Cheating in San Francisco

The last time i rode a bike in San Francisco was in 1996 when i was here for the Cycle Messenger World Championships. Since then the city has changed a lot, and while much of that change has not been for the better, when it comes to cycling things have improved a lot. In 1996 bike messengers where pretty much the only ones cycling and as a cyclist you had to fight for your space on the road which was pretty much constantly challenged by ignorant/agressive motorists. These days the city is full o…

CARNE Y ARENA

In retrospect the whole process of actually getting to experience Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s situated VR installation CARNE Y ARENA at the Fondazione Prada in Milano now looks like a privileged white man’s version of what the protagonists of the installation have gone trough: The almost overwhelming uncertainty if i would ever manage to get there (the result of overwhelmed web servers that could not keep up with the demand for the microscopic amount of tickets available), the realisation that a gro…

Terrorism and urban planning

From the novel I am currently reading: Back in his hotel room he remembered that Mohammed Atta , the famous World Trade Center hijacker, had been a student of urban planning in hamburg in Germany. Was there a connection between the two things – terror and planning? It was possible. Atta in his religious way, had wanted the perfect religious city &emdash; his thesis was on Aleppo in Syria. In the end though his urge to design took a different form &emdash; het took down the twin monstrosi…

A new era

When I went to sleep yesterday night I was expecting my daughters Yuki and Mika to wake up in a world where three of the most powerful persons are women. Instead, we woke up to a world in which a misogynistic, ignorant, racist, fear-monger was elected to be the next president of the United States of America. That makes it pretty likely that they will grow up in a world that is considerably worse than the one I grew up in. 2nd breakfast of the morning: double espresso + vodka shot But this is not…

Summer reading tip: water, knifes, pistachio nuts and the tragedy of the commons

Here is a suggestion for a bit of summer reading: The first thing that you need to read (in order to polish up your knowledge of the water rights issues connected to the Colorado river, a.k.a the law of the river) is this New Yorker article from back in may: Where the River Runs Dry – The Colorado and America’s water crisis by David Owen. Once you are done with this you need to aquire a copy of Paulo Bacagalupi’s new novel The Water Knife and find yourself a place with a swimming pool full of cr…

Breakfast with Joe Lieberman

On monday during my short trip to Qatar i had breakfast with Joe Lieberman[1]. to be precise ‘having breakfast’ is a bit of an exaggeration here, but i was sitting at the table next to the table where Senator Lieberman and seven of his aides were having breakfast. Interestingly my table was within hearing distance and so i could pick up most of the conversation that was unfolding at the table next to mine. Conversation is a bit of a big word here. What was gong on at the other table was more of…

Floating sand snake

For some reason this photo had escaped my attention when i first viewed it back in march on the big picture’s edition covering the drug war in mexico. fortunately it’s animal-like beauty did catch Bryan Finoki’s eye over at subtopia, who calls it the sand dragon: What looks like some creature from a science fiction movie is actually part of the border fence that is being erected by the US along the border with Mexico. This particular stretch covering 7 miles of in Imperial [sic!] County in Calif…

Deportation airlines

Deportee boarding a ICE air flight to Guatemala city at Mesa, AZ airport. (photo Michael Schennum/Wall Street Journal) We have had the deportation class and the deportation alliance but we never really had a proper deportation airline. Seems they have one in the US (land of the free?) though: The Wall Street Journal has a rather surreal article about ‘ICE air’ (ICE stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department for Homeland Security). ICE air (official…

For future reference

Excellent collumn by Matt Taibbi over at smirkingchimp.com on what the candidacy of Sarah Palin says about the state of American politics [read the whole thing is is worth it!]: Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their m…