CycLAvia attracts over 100,000 cyclists to car-free Los Angeles streets

Beginning of CicLAvia

If you'd told me a year ago that the City of Los Angeles would close off almost 8 miles of primary city streets to let cyclists have free rein for a day I never would have believed it. If I hadn't seen it actually happen with my own eyes yesterday, I'd still be suspicious. But it's true: thanks to the amazing efforts of the die-hard volunteers behind the project, yesterday the first ever CycLAvia (a riff on the South American Ciclovía idea) took place and some 100,000 residents took to their bikes and got a glimpse of what the city might be like if at least some parts of it were car-free.

As an avid cyclist living in LA, I've long said this is an amazing city to bike in and that it takes on a whole new life when you see it from a bicycle. But most often the reaction I get from non-cyclists is that I must be crazy to ride a bike in LA. I'm not, and judging by the photos on flickr and reactions on twitter a ton of people now see the city a little differently. With any luck this is just the first of many upcoming bike-friendly events in the city. I know I can't wait to see where this leads! (Follow @Cyclavia for future details)
CicLAvia

Photos by Tara Brown and Jory Felice

A Happy Mutant's Guide to the Near Future

Katasutra A Happy Mutants Guide to the Near Future

1) It's going to get awesomely weirder
You're going see more amusing, charming, disturbing, and novel things than you ever dreamed possible. ZOMG will happen non-stop. As jaded as you might think you'll get, there'll often be something dropping your jaw.

2) It's going to get hopelessly cuter
Lest you mistake this as treacly sentimentalism, remember - cuteness is a powerful mask for whatever can get behind it. Adorableness will be pervasive, disarming, and irresistible. Hug, but verify.

3) Memes are going mainstream
Every day new memes will appear, others will be repeated, remixed, and amplified, and others will fade. Cultural in-jokes will abound. Your grandma will send you image macros for the lulz.

4) A lot more things are going to get made
Maker, Crafter, and other DIY cultures will only get larger. You'll possess, use, give, and receive more made items. Your life will be much richer and meaningful for this.

5) It's going to get fresher and tastier
The growth in farmers' markets will make locally grown fresh produce more accessible to more people all the time. Neighborhood and backyard gardens and greenhouses, with heirloom varieties, chickens, and beekeeping combined with a more fun cooking culture will increasingly supplement and in some cases replace processed and commercially prepared foods.

Read the rest

Blackwing pencil video review


(Video link) Alex Beam of the Boston Globe reports on the extinct Blackwing 602 pencil and mentions a new pencil that's also called the Blackwing, made by California Cedar (which I don't care for).

Hitler learns about Rich Iott's Nazi cosplay photos - the Downfall video

This is one of the better Downfall videos -- Hitler learns about Tea Party fave candidate Rich Iott's SS photos. It's not embeddable, so watch it here.

Douglas Coupland's depressing next ten years

Douglas Coupland's "Radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years," from this weekend's Globe and Mail is a thought-provoking (and somewhat depressing) exercise in linear predictions based on peak oil, rampant financialist malfeasance and climate change:
1) It's going to get worse
No silver linings and no lemonade. The elevator only goes down. The bright note is that the elevator will, at some point, stop.

2) The future isn't going to feel futuristic
It's simply going to feel weird and out-of-control-ish, the way it does now, because too many things are changing too quickly. The reason the future feels odd is because of its unpredictability. If the future didn't feel weirdly unexpected, then something would be wrong.

3) The future is going to happen no matter what we do. The future will feel even faster than it does now
The next sets of triumphing technologies are going to happen, no matter who invents them or where or how. Not that technology alone dictates the future, but in the end it always leaves its mark. The only unknown factor is the pace at which new technologies will appear. This technological determinism, with its sense of constantly awaiting a new era-changing technology every day, is one of the hallmarks of the next decade...

6) The middle class is over. It's not coming back
Remember travel agents? Remember how they just kind of vanished one day? That's where all the other jobs that once made us middle-class are going - to that same, magical, class-killing, job-sucking wormhole into which travel-agency jobs vanished, never to return. However, this won't stop people from self-identifying as middle-class, and as the years pass we'll be entering a replay of the antebellum South, when people defined themselves by the social status of their ancestors three generations back. Enjoy the new monoclass!

A radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years (Thanks, , via Submitterator)

Photo series: woman at the shooting gallery, 1937-2008


Here is an annual photo series of Ria van Dijk, a Dutch woman, staring down the scope of a rifle at her local fair's shooting gallery. The series commences in 1937, when she was 15, and runs through to 2008, when she is 88 (there are no pictures between 1939 and 1945, of course).

in almost every picture #7 (via Neatorama)

Carmex packaging redesign will save the planet

 Wp-Content Uploads 2010 09 New-Carmex-Packaging

Carmex, the crack cocaine of lip balm products, announced a new packaging design that uses 20% less plastic. It's now evident how stingy Carmex is with their semi-liquid gold, too. If they haven't changed the tooling yet, I would like to suggest a superior design:

Boingier-Carmex

In the meantime, I think I'll order glass jars of the stuff directly from Carma Labs:

For those of you diehard jarheads who are longing for the opal glass jars of days gone by (we stopped shipping those in 1996), you can still order those directly from Carma Labs. The minimum order is 12 jars ($24; includes shipping). If you are interested, please call 1-414-421-7707.

