In Southern California, the daylight can be harsh, even when the brilliant sunshine filters through a gauzy layer of smog. But in the fleeting moments of day, as early evening melds into twilight, the light softens.
This is when the photographer Tom M. Johnson wanders his neighborhood, camera in hand, in search of serendipity. In Lakewood, 20 miles outside of Los Angeles, Mr. Johnson has spent the past decade documenting a town in transition, capturing the intimate details of homes and their inhabitants for his project, “Lakewood: Portraits of a Sacred American Suburb.”
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District boasts the third-highest test scores in the state of California. So it would be natural to assume that a relatively large share of its eighth-graders are on the accelerated track in mathematics.
Conversely, the Lennox school district has the highest rate of poverty in the South Bay. One might assume that a disproportionate number of its eighth-graders take it slower in math.
One of the biggest disasters we face would begin about 18 hours after the sun spit out a 10-billion-ton ball of plasma—something it has done before and is sure to do again. When the ball, a charged cloud of particles called a coronal mass ejection (CME), struck the Earth, electrical currents would spike through the power grid. Transformers would be destroyed. Lights would go out. Food would spoil and—since the entire transportation system would also be shut down—go unrestocked.
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States declined by 34 percent—a loss of more than six million positions. For now America remains one of the world’s greatest manufacturing powers—it makes 19.4 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, a share that fell only slightly over the past 30 years and is right behind China’s share of 19.8 percent. But hard questions remain about the future of production in an advanced industrial country like the U.S. The latest research suggests that the big recent decline in manufacturing jobs is due not only to increases in productivity, as we long thought, but also to large gains for Chinese imports.Do these global trends mean that manufacturing has a limited future in a high-wage country? Does the U.S. even need much domestic production when manufacturing has become a commodity that can easily and cheaply be purchased abroad? As the economy becomes more heavily dominated by services, why focus on manufacturing at all?