Wednesday, 21 December 2022

8x8 (10. 350)

gadgetbahn: displacing solid public transportation networks with amusement park rides won't address underlying traffic problems 

senior superlatives: the most interesting fonts and typefaces of the year  

๐Ÿ‘: the ten best films of 2022  

seneca falls: the altruistic act that is said to have inspired It’s A Wonderful Life and other festive adventures in audio with Josie Long  

fรฆรฐingarsaga: listen again to an eleven-year-old Bjรถrk Guรฐmundsdรณttir recite the Nativity Story in Icelandic  

as it was: some the most popular songs of the year  

shot sage blue marilyn: the most expensive works of art trading hands this year  

chief twit: abiding by results of a poll, Elon Musk announced he will step down as CEO of the social media platform as soon as a replacement can be identified

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

transitland (10. 197)

Via the always excellent Maps Mania, we are treated to an interactive application that not only maps the coverage of the globe’s mass transit systems but can also chart one’s public transport journey in an unfamiliar area. The site gleans data from twenty-five hundred carriers in fifty-five countries from public GTFS data, originally Google Transit Feed Specification—a company maps experiment that sought to give alternative means of getting from point A to point B forgoing one’s car, and now a standard available to operator called General, so coverage may appear spottier in large swaths of the world than it actually is.

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.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

das rollende hotel

Given the continued popularity of touring coaches especially in Germany and river cruises that offer similar sleeping berths, we were delighted though not completely surprised to learn of this hybrid experience (see also), a hotel on wheels, Rotel, first conceived by Gerog Hรถltl in the late 1941 to trek passengers through the Bavarian Alps, expanding as far afield as pilgrimages to Israel, journeys across the Sahara starting in 1969 and a two month voyage to India. No artefacts relegated to the past, one can still book tours through Europe, Africa and Asia. More from Messy Nessy Chic at the link above.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

by-way or the highway

Albeit not on quite the same scale, these extreme commutes executed without an automobile and via slower, more deliberative modes of transportation really speak to me as I have undertaken similar excursions myself, only out of curious necessity, though the office is only ten kilometres away in most cases and not through dangerous terrain however through places not designed for pedestrians or flรขnuers (see also) to explore, fascinated by such transit-zones and will regularly make an afternoon’s errands out of something that would be quickly dispatched by car and a few extra stops.

Monday, 16 August 2021

mind the gap

Featured on Open Culture, we quite enjoyed this audio-sampler of departure and arrivals announcements and assorted warnings, jingles beeps and chimes of mass-transit systems from around the world. While I am grateful for the luxury of choice, I am not quite yet comfortable to go back to taking public transportation regularly but am looking forward riding the bus again and leaving the driving in more capable, punctual hands. Passing by the Bahnhof pretty regularly, I’m often within earshot of the familiar, reassuring bing-boom (I am looking for a single ideophone that embraces all of these automated audio signals) of the train doors closing. Much more at the link up top.  What is your local onomatopoeia?

Thursday, 24 June 2021


autobus park № 7: explore Kyiv’s derelict modernist transportation hippodrome—via Things Magazine  

blue: listen to rediscovered demos and outtakes from Joni Mitchell’s album on its fiftieth anniversary 

i’m chasing martian: excellent auditory illusion illustrated—see previously—from chanting fans  

dark matter, dark fish: the overwhelming biomass of Earth’s ecosystem is essentially undetectable for us (see also) yet we claim the right to rubbish it  

warriors of the zenith, warriors of the nadir: a 1904 ethnograph of Zuni ritual masks  

work-life balance: Japanese government proposes four-day work-week  

shareware: a look at the App Store’s predecessor, Software Labs  

private viewing: the collectors who saved modernist Soviet masterpieces

Saturday, 5 September 2020

galleria stradale del san gottardo

Holding the title of world’s longest road tunnel for two decades before being overtaken by the Lรฆrdalstunnelen in Vestland, the Gotthard Road Tunnel between the cantons of Ticino and Uri, linking the highlands to southern Switzerland beneath the namesake massif opened to traffic on this day in 1980.
After taking more than a decade to construct and given the high monetary cost and the nineteen fatalities of workers, the public balked at the fact there was no supplemental toll for it (the tunnel being covered by the mandatory vignettes for use of Swiss motorways), sighing that “The Italians built it, the Germans use it and the Swiss pay for it.” The inaugural vehicle was a school bus.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

sustine bona

Fans and aficionados of London Underground services have taken to masking up in style with facial coverings that keep themselves and their fellow travellers safer with protective coverings inspired by the durable and enduring moquette and upholstery (see previously here and here) that adorns their usual and preferred form of public conveyance. Much more to explore at the Londonist at the link up top.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020


what would you like to eat: bats mostly squabble about what’s for dinner

it’s a duck blur: television intros recreated scene-for-scene with stock footage

east-enders: five decades of photographic portraiture from Tex Ajetunmobi that illustrate the harmony and diversity of the London neighbourhood

ebussy: a modular electric vehicle that can transform into several different types of autos

fine hypertext products: Pudding launches its “Winning the Internet” newsletter—via Waxy

du har satt din sista potatis: useful Swedish phrases for venting steam

the garifuna collective: enjoy the calls and songs of threatened birds set to electronic music

Thursday, 31 October 2019


Via the always resourceful Kottke, we are directed to a speciality site called Metrobits curating the branding, routes, technology and fare-schemes of public transit systems from major cities around the world. In addition to the expertly annotated legend and key to the icons, there’s also an extensive gallery of metro stations (see also) that are sacred celebrations of public infrastructure.

