Seattle is only one of five cities in the United States with a trackless electric trolley bus system. King County Metro operates 159 trolley buses on 14 routes that ply over 70 miles of trolley wire, and travel 2,906,297 miles annually. Last year, Metro found that operating new electric trolleys offered a superior financial scenario to new diesel buses. This is even before considering how much better a trolley performs on Seattle's steep hills, or how much less pollution it creates, being supplied by hydroelectric power. If you want to know a little more about how the system works, see some of the photos posted by a King County bus operator known as VeloBusDriver. Some of these photo sets explain the controls of an ETB, the innards of an ETB—so much cleaner than a diesel but so much more dangerous to poke around in—and aspects of how the trolley wire itself works, including the "special work" necessary for tasks such switching routes or traversing a drawbridge.
On Monday, the Occupy Wall Street movement disrupted ports in its West Coast Port Blockade. [more inside]
Century 21 Calling - Dreamily retro footage of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, AKA the Century 21 Exposition, including a visit to the Bell Systems pavilion. A slice of space age science propaganda, the fair gave Seattle some of its most enduring landmarks in the form of the Space Needle and the Alweg Monorail, and, of course, brought Elvis to town.
Phoenix Jones, the real life superhero who's been in the news (and previously on the blue) for his vigilante work in Seattle, was arrested for pepper-spraying four people outside a nightclub... and his secret identity revealed. [more inside]
Patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital are finding messages written to them in huge letters when they look outside their windows. The Ironworkers Local 86 crew assembling the frame of the hospital's new seven-story expansion building next door have been spray-painting greetings to them on the steel beams. "The new building’s skeleton is alive" with more than 50 names: "greetings to Kitty, Colby, Kyle and Istvan. To Violet, Seth, Josh and Austin. To Rachel, Adam, Gillie-Jane and Christofer." Photo Gallery. Local television news segment. (Via)
Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race. 'Once I realized I was racist, it was, well, what am I going to do about it?' says Winn, a mild-mannered white guy in his 30s. 'That shifts the defensiveness.' [...] 'The test of how racist you are is not how many people of color you can count as friends,' I recall someone telling me—I can't remember who now. 'It's how many white people you're willing to talk to about racism.'
This is how it will happen. Let’s pick a day: June 22, 2012. It’s a gorgeous Friday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, 75 degrees and sunny. It’s been raining for weeks, and in Seattle the freeways are jammed with people fleeing the city to enjoy the rare sunshine. Same story in Portland. Out on the coast, the beach towns are thrumming with tourists. How a monster earthquake and resulting tsunami would affect the coast and cities of the Pacific NW.
The bravest woman in Seattle would like us to know her name. Warning: The earlier posts are brutal and very hard to read, and possibly especially so for victims of violence and sexual assault. Previously, previously.
SlutWalk Toronto (featured on the Blue) has come and gone and spawned imitators. Already though, some feminists are questioning it's efficacy and impact on both men and women.
The Bravest Woman in Seattle "The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened." (Trigger warning for rape and violence.)
"I didn't realize I was playing a chess game for my life with the FBI. They were playing chess, and I was off finger-painting in the corner." Rick Wilson, an occasional activist who liked to throw after-hours parties in his Capitol Hill apartment, was the target of an intricate and costly 2-year long undercover sting operation led by the Seattle Police Department and the FBI. Their goal; to get Rick to reveal his ties to eco-terrorism groups and two of the more progressive city council members. (Members who have encourage increased oversight of the SPD) The only problem, there were no such ties. [more inside]
This kite-aerial photography (KAP) gallery flies through Seattle, NW Washington, Peace Arch, and a Burning Man festival. [more inside]
"Anybody else give up the use of their left side for Lent?" Carl Warmenhoven, the owner of a Seattle's Comedy Underground had a stroke -- and two weeks later does a stand-up routine about it. [SLYT, via SLOG]
Thanks to long rainy days and a lot of funky global culture and cross-pollination, Seattle has long been known as an epicenter of music and related creativity where people riff off of each other and freely beg, borrow and steal ideas. But how incestuous is it, really? Who has collaborated with whom? Played gigs together? Worked on albums together? Exactly how complicated is the Seattle music scene? It's so complicated that it needs a map - the Seattle Band Map. Via Wired.
