Wednesday, 7 September 2022

fahrkarte (10. 115)

Though happy to pay full fare and subsidise public transportation, I do miss the 9-Euro bus and regional train scheme offered during the past three months to help offset high fuel prices and inflation besetting Germany chiefly for the simplicity and making local travel a bit easier to navigate, explore and reducing congestion and do hope that it comes back in some form. It was a really inopportune ending, coinciding with the start of the school year and a drastic reduction of services in Wiesbaden, going on the Saturday schedule for some routes. A group of activist is campaigning for its return by establishing a fund to cover the fines (60 € or more) for those members fined for riding without a ticket—and encouraging members to display a tag for potential fare collectors or inspector that they are intentionally riding without a valid ticket, so as to avoid the more serious charge of defrauding the transport-providers and only incur the lesser fine for “Schwarzfahrer”—fare-dodging. While an organisation is free to offer amnesty for its members and champion the return of a cheap, flat-rate, their actions could also be legally construed as public incitement to commit a crime—through ticket evasion.

Monday, 15 August 2022

ferragosto (10. 062)

Originating from the Roman holiday Feriae Augusti instigated by Caesar Augustus, Octavian, to reward

agricultural workers (inclusive of beasts of burden) after a long, hot summer of toil at the head of the month and to commemorate his victory over Mark Antony in the Battle of Actium, the Church later shifted the festivity to coincide with the Feast of the Assumption. Observed also by the residents of San Marino, the canton of Ticino and for political reasons the Vatican rather than the day of holy obligation, the holiday became associated with an extended vacation weekend during the fascist era when Mussolini directed the National Afterwork Club (Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro—see also) to arrange hospitality and the “People’s Trains of Ferragosto” (nothing to do with ferrocarril) at heavily discounted prices that allowed working class families to visit the mountains or the seaside. This tradition continues commercially, the date signaling the start of the holiday season in Italy and businesses shutter operations for the next couple of weeks. Chiuso per ferie.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

7x7 (10. 025)

spectacular vernacular: 99% Invisible celebrates milestone episodes with an exploration of vintage architectural styles, via Pasa Bon!  

conlang: fluency in Esperanto—see previously  

122 CE: a colourful gate house installed at Hadrian’s Wall 

the electric lucifer: the musical stylings of Bruce Haack 

civic duty: a resonant “I Voted” sticker for Ulster County, New York

isochrone: an interactive map illustrates how far one can travel from any European train station in under five hours 

la maison sculptรฉe: Jacques Lucas’ hand-sculpted home in Rennes

Saturday, 16 July 2022

7x7 (9. 999)

featherbase: a consortium of ornithologists join their collections and make them freely accessible on-line—via Web Curios 

cut-up technique: Artbreeder (previously) creates collages with your help—via Waxy 

harry and the hitman: Oklahoma man pleads self-defence, claiming potential assailant had summoned a Bigfoot to kill him  

deep scatter library: stellar cartography mapping a billion stars in the Milky Way  

culmen > columna > compagna colonnella > coronnel > colonel: explore etymologies with this interactive tool from the creators of Interlinear Books and Language Hat  

unsleeved: an exhibit on the art of the record cover and designer Alex Steinweiss 

trainspotting: an obsessive database of European rolling stock—also via Web Curios

Friday, 8 July 2022

dual process theory

Via Waxy, we are directed to Neal Agarwal’s latest exercise (see previously) in a series of increasingly preposterous trolley problems and the ethical dilemmas that arise from these situations where intervention is possible. Illustrative of the problems we have with inscrutable algorithms and the opaque artificial intelligence that’s supposed to be able to evaluate such decisions, not only do you get to make the moral call, you can also see how your answers stack up to three-quarters of a million other respondents.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

8x8

scotch tapes: commercials, idents and continuity from British television from 1984 salavaged from VHS casettes  

boldly go!: a medley of songs from and about the Star Trek franchise—see also  

apiculture: a survey of bee hives throughout the ages  

latex: Goodyear and the US Department of Defence are partnering to manufacture tyres from dandelions—see previously  

kleksographien: revisiting the blotograms (previously) of Justinus Kerner plus other inspired symmetries  

red wine and ginger ale: Vulture correspondent Rebecca Alter samples all the food combinations referenced in Harry’s House  

diagrammatic map: another look at how Massimo Vignelli presented mass transit to the masses—see previously here and here—via Things magazine  

the fantastic journey: an obscure 1977 time-travel series starring Joan Collins and John Saxon

Sunday, 22 May 2022

hail to the bus driver

Our gratitude to Super Punch for not just informing us of the annual European Tramdriver Championships held in host city Leipzig (see previously, which we just missed this time around but there’s always next year) but also is a very serious competition with teams and fans of mass-transit from all over the continent coming together. Check out the links above for more on this extreme motor-sport for everyone, whose trials include best breaking-speed and accuracy, obstacle courses and various other traffic, shared-lane gauntlets.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

whistle-stop tour

Also available in audio form, 99% Invisible presents a thorough-going appreciation of locomotives, ranging from how the dining car gave us the curious dimensions of the diner and a Scott Joplin rag-time composition on the intentional ramming together of two engines and the temporary city that sprung up to watch this train-wreck to theory and praxis of Japanese railways.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

chunnel

Though later inaugurated by the respective heads of state over a century later, on this day in 1867 Queen Victoria and Napoleon III jointly reject a proposal from surveyors and engineers Aimรฉ Thomรฉ de Gamond and Henry Marc Brunel for a mined railway tunnel from Dover to Calais, an idea that was revisited several times before its eventual completion.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

