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You wanna understand America, don't come here — go to the movies

Rich Hall’s How The West Was Lost (What started with Red River mostly ended with Blazing Saddles; from 20th C. cultural behemoth to object of satire; the Western genre and the archetype of the cowboy.)

There’s a tradition of Brits coming to the US to explain this young country and expose the folks back home to America. From Charles William Janson and Thomas Ashe on through Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson, foreigners with funny accents and strange vocabulary have set foot on American soil in an effort to explore the place and its people. But for the Brits to truly understand America, two things might be necessary: an American expat and (more importantly) MOVIES! Because an insider’s take on Hollywood’s misportrayal, mythmaking, stereotypes, historical ignorance, misunderstanding, bullshit, and skewed lens through which we see (and are shown) ourselves as Americans can get pretty interesting as well as informative.

Stuff like: [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Nov 16, 2014 - 19 comments

"...To Make Streets Safe, You Must First Make Them Dangerous."

"If you need a sign to tell people to slow down, you designed your street wrong." Going from "Forgiving Highways" to "Self-Explaining Roads": A longitudinal look at the Dutch and American responses to motor vehicle traffic safety. [more inside]
posted by resurrexit on Sep 5, 2014 - 55 comments

If you build it, they will come

Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 3, 2014 - 59 comments

The Inherent Awkwardness Of Cuddling Some Random Dude

A short video clip about an artist who takes pictures of stranges acting like they're old friends or lovers or relatives. Surprisingly touching and beautiful photos ensue.
posted by WalkerWestridge on Nov 19, 2013 - 14 comments

Traffic Waves

Lewis Lehe created an interactive graphic that shows what happens when one driver brakes in traffic
posted by reenum on Nov 16, 2013 - 65 comments

"Best day at work ever."

Motor Trend has put a considerable amount of effort and money into their YouTube presence (autoplay) over the last year or so, and have pulled up a decent batting average for quality videos. However, one of their series stands head and shoulders above the rest: Roadkill (also autoplay). Starring Hot Rod Magazine's Editor in Chief David Freiburger and Staff Editor Mike Finnegan, Roadkill is a roughly 20 minute web series, typically posted the first Friday of every month, and is essentially two hot rod/muscle car guys taking on self-imposed amusingly bad ideas - such as throwing a dart at a map and trying to buy a car and drive home on only $1,500 - or occasionally chronicling the goings on at major Hot Rod Mag events like Hot Rod Drag Week. [more inside]
posted by Punkey on Jun 16, 2013 - 20 comments

Dashboard Camera + Timelapse = Drivelapse

Drivelapse: dashboard-camera footage of stretches of roadway, sped up via timelapse, often with annotations. For example, you can zoom through Zion Canyon or zig-zag down the Swiss Alps. Travel 250 miles from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas in 28 minutes. Or, Norwalk OH to Williamsburg VA: 550 miles in 17.5 minutes, approximately 1885 mph. Take a tour of Minneapolis surface roads or winding New England state highways. Or, tilt at windmills along the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar.MOTORIST WARNING: ANNOYING SOUNDTRACKS NEXT 10 MILES — PREPARE TO MUTE SOUND.[more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Mar 20, 2013 - 17 comments

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense

The lack of female road narratives and why it matters Whereas a man on the road might be seen as potentially dangerous, potentially adventurous, or potentially hapless, in all cases the discourse is one of potential. When a man steps onto the road, his journey begins. When a woman steps onto that same road, hers ends.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Mar 15, 2013 - 74 comments

Whenever there's trouble, they're there on the double.

