Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hidden Logos: 12 Creative Designs with Secret Symbols

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Hidden Logos: 12 Creative Designs with Secret Symbols: [ By Steph in Architecture & Design, Graffiti & Drawing. ]

A logo is a company’s most visible piece of visual branding, stamped on everything from billboards to promotional pens. But sometimes, you can stare at a familiar design again and again before noticing small but delightful hidden symbols, meaning and even messages. From binary code to the clever combination of interlocking shapes, these 12 logos pack in a little something extra.

London Symphony Orchestra

(image via: crossed cow)

The London Symphony Orchestra escaped its staid reputation a bit with this redesigned logo, featuring the letters ‘LSO’ in a modern script that forms a single wavy line. But what you may not see immediately is the abstract image of a conductor waving with one arm and conducting with the other.


(image via: noquedanblogs)

You’ve probably seen the Toblerone logo dozens of times – it’s just a mountain, right? Look closer. There’s a bear shape hidden in the negative space within that mountain, symbolizing the city of Bern, Switzerland where the Matterhorn mountain that inspired the logo is located.


(image via: 38one)

Do you ever see a logo and think to yourself, what was the designer thinking? How does this random image contribute to or identify this brand’s identity? In this case, at least, you’re simply not in on the joke – unless you’re a math nerd. If you view the dark squares as ‘1′ and the light squares as ‘0′, the two rows read 1010000 and 0010100, which read 80 and 20 in binary.


(image via: 38one)

Perhaps it’s not the most readable logo ever, but it works flawlessly as a visual representation of the puzzle game ‘Cluenatic’, which involves unraveling four clues. Each of the four letters in the world ‘Clue’ are nested inside each other like a puzzle or a maze.

Sony Vaio

(image via: vector logo)

VAIO was originally just an acronym for Video Audio Integrated Operation – since changed to Visual Audio Intelligence Organizer. But the strange, seemingly abstract logo derives from another lucky coincidence: ‘VA’ represents an analog wave and ‘IO’ represents digital binary code, perfectly illustrating the integration of analog and digital technology.

Northwest Airlines

(image via: seek logo)

Before they changed it to something far less interesting – and then faded into oblivion by merging with Delta – Northwest Airlines had one of those logos that contain a bit of symbolism entirely unnoticed by the vast majority of the public. Sure, it’s got the ‘N’ and ‘W’, seemingly placed inside a circle for no good reason – but check out the location of that little triangle making up the upper corner of the ‘W’. It’s the arrow of a compass, pointing northwest.

Milwaukee Brewers

(image via: sportslogos.net)

Sure, it was just a bit of luck that gave the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team a name with the initials ‘M’ and ‘B’, but it took a great logo designer to see how those letters – combined with the negative space in a lowercase ‘b’ – could form a mitt with a baseball in it.


(image via: logo pond)

Designed for a rock band from Vancouver, this logo is like one of those left brain/right brain quiz images: what do you see first, the picture or the word?

Museum of London

(image via: lyndsey cole)

Well now, isn’t that a pretty… blob. But there’s more to the Museum of London logo than an artsy splash of watercolor; the various colored circles actually represent the changing shape of London throughout history.

Hope for African Children Initiative

(image via: hopeforafricanchildren.org)

In this trick of the eye, you’re actually drawn to look at the negative space first – the continent of Africa in white, albeit a rather unfaithful rendering. A closer look reveals the shapes of a child and a woman on either side in shades of orange.

Presbyterian Church

(image via: trinity presbyterian church)

How many symbols can you fit into one relatively uncluttered, uncomplicated logo? The Presbyterian Church logo is a pretty good example of making this work: you’ve got a cross, a bible on a pulpit, a pastor’s robes, a dove, a fish and fire all within the same basic shape.


(image via: logo pond)

Designed by Mike Erickson (otherwise known as Logomotive) for a fictitious company, this logo has three different elements combined into one simple and visually striking symbol. That curving lowercase ‘e’, which stands for ‘elefont’ and highlights an elegant font, also has an elephant trunk shape hidden inside it.

12 (More) Volatile Volcanoes That Are Ready to Blow

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12 (More) Volatile Volcanoes That Are Ready to Blow: [ By Steph in Geography & Travel, Nature & Ecosystems. ]

When Indonesia’s Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, the world got an all too vivid glimpse at just how far-reaching the damage can be. The largest volcanic eruption in the earth’s history killed 100,000 people and caused ‘The Year Without a Summer‘, crop-killing summer snow and freezing temperatures in the United States and Europe. Today, Iceland’s Mount Eyjafjallajökull is far from the only one to worry about.There’s an unusual amount of seismic activity happening everywhere from Washington State to North Korea, with 12 deadly volcanoes nearing potential eruption.

