But they became unnerved by the easy access to the data, he says.
“It's creepy to know that encoded in the freely available information are very personal details that you may not want others to know.”
#storysongs combo: “Swimming Pools and Movie Stars,” by the Wedding Present. (And on another musical note, don’t you love how one of the photos accompanying the story online looks like the cover for Nirvana’s “Nevermind”?
Pair sheds new light on L.A.’s claim to neon fame
The brightly illuminated billboard was a traffic-stopping sensation in 1923 Los Angeles, a city just starting its love affair with automobiles. Sitting atop a downtown hotel, the sign was rimmed in glowing blue and spelled out “Packard” in radiant red letters at least 4 feet high.
People drove long distances to view this newfangled technology called neon at the corner of 7th and Flower streets. They called it “liquid fire.” Congestion got so bad that the police were called in.
That's the popular recounting of how neon made its debut in America: With his Packard sign, Los Angeles businessman Earle C. Anthony was the first to use those candy-colored glass tubes, beating out everyone else in the country — including New York. For decades, the story has been widely accepted in neon circles as fact.
But is it true?
Academic Dydia DeLyser didn't set out to debunk anything when she decided to research the history of neon.
But that simple scholastic decision ended up launching a yearlong search that took DeLyser and her research and life partner, Paul Greenstein, into the bowels of Los Angeles institutions to track down newspaper articles, permits and building records.
It ended in a windowless room at UCLA where file cabinets held thousands of 8-by-10 glossies showing Los Angeles from the sky — and one “aha!” photograph.
#storysongs combo: “Neon Wilderness,” by the Verve. Far from my favorite song on the brilliant “Urban Hymns,” but still lovely.
Craigslist ad makes gold country ghost town a hot property
The road to this abandoned gold mining town is six miles long, mostly dirt and gravel, snaking along a ridge hundreds of feet above the north fork of the Feather River.
Bill Davies takes the turns slowly in his pickup; a wrong twist of the wheel has sent less careful drivers sliding off the road. There's no snow or rain, but even clear days require cautious preparation, and Davies has brought a chain saw just in case strong winds have toppled any pines or cedars onto his path.
His dog, a mutt named Tom Tom he found abandoned, runs alongside as his truck passes patches of trees charred in last year's forest fire. Up ahead, a sign warning of rock slides is pocked with bullet holes.