“You should do a story…” is the first line to a lot of the conversations you have when you work at 99pi. This week we look into a bunch of those stories suggested by our listeners and present them to … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible diamond Mars, two years ago I was talking to John MAR he's the guy who first uttered this bedrock. Nine ip mantra always read the black and we were talking with a show, and he said you know you should do a story about its when my favorite places in San Francisco, so went to the address and I checked it out, and I kid you none. He sent me to a gas station on Van Ness Avenue San Francisco. He domino look around and discover what was weird about it. In almost every respect is unknown, Chevron Gas station. It has a blue awning and the red and blue Chevron logo on the sign? But the sign in awning, dont, say Chevron may say standard as instead nerd oil, the massive oil monopoly broken up in the early twentieth century by these Sherman antitrust act. When the Indians, companies created by that break up was chevron and for some reason, even though this
gas station is a modern chaperone station. In every way it's called standard if you call the station they will answer the phone same children and the attendant not tell you why it's a standard on the side of tried, but a trademark like a man to eleven dusky, can a trademark be any word name them all devices used by someone who has a cure here and bonafide intend to use the mark and commerce, and are using that word symbol: device to identify the source of their goods or services. That phrase bona fide intent means that if you want to keep a trade mark, you have to use it in this particular case when standard oil was busted up The standard oil trademark still retained a lot of goodwill in value but ever reason done line chaperone wants to take advantage of that value. The name standard has to be used and it has to be used and collection.
Whatever the underlying goods or services are, so they couldn't just prince pamphlets, the occasionally mixed chaperone standard branding and say that they were still using it for oil and gas, do prominently, use the standard name in conjunction with oil and gas services if they want to keep it. So that's, there's a standard gas station for all intents and purposes operates as a chaperone station in San Francisco and fifteen other locations in the. U s this week you should do a story and presenting and presenting short design stories requested by our listeners and seen where that path takes us and in this way, of the exercise, we're starting with what I it is the most requested design topic of all time. Here's our digital director, Kurt caused at talking with me about desire paths as the names
just desire paths. Are these unplanned rout. The people just really wanna take and they're shaped by repeated use, and I think part of it is that their found everywhere you can to see them all over place and the most common type of you see our short cuts, which are often just visible as rafter trails through you know, grassy area ten cities so most commonly. When you think of desire path, you think I like it imagine like a circuitous or maybe like an early return and the sidewalk and then there's is like forty five degree, dirt path that cuts across and creates a short cut in. That's the most common idea. What it sire path is as people when I take the shortest path, but desire paths are not always a short cut back. Sometimes they and being a long cut- and this can happen, cancer reasons in some places there are superstition, he's about walking under utility pools, and so people end up taking his long way around, and you can see that marked in the dirt or like there's like a slope going
down to to a cross over underneath a road and normally in a biker, would bike down that hill and invite back up the other side, but off There's like awaited just you know, take the grass and go off to the side and ends of beef a longer path but get out there on the golden downhill right, so it's like a short cut. In this sense, Energy right, you don't you don't it'll, take them less work ultimately, but it also is a kind of weird because it goes out to the sign That's not how we normally think of these things. We know anything about. This is like yeah sure, where So these community frustrating as Norman Planner, because another reason for you design things will you do is to use the built environment to shape the behaviour? you want but deserve can also be illuminating because they can really show a designer how to make their design work better for people right. Sometimes they frustrate the plans of urban planners and trail makers both times these people can actually evaluate the behaviors that people have naturally and
use that to inform their designs so, for example, college campuses, unbeknown to map out a basic grid of sidewalks, but then leave some sidewalks on paved and just sort of sea where people walked, the gaps, and then they come back in and they pave that based on the natural behaviour of those people walking and in Finland park. Winners have been known to watch and see where people walk after big snowfall. So there's a blank slate and people cross the park, and they just trace their path. The news that to inform all year round pathway for that park circle which, as he reminds me of my favorite form of snow based desire path, snack down, we portmanteau of snowy and neck down, which is an account, is actually kind of hard to picture. I got up The curb like you, can imagine that a straight street and then like a little bit of a bump out of the curb and extension of the curve, is called a neck down. So how did the people use snack down? In particular,
