Too many interesting things to read today. I've got some time between work and Bel Canto to get through them:
I have not read Bel Canto, though I understand it's loosely based on an actual historical event. I also haven't ever heard anything from composer Jimmy López before, since it only permiered last month. Friends who work for the Lyric tell me it's pretty good. I'll find out in a few hours.
Since my company is closed today, and I have no obligations until late this afternoon, I'm taking my time fixing a bug and deploying a software package. So I actually have the bandwidth to read these articles right now, as opposed to "someday:"
- Citylab has a list of terms and myths they'd like to retire, including "Artisinal" and "Wider roads = less traffic." (They also have a list of traffic myths that need retiring too.)
- Back in November, Paris' Orly airport couldn't give pilots runway visual range because of a Windows 3.1 glitch. You read that right. (And notice that PC Mag's site still uses classic ASP. That, right there, is irony.)
- Cory Doctorow points out the security and legal problems with self-driving cars, from which one should draw more general lessons about the intersections of law, ethics, and code.
- Anita Sarkeesian reviews "The Force Awakens" positively. (If you're familiar with Feminist Frequency, you know why this is noteworthy.)
- Talking Points Memo has announced the 2015 Golden Duke Awards. Winners include Dennis Hastert, Kim Davis, and other people deserving ridicule.
I do have to fix this bug, though. Better get back to it now.
Too many things showed up in my RSS feeds this morning. Fortunately, I've got a few days off this weekend and next.
And now, a conference call.
This is cool. Explains CityLab:
Entomological unease aside, this poster of the planet’s 140 metros should make a fantastic holiday gift for the city-obsessed nerd. Made by Neil Freeman, an artist and urban planner who runs the site Fake Is the New Real, the roughly29 by 23-inch, black-and-white sheet stacks train systems with the largest ones at top…
...and the most basic at bottom.
Take a look at the artist's designs and find your metro.
Politico has a long-form article describing Evanston's efforts to rid its downtown of cars:
With stops for Chicago Transit Authority buses and its “L” rail line, Metra suburban rail’s Union Pacific North line and the Pace suburban bus, Evanston always had great transit bones. For much of its history it had also been a relatively prosperous North Shore city, its growth initially spurred by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as Chicagoans fled its chaotic density, and in the 20th century, its share of once-famous industrial names, from Rust-Oleum Corp. to Shure, the audio products company, to Bell & Howell, then best known for its film cameras and projectors.
The answer to the suburb’s economic woes, as it turned out, lay in embracing Lerner’s theory that “city is not the problem, city is solution.” Beginning in 1986, a new plan for Evanston embraced the idea of a “24/7” downtown, pouring resources into increasing the density of its downtown—a density that also meant decreasing residents’ reliance on automobiles. As a compact city, Evanston couldn’t compete with the vast sprawling parking spots of the Old Orchard Mall. It had to build a different sort of appeal.
Evanston’s approach mixed investments in mass transit—including building a new downtown transportation center—and relaxing its zoning restrictions along two designated corridors, Main and Central Streets, to permit increased residential density. “Nobody wanted a 20-story building in their downtown,” recalls Aiello-Fantus, the former assistant city manager. “There was this perception that we’re just a little town and having something 20 stories changes that character.”
I'm glad Evanston's planning is getting national press. I love the place, which is why I lived there for many years (and may do again). For many years before then, my mom lived along the Main Street corridor mentioned in the article—and then moved up to Central Street later on. And, of course, I was just there a couple weeks ago.
Interesting aside: 116 years ago today, the village of Austin ceased to exist as it was absorbed into the City of Chicago by legislative fiat. The city might have swallowed Evanston as well. How Evanston avoided that is a story in itself.