• 7 Must-Read Life Lessons from Abraham Lincoln:
    Prepare for Success

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”

    Before you can succeed, you must prepare. When Lincoln was an unknown attorney in the backwoods of Illinois he was preparing for success, when Lincoln became an Illinois State Senator, he was preparing for success, and even when he lost the election for the U.S. senate twice, he was preparing for success. What are you doing in preparation for success? Lincoln said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”


    “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

    You can’t stroll to a goal, you must hustle; you must move quickly in order to gain the momentum necessary to break free from the gravitational pull of the commonplace. The best things in life come to those who hustle. Are you hustling?

    Remember That Greatness is Possible

    “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”

    If someone else can succeed in the business that you’re in, that is proof that you can succeed as well. If someone else can become rich in the state that you’re in, that is proof that you become rich as well. You have all that the greatest of men have had: a mind, and a will. Don’t make excuses, if someone else can do it, so can you… And who knows? You may be able to do it faster and better; never underestimate you abilities.

    Become Worthy of a Good Reputation

    “Reputation is like fine china, once broken it’s very hard to repair.”

    Work to be, the way you want to be perceived. Don’t try to look good, be good. A good name is more valuable than fine gold and “choice” rubies.

    Practice becoming honorable.

    You can be just as honest, have just as much integrity, walk in just as much humility, and possess just as much discipline as the greatest men who have ever lived.

    Make the Years Count

    “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”


    tags: productivity

  • A cool product for hacking other products. Haven’t tried it out but looks interesting

    tags: hack, design, hacking

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The UK National Carbon Calculator

Submitted by nicolae on April 22, 2010One Comment
How would you set the policy on energy, transport and other sectors to lower carbon emissions in the UK?

How would you set policies on energy, transport and other sectors to lower carbon emissions in the UK? Image via Guardian News.

The British newspaper the Guardian has published an interactive tool on its website that allows the user to simulate different policies at the national scale for reducing the UK’s carbon footprint.

The user can opt for any number of policies, from increasing building energy efficiency, to promoting rail transport, or reducing the imports of foreign goods. The tool calculates the effect of each individual policy, based on figures provided by the government, and it also displays the combined impact of all policies on total UK emissions, with the goal to reduce them by 80% from current levels.

It is a very interesting and useful tool, as it allows you to see just how difficult it is to achieve such significant reductions. For example, by improving building heating efficiency by 90% and reducing car travel in half, a very ambitious policy goal by any standards, overall GHG emissions would only decrease by 15%.

This tool also shows that the necessary reductions cannot be achieved from a single sector, or from a single type of policy. Closing all coal, oil and gas power plants and replacing them with wind turbines would not be enough. Similarly, shifting all passenger travel from cars to buses and rail would also fall short. There is no way to achieve 80% reductions without coordinated efforts across all sectors.  In fact, you need to create a scenario where you all but eliminate driving, food waste and imports, drastically reduce fossil fuel use and significantly improve building energy efficiency. The good news is that this can theoretically be done without the need for any technological breakthrough. The bad news is that it involves drastic behavioral change — so drastic in fact that it is not very realistic.

After having played with this tool, it’s interesting to look existing policies for reducing GHG emissions and see how much less ambitious they currently are. Most policies, such as smart growth initiatives or fuel efficiency standards generally aim for emissions reductions of up to 20% or 30% in one sector alone, way below the 80% goal across all sectors.

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TheCityFix Picks, April 23: Driving Less Saves Money, Urban Parks Matter, Chevy Debuts a New Electric Concept Car

Submitted by Erica Schlaikjer on April 23, 20102 Comments
Denver, Colo. opens the biggest bike-sharing program in the United States. Photo via B-Cycle.

Denver, Colo. opens the biggest bike-sharing program in the United States. Photo via B-Cycle.

Welcome back to TheCityFix Picks, our series highlighting the newsy and noteworthy of the past week. Each Friday, we’ll run down the headlines falling under TheCityFix’s five themes: mobility, quality of life, environment, public space, and technology and innovation.


Does transportation need a sustainability measurement system, like the LEED rating system for buildings? Read what the experts say.

A senior official from the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai, India says that it would be “unfeasible” to provide bus route timetables. Meanwhile, the city’s bus system is stretched to its limits.

The Transportation Equity Network is organizing a series of “Save Transit!” rallies in cities across the United States, demanding that state legislators protect local transit networks.

The Abu Dhabi government is expected to spend $68 billion on public transport projects, including 40 new metro stations, between now and 2015.

Quality of Life

New York City residents save at least $19 billion each year by driving less than other Americans, according to a new report.

Traffic-related pollutants substantially increase asthma-related emergency room visits for children, especially during the warm season, according to researchers from the Department of Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta.

See how Park Slope and the Lower East Side – two neighborhoods in New York City – can be models of “livability” for other urban communities.


Mayor Marcelo Ebrard writes for the Huffington Post on how Mexico City reduced its carbon footprint.

The U.S. Federal Transit Administration and the transit industry released reports on how local rail and bus systems reduce U.S. transport emissions.

Poor local planning is creating “heat islands” in Delhi.

Public Space

Community volunteers in Dallas, Tex. transformed a small section of their neighborhood into a “complete street,” with a cycle track, a pop-up café, outdoor seating and traffic calming.

Urban parks and green spaces can revitalize neighborhoods, improve health and create jobs, according to notes from a U.S. House Urban Caucus briefing.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg released the  to transform New York City with better transit-oriented development and public pedestrian spaces, but the plan still has its critics.

Technology and Innovation

The New York Transit Museum creates a new educational program for 4th and 5th graders called “Go Green,” which combines an on-site tour with online lessons about carbon footprints, city streets and public transit.

Chevrolet debuts the new Volt MPV5 Concept car, which runs on an electric motor and lithium-ion battery with a gasoline engine, at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show on Earth Day.



Buses Spread the Love in Copenhagen

Submitted by Erica Schlaikjer on May 7, 20103 Comments
Here is a snap shot of the love seats, also known as "Kærlighedssæder." Photo via Kadaver Off the Record.

Here is a snap shot of the love seats, also known as "Kærlighedssæder." Photo via Kadaver Off the Record.

Looking for love? Ride the bus!

Starting on May 3, Danish transport company Arriva introduced red-upholstered designated “love seats” on more than 100 buses in Copenhagen to encourage flirtation, smiles, romance and happiness among the city’s passengers, whether they’re happily single, married or still looking for love. The bigger idea — besides being cute — is to get people to leave their cars parked at home and enjoy riding public transportation, as more of a social endeavor.

“You never know what will happen,” spokesman Martin Wex told AFP. “We cannot guarantee that you will find the person of your dreams. We are just offering the possibility for people to communicate, to smile a bit more and possibly, to win someone’s heart.”

The love seat experiment will last for two weeks.

Marianne Faerch, a business developer with Arriva, which runs the majority of buses in Copenhagen, said in an interview with BBC that she has seen an increase in ridership. She says these campaigns are meant to show people that “you can actually take the bus and get a good experience out of it, and maybe, love.”

Maybe the Danes are really on to something. How can we make public transportation more socially appealing?


There are scores of studies that show the extent of anti-social behavior on public buses. A Scotland study found the main types of behavior to include “rudeness/verbal abuse, drunken behaviour, the dumping of litter/rubbish and smoking cigarettes.” To reduce these nuisances, the study says, solutions may include installing closed-circuit television cameras and “safety screens,” or hiring undercover police and police escorts on important routes. But wouldn’t that just add to a heightened level of insecurity, paranoia and sterility?

And let’s not forget that poorly designed inconvenient transportation — whether it’s overcrowded, delayed or noisy — can also contribute to stress and tension.

With such a strong stigma already attached to riding mass transit, especially in the United States, it’s important that transit designers and operators figure out how to make the experience more enjoyable, even if it’s on a superficial basis. (Otherwise, car companies might have more ammunition to produce ads like this “freaks and weirdos ride the bus” from General Motors.)


Earlier this year, a study was released that showed the social needs and behaviors of more than 1,700 train and bus riders in New Zealand. The researcher, Jared Thomas, found that 50 percent of respondents said they intentionally engage in isolating activities, such as listening to music or reading, to discourage conversation. The conclusion? “Side-by-side seating arrangements and standoffish behaviors create a socially uncomfortable environment akin to a crowded elevator.” It appears that in an effort to maximize capacity, buses have ignored interpersonal comfort.

Some suggestions for making transit more socially accommodating, according to Thomas and other experts:

  • Alter seats to face each other
  • Provide L-shaped seating, arm rests and small tables
  • Replace awkward three-person benches with two-person or single seating
  • Designate quiet train cars
  • Install televisions in buses and trains
  • Encourage drivers and passengers to make eye contact and smile

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