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Critical Mass

September 7, 1997 | DAVID COLKER
When thousands of defiant cyclists descended on downtown San Francisco in July, tying up rush-hour traffic and getting into fights with angry motorists, it was probably the first time that most Los Angeles drivers had ever heard of the Critical Mass movement. But a handful of little-publicized rides have been held in the Los Angeles area, though the mass they attracted fell far short of the critical. "We had one last month that started in Westwood," said bicycle commuter Julio Uchimura.
May 3, 1998
There's no mistaking it. The Asian influence that's filtered into our fashion, food and films has reached critical mass in home design. Witness the popularity of furnishings from not only China and Japan but also Indonesia, the Philippines, even India and Pakistan. Whether old or new, they lend any room, regardless of its style, a sense of the exotic. And no wonder.
December 28, 1997 | KAREN KAPLAN
The mega-merger wave that has reduced the number of top industry players to three will hit the tier of smaller subcontractors in Southern California and the U.S. Some firms may be swallowed by biggies Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, while others will merge in order to gain critical mass. The booming market for satellite-enabled commercial telecommunications services will promote growth even as military contracts continue to dwindle.
April 11, 1999
"After almost 50 years of paucity, the number of female writers, directors and producers is once again nearing critical mass," Cari Beauchamp proclaims in "Silent Partners" (April 4). Beauchamp's optimistic conclusion echoes the conventional wisdom that the number of women employed in the film industry has increased dramatically over the years. I can understand why she would come to this conclusion. After all, annual issues of the entertainment trades and the popular press tout the achievements of high-profile women in the film industry.
Roger Ebert, Martha Stewart, Consumer Reports, Gallup polls and other product experts and professional pundits had better watch their backs. They've got a formidable new competitor: word-of-mouth recommendations by amateur critics that are flooding the Internet. Millions of neophyte critics and self-made pundits on the World Wide Web are suddenly reviewing and rating everything from vacation spots to books, sports stars to toaster ovens.
October 11, 2009 | Megan Twohey
A groom was driving down Michigan Avenue to his wedding rehearsal one Friday night when he found himself engulfed by a sea of bicycles. Angry that they were slowing him down, he started yelling, only to have half a dozen cyclists surround his car and yell back at him for traveling by four wheels. The groom had stumbled upon Critical Mass, the monthly event that sees as many as 3,000 bikers riding through Chicago's streets, running red lights and blocking traffic -- all with a somewhat reluctant police escort.
May 2, 1999 | STEVE CHAWKINS, Steve Chawkins is a Times staff writer. His e-mail address is
I was ready for trouble on wheels. After all, this ragtag army of Spandex soldiers was gathering for Ventura County's first Critical Mass, and anything could happen. In San Francisco, the free-spirited monthly bike rides started out seven years ago as innocent tributes to pedal power. But in 1997, thousands of riders paralyzed downtown traffic, clogging narrow streets and clashing with angry motorists.
March 31, 2007
I mourn the passing of the Life magazine I knew in the middle decades of the last century. I contest, however, that its death was, as Tim Rutten supposed, inevitable ["Life as We Knew It," March 28]. Notwithstanding the ubiquity of digital cameras and photo-capable cellphones, I cannot imagine that "popular tastes in media" have changed so much that a well-edited collection of dramatic and insightful photographs is no longer worth publishing. I blame the editors of Life for killing it, and offer as evidence their "Picture of the Week."
October 22, 2012
Cam Newton faced plenty of questions about his playing ability and character coming out of college before last season. The Carolina Panthers quarterback seemed to silence all the critics with a stellar rookie season that featured no off-field incidents last year. But this year, he and the Panthers are struggling on the field. And some questionable comments following Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys (see part of them on the video above and part here ) - including several that seem to be throwing offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski under the bus and another in which Howard refers to a female reporter as "sweetheart" - have raised some eyebrows.
We don't have our own branch in the academy, we don't get invited to power brunches in Malibu, we're usually at our typewriters or parked in front of television screens on the big night. But if you're looking for the driving force behind this year's Oscar nominations, it was us. That's right, critics rule. No, not this particular critic, in fact not any one critic at all.
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