Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Tenacious Tree

A palm tree growing along the column supporting a bridge...and then diagonally sideways until it gets out from under the bridge entirely.

I finally stopped to take a photo of this tenacious palm tree. I’m not sure whether it was planted or if it just took root next to the support pillar back when the Green Line was new two decades ago. It’s clearly not actively maintained, judging by all the old dry fronds still attached, and I keep wondering if it’ll get taken out as part of the construction of the Crenshaw line (this is right next to the Y connector where the new line branches off, and the fences are part of the construction site)…but that construction’s almost done, and the tree’s still there.

Ring! Ring! Who’s There? *handcuffs*

Cnet has a report on how police departments are being inundated with false alarms from Amazon Ring alerts because people have freaked out over the camera footage of innocent activities. In one case someone called to report footage of themselves walking into the door!

I’m reminded of a case that happened nearby just a month ago. In Manhattan Beach (near Los Angeles), police from five cities — and an LA Sheriff’s helicopter — descended on a neighborhood because someone panicked over Ring footage of a food delivery sent to the wrong address. It took them an hour and a half to confirm that there was no crime in progress.

The story basically filled a bingo card:

  • IoT doorbell camera (and of course it was Ring)
  • Gig/app delivery service
  • Upscale neighborhood
  • Paranoid reaction to, you know, people
  • NextDoor posts quoted in article (because of course they are)
  • Massive police over-response
  • SMS alerts sent to neighboring cities

It was absurd. Fortunately no one was hurt or arrested, so it remains an absurdity, but between the waste of resources, the increase in fear, and the risk that something could have gone wrong, it fits right in with these other cautionary tales. As Fight for the Future puts it:

Ubiquitous, privately owned surveillance camera networks are NOT going to make our neighborhoods safer. They just make us all paranoid. Soon we’ll be snitching on our neighbors Red Scare style. Enough

Snow Above Los Angeles (Feb 2019)

The winter storm of the past few days is over, leaving a thick coat of snow on the higher parts of the San Gabriel Mountains and a thin dusting on the lower parts, even the mountains behind the Hollywood Hills, still lingering though mid-morning.

By mid-afternoon, most of the snow in the second photo appeared to have melted, and the patches on Mt. Wilson (barely visible to the left in the first and third images) had mostly faded. The next ridge back was still thoroughly covered, though!

I left work just before sunset, to make sure I could get some photos of the reddish light glinting off of the still snow-covered mountains.

Earthquake Warning System: Now in Los Angeles!

Because seismic waves are slower than internet signals, it’s possible to send an alert after an earthquake starts, but before the shaking reaches you. A few seconds’ warning is enough to pull over to the side of the road, climb down from a ladder, step away from a high shelf or window, put down a scalpel, etc.

Mexico and Japan both have systems like this, and Los Angeles has launched a pilot program with apps for both Android and iOS.