Katla Volcano, Iceland

(image via: earth magazine)

If you thought Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull eruption was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. Think of the Katla volcano as Eyjafjallajökull’s fiercer, angrier, more violent sister. A Katla volcano eruption would be ten times stronger and would shoot larger plumes of ash much higher in the air. Though experts feared that Katla might be set off by the eruption back in April, it hasn’t happened yet – but that doesn’t mean it won’t.

Mount Baekdu, North Korea

(image via: wikimedia commons)

Mount Baekdu is sacred to Koreans, deeply connected to their history – the legend goes that this volcanic mountain on the border between North Korea and China is the ancestral origin of their people. But it may soon be connected to a new, less positive legend; experts believe it’s going to erupt for the first time since 947 A.D. sometime between 2014 and 2015. Last time, the amount of ash created is estimated to have been 1,000 times that of the recent Iceland eruption.

Mayon Volcano, Philippines

(image via: wikimedia commons)

In December of 2009, residents of the central province in the Philippines got the warning: evacuate, because Mayon is going to blow any time now. Tens of thousands of people fled the area as Mount Mayon began to hiss steam and spew ash into the air and lava began to pour down the mountainside. Ultimately, the volcano didn’t erupt – not yet, at least. The warning level has been lowered since then, but experts say the danger is far from past, especially as volcanic earthquakes and rockfall events continue to occur.

Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA

(image via: wikimedia commons)

30 years ago, Mount St. Helens caused utter chaos in Washington State, killing dozens of people and decimating more than 200 square miles of forest. It erupted again in 2004 – much more mildly – but another eruption is just a matter of time, and there would be very little warning once it began. Scientists estimate that Mount St. Helens would send a plume of ash 30,000 feet into the sky within five minutes.

Yellowstone Volcano, Wyoming, USA

(images via: wikimedia commons)

When Iceland’s volcano erupted in April 2010, the most damage it did was to the airline industry as billions of dollars were lost to grounded flights. But, as CBS News puts it, “If the Yellowstone volcano has a major eruption, you won’t be thinking much about flying.” That’s because this gigantic little-known volcano, which lies under the surface of one of America’s most popular national parks, would level nearby towns and cover a huge portion of the central US with dozens of feet of ash if it erupted. Right now, the rock is about 5% molten, and it needs to reach 15% before an eruption – which could happen in a matter of days, but would have to be triggered by a major event about as likely as a mile-wide asteroid hitting the earth. The Yellowstone volcano is being carefully monitored by scientists, so we’ll likely know far ahead of time if this baby gets ready to blow.

Marsili Volcano, Italy

(image via: cnn.com)

As if Southern Italy didn’t have enough volcanic threats, there’s also the possibility of a nearby undersea volcano collapsing and causing a catastrophic tsunami. In that sense, the Marsili Volcano isn’t technically “about to blow” – but it could cause just as much damage. In fact, experts at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology say that the volcano’s walls could crumble at any time, producing shock waves that could theoretically sink the whole of Southern Italy into the Mediterranean Sea. It’s not a matter of if, but when – however, that ‘when’ may not occur for hundreds of years.

Glacier Peak, Washington, USA

(image via: herald net)

Compared to the majesty of nearby Mount Rainier and Mount Baker, Washington State’s Glacier Peak seems like a mole hill. But buy a home in Snohomish County, and you’ll be forced to sign a document acknowledging your awareness of the fact that you’ll be living within the volcano’s reach. Glacier Peak is one of 18 U.S. Volcanoes listed as “very high threat”, but it has only three siesmometers and no GPS monitoring stations. Its last major eruption was about 1800 years ago, and when it erupts again, it will be far more violent than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Mount Vesuvius, Italy

(image via: wikimedia commons)

The 1 million people who live at the base of Mt. Vesuvius don’t need to be reminded of the horrors that another eruption of that infamous volcano would bring – they know all too well. Pompeii, completely annihilated in the year 79 B.C.E., is just minutes from the bustling metropolis of Naples, Italy. Yet another eruption killed 4,000 people in 1631, while a 1944 eruption took the lives of 26. Vesuvius is now considered Italy’s “biggest public safety problem”, though no one can predict when it will next awaken. Luckily, the chance of another Pompeii-sized eruption is only around 1 percent.

