Promising looking e-scooter from TAUR

This looks rather promising. It’s a new design for an e-scooter which, by the look of it, is still portable, but which answers some of the doubts that are now being expressed about e-scooter safety.

Carson Brown, the designer and public face of TAUR argues that a basic cause of e-scooter danger is the ungainly body posture demanded by the current and less bulky versions of the e-scooter:

One thing that sets TAUR apart is the foot platforms, which provide a dedicated place for the rider to stand. Instead of placing your feet behind one another with your hips twisted awkwardly, you stand fully facing forward with your feet side by side. The platforms are 2.5 times wider than the deck of a typical scooter and help the rider with stability. The benefit of facing head-on with your body aligned is that you are able to twist 180 degrees in either direction — giving the rider maximum ride awareness.

There are other tweaks added to achieve much greater safety, like much bigger and tougher wheels and lights to signal your presence. In general, the TAUR, Carson says, is an e-scooter designed to travel on roads, rather than merely on super-flat surfaces like shopping centre pedestrian areas.

Having been watching the e-scooter story unfold, I note that a big problem now is that to achieve maximum portability, safety seems to have been sacrificed. That’s a deal breaker for many and probably most people. I’d sum up the TAUR by saying that the “traditional” e-scooter, the one we now see trundling about in London from time to time, is the smallest and cheapest and most portable e-scooter you can have that still goes reasonably well. The TAUR, on the other hand, is the safest e-scooter you can still carry by hand when you’re not travelling on it. It’s not as light as it can be, so you can lift it easily. It’s as heavy and bulky as it can be, while still remaining liftable.

This reminds me somewhat of the definition of, I think it was, the General Motors Cadillac. A car like the Ford Model-T was the cheapest car you could have, and that of course was mass produced, to make it as cheap as possible. And of course GM had their version of that also, at the bottom end of their range. But, the top-of-the-range Cadillac was the most luxurious car GM could still sell in sufficient numbers for it to be mass-produceable. This notion of satisfying a basic requirement while maximising another very desirable variable is a powerful way to think about the design of manufactured things, I think. The trick being to choose exactly the right variables, to be satisfied, and to be maximised.

Greenwich Peninsular – 2005 – 2019

We’re on the far side of the Peninsular, from central London, looking north.

2005:

2019:

I can’t swear I was standing in the exact same spot. I rather think that 2019 may a bit further downstream, further away from the Dome.

But, the point stands. It’s quite a contrast, making it clear how much has been going on around there, just south of the Dome, in the Greenwich Peninsular. And it’s not just new buildings. In 2005, no Dangleway.

As time passes and as I get ever less mobile and exploratory, I expect, although I promise nothing, to be doing more of such before after photo-pairings.

LATER: None of which pairings will be anything like as impressive as these ones. In the two (2005/2020) of thos included in this posting here, you can see the changes I refer to above, beyond the Dome and to the left, as we look.

Canaletto – and now

Came across this picture of St Paul’s by Canaletto, with boats, done in the 1740s:

I tried to find a bigger version. I failed, but did encounter this, from the Daily Express of June 4th 2012:

WITH its spectacular pomp and ceremony, yesterday’s river pageant evoked the alluring images in Canaletto’s painting The Thames on Lord Mayor’s Day which depicted a royal flotilla against a backdrop of the City and St Paul’s Cathedral more than 250 years ago.

That “backdrop” is not what it was. St Paul’s is still St Paul’s, but what’s in front of it has taken rather a turn for the worse.

I’ve surely photoed photos of that scene, although not with that many boats. I recall getting interested in the Faraday Building, the one with the green roof in the photo above, which was the first big architectural violation of that St Paul’s view.

In the Canaletto, notice all the spires there, of other places of worship, most of them also designed by Wren.

London buses in times past

Incoming from onw of the Robs:

Hello Brian,

Hello, one of the Robs.

Hope you are well.

Mustn’t grumble, as people say when inclined to.

YouTube’s mysterious algorithm just recommended this video to me and I thought it was your cup of tea.

It is.

Maybe the past was more colourful than we tend to imagine.

Rob

The past in this case being the 1920s. I think most of us get that life has always been in colour, albeit not necessarily all that colourful, long before photography learned to register this fact.

To be more grateful and more serious, what struck me was those curved staircases at the back of the buses. The Boris Bus clearly harks back to that shape. I had not realised this.

YouTube, having established that I wanted to watch this, then showed me some film from before WW1, back in the age of horse-drawn buses. Apologies, I lost the link to this, but basically we’re talking about a world dominated by these things. Was one of the driving force behind the motorisation of buses the fact that so many of those horses were sent away to fight in the above mentioned World War? Well, no, the timing is al wrong. Dragged out of retirement, more like. By the time that war had started motorised buses had already arrived in a big way.

And as soon as they did, lots of adverts.

How the old version of New Scotland Yard used to look before they knocked it down

In that posting I did yesterday, it would have made sense to have included also a photo of how the old New Scotland Yard building used to look, given that I showed photos of how the place where it stood looked after it had been demolished and what is now there instead.

