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  • feedwordpress 08:01:18 on 2017/10/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , Fodor, guide book, , OSS, , travel, ,   

    “With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed”*… 

     

    The Transect

    In 2012, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. an exhibition, “Grand Reductions: Ten diagrams that changed urban planning.”

    The exhibition’s title – Grand Reductions – suggests the simple illustration’s power to encapsulate complex ideas. And for that reason the medium has always been suited to the city, an intricate organism that has been re-imagined (with satellite towns! in rural grids! in megaregions!) by generations of architects, planners and idealists. In the urban context, diagrams can be powerful precisely because they make weighty questions of land use and design digestible in a single sweep of the eye. But… they can also seductively oversimplify the problems of cities…

    “The diagram can cut both ways: It can either be a distillation in the best sense of really taking a very complex set of issues and providing us with a very elegant communication of the solution,” [curator Benjamin] Grant says. “Or it can artificially simplify something that actually needs to be complex.”…

    The high concepts that have informed the design of cities over the last century: “The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams.”

    See also: “The cities and mansions that people dream of are those in which they finally live”*… and of course, Jane Jacob’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Christopher Alexander’s A New Theory of Urban Design.

    * Italo Calvino

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    As we muse on metropoles, we might send exploratory birthday greeting to Eugene Fodor; he was born on this date in 1905.  Noting that travel guides of his time were boring, he wrote a guide to Europe, On the Continent—The Entertaining Travel Annual, which was published in 1936– and became the cornerstone of a travel publishing empire– the Fodor’s Guides.  He was elected to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) World Travel Congress Hall of Fame, the only travel editor ever to be so honored.

    In 1974, it was revealed that Fodor, a Hungarian-American who had joined the U.S. Army during World War II, had transferred to the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA) and served as a spy behind Nazi lines in occupied Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:48 on 2017/05/22 Permalink
    Tags: , air rage, B&O, Capitol Limited, , insanity, , travel,   

    “Madness is the emergency exit”*… 

     

    United, American, Spirit…  airlines are are suffering a cascade of incidents undermining their brand claims of “friendly skies” and “world’s greatest flyers,” and “more go.”  At the same time, there has been a concomitant rise in “air rage.”  But while these wounds are largely self-inflicted, there is a historical precedent…

    As the railway grew more popular in the 1850s and 1860s, trains allowed travelers to move about with unprecedented speed and efficiency, cutting the length of travel time drastically. But according to the more fearful Victorians, these technological achievements came at the considerable cost of mental health. As Edwin Fuller Torrey and Judy Miller wrote in The Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present, trains were believed to “injure the brain.” In particular, the jarring motion of the train was alleged to unhinge the mind and either drive sane people mad or trigger violent outbursts from a latent “lunatic.” Mixed with the noise of the train car, it could, it was believed, shatter nerves.

    In the 1860s and ‘70s, reports began emerging of bizarre passenger behavior on the railways. When seemingly sedate people boarded trains, they suddenly began behaving in socially unacceptable ways…

    More on motion-induced madness at “The Victorian Belief That a Train Ride Could Cause Instant Insanity.”

    * Alan Moore, Batman: The Killing Joke

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    As we try to keep it cool, we might recall that it was on this date in 1932 that the B&O Railroad introduced air conditioning on the Capitol Limited, a sleeping car train that operated between New York, Washington and Chicago.

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  • feedwordpress 09:01:22 on 2015/01/25 Permalink
    Tags: around the world, , Nellie Bly, Super Bowl, travel, , Wings, World   

    “Alis volat propriis”*… 

     

    In exactly a week, millions will gather on couches across America (and the world) to watch the the Seahawks and the Patriots duel in Superbowl XLIX.  And on the coffee tables in front of many– if not most– of them will sit heaping mounds of (now traditional) chicken wings.  Readers may recall that, two years ago, we reported on a downturn in Super Bowl wings consumption, occasioned by rising poultry prices.  But even as chicken costs have continued to rise, consumption has recovered…

    According to a National Chicken Council report released Friday, 1.25 billion wings will be consumed during Super Bowl XLIX.

