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How LA works: From SigAlerts to earthquakes

A traffic map of part of Los Angeles, from SigAlert.
A traffic map of part of Los Angeles, from SigAlert.
via SigAlert
A traffic map of part of Los Angeles, from SigAlert.
Los Angeles Magazine

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Each day, you wake up, maybe turn on your radio, brush your teeth, grab some coffee, and head out to work. And so on and so forth.

You probably don't give too much thought to what all needs to happen in order to make your day go smoothly. But Nancy Miller, an editor at Los Angeles Magazine, has. She's investigated some of the hidden, inner-workings of L.A. for the magazine's latest cover story: "How L.A. Works."

The issue explores everything that goes on in L.A. over the course of a single day— from how the 'SigAlert' got its name, to how exactly earthquakes work, to how radio waves, electricity, and water make it to your home each day.

So how did the SigAlert get its name? From Loyd Sigmon, of course. Sigman, an executive at radio station KPMC-AM, invented the real-time traffic reports in the 1950s.

And how does L.A. work, literally? What jobs do people do and how much do they pay? "How L.A. Works" looks into a variety of typical jobs in the city and finds that a street character on Hollywood Boulevard might make $31,000 a year, while a parking attendant might only make $21,000.

The "How L.A. Works" issue of Los Angeles Magazine is on newsstands now.

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