Safety in Numbers

Cool news about biking in general and in Philadelphia in particular:

As the number of bicyclists on Philadelphia streets has risen, cyclists and city officials have seen a counterintuitive result: The number of bike crashes and deaths has declined.

This “safety in numbers” phenomenon has been documented elsewhere, and safety experts believe it is because motorists become more alert to cyclists when there are more of them.

{via atrios}

The Fine Print

Fascinating interview with author David Cay Johnston on Fresh Air about how companies pile on extra costs & fees (duh)—but leaving us with higher bills and worse service.

We’re way behind countries like Lithuania, Ukraine, and Moldavia in the speed of our Internet. Per bit of information moved, we pay 38 times what the Japanese pay. If you buy one of these triple-play packages that are heavily advertised, where you get Internet, telephone and cable TV together, typically you’ll pay what I pay, about $160 a month, including fees.

Well, the same service in France is $38 a month, that is 25 cents on the dollars. And instead of two-country calling, you get worldwide calling to 70 countries. You get an Internet that is 10 times faster uploading – downloading and 20 times faster uploading.

And as announced earlier this month, this disparity is only getting worse {daily tech}.

Electic Guest {new music}

Diggin’ the debut record of LA-based band Electric Guest. Mondo was produced by Danger Mouse, as I think you can hear in the bass and percussion in particular. Here’s one of my favorite cuts from the record, and the whole thing via spotify.

Electric Guest — “Waves” {aac}

Decode DC {new podcast}

Great new podcast from NPR veteran Andrea Seabrook: Decode DC.

Produced in a partnership with Mule Design (creators of Evening Edition), the new podcast aims to cut through the “he-said she-said bullshit” and cover what’s really going on in Congress—and, more importantly—what’s not going on or being talked about.

The production style of Decode DC owes a nod to This American Life; the first episode—”The House of (Mis)representatives”—features Ben Solee’s “A Few Honest Words” intertwined with the interviews and reporting, and old-timey music plays when the narrative turns into a history lesson. It looks like they have the technical crew, the funding, and the access to make this thing a really worthwhile endeavor. I’ll leave you with a quotation from a recent profile, Andrea Seabrook: From NPR to podcasting, hoping to invigorate congressional reporting {neiman journalism lab}.

In my wildest dreams, I would love to hear that some reporters and some listeners thought about politics and government in a different way. If listeners think to themselves, “I shouldn’t buy into that just because I agree with one party most of the time. It doesn’t mean they’re right about this one thing.” The parties have managed to channel that within their loyalists. They’re manipulating you. They are manipulating you. That is what they are doing. If I could get people to just pay attention to the issues, and forget the politics, I think we as Americans would gain power. We take power back by refusing to be brand loyal to one party or another.

Check out the podcast here.

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Paper Bicycle

paper bike

This is freaking cool {salon}.

When Israeli designer Izhar Gafni heard that someone built a usable, watertight canoe out of cardboard, one thought began to obsess him: What about a cardboard bike?

Gafni’s final product, a striking cycle painted in lacquered, waterproof white with a bright red seat, costs just $9 to $12 in materials ($5 for a kids version), weighs 20 pounds, and supports a total weight of up to 485 pounds.

Costs about as much as a thief can get for a stolen bike.