"On a good day, the street maintenance team tasked by the New York City Department of Transportation with roadway repair might fill 4,000 potholes in eight hours. In an average week, they could resurface 100,000 square yards of road. After Hurricane Sandy, their crews removed 2,500 tons of debris. And every day, on a Tumblr called The Daily Pothole, New Yorkers can take a peek inside the workings of a city system few have likely thought about." Storyboard: A Day with New York City’s Pothole Repair Crew. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 2, 2013 - 8 comments

Pain don't hurt

"Was it intended as a parody?" Asked Roger Ebert in his original review of the Patrick Swayze film "Road House," which premiered in 1989. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Dec 30, 2012 - 129 comments

just some blokes mucking around in the studio

Whoever let the tape roll on at a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studio, 47 years ago, deserves our gratitude for several reasons. For reminding us that these exalted and almost absurdly famous musicians could sound like rank amateurs trying to teach themselves their newest song. For giving non-musicians a window onto the utterly mundane reality of the recording process, i.e. the endless waiting around for the engineer to get the tape cued up into the right spot. For giving us an audio glimpse of Lennon and McCartney's continual nutty banter, which can be quite entertaining. All that and more to be heard in The Beatles in Studio - Rubber Soul (1965) and Rubber Soul (Think For Yourself) 1965 Session.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 10, 2012 - 49 comments

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS

Spend an hour tooling around 1920s-Era NYC via the magic of video
posted by The Whelk on Nov 10, 2012 - 11 comments

Invisible People

He was methodical, he rode the highways, and he preyed on teenage girls. Girls who'd run away. Girls no one would miss. In the summer of 1985, the author was such a girl. One night on I-95, she hitched a ride from a stranger and endured the most terrifying moments of her life. Now, years later, she returns to the scenes of her fugitive youth looking for clues to that terror—and the girls who lost their lives to it - The Truck Stop Killer
posted by Artw on Oct 28, 2012 - 23 comments

The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving through Time features roughly 2700 photographs and 76 interactive maps of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The website allows students, researchers, and digital tourists to uncover hidden stories, hear forgotten voices, and understand the often wrenching choices that the construction and preservation of a scenic parkway in a populated region have necessarily entailed. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jan 22, 2012 - 4 comments

Every death on every road in Great Britain 1999-2010

The BBC has put up a page presenting statistics dealing with deaths on British roads between 1999 and 2010. A slightly older page presenting mostly the same statistics (up to 2008) can be visited here; this earlier version was published in conjunction with several other articles, including one looking in-depth at a single crash and its aftermath in Stevenage in 2007.
posted by Dim Siawns on Dec 28, 2011 - 13 comments

Car Wars

Nearly a decade of US road accident casualties mapped by location across America from ITO World via the Guardian (they have also done the UK)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 24, 2011 - 31 comments

Canopy Roads

Canopy roads are awesome, iconic features of rural Florida, beautiful, red, bright, green, yellow, normal.
posted by twoleftfeet on Nov 9, 2011 - 29 comments

Don't Drive Fast on the Storseisundbrua

Storseisundet Bridge, along Atlantic Road, the Atlanterhavsveien in Norway, is a mind-bending (at certain angles) cantilever structure guaranteed to thrill you.
posted by bwg on Jul 25, 2011 - 14 comments

Gimme three feet, gimme three feet mister

Six animations from Commute Orlando on cycling and pedestrian safety.
posted by klangklangston on Jul 21, 2011 - 41 comments

The World is Still Smiling

Global Slacker (One Day) (YouTube: One couple's drive across two continents, from Chengdu to Capetown. A compilation video.) Main Site. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 8, 2011 - 5 comments

Party On, Weird America

The American Festivals Project takes you along on two guys' National Geographic-funded 2008 tour of the "small, hidden, and bizarre" festivals celebrated all over the United States. Through photos, video, and a blog, discover Rattlesnake Roundup, Okie noodling, an American Fasnacht, the Idiotarod, and plenty more. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Feb 17, 2011 - 23 comments

Where we're going we don't need...actually, we'd benefit from some attractive brick paving.

Tiger Stone is a Dutch company (site is in Dutch) which is promoting a technology which allows you to "print" 300-400 meters per day (roughly a mile every four days) of attractive brick roadway. [more inside]
posted by maxwelton on Nov 17, 2010 - 34 comments

The Diverging Diamond

"The Diverging Diamond reduced traffic accidents by a remarkable 60 percent. The only complaint is the strangeness of being shifted to the wrong side of the road."
posted by jefficator on Oct 29, 2010 - 77 comments

Tree:Kite::Tunnel:Van

A tunnel in Paris becomes famous [more inside]
posted by _dario on Mar 16, 2010 - 73 comments

Why did the Chicken cross the road?

