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Posted by Ian Visits

The South London trams snake around the region offering a convenient east-west link, but once could have also been extended to just outside the former Crystal Palace.

The extension to Crystal Palace would have provided a service of six trams an hour to Croydon, bringing 11,000 more households within 800m of a tram stop.

Tramlink Route 5 would have run from where the Crystal Palace bus station is today down towards East Croydon, replacing a little used railway line with a far more frequent tram service.

Running along the existing railway was not difficult, the problem was what to do when the trams got to Crystal Palace. The existing railway station is in a deep cutting next to the park, and then runs through an even deeper tunnel under the bus station.

Anyone who has walked up the hill there knows how deep that tunnel is.

There were three options on how to get to the Parade: on-street, off-street and a mixture of the two. After a consultation in 2006 the off-street option was favoured,.

Under this scheme, the tram would have crossed Anerley Road bridge at street level and continued running alongside the railway lines to emerge beside Crystal Palace train station.

The route would run up Ledrington Road to cross the National Sports Centre access road. The tram would then enter Crystal Palace Park and run parallel to Anerley Hill. The tram would run in a cutting along the Park periphery in an area that is under-used and neglected. It would then climb onto a landscaped embankment near the Museum building before terminating next to Crystal Palace bus station.

An initial extension was cancelled due to a lack of funding, but revived in 2006 with strong local support, but cancelled again shortly afterwards. A second revival in 2012 was dropped in 2014. At the moment, the only Tram extension being considered is from Wimbledon to Sutton.

Sources:

TfL press release

TfL press release

London Development Agency (via Wayback Archive)

TfL consultation (via Wayback Archive)

The Proposed Croydon Tramlink Extension (via Wayback Archive)

Boris breaks promise over Crystal Palace tram extension

Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations

Oct. 21st, 2017 01:17 pm
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Posted by Ian Visits

A new book is rocketing up the best seller lists, and it’s all about railway stations.

Railways can often be divided into three elements, the trains, the tracks and the stations. Unless they’re going over a nice viaduct, most people don’t care about the tracks.

The sorts who meticulously catalogue the rolling stock are a unique breed. What gets the most attention outside the trainspotter community though are the stations.

Run down or glorious, they are the spaces where people meet, say goodbye, laugh, cry, and when trains are delayed, curse. They are places of anticipation, waiting for people to arrive, or for trains to carry them away.

They are sometimes modern steel hells, little houses, or grand Victorian follies.

In recent years, a lot of love have gone into restoring old stations, or bringing less salubrious buildings up to modern requirements to cope with the massive surge in passenger numbers over the past couple of decades.

Long time historical architecture critic, and former British Rail director, Simon Jenkins as taken a wander around the UK looking at what are for him the best stations.

The book is conveniently divided into regions, which makes the book much easier to stop at suitable points and pick up later.

One curiosity is that the intro section is in a larger, but much easier to read font, which then shrinks noticeably when describing each of the stations. A minor irritant, but one which goes some way to explaining my fondness for reading books on a tablet now, as I can set the font size to whatever I find most comfortable.

Then again, this is a book as much for the words as the pictures, so large glossy printed works best.

If an architectural detail is worth writing about, then maybe it was also worth including as a photo. That’s a weakness in the photography, which relies a bit too heavily on stock photos rather than having commissioned fresh photos that would more closely accompany the text.

A glossary at the back helps to decode some of the more arcane architectural language used in the book.

Each station is given a page or two with a mix of history for the larger and anecdotes for the smaller, which also seemed to get the more enthusiastic writing. The big stations get grand and impressive write-ups, but its the smaller cottage stations that get the love.

Great Malvern is here, obviously (and when will the worm be open?), but I wasn’t aware of how golf saved the once run-down and now delightful Gleneagles. The front cover is fortunately not one of the obvious grand stations, but the amazing ticket hall for Wemyss Bay – a station that serves a ferry. The photo enhanced by being taken on that rarest of Scottish events, a cloudless sunny day.

It’s a writing that does make you want to get out to the wilds of the English countryside and see them. Or if that idea scares you, a few of the London stations are also here.

However, a few stations, such as Edinburgh Waverley seems to have been accidentally included from his possible next book, Britain’s 100 Worst Railway Stations, judging by the criticism he heaps upon them.

This oddity means this this less a book listing 100 best railway stations, more 80 of the best, a handful of promising hopefuls if only some money was found to undo recent refurbishments, and a few downright horrors.

Overall though, it can be looked at as a coffee-table book, or as a guide to which railway stations should be visited when next out for a trip.

It’s likely to be appearing under a good many train geek’s Christmas trees this coming December.

The book, Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations is available from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, or local book shops.

another coffee

Oct. 21st, 2017 11:43 am
[personal profile] flaviomatani
Saturday morning. A good lie-in, although sleep was disturbed by waking up with a horrendous leg cramp that took forever to go away.

Now it's sunny, had breakfast at leisure and am half way through my first lesson with my pupil, preparing his guitar Grade 7, playing 'A Foggy Day' by Gershwin. Not a bad morning, overall. Good morning, world!

Walthamstow Wetlands

Oct. 21st, 2017 07:00 am
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Posted by diamond geezer

It's not every day that 500 acres of private land becomes publicly accessible for the first time. In north London, yesterday was such a day.



The Walthamstow Wetlands are a cluster of reservoirs in the Lea Valley, built between 1853 and 1904 to provide drinking water for the metropolis.

Now owned by Thames Water they remain operational, but now fulfil an additional purpose as a nature reserve, especially for birdlife. Until now only those with a permit have been allowed inside, generally anglers and ornithologists, but the entire complex is now open daily, free of charge, and we've a whole new world to explore.



There are ten reservoirs in total, each with a perimeter path to follow, plus a couple of historic buildings with internal attractions of their own. The overall site lies between Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Road stations, with the main entrance about ten minutes walk from each. Come on foot, or by bike, or leave your car in the car park and expect to pay for the privilege. Dogs are not permitted, apart from the usual exceptions.

The first place to visit is probably the Thames Water Marine Engine House, now converted to a visitor centre and cafe, complete with lightly-stocked shop. Head upstairs to enjoy the viewing platform, which involves stepping out onto a balcony, providing a broad overview of this rather flat area. Also up here are some touchscreen displays (which refused to react to my touch) and a rather wonderful installation of artistic jars, filled by schoolchildren, dangling down through a hole above the cafe. The cafe serves morning breakfast, afternoon lunch and (expensive) cake, and was particularly well frequented yesterday. The toilets are under the stairs. Be sure to collect a foldable map before you venture off.