facial recognition

Via Super Punch, we learn that one unique gashapon in Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku station is proving quite popular with commuters for vending capsules with the ID photos of strangers (though ostensibly fellow passengers) over the chance to connect on whatever social level with the crowd, unmasked. Those behind the concept are poised to launch the next series with people submitting their pictures to be added to the anonymous mix.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

rolling stock

Retelling the story of the “Little Engine that Could” with love-interest and with due inspirational credit given to Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, the Andrew Lloyd Weber and Richard Stilgoe musical spectacle with all principals and dancers portraying locomotives on roller skates had its debut on the West End in the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Following a year-long run on Broadway, the show came to the industrial city of Bochum in 1988, and hosted in a custom-built theatre (designed like a skating rink) has become the most attended musical in Germany, still running and seen by over seventeen million. Much more, including the original cast recording of the musical numbers and various performance highlights at the link above.

Monday, 31 January 2022

6x6

christian pirates cable access show: a cavalcade of 1980s cult lunacy  

the conroy virtus: a novel proposal to transport the Space Shuttle that never got off the ground

h salt esq: the fish and chip fast food franchise empire that never quite materialised 

look book: a revival of the conversation pit—see previously  

il fait beau dans l’mรฉtro: a 1977 jingle for the Montrรฉal subway  

chock-a-block: an omnibus round-up of 159 British children’s television programmes you may have forgotten about—see previously

Sunday, 23 January 2022

underground, uniform

A prominent sportswear label has partnered with London’s Public Transport Authority to produce warm-up football kit for a local club inspired by the disruptive moquette used on the Piccadilly Line, whose home pitch is the namesake of one of the route’s stops. More from Dezeen on the design collaboration at the link above.

Friday, 7 January 2022

tetsudล-eki

Via ibฤซdem, we are directed towards a really engaging visualisation of the precision feat of civil engineering behind the transit systems of Tokyo and environs (see also)—animated in realtime (so activity may vary throughout the day) with schedules, further information and street-cams to complement the blocky trains and buildings.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

ferrocarril

Reminding us of the escalator that ascends from the valley to the summit of St Moritz and other similar locomotive attractions, we could appreciate this bit of colourful infrastructure to revitalise an older resort hotel on Gran Canaria without completely razing the existing building. Studio Lopezneeiraciaurri was commissioned to renovate the complex and included a yellow funicular to transport guests up and down, turning this relic from the 1970s into the most modern property around and serving to help us realise that experiential and novel people-movers have an established history as tourist draws.

Friday, 15 October 2021

8x8

day-walker: monster lore invented by Hollywood—via Miss Cellania’s links 

tastes like pencil-shavings and heartbreak: niche Chicago liquor Jeppson’s Malรถrt  

vermithrax pejorative: dress up as Galen (Peter McNicol) from Dragonslayer plus other obscure, vintage costumes—via Super Punch  

modelleisenbahn: real-time model railroading with Hamburg’s transit system—via Maps Mania 

hedge rider: an etymological celebration of wizards, witches, warlocks and more 

๐Ÿ•‰: chanting, harmonised breathing and parasyphonic sounds  

mundane outfits: revisiting a tradition of dressing as highly specific yet relatable, everyday, social faux pas—an unfancy dress ball held in Japan and Taiwan 

the calls are coming from inside the building: a lampoon of the haunted house film trope

Sunday, 10 October 2021

7x7

pov: more superlative drone photography 

true facts: Ze Frank (previously) assays the mosquito 

awesome mix, vol 1 & 2: the video game adaption of Guardians of the Galaxy has a stellar soundtrack  

baby, you are so money and you don’t even known it: a quarter of a century on, in defence of Swingers, the Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau vehicle that has more heart than one might have remembered  

social justice kittens: a 2022 calendar from Liartown, USA (previously)—via Web Curios  

the montauk project: spelunking in the mothballed secretive military base, Camp Hero, that inspired Stranger Things 

hop on, hop off: in honour of the Year of the European Rail, photographer Albert Dros documents his ten-day train journey across the continent

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

peoplemover

As a space-saving and universally-accessible alternative over stairs, underpasses and elevators to ford an obstacle, usually train-tracks, the system invented by engineer Emil Schmid first transports passengers up vertically, sideways and then down again in one fluid motion. A couple of these engineering marvels (see also) remain in operation at Bahnhรถfen in Altbach, near Stuttgart, and in the Rummelsburg district in Berlin. More at Miss Cellania at the link above.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

7x7

pyroclastic flow: paintings of the 1776 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (previously)—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

don jumpedo in the character of harlequin jumping down his own throat: an apology for the man in the bottle

twist and bend: superlative balloon art recreating iconic classics 

eisenbahnbetriebsfeld: a model railway in Darmstadt used to train train traffic-controllers  

store-brand: Kmarto table wine  

licorice pizza: a trailer for a 1970s coming-of-age film set in California’s San Fernando Valley—via Waxy

social justice: artist Kerry James Marshall designs new stained glass windows for Washington’s National Cathedral to replace Confederate ones

Monday, 27 September 2021

l’train ร  grande vitesse


The first public, commercial run of France’s intercity high-speed rail service, TGV, transversing the some three-hundred and seventy kilometres between Paris and Lyon in just under three hours began on this day in 1981 with some seven hundred seventy passengers. To combat the conception that the train was meant to be a premium for business travellers, initially the tickets were offered at the same price as parallel conventional lines, which would have taken the better part of a day to make the crossing, and hailed with the promotional slogan that “Progress means nothing unless it is shared by all.”