Twice as fast = twice as nice

So today the dutch railways (NS) ran a one-time Amsterdam Berlin intercity service that was 27 minutes faster than the usual 6 hour 30 minutes Amsterdam Berlin intercity service. They achieved this by omitting all stops between Amsterdam and the German border (Hilversum, Amsersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Amelo and Henglo). According to the NS it should be possible to further reduce travel time to four hours by aquiring engines that are capable of running 200 km/h on the Dutch and the German rail…

Equipopulous Europe

I am strangely fascinated by this map that depicts the European Union as 28 equipopulous member states (although i would rather imagine this as administrative territories rather than as states): Twenty-eight equally sized European Union Member States, by Alasdair Gunn Of course this is utterly unrealistic as (re)drawing borders has been one of the most destructive activities in the history of humanity. So the only way to improve on the current situation would be to do away with border altogether…

Europa Prima Pars Terrae in Forma Virginis

Europa Prima Pars Terrae in Forma Virginis (1582) by Heinrich Bünting Found this in yesterdays newspaper, next to an article comparing the current state of the European Union to the state of the Habsburg Empire right before its collapse. Not sure about that comparison, but the map is amazing.…

Paper maps as backup for when the network is down

Stumbled across this picture of a helicopter crew surveying flooding along the Elbe while reading the news this morning: As far as I am concerned this is a perfect illustration of the fact that paper maps have been relegated to being a backup solution for when the battery is empty or the cellular network is down (guess as a helicopter pilot you can’t really afford this). Also amazing how much the military (or paramilitary, not really clear from the picture if this a federal police or an army hel…

1 plus 8 - the room is a map of the territory

Yesterday we saw 1+8 at the opulent Galata branch of SALT. 1+8 is a dynamic eight-screen video installation about Turkey and her eight neighbours based on the feature film of the same name directed by Cynthia Madansky and Angelika Brudniak. I usually do not have much patience for video installations but 1+8 managed to capture my attention for quite some time. If you are to believe the catalogue text this thanks to an the brilliance of a ‘custom made algorithmic computer program’ powering the dis…

Peeing in private...

Had to take a leak yesterday as we were on the way back from the opening reception of the uitmarkt on java island. conveniently we were cycling past the navy terrain in central amsterdam and the outside wall of this super secret military installation is about the only place in all of central amsterdam where you can actually take a leak a little bit off the road. turns out that it is not only a very convenient place but probably also the most private place to take a leak as you are protected from…

More proof that GPS is evil

[see previous evidence here, here and here]. Over at BLDGblog Geoff Manaugh reflects on a feature in the last edition of WIRED that praises GPS and user generated map files for allowing rich westerners to travel through remote parts of the world (Namibia in this case) without the need for local guides. In ‘the digital replacement of the natives‘ Geoff argues that this trend – should it become more widespread – will probably be devastating for local economies based on tourism: I can’t help but wo…

2007 most deadly year yet

So 2007 is coming to an end and it is time to draw up the balance. when it comes to migrants who have died trying to reach Europe, 2007 has been an exceptional bad year even though the powers that be seem to think otherwise. Back in august the IHT quoted spanish and italian officials that proudly proclaimed that the number of arrivals at their shores had been down from the numbers for the same period in 2007: The deadly flow of flimsy boats crammed with migrants heading north across the Mediterr…

The knowledge vs GPS

I have written about virtues of ‘the knowledge‘ and the dangers of GPS to human evolution before. Now the good old BBC is running an article that actually pits the one versus the other in some kind of technology versus humans death match. They held a race through London in which a cab driver (in possession of ‘the knowledge’) had to compete against a BBC hack who was following the instructions of a Tom Tom GO 720 navigation unit: We chose waypoints that took us through extremely busy parts of Lo…

Future generations will be lost...

And i mean this literally. I have already written about the degrading orientation skills of London cab drivers, but in the last couple of days i noticed a much more alarming trend. on three occasions i have spotted people using those irritating gps based car navigation units to walk(!) around town. Friggin’ insanity! what do people think they have brains for these days? First time i noticed this was in the phone shop where two female japanese tourists enquired about the stand alone gps units and…