The Beatles 'most famous' album cover inspires dozens of imitations
posted by nam3d on Aug 1, 2009 - 42 comments

Huh. Kinda reminds me of that guy in Casino Royale.

Bleeding billboard. Yeah, that's what I said.
posted by miss lynnster on Jul 7, 2009 - 38 comments

old, weird america

Roadside Architecture. "I have been passionate about commercial architecture and roadside related things all my life. I grew up in California but New York City has been my home since 1980. I started this website in 2000 simply as a way to organize my own photos. Since then, it has become a bit of an obsession and grown to well over 1,000 pages." flickr. blog. [more inside]
posted by mwhybark on Apr 14, 2009 - 11 comments

"I can name that tune in 300 yards..."

"I can name that tune in 300 yards ..." Not for much longer, though. Honda prepared for an upcoming commercial by cutting grooves in a road in Lancaster, California. These grooves, if driven over at just the right speed and in just the right car (one guess!) should play something resembling the William Tell Overture. But once filming was done (and I'm sure the commerical will be as impeccably produced and successful as Honda's other ads), locals and tourists were left with the driver's equivalent of that huge floor keyboard in Big, with some drivers lining up to play over and over again. Result? The city will pave over the road today. But hey, we'll always have Anyang. And Japan (previously). And Denmark.
posted by maudlin on Sep 23, 2008 - 29 comments

Ice Road Truckers of Canada

For about two months each year Nuna Logistics operates the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road in Canada's Northern territories. The road is nearly 600km long and is predominantly constructed over frozen lakes. At this time of year the Ice Road Truckers take on the cold and the risks inherent with carrying loads of up to 40 tons over it (home page for a History Channel series about the drivers with some interesting video). The road one of several worldwide - it has some travel news. Also previously.
posted by rongorongo on Mar 1, 2008 - 11 comments

Road Trippin'

"Road Trip is a short film composed of 12,397 pictures taken automatically from the back seat of a car while driving accross [sic] America from Portland, Oregon to New Hampshire."
posted by dersins on Dec 28, 2007 - 34 comments

Respect speed limit, get free music from...asphalt ?

Respect speed limit, get free music from...asphalt ? When driving in Japan remember to respect the speed limits , you may be instantly rewarded by hearing a tune as played by...your car and the road.
posted by elpapacito on Nov 13, 2007 - 25 comments

"Your brain knows the shape of the word."

How the new type standard for American road signage reduces halation and improves readability.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 11, 2007 - 47 comments

One in 20 is too many.

Nearly 700 cyclists are killed on U.S. roads every year, and more than 540,000 are sent to the emergency room. The annual Ride of Silence was started in 2003 to honor and raise awareness for those tragically killed and injured on the road, and has grown into a worldwide event, with more than 270 confirmed rides planned to start tonight, at 7 p.m. Ride along on YouTube or grab a black armband and join a group near you. [Previously on MeFi]
posted by dead_ on May 16, 2007 - 59 comments

yamaiga.com

廃道レポート・東北の廃道・旧道・国道・県道・林道.
posted by hama7 on May 13, 2007 - 90 comments

Whatever it is, it’s better in the wind.

40 years ago, the Vicious Cycles motorcycle club assaulted a construction worker before taking to the road. Fortunately, filmmakers Chuck Menville (father of voice artist Scott Menville) and Len Janson were on hand to film the gang's misdeeds. Menville and Janson's picture would ultimately become part of a trilogy, with Blaze Glory and Sargent Swell of the Mounties produced wit similar eye-catching style. Decades later, the filmmakers' work would be echoed in another tale of conflict, in addition to a product-themed homage to more recent hipster subculture.
posted by Smart Dalek on Mar 19, 2007 - 10 comments

