Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Too Many Pigeons? Get an Eagle

Mexico City has started using Golden eagles tasked with overflying some of the city's subway installations in order to scare away pigeons, whose poop can cause damage to electrical systems and infrastructure.

El Universal has the story in Spanish.

Para evitar que el excremento de las palomas causen daño a los techos e instalaciones eléctricas de estaciones del Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC) Metro, un grupo de águilas sobrevuelan los inmuebles para “espantar” a las aves y así evitar que formen sus nidos.

Francisco Bojórquez, titular del organismo de transporte capitalino, confirmó que se utiliza la presencia de estos depredadores con la intención de “asustar a las palomas para que no aniden y prevenir el desgaste prematuro de las instalaciones”.

Detalló que las águilas sobrevuelan estaciones como Ciudad Azteca, en la Línea B, o La Paz, que es la terminal de la Línea A Férrea que recorre la calzada Ignacio Zaragoza.

I've seen one of the fantastic birds up close when a handler brought one to my girlfriend's school to show off to the kids. Pigeons have a reason to be scared.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mexico City - Drivers vs Bicycles

Things are heating up in Mexico City between bicyclists and drivers. As the city pushes its Green Plan, including encouraging more bicycles and installing more Ecobici systems, driver frustration was given a voice through Radio 13 Noticias' announcer Ángel Verdugo when he suggested that bicyclists that fail to follow the rules of the road should be 'run over'. El Universal online has the story, in Spanish.

Ernesto Corona, vocero de Bicitekas, dijo que la asociación de ciclistas urbanos levantó una denuncia ante la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal (CDHDF) en torno a declaración del comentarista Ángel Verdugo, quien criticó a los ciclistas que no respetan el Reglamento de Tránsito Metropolitano.

Ángel Verdugo, comentarista radiofónico, aseguró que los ciclistas "son la nueva plaga que está a punto de causar daños severos en el Distrito Federal", debido a que muchos de ellos no respetan los códigos de Tránsito.

Corona dijo que revisan otras acciones en torno a lo que consideró "incitación a la violencia" y añadió que la declaración contra los ciclistas es algo muy grave, sobre todo en la situación de violencia que enfrenta el país. "Empezar a generar más violencia en realidad no es nada bueno para la situación que estamos viviendo y sobre todo para la gran cantidad de gente que esta empezando a utilizar las bicicletas en la Ciudad de México y en el resto del país".

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Language of Rioting

The BBC has an interesting piece covering the language of riots...language driven by social media, social underclasses, and mayhem.

BBC article online

From shot 29-year-old Mark Duggan referring to the police as "feds" to the nuanced use of the word "community", the language of the riots and the response can tell us something.

It may have been England that was shaken by violence, looting and disorder.

But many of the terms used by its perpetrators came from a very different place altogether - and, due to coverage of the rioting, they have found a wider audience than ever before.

"If you see a fed... SHOOT!" read one message circulated on BlackBerry Messenger, imploring readers to riot.

Another, widely reported in the aftermath of the chaos, urged everyone to "up and roll to Tottenham [expletive] the 5-0". There were myriad references as well to the "po po".

"When kids talk about the feds, it's obvious that they're not talking about the FBI," she says. "They know that's not how things work over here. It's like a code - politicians and the media don't understand."

She highlights home-grown phrases like "bully van", meaning police van, and "shank", meaning knife, as evidence that UK street culture is not just passively replicating the language of the US inner cities.

Indeed, Jonathon Green, author of the Chambers Slang Dictionary, points out that many of the messages which circulated during the riots included non-US phrases.

These included exhortations to defend one's "yard" - used in its Jamaican-derived sense, meaning home - or one's "end", a home-grown term referring to an area of a city.

more at the article link above

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Metrobus Line 4 - Mexico City

Mexico City began work this past month on the next metrobus line - number 4 - to run cross town east/west between Buenavista (the train station) and the airport, crossing the heart of the city in the Centro Historico. I assume they are grabbing 2 or 3 lanes of Eje 1 Norte to do it.

Bravo! Another good project by the city that seems dedicated to favouring public transport over private. Drivers will moan about it for a couple of years then get used to the faster flow of people and cars through the area.

Looking forward to lines 5, 6, 7...