Monday 26 June 2023

8x8 (10. 836)

vers une architecture: architects on the centenary of Le Corbusier  

mall city: the 1983 NYU ethnograph of the culture—via Open Culture 

bladerunner 1929: with the help of AI, a trailer of the film in the style of Frtiz Lang’s Metropolis 

single fare zone: riotous 1960s Milwaukee metro passes 

for all intensive purposes: more eggcorns (previously) in English speech—featuring the linguist who coined the term 

push any key to begin: a brief history of splash screens and boot-up messages  

misinformation ouroboros: AI is ravaging the guardians of the Old Web and hindering innovation  

wonderful, wonderful copenhagen: the Danish city doubles as the seat of the UNESCO World Capital of Architecture 



one year ago: the Soviet calendar plus merfolk cosplay

two years ago: a twisting tower in Arles plus historic over the counter heroine as an alternative to opium (1896)

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, the first UPC barcode (1974) plus a rallying song from The Chicks

four years ago: Obergefell v Hodges (2015), assorted links to revisit,  a history of the mouse cursor, the Prosecco Hills content for UNESCO recognition, American military to return to Iceland plus the archaeology of Woodstock

five years ago: Kennedy visits Berlin (1963),  an ominous warning about artificial intelligence, assorted links to revisit plus the cathedral of Peter and Paul of Bristol

Thursday 22 June 2023

mind the gap (10. 826)

Our intrepid mass-transit correspondent has an in-person dispatch on the new Public Transport Safety campaign from Transport for London (TfL) with their updated series of posters (see also) for Underground platforms, stations and bus berths. The designs are visually striking and a turn from the usual verbose caution warning. What’s your favourite or what other safety niche needs redressing on the metro? Naturally not ‘See it. Say it. Sorted’—that’s no one favourite. Much more from Diamond Geezer at the link up top.


one year ago: assorted links to visit plus The Man of La Mancha (1965) 

two years ago: your daily demon: Sallos, the Elcar, Gallileo found guilty of heresy (1633) plus bricked over windows 

three years ago: Heritage Minutes, the Chinese term for mansplaining plus an alleged COVID-detecting dog

four years ago: the Cuyohuga river aflame (1969), leading to the establishment of the US Environmental Protection Agency

Sunday 28 May 2023

7x7 (10. 771)

schachtรผrke: a fraudulent chess-playing automaton launched the AI debate in 1770 

bart: the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit has new anime mascots—each of the characters has a backstory 

pattiegonia: facing the expected backlash from staunch conservatives after featuring a drag star in their ads, the North Face refused to back down—this is not a white flag 

beyond the yellow brick road: the reading that The Wizard of Oz is a Populist political allegory is kind of an incoherent mess, suggested over six decades after it was written—via Strange Company  

buena vista social club: a restored, enhanced 1972 tour of Disney World 

priority road: one individual’s quest to document the unusual, confusing traffic signs of Japan  

lexus nexus: lawyer turns to ChatGPT for help in finding precedence a client’s case, citing a wholly fabricated disputes and settlements—via Waxysee also

Tuesday 2 May 2023

9x9 (10. 713)

spokescandies: put together just ahead of the writers’ strike, Stephen Colbert afforded Tucker Carlson the chance to bid his audience farewell  

redundancy: IBM puts a pause on hiring to on-board an AI back-office workforce  

oops all linkdump: veteran blogger Cory Doctorow returns to his roots in a special jubilee edition  

€49 ticket: Germany launches its more fiscally-secure successor to the €9 monthly fare 

pitch decks and powerpoints: slide presentations from the largest corporate frauds and failures—via tmn  

chevron v national resources defense council: the US Supreme Court to re-litigate a 1984 precedent that defers judgement to the competent federal agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency 

cherry ice cream smile—i suppose it’s very nice: revisiting the art and influence of Patrick Nagel—see previously  

workforce implications: a company runs an empirical test, replacing its human staff with AI 

hal gurney’s network time fillers: reactions to past strikes by the Writers’ Guide

Wednesday 19 April 2023

technological antisolutions (10. 683)

Albeit belatedly, enlightened to the fact that I worked in a quite well-connected metropolitan area and that taking public transportation was not merely an option but a generally more pleasant alternative than driving, I had had plenty of thoughts about how the train or bus was always going to be a better course of action that any ostensibly emission-free or driverless fetish that I might take on myself, and more so with the hindsight of leaving that environment to now mostly work remotely and not need to venture far from the home office—the mass-transit commute that wouldn’t allow me to dally being the only thing I sometimes miss of the city and work place, I was quite pleased—via JWZ—to have had that feeling validated and articulated by a short essay deriding the sexier innovations as a symptom of political and civic dereliction that lets infrastructure rot and replaces that onus with an unearned and blind faith in tech that’s inuring and leagues off with its last-mile problems from the sort of public engagement that really can save us. What do you think? Technology has a way of estranging societal problems by lulling us into a belief that we are making an active difference.

Sunday 2 April 2023

7x7 (10. 651)

spyvibe radio: The Man Called Flintstone and other cartoon-espionage crossovers  

hosanna, hin-nam: Palm Sunday from the donkey’s perspective—see previously  

made to order: a huge font specimen of a wide range of borders—see previously 

a1: a centenary of road numbering for the Ministry of Transportation 

rather fetching: canine portraits at London’s Wallace Collection  

sparkie williams: a very talkative budgie and other loquacious birds  

rabbit hole: new Kiefer Sutherland secret agent film channels vintage intelligence dramas

Sunday 19 March 2023

vereinte dienstleistungswerkschaft (10. 623)

Established on this day in 2001 as a merger of the congresses of five individual trade unions—with a membership of around two million workers, including postal, banking, insurance, health, education, public service, media and transportation sector employees, Verdi represents the professional interests of its members and successfully lobbies—through political clout, collective bargaining and strike actions—for better compensation and improved working conditions.

Friday 17 February 2023

panopticon (10. 552)

Though I am very much enjoying working remotely and spending time with the dog, I do miss my former fifteen-minute city, well connected with a good train service for the commute to the office and everything else immanently walkable, and was quite taken aback—though I suppose we should regard everything as commodifiable and subject to exploit—to learn, via Web Curios (lots to see there, as every week), that the benign and beneficial civil engineering priority that’s taken root on the other side of the Atlantic as well as being remediated and reenforced in places originally planned that way is the subject of conspiracy theorists, calling the changes to urban zoning an open-air prison with denizens at first coerced and then tethered to their well if not adequately apportioned neighbourhoods. While such layouts have proven timeless over time, there’s expected to be a short-term backlash to change when we stop catering to automobiles and sprawl.

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.