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  • feedwordpress 08:01:04 on 2015/09/17 Permalink
    Tags: , bus stop, Crash, first fatality, Herwig, Orville Wright, , , Thomas Selfridge, , Wright Flyer   

    “Bus stop, bus goes”*… 


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    The Soviet Union was a nation of bus stops. Cars were hard to come by, so a vast public transport network took up the slack. Buses not only bore workers to their labors, but also breathed life into the ‘union’ itself by taking travelers from town to taiga to desert to seaside. In remoter parts of the country, bus shelters mattered even more than buses, providing convenient places for people to gather, drink and socialize. They were caravanserai for the motor age, and while the empire they served no longer exists, most of them stand right where it left them…

    If they are in various stages of ruin now, they are all the more attractive for it. ‘Bus pavilions’, as they were known, were the experimental territory, and ultimately the legacy, of architects who might otherwise have been thwarted by central planning. Many reflect local cultures, and make memorable landmarks. Christopher Herwig [bio here], a Canadian photographer, started documenting them when he cycled through the Baltic states in 2002, and kept going after he moved to Almaty a year later. He has since shot varying numbers of them in all the former Soviet republics except (to judge by this book) Russia and Azerbaijan, a labour of 12 years and more than 18,000 miles.

    Read more at “The caravanserai of the motor age,” and see more (and larger) photos from the series at Herwig’s site.

    * The Hollies, “Bus Stop”

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    As we quietly queue, we might recall that it was on this date in 1908 that Orville Wright demonstrated the Wright Flyer for the US Army Signal Corps division at Fort Myer, Virginia.  Wright circled the base at 150 feet; on his fourth circuit, his propeller broke.  The plane crashed.  Orville suffered a broken left thigh, several broken ribs, and a damaged hip, and was hospitalized for seven weeks. His passenger, Lt. Thomas Selfridge, suffered a fractured skull, and died– the first person to die in a crash of a powered airplane.

    Fatal crash of Wright Flyer at Fort Myer, Virginia

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:33 on 2015/09/05 Permalink
    Tags: August Comte, Bay Area, , Crash, , , , , Roger Babson, ,   

    “This world’s a bubble”*… 


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    From “The Bay Area to Standard English Translator.”

    [A similarly silly-but-serious bonus: “An Interactive Guide to Ambiguous Grammar.”]

    * alternately attributed to St. Augustine and to Francis Bacon

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    As we send birthday greetings to the father of the field of sociology and the discipline of Positivism, August Comte, we might recall that it was on this date in 1929 that bearish economist Roger Babson gave a speech in which he warned, “sooner or later, a crash is coming, and it may be terrific.” He had been delivering this message for two years, but for the first time, investors listened. The stock market took a severe dip (now known in economic history as “the Babson Break”).  The next day, prices stabilized, but the equity collapse that we know as a trigger event for the Great Depression had begun.

    Roger Babson

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:51 on 2014/10/29 Permalink
    Tags: , Black Tuesday, Crash, , hours, , , , work day   

    “Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go”*… 


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    Researchers often look at the number of hours worked, but rarely do they ask the question of when. Fortunately, the government conducts an annual study called the American Time Use Survey that tracks how people spend their days…

    The interactive graph pictured above (and available live here) shows the share of workers who say they’re working in a given hour, grouped by occupation. The tabs at the top allow one to focus on different job categories to see how their average workdays differ from one another.  For example, servers and cooks have a schedule that’s essentially the opposite of all other occupations; their hours peak during lunch and hold steady well into the evening.

    Explore more at “Who’s In The Office? The American Workday In One Graph.”

    * Disney’s Seven Dwarfs

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    As we breathe a sigh of relief that these studies don’t extend to what one does at work, we might recall it was on this date in 1929 that panicked sellers traded nearly 16 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange (four times the normal volume at the time), and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12%. Remembered as “Black Tuesday,” this was the conclusive event in the Crash of 1929, and is often cited as the start of the Great Depression.

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