The Transport of Future Past

We have built ourselves into a mess. An over-abundance of demand for personal mobility is rapidly draining our supply of...

We have built ourselves into a mess. An over-abundance of demand for personal mobility is rapidly draining our supply of fossil fuels. How did we get here? One part of the answer lies with a group of men and women who, a half century ago and more put into the public record their ideas about what our future world should look like. Their visions-sleek lines, orderly grids, automated systems, and fantastic structures-influenced our modern transportation infrastructure. Their ideas ultimately buckled under the weight of their own grandiosity, but the impulse that motivated these explorations-to envision a better future, and hope for its realization-is still relevant. It falls to us to imagine our own better tomorrow.(Above: The Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair is often credited with instilling in Americans our current ideas about transportation. The exhibit, sponsored by General Motors, imagined a world two decades in the future as a vast network of high-speed roadways, connecting disparate suburbs with massive urban centers.)

Above Le Corbusier's concepts for future urbanism predate GM's vision, but are strikingly similar. His sketches for a "Ville Contempor-aine" show towering urban corridors conducting traffic on various levels at high speed through dense city centers.

Above Buckminster Fuller envisioned a time when giant geodesic spheres would float cities of thousands high above the clouds. Fuller hoped Cloud Nine (as he dubbed the project) would enable entire communities to migrate according to the whims of their inhabitants, and "converge and deploy around Earth without its depletion."

Left As part of the avant-garde architecture movement in the 1960s, the English architect Ron Herron of Archigram proposed the Walking City, autonomous robotic structures that could roam the earth depending on the needs or wants of the inhabitants.

Above In the 1970s, NASA commissioned a series of explorations about space colonies, and had artists render some of the concepts. The idea of space settlement is predicated on the notion that someday, humans will need to travel beyond earth and colonize the solar system.

Left The Italian architect Antonio Sant'Elia imagined "La Citta Nuova" in 1914; it showcased large transportation hubs servicing concentrated vertical domestic and industrial structures, common themes in futurist transportation visions. FUTURMA CorbisCLOUD NINES Courtesy of the Estate of R. Buckminster FullerSPACE COLONY Courtesy of nasa.govLE CORBUSIER'S 1927 vision of Paris and the world (re-drawn by Michael E. Arth)THE WALKING CITY by Archigram


The Justice Department sent immigration judges a white nationalist blog post

The blog post was from an "anti-immigration hate website."

Attorney General William Barr via Wikimedia Commons

Department of Justice employees were stunned this week when the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a morning briefing that contained a link to a "news" item on VDare, a white nationalist website.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, VDare is an "anti-immigration hate website" that "regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites." The website was established in 1999 by its editor Peter Brimelow.

The morning briefing is distributed to all EOIR employees on a daily basis, including all 440 immigration judges across the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

Keep Reading Show less

We've all felt lonely at some point in our lives. It's a human experience as universal as happiness, sadness or even hunger. But there's been a growing trend of studies and other evidence suggesting that Americans, and people in general, are feeling more lonely than ever.

It's easy to blame technology and the way our increasingly online lives have further isolated us from "real" human interactions. The Internet once held seemingly limitless promise for bringing us together but seems to be doing just the opposite.

Except that's apparently not true at all. A major study from Cigna on loneliness found that feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise amongst Americans but the numbers are nearly identical amongst those who use social media and those who don't. Perhaps more importantly, the study found five common traits amongst those who don't feel lonely.

Keep Reading Show less

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

Keep Reading Show less
WITI Milwaukee

Joey Grundl, a pizza delivery driver for a Domino's Pizza in Waldo, Wisconsin, is being hailed as a hero for noticing a kidnapped woman's subtle cry for help.

The delivery man was sent to a woman's house to deliver a pie when her ex-boyfriend, Dean Hoffman, opened the door. Grundl looked over his shoulder and saw a middle-aged woman with a black eye standing behind Hoffman. She appeared to be mouthing the words: "Call the police."

"I gave him his pizza and then I noticed behind him was his girlfriend," Grundl told WITI Milwaukee. "She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words, 'Call the police.'"

Keep Reading Show less
Good News