Ischia Volcano, Italy

(image via: wikimedia commons)

Not far from Mount Vesuvius, just a few miles away off the coast of Southern Italy, lies yet another volcano that could potentially erupt at any time – and while it’s far less known than Vesuvius, it may be even more dangerous. Ischia last erupted 700 years ago, and scientists say that it’s experiencing a build-up of magma that may be a disturbing hint at coming events.

Mount Merapi, Indonesia

(image via: wikimedia commons)

It’s a beautiful sight, towering over the surrounding flat lands with their jumbles of bright-roofed buildings. But Mount Merapi is also deadly, and capable of meting out an incredible amount of destruction. It has earned its place among the world’s most active volcanoes, with mild eruptions occurring every 2-3 years, larger ones every 10-15 years and exceptionally lethal eruptions happening every 40-60 years. In 1930, 1400 people lost their lives and 13 villages were destroyed; in 2006, the volcano threatened to blow but seismic activity calmed down within a couple weeks.

Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo

(image via: xinhuanet)

Just like its similarly volatile neighbor Nyamuragira, the volcano Nyiragongo – located in the Democratic Republic of Congo – is extremely active, having erupted at least 34 times since 1882. A major eruption in 2002 sent lava pouring into the streets of nearby towns. Another one is likely forthcoming: in June 2010, a massive plume of molten rock associated with volcanic activity was discovered heading toward the East African Rift upon which Nyiragongo sits.

Taal Volcano, Philippines

(image via: wikimedia commons)

In the Philippines, residents are on alert for a possible eruption of the Taal Volcano, which could blow for the first time since 1997. Located just 30 miles south of the densely populated capital city of Manila, Taal could cause significant upheaval in the region including fatalities. The volcano began hissing steam last year and many high-frequency volcanic earthquakes were detected in the third week of June 2010, with magma currently moving toward the surface.

Monday, 28 June 2010

I, Rubikcubist: 30 Twisted Works Of Rubik’s Cube Art

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I, Rubikcubist: 30 Twisted Works Of Rubik’s Cube Art: [ By Steve in Gadgets & Geek Art, Games & Gaming, Urban & Street Art. ]

Rubik’s Cubes are meant to be solved, right? Wrong – the art of cubing takes on a different meaning under the 8-bit eyes of Invader. Twisting dozens, even hundreds of Rubik’s Cubes into precise patterns of pixelated pointillism, Invader updates artistic techniques pioneered by Picasso, Duchamps, Seurat and others into a new and distinctly modern form: Rubikcubism.

(image via: Gradient Magazine)

Who or what is Invader? One clue is the name of this former French street artist’s website: Space-Invaders.com. Indeed, Invader’s first pieces of what has been dubbed Rubik’s Cube Folk Art were representations of early 8-bit arcade game characters such as the digitized alien enemies from Space Invaders.

(image via: Space-Invaders)

As the above angled photo shows, it doesn’t take many Rubik’s Cubes to form a simple representation of an 8-bit video game character – in this case, just nine. You’re probably thinking what Invader was thinking back in ‘05… with more Rubik’s Cubes, more complex and detailed images could be formed.

(images via: Space_Invaders and The Frisky)

The above image of student anarchist Florence Rey is shown both in-progress and completed (above, lower right). As can be seen, the image used a Polaroid instant photo of Rey as its source. Rubik’s Cubes were then twisted into the proper sequence of pixels and then affixed to a backing board. Invader needed a total of 221 Rubik’s Cubes to complete the Rubikcubism work in late 2005.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

Even complex images with wide variation in color, shade and intensity can be successfully rendered using Rubikcubism but as always, the more cubes (and thus, more pixels), the more detail which can be rendered. The above Atomic Bomb blast took 294 Rubik’s Cubes to create and the six colors of the basic Cube (red, orange, yellow, white, green, and blue) were sufficient to capture and display the image.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

Although most any image can be represented with properly prepared Rubik’s Cubes, faces – especially familiar ones – spark recognition much faster. Our brains are hard-wired to perceive faces in less than ideal conditions; forming them from Rubik’s Cubes allows for the same effect, regardless of the fact that both the Rubik’s Cube and 8-bit animation are both less than 40 years old. Just in case their names are overly elusive, from the top left: Gene Simmons of KISS, Jack Nicholson in the film The Shining, and Frankenstein. Below is a Rubikcubism triptych of notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal.

