Tag Archives: netherlands

Google Maps adds bike routes for Europe, Australia – take a trip through the Swedish countryside!

Back in 2010 we added biking directions for users of Google Maps in the US and Canada. Helping cyclists navigate the bike trails throughout those countries proved hugely popular, so we’re wheelie excited to announce that starting today, we’ve also added extensive biking data to Google Maps for Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In many of these countries we are also enabling biking directions in beta mode.

We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.

If you’re keen to start riding into work, or maybe just do your bit for the environment by swapping your car for a bike a couple of days a week, biking directions can help you find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike lanes and avoids hills whenever possible.

 

Source: Google Lat Long Blog - Biking directions expands into Europe and Australia

Average annual hours worked per country

“Over the last century, you’ve seen a reduction from very long working hours – nearly 3,000 a year at the beginning of the 1900s – to the turn of the 21st Century when most developing countries were under 1,800 hours,” says Messenger. “And indeed some of the most productive countries were even lower than that.”

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A look at the average annual hours worked per person in selected countries puts South Korea top with a whopping 2,193 hours, followed by Chile on 2,068.

British workers clock up 1,647 hours and Germans 1,408 – putting them at the bottom of the table, above only the Netherlands.

**The United States is at 1,695.

Greek workers have had a bad press recently but, as we reported in February, they work longer hours than any other Europeans. Their average of 2,017 hours a year puts them third in the international ranking, based on figures compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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“…the US is the only developed country that has no legal or contractual or collective requirement to provide any minimum amount of annual leave,” he says.

The UK, in contrast, is subject to the European working time directive, which requires at least four weeks of paid annual leave for every employee.

 

via BBC – Who works the longest hours?

 

Here is a screenshot of all 34 OECD countries. Click to the BBC to see the interactive version that shows each country’s hours worked.

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Why Amsterdam, Copenhagen are bike friendly cities

“The bicycle was regarded, more than most places in the world — as ‘good for society,’” he writes in an email. “After the bicycle boom in the late 1800s, many cycling clubs merged and then many of them merged again, morphing into cyclist ‘unions’, with political goals. What happened in most countries in the early 20th century was that sports cycling organizations were formed to further cycling as sport…. Not so in Denmark and the Netherlands. The cyclist unions — meaning organizations for promoting cycling as transport, etc. — stayed strong and separate and they gained political influence.”

Still, that didn’t stop planners from ripping out cycle tracks and starting to design streets for cars as Europe modernized in the wake of World War II. By the early 1960s, much of the cycling infrastructure that had existed in the pre-war era was gone, and the percentage of the population using bicycles for transportation fell to an all-time low of 10 percent.

Then history intervened. “The energy crisis in 1973 hit Denmark hard. Very hard,” writes Colville-Andersen. “Car-free Sundays were introduced in order to save fuel. Every second streetlight was turned off in order to save energy. A groundswell of public discontent started to form. People wanted to be able to ride their bicycles again — safely. Protests took place…. The energy crisis faded, but then returned in 1979. More protests. One form of protest/awareness was painting white crosses on the asphalt where cyclists had been killed. This time, things happened. We started to rebuild our cycle track network in the early 1980s. Fatalities and injuries started falling. The network was expanded.

learn more about bikes in each city, and a video, atThe Atlantic Cities

 

// Photo – Moyan_brenn

Man flies like a bird for 100 meters – using “selfbuilt wings”

Subtitles from Dutch

  • I was running…and…(breathing heavy)
  • At one moment you see the ground moving away, and then suddenly you’re free, a really intense feeling of freedom.
  • The true feeling of flying. A **cking magical moment!
  • The best feeling I have felt in my life.

 

From the project website, humanbirdwings.net -

Right here, on this blog I share everything about my crazy plan to build my own wings. My goal? To fly with it! Something Leonardo DaVinci, my grandfather and I dreamed of for a long time. But this summer I decided to really start building it.

 

There was some discussion about the authenticity of this video, but the MythBusters team tackled that:

The video of Jarno Smeets’ flight is cool, and I don’t see evidence that it was faked. It seems reasonable to accomplish, and is something I have wanted to try for a long time.

The still photos of the parts on a table are helpful and the components are appropriate to what the item does in the air. The motors are rare earth magnet low RPM, high torque, outrunners that look in the neighborhood of 3000 watts or so each. So you could have an output of just under 10hp there. The speed controllers look to be appropriate to those motors, and the batteries are lithium ion. This is all appropriate…

via Tested

 

Thx to Don Burke

Future of wind power? I vote for Dutch Windmills and small pinwheels

I recently encountered a state-of-the-art wind tower on the freeway. The base was separated into three parts and the turbine into another three. Carried by six trailers flagged with “wide load” and trailed by escort cars. Yeah, it was big.

The current trend in wind power is to go bigger and bigger with more complex features. Including mag-lev, upper-atmosphere turbines, helicals, loopwings, skyscrapers, and highways (21 different types) .

But, none are more interesting (to me) than the Dutch Windmill and the tiny pinwheels. I really hope our future is a landscape dotted with structural beauties and childhood toys, rather than industrial aluminum.

Doug Selsam’s Sky Serpent uses an array of small rotors to catch more wind for less money. The key to increasing efficiency is to make sure each rotor catches its own fresh flow of wind and not just the wake from the one next to it, as previous multi-rotor turbines have done.

That requires figuring out the optimal angle for the shaft in relation to the wind and the ideal spacing between the rotors. The payoff is machines that use one tenth the blade material of today’s mega-turbines yet produce the same wattage. A wonderful and controversial design of which the inventor says:

“This is a 1,000 year-old design” of the single-bladed turbine, “I knew if I could get more rotors, I could get more power.”