Watercooler: Robotic Movements

Just hours from the Memorial Day weekend, the cacophony of  horns emanates from snarled traffic creeping across Canal and Broome Streets to the Holland Tunnel. On Lafayette St., fire trucks pass the congestion via the bike lane, bikes pass the congestion in the car lanes and cars pass the time by blowing their horns.  Memorial Day weekend should remind drivers to remember there are better ways to get around. Why, year after year, do our four wheeled street companions forget?

Before you head out this weekend, here’s a wrap up the week of the news stories that OpenPlansers were talking about:

via Wired.com

+ These oceangoing solar powered roombas have made it halfway across the Pacific and are en route to complete their journey. The unmanned vessels are solar polared, remote controlled and are taking readings of conditions of the sea as they cut a path across the Pacific Ocean from California to the Far East and Australia via wired.com

+ NYC’s upcoming bike share system, CitiBikes, has been criticized by local blogs and media for being too expensive for rides of over 45 minutes. Steve Romalewski of CUNY’s Center for Urban Research describes why that is, in fact, perfectly ok.. Bike share “is really designed primarily for the “first and last mile” of local commutes and tourist trips to and from their destinations”.  vua spatiality.com

+ While our mayor Bloomberg reminds is that alternate forms of transportation that could reduce congestion have their problems, too. via gothamist.com

+ Whats the worse that can happen, spill some coffee on our 62 point Bike Score?

+ In February, Mexico City and 20 other LLGA participants around the world put out an open call to companies to pitch solutions to important but fixable urban problems.  A total of 555 solutions from 50 countries were submitted from contractors, 109 of which—about five per city—were culled for a shortlist in March before a panel of jurors selected the winners. via good

+ While not entirely opened, Philly’s Front Door is creaking open.  This initiative gives developers, non-profits and average residents the abiltiy to easily submit applications to purchase city owned vacant properties through the PRA’s Front Door. via planphilly.com

+ The  White House announced a new digital government strategy. President Obama, “I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.” Welcome to the club, chief.

+ The city of Bloomington, Indiana, already one of our favorite open data governments, released Open311 apps for reporting and tracking issues.   They have a whole stack of open source Open311 apps (4 and counting) for other cities to reuse.

+ While the Personal Democracy Forum put out an RFP to answer the question: “Do you have an idea for an app to enhance our electoral process, to help citizens engage in their communities, or to help facilitate online activism? Here’s a unique opportunity for it to be built in a weekend by some of the world’s top civic developers.”  http://pdf.uservoice.com/forums/159963-pdf-applied (html warning)

+ Did you make it to the polls to vote this year?  This unhelpful polling locator points out the issues some have getting out to vote.

And to wrap it up -a reminder that simple HTML works really well sometimes.  It may not be Flashy, it may not be html5y but it works and that counts for a lot. via tsrf.us

Simplicity and Brevity, best friends.