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August 26, 2007

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Beijing Traffic Lesson

Henry B. diagrams the Beijing left. You really need to see this. Excerpt:

[B] proceeds to swerve right, cutting off [C], a tiny red Peugeot with a gold plastic dragon hood ornament, spoiler and assorted knobs glued on. Since [B] is just accelerating, and [C] is now decelerating, this has created a low-density ‘dead space’ in the intersection. [D], a strange blue tricycle dumptruck carrying what appear to be 40 of the world’s oldest propane tanks, sees this and makes a move.

But it’s nothing without the visuals.

Via Tim Johnson.

Posted August 26, 2007 at 6:59 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Recommended, Society/Culture


After reading your description, I first thought this was about the Beijing political left, and the traffic diagram was some kind of analogy. But anyway...

My trip to Hanoi last year was essentially unplanned (I booked my hotel from the airport telephone after I had landed...) so I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. But on the flight over I got the idea from my guidebook that I could rent a bicycle for really cheap and get around the city that way. There was something very reassuring about this idea, and by the time I had landed I was already imagining how great and relaxing and fun it was going to be to ride a bike around this new city, exploring at my own pace.

Well, I did get my cheap bike rental ($0.50 a day!), and it was really fun, but it was definitely not relaxing.

Notice there are no traffic signals of any kind at this 5-way intersection, no conventions about who turns where when, etc. And don't miss the pedestrians making their steady, measured way.

I, too, thought it would be some semi-seditious diagram mapping out the political terrain occupied by leftist radicals. but this is way, way funnier.

Ahhh. Don't confuse the Michigan left w/ a political faction either, then.

Actually, I thought it was pretty funny trying to figure out the allegorical political meaning of the different vehicles, e.g. a "strange blue tricycle dumptruck carrying what appear to be 40 of the world’s oldest propane tanks" rushing into a "low-density ‘dead space’ in the intersection".

Michigan left looks confusing. Boston certainly has its own set of driving rules, but they're mostly driver, not infrastructure, determined.

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