The World

Trams, cable cars, ferries, and bikes – making transportation cleaner (and more fun)

Since I first discovered the care-free movement years ago, I’ve always been a sucker for ways to get around besides those same old gas-guzzling, traffic-jamming cars.

It just seems like walking, biking, and taking a ride on something are more fun than cars. Mass transit makes the world more beautiful and is better for the planet.

Here’s a great overview of how cities across the world are finding better, electric options for moving lots of people around.

creativity

The Opposite of a Story

We humans are made for stories. We love to hear stories. Stories make ideas more relatable and memorable.

I have been learning about the art of storytelling, both written and verbal. Basically it comes down to this:

  • Cut the BS
  • Build tension
  • Stay focused on your message

Whatever you do, don’t be boring. βœ”οΈ

I personally want to tell engaging stories to inspire people.

But the latest Invisibilia episode raises an interesting point: Yes, stories are powerful. But is that always a good thing? What if stories can be weaponized to manipulate you? (For example, I don’t know, maybe “The election was stolen.”)

To that end, Invisibilia decided to look at the opposite of a tight, message-driven story. They decided to focus on super slow, boring non-stories. For example an uninterrupted 9-hour train ride through Norway. It originally aired on Norwegian TV. They also did a ship’s 11-hour journey and more.

I have to say that the result is oddly satisfying. I mean, it’s not The Usual Suspects or even Citizen Kane, but it hits right if you want something relaxing. And it definitely will not manipulate you into thinking anything more than, “Gosh, Norway is pretty.” or perhaps just, “Ahh, trains…”

Hell, I have it on in the background right now just for the sound. They describe this kind of video as having “weak narrativity”. πŸ˜†

The video is so slow that you have to make sure it’s not paused after you start it. πŸ€”

But it picks up (kind of). 🚞

πŸ‘‰ The podcast also suggests that this kind of non-narrative might promote democracy, individualism, and community. Not bad for some train footage.

And don’t forget slow radio.

Austin

Real Rail for Austin!

During the presidential election last month, I was surprised to see that there was also a local transit plan called Project Connect on the ballot. I kind of assumed it would fail since there was a pandemic on, traffic was way down, and people were avoiding crowded spaces. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So the headline on the latest edition of Community Impact shocked me.

Historic public transportation expansion on its way to Austin

And it passed by a hefty margin. πŸ’ͺ🏻

I was farther stunned to see that this is not some BS πŸ’© rail system built on existing freight rail lines (wtf?) but a real urban rail system actually running through the heart of the city where people can truly ditch their cars forever and hop on the train. This line runs right down South Congress, where I can walk to it to get to downtown, UT, or the airport entirely car-free. 🎊

This project can help make the city more human-oriented, more convenient, reduce the need for all that ugly asphalt, take some pressure off those gridlocked streets, and help the planet. For about $25/month I’m soooo in.

Maybe one day Austin will look a little bit like Lisbon. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

The World

Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

Interesting history of mass transit in America. For those of us frustrated by being forced to drive a car everywhere (aka being stuck in traffic without an alternative way to get around) πŸ™„, this article provides some explanation, or at least context.

πŸ‘‰ Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

American suburbs are unique in being almost entirely auto-oriented, relating on those dumb park-and-rides for mass transit. Other countries that have extended mass transit into the suburbs themselves have had much more success. As the article says, “good service can make transit successful even in low-density suburbs.”