April 5th, 2015

Casting no shadow:

Ingenious London architects have designed a new skyscraper for a site in Greenwich that doesn't cast a single shadow.

But this isn't witchcraft, just really damn clever design. To minimise the effect of the vertical build on nearby communities, the appropriately dubbed 'No Shadow' buildings are designed so that when one building creates shade, the other acts as a gigantic mirror, reflecting the light downwards into its shadow

[Via @cityofsound]

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Shards B&W

March 12th, 2013

John Naughton's Shards B&W:

Shards B&W

Best viewed as big as possible.

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London's Overthrow

November 3rd, 2012

China Miéville contemplates London's Overthrow:

This is an era of CGI end-times porn, but London's destructions, dreamed-up and real, started a long time ago. It's been drowned, ruined by war, overgrown, burned up, split in two, filled with hungry dead. Endlessly emptied.

In the Regency lines of Pimlico is Victorian apocalypse. Where a great prison once was, Tate Britain shows vast, awesome vulgarities, the infernoward-tumbling cities of John Martin, hybrid visionary and spiv. But tucked amid his kitsch 19th Century brilliance are stranger imaginings. His older brother Jonathan's dissident visions were unmediated by John's showmanship or formal expertise. In 1829, obeying the Godly edict he could hear clearly, Jonathan set York Minster alight and watched it burn. From Bedlam – he did not hang – he saw out his life drawing work after astonishing work of warning and catastrophe. His greatest is here. Another diagnostic snapshot.


'London's Overthrow'. Scrappy, chaotic, inexpert, astounding. Pen-and-ink scrawl of the city shattered under a fusillade from Heaven, rampaged through by armies, mobs, strange vengeance. Watching, looming in the burning sky, a lion. It is traumatized and hurt.

The lion is an emblem too
that England stands upon one foot.

With the urgency of the touched, Martin explains his own metaphors.

and that has lost one Toe
Therefore long it cannot stand

The lion looks out from its apocalypse at the scrag-end of 2011. London, buffeted by economic catastrophe, vastly reconfigured by a sporting jamboree of militarised corporate banality, jostling with social unrest, still reeling from riots. Apocalypse is less a cliché than a truism. This place is pre-something.

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Like a leaf on the breeze

October 26th, 2012

London Heathrow Approach Time-Lapse.

I love the oddly jittery motion as the airliners bob around in the crosswind, lining up their final approach. It's strangely soothing.

[Via MetaFilter]

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Additional Information from the Tube

October 25th, 2012

"For the benefit of passengers using Apple iOS6…"


[Via The Risks Digest]

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Shit London

April 10th, 2012

Welcome to Shit London:

These are photographs of the unintentional human comedy that surround us in the city. It's the flotsam and jetsam of city life, the overlooked minutiae, the tragic, the grotesque and the basest of base. It's the adapted posters, the dirty joke on the back of a van, the mispelt (sic?) signs, the glory hole in the public loo, that weird shop down the end of your road and the knob graffiti strategically placed for maximum effect.

Grab your camera. Notice your city and laugh at it.

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

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Dawn chorus

January 15th, 2012

Joe Moran on a modern version of the dawn chorus:

My favourite character in Craig Taylor's Londoners, his oral history of the capital which I've just finished reading, is Craig Clark, a clerk at Transport for London's Lost Property Office near Baker Street underground station. There is a lovely opening to this section which illustrates the unconscious synchronisation of millions of urban lives: 'I arrive at Transport for London's Lost Property Office near Baker Street station when it is loudest, between eight and nine in the morning – when all the lost mobile phones, programmed by absent owners and sealed in their individual brown envelopes, begin to chirp and ring and speak in novelty voices and vibrate and arpeggio on the racks where they are shelved, each with its own designated number. The chorus gets louder every quarter of an hour, until a last burst of sound at nine o'clock, and then most alarms go quiet for the rest of the day.'

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The phrase "Render unto Caesar…" comes to mind

September 22nd, 2010

Boris Johnson on meeting the Pope:

There we were on the tarmac at Heathrow as the papal jet prepared to land. The cameras were trained on the night sky. The red carpet was rolled out. The charming Foreign Office people tried for the umpteenth time to remind me where to stand – and all the while my mind was whirring with a single question. It is a problem that goes to the heart of the relationship between church and state. It is a question that will be studied by future generations of students of theology and patristics, because the answer we give – and the answer you give, off the top of your head – is an indication of the balance currently existing between the privileges of spiritual leaders and the egalitarian demands of our temporal world.

Never mind abortion or paedophile priests. As Pope Force One taxied towards us, there was one issue still revolving in my mind at the speed of a Rolls-Royce fan jet. Should the Popemobile be liable for the congestion charge and, if not, why not? Should the Holy Father have to pay £8 to drive through Westminster, like everyone else? Or should that fee be waived, in recognition of his status as the vicar of Christ on Earth? It is a tough one, and I am sure there will be clear-sighted readers of this paper who will take opposite views; and it is that very division of instinct that is so revealing about the psychology of this country. […] 1

[Via The Browser]

  1. The answer, for anyone who doesn't want to follow the link, is that the charge only applies to "normal" road use: if the road is closed off so the Pontiff can wave to a sea of admirers then that's not "normal" road use and would attract no congestion charge. How much time the Pope's driver spent in traffic is another question entirely. Not very much, I'd guess.

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May 6th, 2010

The best computer error code I've seen in a while, courtesy of this list of Oyster Card Codes:

82 Illogical use of ticket

[Via Kevan Davis]

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