I have failed at understanding what it is that twitter does or at conveying to you how I use facebook. The truth is that I do not know what these websites are good for, and truth be that I use them but I can also live happily ever after without them, like I can live happily ever after without bars. I go into bars. I meet people at bars, I talk with people at bars, and I can live without bars. It has always been this way.
I remember a discussion many years ago with a friend in Schwabing (Munich) about bars when he insisted that we go to a bar (1). For the life of me I really could not get what he found so particularly interesting about bars, I always preferred sitting in his Schwabing kitchen having a coffee, tea, or a glass of wine and some good conversation while a few rooms down the hall some music played in the background. He had a neighbour whose last name was Depp and my visits to him had this highlight of marveling at the neighbours door and wondering what it is like to wake up each morning having Depp as a name. The Depp and the bakery scents from downstairs together with lots of argumentation marked my experience of those days. I could not warm up to the idea of bars, still can not. But then, I do lots of things out of curiosity, not necessarily out of preference. The bars are now digital, they are called twitter, facebook, myspace and what have you not. I like digital objects. Actually, I love digital objects. But now I am stressed. Yesterday a friend with whom I had not conversed in a while asked if my book had been published….
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Push notifications kept me informed, and the information that I got is that I am going to turn off push notifications as they are too much of an intrusion in my monk’s cell. Or, it could be that I am starting to understand why some monks do take a pledge of silence. The more I play with that state of affairs the better I like it.
However it is a delight to learn that the folks in Bern rejected the initiative about a planning study to get the cars out of the Bahnhofplatz. Actually the train station plaza is a mess, it is just a prettier mess than it used to be before the renovation that was concluded last year, but it is still a mess and it has the ugliest pavement that I have ever seen. But then I like cobble stones, and even if they need frequent repair, but the asphalt is not for ever either. But the folks are smart, and they knew that the traffic would have to go somewhere. After all that midnight action between Philippe and I where we went distributing flyers may have helped. Anyhow, it is always fun roaming the streets with Philippe Müller around midnight! Actually a lot of us that were against the initiative put in a fair amount of leg work in distributing flyers.
The Bahnhofplatz in Bern is a mess for bikes, and it would not get much better if cars were not allowed to circulate. Why is it so bad? Because there is no bike path that does not cross the public transportation paths, and those trolley buses and trams are no contest against a bike. I really do not understand why there was no better planning for the place to begin with. So this one is not off the table! Gloria alleluia!
I will follow up with a write up on what all of this means. Meanwhile for those who have requested the slides, here they are:
Thank you all for the feedback after my talk that went beyond and above anything that I could possibly have expected. The LIFT audience is a truly exceptional group of people who have touched me in ways that I could not even have dreamed of.
Update: The videos are up on the Lift conference site, and here it is the one from this presentation…