The McMissile Case

Virginia woman could get 2 years in prison for throwing McDonald's bag - a jury in Stafford County, Virginia has recommended a two-year prison sentence for Jessica Julia Hall, a 25-year-old mother of three, for throwing a bag with a soft drink inside into the car next to her. She was convicted of a felony offense after getting into an altercation with another driver on I-95 between Fredericksburg, VA and Washington, DC - widely considered to be one of the most congested stretches of road on the East Coast. Anyone who drives in the DC area can tell you how overcrowded the highways are. It gets worse in the summer when the tempratures rise and tempers flare. This could be an example of excessive justice, or perhaps juries in this area have had enough.
posted by smoothvirus on Jan 5, 2007 - 146 comments

Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones ... NOT!

Your favorite movie stars and the roles they didn't get. Edward James Olmos instead of Christopher Llloyd? JODIE FOSTER INSTEAD OF CARRIE FISHER?!
posted by WolfDaddy on Sep 28, 2006 - 45 comments

Jack Kerouac: Raw

Kerouac's essential On The Road is celebrating it's 50th year in publication next September. To commemorate, Viking Press plans to publish the raw, unedited "scroll version" that's been touring around the country. The hardcover -- due out somtime next year -- contains "some sections that had been cut from the novel because of references to sex or drugs" along with real names of characters, and "a different first sentence than the published novel, as well as a more abrupt ending."
posted by nitsuj on Aug 1, 2006 - 20 comments

Are we there yet?

The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy — Take a 28 year old future U.S. President on a two month long, 3,251 mile, transcontinental road trip (where relatively few have gone before). Wait while he shoulders a little responsibility, add some autobahn^ envy, and 37 years later he signs into law over 40,000 miles of the National Defense Highway System (later renamed: it recently passed 50 years of growth.) About his favorite domestic program, Ike said, "More than any single action by the government since the end of the war, this one would change the face of America. ...Its impact on the American economy - the jobs it would produce in manufacturing and construction, the rural areas it would open up - was beyond calculation." More documents, logs, and first-hand reports from the 1919 convoy here.
posted by cenoxo on Jul 12, 2006 - 27 comments

cars and trucks incompatible. also, airplane crash tests, whee!

"We tacitly agree to accept a certain level of carnage in order to use the highways in ways we value." [pdf, 750kB] Three particle physicists analyze data from crash tests and crash statistics, and show that pickup trucks pose a much greater risk to other drivers than any other type of vehicle, even SUVs. [pdf, 880kB] Also, I found some totally rad videos of airplane crash tests from nasa. Sweet!!
posted by sergeant sandwich on Jan 19, 2006 - 23 comments

Toll-road collusion?

Local governments in Colorado have agreed to deliberately impede traffic on existing highways near a toll road in order to protect the toll roads' investors.Article includes examples of similar public/private "cooperation" in Virginia and California.
posted by Kwantsar on Aug 17, 2005 - 30 comments

Hang up and drive

The use of a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before a crash is associated with a fourfold increased likelihood of crashing according to a forthcoming article in the British Medical Journal. There is no safety advantage in 'hands-free' devices. The authors interviewed 456 drivers in hospital ERs in Perth, and then accessed, with consent, their phone records. The authors had wanted to carry out the study in the United States, but the phone companies would not release customer billing records, even with a customer's consent. [Article pdf free for the next few days, but BMJ will charge for it after next week I think.]
posted by carter on Jul 12, 2005 - 47 comments

AbbaRoadTripHell

Abba Road Trip
posted by srboisvert on Feb 22, 2005 - 9 comments

Lake Karakul

Jorg Schniedmayer and Armin Scrinzi's road trip photos of China These images are part of a large photo essay.I think the Lake Karakal, the best nature photography I have seen, lately.
posted by hortense on Jan 24, 2005 - 8 comments

Southwest

Southwest: an exquisite gallery of photos by three friends on the road, including shots of Bryce, Antelope, and The Wave. The web has done wonderful things to that old phenomenon of vacation photos.
posted by alms on May 7, 2003 - 26 comments

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