TravelFor interested women
Of Imaginariums and innovation
Historian and critic Lewis Mumford once wrote of the works ... More
Bridging the divide: the impact of technology in developing markets
Clarke’s third law of prediction is well known to most... More
Dot Everyone and the digital revolution
You probably saw her Dimbleby lecture. Martha Lane Fox unveiled Dot ... More
Amber Case on calm technology
Amber Case explores how humans and technology interact, believing that technology ... More
Plotting CityMapper’s global routes
The journey planner app makes navigating big cities easy - but how would it fare in places with less defined transportation systems?
I've long been an admirer of Citymapper's easy-to-use, stylish public transportation app for getting around London. Recently, the app seamlessly transitioned me from London to San Francisco and then to New York. No other gizmo in my life, not even my Google calendar, could so easily smooth the edges of transatlantic, transcontinental, trans-time-zone travel.
Granted, Citymapper only works in a limited number of cities around the globe (currently 22, as stated on their website.) Not everywhere has the right confluence of well-defined infrastructure with easily available data, a sufficiently wealthy population with smartphones, and public interest to power Citymapper. The anthropologist in me is curious about how an app like this highlights the growing urban-rural divide and the emergent technical skills gap that currently separates the global elite from everyone else. The proportion of the global population which actually needs an app to transition them (effortlessly!) to three different cities in the space of two weeks is vanishingly small; who's serving the transportation needs of everyone else?
The data wizard in me is curious about how all the different bits come together to make the app go, and how they're thinking about the complexities of plotting routes in different ... More
The pleasures of solo dining
The pleasure of one's company when dining can be a rather splendid ritual
There’s a brilliant scene in the film Shirley Valentine that perfectly sums up an enduring cultural taboo: solo female diners. Our holidaying heroine walks into a crowded restaurant and as she is led to a table for one, the room falls silent; discomfited diners look on aghast. “Funny, isn’t it,” she muses, “that if you’re a woman on your own you don’t half seem to upset people?”
This scene may have been hammed up for comic effect, but certain elements ring true: first, the assumption that a woman can’t possibly be dining alone out of choice – and then, worse, the realisation that perhaps they are.
While this ritual has long been perfectly possible, it hasn’t always been an enjoyable or straightforward experience. My mother recently recounted a story from her business travel days. Shown to a table slap-bang in the middle of a vast and near-empty hotel dining room, she told the waiter it would not do, and that she’d be waiting in the bar until he’d thought about where a ... More
Bringing back Britain’s rainforests
If nature is allowed to really flourish in the UK, what will that look like?
The 2010 Making Space for Nature report states that ‘England now has very few habitats that have not been modified or even created by human actions….most are best described as "semi-natural" rather than "natural" habitats’.
What a bombshell: we are living on a dewilded island.
It's in our nature
The answer to what a wild Britain might look like appeared in Feral by George Monbiot, in which he describes the natural state of the Western coast of the UK as temperate rainforest. Left to their own devices, unmanaged ... More