Yield to The Optical Illusion Planks Painted on The Street

All over Nashville’s “urban core,” there are pedestrian crosswalks with large white stripes painted on the street and a large “Yield” traffic sign displaying an arrow pointing down at the stripes. “STATE LAW,” these signs sream in all caps..

Crosswalk_fiYet something about that combination of white stripes, “STATE LAW” and the Yield sign makes people who drive cars think they have the right away if a person walking wants to cross the street.

So when I saw these photos and a story on FastCompany.com, I couldn’t help but laugh and think how great it would be to see these appear in Nashville.


Zebra crossings—the striped crosswalks common on roads around the world—don’t necessarily work very well. In one Swedish study, drivers stopped for pedestrians only 5% of the time at the crosswalks and rarely slowed down. A city in India is experimenting with another approach: By adding some perspective shading to the stripes, the crosswalk looks a little like a roadblock from a distance.

Slowly, but Surely, Rollng Towards a Bike-Friendlier Nashville

Recently (4.11.2016), I took this photo of about 30 representatives of various Nashville bicycle tribes. Walk Bike Nashville organized a “round-up” of them held at Yazoo Brewery. Good job, Walk-Bike Nashville. Good beer, Yazoo. (Unsolicited shout-out: Try their Daddy-O Pilsner.) I was at the gathering representing Mayor Barry’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

The group represented many different bike-related organizations, ranging from non-profits, to various types of cycling enthusiasts (roads, off-road, commuters, slow-riders, night riders) to people who own pedal-propelled businesses — from shops to bike-tour businesses to food delivery services to the owner of Pedal Pub (although, I guess, technically-speaking, it’s not a “bicycle,” but it is powered by pedals ).

Each person who wanted to could spend five minutes talking about what their company, non-profit, advocacy group, public agency does. One after another, I heard some very inspiring stories about groups who have done various things, ranging from helping to build many of the off-road bike trails in Middle trails to learning more about one of my heroes, the quietly inspiring Dan Furbish of the Oasis Center Bike Workshop.

My passion for bicycling is focused on transportation, recreation and travel. It’s amazing to meet others who love bikes but who express their passion in so many different ways and that have so many different positive outcomes.

635967579643256482-IMG-2290One day, when Nashville completes what’s necessary to have the walking/biking infrastructure necessary to make people feel safe, I’ll be appreciative to the folks I’ve met in the past three years who have, in often quiet ways, done so much to create the foundation that’s necessary to build a great bicycling/walking town.

Which brings me to an announcement Nashville Mayor Megan Barry made earlier this week and that is covered in this Tennessean story.

As my passions these days include doing what I can to make Nashville a city for people who walk and people who ride bicycles — as well as people who drive cars — these kinds of projects regarding specific locations and time-frames for development are what is needed to convey to Nashvillians why I’m optimistic about the future. (Impatient, but optimistic.)

Stuff I Learn Only From The BBC World Service

I just heard two early-morning episodes (Central Time) of the BBC series called, “The Why Factor.” One was about how America sees itself (followed next week by how it’s seen by the rest of the world) and the other on why people have different preferences in the types of music they enjoy. (More on that one in a second.)

I’ve written before about my fascination with contextual content (the hows, whys, data, background and how-tos) — as much as I am fascinated with the chronological content we news and info-junkies plug in to. The BBC is a great example of a vast media empire that uses its resources to add context — history programming, for example — into its constant flow of current news.

For example, here is a factoid I just learned on “The Why Factor” episode about music.

According to research conducted by Spotify,the generational difference in music preference between Millenials and Baby Boomers boils down to Skrillex vs. Roy Orbison. (Meaning, the music you’d least likely find any overlap among people who are teenagers vs. 60+.)

I’m convinced (but I’ll note I’m in neither camp):

Why Podcasting Is, Once Again, The Next Big Thing

Some of you may find this week’s Hammock Idea Email interesting. At the insistence of some pesky editors, I left out lots of the 10,000+ words I once wrote about podcasting. Also, as we like to keep these emails to 300 words, those editors suggested that my discussion of the difference in podcasting and streaming audio would (1) go over people’s heads, or (2) cause them to doze off (3) doesn’t matter to the people who read Idea Email. They also insisted that another tangent on the difference between Paul Saffo’s macro-myopia and Gartner’s Hype Cycle was equally un-riveting. Note: None of those editors review what I write on RexBlog — which explains a lot about the ramblings here.

Here’s how it starts — with a link to the rest of it. 

Amara’s Law: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

—Roy Amara (1925–2007), Stanford Research Institute

Just as conventional wisdom was in the process of writing off podcasting, it is suddenly this year’s “it” media. Two weeks ago, The New York Times joined The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, NPR and other media companies to announce the creation of a team focused entirely on developing podcasts.

At the same time, NPR, Spotify, Audible.com and others have launched a new generation of mobile apps that pre-select and stream topic-specific podcasts. (Listeners typically download and play podcasts using “podcatchers” like Apple’s Podcast app and Stitcher.)

(continue reading on Hammock.com)

Out With Inbox

I’ve tried for several months to like Inbox, Google’s alternative email client for Gmail.

It’s still Gmail (or in my case, “Google Apps for Work’s Gmail for Work Professional Email” — branding has never been Google’s strong suit) but with a different interface.

I’ve stuck with it for months because there are some nice things about it, a nice interface for instance. Also, it seems to be what email is going to be like someday in the future. I say “it seems” because after using it for several months, you begin to not like that future.

Inbox is like many of the things Google creates. At first, it seems like an awesome idea that was a feature created by a company they  acqhired or a project that imploded, say Google+ or Google Buzz (or anything on this list).

Then, in the course of a business day, you discover that core features of how you use email are not yet in the new product. Things like saving something to Evernote or managing a task list — even if it’s Google’s task list. Perhaps there are work-arounds or perhaps the feature is right in front of you, but all those cool new features like bundling messages and snoozing them — cool new features that you’ve lived without for a couple of decades — aren’t a good trade-off for something you use all the time.

Then I discovered the Inbox by Gmail feature I use the most is the link to Gmail Without Inbox by GMail.

I may continue to use it on my iPhone. Maybe.

(See: There are 2 Googles, something I wrote six years ago.)