March 2004


Electricity, Paris  #

Americans buy their electricity from huge, faceless utilities. In France, the old ways still linger. Most French families get their electricity from small neighborhood shops. Sure, it's less convenient. But what could be better than starting the day with a trip down to the corner for a freshly generated kWh?

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I've extended the deadline for submissions to the collaborative video project until the end of Thursday. If you don't know what I'm talking about, and your digital camera can make a simple little video clip, drop a note to project at lightningfield dot com for more info. It's not too late.

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Metrorama: "This site offers a visit of selected Paris subway stations through panoramic pictures. Its only ambition: every month, a new picture."



Paris streets  #



Pont Alexandre III, Paris  #

Pont Alexandre III, Paris.

"Have you seen, Sariette, that the rascals are going to rip up the Palais Mazarin, and cover up the very heart and centre of the Old Town, the finest and most venerable place in the whole of Paris, with the deuce knows what works of art of theirs? They are worse than the Vandals, for the Vandals, although they destroyed the buildings of antiquity, did not replace them with hideous and disgusting erections and atrocious bridges like the Pont d'Alexandre." -- Anatole France, The Revolt of the Angels, 1914.

Paris sewers  #

Musée des égouts de Paris.
Tour a chunk of the Paris sewer system, which has 1,300 miles of human-accessible tunnels.

They clean the silt out of some of the drainage tunnels by sending a huge ball down them, kind of like the one in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Related links:
-- Paris sewer tour by Peter van der Linden
-- "Waste matters on Paris tours," Baltimore Sun
-- Historical engravings and photos from

For further research:
-- Paris-related links from
-- Zone-Tour: Database of Urban Exploration

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I am seeking volunteers for a collaborative project. If you have access to a digital camera or other device that can make a primitive little video clip, and you want to participate, send an e-mail to project at lightningfield dot com.


Arc de Triomphe, Paris  #

Arc de Triomphe, Paris.

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A reporter for the French newspaper Le Figaro checks out a French language Meetup in New York, where she learns that French is better than Spanish because Spanish is the language of Mexican immigrants. Classy! Article, auto-translation.

Also an update on the anti-advertising issue, mentioned here on 3.11: A group called Act for the Environment has paid for a series of anti-advertising advertisements in a Métro station: "Advertising kills," "Ads privatize public space," etc. Brilliant or stupid? Hard to tell. Article, auto-translation. See also Eric Pfanner of the IHT on anti-ad militants.


Outdoors, Paris  #



Paris streets and such  #



Stone, Paris  #


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Souvenirs from the earth. Ambient video for your wall-mounted LCD. "Video replaces paintings."


7th arrondissement, Paris  #

7th arrondissement, Paris.

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This week the Parisian transit authorities started a "liberty of expression" program, putting up 47 blank billboards in 24 stations and inviting riders to write on them. (Bad autotranslation.) This is to discourage people from writing anti-advertising slogans over the regular ads, a surprisingly popular hobby here. My favorite quote from the linked article:

"You have nothing better to do, band of idiots!" grumbled one man upon seeing young people writing on the panels.


The Metro, Paris  #

The Metro, Paris.
This New York-based photolog is turning into a Paris-based photolog for a few months. I'm thinking there will be fewer photos of trash.


Skyscraper fog, Midtown Manhattan  #

Midtown Manhattan.

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Charlie over at Manhattan User's Guide asked a bunch of bloggers, including me, to compile a list of 10 great things about New York City. Mine is Brooklyn-centric. Part one ran yesterday.

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Subway systems of the world, presented on the same scale. Via Mike.


Armour House, Lake Forest, Illinois (1)  #

Armour House, Lake Forest, Illinois.

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