The map is essential not only because the wetlands are unsigned, but because some of these reservoirs are really rather large, so if you head off the wrong way it could be 20 minutes before you finally link up with another path. To get your bearings, three of the reservoirs lie north of the main road, accessed via a separate entrance, while the majority are to the south. A single cycle path threads across the site, almost two miles from one end to the other, with local access points for residents in Higham Hill or from Coppermill Lane. Other paths aren't necessarily so solid - but a pair of trainers will see you round, it's not currently walking boot consistency underfoot. Certain paths may be closed at certain times of the year, for example to assist breeding.

There are no hides, this isn't that kind of bird reserve, but the paths track the edges of the reservoirs so sightlines are generally clear. Bring some binoculars, because the majority of the wildlife action is small and distant, although you can expect to meet several geese (and their deposits) on the banks. Cormorants and herons are particularly dominant in their island fiefdoms, while overwintering fowl are expected to be abundant over the coming months. Personally I loved the opportunity to walk and walk and walk, with the landscape of the Lea Valley spread out across diverse watery vistas.



It's a wonderful space to explore, and will merit repeated visits, not just to watch the changing of the seasons but because it's pretty much impossible to trek the whole thing in one go. I'm particularly impressed that entrance is free, thanks to a unique partnership between Waltham Forest Council, the lottery, the London Wildlife Trust and Thames Water. I wonder how long they're going to be able to maintain a volunteer presence at each of the four entrances, and I also wonder how they'll ensure everyone's cleared out at the end of the day before they lock the gates.

The Walthamstow Wetlands open to visitors at 9.30am, and close at 5pm in summer and 4pm in winter (that's October to March). Best of all the Walthamstow Wetlands open daily, not just this weekend but henceforth, for a bracing day out whenever. Come twitch, angle or hike, and enjoy.



Some tips (southeast):
» The five reservoirs clustered closest to the visitor centre aren't named, they're numbered, specifically 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
» A good short walk is to circulate around reservoirs 2 and 3, along thin banks with water to either side. The path along the western edge, alongside reservoir 1, is the only wooded zone, hence rather pretty.
» A lot of these paths have reedy spaces for fisherfolk to cast their lines. I saw one particularly large carp gleaming in a net on the bank.
» At the point where reservoirs 2, 3, 4 and 5 meet is a small shelter for trout fishers. I hope all the screwed up tinfoil at the back is evidence of eaten lunches rather than anything less legal.
» The island within reservoir 1 is the largest heronry in the UK. One of the two islands within reservoir 5 is known for its cormorants.
» There's a very useful additional bridge, not shown on the map, approximately between points 6 and 7. Elsewhere, if there isn't a link on the map, there isn't a path.

Some tips (southwest):
» The West Warwick and East Warwick reservoirs have high raised banks, each allowing a lengthy stroll around the rim. Narrow steps, infrequently located, provide access from down below to up top.
» These reservoirs are more functional, and less landscaped, and run either side of the main railway line.
» The West Warwick reservoir is only accessible via a single low tunnel beneath the railway, and feels particularly cut off on the far side. I got followed through by a fox (whoa!) which eyed me suspiciously, then thankfully retreated.
» The Coppermill Tower, on the Coppermill Stream near Coppermill Lane, is a former pumphouse, and will one day provide a viewing platform and exhibition space. It looks great, but as yet it's not quite open.

Some tips (north):
» It's much quieter on this side of the wetlands, because most visitors don't think to cross the road.
» The architectural treat on this side is the Lockwood Reservoir, a vast trough with steep sides and a water tower at either end. The path along the western edge is closed until the end of the year so that a stone road can be laid around the perimeter, and the only way up to the eastern edge is currently to climb the grassy banks, which may or may not be permitted. Best views on the entire site from up top, though.
» The other two reservoirs are shallower, and geesier.
» I think the path round the eastern side of High Maynard reservoir is closed for seasonal reasons, because its gate was shut, but if so the signage wasn't authoritative enough and I could easily have walked through.
» Whoever knew all this was sitting on top of the Victoria line?
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Posted by Ian Visits

A series of hitherto hidden vaults under a building next to London Bridge are being opened up as a new exhibition and display space.

The vaults lie below river level underneath Glaziers Hall, one of the City of London livery halls, which is curiously not in the City of London, but on the south side, in Southwark, in the former Hibernia wharf building.

The Worshipful Company of Glaziers is one of the City’s older livery companies, dating back to around 1328, and the moved into Hibernia Wharf in Southwark in 1977.

Hibernia Wharf has had a bit of a troubled history, having been built as riverside warehousing in around 1836, but was mostly destroyed by fire shortly afterwards. The current building is the replacement, by William Cubitt with two storeys of commercial chambers accessed from London bridge level, over a two storey warehouse at riverside level.

Unfortunately, the entire interior from the ground upwards was gutted in 1970, leaving just the facade, and the undercroft untouched – a technique sometimes referred to as “gut and stuff”, with replacement concrete walls inserted to replace the old interior.

The lower two floors of the building, along with the undercroft were then taken over by the Glaziers, and three fellow livery companies as their new hall.

Inside, there is a curious effect of an ancient livery company sitting inside a conventionally fairly modern building, with bits of heritage dropped around, some early glazing displays and the main livery hall.

A good example of this odd mix is the Banqueting Hall, with a curiously appealing black painted concrete ceiling.

As with most City of London livery halls, they now earn their income from renting out the space for events, and that’s the impetus for the recent works to reveal the undercroft to release more space to rent out.

As part of that though, they also refurbished some of the ground floor space, removing the suspended ceiling the foyer to open up a lot more space, and fittingly for the Glaziers, a much larger glass entrance.

It was however when stripping away the plaster than covered the walls that survived the 1970s gutting that an exciting discovery was made. The wall concealed two secrets.

One is that it is a multitude of different era brick works, so the wall rather than being a single monolithic slab of brick is actually a much more decorative effect, a patchwork quilt of heritage.

There is some consideration being made to putting small signs next to each patch to indicate which decade the bricks date from.

It was also then that they found right by the main entrance an unknown arch that lead down to the undercroft, and plans were changed to turn this into the new entrance. Taking advantage of an unexpected discovery and putting the new entrance “outside” the main livery hall may make it easier to open the space up without having to also open the hall as well.

Down in the undercroft, it has been until now mainly storage space, and a meeting room, all created by adding modern brickwork and plasterboard to create the effect of a modern office space.

All this modern junk has been removed to reveal the brickwork as it would have originally being designed.

Due to the previous construction work in the undercroft, the flooring is in places original 18th century flagstones, and others, concrete flooring.

