“Based on our research, we found that cats distinguish between the low- to mid-light wave spectrum — meaning purple, blue, yellow, and green, with blue and green being the strongest colors they see,” says Hutton. The architects beta-tested their design with their own cats, he adds: “They weren’t too fond of the power tools, but as soon as the assembly started they were all over the outdoor carpet we used for the interior insulation and began climbing in and out of the boxes.”
Read more. [Images: I HAVE CAT]
Inspired by a Tumblr called “The Daily Pothole,” this earnest documentary spotlights a service that few knew existed and that many take for granted. As Richard Cicale, Director of Manhattan Street Maintenance says, his thick Brooklyn accent more audible with each word, the crew is “a vital, important part of the city – to some people anyway.”
We’re about halfway through December, a time when many city streets start looking like they’re culled straight from a fairyland. Above, a smattering of sparkly, glistening, holiday decorations from around the world.
Steam-power isn’t as outdated as you might infer from its near extinction in the developed world. Skow remembers his father taking him to watch the big steam-powered freight trains run through the junction at Pasadena, California, in the 1950s. Steam wasn’t systematically phased out in the U.S. until the 1960s. Today, there is still one steam locomotive operating on a Class I railroad in the U.S., the Union Pacific 844.
Read more. [Images: David Longman]
The 39-year-old Fischer, who lives in Oakland, developed his cartographic interest while at the University of Chicago, when he came across the windy city’s 1937 local transportation plan. (It was a “clearly insane plan” to replace the transit system with a massive freeway network, he recalls.) Until a few weeks ago Fischer worked as a programmer at Google, gathering the data that guides his projects in his spare time.
Over the years Fischer has rendered loads of raw numbers into informative and visually powerful maps on a diverse range of topics: from race tolanguageto the use of social media. The work is published in sets on Flickr (alongside an impressive collection of retro urban maps and street signs). His most popular set —“Locals and Tourists”— used geotagged photos from Flickr and Picasa to examine where visitors and natives take pictures in 124 cities.
“It’s a simple concept, but revealing about where the edges are where people turn back and stop exploring,” says Fischer.
Read more. [Images: Eric Fischer]
Michael Phelps has more medals than many countries. But even the greatest medal-winner in Olympic history did not earn enough in these games to push his hometown of Baltimore into first-place among United States metros[…]
Los Angeles leads with a whopping 45 medals, San Francisco is a distant second with 11, followed by Miami, Gainesville, and Trenton-Ewing with 10 each; New York and Austin have 9 each; San Diego has 8 and Athens, Georgia, won 7. Baltimore and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul brought home 6 each; and Denver, Charlotte, and Portland, Oregon have 5 each.
Read more. [Image: Martin Prosperity Institute]
Numerous U.S. cities have staked claims as leading music centers. Seattle had its grunge, Chicago has electric blues, and Nashville its twang. Detroit was the birthplace of both Motown and the hard-edge distorted indie rock of The White Stripes. Austin has Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, and a host of legendary singer-songwriters. Then there’s of course New Orleans jazz, brass, and funk; San Francisco’s psychedelic sound; and the reverb-soaked rockabilly that is inextricably associated with Memphis’s Sun Records.
Read more. [Image: Martin Prosperity Institute]
A new report from the Pew Research Center documents that it’s not just income inequality that’s increasing. Residential segregation by income is, too.
“Growing income inequality does not automatically lead to growing residential segregation by income. Conceivably, we could still have a middle class hollowing out but people still living in mixed neighborhoods,” says Paul Taylor, one of the report’s authors. Turns out this is not, however, what is happening. As Americans are growing farther apart on the income scale, we are also effectively moving apart from each other within cities, into our own economic enclaves. So why is that? The answer, Taylor says, may lie more in human behavior than economic data.
“We know over the whole entirety of human history that people have a tremendous tendency to cluster among themselves, whether in tribes, whether in nations,” Taylor says. “Like attracts like. That’s not always the case for some people who value diversity. But it’s sort of hardwired into human nature.”
Read more. [Image: Pew Research Center]
- The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
- If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3 percent less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12 percent.
- One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.
- A number of studies have shown that real estate agents and home buyers assign between 10 and 23 percent of the value of a residence to the trees on the property.
- Surgery patients who could see a grove of deciduous trees recuperated faster and required less pain-killing medicine than matched patients who viewed only brick walls.
Read more. [Image: Colorbox]
A large body of literature shows that highly creative people - artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and the like - are highly likely to be open to new experiences. An earlier study by Rentfrow and his colleague Sam Gosling of the University of Texas, titled “The New Geography of Personality,” tracked the five major personality types across states. They found open-to-experience people were more likely to “attempt to escape the ennui experienced in small-town environments by relocating to metropolitan areas where their interests in cultures and needs for social contact and stimulation are more easily met.” Read more.
[Image: Eric Broder Van Dyke/ Shutterstock.com]