No Tech Reader #42: Transportation

Ticket prices of planes versus trains in Europe (pdf). [Greenpeace] “By analysing 112 European routes and comparing air and rail fares on 9 different days for each route, this report shows the extent to which European citizens are being encouraged to fly. It also identifies the reasons for these outrageous price differences and proposes solutions to make rail competitive on all routes.”

Crosswalks and pedestrian safety: What you need to know from recent research. [Journalist Resource]

The relationship between cycle track width and the lateral position of cyclists, and implications for the required cycle track width. [Journal of Safety Research] “Given a cyclists’ lateral position while meeting, common variations between cyclists’ steering behavior, and vehicle width and circumstances, a cycle track width of 250 cm is needed for safe meeting maneuvers.”

“Electric Vehicles”: Arthur Berman, Simon Michaux & Pedro Prieto. [The Great Simplification] “Are current EV initiatives taking a science-based systems approach towards this massive economic, environmental, and cultural shift or are they rooted in energy blindness?”

Retro Style Velomobiles (video). [Glowing Ray] “Velocar was the name given to velomobiles made in the 1930s and 1940s by Mochet et Cie of Puteaux, France and colloquially to the company’s recumbent bicycles.”

No Tech Reader #41

  • Dissertations on fab labs and maker culture. [Cindy Kohtala] “A list of doctoral dissertations and master’s theses on open design, fab labs, makerspaces, digital fabrication, 3D printing, maker culture, etc.. Contact me to add yours, and sorry if I missed it!”
  • Introduction: Alternative Histories in DIY Cultures and Maker Utopias. [Digital Culture & Society] “Activities considered “low-tech”, the non-digital in DIY (Do-It-Yourself) cultures, are often pushed aside in the rush to promote the most photogenic high-tech tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters and computer numeric-controlled (CNC) routers.”
  • Solar Generator Trailer- Electrical System. [Low-tech Lab] “This tutorial presents the sizing and construction of an electrical system for a solar generator (1 kWp or ‘kilowatt peak’) which can be moved by bicycle. This structure was designed to fit on the CHARRETTE, an assisted trailer designed by the Véloma association, whose plans are freely available.”
  • Opportunities of living in an urban and low-tech environment. [Low-tech Lab] “Andréane Valot, designer and graduate of ENSCI – Les Ateliers in 2021, shares her assessment of 8 months of experimentation with a low-tech approach to life in an urban environment, in this case applied to her Parisian studio.”
  • Rower generator. [Gene’s Green Machine] “I thought it might be a fun challenge to build a rowing machine generator.”
  • The Anti-Ownership Ebook Economy. [The Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy] “Something happened when we shifted to digital formats that created a loss of rights for readers. Pulling back the curtain on the evolution of ebooks offers some clarity to how the shift to digital left ownership behind in the analog world.”
  • How to generate an Ourzine pdf? [Ourzine] “Ourzines are a way for people to connect with written text without the distractions of digital screens. By refocusing our attention from the unending onslaught of new content to paper, Ourzines give readers the space to choose what they want to engage with and to do so mindfully. No links, no ads, no rabbit holes – nothing but what you have decided to read.”
  • Reviving Chromebooks with Ubuntu: Autonomous Servers, Planned Obsolescence, and Permacomputing. [Anarcho Solarpunk] “A tutorial and slight manifesto on reviving end-of-life Chromebooks. How to make them into autonomous servers, and why we need to rethink computing in the age of climate collapse.”
  • The buttons on Zenith’s original ‘clicker’ remote were a mechanical marvel. [The Verge] “The Zenith Space Command, one of the first wireless television remotes ever to exist, is a monument to a time before we took the remote for granted. It also just so happened to contain one of the most influential and intriguing buttons in history.”
  • Version 2 of my solar-powered, ePaper digital photo frame. [Plotting The Curiosity Vector]
  • The myth of neutral tech and the politics of not doing in the attention economy. [Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies] “When performance is increasingly monitored, output and achievement glorified, inactivity deemed laziness and laziness deemed undesirable, doing nothing can be a radical act.”
  • Clicks of Desire – How  the Internet obeys you. [The New Atlantis] “Where once it was occasionally possible to opt out of ‘reality’ (by taking drugs, say), it is now increasingly necessary to think about how to opt in to it.”
  • Who Makes Our Smartphones? Four Moments in Their Lifecycle. [The Routledge Handbook of Ecomedia Studies] “We hope we have provided reasons for holding on to smartphones for as long as possible, if for no other reason than to help release some of the pressure on workers laboring across the supply chain.”
  • Low-tech et sobriété numérique: une étude d’usages du smartphone. [Université du Québec à Montréal] “Afin d’interroger la sobriété d’une
    high-tech, nous nous sommes concentrés sur le smartphone; objet emblématique du quotidien, autour duquel nous avons mené un travail de design. Nous avons ainsi mis au point une pellicule de sobriété numérique, qui permet de flouter l’écran et gêner l’usage du smartphone, créant ainsi une barrière entre l’usager et son objet high-tech. Notre objectif de recherche est d’étudier les effets et la potentielle diminution d’usage quotidien de ce dispositif.”