(image via: Torontoist)

Rubikcubism isn’t Invader’s sole artistic niche, not is he the only artist creating pictorial folk art from the ubiquitous geek icon. Robbie McKinnon (above), an electrician from Toronto, Canada, created much of his so-called Cube Works in the late 2000s and has, at last word, moved on to other forms of visual expressive art.

(image via: Torontoist)

McKinnon’s version of Frankenstein, above, shows many similarities and some differences to Invader’s portrayal of the classic Hollywood movie monster.

(images via: Torontoist and Space_Invaders)

Here are versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa side by side, above: McKinnon’s on the left used 315 Rubik’s Cubes, Invader’s on the right used 330. Curiously, the artists use different techniques to create what appear to be astonishingly similar end results. McKinnon uses Photoshop to pixilate his source images, then manipulates the individual Rubik’s Cubes manually. Invader uses a computer program to dictate the exact arrangement of facets required for each Rubik’s Cube. Either way, the finished works measure about 3 by 4 feet and weigh around 80 pounds each.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

While both McKinnon and Invader have chosen, for the most part, to use Rubikcubism to put a new face on pop culture, Invader’s body of work covers more ground with a particular focus on crime, criminals and anti-heroes as depicted in films. Those above include (from top, clockwise) Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in 1967’s Bonnie & Clyde, Robert De Niro in 1976’s Taxi Driver and Al Pacino in 1983’s Scarface.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

True life anti-heroes and villains are also fodder for Invader’s Rubikcubism tributes: from above top left and working clockwise, we have Al Capone, Charles Manson and the late Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious posing for a well-publicized mugshot.

(images via: Jonathan Levine Gallery and Videdesign)

Music is an integral part of modern pop culture and that fact hasn’t escaped the attention of Invader or exhibitors like the Jonathan Levine Gallery in new York. Rubikcubism constructs of some famous album covers include, at the extreme top left to right: The Clash and Iron Maiden. Below from above upper left and moving clockwise are homages to The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Nirvana and Roxy Music.

(images via: Game Set Watch)

In the summer of 2009, the Lazarides Rathbone gallery in London, UK, put on an exhibition titled Low Fidelity, featuring Invader among others. Music-inspired works by Invader included Rubikcubism album covers from Michael Jackson and The Doors.

(images via: Hustler Of Culture and If It’s Hip It’s Here)

Erno Rubik invented the eponymous Rubik’s Cube back in 1974 and received his patents on the device in 1977. One wonders what he thinks of the current status of his claim to fame some 30-odd years later… well, let’s just quote him, from 2007: “I’m glad the Cube is reaching new generations, who face it with fresh wonder, curiosity and enthusiasm.” We’re glad too, Erno!

Friday, 25 June 2010

DIY Lightbulb Recycling is Cooler Than You Think

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DIY Lightbulb Recycling is Cooler Than You Think: [ By Marc in Art & Design, Home & Garden. ]

When a lightbulb burns out, we rarely give it a second thought. Thank goodness some quality crafters have lent their imagination toward this fragile household item, intent on giving burnt out bulbs a second life as something very different, and aesthetically pleasing. Light up your house and defy expectations with these DIY uses for otherwise useless lightbulbs:

(Images via walyou, loganbibby)

Terrariums are often large and complicated affairs that take up a good amount of space that a lot of urban dwellers can’t afford. Enter the lightbulb terrarium, a quick and easy DIY project that lends a bit of nature to a bookshelf or table.

(Images via makezine, unplggd)

Anything worth making is worth making steampunk. A unique terrarium built into something much more complicated and beautiful, these setups are gorgeous examples of craftsmanship, culminating in the patent magnifying glass to get a close up view of your mini garden.

(Images via imzunnu, diylife)

Ships in a bottle are classic, but why not take it a step further and create a ship in a lightbulb? These examples epitomize a curveball in an otherwise cliche artform that’s both green and interesting.

(Images via craftbits, junkmail)

Lightbulbs are light enough to be easily hung and used as unique planters. By far the easiest DIY use of lightbulbs, it’s also one of the most stunning.