As part of the renovations, the original flagstones from around the basement are to be moved to create a new floor in the public space, with concrete slabs used to replace the flagstones in the private areas. While this may not be a usual method of conservation, as the basement has been altered extensively, value is being placed on presenting a completeness of vaulting, with the barreled roof and flagstones.

What’s particularly exciting though is that through large “portholes”, it’s possible to see the stones of the “new” London Bridge that was constructed in 1831, and sold to America in 1967.

This narrow space between the brick undercroft and London Bride is to be turned into a wine cellar, with glass walls so visitors can still see the remaining stone slabs that made up the “new” London Bridge.

The undercroft is expected to serve as a dual space, for hiring out, but also for public exhibitions.

The main floors of the hall have been completed, as part of the £2.5 million refurbishment, and the undercroft area is expected to be finished early next year.

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Posted by Ian Visits

Normally, walking along a railway track that carries trains is a very bad idea — but one day next month, a full 11 miles of railway will be opened up for the public to walk along.

This is Track Trek 2017, and is a fund raiser event for the heritage Bluebell Railway, near Gatwick Airport, which will be closing its entire line for the day to let boots replace wheels.

The walk will take place on Saturday 18 November raising money for the Tr(ack) Action Appeal, which is an appeal set up to raise £250,000 for the renewal of track along parts of the Railway.

The walk is therefore sponsored — and participants are asked to raise at least £25 per person, with a bonus medal for people raising £100.

The target for the Track Trek is to raise £15,000 which will buy a new 60 foot track panel.

The Trek will start from East Grinstead from 9am on Saturday 18th November.

To apply, download this form, complete it and send the first page back to the railway to secure your place.

More details here.

Pedways of the City of London

Oct. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] diamondgeezer_feed

Posted by diamond geezer

A City of London
The City of London has always remained outside the administrative system of the other London boroughs, so there was never any danger of the Herbert Commission adding it to Greater London. It's always done its own thing, its planning department especially so, including a pioneering network of elevated walkways in the late 60s and early 70s. The 'pedways' were supposed to become a 30 mile network across the City keeping pedestrians above the traffic, but development ground to a halt and only a fraction were ever built. I've been out in search of what remains, with the aid of this 1992 map usefully tweeted by @MrTimDunn (the numbers and colours are my addition). Why not head down and explore for yourself?
[green - still walkable, amber - somewhat stunted, red - since redeveloped]


Pedways of the City of London



1) The Barbican Highwalks
The one set of pedways every Londoner knows is the maze of passageways around the Barbican, if only as somewhere it's notoriously easy to get lost. The estate was built during the precise period that pedways were in vogue, hence all the main thoroughfares run above ground level, leaving down below for water gardens, car parks and deliveries. The concrete highwalks exhibit considerable variety, from tight tunnels to broad esplanades and from smart crescents to narrow gangways, linking visitors to the central concert hall and residents to the outside world. For lovers of practical brutalism it gets no better.



Most of the original network survives, looping beneath slab blocks and skirting the towers, but the eastern end hasn't been so lucky. The Moorfields Highwalk comes to an abrupt end in midair above the edge of a building site, the remainder of the rooftop empire demolished as part of Crossrail-related development. Some new kind of connection will be created once that's complete, but in the meantime don't try following the fabled yellow line to Moorgate while a less than satisfactory diversion remains in place.
I could devote this entire post to the Barbican's pedways, but you don't need me to tell you where they are to be able to explore for yourself. The City's more elusive pedways deserve our attention instead.

2) Baynard House
Where you find pedways, you often also find concrete. Baynard House is a total concrete eruption, a three storey office block smothering the site of a royal Tudor mansion, located just to the east of Blackfriars station. Architect William Holford built his grey fortress with pedway principles in mind, its main entrance at first floor level, and an elevated walkway set back alongside Queen Victoria Street.



40 years later this gloomy passageway feels somewhat dour, frequented by BT employees and pigeons, twisting past boarded-up doorways, men in sleeping bags and a single potplant. It begins in a raised square with a Shakespearean totem pole depicting the seven ages of man, continues above the Mermaid Theatre accompanied by whiffs of urine, and descends on the far side of Puddle Dock outside a little-known entrance to Blackfriars station. As M@'s video attests, this is a pedway worthy of (brief) psychogeographical exploration.

3) Peter's Hill
According to the City of London's classification, the long pedestrian avenue which slopes down from St Paul's Cathedral to the Millennium Bridge was officially designated a pedway. It's still very much in situ, and easily the busiest on the map, but totally lacks that essential elevated pedway vibe, so I'm going to skip it and move on.

4) Fyefoot Lane
This meanwhile is a proper pedway, one of a series built to span Upper Thames Street when it was dual-carriagewayed in the late 1960s. It begins on Queen Victoria Street, slipping between a couple of office blocks wherein financial drones can be seen sat patiently tapping on computers. It's named Fyefoot Lane after a medieval alley which once ran this way down to the docks, previously known as Five Foot Lane because one end was only five foot wide.



The land hereabouts drops quite steeply towards the Thames, hence the walkway emerges at lamppost-top-height, just to the east of the Upper Thames Street tunnel. A double bend leads pedestrians to a sleek footbridge above the road, propped up on thin concrete wedges, with the City's coat of arms decorating the railings on each flank. No attempt is made to reach the building on the far side, there are simply steps down, but maybe that's why this pedway has survived riverside redevelopment and several of those downstream have not.

5) Suffolk Lane
Located just to the east of Cannon Street station, this pedway's had a modern makeover. At its heart, spanning Upper Thames Street, is an flat concrete slab much like that at Fyefoot Lane. But someone - I suspect the Japanese bank in the new building to the south - has clad the bridge's exterior with timber struts, and replaced the treads in the staircase with modern metal. Employees now trot out of the security door at first floor level with gym kits poised, before returning with a bagged-up noodle feast, while other local workers get to walk up from street level instead.



On the northern side the path bends round a much more 20th century office block, channelled through a pillared promenade, through whose windows Prudential employees are going about their business. The landing point is a backwater junction on Laurence Pountney Hill, with boltholes where "any sandwich and a drink" costs £9, and besuited souls do deals over a ciabatta and a glass of red.

6) Swan Lane
I will confess to never noticing this one before, which perhaps isn't surprising given it's been almost completely severed. An ummarked staircase rises on the corner of Swan Lane and Upper Thames Street, one block west of London Bridge, filling a space where you might expect to see two storeys of office windows. I ducked somewhat suspiciously past two ladies chatting, cigarettes in hand, and climbed five flights of stairs past a doorway marked Out of Order and a second landing with similarly non-existent access.



