Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Police Bes A Jerk, Film At YouTube

This video of an NYPD cop body-checking a cyclist is a little scary. I'm sure the cyclist walked away, at least. Or would have if he hadn't been arrested for resisting arrest (???). Getting knocked sideways and not into traffic is probably the best case scenario, and at least the cop wasn't in a car or on a horse, where he really could have done some damage.

But yes, if your society offers a career that involves wielding authority over fellow citizens, then that job will tend to attract a certain number of people who are interested in that aspect specifically. It would be possible to try to counteract or preempt that dynamic in a couple different ways, I think, though it seems like right now most people are content with the status quo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Awesome Bike

I was out running some errands after work yesterday afternoon, and I saw this sweet bike locked up on Smith Street:

I have been coveting Electra's "Amsterdam" model bikes that feature the same full chain case and wheel cover like they have in the Netherlands. But this one is actually a real Dutch bike, a Gazelle. I love the step-through frame and the mudguards. I don't think I have any clothes nice enough to wear on a ride like this.

The guy standing in the street was taking a photo of the building that was just behind me and to my left, which was under renovation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Activist Video Games

GameSetWatch has a post about Hunter College's Tiltfactor research group and their "Values at Play" project. Basically it is a research lab based around creating socially conscious video games.

It's something I knew somebody else had to have thought of but which I'd had trouble finding anything about. I think I was using the search term "political," which brought me to a bunch of "UN simulator" type games, when I should have been looking for "activist" games.

In any case, there are people working on activist games (the post links to Hush, and it's pretty amazing), and there are definitely people, mostly academics, talking about activist games. There's some good stuff.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Credit Where It's Due

Gratuitous swearing aside, PhysioProf nails it in dismissing the financial media.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I was reading about different mini pumps, and I found this helpful video of a dork on a recumbent changing a flat.

I like so many things about this guy. He's supposedly out for "exercise" but then seems to spend an awful lot of time coasting, he has two mirrors on his bars and another on his "eyeglasses," his bike has a battery (could be for a lighting system, but I'm going to bet it's a powered air-horn), and he doesn't know how to use a patch kit.

Oh, and the helmet-cam, obviously. Amazing.

Call Me When You Offer Gun-Kata

Walkabiliteez Nutz

Interesting New York neighborhood map at WalkScore. It would be nice if their Brooklyn rankings were a little more fine-grained outside of South Brooklyn, and they could have stuck a whole bunch of distinct neighborhoods together under "Lower Manhattan," where everything rates in the 98-100 range.

Actually, WalkScore just seems more geared to comparing smaller towns and less dense cities, and doesn't work as well in comparing different neighborhoods within a city. I noticed my own walk score at the apartment my lover and I are moving to is pretty high, but partially it's because the "nearest grocery" is a bodega and the "nearest library" is a medical library at a hospital.

Update: Another oddity, they also seem to have not ranked this whole section in the middle here:

The missing chunk includes Prospect Park, lower Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Flatbush. (Upper Crown Heights has been divided between Bedford-Stuyvesant and Fort Greene, into which Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill have both been subsumed.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guess I'm One of the Dudes

Feministe guest-blogger PhysioProf says hi to the haters. I seriously think 75% of his posts have been along the lines of "if you don't fucking like me then too fucking bad." His awkward gratuitously-profane-guy shtick might be excusable if the hypersensitivity to criticism didn't make it such a tough sell.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Afternoon Thread

Knock yourselves out.

I'm a Terrible Roommate

I judge my roommates on their trash, despite the fact that I am actually a little paranoid or at least self-conscious about my own trash, and make myself feel better by reassuring myself that nobody would be so crazy as to care what products I use or who sends me junk mail.

I Didn't Know That

Apparently delivery trucks are supposed to double park next to, rather than on top of, the bike lane. I don't think I've ever seen that. Also, since most (all?) bike lanes were added to existing streets, it would be my guess that the vast majority of one-way single-lane streets with bike lanes do not provide enough space for trucks to double park in the legal manner while still allowing traffic to pass by on the other side.

I also maintain that double parking in a bike lane is far less dangerous to cyclists than double parking on the other side of the street from a bike lane, forcing moving traffic into the bike lane to get by. Still not ideal, but the lesser of two evils if you want to permit double parking to any extent.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Variable-Rate Parking

Streetsblog on DOT's plans for variable-rate parking. I have to say, the figures they're talking about (increasing rates from $1 an hour to around $2.50) strike me as less extreme then what I would expect the market to bear, but it sounds like they recognize that and are just starting small to see what effects it has. Good move.

Magical Penis Thieves

Lock that shit up.

Unh, Double Up, Unh, Unh

I had to go into the office yesterday, and got to ride in NJ Transit's new double-decker cars. Or "new to me," anyway...I guess they started literally rolling them out on the Northeast Corridor line last summer, but this is the first time I've seen them on the NJ Coast line.

It was pretty nice, though, just like the LIRR. Definitely more comfortable, and less crowded for the moment. Bike facilities are about the same as before in terms of capacity and ease of use.

Transit everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Crappy Stickers

It's been a while since I made any stencils. Yesterday I tried to do a little fluffy corgi sticker. Here's the stencil drying:

It came out crappy! There were too many tiny details that just got smudged and lost. I guess it's been too long, and I didn't remember how hard it is to get anything to come through when you're applying paint with a roller. Also I used too long of a roller.

Also I had run out of card stock so I picked up some acetate with the idea that it would not get so sodden with paint. I was actually right about that. But I think the fiber of the card had kept me from going too tiny with details, whereas the acetate let me get way finer than I could have otherwise (not that I put it to any good use), and definitely too fine to show up when I applied paint.

So maybe I'll be able to salvage four or five, especially if I sharpie on a caption so you can tell what it's supposed to be. And I took the opportunity to do up a couple sets of blanks in that green, which is handy. But I'm not sure what to do with the stencil design...blow it up big enough to save the details, try to simplify it without losing what it's supposed to be, or just throw it out?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Maybe They Actually Just Like Him?

Ezra Klein quotes Ross Douthat, a Republican dismayed by the GOP's embrace of Jesse Helms as a conservative hero. Douthat seems to regard the veneration of Helms as mainly a strategic error, and Klein thinks "that seems about right." I think their Occam's razors could use some sharpening.

The Mask Slips

Hugo Schwyzer links to Kathryn Jean Lopez calling someone a "good girl role model" for sacrificing her life to have a kid. That's what little girls should aspire to I guess, being a mother and then being dead.

Hugo is, as always, immensely delicate and respectful of K-Lo's values: my own tendency would be to invite her to jump straight to step two, as her career as a pundit seems to have interfered with her reproductive duties. But really, going through life with that kind of self-loathing—she is a woman who literally believes women should want to die—has got to be punishment enough.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Kate Beaton has posted a nice set of old political cartoons dealing with Uncle Sam's (né "Brother Jonathan"?) designs on Canada. Hilarious and occasionally mystifying.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Garret Keizer Essay

Harper's has posted this essay from the June issue about the gay rights debate in Episcopalianism. Highly recommended.

Pretty Neat

Jessae found a photo of herself on Google Street View. I don't think I linked to Andrew's article on using Street View for photography; maybe he'll write another one on using it for self-portraits.