like those finnish part planners that are evaluating where people walk after snowfalls. Real planners can use slipped down to evaluate, were cars drive after snowfall and more specifically, they can look at where they don't drive. So The fresh snow covers the road drivers into follow a narrow path and then other following that narrow path, which leaves a lot of area actually untouched, this results in what is effectively like a temporary, curb extension and can also forms, traffic islands in the middle of streets, where cars just don't go, but then, ever take this information and like you use it for other part the year when it isn't snowy, that's really the key is airliners can evaluate where people don't go and use that information to advocate for curb extensions and traffic islands where they don't. It currently exist and the EU pretty straightforward. I mean the cars, don't need to go there in the winter. Why did it to go there at all right directorate that smart, I like it,
gives you look a little sandbox to plan once the snow, flowers and I'll sudden you realize that you have it opportunity. Replaying your city in these little tiny ways allow this houses is really kind of lovely. It's like people go out, may take pictures, they make videos and then they trees over these places where the cars don't go and suddenly becomes very clear. Cars then actually need that space. One the reasons why desire paths and sat down, or so that resonate so much with audience and not because there urban planners is because their this great metaphor for design in general, yes and a lot of people use them in. Disability, design and think about them in terms of interface design. So really, When tactic is the largest decide we're gonna make it thing this way and people who have to use it this way, but instead to look at how people are already using something and then take that and give it a more efficient way to work so. For example, on twitter you know ads and hashtags. Those were built in with Twitter
users of all those over time. Then twitter, vigilance that, oh well if you are using them, we're gonna support this usage and you know of all what they can do and therewithal above and adds and hashtags were basically desire path created by the user. Digital desire paths, You want to take a deeper dive into the hash mark or Octa core is at four to call Avery Joplin to the whole episode about its origins. So if you turn your hymnals to episode number one hundred and forty five, you will find it. Menus restrictions we get come through twitter, someone, twitter, Alot, a lot from emails too. But this suggestion came to senior producer Katy mingle in person as this was after our recent life show that we did in allay a fan came up to me and he was there Nice job also. Story idea for you. Legally on me and he
You're telling me about it, and it was like about electrical current clocks and this time in southern California. When people had to make this big switch, I don't know I didn't absorb that much of it at the time, but he did so. It did kind of sound like a bar alleys, so I went back I started looking into and basically the story starts back in the Lee eighteen hundreds win. LOS Angeles area and surrounding the other towns in southern California, we're starting to get there first power. Plants and the main motivation at the time was to bring fr duration to the citrus growers, so they could put oranges, incentive, refrigerators exactly for cold orange juice, Course, and so back in the early days of electricity, there wasn't a national standard frolic. What frequency of current these power plants should deliver us? What is no logical frequency really mean, and what are the options that we have to work with it when it comes to? Let go
This is again now the part of the shore. I explain electricity no, I don't want to actually do the complete disservice of talking too much about the physics of electricity, but The way I understand it is electricity basically comes into our homes in waves of alternating current, and you can actually think of them like pulse and the number of pulses per second is the frequency of the current. So if you're on a fifth he cycle system or legal fifty hurts system. The pulses are coming at fifty a second and then sixty hurts would be sixty a second and fifty and sixty are sort of the two most com in frequencies, and where would you use one leg in Serbia? Other word: what determines whether or not one of the other they're both fine. They both do all the things we need them to do and you can deliver current lots of different frequencies, but if, Slow it down enough. Like say two thirty hurts we need
screw in a light bulb. You apparently can actually perceive if a sort of that pulsing in it sort of is perceived as like a flicker in both in the light bulb So in the early nineteen hundred southern California Select LOS Angeles Sberbank Pasadena, they all start I'm getting on this. Like fifty hurts system and meanwhile, the rest of the country is getting on a sixty hurts system for the most part in there's, like some exceptions, in so right now, let's not that big a deal in the early nineties, hundreds, but eventually this grid as organ all meet up, and that would not be good to have two different systems right, and so it is said it's three common problem and one of the things that becomes a problem is like manufacturers, had to make different products for people in southern California, because any was like an electrical motor that was designed to work on a sixty cycle system is not going to work as well on a fifty cycle system.
And one of the things that definitely didn't work as well was electric clocks. So if you add a clock that you got it New York City, and then he moved to allay new you plug in your clock. It would actually lose ten minutes every hour, yeah, and that is because electric clogs actually use those pulses of current. To keep track of the time? You know some clocks have pendulums, but keeping track of those pulses of current, as it is the way the electorate clocks know what time it is, or to move the second hand and at that point, electric shocks. We're really popular like a lot of people. Have them they're, not quite as common anymore so yeah clocks, where a problem other things with motors and then the thirties, California started to receive power from new dams like the Hoover, damn His power was coming into California at the wrong frequency, and then the power companies would have to convert it.