Fusing the energy of hardcore with the wall of sound of Detroit hard rock, Denver's The Fluid was the first non-Seattle band signed to Sub Pop Records. Particularly acclaimed for their live shows, Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks compared a performance of the five-piece to seeing the Stooges in their heyday. After breaking up in 1993, they reunited in 2008. Fluid guitarist Rick Kulwicki (who was also a founding member of Denver’s groundbreaking hardcore band the Frantix) died this week at 49. [more inside]
Lead Pencil Studio is an architecture+art collaboration between Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, based in Seattle. Featured last month in FastCoDesign: Billboard advertising clean air. Lots of Google links to their work. [Main site = mildly annoying interface YMMV]
Evil doers beware! An actual costumed avenger is patrolling the streets of Seattle. Maybe he'd like a few tips. Or maybe a few villians
Want to get to that town in the next state on the cheap? Sure, there's Greyhound, but it's hardly a bargain at $32 for a journey from Seattle to Portland. When you really need to save the cash, use Epic Transit Journeys wiki to plot your route entirely on local transit carriers, allowing you to get to Stumptown for only $11.50 and a paltry five transfers. For a truly epic journey, cross international borders for the trip to Vancouver, BC, which includes a lovely 2.9 mi stroll across the border. Oran Viriyincy's travelogue of this trip includes lots of photos of buses and trains, and the border official's shocked reaction.
Worldchanging Bright Green Future City - Alex Steffen sits down with the mayors of Portland and Seattle to talk about
which is better the 'future city' and the confluence of urbanization, social justice and environmental change, not to mention political pushback amid high unemployment and cultural inertia.
In 2008, residents of Seattle began to hear a very different kind of radio program on their AM dial, for three hours every weeknight. That show was Too Beautiful To Live. Much of the joy of the program is getting to know the hosts, and discovering whether or not the show survives, so I won't spoil it for you. You can start by listening to the First Show, or enter any weekday since Jan. 7, 2008, into the "Browse by date:" search box on the First Show webpage. If that's not enough motivation to start listening, here are some favorite episodes: Interview with John Hodgman, Interview with Garfunkel and Oates, Interview with Wil Wheaton, Ross Dress for Less, Broke as a Joke in Seattle, Drunk People are So Meta, Interview with S.E. Hinton, Interview with Adam Carolla.
462 feet above Seattle, a family has transformed the top of the Smith Tower into their rather fantastic residence. Slideshow here. [more inside]
8bit Cities: Amsterdam - Austin - Berlin - Detroit - London - New York - Paris - San Francisco - Seattle - Washington, D.C.
The International Conservation Photography Awards is the creation of Seattle, Washington-based photographer Art Wolfe: "We wanted to provide a platform from which photographers both amateur and professional alike could showcase their work in a very prestigious way. We love the idea of championing the cause of preservation and nature through the medium of photography." Winning imagery from the 2010 awards can be viewed in person at the Burke Museum in Seattle, or online here, which includes excellent slideshows of wildlife, underwater life and distinguished photographs (requires Flash support).
Kinktrepeneur, former evangelical missionary, and “Rent-a-meanie” the Twisted Monk: "I guess is some ways, I’m finally fulfilling the calling I had when I was a kid and being that evangelist, changing the world one bedroom at a time." ... [most links contain no nudity but might be NSFW anyway] [more inside]
Artist Ray Troll (previously 1, 2) and paleontologist Kirk Johnson, the self-described "paleo-nerd duo", have been working as a team ever since they took a road trip across the American West in search of fossils. In 2007, the pair published the book Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway based on those travels. Most recently, they have collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth Nesbitt at the Burke Museum (previously) in Seattle to produce a traveling exhibit by the same name. [more inside]
Do you like musical instruments with lots of keyboards? And lots and lots of dials? Then you may like 36 15 MOOG: Stuff with Moog and/or 60's and 70's vintage synths in it. (related Ask MeFi) [more inside]
Ride the City maps the best or safest urban bicycle route from point A to B. Presently featuring multi-lingual maps from New York, Chicago, Austin, Louisville, San Diego, and Seattle. Their blog posts updates about new cities added to the grid, or other topics relating to urban bicycling.
