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    Tuesday

    misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

    misc-rambling-picI’ve started something new: hybrid reading. That’s my own term to describe digital reading in traditional book format. I decided to try it out when I found myself wanting to know the history of Poland better. My first thought was, “I’ll buy a book,” but then took stock of my limits and said, “You’ll never read the entire thing.” So I instead printed out the Wikipedia entry (23 pages of it anyway), three-hole punched it, and put it in a sturdy three-ring binder. The binder now sits with my other current reading projects. I’ve also added a 9-page symposium about Jane Jacobs that I found at The American Conservative (a search triggered by my post yesterday).

    misc-rambling-picAnd yes, newer TDE reader, I am a big fan of Wikipedia. I know, I know: it slants left and the conventional wisdom is that it’s not reliable. With respect the left allegation, I simply don’t see it. I’m not saying it’s not there, but I don’t see it and, trust me, I see leftist bogeymen everywhere. With respect to reliability, I think that contention was put to rest years ago when a study showed that Wikipedia was as reliable, or even more reliable, than the average print encyclopedia. It turns out that hundreds of mini-experts are at least as reliable as one major expert. Granted, you have to watch for the whopper that a troll might insert into the article (which isn’t deleted before you get there by the page moderator who gets notice every time the page is modified), but otherwise, as far as tertiary sources go, it’s very good . . . and excellent for giving you an overview of a topic that interests you, but not enough to spend $20 and 30 hours of your time reading about it in a book.

    misc-rambling-picIn that symposium on Jane Jacobs, one contributor dedicated his entire post to the importance of streetcars:

    [T]he ripping up of streetcar lines and their replacement with buses also ripped the urban fabric. Most people like riding streetcars, but almost no one likes riding a bus. The substitution of buses for electric streetcars drove most former streetcar riders to drive.

    When people took the streetcar to town — and every American city or town with 5,000 or more people once had streetcars — they also spent a lot of time on Jane Jacobs’ all-important sidewalks. There, they performed multiple functions: eyes on the street, office worker, restaurant diner, shopper, theater-goer and more.

    Once they drove into the city, their time on sidewalks dropped and with it shrank the number of roles they filled. They drove as close to their (usually single) destination as they could, parked, and walked only as far as necessary. When their business was done, their car drew them like a magnet and as soon as they could press the starter pedal they were gone. Stores, restaurants, and theaters moved to the suburbs where parking was easier. In time offices followed, and the city’s sidewalks emptied except for the occasional beggar or wino. My home city, Cleveland, lost its streetcars in 1953, and the downtown’s decline began. If Ohio had tumbleweeds, they would now blow down Euclid Avenue.

    Cities such as Portland, Oregon and Kenosha, Wisconsin that have brought streetcars back have found the sidewalks come to life again. So have shops, theaters and restaurants. Streetcars are pedestrian facilitators, more so than subways. People walk, take the streetcar, then get off and walk some more.

    Cities need streetcars.

    Fascinating stuff, that. Just one thing = a big (and negative) thing. I then remembered that Detroit brought back the streetcar last year along its central corridor (Woodward Avenue). I gotta believe they subscribe to the importance of the streetcar.

    Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList

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    After Abortion
    Aggie Catholics
    All Manner of Things
    Belinda’s Brain
    Bethune Catholic
    Betty Duffy
    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
    Catholic Exchange
    Catholic Fire
    Charlotte Was Both
    Chesterton and Friends
    Crossroads
    Decent Films
    Digital Hairshirt
    Dyspeptic Mutterings
    EWTN
    Fathers of the Church
    First Principles
    Get Blogs
    Gilbert Magazine
    Godspy
    Happy Catholic
    Mark Shea
    Mere Comments
    Michelle Reitemeyer
    More Last Than Star
    National Catholic Register
    New Advent
    Phat Catholic
    Pillar and Fire
    Post Modern Papist
    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
    Reasoned Audacity
    Reconnaissance of the Western Tradition
    Roman Catholic Info
    Ruri et Orbi
    Scholium
    Shadow of Diogenes
    Signs of the Times: Salvo Blog
    Some Have Hats
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    St. Blog’s Parish Directory
    St. James Journal
    St. Peter Canisius Apostolate
    Standing on My Head
    Stella Maris
    Stony Creek Digest
    Streams of Mercy
    Stupid Scholar
    Suicide of the West
    Summa Minutiae
    Taki
    The American Conservative
    The Blue Boar
    The Cafeteria is Closed
    The Crescat
    The Curt Jester
    The Dawn Patrol
    The Drunken Dollar
    The Impractical Christian
    The Inn at the End of the World
    The Michiana Blawg
    The Muniment Room
    The Radical Academy
    The Reticulator
    The Saint Wannabe
    The Scratching Post
    The Snoring Scholar
    The Summa Mamas
    The Waffling Anglican
    The Western Confucian
    Things and Stuff
    Thursday Night Gumbo
    Uncovering Orthodoxy
    Victor Lams
    Video Meliora
    Vita Mea
    Vox Nova
    What's Wrong with the World
    With Both Hands
    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
    World Wide Words

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