L.A.’s Revelatory Light Rail for Nerds

The Gold Line Has Become a Brain Train, Linking Educational Institutions From Pasadena to East L.A.

My train line is smarter than your train line.

I’m a regular rider of “The Brain Train,” officially known as the Gold Line on the L.A. Metro system. The Gold Line is a light rail running from the eastern San Gabriel Valley into downtown L.A. and then back out again to East L.A. Along the way, it connects enough smart institutions—from innovative community colleges, to a leading cancer center, to the world’s greatest scientific university—to explode stereotypes about public transportation and Southern California itself.

Yes, other parts of California may claim …

More In: Pasadena

My Hometown’s Rush to Honor Obama Says More About Us Than Him

We're Fawning Over the Outgoing President—But the Feeling Isn't Mutual

I recently learned that, in the second grade, I was part of presidential history.

Every morning during the 1980-1981 school year, I walked the five blocks between my family’s home in …

California Should Be More Like the Rose Parade

The State’s Greatest Public Event Delivers Every Year—Which Is More Than You Can Say for Sacramento

Sometimes I wish the state of California were run more like the Rose Parade.

It’s not just how nice it’d be to have all the surfaces in Capitol offices covered in …

I Dish Out the Food Your Supermarket Can’t Use

My Neighbors Were Going Hungry, So I Got My Local Trader Joe’s to Donate Carloads of Groceries

In the spring of 2009, my teenage daughter and I attended a memorial service in Pasadena, California, followed by a family-style luncheon. After the service, the retired clergyman who had …

What Raymond Chandler Didn’t Understand About L.A.

His Southern California Was About the Darkness Under the Glitz. Mine Is About the Smell of Smog Mixed With Sea, the Gardeners of the San Gabriel Valley, and the Neighborhoods Philip Marlowe Ignored.

I have to make the kind of confession that is just terrible for an L.A.-based mystery writer: I am not a fan of Raymond Chandler. He has set a tone …

Gravity Can Be Beautiful

The Art of Making Natural Forces Visible—and Making Art Out of Science

The inspiration for our sculpture came from the vision of a set of crossed swords that solders walk beneath during military ceremonies. But what we ended up creating in Floating …