At the top of the final flight a diagonal railing brought my ascent to an abrupt halt, at the point where the pedway would have continued across the road. The footbridge disappeared when the building across the road was redeveloped in a more private manner, leaving an unintentional triangular landing which now functions as a kind of balcony overlooking the street corner below. This stumpy staircase should never have survived, but hurrah that it does, as easily the quirkiest pedway remnant on my list.

7) Pudding Lane
This is probably the best of the pedways outside the Barbican, both for length and for variety. It also has a splendid staircase to link roadside and footbridge level, curved in South Bank style, with no-expense-spared granite treads. A broad path heads Thamesward through St Magnus House, one of the chunky office blocks between London Bridge and Billingsgate, emerging onto an expansive terrace with fine views down to Tower Bridge and immediately opposite to the Shard. A sign at riverwalk level attempts to lure tourists upwards, but the vast majority pass by, leaving the upper terrace free for fag puffers, sandwich munchers and windblown litter.



On the northern side of the footbridge one prong of the pedway runs parallel to Pudding Lane, joining it roughly where 1666's fateful bakery once stood. The other prong runs parallel to Upper Thames Street, down a featureless corridor seemingly ideally sheltered for overnight sleeping. I found a small tent, a rolled up sleeping bag, and one alcove neatly laid out with carpet tiles, shoes and clothes on coathangers. If the worst ever happens, bear this pedway in mind.

8) Bishopsgate
The City's second-largest pedway network used to span the area around Bishopsgate, from Leadenhall Street north towards Liverpool Street station. No more. This part of town lies at the sweet spot for skyscraper development, unencumbered by protected views, and sequential rebuilding projects have wiped most of the highwalks away. The imminent behemoth rising at 22 Bishopsgate ensures that nothing survives of the former footbridge (and all points east), while the warren of paths around the foot of Tower 42 has (very) recently been cut by the intrusion of a gleaming glass row of bars and restaurants.



To find the one surviving chunk of pedway head to Wormwood Street, look for the concrete span across the road and climb the unmarked staircase alongside. Although it's possible to cross the bridge in perfect freedom, the main exit past the office block on the far side is fenced off and the other ends intrusively beside a second floor meeting room. Meanwhile a service corridor weaves south from the footbridge past several emergency back-exits and an open courtyard before terminating down a second corridor in hostile semi-darkness. The closure's only temporary, according to a brief notice, but it's hard to see how it'll ever again continue onwards through that new barrier of wrap vendors and burger eateries. A total dead end, in both directions, and easily the spookiest surviving pedway.

9) Middlesex Street Estate
Out on the far eastern edge of the City, and primed for unwealthier citizens, the Middlesex Street estate was built between 1965 and 1970 and so wholly embraced the pedway concept. One tower block and a ring of elevated flats surround Petticoat Square, with one upper gangway around the rim, and a series of access stairs squeezed in with the emergency services in mind.



When first built anyone could have wandered in, but the main entrance opposite Wentworth Street is now blocked off, and security doors prevent public access elsewhere. Laminated notices confirm that this is Private Property, No Loitering, and that rough sleepers will be arrested for trespassing. You will not be visiting this pedway any time soon.

10) London Wall Place
Somewhat unexpectedly, for those who thought pedways were out of fashion, a brand new City development is embracing them in a big way. London Wall Place is being built across a long splinter of land to the north of London Wall, to the southeast of the Barbican estate, with construction requiring the demolition of the former St Alphage Highwalk. The developers have been obliged to add new pedways amid their jungle of office blocks, mainly because the surrounding infrastructure includes several upper level links on all flanks which would otherwise be defunct.



Construction of the chain of bridges is well underway, not in concrete but in weathered steel, because architectural tastes move on. You can already see one of the seven bridges suspended above Wood Street, close to Jamie's Italian, and another over Fore Street close to Salters Hall. The closest to completion spans London Wall on a jaunty diagonal, and yesterday was being scrubbed down by a workman with a big cloth. Once open it'll breath fresh life into the Bassishaw Highwalk, formerly the Barbican's link to the Guildhall, and the workers in the adjacent offices won't be quite so shocked to see people walking past their window. It seems pedways are no longer the dead end concept they used to be.

» The Pedway: Elevating London (40 minute video)

London’s weekly railway news #223

Oct. 20th, 2017 06:00 am
[syndicated profile] ianvisits_feed

Posted by Ian Visits

A weekly round-up of London’s rail transport news…

22 photos of the new Thameslink Train

London Underground

Drivers on London Underground are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute linked to the Night Tube. ITV

Union boss accuses London Underground of “playing politics with passenger safety” by slashing track spending Mayor Watch

More large screens for advertising on the London Underground Diamond Geezer

Crossrail / Elizabeth line

Crossrail 2 seeks £13m injection ahead of Budget decision Construction News

Mainline / Overground

Delays and drips mark Great Western Railway’s new train launch The Guardian

Borehamwood commuters will be able to air their grievances with Thameslink at an upcoming meeting. Local Times

Southern rail drivers are to be balloted on a proposed deal to end their long-running dispute, Aslef has said. BBC News

The details for two new stations for the London Overground have been announced, with each of them serving separate branches south of Willesden Junction. IanVisits

The new Thameslink train service has been criticised by some commuters because they fear there will be fewer seats and trains. Cambridge News

London Overground testing screens that show how crowded each carriage in the train is Diamond Geezer

While Blackfriars Station has recently had a massive makeover, it retained a little noticed entrance that has been little changed since the 1970s. IanVisits

DLR

ISS wins 4-year contract to provide cleaning, security and revenue protection services. FM World

Miscellaneous

A key model of levering cash for infrastructure will not generate enough money for major transport schemes in the capital, London’s deputy mayor has said. Planning Resource (£)

TfL bans ads displaying Palestinian objections to Balfour declaration The Guardian

TFL has banned adverts featuring BBC star Gary Lineker naked Attitude

And finally, meet London’s most powerful people: Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, reveals how he keeps the capital on track Homes & Property

Image above is from Jan 2014: 22 photos of the new Thameslink Train

The big screen

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] diamondgeezer_feed

Posted by diamond geezer

And while we're talking big screens...

It's been a a year since TfL hung two huge LED screens in the heart of Canary Wharf station. They blaze, the surrounding lighting dimmed for added contrast, drilling advertising messages into the eyeballs of millions of passing passengers. The CEO of Exterion Media described the screens as "enhancing the customer experience through delivering a truly world class estate". He may be keen, but my experience has not been enhanced.