The first time they came and recorded with me—which was January 23, 1988—they didn't have a band name, and they just had a borrowed drummer, which was Dale from the Melvins. But, yeah, they came and recorded 10 songs with me in one afternoon. I was left going "God, who are these people?" The cassettes I gave out just said "Kurt Cobain and Company" on them, because that's all I knew. - Recording Nirvana Before They Were Nirvana. As Nirvanas first albulm hits 20 years old, with Sub Pop prepare to release a remastered anniversary edition, the Seattle Weekly takes a look back at the album that launched grunge.
Why are people like Isaiah Kalebu—people diagnosed with serious psychological problems and accused of violent crimes—allowed to remain free until trial? [more inside]
Technology innovation will be a large part of late 20th century American history. Now the gearheads can explore the roots of all that geekdom. The Geek's Guide to Seattle is a virtual tour of some of the region’s most interesting and notable technology locations. A Geek's Tour of Silicon Valley hits hotspots there. Don't forget The Tech Museum and the Computer History Museum. Back east, there's Research Triangle Park (pdf) in North Carolina, and The Computing Revolution at the Museum of Science in Boston.
To clarify the "incident" at my Seattle signing. NSFW! - artist Alex Pardee deals with some crazy shit. (via)
A well-dressed man wakes up in a Seattle city park. He has $600 in his sock and no memory of who he is or how he got there. He is fluent in English, French and German and has an apparent deep knowledge of European cultural history. He seems to have traveled the world. And he says he is a widower. Doctors suspect he is not faking it but they don’t know how to help. Police are stumped as well. [more inside]
Concept proposals for Seattle's Space Needle. More sketches and images, from the University of Washington's image database. Erecting The Needle, a four-part series about the Space Needle's construction: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, with a picture of the rarely-seen gas-flame beacon in action. And this morning, the Space Needle was briefly for sale!
Waterlines is a new online exhibit from the excellent Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Seattle. It tells the story of the land underlying Seattle, one of the United States' most geologically active city sites, and of the human attempts to engineer this landform. Closely related are the archaeology of West Point and Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound (e.g., read the story of North Wind and Storm Wind).
Seattle bus riders rejoice! From the Univ. of WA comes One Bus Away which answers the eternal public transit question "where the hell is my freaking bus??" With six flavors of awesome, you can get real-time bus arrival info. via phone, website, SMS, an iPhone-optimized webpage, or for those us still rocking the un-smart phones there's even a text-only webpage available.
"The newsroom collectively screamed—via a chain of famous quotes with not too subtle undertones that staffers e-mailed out to the all-staff list. We designated a dog as the employee of the month." An Insider's View: The Strange Final Days Of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. There's a loss of dignity when you lose your job. Those who stayed at the online PI faced a different indignity. And what to do with thousands of newspaper racks. [more inside]
The Seattle P-I is known for its in depth, epic, investigative reports. As the print edition closes down this week here is a look at one report that made the PI great: The Health of the Puget Sound. [more inside]
15 year old girl in holding cell beaten by Seattle Cop Caught on Camera. 15 year old girl in holding cell beaten by Seattle Cop. Not surprisingly the cop's lawyer didn't want this video published.
Amidst The Ghosts Of Its Fallen Figures: With the 20th anniversary of the Seattle scene's insurgence fast approaching, Exclaim! follows the timeline of Mark Lanegan, the scene's poetic misfit. [more inside]
Seattle area gay bars received a very strange and threatening letter yesterday. Dan Savage believes it might have been sent by a gay person. Here is Savage's first post about the letter.