(Images via iconolith, craftycrafty, curbly)

While I’m naturally a bit wary of creating a kerosene lamp out of something so fragile (and with a curved base), less timid crafters have perfected a safe and gorgeous design for easy to make lightbulb lamps. There’s something wonderful about turning a symbol of the electric era into a throwback lamp with the same purpose, but in such a different fashion.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Attracting Stairs: 10 Extremely Elevating Escalators

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Attracting Stairs: 10 Extremely Elevating Escalators: [ By Steve in Architecture & Design, Travel & Places, Urbanism. ]

Escalators… these effortless inclined elevators have moved millions over the past century yet are usually dismissed as utilitarian urban appliances. Not so – escalators today exhibit a multitude of designs and many display unexpected design features. These 10 extreme escalators are a step ahead in pedestrian transportation and as triumphs of civil engineering ensure nothing is “lift” behind.

The Oldest Escalators

(images via: Going Underground and The Elevator Museum)

Though the U.S. Patent Office first awarded a patent for plans describing a device that purported to be an early escalator in 1859, the first working model wasn’t built until almost a half-century later. Several inventors introduced escalators as the turn of the 19th century approached, the most notable being Jesse Reno whose “inclined elevator” was set up as a ride at New York’s Coney Island amusement park in 1896. It looked like a ride: more like a hobby-horse than an escalator. Clearly some refinement was in the works, and Reno’s patents were eventually bought up by the Otis Elevator Company.

(images via: To The End Of The Line)

Early escalators had stairs made of wood – which happens to burn, unfortunately. One of the most notorious escalator accidents in history occurred on November 18th, 1987, when a fire fanned by drafts in London’s Underground subway network killed 31 people. The fire at King’s Cross St. Pancras station started beneath a wooden escalator built shortly after the Second World War. Following the tragedy, most of London’s wooden escalators were removed and replaced; some of the last remaining ones can be seen (and ridden) at Greenford Station.

The Longest Escalator

(images via: Natalya Grigorieva)

Russia’s Moscow metro is very much a work in progress with initial construction beginning in 1931 and the first line opening to the public in May of 1935. Park Pobedy station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line opened in 2003 and features escalators 126.8 m (413 ft) long, containing 740 steps. From start to finish, a ride on the Park Pobedy escalators can take almost 3 minutes. Why such a long escalator? A little something called the Cold War – subways stations built in the post-WW2 era were often sited very deep so that they could double as fallout shelters if needed.

(image via: Dr. Dennis Yenn)

If travel plans to Moscow aren’t on your agenda, you can still ride the Park Pobedy escalator, if only virtually. Here’s a video that shows what such a ride might be like:

Moscow Metro Park Pobedy, via Drugbuster

The Shortest Escalator

(images via: Scienceray and 2dayBlog.com)

Ultra-long escalators are long for one reason or another; ultra-short ones… well, their reasons for existing are not so easily discerned. Take the escalator at the Okadaya Mores shopping mall in Kawasaki, Japan, for example… but don’t blink or you’ll miss it. This ridiculously short – only 5 steps – escalator features a vertical rise of just 32.8 inches (83 cm). My guess is, the contractor had some leftover construction materials and thought it better to use them instead of dumping them.

(image via: Treehugger)

In the mood for a short trip? Hop on the Okadaya Mores shopping mall escalator through the wonders of YouTube… no bannister-sliding allowed:

Shortest Escalator In The World, via MW827

The Highest Escalators

(images via: My Interesting Files)

You normally wouldn’t associate escalators with skyscrapers; that’s where their cousins, elevators, come in. Then there’s the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan, the city’s seventh-tallest building. The 568 ft (173 m) high building was completed in 1993 and consists of two 40-story towers with a series of escalators providing access to and from the top 2 stories. A circular atrium piercing the roof and upper levels of the building is bisected by a pair of escalators.

(images via: My Interesting Files)

This video puts you on one of the Umeda Sky Building’s escalators, thus sparing you from feelings of extreme agoraphobia an actual ride might bring on:

Umeda Sky Building Escalators, via Eraser851

The Narrowest Escalators

(images via: EAHIV, Livlab and CrispyTeriyaki)

One can’t designate any one escalator as “the narrowest”, as escalators roughly 16 inches (40 cm) wide were a standard size back in the day. Often installed by department stores and at transit (usually train) stations, these narrow escalators made side-by-side riding impossible and, given America’s skyrocketing obesity rate, would prove to be a challenge for a growing number of horizontally-challenged riders.

