Earlier this week, Nancy M. pointed me to a new Google mashup called The Right Ride, designed to allow users to document dangers spots for bikers by adding annotations to a map. Chris Briaotta created the site in response to the recent death of two Boston cyclists, and it gives fellow bikers a way to share important information gleaned from their everyday experience of navigating through Boston’s often mean streets.
Two articles describe the site:
I find it interesting that both articles refer to the site as a “wiki” though it seems clear that the site is more accurately described as a map-based mashup, since information is not editable by everyone and revision are not tracked, etc. This fudging of terms may not matter to the averager reader, but I find it curious that the term “wiki” is used here to denote any effort at collaborative knowledge-making online,when in fact there are many web-based tools that allow for this without them being wikis.
The comments on the Boston NOW article led me to Governor Deval Patrick’s website where citizens are able to post issues and invite others show their support by “voting,” in this case on the issues of bike lanes: http://devalpatrick.com/issue/bikes. In good social media fashion, the site enabled me, to create my account and post my vote: “I’m a daily bike commuter with a fairly safe route, but I ofter bike to other parts of the city that are much less safe. Until space for biking is built into the fabric of the city, motorists will continue to treat us like second-class citizens who don’t belong on the road. Bike lanes are simply the civilized thing to do. It’s time for Boston to begin making changes.”
While it’s often difficult to sort through the overblown “Web 2.0” hype, these sites make it easier to excited about the democratic potential of participatory media to help strengthen local communities. As long as I don’t allow my “vote” on the bike lane issue to substitute for other, more more substantive forms of political action, I can see how this and the Right Ride site play their part in helping us work toward change in the places that matter to us.
After hearing two outstanding concerts this weekend, I’m struck by how long it takes me get around to finding good music sometimes. Sunday night I made my first trip to Framingham to hear John Gorka play (Dan Coutier opening – nice job Dan), which gave me the chance to get better aqcuainted with someone I knew from his great cover of Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” on the Nod to Bob album. On Sunday night we heard the Mystic Chorale peform a concert of South African music in the historic Tremont Temple in downtown Boston, which got me back in touch with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whom I knew from Paul Simon’s Graceland.
And how is it that I’ve lived without Miriam Makebe’s “Pata Pata” to get me going on a Monday morning. It now has a permanent place in my “Happy, Funky, Soul” playlist.
It’s nice to know there are some new things under the sun–at least new to me–if I take time to come out from under my rock once in a while.
My dad sent me these pictures he took a couple weeks ago at the edge of the Red River in Fargo. This “ice artistry” was sculpted by freezing temperatures at the waters crest and and then carefully installed in a gallery of trees as the water slowly receded. Wish I could have been there while the show was up.
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We’ll, this is fairly late in coming, but I guess I should post something about our trip to Yosemite a week ago. I think I’ve been avoiding this post because it’s so hard to know what to say about such a fantastic place. Perhaps I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves, though they don’t really do justice either.
I will say that we were lucky to be there when we were–the weather was good, the crowds were relatively thin, and the waterfalls were at peak. We had a nice mix of activities–a stay in the Wawona Hotel, a visit to the giant sequoias, three nights car camping in Yosemie Valley, three days backpacking out of the Valley, one afternoon horseback riding, and a bit of time on either end in San Francisco.
Perhaps I’ll have more to say as I get further from it, but for now here are some photos to give you a taste of how we experience this incomporable place.
Picasa Gallery – slightly larger versions of the same images