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Greg

Caution

When Ralf Trylla, environmental commissioner of the small Icelandic fishing village of Ísafjörður, wanted to slow traffic on a narrow street, he took inspiration from a project in New Delhi (below) that imparted a three-dimensional effect to a traditional zebra crossing.

Trylla partnered with street painting company Vegmálun GÍH to create a similar crossing in Ísafjörður, and they’re assessing the effect as they consider whether to apply it to more of the town’s crosswalks.

(Via My Modern Met.)

Update

Hi, everyone. This is just another update — I need to keep the Futility Closet website suspended for another month, through July, because the libraries I use are still closed due to the pandemic. We’re still producing the podcast in the meantime, and the archives are here if you’d like to browse them. If I can’t start up again in August I’ll post another update here. If you have any questions you can always reach me at greg@futilitycloset.com. Take care of yourselves!

Greg

Update

Hi, all. Just another update here — all the libraries here are still closed, so I need to keep the Futility Closet website suspended through June, as I can’t do the research until they reopen. We’re fine here otherwise, and we’re still producing the podcast each week in the meantime. At the moment there’s no word on when things might return to normal; if I can’t start up the site again in July then I’ll post an update here. If you have any questions you can always reach me at greg@futilitycloset.com. Stay safe!

Greg

Update

Hi, everyone. Just an update here — I’d hoped to resume writing the Futility Closet website in May, but all the libraries are still closed here due to the pandemic, so I’ll have to extend the hiatus. We’re fine here otherwise, and will continue to produce the podcast. I’ll post more updates as events warrant, and the archives are available in the meantime. If you have any questions you can reach me at greg@futilitycloset.com. Take care of yourselves!

Greg

Pausing

Hi, everyone. I’m going to need to suspend the Futility Closet website for the month of April — we’re fine here, but North Carolina has issued a stay-at-home order due to the pandemic, so I can’t reach my libraries to do the research.

Hopefully we can start up again in May; if not, I’ll post an update here. In the meantime the archive is still available, and we hope to keep producing the podcast during this interval.

If you have any questions you can reach me at greg@futilitycloset.com. Thanks, as always, for reading, and stay safe!

Greg

Books

fc books

Just a reminder — Futility Closet books make great gifts for people who are impossible to buy gifts for. Both contain hundreds of hand-picked favorites from our archive of curiosities. Some reviews:

“A wild, wonderful, and educational romp through history, science, zany patents, math puzzles, wonderful words (like boanthropy, hallelujatic, and andabatarian), the Devil’s Game, self-contradicting words, and so much more. Buy this book and feed your mind!” — Clifford A. Pickover, author of The Mathematics Devotional

“Futility Closet delivers concentrated doses of weird, wonderful, brain-stimulating ideas and anecdotes, curated mainly from forgotten old books. I’m hooked — there’s nothing quite like it!” — Mark Frauenfelder, founder, Boing Boing

“Meant to be read in pieces, but impossible to put down.” — Gary Antonick, editor, New York Times Numberplay blog

“Futility Closet is a dusty museum back room where one can spend minutes or hours among seldom-seen curiosities, and feel that none of the time was wasted.” — Alan Bellows, DamnInteresting.com

Both books are available now on Amazon. Thanks for your support!

Sale!

fc store

Today and tomorrow, get 20% off everything in the Futility Closet store — shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more. Just use coupon code ANY20. Thanks for your support!