locations
Lost in a Maze of Abandoned Stations Beneath the Streets of Barcelona

The always interesting urban exploration crew at Trackrunners have assembled all of their various trips down beneath the streets of Barcelona into one long super-post, an epic catalogue of all things lost and subterranean in that Spanish coastal city. Read More >>

money
The Infrastructural Mystery at the End of Michael Lewis's Flash Boys

What an awesome way to end a book: literally in the last paragraph, and this gives away no spoilers, Michael Lewis's excellent Flash Boys drops a weird infrastructural mystery, right when you were ready to turn out the light and go to sleep. But, right there, in the final six sentences, Lewis lights a fire. Read More >>

science
Views of a Dark World: Illuminating Unseen Infrastructure

For a global society highly dependent on complex technical, economic, and political systems, we manage to carry on our daily routines largely unaware of the hard and soft infrastructure—from pipes to policies—on which these systems rest. That is, until unexpected events, so-called black swans, illuminate the previously hidden pieces and surprise or unsettle us by their presence and function. Read More >>

collection
A Rare Trip on the Floating Train Yard of Hudson Harbour

The only two options that freight trains have for accessing the east side of the Hudson River are to cross a bridge in Albany—140 painstaking miles north of New York City—or to ride a rail barge across the Hudson through the highly efficient marine-rail operation run by NYNJ Rail in Jersey City. Read More >>

image cache
Nine Ingenious Urban Hacks to Make New York City Smarter

We Brits think that we're resourceful, but New York's finest urban hackers have put us to shame. Did you know a bike rack can become a fold-down seat? Or that you can charge your phone at sign posts? Or that a barricade is easily re-purposed as a bench? These are just some of the small but imaginative hacks that make the concrete jungle a slightly more delightful and welcoming place. Read More >>

wtf
Used Canola Oil Turns Dusty Paths Into Roads That Smell Like Chips

Fryer oil turns plain old potatoes into delicious chips. It powers our biodiesel cars. And, now, it's being used to turn the dusty surfaces of rural Canadian roads into stable makeshift asphalt—AND THEY SMELL LIKE CHIPS. God bless our obsession with that infernally unhealthy liquid. Read More >>

hacking
Hackers Can Now Create Fake Traffic Jams

A couple of Israeli students figured out a way to create fake traffic jams using the popular, Google-owned Waze GPS app. While it sounds silly at first, these kinds of infrastructure hacks could have serious consequences as we depend more and more on data to help us get around town. Read More >>

money
Why California's Drought is Good News for Gold Prospectors

Having found a gold lining to the otherwise devastating drought on the west coast of the US, prospectors are flocking to the record-low rivers of the Sierra Nevada foothills. A mini gold rush has kicked off in previously inaccessible riverbeds, not far from the site of California's original gold rush. Read More >>

transport
Network Rail Pumping £38bn into Normal-Speed Train Line Revamp

The existing regular-speed rail network is set for a large overhaul, thanks to Network Rail committing a huge £38bn on refreshing stations, track upgrades, more electrification and even the reopening of some stretches of line that were axed during the rail apocalypse of the 1960s. Read More >>

design
The New Budapest Metro Line is an Awesome Psychedelic Trip

>After ten years of extremely expensive, slow, and politically messed up construction work–it is a long and sad story of government corruption and incompetence–Budapest, the Hungarian capital, got its fourth metro line today. Despite its ill-fated genesis and controversial usefulness, the Metro 4 is an amazing engineering, architectural, and artistic achievement, a mix of stunning concrete structures and trippy ornamentation. It looks stunning. Read More >>

science
Concrete-Dissolving Bacteria are Destroying Sewers

Underground in places nobody likes to look, bacteria are doing terrible things to our sewage pipes. The concrete pipes that carry our waste are literally dissolving away, forcing engineers into a messy, expensive battle against tiny microbes. Read More >>

bikes
This Clever Lift Assists Cyclists Up Steep City Hills

This one goes out to all the city cyclists who have pulled up to the bottom of a steepl hill with three words echoing through their head: Oh. Hell. No. The Norwegian city of Trondheim built a special bike-lift that gives users a free ride, no pedalling required. Read More >>

environment
25 Years After Exxon Valdez, the US Still Isn't Ready for the Next Big Spill

A quarter of a century ago, after the Exxon Valdez's captain downed one too many drinks and left a third mate in charge, the oil tanker struck a reef and bled 41.6 million litres of oil across 1,300 miles of Alaska's coastline. But the catastrophic oil spills have continued in the US—and they're still not prepared to handle them. Read More >>

photography
These Salt Mines Look Like Landscapes From Another Planet

There's something about looking at these photographs of Australian salt mines that… I don't know, they're like a visual chill pill or something. Photographer Emma Phillips snapped these beautiful shots in the Nullarbor Plain of Western Australia, but they look like a landscape from outer space. Read More >>

drones
How Delivery Drones Could Save Lives in Africa

What the first thing you think of when you hear the word "drone?" It might be killing machines. Or reconnaissance quadcopters. Or maybe a honey bee. But for a countless number of people in Africa, it could be a flying packmule with life-saving cargo. Read More >>

locations
How the Persian Gulf is Quietly Building a Railroad Empire

Over in the US, the arrival of a new tunnel boring machine is huge news, warranting naming ceremonies and Twitter accounts. Meanwhile, in Doha, officials have quietly signed a contract to buy fifteen boring machines to build a sprawling new underground rail system. And that's nothing compared to the massive transit network being built to connect the rest of the Gulf states. Read More >>

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