Friday, 4 October 2019

rolling stock

Via Nag on the Lake, we are directed towards an installation, Kirkby Design’s submission for the recently concluded London Design Festival, that rehabilitates and revamps the interior dรฉcor of a vintage subway carriage. The new palette is informed by the dreadful-excellence of traditional moquette (previously) that was meant to durable, aesthetic and invisible all at the same time. I think it would be fun to transform our foyer (or at least the entryway of my little apartment) into something like this and pass through each morning.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

hov lane

Via Design Boom, we learn about a simple but effective intervention that the city of Utrecht has instigated to create sanctuaries—bees stops (Bijstopt), for urban insects by planting grasses and wildflowers on top of bus shelters, some three hundred of them throughout the city. This is a step we could all encourage where we live. Much more to explore at the link above.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

on diversion

Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake, we are treated to the brilliant still life photographic compositions informed by the upholstery found on board bus lines in London (previously and see also here and here) of Emilia Cocking. Her extensive portfolio focuses on built environments and recognising and appreciating those intersectional coincidences of finding art in the everyday. Much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


villa göth: six introductory videos on the architectural style of Brutalism (previously)

underdogs: a funny Apple advertisement manages to cover its entire suite of devices

murder she drew: an interview with talented, veteran courtroom artist (see also) Marilyn Church, via Boing Boing

no conclusion: Trump is now vacillating on releasing the Mueller Report to the public

xarabank: Malta’s unique and colourful fleet of buses recently retired make a comeback fully electrified 

Monday, 18 March 2019

hail to the bus driver

Though the scope and scale of public celebrations looks to be limited (though just taking the bus, subway or tram is a good way of keeping this tradition), today—18 March—has been designated since 2009 as Transit Driver Appreciation Day.
This particular date was selected in deference to one of the last great contributions of author and engineer Blaise Pascal (previously) for the inaugural circuit coaches with a fare of five sou (Carrosses ร  Cinq Sols) launched in Paris on this day in 1662, against the express wishes of the king and parliament who didn’t want the rabble crowding their boulevards and impeding their passage through the city. The enterprise—the first public transport in modern times—was well received and the king relented and allowed the eight-occupant carriages to make their appointed rounds—the first line going from Porte Saint-Antoine to Rue Dauphine via Pont Neuf.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

muster and moquette

CityLab made a quite wonderful and inspired appeal with their international, publically-jured round-up of mass-transit upholstery (previously here and here) sourced from trains, busses and metro-lines in service all over the world.

A few that I’m acquainted with can be reviewed here and I can completely relate to the feeling of pride and affection that passengers develop for these dreadfully excellent and challenging creations in textile that need not only to be practicable and identifiable (like this specimen of priority-seating for ScotRail) but have to also remain fresh, colourfast and rebuff graffiti for quite some time. Do share the distinctive seat-covers from your local public transport—and support them with your ridership and patronage. Much more to explore at the link above.

Monday, 25 February 2019


actuation: robots will construct a new robotics science museum in Seoul—via Nag on the Lake

the way of flowers: an expanded look at the aesthetics of ikebana (previously)—the traditional art of Japanese flower arrangement

go transit: the vehicle just gets you there

high-intensity incidental physical activity: studies suggest that the most impactful forms of exercise aren’t exercise at all

gambay: an interactive map of Australia’s aboriginal languages—via Maps Mania

just want your extra time ... and your gif: a collection of officially-endorsed Prince animations

osborne bulls: the backstory of those iconic silhouettes that dot the Spanish countryside along freeways

beat of a different drum: a marching band with “robotic” music 

Friday, 1 February 2019

lozenge moquette

Thanks to City Lab, we are invited to revisit the plush and pile of mass-transit upholstery through the industrial textile designs of Enid Marx and other samples archived by the London Transportation Museum. By turns both extravagant and practical, both overlooked and omnipresent, the exhibit offers a retrospective look at the power of the intentionality in design, underscored perfectly by something that often retreats into the background yet (if not itself the subject of passing derision) so much part of a shared ridership experience.

Monday, 15 October 2018

transportation authority

For several weeks now with no intentions of looking back—even I hope when the weather turns a bit wintry since that’s an incentive in itself to not have to fret about icy roads—I’ve been riding the bus to and from work and foregoing the car altogether during the week. Granted, I realise that it ought to make me a bit self-conscious in mentioning this, sort of like on Absolutely Fabulous when Edina says to Patsy, “Yes, but Sweetie, I will not have my daughter thinking she’s so great because she can use public transport.”
And to Saffron, “Anybody can use public transport, Darling!” To which Saffron replies, “I know. That’s the point.” I wonder, however, why it took me so long to realise exactly how convenient it is with even the bear minimum of planning, discipline or pocket-change.
Intrigued by these campaigns to make buses and metro lines free and eliminate fares (we were not part of the trials) and have so far avoided going for less expensive ticketing alternatives to support a service that might be at the liminal reach for others, I wonder how many more passengers we might be able to recruit by offering the same sweep discounts—which are still very, very affordable considering the dividends that one is getting in return.
What do you think? One needs to be willing, I think, to make some outlays to rescue us from ourselves.  I don’t know that I’d have bothered with trying the bus out of a stubborn perception that happily never had the chance to bear out of inconvenience but if the routes and schedules didn’t suit, I guess the alternative to taking the car (which I can report is one the streets fully six to eight times fewer per week) would be less than optimal. I think that the element of synchronicity must be sold (buses need better PR agents since they are vehicles of change far more important than individual electric cars, though our fleet is electric as well) before we can talk about cheaper fares. These images are of upholstery patterns on buses that I’ve recently took.