What I learned this week, May 10, 2013

May is National Bicycling Month, next week is Bike-to-Work week… and Friday, May 17th is National Bike to Work Day.

Local groups are sponsoring “Energizer Stations” – I’ll visit the one at Arapaho Center Station on my way in on Friday.


How Government Wrecked the Gas Can

I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

Dallas-area hike-and-bike trails poised to get major financial boost

What is nice is that these are almost all “connector trails” – designed to allow bicycling trails to be used as transportation corridors, rather than something to stroll along with your kids on Sunday afternoon.

The group’s Regional Transportation Council will vote Thursday on a plan to use more than $13 million to benefit nearly a dozen biking and pedestrian projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The efforts are intended to provide transportation alternatives to motor vehicles, especially by connecting the projects to existing paths.

“They can’t be purely focused on recreation,” said Karla Weaver, a program manager at the Council of Governments. “We wanted to help to get some more concrete stuff in for active users.”

Brain, Interrupted

No surprise here, interruptions make you stupid. I find The Pomodoro Technique to be very useful to focus concentration for a short time, get important and difficult tasks completed, generate ideas, and help me ignore interruptions while still keeping up with things.


An Idea Pomodoro – timer, pen, composition book.

Bike rider on the DART train.

Bike rider on the DART train.

Bicycling in the City and Living to Tell a Skittish Class

Ride with the flow of traffic, the teacher said, or be prepared to “spend the rest of your day in the hospital and the rest of your year filling out insurance paperwork.”

And always live up to these buzzwords, even when fellow travelers do not: predictable, visible, assertive, alert and courteous.

The crowd at Ciclovia Dallas on the Houston Street Viaduct with the Dallas downtown skyline

The crowd at Ciclovia Dallas on the Houston Street Viaduct with the Dallas downtown skyline

Home by Hovercraft in Deep Ellum

Home by Hovercraft in Deep Ellum

Interview with Home By Hovercraft

Hummus Is Conquering America
Tobacco Farmers Open Fields to Chickpeas; A Bumper Crop

Life in the City Is Essentially One Giant Math Problem

Bars Are the Secret to Thriving Downtowns: The Best #Cityreads of the Week

Local officials who want a more lively town center and a development team seeking to restore a landmark hotel were hoping to put a new watering hole on Main Street. Then they ran smack into New Jersey’s strict, Prohibition-era alcohol laws, which restrict the number of liquor licenses per town. Flemington had just three—two belonging to establishments in strip malls and one for a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.

Having a decent bar, it turns out, is helpful to reviving small downtowns, development experts say. So, in February, the developers came up with a novel but expensive solution, buying the Italian restaurant that owned a license and eventually transferring it to the downtown hotel. The price: about $1 million for the permit alone.

Town Centers Seek Another Shot at a Bar

Airstream 2 – Old and New

“Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.”
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind


“The train bore me away, through the monstrous scenery of slag-heaps, chimneys, piled scrap-iron, foul canals, paths of cindery mud criss-crossed by the prints of clogs. This was March, but the weather had been horribly cold and everywhere there were mounds of blackened snow. As we moved slowly through the outskirts of the town we passed row after row of little grey slum houses running at right angles to the embankment. At the back of one of the houses a young woman was kneeling on the stones, poking a stick up the leaden waste-pipe which ran from the sink inside and which I suppose was blocked. I had time to see everything about her—her sacking apron, her clumsy clogs, her arms reddened by the cold. She looked up as the train passed, and I was almost near enough to catch her eye. She had a round pale face, the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who is twenty-five and looks forty, thanks to miscarriages and drudgery; and it wore, for the second in which I saw it, the most desolate, hopeless expression I have ever-seen. It struck me then that we are mistaken when we say that ‘It isn’t the same for them as it would be for us,’ and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums. For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal. She knew well enough what was happening to her—understood as well as I did how dreadful a destiny it was to be kneeling there in the bitter cold, on the slimy stones of a slum backyard, poking a stick up a foul drain-pipe.”
― George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier