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Found 30 results

  1. When the Milan Expo opens next year, the centerpiece building will be a masterpiece of sustainable engineering. Designed around the idea of an urban forest, the new Palazzo Italia will generate its own electricity, and will be clad in materials specifically designed to clean the surrounding air. The designers, Nemesi & Partners, are using photocatalytic cement - basically, concrete that's been mixed with titanium oxide. When the building material comes into contact with ultraviolet light, the titanium oxide reacts with nitrogen dioxide in the air, converting the pollutant to a salt that can easily be washed away. The building will open in time for the Expo's launch next May, and we're already planning to book a trip over so that we can spend a day sniffing the air next to the building.
  2. L'usine de l'arrondissement de LaSalle de la Brasserie Labatt a été retenue pour brasser sa toute nouvelle bière Bud Light Platinum pour le Canada. Le mandat permet de maximiser l'utilisation du nouveau modèle de bouteille d'aluminium qui a été installé en 2012 au coût de 3 millions de dollars. Le mandat national vient consolider les 800 emplois de la brasserie du sud-ouest de Montréal. Sa production a débuté discrètement en décembre. Il s'agit en fait d'une deuxième bonne nouvelle pour les travailleurs de l'usine montréalaise en moins de 12 mois. L'an dernier, elle avait en effet obtenu le mandat de brasser la bière américaine Michelob Ultra pour l'ensemble du pays. «L'obtention de ces mandats n'est pas étrangère à la qualité de nos travailleurs et de nos maîtres brasseurs ici à LaSalle», a dit, dans un entretien, Hugo Tremblay, directeur des affaires de l'entreprise pour le Québec. La Bud Light Platinum n'a de légère que le nom puisqu'elle contient 6% d'alcool par volume. La direction de Labatt n'y voit pas d'incongruité, car Bud Light est considérée comme une marque de commerce par Labatt. Platinum est présenté comme une bière de qualité, dite premium, au même titre que les produits Alexander Keith's, par exemple. Son lancement publicitaire a coïncidé avec le Super Bowl. La bière a fait l'objet d'un lancement couru à la Société des arts technologiques, boulevard Saint-Laurent, le 31 janvier. Le liquide se vendra au pays en bouteille bleu cobalt de 650 ml, en canette de 355 ml et en bouteille d'aluminium de 355 ml. La Platinum qui se vend depuis l'an dernier aux États-Unis y a connu un franc succès. Fin 2012, la bière détenait plus de 1% du marché américain, ce qui est énorme lorsque traduit en hectolitres. Un résultat semblable au Canada «nous procurerait beaucoup de bonheur», de dire M. Tremblay. Labatt possède la brasserie de LaSalle depuis 1956. Il s'agit de l'une de ses six usines canadiennes. Le brasseur exploite 20 centres de distribution au Québec. Appartenant au géant américano-belge AB InBev S.A., Labatt emploie 1200 personnes au Québec. Les précédents investissements remontent à quelques années déjà. Labatt avait investi 50 millions en 2005 pour la modernisation de deux chaînes de production puis 2,3 millions en 2009 pour installer quatre récupérateurs de chaleur. http://affaires.lapresse.ca/economie/fabrication/201302/07/01-4619185-la-bud-light-platinum-sera-brassee-a-montreal.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=lapresseaffaires_LA5_nouvelles_98718_accueil_POS6
  3. SYNOPSIS At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of raw film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, was discovered. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labeled simply "Ghetto," this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel, inclusive of multiple takes and cameraman staging scenes, complicated earlier readings of the footage. A FILM UNFINISHED presents the raw footage in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing "the good life" enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film. A FILM UNFINISHED is a film of enormous import, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light. [video=youtube;Khut0kKn-c8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khut0kKn-c8
  4. Source: http://www.frillseekerdiary.com The Next New York City… MONTREAL Want it all? Want it now? Hop off that subway and charter your jet to Montreal. With heavy sophisticated French influence, plenty of amazing eats, and shopping for days, Canada’s finest if nearing it’s heyday. Day trips to major cities and quiet ski destinations included, you could spend a week or a year learning all there is to know from savvy insiders and locals, who have been waiting for the shining light for decades.
  5. Montreal's tempest in a beer cup A summertime deal between Labatt and the city's Gay Village raises questions about private interests dominating public spaces From Tuesday's Globe and Mail August 5, 2008 at 3:57 AM EDT MONTREAL — Stéphanie Dagenais didn't mind the Bud Light parasols and cups she was forced to use on her restaurant patio in Montreal's Gay Village. It's when the brewery started telling her Bud Light had to go in those plastic cups that the manager of Kilo bristled. "I think it's an aggressive way of doing a sponsorship," said Ms. Dagenais, who was forced to sell the beer under an exclusive deal struck between Labatt, which brews the beer in Canada, and the Gay Village business improvement group. The business association sold the right to sell beer on 54 new patios along a stretch of Ste-Catherine Street to Labatt, part of a summer-long festival that will see cars banished from the street. Owners say the $100,000 deal came with minimum sales quotas for each bar and restaurant, including a healthy sample of Bud Light. Patrons at a bar on Ste-Catherine Street in Montreal drink Molson Export out of the Bud Light cups required through Labatt’s sponsorship of the area. (John Morstad for The Globe and Mail) The Globe and Mail The deal irks restaurateurs like Ms. Dagenais, who doesn't sell much beer at her small restaurant, best known for tasty desserts, and others who try to tempt palates with fine dining, wine and specialty ales. A representative of the business group even suggested Bud Light is a popular beer among gays in the United States. While the banishment of cars from the street has been good for many businesses and great for pedestrians, the sponsorship is triggering a broader tempest in a beer cup over how much control private enterprises should have over public space. "I guess everything has a price," said Ms. Dagenais, who has several cases of Bud Light collecting dust. "But should it be that way? I don't think so, but it seems to be the way we work in North America." Christopher DeWolf, a writer for Spacing Montreal, an urban affairs website affiliated with the Toronto magazine Spacing, questions how corporate interests were allowed to take over a public street. "The closure to cars has created a destination, it creates an ambience that is impossible with cars," Mr. DeWolf said. "But here you have a product foisted on merchants and their customers. It raises the question of how far we should allow private interests to have such control over our public spaces. I think it's a burden on merchants and it restricts public choice." Bernard Plante, director of the Gay Village business association, said the deal is no different than exclusive beer rights negotiated at other city venues. He pointed to the privately owned Bell Centre where only Molson beer is sold. Mr. Plante brushed aside complaints about the use of public space, saying his business group is provincially legislated and democratically run. "These are the decisions we made on behalf of businesses on the street," Mr. Plante said. Merchants could shed the restraints of sponsorship when the deal runs out after the summer of 2009, he added. But they will have to agree to pay for the street closing, including the cost of street decor and rent to the city for having patios on public streets and sidewalks. Across North America, summer festivals run by private entities take over parks and streets, often with exclusive rights to allow access and to sell products. Many of the examples are more intrusive than the Montreal beer sponsorship. In one infamous example in the United States, Washington's National Mall was fenced off for a Pepsi product launch and concert - a 2003 scene described by the Project for Public Spaces as "singularly shocking for its sheer scope and audacity." Steve Davies, a vice-president of the New York-based group that encourages sensible integration of private business in public spaces, says sponsors get in trouble when they start constraining normal commercial activity. "It goes too far when they use a sponsorship to start telling dozens of private businesses what to do on public land over an entire summer," Mr. Davies said. In Montreal, big chunks of major downtown streets are regularly closed to traffic for short periods for everything from the Jazz Festival to Just for Laughs. The Gay Village pedestrian mall will last 2½ months. Mr. DeWolf said Montreal has one big thing right: The city usually emphasizes free public access, even if access to products like food and drink are often restricted. Labatt officials could not be reached yesterday. But Jean-Luc Raymond, owner of La Planète, which specializes in international cuisine, says he's noticed a little more flexibility from his brewery representative since the controversy broke out. Mr. Raymond has managed to get a little more of the fashionable Stella Artois and a little less Bud Light. "The Bud Light is still languishing," he said, "but I'm not like some others who have to try to sell Bud Light and cheesecake."
  6. Au Nymex, le baril de light sweet crude perdait 8,75 $ et le baril de Brent était en baisse de 5,39 $. Pour en lire plus...
  7. Désolé, article déjà présent dans la section "Quartier des spectacles".
  8. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2013/dec/30/ten-new-years-resolutions-for-architects-2014 Ten new year's resolutions for architects in 2014 Remember that buildings shouldn't burn things, windows should let in light and copying others is fine – but just try not to annoy the skateboarders <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-101b839c-7d6d-4e7a-b448-a5fd5be930f4" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">I shall not burn … the Walkie-Scorchie 'fryscraper' melted car parts and singed shop windows. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images</figcaption></figure> Don't melt things It might sound obvious, but it's usually good if your buildings don't actively attack their neighbours or melt passing vehicles with laser death rays. It is a lesson that has evaded Rafael Viñoly, purveyor of “fryscrapers” to London and Las Vegas, who seemingly can't resist channelling the powers of the sun into beams capable of singeing sun-loungers and scorching Jaguars. This year, if you find yourself designing a south-facing concave facade in a highly reflective material, maybe best think again. Or at least don't let “value engineers” remove the sunshades. Be nice to old buildings <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-21cdf4b3-61b7-4565-b340-7c733eae853a" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Parametric hat … Zaha Hadid's Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Photograph: Martin Godwin</figcaption></figure>They were there before you, and the chances are they're better made and more beautiful than anything you will be able to replace them with, so treat listed buildings nicely. Try to resist the urge to use them as ahatstand for your latest undulating parametric headpiece. Nor is it probably a good idea to rip off the back and use the front as a picturesque mask to distract people from your monstrous shed looming behind. If in doubt, the Stirling Prize-winning Astley Castle has some pointers. Don't stand for modern-day slavery <figure class="element element-video" data-canonical-url="http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/dec/22/abu-dhabi-migrant-workers-video" data-show-ads="true" data-video-id="2011826" data-video-name="The dark side of Abu Dhabi's cultural revolution – video" data-video-provider="guardian.co.uk" data-video-poster="http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/audio/video/2013/12/11/1386776622909/Saadiyat-island-off-the-c-001.jpg" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"> <figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">'Happiness Island' … Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, home to iconic buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Norman Foster.</figcaption></figure>OK, it might be hard to turn it down when the Louvre asks you to build agigantic upturned colander on Abu Dhabi's pleasure island, or when Sheikh Zayed phones up asking for a museum in the shape of his prize falcon's wings. We all want our icons in the desert, but let's face it, your construction workers will probably do a better job if they're not living in squalor, 10 men to a room, trapped in labour camps with their passports confiscated, working for a year just to pay back their recruitment fees. Be nice to skateboarders <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-761d4c25-c7fd-4114-b65a-e9ecf0a991e9" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">South Bank skaters … as precious as bats and great crested newts when it comes to planning applications. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>They might seem like an unsightly addition to your prize-winning public space, with their low-slung jeans and strangely oversized trainers, but, just like bats and great crested newts, skateboarders hold a lot of sway when it comes to planning applications. So treat them with respect. It's probably not a good idea to turn their hallowed Mecca into a themed retail experience, nor to rub salt in the wound by commissioning ageing has-beens to design an “as-found skate space” down the road. You'll be in for a long, tough ride if you do. Don't be ashamed of copying <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-f8a5308f-2b7c-4aad-ab10-498e7e572fc9" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Look familiar? … A copy of Zaha Hadid's Wangjing Soho building, under construction in Chongqing. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>It's nice to imagine that every one of your designs is a genius idea channelled from the heavens, forged by a single hand in the white heat of the workshop, but that's not really how the design process works. The history of architecture and design is a history of copying, sampling and remixing, so why not celebrate the fact? After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the Chinese continue to demonstrate, so go ahead and build an homage to your favourite architect – and make it a bit bigger than the original while you're at it. Design windows that let in light and views <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-d62c73a6-5ef4-4692-93f5-b4a18604dc5c" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Shadow gap … UCL's New Hall housing, 465 Caledonian Road, was declared the worst building of 2013. Photograph: Ellis Woodman/BD</figcaption></figure>A window, according to the OED, is a device used “to admit light or air and allow people to see out”. It is a definition best remembered when designing openings in buildings, but one that little concerned the architects of UCL's latest student accommodation block. The Carbuncle Cup-winning hulk on Pentonville Road houses cramped cell-like rooms that look directly out on to the blank brick wall of a retained Victorian facade, only one metre away. No matter – the planning inspector ruled the conditions were “unlikely to be perceived as overly oppressive by the occupiers”. They're only students after all. Bring fleeting joy <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-fb2bf44f-2f01-4e4c-a55e-aea58288bb3a" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Half packing crate, half temple … The Shed at the National Theatre. Photograph: Helene Binet</figcaption></figure>You might want your every creation to last forever, but some of the best things are good precisely because they disappear. The Shed at the National Theatre proved to be one such joyful fleeting visitor to the South Bank last summer, looking as if Lasdun's concrete fly-tower had leapt down and daubed itself with red face-paint to join the riverside fun. A simple timber box, it showed how the rambling concrete terraces of the Southbank Centre can be enlivened with nimble intervention – proving they don't really need to be smothered with giant glass containers of shops and restaurants. Don't ruin views <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-d41d6d76-28ee-4a9f-b72e-a9fd3e90479d" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">'Like building a skyscraper next to Stonehenge … Port Meadow before and after. Photograph: Save Port Meadow</figcaption></figure>This year, when presented with an idyllic pastoral site on the edge of a rolling expanse of millennium-old common land, fringed by the prospect of dreaming spires poking above the treetops, you might want to think twice before plonking an army of inflated toy-town houses down in the middle of it all. Such has been the effect of Oxford's new Castle Mill student housing development on the edge of Port Meadow, a group of bulky blocks that despoil the landscape and block the long-cherished view, in a move slammed by critics as like “building a skyscraper next to Stonehenge”. Kill-off your practice before it kills you <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-b17cb976-9f90-4f4a-bf3b-e3ef9db79ebb" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Die young … the Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet in Rotterdam, by FAT. Photograph: Maarten Laupman/FAT</figcaption></figure>Running out of work, on the brink of financial collapse and always coming runner-up in competitions? Why risk fading into obscurity and beckoning forth the debt-collectors, when you can go out with a stylish bang and break up your practice instead, boy-band style? A premature death guarantees teary-eyed obituaries, friendly missives from long-standing rivals and nostalgic reviews of your final projects. So bite the bullet before it bites you and go out early with a kamikaze boom. Design more yonic buildings <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-a1fbdae8-1bf1-4086-8e2e-39e9d3ff72f3" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Yonic wonder … the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, by Zaha Hadid and AECOM. Image: AECOM</figcaption></figure>Architecture has always been a male-dominated profession, inevitably leading to a propensity for priapic forms. Our city skylines are brimming with teetering towers of phallic ambition, endlessly choked with competing monuments to the male member. But now Zaha Hadid has shown there can be another way. Her proposal for the Al-Wakrah World Cup stadium erupts from the Qatari desert in a great vulvic bulge, its roof framed by dynamic labial sweeps, in a magnificent demonstration that the vagina can be an equally noble form for a building – and ushering in 2014 as the year of the yonic.
  9. Could the era of glass skyscrapers be over? One of the architects behind London's famous Gherkin skyscraper has now turned against glass buildings. Is it time tall towers were made out of something else, asks Hannah Sander. It is one of the UK's most recognisable buildings. A Stirling Prize winner. A backdrop to Hollywood films. Named the most admired tower in the world. But 10 years after it was opened, one of the designers behind the "Gherkin" has turned against it. Architect Ken Shuttleworth, one of the team at Foster and Partners who designed the tower, now thinks the gigantic glass structure was a mistake. "The Gherkin is a fantastic building," he says. "But we can't have that anymore. We can't have those all-glass buildings. We need to be much more responsible." The building at 30 St Mary Axe - nicknamed after a gherkin because of its bulbous silhouette - kick-started a decade of strangely shaped glass towers. The Cheesegrater, the Walkie-Talkie and the Shard loomed up from the pavements of London. The skylines of both Birmingham and Manchester were drastically altered by the addition of towers by property firm Beetham. One of the best-known glass building mishaps took place last summer, when the Walkie-Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street in London was accused of melting cars. The 37-storey building reflected light in its glass facade and shone powerful rays at its surroundings. Cars parked underneath were damaged, and passers-by even managed to fry eggs using only sunlight. In the end the developers, Land Securities, had to apply for planning permission to obscure architect Rafael Vinoly's £200m design with a permanent "brise soleil" or sunshade. And yet despite this, Land Securities recently revealed that the widely reported calamity "did nothing to deter lettings". Glass buildings are popular - not just because of their striking appearance but for the views they boast, and the increased light they let in. When German architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe designed what is said to be the world's first glass skyscraper in 1921, he associated the glass facade with purity and renewal. Later in the century, British architect Richard Rogers praised glass buildings because of their social worth. Glass walls enabled even employees working in the basement to benefit from reflected natural light and dissolved barriers between a cramped indoor office space and the greenery outside. Companies like to give the impression of a democratic working environment - open-plan and with floor-to-ceiling windows, so that all employees, not just the boss, benefit from the view. However, as concerns over global warming have become more widespread, so the glass structure has come under scrutiny. Since leaving Foster and Partners in 2006, Shuttleworth has become a key voice in the fight against glass. Despite his background working on giant glazed buildings, he has founded an architectural practice in which floor-to-ceiling windows are considered an archaic luxury. "Everything I've done for the last 40 years I'm rethinking now," he says. "If you were designing [the Gherkin] today... it wouldn't be the same product all the way around the building. "We need to be much more responsible in terms of the way we shade our buildings and the way we thermally think about our buildings." Glass lets out and lets in a lot of heat. A vast amount of energy is required for an office full of people to remain cool in the UAE and to stay warm in the snowstorms of Toronto. Governments are now so concerned by the long-term impact of "solar gain" - the extent to which a building absorbs sunlight and heats up - that they have introduced strict regulations around shape and structure. Architects are being encouraged to change where they place windows, so that a sunny south-facing wall has less chance to absorb heat than a chilly north-face. Walkie-Talkie developers Land Securities are currently at work on a building called the ZigZag, that is designed so that alternate walls cast shadows on their neighbours. The building is deliberately shaped so it can keep itself cool. In the US there is a campaign in favour of wooden skyscrapers, promoting wood as a "green" building material in place of glass. However, the trade association Glass for Europe has dismissed what they consider "a preconceived idea" that glass is bad. Instead they point to sustainable buildings in which glass has been fashioned into corridors that don't require central heating and solar panels that have been slotted seamlessly into a design. The association also points out that glass is fully recyclable. "A whole palette of glass products is available for the glazing to meet different functions in the building envelope," the association said. "Glass is fit for all climates." In the past decades, the glass industry has worked hard to adapt technology in the context of climate change. Engineer Andrea Charlson is part of a team at firm Arup that seeks new ways to increase material sustainability. She is not convinced that the glass in glass buildings is the cause of their problems. "There have been a lot of advancements in glass technology in the last few years and it's amazing what we can do now in terms of putting coatings on glass. Some of them can be a heavy colour tint that will provide some shading. Others will be almost invisible but will still keep a lot of the heat and solar gain outside a building," she says. Charlson is currently investigating problems in the materials that hold the glazed panels on buildings in place. "As the glass technology improves, one of the biggest causes of heat loss is through the framing. The heat energy will always try to find the path of least resistance." Even with the improvements to glass technology, Shuttleworth is not convinced that these sheer skyscrapers can be justified in today's society. He is not only concerned by their environmental impact, but also with the other effects a glass tower has on its surroundings. Architecture and design critic Tom Dyckhoff is equally keen to see the glass skyscraper put to bed. "As someone who spends their entire life staring at buildings, I am a bit bored by the glass box. They were radical in the 1920s and now they are just cliches, expensive ones at that. "But now that we are having to be more thoughtful about how and where we use glass, maybe architects will become more inventive in how they use windows, instead of plastering them across whole facades," he says. Shuttleworth's most recent project began life as a solid steel object and he says it has glass only where it is needed. "It is a privilege to have a window. I think it should be seen as a privilege," he says. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27501938
  10. Anyone who's sat at a red light for minutes on end in the middle of the night when there's no cross traffic can cheer on science for proving what we already knew: lights that adapt to the flow of traffic, instead of dictating the flow of traffic, can improve the flow of traffic. A team of researchers discovered that if you let lights locally decide how to time their signals based on how much traffic they're dealing with, and then communicate that with nearby lights, you get closer to the "green wave" of lights that keeps thing moving smoothly. The issue with the centralized, top-down system of control is that it is geared to address an average traffic situation that rarely occurs as planned. The variations in rush hour traffic mean that lights are trying to apply one solution to a vast number of situations. In their trial in Dresden, Germany the team found that traffic congestion was eased by nine percent, pedestrian congestion by 36 percent, and bus and tram traffic by 56 percent. With rush hours spreading in time and distance, the proof and implementation of this can't come soon enough. Blog: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/23/study-traffic-lights-should-respond-to-cars-not-other-way-arou/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog) To tame traffic, go with the flow Lights should respond to cars, a study concludes, not the other way around By Rachel Ehrenberg Web edition : Friday, September 17th, 2010 Traffic lights that act locally can improve traffic globally, new research suggests. By minimizing congestion, the approach could save money, reduce emissions and perhaps even quash the road rage of frustrated drivers. The new approach makes traffic lights go with the flow, rather than enslaving drivers to the tyranny of timed signals. By measuring vehicle inflow and outflow through each intersection as it occurs and coordinating lights with only their nearest neighbors, a systemwide smoothness emerges, scientists report in a September Santa Fe Institute working paper. “It’s very interesting — the approach is adaptive and the system can react,” says mechanical engineer Gábor Orosz of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “That’s how it should be — that’s how we can get the most out of our current system.” An ultimate goal in traffic regulation is “the green wave,” the bam, bam, bam of greens that allows platoons of vehicles to move smoothly through intersection after intersection. When that happens, no drivers have to wait very long and sections of road don’t become so filled with cars that there’s no room for entering vehicles when the light does go green. To achieve this rare bliss, traffic lights usually are controlled from the top down, operating on an “optimal” cycle that maximizes the flow of traffic expected for particular times of day, such as rush hour. But even for a typical time on a typical day, there’s so much variability in the number of cars at each light and the direction each car takes leaving an intersection that roads can fill up. Combine this condition with overzealous drivers, and intersections easily become gridlocked. Equally frustrating is the opposite extreme, where a driver sits at a red light for minutes even though there’s no car in sight to take advantage of the intersecting green. “It is actually not optimal control, because that average situation never occurs,” says complex-systems scientist Dirk Helbing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, a coauthor of the new study. “Because of the large variability in the number of cars behind each red light, it means that although we have an optimal scheme, it’s optimal for a situation that does not occur.” Helbing and his colleague Stefan Lämmer from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany decided to scrap the top-down approach and start at the bottom. They noted that when crowds of people are trying to move through a narrow space, such as through a door connecting two hallways, there’s a natural oscillation: A mass of people from one side will move through the door while the other people wait, then suddenly the flow switches direction. “It looks like maybe there’s a traffic light, but there’s not. It’s actually the buildup of pressure on the side where people have to wait that eventually turns the flow direction,” says Helbing. “We thought we could maybe apply the same principle to intersections, that is, the traffic flow controls the traffic light rather than the other way around.” Their arrangement puts two sensors at each intersection: One measures incoming flow and one measures outgoing flow. Lights are coordinated with every neighboring light, such that one light alerts the next, “Hey, heavy load coming through.” That short-term anticipation gives lights at the next intersection enough time to prepare for the incoming platoon of vehicles, says Helbing. The whole point is to avoid stopping an incoming platoon. “It works surprisingly well,” he says. Gaps between platoons are opportunities to serve flows in other directions, and this local coordination naturally spreads throughout the system. “It’s a paradoxical effect that occurs in complex systems,” says Helbing. “Surprisingly, delay processes can improve the system altogether. It is a slower-is-faster effect. You can increase the throughput — speed up the whole system — if you delay single processes within the system at the right time, for the right amount of time.” The researchers ran a simulation of their approach in the city center of Dresden. The area has 13 traffic light–controlled intersections, 68 pedestrian crossings, a train station that serves more than 13,000 passengers on an average day and seven bus and tram lines that cross the network every 10 minutes in opposite directions. The flexible self-control approach reduced time stuck waiting in traffic by 56 percent for trams and buses, 9 percent for cars and trucks, and 36 percent for pedestrians crossing intersections. Dresden is now close to implementing the new system, says Helbing, and Zurich is also considering the approach. Traffic jams aren’t just infuriating, they cost time and money, says Orosz. Estimates suggest that in one year, the U.S. driving population spends a cumulative 500,000 years in traffic at a cost of about $100 billion. And the roads are just going to get more congested. The optimal way of dealing with such congestion is to take an approach like Helbing’s and combine it with technologies that deal with driver behavior, Orosz says. Car sensors that detect the distance between your bumper and the car in front of you can prevent a sweep of brake-slamming that can tie up traffic, for example. “In general these algorithms improve traffic, but maybe not as much as they do on paper because we are still human,” he says. “It is still humans driving the cars.” http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63481/title/To_tame_traffic,_go_with_the_flow
  11. 10 things you can do in Montreal but not Toronto Toronto Star lists Jul 03, 2009 04:30 AM 1. Bring your own wine without being charged a ridiculous corkage fee that defeats the whole purpose. ok jusqu'à maintenant 2. Rent a bicycle from the public bike system, Bixi, and ride some of the most extensive bike paths anywhere. ok 3. Take St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market combined, double their size, and enjoy the spacious Marché Jean-Talon. encore que le St.Lawrence Market est sympathique 4. Sit and stew at a red light, unable to turn right, because it's against the law. As a pedestrian, dodge traffic as unsympathetic drivers get a jump on the green light. Je trouve que la réputation des conducteurs montréalais est exagérée. La cohabitation piétons / automobilistes se passe plutôt bien, en général 5. Find a strip bar with very little effort, often in your own neighbourhood. bon, là j'imagine que c'est parce qu'ils sont très visibles au centre-ville. Parce qu'ailleurs, il n'y en a pas tant que ça, tout de même 6. Drink beer at a major festival without being corralled into a beer garden. oh yeah, tout à fait vrai 7. Live in a world rich with Quebec TV shows, Quebec films, Quebec musicians and stars, and a media that believes, in a twist on the old saying, "If it doesn't bleed Quebec, it doesn't lead." mmm... c'est plus que le peu de vedettes canadian qu'il y a ne nous intéresse pas 8. See people wearing crampons to navigate treacherous, ice-covered sidewalks in winter . . . and legitimately fear being killed by snow removal equipment. Bof. Est-ce tellement mieux à Toronto? 9. Hear separatist extremists attempt to drown out an English band at a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day concert, or hint at violence if the Battle of the Plains of Abraham is re-created. il oublie de mentionner que la réaction contre le banissement des groupes anglos a été presque unanime. Pour la bataille des Plaines d'Abraham, par contre, je crois qu'il a raison. Je trouve que les autorités ont vite plié devant la "menace" de quelques extrémistes... On s'en serait foutu un peu, non? 10. Watch a hefty extra chunk of your tax dollars disappear into provincial government coffers. C'est de moins en moins vrai. Les familles sont avantagées au Québec au niveau fiscal. Les célibataires et couples sans enfants le sont en Ontario. - Andrew Chung quand même intéressant de voir Montréal d'un point de vue extérieur
  12. New York City streets go green New York City transportation head, Janette Sadik-Kahn is taking it to the streets, literally. The visionary transportation planner, who has been on the job for two years and was tapped by the Obama Administration for a top post, is serious about sustainability. And, while her first attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by proposing congestion pricing for those who came in to the city by car went over like a lead balloon, her current efforts to green the city’s streets by reinventing car lanes as public space has carried favor with just about everyone. Her latest project, dubbed “Green Lights for Broadway”, aims to transform the city’s iconic car-clogged thoroughfare into a pedestrian oasis. As the only street in Midtown that is off the grid, Broadway poses significant traffic problems and safety issues along its length. “Green Lights for Broadway” aims to reduce traffic congestion through Midtown with targeted improvements focused at Times Square and Herald Square that will speed cross town traffic and replace car lanes with public space where pedestrians can lunch or relax in the middle of the street. Broadway is just one of many areas of the city that is being “pedestrianised” by Sadik-Kahn. Another intiative to green the city steets is the Plaza Program which began last year aiming to put all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of a park. Under this program, streets throughout the city are being reinvented as public plazas, as, for example, at Madison Square Park where 45,000 sq ft of public space was recently added in the middle of Madison Avenue and in nearby Chelsea where a car lane was transformed into a plaza with planters and a bike lane. While these efforts will no doubt make the city more liveable, the Mayor and the Transportation Commissioner would like to see a Manhattan with fewer cars. As such, the city is tweaking its public transportation system to expand and speed service. While the focus is mainly on adding designated bus lanes and improving ferry service, there may also be a tramway in New York’s future. In the 1990s, while with the Dinkins Administration, Sadik-Kahn tried to build a light rail system on 42nd Street. And though that project died on the vine, the idea of a building a light rail line on 42nd Street is still very much alive. The Institute for Rational Mobility (RUM), an advocacy group, is currently floating a proposal, dubbed “Vision 42” that re-imagines 42nd Street as a landscaped pedestrian mall with a 2.5-mile long light rail line that runs river to river. In a recently released report, RUM indicates the roughly $500 million project would generate $704 million in annual benefit. While that project’s future is yet to be determined, Sadik-Kahn has said she is not opposed to using the dedicated bus lanes initiative as a “back door “ step toward light rail, noting that cities all over the world, like Bogotá Columbia, are working toward a light rail service by reclaiming auto space in this way. Regardless, the city’s green transportation czar is on the case manipulating over 6,000 miles of roadway and 12,000 miles of sidewalks for the betterment of the public. While incomplete, her efforts have led to large increases in cycling as a primary mode of transit, increased ridership on subways and busses, and reduced mortalities amongst bicyclists and pedestrians. Sharon McHugh US Correspondent http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11479
  13. Siberian start for EVE architects Erick van Egeraat has started construction of the Trade and Entertainment Center 'Vershina' for client SKU. The award-winning 35,000 m2 project is located in Surgut, Siberia, Russia. The design features a large central mass visually divided into discrete sharp volumes by transparent cuts in the façade. These 'lines of light' allow daylight in and artificial light radiate out at night. Corresponding with the long and dark winter nights of Siberia, this play of light makes the building an illuminated icon in the midst of the repetitive panel housing of the city. The heart of Vershina is occupied by an immense atrium stretching across all levels, thereby offering visitors room for social interaction sheltered from the Siberian cold. The complex will house shops, sports facilities, restaurants, bars and clubs. Vershina will open in the summer of 2008. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=470
  14. Ca semble comme Greenfield Park commence à devenir une quartier Red-Light. La Boulevard Churchill est une rune très laid qui a du potentiel très grand. Beaucoup d'arbres, mais aussi beaucoup d'entreprises fermés. (Churchill est l'artère principale de l'arrondissement si ignorne le Boulevard Taschereau). L'arondissement est composé des familles du classe moyenne, et un augmentation d'un communauté pauvre. Il y a aussi de plus en plus de mendiants et vagabonds sur Churchill, et en avant des commerces sur Taschereau. Peut-être GfPk serait la sujet d'un nouveau thread de photos?
  15. http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/2/5266704/street-lamps-transform-montreal-into-a-living-comic-book]The Verge This is something I did not expect to see on that site. Plus I am surprised that no one posted this yet, or someone already did and I did not see.
