Making Cities Livable Again

Face it: As much as you may profess to love the city, the modern metropolis leaves much to be desired. They're frequently overcrowded, lacking in amenities, bleak, and not pedestrian-friendly. The American city today is a far cry from what it promised to be, and it's constantly becoming less and less habitable with urbanization.

Charles Siegel, author of Unplanning: Livable Cities and Political Choices, points out the flaws of modern city planning and proposes new models on how we can return (if there ever was) to the golden age of American urban living. One of my favorite plans attempts to regulate automobile traffic within city limits:
To illustrate the effect of a different limit on automobile use, consider a city with a speed limit of 12 mph to 15 mph for private vehicles, about the same speed a bicycle. This limit would let people use cars for local trips—for example, for hauling groceries home—but people would use higher speed rail transit for longer trips. Bicycles and small electric vehicles similar to golf carts could travel along with the automobiles in the main traffic lanes. Shopping streets would be quieter and safer for pedestrians than they are in today's cities. Residential streets could make traffic even slower, as the woonerfs in the Netherlands do, so they would be safe places for children to play.
What's interesting here is that it doesn't outright legislate change in the urban landscape, but provides incentives for people to commit to certain improvements. Sometimes people just need a push in the right direction, and maybe this is what the modern city needs.

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Photo via Planetizen

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

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via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

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via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

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