(images via: The SubwayNut)

Here’s a video of an old narrow escalator in operation somewhere in “The City With Big Shoulders”, Chicago:

The Smallest Escalator In The History Of America!, via Slimer182

Curved Escalators

(images via: Vancouver Sun, 3Gpdb and Hale_Popoki)

Curved escalators are a recent development in architectural infrastructure that has perhaps been overly hyped. While visually and aesthetically pleasing, the engineering behind curved escalators is rather run of the mill. That doesn’t stop the hotels, malls and other buildings that have installed curved escalators from celebrating them as something akin to a Star Trek transporter. Take the twin curved escalators at Canada’s River Rock Casino Resort… they were inaugurated with a flashy ceremony that included a chef knocking the top off a champagne bottle with a saber.

(images via: Jonknee)

Don’t believe it? Check it out in the following video:

Canada\’s First Curved Escalators at River Rock, via BCtourist

Spiral Escalators

(images via: The Fresh Page and BigMallrat)

Spiral escalators are basically an extension of curved escalator engineering – just continue the curve long enough so that the escalator spirals in upon itself. Not to downplay the visual impact of spiral escalators to those riding them – it can be a remarkable experience. Spiral escalators have been installed at Wheelock Place in Singapore, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Hilton (sounds like Paris’ other sister), the Landmark Tower in Japan, the Times Square shopping mall in Hong Kong, Lotte World in South Korea, The Venetian Hotel and Casino in Macau, Wynn Las Vegas and The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, Nevada (below), and the San Francisco Centre in San Francisco, California.

(images via: Life In The Fast Lane)

The latter was the first installation of a spiral escalator in the Western Hemisphere. Go for a visual ride in the following video – it’s very short but just long enough to get the point across:

Curved Escalators San Francisco Centre, via GT2697

Staggered Escalators

(image via: Utopian Vision)

Now here’s an escalator most have never heard of, let alone experienced: the staggered escalator. This type of escalator alternates diagonal sections with short flat intervals, possibly to ease any feelings of vertigo that may be felt by riders. Other explanations center on whether the escalator was built over an existing staircase which rose at an angle incompatible with the escalator’s proper function. Though most staggered escalators are long and feature short flat sections, the escalator at Tokyo’s Fuji TV Building alternates flat and diagonal sections so that riders appear to be riding a stegosaurus’ back.

Here’s a short video of riders on the Fuji TV Building’s “bucking bronco” escalator. Notice that nobody’s using the stairs:

Funky Warped Escalator, via ShoyuJapanTV

Outdoor Escalators

(images via: PT21Chong’s Blog and My Notebook On The Web)

Outdoor escalators present engineers with unique challenges, including what to do in the event of inclement weather. Covering the tracks is one option though the cost is prohibitive in many cases. Not in Hong Kong, however, where the world’s longest covered outdoor escalator system snakes its way up and down, uptown and downtown. The Central Mid Levels Escalator and walkway system spans a total combined length of 2,626.66 feet or approximately 800 meters). Interestingly, the escalator only runs in one direction at a time depending on the predominant traffic flow during the morning and evening rush hour.

(image via: Life In The Fast Lane)

A look at the steep city streets in urban Hong Kong show why city planners decided such a large escalator and walkway system should be built:

Longest Escalator In Hong Kong, via TRSheelah

Bicycle Escalators

(images via: Lonelee Planet and Jonathan Charles)

When is an escalator NOT an escalator? When it’s a bike-a-lator, in essence an escalator for bicycles. Developed with the needs of city housewives in mind, the bicycle escalators found on some of Japan’s large cities feature narrow slots wide enough to rest the user’s bicycle wheels. The dismounted rider then walks up the steps, holding the bike’s hand brake, while the escalator smoothly moves the bike along a track set beside the stairs.

(images via: Picasa – Frederick and BIGmog)

Sound a bit too weird to wrap your mind around? Watch this video and all will be revealed:

Bike escalators in Tokyo and Kyoto, via Gzdll

Escalator Safety: It’s A Croc!

(images via: Singapore Seen, Let’s Japan and Droolicious)

It’s been mentioned that escalators are considered utilitarian… unfortunately to some that means they can be taken lightly with no regard to safety. Not so! Accidents – some fatal – occur with disturbing frequency on escalators. Those trendy Crocs sandals were implicated in a rash of escalator accidents, most involving children, in both the USA and Japan several years ago.

The following escalator safety video from China is a bit weird but gets the message across:

Escalator – Safe Use (Chinese Version), via EMSD300

(image via: FitnessFriends)

Escalators are our friends… use them wisely and they can make life less tiring and more convenient. Use them unwisely and, well, don’t be surprised if the situation escalates.