  16. http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/08/23/light-rail-disease/
  17. Hot new Vdara hotel might be a little bit TOO hot Bill Pintas was vacationing in Las Vegas when he decided to stay at the swank new Vdara hotel, a curvy 57-story tower owned by MGM Resorts. He was sitting at the pool when he encountered something alarming. He recalls, "I'm sitting there in the chair and all of the sudden my hair and the top of my head are burning. I'm rubbing my head and it felt like a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine what it could be." Like an ant under a magnifying glass, he remembers running to an umbrella, but being unable to escape the hot light. He recalls, "I used to live in Miami and I've sat in the sun in Las Vegas 100 times. I know what a hot sun feels like and this was not it. My first inclination was thinking: Jesus we've destroyed the ozone layer because I am burning." Speaking with employees, he was alarmed to find out that the hotel staff was aware of the situation. He recalls, "They're kind of giggling and say: 'Yeah, we know. We call it the death ray." The "death ray" appears to be created by the glass surface of the hotel itself -- acting as a concentrating parabolic dish -- similar to those used to heat water to a boil in solar power systems. The dish concentrates light on a 10-foot by 15-foot hot zone moving across the pool. Temperatures in this area spike 20 degrees Fahrenheit -- or more. Bill Pintas saw his plastic newspaper bag literally begin to melt. The bag -- composed of polyethylene -- is designed to withstand temperatures of up to 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. And the employees recall seeing plastic cups -- which have a melting point of 160 degrees Fahrenheit – actually melting. Other guests, including newspaper reviewers, have also observed the burning beam. The hotel management doesn't call it a "death ray", they prefer the more friendly distinction "solar convergence phenomenon". Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Mirage says the hotel is addressing the problem, and comments, "Because of the curved, concave shape of that hotel, they sometimes get isolated pockets of high temperatures." The hotel is baffled by how to solve the problem of the "death ray", though. When initially constructing the building, they anticipated the issue and put a coating over the glass that absorbs 70 percent of the daytime sunlight. However, that was not enough to reduce its painful effects. And the ray sweeps across a wide area, making it hard to protect a specific region. Comments Mr. Absher, "This is quite literally an astronomical challenge," Absher said. "We are dealing with a moving target." The mishap in architecture isn't as glaring as some of history's most notable mistakes -- such as the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but it is pretty extraordinary. It serves as a reminder that while many take the science and engineering of designing massive skyscrapers for granted these days, it remains a tricky business. It looks like the Vdara may have exposed the wrong guest to the death ray, though -- Mr. Pintas is a Chicago-based lawyer. http://www.dailytech.com/Hotel+Accidentally+Makes+Solar+Death+Ray+Burns+Lawyer/article19756.htm
  18. Houston study lauds red light cameras despite uptick in accidents We all know we shouldn't mess with Texas. And Houston, Texans shouldn't mess around with statistics, because the folks running the show are going to come to any conclusions they want no matter what the statistics say. This is the easy part: a study of red light cameras in the city shows that accidents have actually increased at intersections with the cameras. These are the parts that are open to interpretation: most intersections only have one camera looking at one (out of four) directions of traffic, but the accident rate went up for traffic in the other three unmonitored directions; and, in the one monitored direction, "accidents remained relatively flat or showed only a slight increase." What do you make of that? Mayor Bill White and the study authors say the city in general is experiencing a swell in the number of collisions, and claim that collisions at the monitored intersections haven't risen as much as the wider municipal rate. Yet they have no data to back up an increase in citywide collisions, and no year-on-year accident data at intersections (let alone an explanation for the uptick). White said that a 40-percent year-on-year drop in red light citations in the month of October shows the program is working and keeping drivers more safe. Critics say that the program is nothing but a cash register for city government. The study's authors plan to study insurance industry findings to come up with more substantive conclusions. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6185795.html
  19. Foster+Partners announce design for bustling new district in French capital Hermitage Plaza will create a new community to the east of La Défense, in Courbevoie, that extends down to the river Seine with cafés, shops and a sunny public plaza at its heart. Revealed by Foster + Partners at MIPIM in Cannes, the project incorporates two 323-metre-high buildings – the tallest mixed-use towers in Western Europe – which will establish a distinctive symbol for this new urban destination on the Paris skyline. The result of a close collaboration with EPAD, the City of Courbevoie, Atelier de Paysage Urbain and Département de Hauts-de-Seine, the project is intended to inject life into the area east of La Défense by creating a sustainable, high-density community. Due to start on site in 2010 and complete by the end of 2014, the two towers accommodate a hotel, spa, panoramic apartments, offices and serviced apartments, as well as shops at the base. Forming two interlocking triangles on plan, the buildings face one another at ground level. Open and permeable to encourage people to walk through the site, the towers enclose a public piazza which establishes the social focus. As they rise, the towers transform, turning outward to address views across Paris. The glazed façade panels catch the light, the sun animating different facets of the buildings as it changes direction throughout the day. The angle of the panels promotes self-shading and vents can be opened to draw fresh air inside, contributing to an environmental strategy that targets a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. The diagrid structure is not only highly efficient - doing more with less - but it emphasises the elegant proportions of the towers. A crystal-shaped podium building contains office space, with two detached satellite buildings housing a gallery and auditorium that further extend the public realm. The piazza – created by burying the existing busy road beneath a landscaped deck – slopes gently downward to the water’s edge, which is lined with new cafés and restaurants. Locking into the existing Courbevoie and EPAD masterplans, the project will reinforce the regeneration of the riverfront. Norman Foster said: “Hermitage Plaza will create a 24-hour community that will regenerate the riverfront and inject new life into a predominantly commercial part of the city. A light catching addition to the Paris skyline, the development will also provide a public piazza that leads down to the river’s edge to create a new destination for the city.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11286
  20. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/What+that+mysterious+boom/9216575/story.html MONTREAL - What was that boom? What was that flash of light? And where were they coming from? Hudson, St-Lazare and towns farther afield were rocked briefly by the sound of an explosion and a flash of blue-green light in the night sky at around 8 p.m. Tuesday. But the source of the big boom remains a mystery. Officials in the off-island towns, as well as at the Sûreté du Québec, were flummoxed, leaving residents who heard the noise to wonder what happened. "No one seems to know what it is exactly, but a friend described it as bright blue flash in the sky followed by the sound," tweeted Kalina Laframboise. "It's been heard all over the region but no details," wrote Greg Patterson. "My opinion is that it was a meteor hitting the atmosphere with sonic boom." "Felt like an explosion, or a 'short' earthquake," Faith MacLeod said on Off Island Gazette's Facebook page. "Stepped outside and neighbours were out wondering what it was." "Yes, was sitting watching TV and I thought one of my kids fell out of bed. It was super loud," added Jenn Ryan Baluyot on the same Facebook page. Residents from Pincourt to Pointe-Claire and Pierrefonds reported hearing the sound. On social media, it was even reported as far away as Ormstown and Cornwall, Ont. St-Lazare mayor Robert Grimaudo said he had no idea what the source of the explosion was. Nor did the SQ, nor Environment Canada. Nothing in the weather patterns in the area could be to blame, least of all the snow that began to fall around the same time, an Environment Canada spokesperson said. Tracy Moore was at home in St-Lazare with her boyfriend and heard and felt something strange around 8 p.m. "It was really freaky — we heard this boom outside," she told The Gazette an hour later. "It sounded like that explosion we had last summer at the fireworks factory here. "It was just this boom. It lasted a few seconds." Moore went online to a local Facebook "community connections" group she's a member of, and wrote: "Did anybody hear the boom? Or was it just us?" "And, like, 211 posts later, people are still talking about it," she said. "People felt their house shaking and thought a tree had landed on it. The dogs were freaking out. My girlfriend in Cornwall, her husband works for Ontario Hydro and he saw this flash of light in the sky. "He says he never saw anything like it before — and he works for Hydro!" Did you hear anything? Let us know on Twitter @mtlgazette or by leaving a comment on this story. For more on this story visit the Montreal Gazette's Off Island site. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  21. Une petite nouvelle que je viens de retrouver dans mes archives... je l'ai découverte il y a plus de 15 ans... j'espère que vous allez aimer THE MACHINE STOPS by E.M. Forster I THE AIR-SHIP Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk - that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh - a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs. An electric bell rang. The woman touched a switch and the music was silent. 'I suppose I must see who it is', she thought, and set her chair in motion. The chair, like the music, was worked by machinery and it rolled her to the other side of the room where the bell still rang importunately. 'Who is it?' she called. Her voice was irritable, for she had been interrupted often since the music began. She knew several thousand people, in certain directions human intercourse had advanced enormously. But when she listened into the receiver, her white face wrinkled into smiles, and she said: 'Very well. Let us talk, I will isolate myself. I do not expect anything important will happen for the next five minutes - for I can give you fully five minutes, Kuno. Then I must deliver my lecture on "Music during the Australian Period".' She touched the isolation knob, so that no one else could speak to her. Then she touched the lighting apparatus, and the little room was plunged into darkness. 'Be quick!' she called, her irritation returning. 'Be quick, Kuno; here I am in the dark wasting my time.' But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her. 'Kuno, how slow you are.' He smiled gravely. 'I really believe you enjoy dawdling.' 'I have called you before, mother, but you were always busy or isolated. I have something particular to say.' 'What is it, dearest boy? Be quick. Why could you not send it by pneumatic post?' 'Because I prefer saying such a thing. I want----' 'Well?' 'I want you to come and see me.' Vashti watched his face in the blue plate. 'But I can see you!' she exclaimed. 'What more do you want?' 'I want to see you not through the Machine,' said Kuno. 'I want to speak to you not through the wearisome Machine.' 'Oh, hush!' said his mother, vaguely shocked. 'You mustn't say anything against the Machine.' 'Why not?' 'One mustn't.' 'You talk as if a god had made the Machine,' cried the other. 'I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind.' She replied that she could scarcely spare the time for a visit. 'The air-ship barely takes two days to fly between me and you.' 'I dislike air-ships.' 'Why?' 'I dislike seeing the horrible brown earth, and the sea, and the stars when it is dark. I get no ideas in an air- ship.' 'I do not get them anywhere else.' 'What kind of ideas can the air give you?' He paused for an instant. 'Do you not know four big stars that form an oblong, and three stars close together in the middle of the oblong, and hanging from these stars, three other stars?' 'No, I do not. I dislike the stars. But did they give you an idea? How interesting; tell me.' 'I had an idea that they were like a man.' 'I do not understand.' 'The four big stars are the man's shoulders and his knees. The three stars in the middle are like the belts that men wore once, and the three stars hanging are like a sword.' 'A sword?' 'Men carried swords about with them, to kill animals and other men.' 'It does not strike me as a very good idea, but it is certainly original. When did it come to you first?' 'In the air-ship-----' He broke off, and she fancied that he looked sad. She could not be sure, for the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression. It only gave a general idea of people - an idea that was good enough for all practical purposes, Vashti thought. The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine, just as the imponderable bloom of the grape was ignored by the manufacturers of artificial fruit. Something 'good enough' had long since been accepted by our race. 'The truth is,' he continued, 'that I want to see these stars again. They are curious stars. I want to see them not from the air-ship, but from the surface of the earth, as our ancestors did, thousands of years ago. I want to visit the surface of the earth.' She was shocked again. 'Mother, you must come, if only to explain to me what is the harm of visiting the surface of the earth.' 'No harm,' she replied, controlling herself. 'But no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no life remains on it, and you would need a respirator, or the cold of the outer air would kill you. One dies immediately in the outer air.' 'I know; of course I shall take all precautions.' 'And besides----' 'Well?' She considered, and chose her words with care. Her son had a queer temper, and she wished to dissuade him from the expedition. 'It is contrary to the spirit of the age,' she asserted. 'Do you mean by that, contrary to the Machine?' 'In a sense, but----' His image is the blue plate faded. 'Kuno!' He had isolated himself. For a moment Vashti felt lonely. Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere - buttons to call for food for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the floor, filled to the brim with a warm deodorized liquid. There was the cold-bath button. There was the button that produced literature. And there were of course the buttons by which she communicated with her friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world. Vashanti's next move was to turn off the isolation switch, and all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. The room was filled with the noise of bells, and speaking-tubes. What was the new food like? Could she recommend it? Has she had any ideas lately? Might one tell her one's own ideas? Would she make an engagement to visit the public nurseries at an early date? - say this day month. To most of these questions she replied with irritation - a growing quality in that accelerated age. She said that the new food was horrible. That she could not visit the public nurseries through press of engagements. That she had no ideas of her own but had just been told one-that four stars and three in the middle were like a man: she doubted there was much in it. Then she switched off her correspondents, for it was time to deliver her lecture on Australian music. The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashti nor her audience stirred from their rooms. Seated in her armchair she spoke, while they in their armchairs heard her, fairly well, and saw her, fairly well. She opened with a humorous account of music in the pre Mongolian epoch, and went on to describe the great outburst of song that followed the Chinese conquest. Remote and prim�val as were the methods of I-San-So and the Brisbane school, she yet felt (she said) that study of them might repay the musicians of today: they had freshness; they had, above all, ideas. Her lecture, which lasted ten minutes, was well received, and at its conclusion she and many of her audience listened to a lecture on the sea; there were ideas to be got from the sea; the speaker had donned a respirator and visited it lately. Then she fed, talked to many friends, had a bath, talked again, and summoned her bed. The bed was not to her liking. It was too large, and she had a feeling for a small bed. Complaint was useless, for beds were of the same dimension all over the world, and to have had an alternative size would have involved vast alterations in the Machine. Vashti isolated herself-it was necessary, for neither day nor night existed under the ground-and reviewed all that had happened since she had summoned the bed last. Ideas? Scarcely any. Events - was Kuno's invitation an event? By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter - one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press. The Central Committee published it. In accordance with a growing habit, it was richly bound. Sitting up in the bed, she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if some one might be watching her. Then, half ashamed, half joyful, she murmured 'O Machine! O Machine!' and raised the volume to her lips. Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence. Her ritual performed, she turned to page 1367, which gave the times of the departure of the air-ships from the island in the southern hemisphere, under whose soil she lived, to the island in the northern hemisphere, whereunder lived her son. She thought, 'I have not the time.' She made the room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light; she ate and exchanged ideas with her friends, and listened to music and attended lectures; she make the room dark and slept. Above her, beneath her, and around her, the Machine hummed eternally; she did not notice the noise, for she had been born with it in her ears. The earth, carrying her, hummed as it sped through silence, turning her now to the invisible sun, now to the invisible stars. She awoke and made the room light. 'Kuno!' 'I will not talk to you.' he answered, 'until you come.' 'Have you been on the surface of the earth since we spoke last?' His image faded. Again she consulted the book. She became very nervous and lay back in her chair palpitating. Think of her as without teeth or hair. Presently she directed the chair to the wall, and pressed an unfamiliar button. The wall swung apart slowly. Through the opening she saw a tunnel that curved slightly, so that its goal was not visible. Should she go to see her son, here was the beginning of the journey. Of course she knew all about the communication-system. There was nothing mysterious in it. She would summon a car and it would fly with her down the tunnel until it reached the lift that communicated with the air-ship station: the system had been in use for many, many years, long before the universal establishment of the Machine. And of course she had studied the civilization that had immediately preceded her own - the civilization that had mistaken the functions of the system, and had used it for bringing people to things, instead of for bringing things to people. Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms! And yet-she was frightened of the tunnel: she had not seen it since her last child was born. It curved-but not quite as she remembered; it was brilliant-but not quite as brilliant as a lecturer had suggested. Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again. 'Kuno,' she said, 'I cannot come to see you. I am not well.' Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor. So the human passions still blundered up and down in the Machine. Vashti drank the medicine that the doctor projected into her mouth, and the machinery retired into the ceiling. The voice of Kuno was heard asking how she felt. 'Better.' Then with irritation: 'But why do you not come to me instead?' 'Because I cannot leave this place.' 'Why?' 'Because, any moment, something tremendous many happen.' 'Have you been on the surface of the earth yet?' 'Not yet.' 'Then what is it?' 'I will not tell you through the Machine.' She resumed her life. But she thought of Kuno as a baby, his birth, his removal to the public nurseries, her own visit to him there, his visits to her-visits which stopped when the Machine had assigned him a room on the other side of the earth. 'Parents, duties of,' said the book of the Machine,' cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483.' True, but there was something special about Kuno - indeed there had been something special about all her children - and, after all, she must brave the journey if he desired it. And 'something tremendous might happen'. What did that mean? The nonsense of a youthful man, no doubt, but she must go. Again she pressed the unfamiliar button, again the wall swung back, and she saw the tunnel that curves out of sight. Clasping the Book, she rose, tottered on to the platform, and summoned the car. Her room closed behind her: the journey to the northern hemisphere had begun. Of course it was perfectly easy. The car approached and in it she found armchairs exactly like her own. When she signalled, it stopped, and she tottered into the lift. One other passenger was in the lift, the first fellow creature she had seen face to face for months. Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul. The air-ship service was a relic from the former age. It was kept up, because it was easier to keep it up than to stop it or to diminish it, but it now far exceeded the wants of the population. Vessel after vessel would rise from the vomitories of Rye or of Christchurch (I use the antique names), would sail into the crowded sky, and would draw up at the wharves of the south - empty. So nicely adjusted was the system, so independent of meteorology, that the sky, whether calm or cloudy, resembled a vast kaleidoscope whereon the same patterns periodically recurred. The ship on which Vashti sailed started now at sunset, now at dawn. But always, as it passed above Rheas, it would neighbour the ship that served between Helsingfors and the Brazils, and, every third time it surmounted the Alps, the fleet of Palermo would cross its track behind. Night and day, wind and storm, tide and earthquake, impeded man no longer. He had harnessed Leviathan. All the old literature, with its praise of Nature, and its fear of Nature, rang false as the prattle of a child. Yet as Vashti saw the vast flank of the ship, stained with exposure to the outer air, her horror of direct experience returned. It was not quite like the air-ship in the cinematophote. For one thing it smelt - not strongly or unpleasantly, but it did smell, and with her eyes shut she should have known that a new thing was close to her. Then she had to walk to it from the lift, had to submit to glances from the other passengers. The man in front dropped his Book - no great matter, but it disquieted them all. In the rooms, if the Book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically, but the gangway to the air-ship was not so prepared, and the sacred volume lay motionless. They stopped - the thing was unforeseen - and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they had failed him. Then some one actually said with direct utterance: 'We shall be late' - and they trooped on board, Vashti treading on the pages as she did so. Inside, her anxiety increased. The arrangements were old- fashioned and rough. There was even a female attendant, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin. Some cabins were better than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her. The glass valves had closed, she could not go back. She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she had ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath those corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas. And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Vashti was afraid. 'O Machine!' she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted. Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the lift vanished, the Book that had been dropped slid to the left and vanished, polished tiles rushed by like a stream of water, there was a slight jar, and the air-ship, issuing from its tunnel, soared above the waters of a tropical ocean. It was night. For a moment she saw the coast of Sumatra edged by the phosphorescence of waves, and crowned by lighthouses, still sending forth their disregarded beams. These also vanished, and only the stars distracted her. They were not motionless, but swayed to and fro above her head, thronging out of one sky-light into another, as if the universe and not the air-ship was careening. And, as often happens on clear nights, they seemed now to be in perspective, now on a plane; now piled tier beyond tier into the infinite heavens, now concealing infinity, a roof limiting for ever the visions of men. In either case they seemed intolerable. 'Are we to travel in the dark?' called the passengers angrily, and the attendant, who had been careless, generated the light, and pulled down the blinds of pliable metal. When the air-ships had been built, the desire to look direct at things still lingered in the world. Hence the extraordinary number of skylights and windows, and the proportionate discomfort to those who were civilized and refined. Even in Vashti's cabin one star peeped through a flaw in the blind, and after a few hers' uneasy slumber, she was disturbed by an unfamiliar glow, which was the dawn. Quick as the ship had sped westwards, the earth had rolled eastwards quicker still, and had dragged back Vashti and her companions towards the sun. Science could prolong the night, but only for a little, and those high hopes of neutralizing the earth's diurnal revolution had passed, together with hopes that were possibly higher. To 'keep pace with the sun,' or even to outstrip it, had been the aim of the civilization preceding this. Racing aeroplanes had been built for the purpose, capable of enormous speed, and steered by the greatest intellects of the epoch. Round the globe they went, round and round, westward, westward, round and round, amidst humanity's applause. In vain. The globe went eastward quicker still, horrible accidents occurred, and the Committee of the Machine, at the time rising into prominence, declared the pursuit illegal, unmechanical, and punishable by Homelessness. Of Homelessness more will be said later. Doubtless the Committee was right. Yet the attempt to 'defeat the sun' aroused the last common interest that our race experienced about the heavenly bodies, or indeed about anything. It was the last time that men were compacted by thinking of a power outside the world. The sun had conquered, yet it was the end of his spiritual dominion. Dawn, midday, twilight, the zodiacal path, touched neither men's lives not their hearts, and science retreated into the ground, to concentrate herself upon problems that she was certain of solving. So when Vashti found her cabin invaded by a rosy finger of light, she was annoyed, and tried to adjust the blind. But the blind flew up altogether, and she saw through the skylight small pink clouds, swaying against a background of blue, and as the sun crept higher, its radiance entered direct, brimming down the wall, like a golden sea. It rose and fell with the air-ship's motion, just as waves rise and fall, but it advanced steadily, as a tide advances. Unless she was careful, it would strike her face. A spasm of horror shook her and she rang for the attendant. The attendant too was horrified, but she could do nothing; it was not her place to mend the blind. She could only suggest that the lady should change her cabin, which she accordingly prepared to do. People were almost exactly alike all over the world, but the attendant of the air-ship, perhaps owing to her exceptional duties, had grown a little out of the common. She had often to address passengers with direct speech, and this had given her a certain roughness and originality of manner. When Vashti swerved away from the sunbeams with a cry, she behaved barbarically - she put out her hand to steady her. 'How dare you!' exclaimed the passenger. 'You forget yourself!' The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine. 'Where are we now?' asked Vashti haughtily. 'We are over Asia,' said the attendant, anxious to be polite. 'Asia?' 'You must excuse my common way of speaking. I have got into the habit of calling places over which I pass by their unmechanical names.' 'Oh, I remember Asia. The Mongols came from it.' 'Beneath us, in the open air, stood a city that was once called Simla.' 'Have you ever heard of the Mongols and of the Brisbane school?' 'No.' 'Brisbane also stood in the open air.' 'Those mountains to the right - let me show you them.' She pushed back a metal blind. The main chain of the Himalayas was revealed. 'They were once called the Roof of the World, those mountains.' 'You must remember that, before the dawn of civilization, they seemed to be an impenetrable wall that touched the stars. It was supposed that no one but the gods could exist above their summits. How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!' 'How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!' said Vashti. 'How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!' echoed the passenger who had dropped his Book the night before, and who was standing in the passage. 'And that white stuff in the cracks? - what is it?' 'I have forgotten its name.' 'Cover the window, please. These mountains give me no ideas.' The northern aspect of the Himalayas was in deep shadow: on the Indian slope the sun had just prevailed. The forests had been destroyed during the literature epoch for the purpose of making newspaper-pulp, but the snows were awakening to their morning glory, and clouds still hung on the breasts of Kinchinjunga. In the plain were seen the ruins of cities, with diminished rivers creeping by their walls, and by the sides of these were sometimes the signs of vomitories, marking the cities of to day. Over the whole prospect air-ships rushed, crossing the inter-crossing with incredible aplomb, and rising nonchalantly when they desired to escape the perturbations of the lower atmosphere and to traverse the Roof of the World. 'We have indeed advance, thanks to the Machine,' repeated the attendant, and hid the Himalayas behind a metal blind. The day dragged wearily forward. The passengers sat each in his cabin, avoiding one another with an almost physical repulsion and longing to be once more under the surface of the earth. There were eight or ten of them, mostly young males, sent out from the public nurseries to inhabit the rooms of those who had died in various parts of the earth. The man who had dropped his Book was on the homeward journey. He had been sent to Sumatra for the purpose of propagating the race. Vashti alone was travelling by her private will. At midday she took a second glance at the earth. The air-ship was crossing another range of mountains, but she could see little, owing to clouds. Masses of black rock hovered below her, and merged indistinctly into grey. Their shapes were fantastic; one of them resembled a prostrate man. 'No ideas here,' murmured Vashti, and hid the Caucasus behind a metal blind. In the evening she looked again. They were crossing a golden sea, in which lay many small islands and one peninsula. She repeated, 'No ideas here,' and hid Greece behind a metal blind. II THE MENDING APPARATUS By a vestibule, by a lift, by a tubular railway, by a platform, by a sliding door - by reversing all the steps of her departure did Vashti arrive at her son's room, which exactly resembled her own. She might well declare that the visit was superfluous. The buttons, the knobs, the reading-desk with the Book, the temperature, the atmosphere, the illumination - all were exactly the same. And if Kuno himself, flesh of her flesh, stood close beside her at last, what profit was there in that? She was too well-bred to shake him by the hand. Averting her eyes, she spoke as follows: 'Here I am. I have had the most terrible journey and greatly retarded the development of my soul. It is not worth it, Kuno, it is not worth it. My time is too precious. The sunlight almost touched me, and I have met with the rudest people. I can only stop a few minutes. Say what you want to say, and then I must return.' 'I have been threatened with Homelessness,' said Kuno. She looked at him now. 'I have been threatened with Homelessness, and I could not tell you such a thing through the Machine.' Homelessness means death. The victim is exposed to the air, which kills him. 'I have been outside since I spoke to you last. The tremendous thing has happened, and they have discovered me.' 'But why shouldn't you go outside?' she exclaimed, 'It is perfectly legal, perfectly mechanical, to visit the surface of the earth. I have lately been to a lecture on the sea; there is no objection to that; one simply summons a respirator and gets an Egression-permit. It is not the kind of thing that spiritually minded people do, and I begged you not to do it, but there is no legal objection to it.' 'I did not get an Egression-permit.' 'Then how did you get out?' 'I found out a way of my own.' The phrase conveyed no meaning to her, and he had to repeat it. 'A way of your own?' she whispered. 'But that would be wrong.' 'Why?' The question shocked her beyond measure. 'You are beginning to worship the Machine,' he said coldly. 'You think it irreligious of me to have found out a way of my own. It was just what the Committee thought, when they threatened me with Homelessness.' At this she grew angry. 'I worship nothing!' she cried. 'I am most advanced. I don't think you irreligious, for there is no such thing as religion left. All the fear and the superstition that existed once have been destroyed by the Machine. I only meant that to find out a way of your own was----Besides, there is no new way out.' 'So it is always supposed.' 'Except through the vomitories, for which one must have an Egression-permit, it is impossible to get out. The Book says so.' 'Well, the Book's wrong, for I have been out on my feet.' For Kuno was possessed of a certain physical strength. By these days it was a demerit to be muscular. Each infant was examined at birth, and all who promised undue strength were destroyed. Humanitarians may protest, but it would have been no true kindness to let an athlete live; he would never have been happy in that state of life to which the Machine had called him; he would have yearned for trees to climb, rivers to bathe in, meadows and hills against which he might measure his body. Man must be adapted to his surroundings, must he not? In the dawn of the world our weakly must be exposed on Mount Taygetus, in its twilight our strong will suffer euthanasia, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress eternally. 'You know that we have lost the sense of space. We say 'space is annihilated', but we have annihilated not space, but the sense thereof. We have lost a part of ourselves. I determined to recover it, and I began by walking up and down the platform of the railway outside my room. Up and down, until I was tired, and so did recapture the meaning of "Near" and "Far". "Near" is a place to which I can get quickly on my feet, not a place to which the train or the air-ship will take me quickly. 'Far' is a place to which I cannot get quickly on my feet; the vomitory is 'far', though I could be there in thirty-eight seconds by summoning the train. Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man's feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is lovable and desirable and strong. Then I went further: it was then that I called to you for the first time, and you would not come. 'This city, as you know, is built deep beneath the surface of the earth, with only the vomitories protruding. Having paced the platform outside my own room, I took the lift to the next platform and paced that also, and so with each in turn, until I came to the topmost, above which begins the earth. All the platforms were exactly alike, and all that I gained by visiting them was to develop my sense of space and my muscles. I think I should have been content with this - it is not a little thing, - but as I walked and brooded, it occurred to me that our cities had been built in the days when men still breathed the outer air, and that there had been ventilation shafts for the workmen. I could think of nothing but these ventilation shafts. Had they been destroyed by all the food-tubes and medicine-tubes and music-tubes that the Machine has evolved lately? Or did traces of them remain? One thing was certain. If I came upon them anywhere, it would be in the railway-tunnels of the topmost storey. Everywhere else, all space was accounted for. 'I am telling my story quickly, but don't think that I was not a coward or that your answers never depressed me. It is not the proper thing, it is not mechanical, it is not decent to walk along a railway-tunnel. I did not fear that I might tread upon a live rail and be killed. I feared something far more intangible - doing what was not contemplated by the Machine. Then I said to myself, "Man is the measure", and I went, and after many visits I found an opening. 'The tunnels, of course, were lighted. Everything is light, artificial light; darkness is the exception. So when I saw a black gap in the tiles, I knew that it was an exception, and rejoiced. I put in my arm - I could put in no more at first - and waved it round and round in ecstasy. I loosened another tile, and put in my head, and shouted into the darkness: "I am coming, I shall do it yet," and my voice reverberated down endless passages. I seemed to hear the spirits of those dead workmen who had returned each evening to the starlight and to their wives, and all the generations who had lived in the open air called back to me, "You will do it yet, you are coming,"' He paused, and, absurd as he was, his last words moved her. For Kuno had lately asked to be a father, and his request had been refused by the Committee. His was not a type that the Machine desired to hand on. 'Then a train passed. It brushed by me, but I thrust my head and arms into the hole. I had done enough for one day, so I crawled back to the platform, went down in the lift, and summoned my bed. Ah what dreams! And again I called you, and again you refused.' She shook her head and said: 'Don't. Don't talk of these terrible things. You make me miserable. You are throwing civilization away.' 'But I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then. I determined to get in at the hole and climb the shaft. And so I exercised my arms. Day after day I went through ridiculous movements, until my flesh ached, and I could hang by my hands and hold the pillow of my bed outstretched for many minutes. Then I summoned a respirator, and started. 'It was easy at first. The mortar had somehow rotted, and I soon pushed some more tiles in, and clambered after them into the darkness, and the spirits of the dead comforted me. I don't know what I mean by that. I just say what I felt. I felt, for the first time, that a protest had been lodged against corruption, and that even as the dead were comforting me, so I was comforting the unborn. I felt that humanity existed, and that it existed without clothes. How can I possibly explain this? It was naked, humanity seemed naked, and all these tubes and buttons and machineries neither came into the world with us, nor will they follow us out, nor do they matter supremely while we are here. Had I been strong, I would have torn off every garment I had, and gone out into the outer air unswaddled. But this is not for me, nor perhaps for my generation. I climbed with my respirator and my hygienic clothes and my dietetic tabloids! Better thus than not at all. 'There was a ladder, made of some prim�val metal. The light from the railway fell upon its lowest rungs, and I saw that it led straight upwards out of the rubble at the bottom of the shaft. Perhaps our ancestors ran up and down it a dozen times daily, in their building. As I climbed, the rough edges cut through my gloves so that my hands bled. The light helped me for a little, and then came darkness and, worse still, silence which pierced my ears like a sword. The Machine hums! Did you know that? Its hum penetrates our blood, and may even guide our thoughts. Who knows! I was getting beyond its power. Then I thought: 'This silence means that I am doing wrong.' But I heard voices in the silence, and again they strengthened me.' He laughed. 'I had need of them. The next moment I cracked my head against something.' She sighed. 'I had reached one of those pneumatic stoppers that defend us from the outer air. You may have noticed them no the air-ship. Pitch dark, my feet on the rungs of an invisible ladder, my hands cut; I cannot explain how I lived through this part, but the voices still comforted me, and I felt for fastenings. The stopper, I suppose, was about eight feet across. I passed my hand over it as far as I could reach. It was perfectly smooth. I felt it almost to the centre. Not quite to the centre, for my arm was too short. Then the voice said: "Jump. It is worth it. There may be a handle in the centre, and you may catch hold of it and so come to us your own way. And if there is no handle, so that you may fall and are dashed to pieces - it is till worth it: you will still come to us your own way." So I jumped. There was a handle, and ----' He paused. Tears gathered in his mother's eyes. She knew that he was fated. If he did not die today he would die tomorrow. There was not room for such a person in the world. And with her pity disgust mingled. She was ashamed at having borne such a son, she who had always been so respectable and so full of ideas. Was he really the little boy to whom she had taught the use of his stops and buttons, and to whom she had given his first lessons in the Book? The very hair that disfigured his lip showed that he was reverting to some savage type. On atavism the Machine can have no mercy. 'There was a handle, and I did catch it. I hung tranced over the darkness and heard the hum of these workings as the last whisper in a dying dream. All the things I had cared about and all the people I had spoken to through tubes appeared infinitely little. Meanwhile the handle revolved. My weight had set something in motion and I span slowly, and then---- 'I cannot describe it. I was lying with my face to the sunshine. Blood poured from my nose and ears and I heard a tremendous roaring. The stopper, with me clinging to it, had simply been blown out of the earth, and the air that we make down here was escaping through the vent into the air above. It burst up like a fountain. I crawled back to it - for the upper air hurts - and, as it were, I took great sips from the edge. My respirator had flown goodness knows here, my clothes were torn. I just lay with my lips close to the hole, and I sipped until the bleeding stopped. You can imagine nothing so curious. This hollow in the grass - I will speak of it in a minute, - the sun shining into it, not brilliantly but through marbled clouds, - the peace, the nonchalance, the sense of space, and, brushing my cheek, the roaring fountain of our artificial air! Soon I spied my respirator, bobbing up and down in the current high above my head, and higher still were many air-ships. But no one ever looks out of air-ships, and in any case they could not have picked me up. There I was, stranded. The sun shone a little way down the shaft, and revealed the topmost rung of the ladder, but it was hopeless trying to reach it. I should either have been tossed up again by the escape, or else have fallen in, and died. I could only lie on the grass, sipping and sipping, and from time to time glancing around me. 'I knew that I was in Wessex, for I had taken care to go to a lecture on the subject before starting. Wessex lies above the room in which we are talking now. It was once an important state. Its kings held all the southern coast from the Andredswald to Cornwall, while the Wansdyke protected them on the north, running over the high ground. The lecturer was only concerned with the rise of Wessex, so I do not know how long it remained an international power, nor would the knowledge have assisted me. To tell the truth I could do nothing but laugh, during this part. There was I, with a pneumatic stopper by my side and a respirator bobbing over my head, imprisoned, all three of us, in a grass-grown hollow that was edged with fern.' Then he grew grave again. 'Lucky for me that it was a hollow. For the air began to fall back into it and to fill it as water fills a bowl. I could crawl about. Presently I stood. I breathed a mixture, in which the air that hurts predominated whenever I tried to climb the sides. This was not so bad. I had not lost my tabloids and remained ridiculously cheerful, and as for the Machine, I forgot about it altogether. My one aim now was to get to the top, where the ferns were, and to view whatever objects lay beyond. 