Carmex Jar Goes Green (Via Doobybrain)

Happy Birthday, John Lennon

 Images Gallery John-Lennon-Lg Imagine peace.
Drew Friedman illustration

Why using movie clips in a political ad exposing paid actors masquerading as steelworkers is fair use

Republican Ohio Congressman John Kasich released a video showing an actor dressed as a steelworker, pretending to be an average local citizen who was upset with Democrat Governor Ted Strickland's performance. The Ohio Democratic Party countered by putting up a YouTube video showing that the "steelworker" was actually a paid actor called Chip Redden, illustrating the claim with clips from Redden's career.

But Arginate Studios, LLC, one of the production companies responsible for one of the Redden film clips, objected to the use of the clip, and had the video removed from YouTube with a copyright claim. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl explains,

As an initial matter, the use is extremely transformative (adding new meaning and message). The original video by Arginate is an entry in a film festival's "Road Movie" genre, featuring Redden as Sam Carpenter, a man who provides some special tickets to two women in a bar. The political video's use, on the other hand, was to provide evidence that the supposed steelworker was actually a paid actor. The use could hardly be more transformative. As the Supreme Court explained, transformative works "lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine's guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright."

Moreover, the political ad only used a few seconds of the original film. While courts have held that "entire verbatim reproductions are justifiable where the purpose of the work differs from the original," a fair use is particularly justifiable when it uses the minimum necessary to make its point.

Since the original remains available for free online, it can hardly be said that there is any harm to the market for the original work. As the Supreme Court said, "a use that has no demonstrable effect upon the potential market for, or the value of, the copyrighted work need not be prohibited in order to protect the author's incentive to create."

Finally, fair use analysis considers whether the new work benefits the public interest. Communicating with the public about an upcoming election is a core aspect of public debates, and the new video contributes to that debate.

Copyright Abuse in Ohio Governor Election

Lou Dobbs douchebag level upgraded from "racist blowhard" to "totally hypocritical racist blowhard"

The Nation reports that former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, who railed daily on television against evil illegal immigrants from Latin America and their evil employers, was apparently an exploiter of undocumented laborers from from Guatemala and Mexico. $8/hr, sin papeles y sin derechos.

Being Dead in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s weird geography means that you never know quite what lies underfoot. Old maps and folk history reveal the forgotten graveyards hidden beneath asphalt and office blocks — or reclaimed by nature.

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Coffee of the month from my favorite London roasters, Square Mile

The wonderful coffee roasters at London's Square Mile do a coffee-of-the-month subscription, through which they'll send you about a pound of their favorite blends (including pre-release blends) through the post, every month. Most of the really good coffee in London is roasted at Square Mile, and they're exceedingly nice people, too. I've just signed up for a whole year (and, full disclosure, I've been recycling some of their old burlap coffee sacks as packing materials, and they're not charging me for them).
What coffees will we send?

It will be the coffee that we are most excited about at that time and will be roasted for filter brewing, as opposed to espresso. It might be the latest Cup of Excellence, a new micro lot or just something we're excited to share! Monthly subscriptions will ship on the first Thursday of every month.

Twelve Month Subscription (UK)

Kim Stanley Robinson, Terry Bisson and Gary Phillips: LA, Oct 13 -- revolution and science fiction

Kim Stanley Robinson, Terry Bisson and Gary Phillips will appear together in on Oct 13 at the Counterpulse space in LA to talk about revolution, politics and science fiction -- sounds like a fantastic event! (Thanks, Shael, via Submitterator!)

Just look at these awesome banana-sticker design contest winners.


Just look at them.

Chiquita Banana Sticker Design Contest (Thanks, Doggo, via Submitterator!)

Mail-order animal catalog from 1972


Flickr user BryantSpokane scanned and posted "choice pages" from a 1972 Stromberg's Chicks & Pets Unlimited catalog. Stromberg's apparently used to mail-order live chickens, chinchillas, ferrets, armadillos, skunks, badgers, beavers, possums, prairie dogs, and other critters. It's an historical document that manages to be exciting and queasy at the same time -- you can imagine the trembling excitement of a kid in 1972 contemplating this mail-order menagerie, and then imagine the plight of some poor armadillos and badgers and such stuffed into cardboard boxes and sent through the post. Yikes!

Stromberg's Chicks & Pets Unlimited 1972 (via Neatorama)