Week of January 31st

What caught my attention the Week of January 31st?

A Shell First 

Shell opened its first all-electric fueling station in Hammersmith and Fulham, London. Not a gas or diesel pump in site. Ultra rapid chargers bring car battery capacity from 0% to 80% in less than ten minutes. 

Built of sustainable construction materials, the charging hub features solar panels to generate some of the required electricity.


The Terminator

Gerrymandering is an ugly political process designed to rig election results. Most democracies have eliminated the practice. However, in most US states, both political parties employ the process to rig the vote. Don’t understand how it works? The New York Times created an online game that helps.  Play and you will find that electoral map management can return a significant majority of candidates from one party even when the popular vote may be split 50/50.

Canada and its provinces  have independent electoral commissioners. Riding boundary changes are then subject to an all party agreement. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it his mission to “terminate” the gerrymandering process in the US. 

A Digital Decency Manifesto 

Look at this video on digital decency courtesy of Monocle Magazine. Also read my recent newsletter on the politicization of LinkedIn

Shop Well, Save the Environment

This dining room set from Norwegian furniture brand, Northern, will stand the test of time. Made from solid oak it comes in three sizes, one round and two rectangular. I don’t know if it will be available outside of the Scandinavian countries. Nonetheless, if you have read my earlier e-mails you will be familiar with my “consumer credo”. Buy the best you can afford, something that will stand the test of time. Stop throwing stuff away.

Designed to Last

The Case for Public Luxury

I live in a municipality stuck in an argument over the development of an area known as the Fairview Forest. In its place, the owner has planned a multi-use development next to the Fairview regional mall and a new mass transit hub. The citizenry want to keep the forest. So do I ! But I also see the need for developing areas around public transportation. 

A possible trade-off? The owner of the forest and the mall are one and the same. The mall parking and the transit line that runs along its southern border are ugly heat sinks. In exchange for development of the forest, a treed linear park along the transit line? Require more trees, greenery and amenities in the parking lot? Get some ideas from this article on public luxury for amenities. Don’t oppose  development for opposition sake! Work with developers and urban planners for win-win solutions. 

Lets celebrate: 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 90%+ of truck drivers working this week, everyone being first class, Shell”s Hammersmith and Fulham charge station, great British television

Big raspberries to:

The less than 10% of truck drivers who will not be working, gerrymandering, protest without purpose, NIMBYism

Quote of the Week

The Channel 4 television series A Very British Coup from 1988 that features a scene with leftwing Labour leader, Harry Perkins. He is aboard a train from Sheffield to London. Fresh from electoral victory, a journalist asks Perkins if he wants to abolish first class travel. The response:

No, I’ll abolish second class: I think everyone’s first class, don’t you?

Fictional Labour leader and Prime Minister Elect Harry Perkins, A Very British Coup

And that’s a wrap for the Week of January 31st.

Lisbon – A City on the Rise?

March 7, 2023

Lisbon’s seven hills and waterfront make it visually spectacular. The second oldest capital in Europe, the city has energy. Busy streets and squares, full restaurants, and vibrant night life – the city pulsates. And, the population seems young. All signs of a city on the rise? Earthquake A 1755 earthquake destroyed 85% of the city […]

Cities and Towns, The Affordable Housing Problem

February 8, 2023

People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex.  Defining Affordability […]

I Love to Dance

January 29, 2023

I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany […]

Cities and Towns 8, A City is About People

January 19, 2023

Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed  off  to the public by the end of the 20th century.   Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]

NEOM - the Wall

Cities and Towns 7, Cities and Towns Evolve

January 8, 2023

I have postulated that cities and towns evolve. That towns and villages first grow in areas where the basics to support life were plentiful. Typically, that means good agricultural land and good access to water. Other valuable considerations include safety, and resilience. The bonus – access to trade routes.  Walt Disney and the Fully Formed […]

Christmas Poem 2022

December 22, 2022

A Visit from Saint Nicholas A Poem by Jonathan Potter – December 2022 ‘Twas the first mask-free Christmas, when all through the stores  The vaccinated children were spewing their spores;The shoppers were eagerly starting to riotAs the introverts longed for some quarantine quiet. The public healthcare workers were tracing the pathOf the flu and RSV, […]