© 2017 by Sarah Wyman.

scw2150@columbia.edu

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BEAT WRITING

 

RELIGION

Mormons look to music to feel God's presence at Inwood First Ward

The chapel at Inwood First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where Daniel Dubei and his family attend church each Sunday, bears little resemblance to the Tabernacle in Utah. The New York chapel, with its small electric organ, is spacious and well-lit. Dated wainscoting stretches halfway up the white walls, and a plain podium carved from light oak serves as the focal point of the room. The space feels simple and sturdy. But if a passerby closed their eyes to listen to the music bursting from the Inwood chapel, they might imagine a grander space.

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Twenty feet under the ancient City of David and modern-day Jerusalem, a murky stream of water runs through the city’s bedrock like a vein to the heart of the Holy Land. The Gihon spring has flowed intermittently through this rock for thousands of years. For most of that time, it was Jerusalem’s only water source, and its supply was unpredictable. True to its name, Hebrew for “gushing,” the spring could lie dry and empty for days at a time before suddenly bursting forth with water. Today, five years into a debilitating regional drought, Israel’s water supply is just as tenuous.

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TRANSPORTATION

Why tech hasn’t solved New York City's subway accessibility issues 

Trip-planning apps like Google Maps, Transit, and Citymapper can predict subway arrival times, provide real-time service alerts and update routes by scraping data from the MTA’s Twitter. They haven’t yet worked out how to map trips for disabled subway riders.

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By the time her Uber arrives, Yesenia Torres, who uses a wheelchair, has been waiting for 40 minutes. The promised wait was 20 minutes, but the closest wheelchair accessible car is 2.5 miles away. And even then, that car picks up extra fares along the way. Torres says this isn’t unusual. Although there are over 80,000 for-hire-vehicles in New York City, such as those provided by Uber and Lyft, only 105 of them are wheelchair accessible, according to the drivers’ union.

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When Angelenos take to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, they will decide the trajectory of public transit and transit-oriented development in Los Angeles County for years to come. Measure M and Measure JJJ—which endeavor to expand transportation networks and safeguard affordable housing, respectively—both promise to advance the region’s sustainability goals while transforming where and how transportation is constructed in Los Angeles.

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The MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative aims to bring stations into the 21st century, but it’s leaving some of its riders on the curb. 

Beginning Oct 23, the 30th Av and 36th Av stations on the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd line in Queens will close for extensive renovations. When they reopen in June of next year, commuters will be met with granite floors, in-station USB charging ports and new benches and leaning bars. However, disabled riders still won’t be able to make it past the stairs.

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

It’s tempting to lump Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign in with the populist forces credited with approving Brexit and electing Donald Trump. However, to do so would be to radically underestimate the longevity of her movement and its profound appeals to a marginalized component of the French identity.

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While the refugee crisis differs from Europe’s tradition of immigration in many respects, it will face many of the same challenges. Namely, in order for successful integration to take place, native and non-native communities must overcome the profound socio-cultural divides which separate them. 

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MISCELLANEOUS

A former Sea Scout's perspective on a co-ed BSA

The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that it will welcome women and young girls into its ranks beginning in 2018. The news was met with ire from many corners of the Internet, including perplexed former-girl scouts, outraged conservatives and harbingers of the demise of traditional American values. But here’s the thing: we don’t need to speculate about what the results of gender integration in the Boy Scouts will be. 

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Ikea's furniture names are famous for being hard to pronounce, but they aren't completely random. Here's where they come from.

They're part of an elaborate naming system originally designed to help Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad— who was dyslexic — keep track of the thousands of products the furniture giant develops every year. Ikea groups the product names, all derived from Swedish words, into categories instead of using serial numbers. For example, bed textiles are named for flowers and plants, bookcases for professions and Scandinavian boys' names, and sofas and armchairs for Swedish places.

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