Mountain News: Do gates deliver security or status? 

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - Lyman Orton charges that calls for a security gate at the entrance to a high-end housing enclave near Steamboat Springs called Catamount smack of snobbism.

"I don't know who these folks are that keep agitating for a gate, but I hope that they calm down and learn to enjoy what is one of the safest places in the world to live - Routt County," said Orton in a letter published in the Steamboat Pilot . He accuses the agitators of using "security" as a code word for "letting the rest of us know just how exclusive they are."

For several decades, Catamount was envisioned as a ski area. Trails were to have descended off the Gore Range and into the lush Yampa River Valley. The flattened ski market of the 1990s finally quelled that idea. Instead, developers created a lake-centered project in the base area.

As an owner, Orton says he and others specifically directed that Catamount would remain an ungated community, because of the negative signal that gates send.

"The heritage and culture of our valley is neighbourliness, friendliness and a welcoming attitude," he writes. "Gated communities send exactly the opposite signal."


Google blamed for Park City accident

PARK CITY, Utah -- If somebody gives you bum directions, can you blame that person if you get hurt?

The somebody in this case is Google, which provides mapping directions, and a Los Angeles woman. She has sued the company, asking for $100,000 in damages after she was hit by a car. She was in Park City, and it was just before dawn in January 2009. The walking instructions sent her down a busy road without streetlights or a sidewalk.

Writing in the Washington Post , author Nicholas Carr says the story illustrates a remarkable shift in the way people get around these days, "We may not all be wandering around highways in the dark, but most of us have become dependent on computer-generated maps of one sort or another."

Carr, the author of a new book called The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains , says there is evidence that our growing reliance on automated GPS directions could end up altering the circuitry in our brain.

He cites a study of London cab drivers that showed them with enlarged portions of their brains that are believed to have to do with navigational skills. He also cites ruminates of a researcher from McGill University that speculates that giving into the easy directions of GPS may actually result in more cases of dementia.

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