Regular blogging will resume next week.
Posted by Gillies on May 24, 2013
In Finland, the world’s most caffeinated country, the average adult consumes 400mg of the drug every day – equivalent to four or five cups of coffee a day, and equal to the maximum daily limit recommended by the UK Food Standards Agency.
Posted by Gillies on May 23, 2013
Posted by Gillies on May 22, 2013
Transit has more capacity at peak times when there are more vehicles. It costs money to run a vehicle, so you run it when there’s demand. Therefore, bus lines in particular are far more useful at times when there are a lot of buses. At some times of day, they don’t run at all. Bike sharing is the opposite. It has a fixed capacity that fills up quickly, but is always available. Bike sharing is most useful off-peak, when the stations aren’t filling up or emptying out so fast. It’s always available at night. For this reason, we can think of it actually as a complement to short-distance buses. Someone who lives on a bus line might find that the bus is a better choice during rush, but bikeshare is better middays.
The first half of that last sentence has been my recent experience, although only in the morning. Still, I’m thinking about taking my own bicycle to work. Just found out about the big bike racks in garage of my office building.
Posted by Gillies on May 21, 2013
The sheer concentration of people attracted by the urban lifestyle means that cosmopolitan cities like New York are host to people speaking more than 800 different languages – thought to be the highest language density in the world. In London, less than half of the population is made of white Britons – down from 58% a decade ago. Meanwhile, languages around the world are declining at a faster rate than ever – one of the 7,000 global tongues dies every two weeks.
Posted by Gillies on May 20, 2013
Posted by Gillies on May 19, 2013
Marco Benevento, quoted in JamBase on the occasion of Page McConnell’s 50th birthday:
He’s real subtle and can support every musical idea you may throw into a improvisation very graciously.
Posted by Gillies on May 18, 2013
Studs Terkel, via The Writer’s Almanac:
“With optimism, you look upon the sunny side of things. People say, ‘Studs, you’re an optimist.’ I never said I was an optimist. I have hope because what’s the alternative to hope? Despair? If you have despair, you might as well put your head in the oven.”
Posted by Gillies on May 17, 2013
It’s a bit sad that I’m posting this on the eve of “Bike to Work Day,” but I think I’m through with taking Capital Bikeshare to work in the morning.
For the second time this week, I had trouble finding a place to dock my bike downtown (both times shortly after 9am). The four stations near my office were all filled up, so I found myself wandering around with phone in hand, looking for a slot. I noticed a few other people on CaBi bikes doing the same thing.
One problem is that the SpotCycle app, which tells you where stations are and how many slots they have available, doesn’t seem to be terribly real time. This morning, my app showed me that stations had docks open when they didn’t. That’s frustrating.
Also, hunting for an open Bikeshare dock is almost worse than looking for a parking space in a car. You’re pedaling around, getting stressed, sweating. Bluh. For now, I’m switching back to taking the bus going to work and Bikeshare coming home.
Posted by Gillies on May 16, 2013
I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being.
I remember when I first made this realization too. It was in August 2012, when I read this, from Carl Sagan:
Each of our cells contains dozens of tiny factories called mitochondria, which combine our food with molecular oxygen in order to extract energy in convenient form. Recent evidence suggests that billions of years ago, the mitochondria were free organisms which have slowly evolved into a mutually dependent relation with the cell. When many-celled organisms arose, the arrangement was retained. In a very real sense, then, we are not a single organism, but an array of about ten trillion beings and not all of the same kind.
Posted by Gillies on May 15, 2013