So, here is that old New Scotland Yard building, viewed from the roof of my block of flats, in 2016:

Not an especially distinguished building. Just a Brand-X Modernist box. I was fond of it because of its gloriously exuberant roof clutter, in such delightful contrast to its austere and repetitious facades. (The red spike in the foreground is the red spike on the top of the Headquarters of Channel 4 Television.)

Here is an earlier photo I photoed back in 2010 of this same building, from, of all out-of-the-way spots, the platform of South Bermondsey Railway Station, which is a substantial train ride away from my home off to the far side of London:

Yes, there it is, between the “other” Parliament Tower, the one with four spikes rather than just the one (plus a clock), and the Big Thing at the Elephant and Castle with the three holes in the top (seen sideways on).

Don’t believe me? Zoom zoom, crop crop:

That’s definitely it, I think you’ll agree. I didn’t realise I even had this photo until quite recently. I love these accidents of visibility, involving London’s Big or in this case not so big Things. It is a constant delight to me when out and about just what you can see, from just where.

Presumably you can now see the new Towers that they have built there instead, from that same South Bermondsey platform. Memo to self: Go back there and check that out.

Joe Rogan talks with Daryl Davis about how Davis converted lots of white racists

Just finished watching/listening to this Joe Rogan talk with Daryl Davis, about how Davis has been converting white racists into upstanding American citizens. Davis says he doesn’t himself convert anybody. They convert themselves. In this respect he is like those teachers who say “I’m not a teacher – I just get them to learn for themselves.” Those teachers are teachers, and Davis is a converter. He talks with white racists, and then, hey presto they convert themselves. Some, not all of them course.

Two hours and forty minutes very well spent. Never heard of Daryl Davis until today (thank you Twitter). Used to be a full time musician. Got into the racism conversion business when a KKK guy complimented him on his piano playing, at one of his gigs. “Never heard a black guy pay piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.” But Lewis got his piano style from earlier black pianists, just like I did, said Davis. “No.” Yes. And thanks to Davis being a personable and curious guy, they just kept on talking. “Why do you hate me, when you don’t even know me?” That was his starting question to all these characters.

Daryl Davis wrote a memoir about how he did all this converting of white racists, and while listening to him talk, I of course whistled this book up on Amazon. Apparently, I can buy myself a copy of Klandestine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Klu Klux Klan for the giveaway price of (as I now write (subject to change)), £397.50, in hardback. But the good news is that Davis is now working on a revised edition, with more stories along similar lines that happened since he first wrote this book two decades ago. So if, like me, you now want a copy, but if, not like me, you think you’ll have to pay nearly four hundred quid for a copy or go permanently without, well, be patient and stay tuned.

How we got another look at 55 Broadway

I literally only photoed two photos today, and when I say “literally”, I actually do literally mean literally, which is not how it often is these days. The first photo I photoed was of this taxi with advert photo, and the second photo was this:

My purpose in showing this photo is not just to show how what used to be known as “New” Scotland Yard has now been turned into flats for the well off. It is also to illustrate a common urban phenomenon, which is how building projects in great cities have a way of temporarily revealing great buildings. 55 Broadway was almost hidden by New Scotland Yard, which was a huge slab where the new towers now are. Now 55 Broadway is back to being almost hidden, by those new towers. My photo of the new towers does enable you to see 55 Broadway lurking in the back there, if you know what you’re looking for. But it makes little impression.

Here, on the other hand, is a photo I took of the same place a couple of years ago, with me standing a bit further down Victoria Street, which shows 55 Broadway much more clearly:

What that shows is what an impact this building had when it was first built. Time was when in was among London’s biggest Big Things.

It helps that the weather that day was a lot nicer.

BMNB SQotD: Richard Fernandez on the current visibility of elite indecency

Richard Fernandez on Twitter:

What is often described as the decline in public decency may just be a rise in the exposure of elite indecency.

Both this posting and my previous one allude to the phenomenon of negative temporal parochialism, whish is the habit of thinking that there is something uniquely bad about the times we ourselves happen to be living in. Yes, it’s now rather bad. But study history and you’ll soon discover other times just as bad, and many that were far worse.

This idea is a closer cousin than it realises of the notion that our own time is uniquely good.

I googled the Great Barrington Declaration and got there straight away

I am now following Nico Metten on Twitter, who has long been anti-Lockdown, well before I was. Not sure whether this is because he only just arrived on Twitter, or merely because I only just found him.

Whatever, I just read this tweet from Carl Vernon, which Nico has retweeted, which says this:

Google “The Great Barrington Declaration” – the petition signed by over 10,000 scientists, docs and experts – and it’s completely gone. Nowhere to be seen.

Welcome to the new method of burning books.

So, I did google “The Great Barringon Declaration” and I immediately got there, in seconds. It’s putting it very mildly to say that I am not the cleverest googler there is, but I had no problems at all. Multiple references, including, near the top, the GBD website itself.

Is Carl Vernon lying? Or is his world somehow different from mine, and did he jump to paranoid conclusions? Does google tweak what it tells different people? Did the GBD temporarily disappear? I’d love to know the answer.

Lots of tweeters in response got there too, immediately. And lots of other tweeters said: DuckDuckGo! Maybe I will. Although I don’t mind being tracked. I don’t care who knows my choices. I just don’t want to have my choices censored or otherwise hidden from my view.