J. Martin

July 17, 2022

5 O’Clock

Y’all might have heard about Germany’s €9 ticket for public transportation, which might or might not become a €69 ticket in the future so that poor people on the trains are no longer a hassle. The problem is, and that’s completely unrelated to how many people actually use Germany’s public transportation system at any one time, it doesn’t fucking work. That’s an old hat of course, and everybody knows that. But during the last four weeks, I had to travel from Duesseldorf, where I live, to Cologne three times, which is, what, 25 miles. Twenty. Five. Miles. Every single time it was a blazing inferno—with trains breaking down, passenger cars missing, connections canceled, personnel unavailable, and other assorted reasons, up to and including yours truly sleeping on a bench on the platform at Cologne Central Station and getting home at five o’clock in the morning (where you gonna be). For some reason, Germany manages to keep up the illusion that services and products might sometimes fail and break down, but are still punctual, functional, reliable, and solid on the whole because, you know, Made in Germany. They’re not. From administration to health care to social services to energy politics to city planning to housing to the retirement system to public transportation, everything has been allowed to rot—and now, at 5 o’clock in the morning—it’s minutes away from going up in flames when it’s exposed to sunlight. As to the public transportation system, it should be added, nobody’s surprised at how decrepit it really is. It’s been in the hands of a Bavarian fringe party forever, which is like putting nationwide public transportation in charge of Joe Manchin. Or, for that and various other matters, the Texas GOP. And, yes, all these matters go hand in hand with two of the three coalition parties’ steadfast refusal to tackle the climate crisis, Putin’s brutal assault on the Ukraine, and the ongoing pandemic in ways that were actually helping. Before, you know, the sun comes up.

All that was nicely complemented last week, sadly, by what’s been going on at Unity, whose software has become a kind of monocultural go-to for game design in general and our students in particular. I wrote about the unfolding events three times—first a linked-list item at my secret level just drafts, Unity’s C-Suite Is Showing Its True Face; then a full post at my primary blog, After the C-Suite, Unity’s Business Model Is Showing Its True Colors Too; then another linked-list item, What Unity’s CEO John Riccitiello Thinks About You. And then there’s this gem from Unity Technologies I found on Twitter, which you have to see with your own eyes to believe it. Beyond Unity, I published a post at my Voidpunk blog on Playable Species of the Void; a new album on Flickr with 20 images I took along Chang’an Avenue in Beijing; a re-edit of a street shot from Pingyao, China, on Glass; and some Instagram entries at betweendrafts and voidpunkverse.

Finally, enjoy these three amazing nature clips: two bald eagles cartwheeling in midair, a hippo charging three lions crossing a river (I admit, Assassin’s Creed Origins had a point there); and these stunning fluid interactions.