The conversion process was difficult and expensive, so Oh in nineteen. Thirty, six, the city of LOS Angeles, decided to switch all their customers to sixty cycle current and then in nineteen. Forty five, the southern California, Edison Company decided to switch everyone else in southern California over to the that sixty cycle. Current amendments have been crazy because return, but every opponents that is plugs into the war is now like being run it at sub, optimal frequency and their voice to change everything along the way. Yeah, it was nuts, it was a huge undertaking, like they weren't. Just like ok, sorry lake throw out your stuff. They sent crews into people's homes to Russia. Fit their washing machines. They sent people into facts freeze, to make sure all the machinery worked right and it was hundreds of thousands of custom. Like I think, nearly a million customers and then,
companies also and to change all their own equipment, all the electric meters and then for clocks. You could actually go and drop your clock off at and at something tables clock. Done serve men sitting there working to make your clockwork hung. The good old days serve men sitting there working to make your clockwork huns good old days. When you have this big infrastructure project amount of one just got to work and make it work for urban yeah like I have no idea how many people they employed for this, but it is sounds I quite a few so by one thousand nine hundred and forty eight olive southern California have switched to the new system and the final tally was like five hundred thousand clocks and almost four hundred thousand lighting fixtures. Fifty eight thousand refrigerators and if you think of. How the population of away exploded in the following years, it's so lucky that they decided
this on when they did, I mean, are you couldn't you couldn't? Possibly, you know like no way and that sort of why you you'll never see lake an internet, no standard for electrical current. So you may know if you ve traveled to Europe that you have to buy like a little adapter cause. Most of Europe is still on a fifty cycles system, and they'll never change cause. It would just be disputed much disputed I think, the United States and Mexico and most have like Central America, maybe South America. Europe are sixty cycle and Japan. No, actually, I think the only country that still it uses to different frequencies in there were one country. So basically, one half of the country has fifty hurts and the other half is using sixty hurts over must be such a pain yeah. It actually like was a really big problem. After the Fukushima accident,
because a big portion of the country last power there is a sea now mean and they trying to send power from one part of the country to the other, which is fairly common thing that you know we do, but they couldn t do it. You can convert, from one frequency to another, but it's hard to do it in really big quantities. And so every so often in Japan. Actually there'll be this little movement bubbles up. That's like we should all be on the same frequency and then it just say: crew from illegally They dies because leg with one side is like well we're not going to switch said cycle weren't definitely not switch either. At the end of that sort stays the same, and so it says the same, and we just can thank those early
pioneers in a way that relate let's go ahead and do this before things are just out of control thanks those guys and thanks to J can infer suggestion is to think you, Jake, N, n n. You taught you a couple other people that you want to think. I talked to a horologist named KEN Randall for the story. I thought the story was actually going to be more about clocks. Then it ended up being so. I learned all about how electric locks work anyways it was great me Manton. I asked Peter S, town, he said now. Of course, I immediately cinema link and then I so talk to an electrical engineering named Darrow Heinrich, who is also really really helpful long time for of has been obsessed with european style
and turn windows really ever since he was a kid living by right, Germany? I can't really spain them in audio with a really functional and worthy of his design. An obsession so Kurt wrote about them recently on the web. In several readers shared and appreciated his design obsession and does on there a completely new and then there's a bunch of Europeans who are just confused because they didn't understand that these windows were already everywhere. Half the readers, where a stir These things exist and wanted to have them, and the other half were shocked that anybody would think that they were shocking because there are totally ordinary everyday window designs for them. So this article prompted a bunch of our audience to send in suggestions for other, clever regional design, solutions that we should also do a story about one of the things that somebody suggested right off. The bat which I was instantly fascinated by are these things called finnish dish. Drying closets. There also is destroying cabinets, gets homage, openness it. It's austrian, Kui Vow Scotty,
ass, the ongoing vast copy. That's what he's got! That's what it's called ass young coups? Why? I can't believe us Gabby? Yes, ok! Cigarette so the design has a pretty simple premise: if dishes, can drive themselves and storage, there's no need to DR manually. So instead of having a drawing back next, you thank you Put your dishes away the camera above the sink and this cabinet. Has special selves with slots, so the waterfalls down through each level and land Ultimately, the think or a slope surface, which then dreams it that sank and as a nice sort of design by product this in the clearing up cluttering, your kids. So you don't have this. You know annoying destroying rack. That's always have full of dishes sitting next. You think so. Your this train wreck is a sin. The same cabinet. You put your dishes away exactly the one step process you just get out. Take the dishes, put him away. They drive themselves. I love it. It's so beautifully simple Mesa do than everyone pays for sure we should have us,
So this regional design, masterpiece was suggested by Anton here now that he lives abroad Anton says I to dry my dishes on Iraq that sits on the counter like a barbarian It's true in town. I agree with you. We are barbarians, so you wrote an article about that when it was a huge it and then it cause people to use and in other little meat. Design solution, and suddenly I had a lot of regional design solutions to work with and The first one that came out was this cutouts table, which is a joke when furnishing that doubles as a heating fixture so picture a really tall coffee table with quilt over the sides that you put your life Zander another underneath these tables there's a small space heater and this top layer of the table. The Lord picture, but just like two two panels sandwich this blankets. You have a service that you can set things on, but you also have this blanket in our work. For extending out on all sides.
