This time last year, I was cycling around the lake district, Los Lagos, in Chilean Patagonia. I was there with Computer Aid International, who refurbish old office computers and send them to schools, hospitals, and development projects around the world, including the small city of Osorno in Los Lagos. Below […]
Over at At War With The Motorist, I look at another of the obvious ill-effects of Beijing’s burgeoning car dependency — the plague of badly parked cars filling the pavements and cycle paths. You can read it here. Also, try out our China traffic quiz: what’s wrong with this picture?
I was listening to an old episode of the SETI institute’s podcast Are We Alone, in which they talked to a CSICOP (or whatever it is they call themselves these days) investigator. He described how he approached claims of the paranormal: he was neutral, and he “suspended disbelief” while he […]
I think I’ve mentioned before that I keep a copy of Burkhardt’s Selected Letters of Charles Darwin handy in the smallest room (“for fun“). In this letter to Asa Gray in November 1857, a load is lifted from Chaz’s mind… By the way I must tell you what I heard […]
At the weekend around 12,000 people marched through London in protest against the policies of the Pope. A photo essay on cotch dot net explains why we were there.
It’s ten years since the Road Haulage Industry blockaded oil refineries to complain about the price of diesel, and the whole country ran out of fuel. At At War With The Motorist I ask what has been since then to reduce our dependence on private motorised transport and road haulage […]
Melinda Liu in Newsweek, on sitting the written exam for a Chinese driving license: The most memorable question is the one about intestines. Specifically, it’s a multiple-choice question about what to do if you come across a traffic accident victim with an open abdominal wound from which the small intestine […]
Continuing the China strand on At War With The Motorist, exploring questions that aren’t easy to answer. The main conclusions are that an absolutely staggering number of people die on China’s roads each year, and they do so because on their anarchic roads, inexperienced Motorists drive like idiots. The more […]
This post probably doesn’t quite work, but at At War With The Motorist I continue the thread on shared space by considering the mechanism by which it works: risk compensation — the idea that when traffic management is ripped out, road users will perceive the road to be more risky […]
At At War With The Motorist, I continue the threads on the concept of shared space and on transport in Beijing, looking at how roads work and how road users behave in a city where traffic management is meaningless, and the road belongs to whoever can take it. Read it […]
Boing Boing brings us the story of a San Francisco bike messenger who takes acid at work. To do what I do, I have to be paying attention 100% of the time. My peripheral vision and reflexes are my best friends. Acid is not a drug that lends itself to […]
This is another archival repost from the old blog — this one from December 2008. So, BBC TWO’s Oceans: marine ecology’s answer to Time Team. I get as excited by marine biology as the next nerd, and you don’t have to remind me of the importance of conservation. Somehow, the […]
A year ago, the discussions at the Science Online conference inspired me to explore the question “what is the scientific paper?” — and specifically, what is wrong with the scientific paper and what its future might be. In time for this year’s conference, I’ve been reposting the the blogs on […]
Over at cotch dot net, I’ve thrown together a quick photo essay on the Victorian park cemetery at Arno’s Vale in Bristol, which until recently was rather derelict and overgrown. You can read the while post at Arno’s Vale Cemetery.
Vaughan of the ever fascinating Mind Hacks discusses a recent study that looks at the effects of having an attractive passenger in the car on driver errors. The researchers put forty people in driving simulators and made them drive through hazards while talking to passengers. The basic finding was that […]
Every journalist and cycling campaign group can cite one great example of a town where the simple switching off of every set of traffic lights has transformed it overnight into a transport utopia: Drachten, half way between Amsterdam and Groningen in the Netherlands. Here in the UK, Drachten’s experiment is […]
The latest trend in street engineering is shared space. It sounds great: the street belongs to everybody, Motorist, pedestrian and cyclist, and we all look out for one another and show some respect. It’s a reversal of the forced traffic management: the curbs and railings that segregate vehicles from people; […]
This is another archival repost from the old blog — this time from april 2009. I found on the iPlayer the latest in BBC2’s series of Darwin documentaries, Did Darwin Kill God? This is theologian Conor Cunningham’s attempt reconcile science and religion, and show that their differences are all just […]
This was originally written a year ago on a now disused blog. I’m reposting it here because I enjoyed writing it so much that I wouldn’t want it to disappear. People love a good argument with Richard Dawkins. So many people are so desperately seeking reassurance that he is wrong, […]