Month: August 2014

Two Videos courtesy of Urban Velo

Bike Friendly Cities – Video Series

Earlier in the week we posted an uncut interview with Mikale Colville-Anderson on the ideas of Copenhagenize. This video contains excerpts from the interview as a new series by the people at WeLoveCycling who are showcasing bike friendly cities around the world. Then content for Copenhagen is up now and more cities are soon to follow.

“…It was a pleasure to talk with famous urban mobility expert Mikael Colville-Andersen. Or with Morten Kabell, head of Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Administration. And we’re sure you will love the wizards from bike repair shops or the beautiful lady who ferries sperm samples to fertility clinics around Copenhagen on a sperm-shaped cargo-bike.

For a number of days we researched whether Copenhagen really is paradise on Earth for cyclists. You can find the answer in our report.

The Biker

Don’t you hate it when motorized vehicles use the bike lane? I mean, hate hate hate it?! Don’t you wanna ride up next to them and kick em over. Don’t you get so enraged you wanna..wait….oh, never mind.

The Biker

Check out Urban Velo for more on riding in the city, gear and bikes reviews, and good advice. Not sure I agree with Copenhagen being a cycling paradise, and frankly I don’t care if motorized vehicles use a bike lane — I’ll just go around them. I use the entire roadway when I ride and I don’t want to be relegated to a stupid bike lane.

Forget Subways

I’ve been saying this for years just not as convincingly.

Candace Malcolm makes the case for NOT building subways in Toronto:

We are on the cusp of explosive new technologies that will revolutionize how we commute. Innovative tech startups are fixing the problems we currently have with cars: that they pollute too much, are too expensive for many, and congest our overcrowded roads.

Read it all and ride a bike.

Against Empathy

Courtesy of Prufrock, here’s an interesting essay from the Boston Review in which Paul Bloom takes a position against empathy.

When asked what I am working on, I often say I am writing a book about empathy. People tend to smile and nod, and then I add, “I’m against it.” This usually gets an uncomfortable laugh.

This reaction surprised me at first, but I’ve come to realize that taking a position against empathy is like announcing that you hate kittens—a statement so outlandish it can only be a joke. And so I’ve learned to clarify, to explain that I am not against morality, compassion, kindness, love, being a good neighbor, doing the right thing, and making the world a better place. My claim is actually the opposite: if you want to be good and do good, empathy is a poor guide.

Read the whole thing here.

Great Reads for Monday

The Atlantic reports on a new trend sweeping fitness centres around upscale neighborhoods. In The Stationary Bike of the Soul, Emma Green writes about her experiences in SoulCycle, a company that offers specialized exercise classes with a hint of new age/one-percenter spirituality. I think it’s kinda lame – just ride a bike for Pete’s sake.

And here’s a story about a guy who lived in the Maine woods as a hermit for 27 years.

His name, he revealed, was Christopher Thomas Knight. Born on December 7, 1965. He said he had no address, no vehicle, did not file a tax return, and did not receive mail. He said he lived in the woods.

“For how long?” wondered Perkins-Vance.

Knight thought for a bit, then asked when the Chernobyl nuclear-plant disaster occurred. He had long ago lost the habit of marking time in months or years; this was just a news event he happened to remember. The nuclear meltdown took place in 1986, the same year, Knight said, he went to live in the woods. He was 20 years old at the time, not long out of high school. He was now 47, a middle-aged man.

Knight stated that over all those years he slept only in a tent. He never lit a fire, for fear that smoke would give his camp away. He moved strictly at night. He said he didn’t know if his parents were alive or dead. He’d not made one phone call or driven in a car or spent any money. He had never in his life sent an e-mail or even seen the Internet.

Hmmm, one phone call, no email, no Internet. Tough decision.

News from 1914 – the last passenger pigeon dies

The late summer of 1914 was not the ideal moment in history to get the world worked up over the death of a pigeon in Cincinnati Zoo. However, the news about Martha did get space in some of the American newspapers.

One of them, The Evening World in New York, even made a comparison with the conflagration that had just begun across the Atlantic, saying Martha’s death should be noted even when “the last European soldier known to war lords is in danger of dying in his turn”.

Indeed, looking back a century later, one might argue – taking a very, very long view – that Martha’s death was more consequential than the first world war. For that did not turn out to be the war to end all wars. But Martha was undoubtedly the passenger pigeon to end all passenger pigeons.

The body of Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died on September 1 1914, on display at the Smithsonian in Washington DC

The body of Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died on September 1 1914, on display at the Smithsonian in Washington DC

Her cagemate George had died five years earlier; the marriage was chickless; all the other captive passenger pigeons had died; none had been seen in the wild for a long time. Ectopistes migratorius was now extinct.

Weekend reading and a new (old) book

Check out these articles to help round out your weekend.

Why do we Read? Weekly Standard – for wisdom and insight, duh!

Pure Agony Times Literary Supplement – a survey of pain

A fantastic 2009 piece from Theodore Dalrymple at City Journal – The Persistence of Ideology

Roger Kimball on moral idiocy

Here’s the book I just started reading.  It has been on my shelf for some time. I decided to pick it up again after reading the latest from Spengler. It should take the rest of the summer.