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THE LOS ANGELES SKYLINE rises high above the massive metropolitan sprawl, but the downtown buildings look rather tiny when seen from the airplane during our approach to LAX airport.  And we know there are plans for even more skyscrapers in the near future...

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We could see signs of construction near the Staples Sports Center, where valuable property has been cleared for high-rise construction in the downtown area. The city appears to be growing upward -- rather than outward -- in a move to stimulate economic growth, centralize business, and draw more people to the area. Cultural and art events, entertainment, sports, shopping, food, business -- these all draw visitors, but what about the congestion, traffic, and rising energy costs?  I hope the city planners have a better solution for those headaches!

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Meanwhile, on landing at the crowded LAX terminal our thoughts turn to the task of locating our gate, retrieving luggage, and finding a rental car.  We quickly become immersed with the details of survival in the urban jungle.  Still, it was good to have that unique perspective from 5000 feet above to reflect on it all...

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We should strive for a "balanced" approach to urban redevelopment, improving our commercial and cultural centers as well as housing and shopping. This should be complimented by an improved transportation network of streets and roads, pedestrian and transit facilities, and other practical options for access between the central mixed-use core and its neighborhoods.

After all, greater mobility and choice enhances our quality of life and sense of freedom...

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
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THE STANFORD DISH is quite impressive when highlighted in the early light and seen through the crisp clear morning air. This photo was taken during my walk along the Bay Trail, and the structure is actually five miles away. The large 150-foot radio telescope lies snuggled in the foothills as it performs many tasks including atmospheric monitoring, radio astronomy, satellite and spacecraft communications, and deep space probes. We know it's still active because the dish is constantly being repositioned throughout the week to focus on different quadrants of the sky.  

That's pretty amazing for a structure still in service considering it will be 50 years old next year!  I wonder if it has a retirement plan?

 

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe

WHAT DO TASTY DESERTS and the Android operating system have in common?  Well, for one thing: their names!  During a recent visit to Google's Mountain View campus, we discovered a statue fairyland commemorating the various OS releases over the years.  What a delight!

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Android has been used in many mobile phones and computers beginning in 2008 with the first two versions, Alpha and Beta.  After that Google engineers cleverly named them for desert treats with the distribution of Cupcake.  Subsequent releases have been named in alphabetical order:  Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat, and Lollipop. 

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It was a challenge to find where the statues had been relocated from their original spot near the campus entrance, but we eventually figured it out  --  We "googled" it! 

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The congregation of statues is beginning to appear like a children's playground!  However the signs warn us to enjoy, explore, and photograph them.  But don't climb on them

Still, I can't help wonder what next confectionary treat will appear here with the next update of Google's operating system.  Will it be  Marshmallows or M&Ms or Marmalade or...?

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
Google's self driving car 

Google's self driving car 

 

DRIVERLESS CARS are becoming more common these days as Google continues testing their performance in real time traffic.  Prototype vehicles continuously travel about in traffic, retrofitted with cameras, sensors, and lights.  However, there still remains a human at the controls.  This sighting during a recent shopping errand sparked a lengthy discussion between me and Frances regarding the acceptance of such a radical idea.  Is it safer?  Who's liable in an accident?  How much automation vs. human control is possible?  Will the lawmakers approve?

Computers certainly have impacted our lives through research, shopping, finance, travel, entertainment, health and fitness -- to name a few areas.

So what can go wrong?  And how much proof is needed before we are willing to relinquish control of the steering wheel?

 
Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
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THESE MINI QUILTS are amazing!  This doll-sized tableau, created by talented quilter Pat Bellamy, has been displayed at several Bay Area quilt shows over the past year, and every time I see it I marvel at the precision and attention to detail.

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Real life quilting is hard enough, but these dollhouse creations are sewn to 1:12" scale and present a real challenge to cut, piece, and assemble the fabric with precision.  I'm not sure  I'd have the patience -- or acute vision -- to do that!

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Pat has assembled over a hundred of these dollhouse quilts, so each exhibit is unique and pure delight. The styles and patterns are authentic and the scenes depict real life situations of the sewing community.  And the closer I examine her exhibits, I marvel at what she's accomplished!

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe