Wandering Eye: The Mets eat crabs after beating the O's, what will happen in the era of automated vehicles?, and more

Will the coming era of Automated Vehicles (AV) kill the city or usher in an urban renaissance? The architect and planner Klaus Phillipsen lays out two possible scenarios. Scenario 1: Killer. "With road capacity magically increased through AV, congestion has become a thing of the past and a commute has become a breeze. Who would mind moving a bit further out?" He says the cars park themselves, save a lot of space, and so engender a hollowing-out and further sprawling of the cities. Scenario 2: Savior. "Driving and possessing a car has completely fallen out of favor as a favorite past-time or a staus symbol, just like having a horse or a shine carriage had become obsolete a good century earlier." The cars park so easily they save tons of space, so the many parking garages that blight downtowns are converted to better things, he writes. This is done really because there are fewer of them, because "sharing economy." In this scenario, "AVs are being ordered like Uber taxis used to be via smart phone and they now drive you where you want to go like a taxi, but without the driver. The few who still own their AVs rent them out during downtimes, a trend that had already begun in 2015 with flightcar." Phillipsen does not predict either scenario, but implores readers to take action to tip the balance. He's pretty adamant that "when it comes to urban centers, AVs have to be kept out just like automobiles today." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

After beating the Orioles 5-3 last night, some players from the Mets ate some Maryland crabs. We know this because the team tweeted out a truly amazing picture (above) of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes sitting in front of a full plate of discarded shells and wearing an expression that says, "Do you really need to take my fucking picture right now?" It's not clear who else joined pig-roasting enthusiast Cespedes in the feast. As some have pointed out, there are what appear to be apple juice and orange juice bottles on the table. With crabs??? Eeeeew. (Brandon Weigel)

 

"Sandra Bland's traffic stop and the tragic series of events that occurred afterward have been the subject of many recent think pieces, but few authors have examined why the initial traffic stop went wrong in the first place. The most obvious explanation might be simple racial profiling, which almost certainly played a role, but the dash cam video of the event also shows an interaction that escalated at an alarmingly rapid pace." So writes Mark Liberman over at Language Log. The professor of linguistics and University of Pennsylvania argues that the sudden escalation can perhaps be attributed to officer Brian Encinia misunderstanding the grammatical patterns of African-American English. He says that the number of stressed syllables that Bland used was higher than a typical white speaker might use, which is why Encinia might have decided to treat her as if she was being hostile. "The fact is that Sandra Bland was at a disadvantage the moment she opened her mouth. The officer saw and heard her, and likely formed an opinion about her based on both her race and her language," he writes. ". . . part of why Sandra Bland's behavior was interpreted as 'talking back' is that the officer heard her as 'talking black.'" (Anna Walsh)

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