The Null Device


The Graun has sent three of its journalists from London to various holiday spots—Thailand (via the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian railway and then through Vietnam), Egypt (through Venice and the Balkans to Cyprus, then doubling back through Syria) and Ibiza— without flying. The resulting journeys were much longer and more expensive, though also considerably less environmentally damaging; each one was invariably more of an experience than sitting on a plane (which sometimes meant an adventure of unforeseen hassles and at other times a more enjoyable and pleasant travelling experience than cramming into a Ryanair air-coach for a few hours).

When I travel by plane I never talk to anyone, mainly because air travel puts me in a mood that would impress Naomi Campbell. If I travelled everywhere by train, I realise, I would be a veritable international social dynamo.
This has been, without a doubt, the best journey abroad of my life and I am seriously considering, with the exception of work trips, never taking a plane again within Europe. How often do you remember flights that you have taken, other than for negative reasons? Instead, it all becomes another few hours of your life that you have lost. So although travelling by train and boat took more time in the literal sense, because I'll remember every moment, it seems to me to be less of a waste of it.
For those who are interested in travelling from anywhere to anywhere (well, OK, from London to anywhere) without flying, The Man In Seat 61 has some useful resources.

travel 0

After the recent wave of school shootings in the US, a candidate for Oklahoma State School Superintendent has a solution: bulletproof school textbooks, possibly with Kevlar covers.

(via gizmodo) society usa violence 0

News At Seven is a new experimental system which converts RSS feeds into TV-style news videos, with 3D animated characters (apparently taken from shoot-'em-up games) reading the news according to scripts. A talking head in a newsroom reads the stories as automatically selected images are projected behind her; then a blogger's comment is introduced by a scruffy-looking "man in the street" being interviewed as other people walk by. (The fact that the other people appear to be dressed in uniforms and walking at the same pace makes them look less like passers-by and more like troops marching off to war; perhaps they need to randomise them a bit more?) Anyway, it looks rather impressive. I wonder how long until there are publicly available RSS readers that do something like this.

(via Boing Boing) media technology 0

Remember Mahir Cagri, the globetrotting, red Speedo-wearing Turkish journalist/photographer who went looking for love and "nice nude models and peoples" on the web all those years ago? Well, now he's apparently planning to sue Sacha Baron-Cohen for basing his Borat character on him without permission.

(via Boing Boing) culture media 0