No Tech Reader #40

  • Out of the wild. [The New Atlantis] “The ideal of nature as it used to be before human intervention is one that Western urbanites created in the late nineteenth century, chiefly as a foil for their own modernity… This vision still permeates much of environmentalism and stands in the way of responsible action toward nature, particularly in the places where we actually live.”
  • Minds on Fire: Cognitive Aspects of Early Firemaking and the Possible Inventors of Firemaking Kits. [Cambridge Archaeological Journal] “We analyse aspects of the two main hunter-gatherer firemaking techniques—the strike-a-light and the manual fire-drill—in terms of causal, social and prospective reasoning.”
  • The Kayak’s Cultural Journey. [Craftsmanship Quarterly] “For millennia, Indigenous peoples across the world have built and used skin boats to fish and hunt, for sport and travel, even for warfare. Now non-Indigenous admirers of the craft are making them, too.”
  • Permacomputing Aesthetics: Potential and Limits of Design Constraints in Computational Culture. [LIMITS 2023] “Permacomputing is a nascent concept and a community of practice oriented around issues of resilience and regenerativity in digital technology. At the heart of permacomputing are design principles that embrace limits and constraints as a positive thing, as well as being creative with available computational resources.”
  • Building and Monitoring a SolarPowered Web Server. [ETH zürich] “In this thesis we focus on building a solar-powered web server. We present existing websites which are fully or partially solar powered, introduce some background about battery state of charge estimation and how to determine the right solar panel and battery size. Reusing components from older projects, we host a static website on an exemplary setup, which is solely solar powered.

No Tech Reader #39

No Tech Reader #38

No Tech Reader #37

  • These scientists lugged logs on their heads to resolve Chaco Canyon mystery. [Ars Tecnica] “Tumplines allow one to carry heavier weights over larger distances without getting fatigued.” Thanks to Matthew McNatt.
  • Barbed Wire Telephone Lines Brought Isolated Homesteaders Together. [Atlas Obscura] “In some cases, as many as 20 telephones were wired together—all of which would ring simultaneously with each call, regardless of who was making it and who they were trying to reach. Agreed-upon codes—three short rings for you, two long rings for me—helped people know if the call was for them.”
  • The vertical farming bubble is finally popping. [Fast Company] “In a typical cold climate, you would need about five acres of solar panels to grow one acre of lettuce”.
  • Seaweed as a resilient food solution after a nuclear war. [ResearchGate] “We find seaweed can be grown in tropical oceans, even after nuclear war. The simulated growth is high enough to allow a scale up to an equivalent of 70 % of the global human caloric demand (spread among food, animal feed, and biofuels) in around 7 to 16 months, while only using a small fraction of the global ocean area. The results also show that the growth of seaweed increases with the severity of the nuclear war, as more nutrients become available due to increased vertical mixing. This means that seaweed has the potential to be a viable resilient food source for abrupt sunlight reduction scenarios.”
  • Traditional Fishing Gears and Methods of the Bodo Tribes of Kokrajhar, Assam. [Fishery Technology] “The popularity and usage of some of the gears like Sahera, Baga, Borom Je and Dura Je were found declining, which may be attributed to increasing popularity of destructive fishing techniques like electric fishing, blast fishing and poisoning.”
  • Low-tech approaches for sustainability: key principles from the literature and practice. [Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy] ” This article develops a seven-principle framework to categorize low-tech concepts based on an abductive approach which included a literature review and interviews with low-tech actors.”
  • Ministry of Truth: The secretive government units spying on your speech. [Big Brother Watch] “The internet contains masses of incorrect information – but this is a defining feature of an open forum, not a flaw.”
  • We’ve lost the plot. [The Atlantic] “Our constant need for entertainment has blurred the line between fiction and reality—on television, in American politics, and in our everyday lives.”

Some low-tech computing links: