In the "Highways and Horizons" pavilion at the 1939-40 World's Fair in New York, General Motors presented Americans with "Futurama", a vision of the city of 1960. Norman Bel Geddes designed an enormous scale model, showing a utopian city rebuilt for the motor age, completely separating cars and pedestrians. Five million people came to see the exhibit, waiting more than an hour for their turn to get a sixteen-minute glimpse at the motorways of the world of tomorrow. There is a technicolor movie of the show online, as well as the accompanying book that Geddes wrote to explain his (and the motor industry's) ideas (or propaganda): "Magic Motorways".
Update: another movie here (via). Related: London traffic improvements (the Bressey Report, 1938).
The crack garden. "A crack team of guerrilla gardeners will undertake tactical missions to etch similar tectonic fissures in the parking lots of failed suburban malls and abandoned inner neighborhoods of post-industrial cities. With pneumatic drills or with pick axes and some elbow grease, they'll wound the earth's (un)natural asphalt skin, so that forgotten ecologies may return and hopefully fester". Via Pruned. More how-to information here.
The March 1925 issue of Science and Invention featured this Aerial Railroad. By a combination of inclined ramps and overhead suspension from cleverly curved tracks the "trolley car" passenger vehicle could go forever without power. It falls while suspended in the air from the downward inclined track, swinging forward as it does. When it contacts the lower tracks its momentum carries it up the inclined track until the whole process repeats. Source.
The prison treadmill was invented in England in 1817 by Sir William Cubit, who observed prisoners lying around in idleness and put himself to the task of "reforming offenders by teaching them habits of industry." Forty-four prisons in England adopted it as a form of hard labour that could also grind grain (although some treadwheels were only "grinding the wind").
The punitive treadmill was then implemented in America for two long years, between 1822 and 1824, at Bellevue penitentiary outside New York. Prisoners stepped on the mill for 10 hours a day (with 20 minute breaks per hour), grinding grain, often with a large audience of jeering onlookers housed in a specially built viewing house. Read here and here. Picture credit. See more images.
Related: Human powered cranes and lifting devices.
"The study found that predicted performance exceeded actual performance by a factor of 15 to 17. With the worst-performing systems, the electricity required to run the electronics exceeded the electricity production, so the wind turbines were net consumers of electricity". Read.
Thanks, Brent Eubanks. Related: Small windmills put to the test / Urban Windmills harm the environment.
This unconventional sailing boat, named the SailRocket, reached a record speed of 47.35 knots (87.6 km/h or 54.43 mph), on average over a distance of 500 meters. During another run, the boat reached a speed of 52 knots before lifting off for a spectacular in-the-air wipeout (also caught on video). More below.