'I rushed the slope. The new air was still too bitter for me and I came rolling back, after a momentary vision of something grey. The sun grew very feeble, and I remembered that he was in Scorpio - I had been to a lecture on that too. If the sun is in Scorpio, and you are in Wessex, it means that you must be as quick as you can, or it will get too dark. (This is the first bit of useful information I have ever got from a lecture, and I expect it will be the last.) It made me try frantically to breathe the new air, and to advance as far as I dared out of my pond. The hollow filled so slowly. At times I thought that the fountain played with less vigour. My respirator seemed to dance nearer the earth; the roar was decreasing.' He broke off. 'I don't think this is interesting you. The rest will interest you even less. There are no ideas in it, and I wish that I had not troubled you to come. We are too different, mother.' She told him to continue. 'It was evening before I climbed the bank. The sun had very nearly slipped out of the sky by this time, and I could not get a good view. You, who have just crossed the Roof of the World, will not want to hear an account of the little hills that I saw - low colourless hills. But to me they were living and the turf that covered them was a skin, under which their muscles rippled, and I felt that those hills had called with incalculable force to men in the past, and that men had loved them. Now they sleep - perhaps for ever. They commune with humanity in dreams. Happy the man, happy the woman, who awakes the hills of Wessex. For though they sleep, they will never die.' His voice rose passionately. 'Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives is the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops - but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds - but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die. Oh, I have no remedy - or, at least, only one - to tell men again and again that I have seen the hills of Wessex as �lfrid saw them when he overthrew the Danes. 'So the sun set. I forgot to mention that a belt of mist lay between my hill and other hills, and that it was the colour of pearl.' He broke off for the second time. 'Go on,' said his mother wearily. He shook his head. 'Go on. Nothing that you say can distress me now. I am hardened.' 'I had meant to tell you the rest, but I cannot: I know that I cannot: good-bye.' Vashti stood irresolute. All her nerves were tingling with his blasphemies. But she was also inquisitive. 'This is unfair,' she complained. 'You have called me across the world to hear your story, and hear it I will. Tell me - as briefly as possible, for this is a disastrous waste of time - tell me how you returned to civilization.' 'Oh - that!' he said, starting. 'You would like to hear about civilization. Certainly. Had I got to where my respirator fell down?' 'No - but I understand everything now. You put on your respirator, and managed to walk along the surface of the earth to a vomitory, and there your conduct was reported to the Central Committee.' 'By no means.' He passed his hand over his forehead, as if dispelling some strong impression. Then, resuming his narrative, he warmed to it again. 'My respirator fell about sunset. I had mentioned that the fountain seemed feebler, had I not?' 'Yes.' 'About sunset, it let the respirator fall. As I said, I had entirely forgotten about the Machine, and I paid no great attention at the time, being occupied with other things. I had my pool of air, into which I could dip when the outer keenness became intolerable, and which would possibly remain for days, provided that no wind sprang up to disperse it. Not until it was too late did I realize what the stoppage of the escape implied. You see - the gap in the tunnel had been mended; the Mending Apparatus; the Mending Apparatus, was after me. 'One other warning I had, but I neglected it. The sky at night was clearer than it had been in the day, and the moon, which was about half the sky behind the sun, shone into the dell at moments quite brightly. I was in my usual place - on the boundary between the two atmospheres - when I thought I saw something dark move across the bottom of the dell, and vanish into the shaft. In my folly, I ran down. I bent over and listened, and I thought I heard a faint scraping noise in the depths. 'At this - but it was too late - I took alarm. I determined to put on my respirator and to walk right out of the dell. But my respirator had gone. I knew exactly where it had fallen - between the stopper and the aperture - and I could even feel the mark that it had made in the turf. It had gone, and I realized that something evil was at work, and I had better escape to the other air, and, if I must die, die running towards the cloud that had been the colour of a pearl. I never started. Out of the shaft - it is too horrible. A worm, a long white worm, had crawled out of the shaft and was gliding over the moonlit grass. 'I screamed. I did everything that I should not have done, I stamped upon the creature instead of flying from it, and it at once curled round the ankle. Then we fought. The worm let me run all over the dell, but edged up my leg as I ran. 'Help!' I cried. (That part is too awful. It belongs to the part that you will never know.) 'Help!' I cried. (Why cannot we suffer in silence?) 'Help!' I cried. When my feet were wound together, I fell, I was dragged away from the dear ferns and the living hills, and past the great metal stopper (I can tell you this part), and I thought it might save me again if I caught hold of the handle. It also was enwrapped, it also. Oh, the whole dell was full of the things. They were searching it in all directions, they were denuding it, and the white snouts of others peeped out of the hole, ready if needed. Everything that could be moved they brought - brushwood, bundles of fern, everything, and down we all went intertwined into hell. The last things that I saw, ere the stopper closed after us, were certain stars, and I felt that a man of my sort lived in the sky. For I did fight, I fought till the very end, and it was only my head hitting against the ladder that quieted me. I woke up in this room. The worms had vanished. I was surrounded by artificial air, artificial light, artificial peace, and my friends were calling to me down speaking-tubes to know whether I had come across any new ideas lately.' Here his story ended. Discussion of it was impossible, and Vashti turned to go. 'It will end in Homelessness,' she said quietly. 'I wish it would,' retorted Kuno. 'The Machine has been most merciful.' 'I prefer the mercy of God.' 'By that superstitious phrase, do you mean that you could live in the outer air?' 'Yes.' 'Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?' 'Yes.' 'They were left where they perished for our edification. A few crawled away, but they perished, too - who can doubt it? And so with the Homeless of our own day. The surface of the earth supports life no longer.' 'Indeed.' 'Ferns and a little grass may survive, but all higher forms have perished. Has any air-ship detected them?' 'No.' 'Has any lecturer dealt with them?' 'No.' 'Then why this obstinacy?' 'Because I have seen them,' he exploded. 'Seen what?' 'Because I have seen her in the twilight - because she came to my help when I called - because she, too, was entangled by the worms, and, luckier than I, was killed by one of them piercing her throat.' He was mad. Vashti departed, nor, in the troubles that followed, did she ever see his face again. III THE HOMELESS During the years that followed Kuno's escapade, two important developments took place in the Machine. On the surface they were revolutionary, but in either case men's minds had been prepared beforehand, and they did but express tendencies that were latent already. The first of these was the abolition of respirators. Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial motors, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject- matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. 'Beware of first- hand ideas!' exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. 'First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element - direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine - the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought Lafcadio Hearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time' - his voice rose - 'there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation seraphically free From taint of personality, which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine.' Tremendous applause greeted this lecture, which did but voice a feeling already latent in the minds of men - a feeling that terrestrial facts must be ignored, and that the abolition of respirators was a positive gain. It was even suggested that air-ships should be abolished too. This was not done, because air-ships had somehow worked themselves into the Machine's system. But year by year they were used less, and mentioned less by thoughtful men. The second great development was the re-establishment of religion. This, too, had been voiced in the celebrated lecture. No one could mistake the reverent tone in which the peroration had concluded, and it awakened a responsive echo in the heart of each. Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously. 'The Machine,' they exclaimed, 'feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine.' And before long this allocution was printed on the first page of the Book, and in subsequent editions the ritual swelled into a complicated system of praise and prayer. The word 'religion' was sedulously avoided, and in theory the Machine was still the creation and the implement of man. But in practice all, save a few retrogrades, worshipped it as divine. Nor was it worshipped in unity. One believer would be chiefly impressed by the blue optic plates, through which he saw other believers; another by the mending apparatus, which sinful Kuno had compared to worms; another by the lifts, another by the Book. And each would pray to this or to that, and ask it to intercede for him with the Machine as a whole. Persecution - that also was present. It did not break out, for reasons that will be set forward shortly. But it was latent, and all who did not accept the minimum known as 'undenominational Mechanism' lived in danger of Homelessness, which means death, as we know. To attribute these two great developments to the Central Committee, is to take a very narrow view of civilization. The Central Committee announced the developments, it is true, but they were no more the cause of them than were the kings of the imperialistic period the cause of war. Rather did they yield to some invincible pressure, which came no one knew whither, and which, when gratified, was succeeded by some new pressure equally invincible. To such a state of affairs it is convenient to give the name of progress. No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine. As for Vashti, her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster. She made her room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light. She lectured and attended lectures. She exchanged ideas with her innumerable friends and believed she was growing more spiritual. At times a friend was granted Euthanasia, and left his or her room for the homelessness that is beyond all human conception. Vashti did not much mind. After an unsuccessful lecture, she would sometimes ask for Euthanasia herself. But the death-rate was not permitted to exceed the birth-rate, and the Machine had hitherto refused it to her. The troubles began quietly, long before she was conscious of them. One day she was astonished at receiving a message from her son. They never communicated, having nothing in common, and she had only heard indirectly that he was still alive, and had been transferred from the northern hemisphere, where he had behaved so mischievously, to the southern - indeed, to a room not far from her own. 'Does he want me to visit him?' she thought. 'Never again, never. And I have not the time.' No, it was madness of another kind. He refused to visualize his face upon the blue plate, and speaking out of the darkness with solemnity said: 'The Machine stops.' 'What do you say?' 'The Machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs.' She burst into a peal of laughter. He heard her and was angry, and they spoke no more. 'Can you imagine anything more absurd?' she cried to a friend. 'A man who was my son believes that the Machine is stopping. It would be impious if it was not mad.' 'The Machine is stopping?' her friend replied. 'What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me.' 'Nor to me.' 'He does not refer, I suppose, to the trouble there has been lately with the music?' 'Oh no, of course not. Let us talk about music.' 'Have you complained to the authorities?' 'Yes, and they say it wants mending, and referred me to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. I complained of those curious gasping sighs that disfigure the symphonies of the Brisbane school. They sound like some one in pain. The Committee of the Mending Apparatus say that it shall be remedied shortly.' Obscurely worried, she resumed her life. For one thing, the defect in the music irritated her. For another thing, she could not forget Kuno's speech. If he had known that the music was out of repair - he could not know it, for he detested music - if he had known that it was wrong, 'the Machine stops' was exactly the venomous sort of remark he would have made. Of course he had made it at a venture, but the coincidence annoyed her, and she spoke with some petulance to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. They replied, as before, that the defect would be set right shortly. 'Shortly! At once!' she retorted. 'Why should I be worried by imperfect music? Things are always put right at once. If you do not mend it at once, I shall complain to the Central Committee.' 'No personal complaints are received by the Central Committee,' the Committee of the Mending Apparatus replied. 'Through whom am I to make my complaint, then?' 'Through us.' 'I complain then.' 'Your complaint shall be forwarded in its turn.' 'Have others complained?' This question was unmechanical, and the Committee of the Mending Apparatus refused to answer it. 'It is too bad!' she exclaimed to another of her friends. 'There never was such an unfortunate woman as myself. I can never be sure of my music now. It gets worse and worse each time I summon it.' 'What is it?' 'I do not know whether it is inside my head, or inside the wall.' 'Complain, in either case.' 