But Canary Wharf was just the beginning, because TfL have coffers to fill.
Known as Hello London, the eight-year media partnership between TfL and Exterion Media aims to excite and engage the customers that make more than a billion journeys on TfL's Underground and rail services each year. Hello London will be bringing investment and innovation to the outdoor media market, installing improved digital screens and offering brands new opportunities in sponsorship, pop-up retail and experiential marketing. The partnership is expected to generate £1.1bn in revenue to reinvest in the transport system.
Another big screen has recently been installed at King's Cross St Pancras. Specifically it's attached to the balcony in the western ticket hall, on the St Pancras side, close to the Circle line ticket barriers. It's nowhere near as big as the screens at Canary Wharf, but it's still much bigger than the Tube usually employs, and will be pretty much unmissable to those passing underneath. I've not seen it up and running, but its dancing pixels look like being a permanent distraction, and a full time moneyspinner.



It's a fair bet that the original designer of the western ticket hall didn't have a commercial intrusion in mind. Instead it feels like TfL's Chief of Economic Deliverance walked round all the prime stations in Zone 1 looking for big high-up rectangular gaps, noted this one with glee, and hey presto a huge digital screen has appeared. Expect more. Some of you may even have noticed more at tube stations elsewhere. Do tell.

Update: Apparently the King's Cross screen is for an Art on the Underground project, 'The Bureaucracy of Angels', a 12 minute film depicting the demolition of 100 migrant boats in Sicily. It's supposed to be running from 28 September to 25 November, so should be a temporary intervention, although I've only ever seen a blank screen when walking through.

Meanwhile you might be wondering where all the digital projectors on tube station platforms have gone. These large white boxes first appeared in 2008, firing moving adverts onto the opposite wall between trains, but last year they were all switched off. I was going to say they've all been removed, but then I found this one on the southbound Victoria line platform at King's Cross, dormant and a bit grubby.



These projectors vanished because Exterion Media are bringing in a better system. It'll be bigger (half as as big again), brighter (twice as bright) and with enhanced HD screen resolution. They call it DX3.
DX3 is a network of large digital screens (4.5m x 2.4m) installed cross track on London Underground. With a projection from the platform onto custom-coated surface, DX3 will cut through any ambient light conditions, ensuring high-defnition, premium resolution across the entire network. These screens allow for full-motion, dynamic digital content.
DX3 is also running over two years late, so there's a blessing, but the new projectors will finally start to appear next month. 20 units will be live by the end of November, and 60 by the end of January, with the focus being busy stations in Zone 1. Expect to see them popping up in Liverpool Street, King's Cross St. Pancras, Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Bank, amongst others.

According to the people whose job it is to get excited about these things, the DX3 network will target "the ultimate premium consumer audience", reaching an annual footfall of 750 million with 5.5 million fortnightly impressions. These same people also describe the act of being shown moving adverts while you wait for trains as "a positive disruption to the everyday commute", on the basis that the average passenger would rather be sold to than be bored.

In reality, the advertisers need to provide something pretty damned wow to drag our eyes away from our phones. Ever since wifi was installed at stations most of us whip out our phones and check what the world's up to while we wait for trains underground, hence the hope that dazzling animated adverts projected in front of us will prove even more attractive. Stop watching what you wanted to watch and look at we want to show you, is the unspoken intention. And because most of us are really rather predictable, we'll probably fall for it and help provide TfL with their money.

Also coming soon are continuous 'ribbon' video screens along the sides of escalators, replacing the sequence of single screens we see today. Several escalators are already ribbon-ready, for example at Tottenham Court Road, with shiny blank metal surfaces awaiting all the electronic gubbins being slapped on top. Again the intention is to stop you whipping out your own phone for 20 seconds and to stare lovingly at all the marketing messages instead.
"Personally, I'm most excited about the ribbon screens," said Chris Reader, TfL's Head of Commercial Media. "I think they will offer a very innovative canvas for brands."
Underground advertising will become even more entrenched once Crossrail starts up next year. Unlike, say, the Jubilee line extension of 20 years ago, all of Crossrail's new stations have been specifically designed with spaces for advertising in mind. Expect to see "a wide range of innovative and high impact formats that best complement the stations' large proportions and modern design elements" as you pass through, including vertically mounted TV screens between the platform edge doors.

And it's not just the tube. Drivers aren't being left out, as TfL scour their arterial estate in search of locations for giant screens. Here's the big screen above the underpass at the Sun In The Sands roundabout, playing out ads for Ford, British Airways and LBC to vehicles on the A2.



Other pixel-based distractions are to be found looming above the A3 in Kingston, the A40 in Ealing, the North Circular in Brent, the Uxbridge Road in Hillingdon and the A12 in Leytonstone. Digital roadside advertising is certainly nothing new, but what's fresh is TfL's emboldened embrace of their outdoor portfolio.

Tube advertising is nothing new either, it's been with us since Victorian times. What's changing is the scale of the distraction we customers are being presented with as we travel, no longer just multi-coloured static rectangles but brightly illuminated consciousness-piercing screens.

Ultimately we can blame our leaders rather than TfL. We live in a country where the government is extinguishing the subsidies it pays for public transport, and in a city where the Mayor has hamstrung investment by imposing a four year fare freeze. Both policies are nakedly political rather than economically sane, and both conspire to focus TfL on raising money via every other means possible.

Bear this in mind the next time you see another intrusive screen has gone up, and your brain nags you to watch what it has to say. As flexible dynamic messaging takes hold, going forward, there's little hope this flashy underground filmshow will ever go away.

Orinoco Flow

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] diamondgeezer_feed

Posted by diamond geezer

Well this is exciting.



This new pilot screen at Shoreditch High Street station shows you how busy each of the carriages are before you board your train. Green means It's quiet in here, amber means It's getting a bit busy and red means This is rammed (or words to that effect). Something similar happens on the new Thameslink trains, although on Thameslink the displays are inside the carriages, not in the stations.

Shoreditch's new animated display appears at the far end of the ticket hall, at the point where the staircase splits towards the two platforms. At the start of the animation it looks like any other digital Next Train Indicator, listing the next three departures in each direction, but then several train graphics rush in from the right revealing the colours carriage by carriage.

During most of the day everything's green. But as the afternoon peak approaches some of the carriages go amber, occasionally covering most of the train, and at the busiest times there might be some red.



Use this information wisely and you could wander down the platform to the appropriate place to board the carriage with the most available space. That's assuming you can make your way to the right point before the next train arrives, of course, and can push past all the other people waiting in less optimal locations.

This might all seem a bit pointless on a walk-through train, but there is a potential benefit, namely a more efficient service. Encourage passengers to board emptier carriages rather than squeezing into full ones and departures can become more punctual. One display in Shoreditch isn't going to make a lot of difference, but imagine if this were rolled out more widely elsewhere - the cumulative effect on dwell times could be significant.

