Category: Links (page 2 of 43)

Reducing long-distance travel

I agree with what Simon Jenkins is saying here about focusing on the ‘reduce’ part of sustainable travel. However, it does sound a bit like victim-blaming to say that people outside of London travel mainly by car.

We travel primarily by car because of the lack of other options. Infrastructure is important, including outside of our capital city.

It is an uncomfortable fact that most people outside London do most of their motorised travel by car. The answer to CO2 emissions is not to shift passengers from one mode of transport to another. It is to attack demand head on by discouraging casual hyper-mobility. The external cost of such mobility to society and the climate is the real challenge. It cannot make sense to predict demand for transport and then supply its delivery. We must slowly move towards limiting it.

One constructive outcome of the Covid pandemic has been to radically revise the concept of a “journey to work”. Current predictions are that “hybrid” home-working may rise by as much as 20%, with consequent cuts in commuting travel. Rail use this month remains stubbornly at just 65% of its pre-lockdown level. Office blocks in city centres are still half-empty. Covid plus the digital revolution have at last liberated the rigid geography of labour.

Climate-sensitive transport policy should capitalise on this change. It should not pander to distance travel in any mode but discourage it. Fuel taxes are good. Road pricing is good. So are home-working, Zoom-meeting (however ghastly for some), staycationing, local high-street shopping, protecting local amenities and guarding all forms of communal activity.

Source: Train or plane? The climate crisis is forcing us to rethink all long-distance travel | The Guardian

Time millionaires

Same idea, new name: there’s nothing new about the idea of prioritising the amount of time and agency you have over the amount of money you make.

It’s just that, after the pandemic, more people have realised that chasing money is a fool’s errand. So, whatever you call it, putting your own wellbeing before the treadmill of work and career is always a smart move.

First named by the writer Nilanjana Roy in a 2016 column in the Financial Times, time millionaires measure their worth not in terms of financial capital, but according to the seconds, minutes and hours they claw back from employment for leisure and recreation. “Wealth can bring comfort and security in its wake,” says Roy. “But I wish we were taught to place as high a value on our time as we do on our bank accounts – because how you spend your hours and your days is how you spend your life.”

And the pandemic has created a new cohort of time millionaires. The UK and the US are currently in the grip of a workforce crisis. One recent survey found that more than 56% of unemployed people were not actively looking for a new job. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that many people are not returning to their pre-pandemic jobs, or if they are, they are requesting to work from home, clawing back all those hours previously lost to commuting.

Source: Time millionaires: meet the people pursuing the pleasure of leisure | The Guardian

On the digital literacies of regular web users

Terence Eden opened a new private browsing window and started typing “https…” and received the results of lots of different sites.

He uses this to surmise, and I think he’s probably correct, that users conflate search bars and address bars. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve been one and the same thing in browsers for years now.

Perhaps more worrying is that there’s a whole generation of students who don’t know what a file system structure is…

There are a few lessons to take away from this.

  • Users don’t really understand interfaces
  • Computers don’t really understand users
  • Big Data assumes that users are behaving in semi-rational manner

Source: Every search bar looks like a URL bar to users | Terence Eden’s Blog