Reading By The Numbers

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Airbnb for Bikes

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Copenhagen-based Donkey Republic has created what just may be a better alternative to city bike-sharing programs. AirDonkey users log-on with a simple app and reserve a bike within a chosen “hub” area. The app’s map guides the renter to a bike, which is secured with a Bluetooth-enabled lock. The renter simply unlocks the bike with their phone and rides away. The rentals cost about €10 per day or €42 weekly and just need to be returned to the hub area.

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What’s different about AirDonkey is the partnership with private bike shops and individual bike owners. Instead of relying on city-owned, corporate sponsored bike-sharing programs with limited rental locations and a small number of bikes, users have access to bicycles throughout an urban area. The video below explains it all.

AirDonkey bikes are currently available in Copenhagen, but will be popping up by this summer in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, New Zealand, and in select U.S. cities.

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Banksy vs France

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After Banksy’s controversial but surprisingly successful Dismaland installation closed last year, it was announced that the buildings and sets that comprised the attraction would be dismantled and shipped to Calais, France to provide shelter at the refugee camp known as “The Jungle”. The materials have been used to create housing, a recreation area and community center in the camp that houses over 7000 people.

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France is a new obsession for the anonymous street artist, who has unveiled a new piece near to the French Embassy on London. The work is a reinterpretation of the logo for the long running musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables. The sad image of a young girl carrying the tricolore flag emerging from a tear gas canister, is a response to the French authorities use of CS gas when attempting to clear part of the site. The wall art includes a QR code that links to footage showing the heavy -handed tactics of the French police.

In December, the elusive British street artist also painted a piece showing the late Steve Jobs as a refugee. The work has since been vandalized a number of times, apparently by refugees at the camp. Maybe they knew that Jobs was not a refugee or migrant, but US born, although his biological father was Syrian by birth.

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Pop-up Libraries

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Seoul South Korea’s Innovation Park seems like an unlikely location for a group of analog library pop-ups, but the tech start-up hub is now home to four colorful mini libraries. The mobile library project is the handiwork of ArchiWorkshop design group. The Pipe, Block, Mirage and Membrane libraries are open to all browsers and borrowers, but each offers a very limited collection.

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I Love A Good Mystery

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You can follow the brilliant Tom Gauld on his blog.

 

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Backpacking 101

It’s been a quite a few years since I did any long backpacking trips around Europe, but I paid my dues with some three and four month journeys. Each episode is a learning experience on choosing the right gear and deciding what to pack. This helpful infographic from Cheapflights is packed with valuable planning suggestions. Personally, I always go with the internal frame packs; it’s just more practical for public transit and flying.

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Between Words

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Chicago-based artist and web developer Nicholas Rougeux’s project “Between the Words” strips all of the letters, numbers and spaces from complete texts of iconic novels leaving just the punctuation. The remaining symbols are arranged in a continuous spiral. You can see more of Rougeux’s work and purchase poster versions on his website.

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Undiscovered Territory

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In 2013, we followed artist and filmmaker Doug Aiken’s transcontinental traveling light/art/music show as it made its way from New York City to San Francisco. Aiken’s train-based, 24 day nomadic art show included participation by artists as diverse as Ed Ruscha, Beck, Mavis Staples and Olafur Eliasson.

Now there’s a film documenting the mobile pop-up exhibitions. The movie is composed of 62 one-minute segments celebrating the art project. Here are a few free slices of the feature length film. You can find the entire “Station to Station” documentary on iTunes.

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Not Obsessed With WiFi

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You may have heard about New York’s plan to create a city-wide free public wifi network based on freestanding kiosks. Well, yesterday the roll-out of the project began . The initial four units—on 3rd Avenue between 15th and 19th streets—from LinkNYC are the test units for the planned 7,500 kiosk system. By mid-summer, the city hopes to have at least 500 hubs functioning.

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All you will need to sign-in to the free system is a valid email address. Each kiosk will include a touch screen tablet, two USB charging ports, two 55-inch ad screens (to subsidize the project), a phone system for 911 calls and free nationwide phone calling via Vonage, and of course free gigabit wifi with a 150 foot range.

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In Flight

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Brooklyn-based artist Juan Fontanive creates extraordinary automated flipbooks, which illuminate the flight of brightly colored birds and butterflies. The steel framed “books” contain gorgeous screen printed images on paper.

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