Archive — Travel
Chuka Umunna reminds us that centrism is not liberalism — Jonathan Calder, Liberal England
I’ve viewed the formation of the Independent Group with a mixture of interest, mild hope, and mild horror. Chuka Umunna’s latest vanity missive has tipped the balance further towards the horror end.
Chuka Umunna wish to bring in compulsory national service for 16-year-olds is a reminder that proclaiming you are in the centre does not make you a Liberal.
Amid Brexit, supported by the leadership of both the Conservatives and Labour, both of those parties are moving in ever-more extreme directions. With extremist views on the rise, I had begun to think of myself as a moderate. But the ‘moderate’ tiggers are little more appealing.
This is a reminder that liberalism isn’t merely moderate or centrist. It is a distinctive worldview. This reminds us of how liberalism should sell itself.
Both the Conservatives and Labour are authoritarian parties. Our job as liberals is to rail against those tendencies, not to split the (often very little) difference between them.
Photo — 2018-12-26
Barns Ness Lighthouse.
From a few days ago.
Lessons on how Seville transformed its cycling infrastructure, and why doing so is a no brainer.
The whole network is €32 million. That’s how many kilometers of highway — maybe five or six? It’s not expensive infrastructure. … We have a metro line that the cost was €800 million. It serves 44,000 trips every day. With bikes, we’re serving 70,000 trips every day.
It’s going to become more and more important that cities encourage active travel. With car ownership set to decrease with the advent of autonomous vehicles, this is the opportunity to do cycling infrastructure properly.
A reassuring update from Flickr, following the announcement that free accounts will have their photos deleted. They have now confirmed that photos uploaded under Creative Commons licenses will not be deleted.
Since (I think) I uploaded everything under Creative Commons, this means my photos are safe on Flickr. So this is something.
‘For me, this is paradise’: life in the Spanish city that banned cars
Pontevedra banned cars from its centre, pedestrianising 300,000 square metres.
Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores has been mayor of the Galician city since 1999. His philosophy is simple: owning a car doesn’t give you the right to occupy the public space.
“How can it be that the elderly or children aren’t able to use the street because of cars?” asks César Mosquera, the city’s head of infrastructures. “How can it be that private property – the car – occupies the public space?”
There are some interesting details in here about exactly what causes most congestion, and why car-filled cities are so undesirable.
Reading between the lines of the end of the article, the scheme isn’t without its critics, or its problems. But I think the time has come for us to more seriously consider how many car journeys in city centres we really need — and how much better the city might be if more people could walk and cycle around without having to watch for motorised vehicles.
UK’s worst-selling map: The empty landscape charted by OS440
The story of Glen Cassley and Glen Oykel, the country’s least-popular Ordnance Survey map.
On my visit last week, Dave Robertson and I strolled through these wonders that were only intermittently blighted by rain or midges. We met only one set of fellow walkers – who looked aghast when I explained that I would be writing about the region. “Please don’t let everyone else know about this place,” they pleaded.
It’s a bit surprising and disappointing that the ten least popular Ordnance Survey maps are all of areas in Scotland. I’m not so sure about Kilmarnock and Irvine, but Glen Cassley sounds like it might be worth a visit.
It’s not just you, everything looks the same on Instagram
If it seems when you scroll through your feed that everything looks similar, that’s probably because it is. That artfully constructed shot of your latté and avocado toast brunch? The shot of your feet dangling over the edge of a waterfall? You in the back of a canoe?
It’s been done before. To death.
I’m still not missing Instagram.
Photo — 2018-08-28
Dinner at the Atomium.
Photo — 2018-08-27
Epic drive-through beer shop near Spa!
It’s called Drive-In Andrien, and it’s one of the most surreal places I’ve been to. You drive in through a garage door, and you’re basically in the Costco of Belgian beer. Many beers were purchased, and our wallets are not that much lighter…
Photo — 2018-08-26
Chilling on Eau Rouge (or is it Raiddilon?) after the Belgian Grand Prix.
Photo — 2018-08-25
Belgian Grand Prix beer times. 🍺
It’s not lost on us that it’s 10:30am at home. But it’s party time all the time at the Verstappen stand.
Photo — 2018-08-24
We’re here at Spa-Francorchamps!
Photo — 2018-08-23
Campervan fun times
Photo — 2018-08-23
Haas pit stop practice.
Photo — 2018-08-22
Would you believe it! Our campervan is orange. We’ll fit right in with the Max Verstappen fans!
Tomorrow I set off on holiday for two weeks. I have scheduled some link posts for the duration of my holiday so that the mirage of my daily publishing is maintained. So if anything seems weirdly incongruous, or if I seem strangely unresponsive to any comments, that's why. Read full article5 comments
Photo — 2018-07-09
Don’t look down.
At the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.
Photo — 2018-07-07
The psychological tricks TfL uses to make London’s tube feel faster
A great piece of the little experiments TfL is carrying out in an attempt to improve the efficiency of the London Underground.
But it’s striking that the consensus of most of the experts in this piece seems to be that real improvements wouldn’t be possible without fundamental transformations in the infrastructure.
Short of building new stations and drilling tunnels for larger trains, we’re stuck, says Simeon Koole, lecturer at the University of Bristol. “I would be reluctant to argue there is anything specific about behaviour that makes it difficult to change, and focus more on particular material restrictions of the tube: the confined space limits the possibilities for redesigning tube cars and platforms and therefore for managing passenger flow and conduct.”
But as cities grow, perhaps any little thing we can do will be worth investigating.
Flashback: How Yahoo killed Flickr and lost the internet
This page was published in 2013 as a flashback to an article seemingly written in 2012. It underlines just how slow and painful a death Flickr had. Reading this six years on is a fascinating reminder of just what could have been.
By 2012, Flickr was already on its knees, having suffered years of mismanagement under Yahoo. That mismanagement is picked apart in excruciating detail here. The article ends by asking, is it too late to save Flickr?
Flickr’s last best hope is that Yahoo realizes its value and decides to spin it off for a few bucks before both drop down into a final death spiral. But even if that happens, Flickr has a long road ahead of it to relevance. People don’t tend to come back to homes they’ve already abandoned.
Six years on, Yahoo has lurched from laughing stock to irrelevance, while Flickr has finally been sold off to SmugMug. It’s a good time to reflect on this early days of Flickr and wonder if it could ever return. But as I already noted this year, it is probably far too late.
The amazing psychology of Japanese train stations
How Japan uses behavioural science (nudge theory) to keep its railways flowing efficiently.
Tokyo is home to the world’s busiest train stations, with the capital’s rail operators handling a combined 13 billion passenger trips annually. Ridership of that volume requires a deft blend of engineering, planning, and psychology. Beneath the bustle, unobtrusive features are designed to unconsciously manipulate passenger behavior, via light, sound, and other means. Japan’s boundless creativity in this realm reflects the deep consideration given to public transportation in the country.
Photo — 2018-04-21
Concorde at the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.
Photo — 2018-03-31
You Are Still Here.
By Mona Hatoum, on display at Fundació Joan Miró.
Photo — 2018-03-30
We’ve had worse breakfasts.
Photo — 2018-03-30
The view from our Airbnb in Barcelona at 2am. Not bad. 👍
Photo — 2018-03-01
A different lunchtime walk today, at Braidburn Valley Park.
Photo — 2018-02-27
Photo — 2017-11-03
Get out of my office: how to switch to ‘walking meetings’
Move more. Get up and walk about. And I don’t just mean in the office. Go out for a walk, get some fresh air for a meeting.