Month: May 2006

  • Fargo Chosen as “Perfect Terrain” for World Record Unicycle Attempt

    In case I didn’t have enough reasons to be proud of my home town, I discovered that Zach Warren will be conducting his second attempt to break the World Record for “The Most Miles on a Unicycle in One Hour” in Fargo this August.

    “Why Fargo, North Dakota?” you may ask. Zach’s response:

    It’s Flat! On a unicycle, rain grading and turns on the road make riding and balance at high speeds (15 mph +) very difficult. Fargo was chosen by recommendation from fellow unicyclist Lars Clausen ( www.onewheel.org), who has ridden across the USA more than once on a unicycle. Tom Smith, owner of Island Park Cycles in Fargo, has calibrated a closed-circuit track of 3.8 miles according to USATF qualifications. Zach will need to complete roughly two and a half laps to break the current record.

    This ends a nationwide search for the perfect terrain. Previous tracks reserved for the attempt include: the Kissena Velodrome in Queens, NYC, the MIT track in Boston, and the NASCAR track in Dover, Deleware. http://www.unicycle4kids.org/kinesis/template.php?section=cRecord

    I first learned of Zach when he “joggled” the Boston Marathon (he owns the world record for running a marathon while juggling three objects at 3:07:46). And now I found out that he attends St. James’s, though I haven’t had a chance to meet him there. Our rector sent the parish an email letting us know that he had just arrived in Afghanistan where he’s working to help children through the Mobile Mini Circus for Children.

    You can read more about him at http://www.afghanmmcc.org/pages/about.htm and http://www.unicycle4kids.org, and listen to an interview with him at http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail921.html.

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  • Sustainable Rotterdam
  • Review: Two Wheel Gear’s Garment Bag Pannier

    During the eight straight days of rain last week, I had plenty of chances to test out some new gear and the new commuting routine the goes along with it. Now that I’m working full-time at BC, I need to look at least moderately professional after biking to work, which is difficult to do in the slush of winter or in the heat of summer. Since I have access the gym on campus, I decided to begin taking my work cloths with me and shower there before work. The only rub was getting the cloths there without wrinkles, which is where Two Wheel Gear’s garment bag pannier comes in: this brilliant piece of design allows me to fold my cloths nicely in the bag and then drape it over my back rack, where it attaches securely with enough clearance to avoid hitting the backs of my feet. The side pockets offer plenty of space for shoes, lunch, and extras cloths. And it’s highly durable and water resistant to boot. With my new rain pants from REI, I now can ride to work in a downpour and still walk into work dry and unwrinkled.

    What the bag can’t do, as I discovered, is remind you to bring your socks, your belt, your extra underwear, or your pants–all of which I’ve forgotten on at least one occasion. It’s hard to look professional when you’re wearing nylon running pants and a dress shirt all day.  

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  • Power to the “brave wheat farmers of North Dakota”

    From Orion Magazine:

    FOOD FIGHT: A Revolt in the Breadbasket of Democracy by Ted Nace

    “Monsanto already controls 91% of the GM seed market worldwide — corn, rice, soy beans — and have now set their sights on taking over America’s wheat.

    But the brave wheat farmers of North Dakota have other plans. So far, and against all odds, they’ve prevailed.”

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  • A Day at RISD

    Yesterday I spent the day in Providence at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I gave a talk in Anne Tate’s course “American Communities in the 20th Century: Civics and Sustainability.” She was interested in having me present some of my dissertation research and make connections between community planning and online technologies. It was good to have a live audience to help me think through my project in fresh ways, and gearing it toward future architects and planners forced me to clarify what claims I was qualified to make. The title of my talk, “Placemaking in a Digital World,” seems overblown in hindsite, since my goal was simply to provide a bit of context for our discussion of how the web might be used to strengthen towns and cities (their final project is to create plans for revitalizing urban communities). But the discussion seemed fruitful, and I enjoyed the chance to observe how learning happens in a design setting like RISD. 

    This photo of Anne’s office shows a model of Providence that represents the downtown area which will be freed up for development as a result of the I-195 re-rerouting project (Providence’s version of the Big Dig).  

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  • Selected Resources (RISD May 8, 2006)

    Books

    Kotkin, Joel. The New Geography: How the Digital Revolution Is Reshaping the American Landscape. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2000.

    Holmes, David. Virtual Globalization: Virtual Spaces/Tourist Spaces. Routledge 2001. 

    McCullough, Malcolm. Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004.

    Mitchell, William J. City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995.
    —. Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003.
    —. Placing Words: Symbols, Space, and the City. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005.

    The Internet and Local Communities
    Keith Hampton
    http://www.mysocialnetwork.net/pub.html

    Debbie’s Research Blog
    http://honours.wordpress.com/about/

    Locative Media
    Spatial Annotation Projects
    http://www.elasticspace.com/2004/06/spatial-annotation

    Mobile Art and Locative Media
    http://www.netzwissenschaft.de/mob.htm

    Place Blogging

    Ecotone: Blogging About Place
    http://www.magpienest.org/scgi-bin/wiki.pl?HomePage

    Fragments from Floyd
    http://www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com/

    Blogging Places: Locating Pedagogy in the Whereness of Weblogs.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. 10:1 (Fall 2005).

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  • Travel Goat

    Bob stopped into Cafenation this morning while I was there and while were chatting he mentioned a new site he’s been asked to do some consulting work for–Travel Goat:

    “TravelGoat.com is a free customizable insider’s audio guide to New York City . Unlike other audio walking tours or online travel guides, TravelGoat provides a unique perspective on New York through the power of personal storytelling. The site provides a forum for members of the TravelGoat community to:

    •  Browse your and other’s stories

    •  Listen to stories online or download them to an MP3 player to listen to at the location the story is about

    •  Use the online recording studio to record and share your own stories

    •  Learn about locations around New York and what your peers think is cool and interesting about them

    •  Create customized walking tours of New York City”

    Not only can you easily record a story right in the browswer and then attach it to a map, but you can also create customized walking tours (“safaris”) that you can dowload as mp3s to your portable music player. While Travelgoat is only designed for NY right now, Bob said they hope to expand to other cities soon.

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  • From Blog to Book: Slow Road Home by Fred First

    This morning I ordered a copy of Fred’s new book A Slow Road Home, a project that grew out of his blog entries over the last few years. I’ve been following Fred’s blog for the last two years as part of them dissertation research and have chatted with him several times about his writing, so it’s great to see him reach this latest milestone. I not only look forward to reading his book but also to continuing to follow his  blogging in Fragments of Floyd. 

    Congratulations, Fred! 

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