Here is a podcast I participated in with Charles Fadem and Rachel Scott from my office talking a little bit out the transit of the region and a comparison to other cities I've lived in.
Today is October 31st and any true Nevadan will gladly spurt out "Happy Nevada Day!" To show off both their pride for Nevada and the that there is something more than Halloween to be observed.
The day is the anniversary of the Nevada territory being admitted as a state in the war ravaged union of 1864. The 31st of October has meaning to the holiday which had both the benefit of giving kids a day off on Halloween (which our teachers beat into our heads that the day off was for Nevada, not getting free candy), and providing social capitol for citizen to come together and celebrate a state we all love. Since then it's been a little odd for me when people tell me Happy Nevada Day not on the 31st after Nevada decided to change the day of celebration.
In 1997 a state assemblyman thought it would be a great idea to adjust Nevada Day to the nearest Friday before to create a three day weekend. In 1998 the people approved this idea cheapening the celebration of statehood to something on par with Black Friday. After doing some reading, I think this passed with mildly good intentions, but the day has lost it's only meaning- the date. If we put this idea in a larger context, such as Independence Day, would we be ok to move our July 4th celebrations to accommodate a three day weekend? Probably not. While I think most people enjoy three day weekends, I also think it's reasonable to say a random midweek day off is fun too and when you really think about it, roughly half of the time Nevada Day will fall appropriately to create a three weekend anyhow. So on this Nevada Day, I ask that someone go up to Carson City and fix this. Don't cheapen the holiday of our favorite state the way outsiders cheapen Nevadan culture.
Now that's off my chest, lets celebrate the Great State of Nevada with my yearly favorite "Home Means Nevada" sung by Nevada's very own the Killers.
So I was looking the breakfast links on Greater Greater Washington this morning when I found a hilarious post (including a sarcastic map) by Matt Johnson and David Alpert regarding the new Silver line station names proposed by Fairfax county. Working Station names proposed by WMATA were cited as too boring. Fairfax County's effort churned out an even more boring list of names, all starting with a certain large region then hyphenated into more specific area (table below). I don't know much about Virginia, so I can't speak to the superiority of the names, but I imagine everyone could do better. Maybe I should send Fairfax County the London Underground map hanging above my desk for inspiration? I pull two valuable lessons from this. a) The community may not be the best source for a station names largely because b) the community, in general America, doesn't value the rich resources of history. We should hand over new station names to regional experts and historians. I bet they could draft up meaningful station names fulfilling everyone requirements and maybe give everyone a new perspective of each neighborhoods. If we could start valuing knowledge again we could overcome this fiasco.
|Working name||Fairfax proposal|
|Tysons Central 123||Tysons I&II|
|Tysons Central 7||Tysons Central|
|Tysons West||Tysons-Spring Hill Road|
|Wiehle Avenue||Reston-Wiehle Avenue|
|Reston Parkway||Reston Town Center|
|Route 28||Herndon-Dulles East|
I'm betting , in the end, the strongest power of corporate and developer interests will win this war. Prove me wrong Fairfax County!
What PIPA and SOPA have taught us, in case we didn't think this already, is that Congress doesn't understand technology. They even admit it by saying they aren't "nerds" as documented in Jon Stewart's The Daily Show (I think the use of the term "nerd" over "geek" to sound hip continues the point). Call me a rocket scientist, but shouldn't people who understand how stuff works make regulations about that stuff. A good rule of thumb in 2012- anyone who still uses a Blackberry should not be allowed to discuss technology. While we know it's just lobbyist telling congress what to do, let's pretend they are actually concerned about copyrighted material being stolen off the internet. Were these same people worried about tapes in the 70s and 80s? Were they pushing the 95th congress to ban tape decks? Probably not, so let's take back seat to technology laws for awhile so we can have Wikipedia in peace.
This past month NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) decided it was time to ask their record holders for a little feedback. The feeling to voice my opinion about NCARB strikes a desire similar to say, congress asking me how they could better serve the American people. I started the survey one day to find the process to take longer expected. I'm sad to say I did not complete the survey. At least I can happily know the perserverant managed to fill the result banks with dissatisfaction. So why is NCARB so bad? I know very little about NCARB, except they enforce the rules and take my money for record keeping, so I decided I should take a look at potential issues. Naturally, my mind questions the current leadership and organization structure. I decided to read through the bylaws and looked at the leadership and discovered it's politics as usual. Members of the board have worked their way up a through the system and only serve a short and mostly unpaid terms. The terms are so short, when one reaches the executive board they are only allowed to serve for a year (two years for Presidents). For the powers that NCARB holds I would think the board would have a more influential tenure, after all, a typical collegiate student council has a longer allowed term.
Another drawback to the current board is age. The board is served by a wise old crowd of tested architects. Unfortunately, the generation of architects that lead our professional field are far from understanding the current wave of technology. This is a much larger issue of our field, but relates to how NCARB has implemented technology. Fortunately they have made advances in technology, but still don't have the refined feel that a tested architect would practice in detailing a building.
Two points of contention seem to come up in my circle of soon-to-be architects that might be the result of the generation gap. One is the Intern Development Program (IDP). While getting the process online deserves applause, it still largely reflects the old paper model. Why should one have to keep track of hours with a spreadsheet on their computer, to transpose the same numbers to an online sheet to send to the boss and NCARB?
IDP should skip a step and allow one to save unapproved hours online like an email draft . Then when the user is ready, they could send the logged hours to the boss and NCARB. (one can save unsent hours now)
Another point that is popularly irritating is the ARE (Architecture Registration Exam) drafting program. NCARB doesn't want to endorse one of the many popular drafting software. This seems logical as some people might not be familiar with AutoCAD. NCARB's solution was to developed their own poorly made drafting program that requires test takers to learn a software they will never use again. NCARB should allow all the software companies to load their drafting software and allow users to chose what they want. As long as the requirements are met in the drawings, who cares what program was used? Why not allow hand drafting (this seems more universal than a NCARB only program)?
These are not rocket science solutions, but ones that my generation might have a better insight on that could help the old guard and the profession. As designers and frequent users of the computer, young architects could make NCARB better than dealing with the DMV.
I watched the job's speech from the Official White House enhanced version the night of the speech (a little over two weeks ago). The enhanced version simply had a bunch of infographics to the right of the screen supporting Obama's speech. I thought it was odd that the bridge he said needed attention was the Roebling Bridge according to the infographic. I believe the Roebling bridge was just renovated, and I am pretty sure no semi-trucks are allowed on it. (In case you didn't know, the Roebling bridge predates and was a prototype of the Brooklyn Bridge, of which Roebling designed) So when I heard about Obama going to the bridge two days ago I thought "wait, hes going to a different bridge than his infographic stated." I am not the only person who noticed this. Cincinnati.com wrote a brief article about it. I checked the current enhanced version of the speech and it now shows the correct bridge.
I was talking to a friend the other day and she pointed out that the White House communications was really lacking in the healthcare debate. I still think it is lacking. That is a huge slip up, and one of cultural significance. Its clear that someone didn't know, or likely care, about the specifics of a bridge somewhere. A communications team should check everything leaving the White House ten times, and everyone working for the White House should have an extensive knowledge base of the United States including a huge understanding of the little nuances of regions. While a bridge isn't a nuance, the fact that this slip up made it out shows that accuracy is not important.
I would love to see the makeup of the White House including where they are from and what qualified them to work there. I am confident I would be unimpressed.