Another first is that you don't have to be standing in front of the display to see it, it's also available online. Surf to shoreditch.opencapacity.co and you can view the crammedness of Shoreditch's Overground trains from home, from the office or from outside in the street, exactly as the display appears within the station. Again imagine this kind of functionality rolled out for Overground stations elsewhere, or how this data could be employed within the usual transport apps.



Now let's stop and wonder what the hell is going on here.

For a start, how do they know where all the people are on a particular train?

Well, it's not all guesswork, it's down to a specially-installed electronic system called Orinoco. Every single one of the Overground's fleet of 57 Class 378 trains has been fitted with sensors and special software which monitor the weight of each carriage, specifically the pressure inside the air suspension bags under each carriage. These rise and fall to help keep the train's doors at platform height, and this allows the onboard computer to calculate how many people are in each carriage.

This "loadweigh" data is transmitted via 4G to Bombardier in Derby, then onward to a German company called Hacon who specialise in transport software systems, and it's they who generate the information on the display. Initially Orinoco was provided exclusively for Overground staff, who by using apps and tablets could direct waiting passengers to the least crowded carriages. But the release of the Shoreditch High Street data into the public domain is the first sign of spreading the information benefits more widely. [more info]

It's all damned clever but obviously it's not accurate. The software doesn't know precisely how many people are in each carriage, only how much they weigh, so (for example) an infant school outing or a rugby team with suitcases could seriously skew the readings. To counter this Hacon also cross-reference their data with other sources including "CCTV cameras, door sensors and ticketing information", with the expectation that if it was busy at six fifteen last Friday it probably will be again this week. Not perfect, but more likely to be correct.



But hang on, are we watching actual loadings now or a prediction for the future?

I'm willing to believe that a train arriving in 1 minute might actually be loaded as the display shows, but for those further away, how can they possibly know? Any train heading north and more than 2 minutes away has yet to pass through Whitechapel, ditto 10 minutes for Canada Water. Loads of people are going to alight and board at the intermediate stations, upsetting the pattern of which carriage is the busiest, so by the time the train arrives the current information will be badly out of date. A display you can only read on the stairs won't be much help if the train you intend to catch is several minutes away.

What's more, some of these southbound trains haven't even left yet. Trains to New Cross and Clapham Junction start from Dalston Junction, which is only 6 minutes up the line, which means the display frequently shows loadings on trains which haven't yet set out. Look for example at the Clapham Junction train at the bottom of the display above. It's 10 minutes away from arriving at Shoreditch, so must be waiting at Dalston Junction and still four minutes from departure. That means there's no way it can already be amber-busy in its front two carriages, away from the ticket hall, while the rear three carriages remain green.

I can only conclude that the display isn't showing genuine real time information, only computer predictions for what might be turning up later, in an attempt to manipulate passengers into the optimal position.

So don't necessarily believe everything you see on these displays, you're being toyed with, and who's to say what the borderline between a green carriage and an amber carriage is anyway. But the future is increased public data, the future is informed passenger choice, and the future is being nudged into position to speed up the service.

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:19 am
[personal profile] ruthi
I finished An Unsuitable Heir, which is the last of a trilogy by KJ Charles. m/m, historic romance, also murder mystery with a missing heir. I liked it a lot.

spoilers for An Unsuitable Heir )

*

Tuesday: I managed to get out to the post office and send out three things.
A small pen-knife a friend found in her pocket before a flight, which I took and promised to mail to her.
A bread-maker baking tin, which I ordered and sent onwards, as the people selling it were not shipping to Israel. My parents' bread-maker that they bought in Israel but somehow getting a replacement part for it to Israel was impossible.
A drawing of a bunny I made as part of Inktober. A friend saw it on twitter and asked if I was selling prints. I said I could do a deal on the original. By which I meant: I have too low energy to organise a print. So I have sent that out.

*

On Saturday I went with the beloved and with Derek to an evening of comedy and song : Midnight Apothecary Goes Down the Shaft hosted by Tricity Vogue on ukulele (with guest, Matthew Floyd Jones, at the grand piano). It was at the Brunel Museum.
It was described very glamorous on the website: - so much so , it was almost intimidating - but as it was, only the beloved and Derek were even wearing waistcoats. (🎵I was all dressed in black , we were all dressed up in black.🎵)

There was tasty food- greek-style wraps with beef or with feta. There were many and various cocktails, and even a couple of mocktails, (and also glasses and water freely available to drink, which I like)

At a roof-top garden there was a bonfire and pointy sticks and a steady supply of marshmallows to roast, And lit torches all around. I was glad it was a clear night and not raining. At one point someone came up and asked for a light for a cigarette, then used a torch to light it.

There were bars providing drinks both at the rooftop garden, and at the bottom of the shaft, where the performance was, (the stage and the grand piano and the speakers and the projector, which was useful for lyrics for the singalong.

Tricity Vogue was charming and funny and full of innuendo, I enjoyed it very much.
I like this photo because the silhouette on the wall matches levels of double-entendre that were bandied about.

Also I got to be introduced and say hello, because Derek knows Ms. Vogue. Then I got shy and ran away.

Memo to self: the Brunel Museum is quite easy to get to. (Jubilee line to Canada Water, Overground to Rotherhite)

*

When the beloved and I got home, Shadow, next-door's cat, was waiting on our doormat. We opened the door and he came in for a visit. He's a beautiful cat, but mostly he's inquisitive and friendly and charming and he climbed on me and tried to get up my nose, and he climbed on the beloved, and he was so affectionate and we have fallen in love with this cat.

At one point he fell asleep snuggled on the sofa between me and the beloved, and I tried to get a photo of it, but between us both wearing black and Shadow being a black cat, the charm of the moment did not come through.

When the next-door neighbours came home from their night out, Shadow ran to the door, and I let him out and knocked on their door, and he went back home.
[syndicated profile] ianvisits_feed

Posted by Ian Visits

The details for two new stations for the London Overground have been announced, with each of them serving separate branches south of Willesden Junction.

The impetus for the new stations is the planned conversion of much of the area from existing railway sidings into a huge new housing estate, and interchanges with both the Elizabeth line and High Speed 2 (HS2).

Old Oak and Park Royal have the potential to deliver 25,500 new homes and at the centre of these plans is a new station at Old Oak on the HS2 route providing connections between London, the Midlands and the North.

Following on from the 2014 consultation, working with Network Rail and the OPDC and co-funded by the European Commission (EC), TfL has undertaken work to develop an initial design for potential stations at Hythe Road and Old Oak Common Lane.

