Victorian Strangeness

June 24th, 2014

The man who hoped to die in a railway crash:

Money. Property. Land. Heirlooms. Whatever the mourners were hoping to inherit when they first gathered for the reading of the will, they were to be sorely disappointed.

Shock. Disbelief. Dismay. Indignation. That's what they got instead. The man they grieved, who had never given them so much as a penny while he breathed, stayed true to the habit of his lifetime.

He'd left everything – the whole kit and caboodle – to his killer. It wasn't a ghastly coincidence, nor the tell-tale sign of murderous greed, but a heartfelt gesture of thanks – appreciation for a job well done. […]

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Escalator etiquette

July 31st, 2013

From an article in the BBC News Magazine about escalator etiquette:

"Able-bodied people standing on the downward escalator1 are in effect robbing the people behind them of time," says Hamilton Nolan, who writes for Gawker and regularly uses the New York subway.

"Their presumptuous need for leisure may cause everyone behind them to miss a train they would have otherwise caught. Then those people are forced to stand and wait on a subway platform for many extra minutes. Those are precious minutes of life that none of us will get back."

"Robbing"? "Forced to stand and wait"? "Presumptuous need for leisure"? It strikes me that Hamilton Nolan ought to to get his blood pressure checked, ASAP. If the behaviour of people who think differently to him causes him such stress, I have a feeling his future contains a stroke, probably striking as he strides purposefully down the escalator past a bunch of thieving slackers.2

[Via The Morning News]

  1. Are we to take it that standing on the upward escalator is OK? Does time work differently on the way up or something?
  2. It'd be ironic if he ended up crumpled in a heap at the bottom of the escalator, robbing the people behind him of their precious time as they walk around/step over his corpse.

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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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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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Stargate Yurikamome?

August 22nd, 2011

If I am interpreting this set of images correctly, it would seem that Tokyo's New Transit Yurikamome train service takes a detour through a Stargate. Neat.

[Via BERG Blog]

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Demolition of the Paris Metro

December 27th, 2010

This photo-essay on exploring the Paris Metro is fascinating:

Back in October 2007 sometime after midnight and before the first trains rolled into regular service, qx and I took our first timid steps onto the tracks of the Paris metro. With more nervousness and care than I'd like to admit we gingerly stepped down between the metal rails just off the end of a platform wondering what madness had possessed us to do so. We'd never done Metro like this before and this scary new world was full of elements we didn't understand at all. Looking at every rail critically working out which carried the power, asking ourselves so many questions: how far could the electricity arc, would that even happen, could the cameras on the platform see us, did security wait in the tunnels after hours, were there any trains after service, if so how fast did they go, did anyone live in the tunnels, would we encounter writers? We'd heard lots of stories about RATP security forgoing the usual legal punishments and simply beating up those found in the tunnels and kicking them out onto the street. We weren't packing paint but would that matter?


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A train called Arthur

November 7th, 2010

BERG's The Journey illustrates various simple ways to make the process of taking a train just a tad more bearable by virtue of placing a few snippets of relevant information in passengers' paths. Most of the ideas aren't terribly high tech; it's more about thinking about what information passengers might find useful at each stage in the process of buying a ticket, getting on a train and taking a journey.

I'm not wild about the notion of being informed that this is my train's favourite route, but some of the other ideas about presenting journey-specific information on your ticket and using the signage in the station and on the train to give practical information like which carriages have the fewest seats booked would be really helpful. I particularly like the idea of printing information on the back of your ticket highlighting the time when you're due to pass an interesting landmark/building, though I have a horrible feeling that the train operating companies would prefer to sell that route-specific space on the ticket to advertisers.1

[Via Ben Hammersley's return to old-fashioned blogging]

  1. As you approach a major city you'd be informed that if you were feeling peckish when you got off the train there was a Starbucks™ conveniently located on the concourse.

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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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Even luckier

November 3rd, 2009

Just a couple of weeks after the world's luckiest baby, we now have footage of the world's luckiest man.

[Via Memex 1.1]

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Lucky, lucky, lucky

October 16th, 2009

Watch this video. Luckiest. Baby. Ever!

[Via Daring Fireball]

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