Amsterdam’s Witkar: The First Car Sharing?

If you thought the concept of car-sharing was only a recent notion, think again. Looking like little Pope-mobiles, these classic electric autos from Amsterdam where not the car for those who suffer from scopophobia (the fear of being seen), but they did pioneer the idea of a technology based car sharing system. All the components of a modern system are there: a very clever docking and recharging system, card and computer control of vehicle access with the member entering their PIN number on a rotary phone. Rates were reasonable: about 3.5¢ US per minute.

Bill Gates Talks of Wild State Budgets

Recently enlightening people at TED, Bill Gates talked about America’s troubled state funded school system. In his impassioned talk he highlighted what he says are state budgets filled with corruption and accounting tricks designed to hide true spending on government health and pension programs. He says “the bottom line is, we need to care about state budgets, because they are critical for our kids and for our future.”

Breaking Through: The Struggle in Libya

Here is the newest piece by artist Robbie Douglas. Titled “Breaking Through,” it represents the green Libyan flag with its citizens breaking through. An all seeing eye peers out from behind the curtain witnessing and remembering the tumultuousness events in the country. He used hb and 6b pencils, tortillions and colored pencils on Bristol paper. Click the image for a full size view.

Happy 100th “International Womens Day”

Women. They are so lovely, so beautiful, they make the world shine. And yet, there are many places where they are not valued. They are limited and oppressed. Today marks the 100th Anniversary of “International Womens Day.”  The United Nations has recently established UN WOMEN, an agency whose mission is to advocate for gender equality and empowerment for women.

So what does International Womens Day mean to women across the world? We asked some today and here’s what they said:

Visual Bits #18 > A Tiny Splash of Color

A full spectrum of links after the jump

The Power of Music: An Inspiring Story from WWII

This is the most moving thing I’ve heard all week. Jack Leroy Tueller, at age 90, recounts a remarkable experience he had in WWII while waiting out a German sniper. It makes one believe in the power of music, of story and of humanity. We hope it makes your week too.

A Community Created Bucket List

Graphic artist Candy Chang has used stencils and her passion for community to create a large painted chalkboard on the wall of an abandoned building in her New Orleans neighborhood. The lengthy list, called “Before I die,” acts as a cathartic experience for the community to openly share their hopes and dreams. Candy is a designer, instalation artist and city planner with a passion for making cities more comfortable for people. Find out more about her graphic and community based work at

Flowing Sculptures Made With Feathers

Entering rooms like flowing rivers of extruded avian life, Kate MccGwire uses delicate bird feathers to create sculptures that look magically alive. To make her pieces, she uses donated or locally sourced wing feathers from birds as different as pigeons and peacocks. Her pieces occupy still spaces, bringing them a quiet and alien sense of motion. See her latest works at

Only A Free Press Can Hurt Them

We just ran across this somewhat prophetic ad campaign from Reporters Without Borders. Produced about a year ago, it features crinkled images of world leaders who use an iron grip on press freedom to lead their nations. The images expose the controlling and distorted messages these leaders exhort, while at the same time symbolically silencing their voice. Gaddafi, infamous dictator of the now tumultuous Libya is featured, as is North Korea’s Kim Jong-il and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Visual Bits #17 > Would You Like Fries With That?

A stack of links after the jump