It’s worth noting that the plans have changed substantially from the original intention, which was for a single larger station and a major diversion of the Overground lines. It would have put the new station right next to the planned HS2/Elizabeth line stations, but at considerably higher cost.

TfL is now seeking views on these two alternative London Overground stations:

Hythe Road station – This potential new station would be situated about 700 metres from the HS2 and Elizabeth line station.

Old Oak Common Lane station – This potential new station would be situated about 350 metres to the west of HS2 and Elizabeth line station between Old Oak Common and Midland Terrace.

Although not mentioned by the TfL consultation, the Old Oak Common Lane station could also be included in the proposals for a new stretch of Overground line via Harlesden and Cricklewood

Arguably these new locations are less convenient for passengers swapping between the various railway lines compared to had here had been a single central station, but could be argued that two smaller stations are better for residents as they are closer to planned housing developments.

The new locations also avoided the problems of construction that would come from interfacing with the live Elizabeth line and the still under construction HS2.

There will be public events to give people the chance to ask questions and meet the project team. These events are taking place at;

The Nadi Park Royal, 260 Old Oak Common Lane, London NW10 6DX

  • Monday 30 October 12:30 – 19:30
  • Saturday 4 November 10:30 – 16:00
  • Monday 6 November 12:30 – 19:30

Further information about the station designs and details of how to respond to the consultation, which closes on 17 November, are available at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/old-oak-common.

No fixed address

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] diamondgeezer_feed

Posted by diamond geezer

Most of you don't leave comments on this blog. Today's post is about the 5% of you who sometimes do.

When you enter a comment on this blog there are four boxes. One is for the comment itself. One is for 'Name'. One is for 'Email'. And one is for 'URL'.

Most of you leave a name, of sorts. Some of you leave an email address. But not many of you write anything in the URL box. Today's post is about why the URL box is usually empty.

First off, I've tried to quantify how empty the URL box is. I've scanned back through all the comments made by readers in the first half of this month. Thanks for all roughly-400 of them. And then I've totted up how many of these comments include a web address in the URL field. It's about 5%. Only one commenter in every twenty leaves a URL.



Sarah's one of the handful of people who left a URL. She has an actual blog. So does Andrew, and so does DrD, and so does Margaret, and so does Richard, and so does rasbhre, and they still update them regularly. A couple of other October commenters have a blog but haven't posted lately. But that's it for bloggers leaving comments so far this month. A paltry eight.

A couple of people left a personal website address in the URL box - Adrian left his Twitter handle and Tetramesh left his Flickr ID. These are both good ways of dropping a hint about the person who's actually leaving a comment, something deeper than just a name. Nobody left a Facebook login or an Instagram feed in the URL box. Nineteen out of every twenty commenters left nothing at all.

I wondered if URL-less-ness had changed over time, so I went back five years and ten years and took a look. I checked for URLs in all the comments made by readers in the first half of October 2012, and then did the same for all the comments made by readers in the first half of October 2007. In each case there were about 300 comments to consider. Here's what I found.

» In October 2007, about 45% of comments included a web address in the URL field.
» In October 2012, about 20% of comments included a web address in the URL field.
» In October 2017, about 5% of comments included a web address in the URL field.

That's quite some decline. What is going on? Here are ten possibilities.

1) Far fewer people have blogs these days.
We know this one's true. Blogs have had their day and people don't start writing them any more. A few of us maintain them, keeping the faith and providing the web with longform content on a semi-regular basis. But most people don't blog, and most people who did have long given up. When there are so few blogs out there, the URL box is almost always going to be empty.

2) People now do their commenting elsewhere.
Commenting on blogs is old hat now that people have Twitter and Facebook to broadcast their every thought. Why leave a comment on a blog where almost nobody will see it when you can shout it to a far wider audience and get direct feedback. The conversation has moved, hence far fewer of my commenters now have a blog of their own.

3) People no longer have a single web identity.
People now have multiple identities across several platforms, rather than one go-to site of their own. And while some people still have a personal homepage which acts as a CV, privacy concerns mean few people want to leave a URL revealing their name and contact details in a blog's comment box.

4) People don't think Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook count.
There is a general feeling, I suspect, that what goes in the URL box ought to be a proper blog. A Twitter address doesn't come to mind, even though it could, and would provide a bit of background to what makes a commenter tick. Even an Instagram link, YouTube channel or Facebook connection would adds a bit more depth, rather than simply being a "Mark" or a "Chris" who could be anybody.

5) The people who leave comments on blogs have changed.
In the early 2000s most of the people who left comments on blogs were also bloggers, adding to the discussion. Today most of the people who leave comments on blogs have no focused online voice, they solely want to comment on what others have written. Social media is increasingly reactive these days, and a much smaller proportion of people now provide the original material everyone else comments on.

6) Regular commenters without blogs are skewing the figures.
Several of my most regular commenters don't have a platform of their own, which surprises me given how persistently opinionated they are, and how much they always seem to have to say. Get a platform, gents.

7) It's harder to enter an accurate URL on a mobile.
I wonder if this is a potentially important issue. On a laptop it's easy to cut and paste your own personal URL (or Twitter handle or whatever) from one browser tab to another. On a smartphone that's a hassle, perhaps a nightmare, so it's increasingly the case that people can't be bothered to go to the effort of typing from scratch or copying a URL across.

8) URLs have to begin with http://, not @
Web addresses aren't the same as social media IDs, so some people might not actually know what URL to put in the box. If you're @malcolm1952 on Twitter, for example, then what has to go in the box is https://twitter.com/malcolm1952 or https://www.instagram.com/malcolm1952 or whatever, and that's quite complicated. But remember to tick the box marked "Please store my details for next time" underneath the comments box and you'll only ever have to type it once.

9) People are lazier that they used to be.
The number of people who leave the "Name" box empty is also increasing, as certain commenters fire off accidentally anonymous comments, and others choose not to fill in a name because they know who they are. Without even a pseudonym to go on, all the rest of us see is an unattributed opinion, which I think devalues the content of the comment somewhat. And if people can't be bothered to leave a name, why would they leave a URL?

10) There are more trolls than there used to be.
A lot more commenters these days are on the snarky side, leaving pointed remarks to make a personal dig. These people don't want to be traceable, indeed the names they're using won't be their real names, so they don't have their own URL to add. As the internet gets nastier, so personal accountability is on the decline.

I'm getting more comments these days than I was five or ten years ago, thanks, so leaving comments hasn't yet fallen out of favour. But far fewer of those commenters are leaving a URL, which seems a shame. There are always reasons why some of you will never have, or want to share, an online identity. But if you do have one somewhere, perhaps you'll consider sharing it in the future, and the rest of us might even take more seriously what you have to say.
[syndicated profile] ianvisits_feed

Posted by Ian Visits

In leafy Clerkenwell is a mighty church that externally looks as polite as a Clerkenwell church should look, but inside is still showing the massive scars left by WW2.