    The average wholesale price of chicken wings is currently $1.71 per pound, up from $1.35 per pound at the same time last year, according to the Daily Northeast Broiler/Fryer Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service. Wing prices hit a record high in January 2013 of $2.11 per pound.

    If one laid 1.25 billion wings end-to-end, assuming and average length of 3.5 inches, they would stretch to and from CenturyLink Field in Seattle to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., almost 28 times. The wings would also circle the Grand Canyon 120 times.

    It’s enough wings to put 572 on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums and they weigh about 5,955 times more than the poundage of the Seahawks and Patriots entire 52-man rosters combined.

    Most people will buy wings from restaurants and bars, but wings sales at grocery stores also spike during Super Bowl week. Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts shows that fresh and prepared wings sales totaled $1.7 billion in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 29, 2014, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to a year earlier.

    As far as dipping sauces go, Ranch wins out. More than half of people prefer ranch for dipping, while 42 percent prefer barbecue sauce and 36 percent prefer blue cheese.

    source: Chicago Tribune

    * State motto of Oregon

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    As we wonder how half-time turned into the fair-ground joke that it has, we might recall that it was on this date in 1890 that journalist Nellie Bly completed her 72-day trip around the world.

    In 1888, Bly suggested to her editor at the New York World that she take a trip around the world, attempting to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days into fact for the first time.  A year later, at 9:40 a.m. on November 14, 1889, with two days’ notice, she boarded the steamer Augusta Victoria, and began her 24,899-mile journey.

    She brought with her the dress she was wearing, a sturdy overcoat, several changes of underwear, and a small travel bag carrying her toiletry essentials. She carried most of her money (£200 in English bank notes and gold in total as well as some American currency) in a bag tied around her neck.

    Bly traveled through England, France (where she met Jules Verne in Amiens), Brindisi, the Suez Canal, Colombo (Ceylon), the Straits Settlements of Penang and Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.  Just over seventy-two days after her departure from Hoboken, having used steamships and existing railway lines, Bly was back in New York; she beat Phileas Fogg’s time by almost 8 days.

    Nellie Bly, in a publicity photo for her around-the-world voyage. Caption on the original photo reads: “Nellie Bly, The New York WORLD’S correspondent who placed a girdle round the earth in 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes.”

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:03 on 2014/08/28 Permalink
    Tags: , drone, , Gossamer Condor, Paul MacCready, , pterosaur, travel, ,   

    “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”*… 

     

    Welcome to travelbydrone.com! We want to give you the chance to discover the world from the perspective of drones. The video footage of the area you are most interested in is as accessible as never before.

    On this site, everyone can share YouTube videos and add the corresponding location. It will appear on the map with a pin where the video footage has been recorded. After submitting a request to share a video, a dedicated team will review the material before validating the request. As soon as the request has been validated, the shared video will be visible on the map.

    For a share request to be validated, the video needs to be taken by a drone (not of a drone), be of good quality and clearly show the area in which the drone flies. A video will not be accepted if it is taken indoors, is from a military drone or is of promotional nature (promoting a product or has a political, religious or other personal message)…

    Around the world in 80 clicks at Travel By Drone.

    * Augustine of Hippo

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    As we rename our index finger “Phileas,” we might spare a thought for Paul MacCready; he died on this date in 2007.  An accomplished meteorologist, a world-class glider pilot, and a respected aeronautical engineer trained at California Institute of Technology, MacCready’s many accomplishments ranged from developments in cloud seeding to the creation of a full-sized flying replica of a pterosaur (Quetzalcoatlus) for the Smithsonian Institution.  (The model can be seen in flight in the Smithsonian’s 1986 IMAX film On the Wing.) But MacCready is surely best remembered as the designer of the “Gossamer Condor,” the first successful human-powered aircraft (and thus, winner of the first Kremer Prize in 1977), and of the first viable solar-powered aircraft.  The Gossamer Condor hangs in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

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