'I have complained, and my complaint will be forwarded in its turn to the Central Committee.' Time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine. The sigh at the crises of the Brisbane symphony no longer irritated Vashti; she accepted it as part of the melody. The jarring noise, whether in the head or in the wall, was no longer resented by her friend. And so with the mouldy artificial fruit, so with the bath water that began to stink, so with the defective rhymes that the poetry machine had taken to emit. All were bitterly complained of at first, and then acquiesced in and forgotten. Things went from bad to worse unchallenged. It was otherwise with the failure of the sleeping apparatus. That was a more serious stoppage. There came a day when over the whole world - in Sumatra, in Wessex, in the innumerable cities of Courland and Brazil - the beds, when summoned by their tired owners, failed to appear. It may seem a ludicrous matter, but from it we may date the collapse of humanity. The Committee responsible for the failure was assailed by complainants, whom it referred, as usual, to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus, who in its turn assured them that their complaints would be forwarded to the Central Committee. But the discontent grew, for mankind was not yet sufficiently adaptable to do without sleeping. 'Some one is meddling with the Machine---' they began. 'Some one is trying to make himself king, to reintroduce the personal element.' 'Punish that man with Homelessness.' 'To the rescue! Avenge the Machine! Avenge the Machine!' 'War! Kill the man!' But the Committee of the Mending Apparatus now came forward, and allayed the panic with well-chosen words. It confessed that the Mending Apparatus was itself in need of repair. The effect of this frank confession was admirable. 'Of course,' said a famous lecturer - he of the French Revolution, who gilded each new decay with splendour - 'of course we shall not press our complaints now. The Mending Apparatus has treated us so well in the past that we all sympathize with it, and will wait patiently for its recovery. In its own good time it will resume its duties. Meanwhile let us do without our beds, our tabloids, our other little wants. Such, I feel sure, would be the wish of the Machine.' Thousands of miles away his audience applauded. The Machine still linked them. Under the seas, beneath the roots of the mountains, ran the wires through which they saw and heard, the enormous eyes and ears that were their heritage, and the hum of many workings clothed their thoughts in one garment of subserviency. Only the old and the sick remained ungrateful, for it was rumoured that Euthanasia, too, was out of order, and that pain had reappeared among men. It became difficult to read. A blight entered the atmosphere and dulled its luminosity. At times Vashti could scarcely see across her room. The air, too, was foul. Loud were the complaints, impotent the remedies, heroic the tone of the lecturer as he cried: 'Courage! courage! What matter so long as the Machine goes on? To it the darkness and the light are one.' And though things improved again after a time, the old brilliancy was never recaptured, and humanity never recovered from its entrance into twilight. There was an hysterical talk of 'measures,' of 'provisional dictatorship,' and the inhabitants of Sumatra were asked to familiarize themselves with the workings of the central power station, the said power station being situated in France. But for the most part panic reigned, and men spent their strength praying to their Books, tangible proofs of the Machine's omnipotence. There were gradations of terror - at times came rumours of hope-the Mending Apparatus was almost mended - the enemies of the Machine had been got under - new 'nerve-centres' were evolving which would do the work even more magnificently than before. But there came a day when, without the slightest warning, without any previous hint of feebleness, the entire communication-system broke down, all over the world, and the world, as they understood it, ended. Vashti was lecturing at the time and her earlier remarks had been punctuated with applause. As she proceeded the audience became silent, and at the conclusion there was no sound. Somewhat displeased, she called to a friend who was a specialist in sympathy. No sound: doubtless the friend was sleeping. And so with the next friend whom she tried to summon, and so with the next, until she remembered Kuno's cryptic remark, 'The Machine stops'. The phrase still conveyed nothing. If Eternity was stopping it would of course be set going shortly. For example, there was still a little light and air - the atmosphere had improved a few hours previously. There was still the Book, and while there was the Book there was security. Then she broke down, for with the cessation of activity came an unexpected terror - silence. She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her - it did kill many thousands of people outright. Ever since her birth she had been surrounded by the steady hum. It was to the ear what artificial air was to the lungs, and agonizing pains shot across her head. And scarcely knowing what she did, she stumbled forward and pressed the unfamiliar button, the one that opened the door of her cell. Now the door of the cell worked on a simple hinge of its own. It was not connected with the central power station, dying far away in France. It opened, rousing immoderate hopes in Vashti, for she thought that the Machine had been mended. It opened, and she saw the dim tunnel that curved far away towards freedom. One look, and then she shrank back. For the tunnel was full of people - she was almost the last in that city to have taken alarm. People at any time repelled her, and these were nightmares from her worst dreams. People were crawling about, people were screaming, whimpering, gasping for breath, touching each other, vanishing in the dark, and ever and anon being pushed off the platform on to the live rail. Some were fighting round the electric bells, trying to summon trains which could not be summoned. Others were yelling for Euthanasia or for respirators, or blaspheming the Machine. Others stood at the doors of their cells fearing, like herself, either to stop in them or to leave them. And behind all the uproar was silence - the silence which is the voice of the earth and of the generations who have gone. No - it was worse than solitude. She closed the door again and sat down to wait for the end. The disintegration went on, accompanied by horrible cracks and rumbling. The valves that restrained the Medical Apparatus must have weakened, for it ruptured and hung hideously from the ceiling. The floor heaved and fell and flung her from the chair. A tube oozed towards her serpent fashion. And at last the final horror approached - light began to ebb, and she knew that civilization's long day was closing. She whirled around, praying to be saved from this, at any rate, kissing the Book, pressing button after button. The uproar outside was increasing, and even penetrated the wall. Slowly the brilliancy of her cell was dimmed, the reflections faded from the metal switches. Now she could not see the reading-stand, now not the Book, though she held it in her hand. Light followed the flight of sound, air was following light, and the original void returned to the cavern from which it has so long been excluded. Vashti continued to whirl, like the devotees of an earlier religion, screaming, praying, striking at the buttons with bleeding hands. It was thus that she opened her prison and escaped - escaped in the spirit: at least so it seems to me, ere my meditation closes. That she escapes in the body - I cannot perceive that. She struck, by chance, the switch that released the door, and the rush of foul air on her skin, the loud throbbing whispers in her ears, told her that she was facing the tunnel again, and that tremendous platform on which she had seen men fighting. They were not fighting now. Only the whispers remained, and the little whimpering groans. They were dying by hundreds out in the dark. She burst into tears. Tears answered her. They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body - it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend - glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars. 'Where are you?' she sobbed. His voice in the darkness said, 'Here.' Is there any hope, Kuno?' 'None for us.' 'Where are you?' She crawled over the bodies of the dead. His blood spurted over her hands. 'Quicker,' he gasped, 'I am dying - but we touch, we talk, not through the Machine.' He kissed her. 'We have come back to our own. We die, but we have recaptured life, as it was in Wessex, when �lfrid overthrew the Danes. We know what they know outside, they who dwelt in the cloud that is the colour of a pearl.' 'But Kuno, is it true? Are there still men on the surface of the earth? Is this - tunnel, this poisoned darkness - really not the end?' He replied: 'I have seen them, spoken to them, loved them. They are hiding in the midst and the ferns until our civilization stops. Today they are the Homeless - tomorrow----- ' 'Oh, tomorrow - some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow.' 'Never,' said Kuno, 'never. Humanity has learnt its lesson.' As he spoke, the whole city was broken like a honeycomb. An air-ship had sailed in through the vomitory into a ruined wharf. It crashed downwards, exploding as it went, rending gallery after gallery with its wings of steel. For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky. The "Machine Stops" was first published in the Oxford and Cambridge Review in 1909 Copyright ©1947 E.M. Forster Comments to PLEXUS
  22. Pale Blue Dot It’s the twentieth anniversary of the famous “pale blue dot” photo – Earth as seen from Voyager 1 while on the edge of our solar system (approximately 3,762,136,324 miles from home). Sagan’s words are always worth remembering: Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
  23. Montreal could do worse than look like the City of Light Our island could combat sprawl and still be a lot less dense than Paris HENRY AUBIN The Gazette Tuesday, December 30, 2008 Urban sprawl continued its mad march this year. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports that 73 per cent of the 20,693 housing starts in the Montreal metropolitan region were built off Montreal Island in the first 11 months of the year. That's up from 70 per cent a year ago. Another measure of the relative health of the 450 area code that surrounds the island: Home building there is down a mere one per cent despite the lame economy. New homes on the island meanwhile have dipped by a significant 15 per cent. Every time I write critically of urban sprawl, some readers object. They raise a serious point that needs an answer. These dissenters do not defend sprawl blindly. They acknowledge that the exodus of the middle class from the island to the 450's new housing subdivisions weakens the island's tax base, thereby causing a vicious circle in which low tax revenues mean poor services that in turn help drive people off the island. The defenders of sprawl also concede that, because it relies on cars for transport, sprawl is a big contributor to climate change. They even admit that it weakens the province's economy since most of the billions of dollars the public spends on cars and gas go out of Quebec (which produces neither fossil fuel nor the cars that run on it). And, finally, they allow that, because the great majority of people who leave the island are francophone, sprawl bears much of the blame for the declining presence of French on the island - a trend that fuels political tensions. But these problems don't matter to the justifiers of sprawl. Their rebuttal boils down to one word: space. The island, they say, lacks enough land for all the people who seek a good quality of life at a moderate price. I've responded that the island still has a lot of land - vacant or under-developed - that would be good for housing. But this has never convinced the pro-sprawl camp, and it's easy to see why. A lot of this land is not all that terrific. Nor is it cheap. And even if half of the bungalows and townhouses built in the 450 every year were to be built on the island, in only a few years all the available land would be used up. But now comes a fresh take on the situation. Richard Bergeron, the Montreal city councillor and head of Projet Montréal, asks us to consider Paris, a city that is famous for its beauty and its high quality of life. He points out that the municipality of Paris (as distinct from its suburbs) has 2.2 million people, not that many more than Montreal Island (1.8 million). Montreal Island (500 square kilometres) contains almost five times as much land as Paris (105 sq. km.). If it were developed the same way as the City of Light, he notes, the island could hold 10 million people. Bergeron, who has a doctorate in land-use planning, is not suggesting that we cram 10 million people onto the island - that's more than Quebec's population. Rather, his argument is that a new approach to developing the island could mean more than enough room forever to accommodate all the people who otherwise would join the exodus. Paris is an enviable place to live. It has parks galore. Its tallest residential buildings have six floors. The price of real estate does not exclude the middle class:confused: . Public transit serves residents superbly. And if my many cousins who live there are any indication, it's great for families:confused: . Dense development, in short, can be fully compatible with a high quality of life. But it takes good, foresighted planning. Such planning is alien to our political establishment. The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, the regional planning body that Mayor Gerald Tremblay heads, is an ostrich when it comes to climate change. The Quebec government is worse: It keeps lavishly subsidizing sprawldom's new highways, waste-treatment plants, schools, hospitals and other institutions, making a move to the 450 financially enticing. Here's my prediction for 2009: Our infatuation with sprawl will slowly start to change during the year. Barack Obama will be in the White House in three weeks. He sounds like he means it when he says the U.S. must cut greenhouse-gas emissions by a staggering 80 per cent by 2050. Canada will have to get in step. This will mean a sharp shift of urban development toward denser population clustering. Montreal can - if it has the brains - do this well. There are worse fates than emulating Paris. [email protected] © The Gazette (Montreal) 2008
  24. Just got my new camera, hope you like the pix! Some of these took a lot of work (crouching, sitting in weird positions, hardcore tripod action, dodging cars, people, dogs, etc... but it was fun) First photo taken with new camera, my cat trying to steal my food Let's go downtown... First night photo taken with new camera, testing out some things. This shot failed due to the cars stopped at the red light overloading the 15 second exposure. (I was anticipating the light to change but it didn't, boo.) Testing out the zoom on this baby! Now we're in business. University boul. Alright time for some HDR... First HDR with new camera! Buildings just before the mountain with lovely Canada/Quebec flags to piss off Habsfan/Malek/Yarabundi (Joke, j'vous aime!) Le 1000 la nuit Criss que j'adore ce gratte-ciel... I messed this one up, used incorrect settings, but here it is anyway. I also messed this one, but here it is anyway. The 1250 looks like a xmas tree! Le 400 en construction Le 400 en construction encore Les tours Lepine My favorite shot of the bunch : Tour de la Bourse.