NewsWorks: Stuff We Like
Philadelphia bike sharing program looking for sugar daddy
By Tom MacDonald, @tmacdonaldwhyy

A bike sharing program is continuing to move forward in Philadelphia and the city is looking for a company with deep pockets to buy naming rights.

Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler says grants from both the public and private sector should cover the $10 million to $15 million cost of rolling out a bike share program.

"Eventually there will be somewhere between 150 and 200 bike share stations they will hold about 10 bikes a piece," said Cutler. "When the program is fully operational in 2015 there will be somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 bikes."

The city is seeking a corporate sponsor to buy naming rights for the program, as Citibank did in New York.

Cutler says the bike share will not be citywide though it will cover a great deal of the city.

"From the Delaware River into West Philadelphia, from the Navy Yard through Center City and up to Temple University’s main campus in North Philadelphia so it will be pretty extensive," she said.

The city has set up a website at seeking private property owners willing to host bike share stations.




someone didn’t think this through.

Laughed for like 3 days.

You can see the exact moment where it realizes its mistake.




someone didn’t think this through.

Laughed for like 3 days.

You can see the exact moment where it realizes its mistake.

Allstate says Philly is a car crash haven
By Tom MacDonald @tmacdonaldwhyy

Philadelphia drivers have won a dubious distinction.

The Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report says Philadelphia is the worst city with at least one million in population when it comes to accidents.

 Allstate’s Julia Reusch says her company is not using the report as a way to charge Philly drivers more for insurance.

"What we are doing with this study is just looking at crash data and then there are many factors that go into deciding insurance rates," she said.

Reusch says the study also seeks to find ways to cut down accidents.

"It sounds so simple, but unfortunately it’s not anymore," she said. "When you are driving, just pay attention to driving. People are talking with their kids, they are turned around, they are fiddling with their radio. We want people to focus on their driving when they are driving."

Philadelphia isn’t the worst city overall. Washington DC, which only has about 600,000 residents, has that “honor.”


A turning point in the battle against the Rim fire

Today marks the eleventh day in the efforts to contain the rampaging Rim fire, which has so far torn through 161,000 acres near the northern end of Yosemite National Park, threatening everything from historical camp sites, to homes, the local environment and even San Francisco’s utilities.

But there’s a light at the end of the charred tunnel - the fire is now 20% contained, a sizable jump from just 7% two days ago.

"The fire will burn until the snow flies," said Tom Medema, a Yosemite National Park interpretive ranger. "But today, we finally had a chance to box it in."

See more of the blaze over at Framework, or read more on continued efforts to contain it via L.A. Now.

Photos: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Filling big, floppy shoes at Clownfest 2013 

By Kimberly Paynter, @KPaynter

Funny men and women from across the region converged at the 32nd Annual Clownfest last weekend in Lancaster, Pa. Participants competed in a costume contest, attended performances and magic classes, exchanged tips on make-up, and perused the big shoes, rubber noses and other clown goods at the Lancaster Host Resort.

Festival participants headed to Clipper Stadium for a Barnstormers baseball game on Friday afternoon where they entertained the crowd.  A few hours before the game, Walter Slaymaker of Warmister, Pa., carefully applied make-up to his face in his hotel room.  Slaymaker, or “Buttons,” has been performing part-time as a clown for 22 years, and although he’s typically a reserved person, he said the costume changes him.

"Once I get in front of a crowd, I do things that are crazier," said Slaymaker, "Once you’re in full regalia, once you step out of the house, you’re on from that point, because kids will constantly come up to you, toot the horn at you when you’re driving, it’s a lot of fun."

One of the youngest festival-goers, Joey Klein, 15, or “Jozo,” said he uses his character to accentuate his natural clown and takes inspiration from real life to develop his act.

"I’ll do a chair gag, which is pretty much me trying to sit in a chair, but it goes terribly wrong so I end up getting folded up in the chair," said Klein. He added that getting stuck in a chair has happened to him in real life.

Klein’s been clowning since he was 3 years old and now works professionally at fairs and parties. He hopes that after college he’ll continue to perform close to his home in North Caldwell, N.J.

Like Klein, Carol Williams, or “Bingo” uses her character to accentuate her natural silliness.  Williams worked as a sixth grade teacher before becoming a clown, and after 30 years, she now owns her own agency that manages 50 performers throughout Virginia and Maryland.

"I actually have a hard time not just joking around with people, no matter what I’m wearing," said Williams. "But if you are down sometimes, and you just don’t want to put the make-up on, as soon as you start putting it on, something happens."  She described the experience as "transformative."

"Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects," said Williams. "Except if you have a full bladder!"

Retired clown Leon McBride, once a famous performer with The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, sold custom rubber noses at the festival. McBride said that each clown should have a unique face and that it takes about 13 years to fully develop a character, until the application of the face becomes part of an individual’s subconscious.

McBride trumpeted the importance of laughter, that after a personal experience — a disaster in one’s life, when someone begins to laugh again, it is a sign of recovery.  “Clowns are reflections of ourselves as imperfect human beings,” McBride said. “We have to be able to laugh at ourselves.”


Roger Federer tries to play the violin during an advertising film shooting in Zurich, Switzerland to promote the Lucerne Festival, a prestigious classical music festival that celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The festival will last September 16, 2013.  (Photo: AFP Photo/Credit Suisse/Lucerne Festival)


Sure, color film existed in 1963. And sure, there are probably color photos of this day in history. But the vast majority of the imagery we’re used to seeing is black-and-white — such as, for example, the digitized photos in the Library of Congress (LOC).

But what if we could see them in color?

The act of colorizing photographs is as old as photography itself. Magic lanterns, autochromes, etc.: It was all done by hand. For some reason, though, my jaw dropped when a coworker directed me to a group on Reddit called Colorized History. Only a few months old, it has about 16 regular contributors — and approximately 24,000 subscribers. Their work has been circulating around the web a lot lately, and they’re not the only people doing this, but they’re really good.

Colorizing The March On Washington

Photo Credit: Original images by Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress, Color images by Oliver Wistisen, Frank Augrandjean and Mads Madsen

A new Philadelphia facility designed to make it easier for victims of sexual abuse to get on the road to recovery is being heralded as a national model.