Officials evacuated and closed parts of the Angeles National Forest after finding a dead squirrel that was infected with bubonic plague, the BBC reports.
Scientists are currently examining the squirrel to see if it died of the disease or of other causes. Park officials are using insecticides on squirrel burrows to kill off any fleas, which is how the disease spreads from one animal to another. The Twisted Arrow, Broken Blade and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain campgrounds are closed until further notice, although hiking is still permitted.
The plague killed about a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century but is not nearly as active these days. Only four people have contracted the disease in Los Angeles County since 1984. This map from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows each case of the plague in the United States since 1970. About 80% were of the bubonic variety and most cases were not fatal, since antibiotic treatment is usually successful. In related news, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany are developing an easy test to detect the plague in its early stages.
As you can see, there are two main clusters. New Mexico gets about half of all the human infections in the U.S. In the 1980s, the worst plague decade, it had slightly more than a hundred cases. Worldwide, most plague cases are in south central Africa and east Asia. People tend to get it while engaged in outdoor activities.
Could the notoriously car-centric city of Los Angeles become America’s next outdoor and cycling Mecca?
Plans are now underway to create a continuous greenway and bike path along all 51 miles of the Los Angeles River, stretching from San Fernando Valley all the way to Long Beach. With 26 miles of the current path already connected, officials hope to add an additional 25 miles by the end of the decade.
Greenway 2020 officials hope the revitalized riverfront will lead to a bike-commuting and outdoor recreation boom.
“The Greenway is a new way of living for Los Angeles, connecting our beautiful neighborhoods, connecting our natural landscapes, and connecting to one another,” the group’s website reads. “Instead of crowded streets and honking horns on your morning commute, imagine chirping birds, flowing water and numerous coffee shops along the way to work.”
NBC Universal and Universal Studios Hollywood recently committed to donating $13 million for a 7-mile path extension from Griffith Park Zoo to Lankershim Boulevard by 2016.
Los Angeles’ plan comes on the heels of Indianapolis’ successful completion of its $62 million Cultural Trail earlier this year and could eventually become a larger version of San Antonio‘s famous Riverwalk path system.
If you think your rush hour commute is a nightmare, the scene above from a morning commute in Beijing might be the reality check you need. Not only do commuters pack onto subway trains, but the automobile traffic there is ranked the worst in the world, too. It really is no wonder record pollution has been suffocating China’s capital city.
And by the way, if you thought the traffic in New York, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. was bad, you might be surprised a U.S. city doesn’t even make it into the top ten list of worst commutes. Beijing, Mexico City and Johannesburg round out the top three.
Artist Michael Shainblum claims he felt it was time to “combine Timelapse photography and the simplicity of a kaleidoscope” when he created this stunning video. Covering five major American cities, Shainblum’s piece is a feast for the eyes.
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It might not be long before people are being whisked from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an underground pipeline akin to the tubes drive-up banks use. The wild idea comes from Elon Musk, who has or has had high stakes in PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Here’s what Musk told PandoDaily:
“How would you like something that never crashed, was immune to weather, that goes three or four times as fast as the bullet trains we have now or about twice the speed of an aircraft, that would get you from downtown L.A. to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes and it would cost you much less than any other type of transportation.”
There’s been a lot of futuristic means of travel proposed in the past — flying cars, hover boards and teleporting, to name a few — but with billionaire backing, this idea seems like it’s actually on track. Get ready for the fifth form of transportation, folks; one that blows planes, trains, automobiles and boats out of the water. Here’s a few reasons why:
- It’s solar powered.
- It leaves leave as soon as you arrive “so there is no waiting for a specific departure time,” according to Musk.
- It’s better than a bullet train: capsules will be propelled as fast as 4,000 miles per hour, but passengers will be exposed to the G-forces of an ordinary car ride.
- Musk wants to keep the invention open source, and not apply patents to it.
[via Smithsonian magazine]