Instead of sitting around in an arc facing a fireplace you can actually sit around in a circle and each other and pulled sections of this cover and then sort of interact round this, this central heating element? Why wisest japanese thing so these the historically been really useful in Japan, specifically because installation is often sparse and whole house, It can be difficult and expensive. And traditional japanese clothing also lends itself especially well to this form of space hearing, because warm air can flow up through the folds of a spacious, kimono and then out the neck animals, I mean that's what I like about as its present. On a very specific reason that it comes out of Japan, but, alas, those aren't necessary to function either about those things, would work for a really any place or culture with the way that is out to mice broke Mono suggests that it didn't used to be elected.
You do know mentioned earlier. No historically, they came from our food cooking system that was in the floors. They had these charcoal burning food cookers on the floor, in this morphed into a system where they would try to use that either. And eventually, in the modern era, the sort of port dangerous prone, fire solution was replaced by an electrical heating systems, run cool. One of those golden could tat suitable support through tables. So these would be great everywhere as long as it burn your legs. Is there any incidents. Did you, about anything about people burning their like oh yeah, like their advisory. Is that say, like don't fall asleep under your cats who table like we can definitely like the injuries and things you know it's not a pervert. Do others. Harding does Annette solution, but you also just couldn't sleep on our tables in general, probably celebrates artificially not happy
They will do so is really important to use the Qatar table as described, but that is not like our next design solution was one of its powers? Is the versatility of this object? It's called the hills. Hoist the hills voice is effectively the opposite use case. It can be used for everything that is not designed for I described the hills was basically it he wrote in enclosed line as a central battle, pull that sticks up from the ground like the trunk of a tree with smaller clothesline sports, the branch out from the top and then thinks it's in backyards and it's been slowly breeze drying clothes on a series of lines that just heard of circle that central pole and where is the hills waste from the hills hoist was developed in Australia. And pioneered by this guy in the nineteen parties, whose com from the war and decide to basically build his own backyard. Rotary closely, the first of its kind, but his really took off. They became of commercial success.
Now that company those millions of the things every year. This is not just a thing for drawing closing your backyard like this is become and iconic design. This really tied to Australia yeah. Whenever listeners wrote in with a really great varied tell the exploitation of its rule in Australia in culture and basically, as she explains it, it's this kind of critical fixture of the suburban Australia dream. You get this quarter eager lot with a beautiful backyard and in your beautiful backyard you have the cells voice and it sort of an incomplete picture without that iconic thing. But unlike the single use case of the finnish cabinet or or even the Qatar table, you see, pictures of hills, voice being used as like things that kid's hang on and spin around and paniagua, their whatever, like anything that you can hang something in one spinnet: the hills, always the perfect solution. Yeah hidden and in those agreements
to video that have their of these guys who hooked up lines Thing in a motor and have it spinning super fast and lived there, whipping kids around I'm on a water side on the ground and if there's a way our holiday party, you decorate your hills, hoist, there's a drinking game where people Hank bags of wine from the thing and spend those around and a kind of one of things I kind of love about it. Is that for like every stage of your life, There's some activity that you do, whether you're a kid who swinging on the thing or some You bet witty of this object with boredom of sitting in your back. Your. U will get some kind of creative solution for something yeah, yeah yeah, it's so every method think it's this big thing in its and it is there, and so inevitably, people figure out new things to do.
For something: yeah, yeah yeah, it's so every nets. I think it's this big thing in its and it is there, and so inevitably people figure out new things to deal with it. Besides, you know hanging clothes, so hats off to the hills voiced at some special thanks to elicit Stevens for letting us know about the hills hoist. You wanna, see pictures of any these or if you have a regional design solution from your home country or state, we love to hear about it. You can reach us and then an ip. I dot org Ninety nine percent invisible was produced this week by crook, costed kitty mingle in me, roman Mars, the rest, the team. Is Emmett Fitzgerald, Delaney Hall Turn Maso Sean every twelve men answer if use if we are, but Ninety one point: seven Caille W in San Francisco and produced
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.