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Critical Mass

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.
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.
August 16, 2012
The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to reaffirm the right of public universities - particularly competitive and prestigious ones - to consider race as a factor in admissions decisions. This welcome and forceful endorsement of affirmative action comes in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Justice Department in a case challenging admissions policies at the University of Texas at Austin. The fact of the administration's intervention may be more influential than its specific arguments, which reflect the somewhat convoluted reasoning the court has adopted in upholding racial preferences in university admissions.
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."
January 4, 2011 | By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
Anna Seng had no idea it was against the law to ride an unregistered bike in Long Beach, a place that has pledged to be "the most bicycle-friendly city in America. " But she found out earlier this year when her teenage son borrowed a cousin's bike and came home with a big surprise: a ticket for not having a bell ? or registration. "I didn't even know that existed until I got the ticket," Seng said. "People that I talk to ? none of them tell me they have registration. " Now she and her son are preparing for a court date to challenge the fines, which total more than $400.
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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