Urbanism in your head over and over again.

February 22, 2006

Thousands Of Law Applicants Get Mistaken Admissions Invite

BERKELEY, Calif. -- An Iowa father said his son was "ecstatic" when he got an e-mail invitation to a party for students accepted to U.C. Berkeley's law school.

Unfortunately, Adam Feeney was among thousands of applicants who hadn't been accepted to the prestigious California school and were sent invitations by accident. A little later they received apologies and retractions.

His father said Feeney "was obviously upset and disappointed."

Boalt Hall School of Law's admissions director says the e-mailed invite begins "I write to congratulate you once more on your recent admission to Boalt Law."

The admissions official said the invitation was intended for about 500 students who were accepted early.

Instead, he inadvertantly sent it to about 7,000 applicants.

February 17, 2006

I just subscribed to BusinessWeek and I think it's a total riot. Here's a blurb (from the UpFront section) that doesn't seem to be in the online edition...


MAYBE IT SEEMS like you spend half your life on the phone with a call center in India. But in India itself, call centers actually are seeping into everyday life, appearing in a wave of popular sitcoms and books. India Calling, a hot Indian TV show on Rupert Murdoch's STAR channel, depicts a small-town girl who lands in Bombay in search of her absconding sister. She finds a job in a call center instead. Viewers follow the highs and lows of the work, which attracts thousands of young Indians. "Call center jobs are now part of India's social fabric, offering immense scope for romance, politics, hatred, all creating high drama," says Shristi Behl Arya, who is the show's producer.

Indeed, the customer service scene in India is anything but boring. Centers can be a hotbed of hormones; some average a marriage a month, often outside traditional bounds of caste and economic status. The Call Center, a show coming soon to channel NDTV, takes potshots at Americans venting their angst about losing their jobs to the Indians on the other end of the wire. A best-selling book, One Night @ The Call Center, touches on love, bad bosses, even God (appearing, naturally, in a phone call). Then there are the jokes making the rounds: When a man complains to a doctor about insomnia, the doctor suggests working at a call center as the remedy.

-Nandini Lakshman

February 11, 2006

Aww... the Torino mascot pins are SO CUTE:

More on mascots Neve and Gliz here.

February 09, 2006

French chefs in relinquishing their Michelin stars le shocker!

February 07, 2006

In Sunday's L.A. Times, Ray Bradbury makes the case for the monorail:

L.A.'s future is up in the air
By Ray Bradbury, RAY BRADBURY is the author of "The Martian Chronicles," "Fahrenheit 451" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," among other books.

SOMETIME IN THE next five years, traffic all across L.A. will freeze.

The freeways that were once a fast-moving way to get from one part of the city to another will become part of a slow-moving glacier, edging down the hills to nowhere.

In recent years we've all experienced the beginnings of this. A trip from the Valley into Los Angeles that used to take half an hour — all of a sudden it takes an hour or two or three. Our warning system tells us something must be done before our freeways trap us in the outlying districts, unable to get to our jobs.

In recent months there has been talk of yet another subway, one that would run between downtown L.A. and Santa Monica. That would be a disaster.

A single transit line will not answer our problems; we must lay plans for a series of transportation systems that would allow us to move freely, once more, within our city.

The answer to all this is the monorail. Let me explain.

More than 40 years ago, in 1963, I attended a meeting of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors at which the Alweg Monorail company outlined a plan to construct one or more monorails crossing L.A. north, south, east and west. The company said that if it were allowed to build the system, it would give the monorails to us for free — absolutely gratis. The company would operate the system and collect the fare revenues.

It seemed a reasonable bargain to me. But at the end of a long day of discussion, the Board of Supervisors rejected Alweg Monorail.

I was stunned. I dimly saw, even at that time, the future of freeways, which would, in the end, go nowhere.

At the end of the afternoon, I asked for three minutes to testify. I took the microphone and said, "To paraphrase Winston Churchill, rarely have so many owed so little to so few." I was conducted out of the meeting.

In a panic at what I saw as a disaster, I offered my services to the Alweg Monorail people for the next year.

During the following 12 months I lectured in almost every major area of L.A., at open forums and libraries, to tell people about the promise of the monorail. But at the end of that year nothing was done.

Forty years have passed, and more than ever we need an open discussion of our future. If we examine the history of subways, we will find how tremendously expensive and destructive they are.

They are, first of all, meant for cold climates such as Toronto, New York, London, Paris, Moscow and Tokyo. But L.A. is a Mediterranean area; our weather is sublime, and people are accustomed to traveling in the open air and enjoying the sunshine, not in closed cars under the ground.

Subways take forever to build and, because the tunnels have to be excavated, are incredibly expensive. The cost of one subway line would build 10 monorail systems.

Along the way, subway construction destroys businesses by the scores. The history of the subway from East L.A. to the Valley is a history of ruined businesses and upended lives.

The monorail is extraordinary in that it can be built elsewhere and then carried in and installed in mid-street with little confusion and no destruction of businesses. In a matter of a few months, a line could be built from Long Beach all the way along Western Avenue to the mountains with little disturbance to citizens and no threat to local businesses.

Compared to the heavy elevateds of the past, the monorail is virtually soundless. Anyone who has ridden the Disneyland or Seattle monorails knows how quietly they move.

They also have been virtually accident-free. The history of the monorail shows few collisions or fatalities.If we constructed monorails running north and south on Vermont, Western, Crenshaw and Broadway, and similar lines running east and west on Washington, Pico, Wilshire, Santa Monica and Sunset, we would have provided a proper cross section of transportation, allowing people to move anywhere in our city at any time.

There you have it. As soon as possible, we must call in one of the world's monorail-building companies to see what could be done so that the first ones could be in position by the end of the year to help our huddled traffic masses yearning to travel freely.

The freeway is the past, the monorail is our future, above and beyond.

Let the debate begin.