This is St Mark’s Church, and it has a rather curious origin.

This part of Clerkenwell was once home to the New River Water Company, and when they started developing the area into housing, were prevailed upon to donate some land for a church.

The current Myddelton Square was duly laid out, with the church in the centre. A condition of the donation though was no graveyard. The square was to be kept open for the locals living nearby to enjoy, not to be come a resting place for the dead.

As it happened, burials are not prohibited outright but have been discouraged through high fees.

The completed church was consecrated 190 years ago, on 1st January 1828 as a fairly typical church of the era, a ground floor pews, and seating around the sides on an elevated floor.

Although the body of the church was rather ordinary, the tall tower, clad in Bath stone is a triumph, dominating the area and providing a magnificent approach from the main road.

It soldiered on for a hundred years, until in the 1930s the side galleries were removed as they were becoming unsafe – leaving a vast open rectangle of a space for worshipers.

The biggest change though took place on the evening of 21st September 1941 when a series of incendiary bombs damaged buildings across the square including the east end of the church.

It took 20 years to repair the structural damage, with all the wall plaster being stripped away and new concrete columns installed to support the roof.

Today we have an austere brick box, and that rather unusual aesthetic is what makes this church such an interesting one to visit. In time, the plaster work will doubtless be restored, but at the moment it has a rather interesting appeal to it unlike other churches in London.

It is also a church that made a very fleeting appearance in a Channel 4 programme, as it can be seen from the windows of a Georgian row of houses, one of which at the turn of the Millennium was in a very run-down condition.

On the odd occasion that episode is repeated on telly, I kept thinking I really should pay the area a visit, and it was only by accident that I was here, as I had arrived a bit early for a visit to the nearby Bevin Court and was wandering around when I realised I recognised the area from a TV show I hadn’t seen for many years.

I guess the show made a bit of an impression!

Linkspam for mid-October 2017

Oct. 16th, 2017 02:53 pm
[personal profile] tim
I'm not doing regular linkspam posts anymore, but I had a pile of links to file and I thought I'd put them in one place.

Some advice for survivors and those writing about them, Leigh Honeywell (2017-10-12). Some great advice on talking to journalists that applies to situations where you're exposing any kind of wrong-doing.

Donald Trump to become first president to speak at anti-LGBT hate group gathering, Benjamin Butterworth for PinkNews (2017-10-11). Remember when people were saying "at least Tr*mp is pro-LGBT"?

[CW: rape] On predators who won't accept that they are predators, E Price (2017-10-12). "It’s important for men to question whether there are rapists in their midsts. But good men, really feminist men, need to go even further: they need to question whether they have ever been rapists themselves."

Sister Outsider Headbanger: On Being a Black Feminist Metalhead, Keidra Chaney for Bitch (2000-11-30). Good stuff about being in intersecting outsider identities.

We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made, Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton (2017-10-12). "Rick was a very talented developer. Rick could solve complex business logic problems and create sophisticated architectures to support his lofty designs. Rick could not solve the problem of how to work effectively on a team." (Other people have rightly pointed out that the author doesn't place enough responsibility on the environment "Rick" was in for allowing him to escalate his toxic behaviors, but the fact remains that some people deal with pressure by seeking help and support from others, while others deal with it by harming others in an attempt to preserve themselves.)

We Warned You About Milo And You’re Still Not Listening, Katherine Cross for The Establishment (2017-10-09). 'The hypersensitivity that reels from “trigger warnings” but thrills to Yiannopoulos’ joyful transphobia, that likens workplace diversity trainings to “gulags,” is what fuels the outrage culture about “outrage culture,” an insatiable rage that can never be sated by giving it what it says it wants. It will merely demand we make ourselves smaller and smaller until nothing of us remains. Reactionary outrage about “PC” is not a philosophy as much as it is a burning sun that demands our compliance as its nuclear fuel, consuming it endlessly until it can feed no more and goes nova.'

America Loves Plausible Deniability, Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-14). "When faced with a choice between an incriminating truth or a flattering lie, America’s ruling class has been choosing the lie for 400 years."

A guide to modern Nazi dogwhistles from [twitter.com profile] secretgamergrrl:
"Modern nazi dog whistles- Accusing people of "calling everyone a nazi." Specifically, doing this in contexts where it makes no sense. i.e. shouting "you call everyone a nazi!" when someone is talking about nazi book burnings in the 40s, or "everyone you don't like is a nazi!" in response to a statement like "this is a profoundly homophobic statement from this organization." The hope is that someone listening who has, in a more appropriate context, been at some point likened to a nazi will give some subtle gesture of approval, outing themselves as someone ripe for recruitment. A common variation is shouting "why do you hate Trump!?" when people discuss bigotry in contexts with no tie to Trump."

Cyrus Vance and the Myth of the Progressive Prosecutor, Josie Duffy Rice for the New York Times: "The progressive bombast is meaningless if prosecutors continue to promote the same harsh practices behind the scenes. Instead, voters must look closely at their policies and hold them to high and specific standards. We should ask: Are prosecutors opposing new mandatory minimum sentences during legislative debates? Have they declined to request cash bail in a vast majority of cases? Are they keeping children out of adult court and refusing to seek life-without-parole sentences for them?"

"Fun sexual assault fact: you only hear the stories we can bear to tell." -- [twitter.com profile] sarahhartshorne

The problem

Oct. 16th, 2017 08:16 pm
[personal profile] liv
Sexual violence against women and girls is endemic. There's an absolute mountain of evidence that this is the case, from the experiences of my friends to any number of posts on social media to rigorous studies. A big part of the reason I decided to identify as a feminist is because women are routinely denied bodily autonomy and feminism seems to be the only political movement that cares about this.

links and personal observations about sexual violence against women )

I absolutely believe everybody else's experiences, people I know and strangers writing brave, brave columns and blog posts. I am just a total outlier, and I really shouldn't be. So I'm signal boosting others' accounts, because I know that I needed to be made aware of the scale of the problem, and perhaps some other people reading this could also use the information.

Things I have done today

Oct. 16th, 2017 01:39 pm
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
Finished a languishing application for an audio transcription job. Not sure whether I'll get it or not, but at least it's done now. Applied (successfully) for a website testing job. Both of these are self-employed, no guarantees that I'd get actual work from them but worth a try. Boggled at the adverts for 'work from home' jobs many of which are prison officers.

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