Monday BS #9: 25.10.21
Something on BS on our streets and in our homes
This week’s missive comes to you from Dubai where the sun shines and, er; where the sun shines, the taxis are cheap (funny that) and so for now at least, as Simon and Garfunkel said, presumably not a propos the United Arab Emirates, ‘Life, I love you, all is groovy.’
With distractions calling, I’ll dial down the intensity this week and share some lighter BS for your delectation.
1) Change can happen fast
Barcelona has an amazing school cycle bus every Friday. Adults chaperone kids through the city and it’s quite a spectacle. It started only this September when some parents organized a bike ride to school for just five kids. Now entire neighbourhoods are joining. They call it Bicibús – or Bike Bus.
Every week, organizers publish a route and post it to social media, so that riders will know where to join the “bus.” This isn’t the first of its kind, but this story has gone viral which might encourage the scheme to run beyond just Fridays and nudge other cities and neighbourhoods to grasp the nettle.
Beyond the fun, communal experience, the exercise and the parental convenience, this is a great advert for the environment and promoting fewer cars on the notoriously crowded Barcelona streets.
Surely, wherever kids are in the world, few will see this experience and think “I’d prefer to be driven to school instead”. Change can happen fast.
Cities should be like this for adults too. Indeed, Barcelona has created a significant cycle network, along main roads that are otherwise heavy with traffic, by introducing light segregation.
Furthermore, this could also be an answer to any bus driver shortages.
2) COVID doesn’t begin with a ‘C’
Scientists no doubt think the lateral flow test kit is wholly logical; C = control, T = test. A ‘C’ means the test is valid, then T either appears or doesn't, meaning you tested positive or not. and neither line means the test has failed. So that’s all clear.
Or maybe we’re overcomplicating it and C = congratulations! and T = terrible news 🦠.
Since these tests are never undertaken in a laboratory, but rather the kitchen, bathroom and so on, then what about N = negative and P = positive? If we need a common code so the kits can travel (does the UK have its own test kits I wonder? This must be one of the minimum upside inefficiencies of Brexit), then N-P could take us across much of Europe no problem.
This is exactly how pregnancy tests have worked for years and women seem to have managed quite fine. But here, for the avoidance of any doubt, code is abandoned for the English language. Who designs these things?
Or if not, let’s get really visual and use emojis, like this one for a negative result.
3) The propaganda pencil
Talking of questionable design, here’s a security gate made by German manufacturer Hind Sicht GmbH.
Does this need commentary? It reminds me of one of Paul Craven’s favourite stories. In 1998, when New York was suffering from a drug problem, the boroughs wanted to discourage schoolchildren from touching these substances.
So they handed 6-11 year olds pencils which said ‘Too cool to do Drugs’, hoping that as the kids used the pencils, the message would be subliminally absorbed. Can you spot the problem?
As the pencil is sharpened, the message changes like the picture below. It took a 10 year old kid to notice it.
Since Paul loves a song lyric to describe a bias, here are The Beatles:.
‘Think of what you're saying
You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright.’
Confirmation bias on the road to hindsight? It’s all BS.
Till next time.
If you enjoyed this, if you took just one titbit into your Monday morning commute (?), or if you’re keeping back one provocation for your evening pipe, then please share Monday BS with friends.
If you thought this was terrible and are considering leaving for good, why not share it first with your enemies?
Have a great week! 😃