Wandering Eye: Glow-in-the-dark bike lanes, police brutality in Brazil, and more

It can be hard, when biking at night, to see the path ahead of you. In Nuen, Holland, they've just installed a smart, simple, beautiful solution: a glow-in-the-dark bike path. It uses "smart paint technologies," as weburbanist.com describes it, which store solar power during daylight hours and then light up at night. The idea has also been applied to highways in the Netherlands, making for low-maintenance, self-sufficient street lighting. Baltimore's "glasphalt" days, when glass chips were incorporated in street pavement that would sparkle in the street lights, are over, but maybe the time is ripe for using glow-in-the-dark street paint to light up the night. (Van Smith)


Meet newly retired slow-jammin' fireman, Glenn Bydume. According to a story from last week in the Fairfax, Virginia paper "The Connection," Bydume, the retired Fairfax County Battalion Fire Chief, firefighter of 28 years, and Baltimore native, is also an R&B singer. At the end of last month, Bydume, an amateur musician for much of his life, released his first album, titled "Late Night Hour." It's a midtempo synthetic soul album with hints of traditionalist R&B, recalling say, the Spinners and other '70s soulsters (there's also a cover of The Temptations' 'Papa Was a Rolling Stone'), along with the smoothness of '80s quiet storm, and even a few nods to contemporary radio R&B by way of artful sampling (especially on 'What Does It Take To Have a Girl Like You'), a little bit of rapping, and some tasteful globs of auto-tune applied to his voice. You can stream three songs from "Late Night Hour" over at Bydume's Soundcloud, including the title track, the aforementioned 'What Does It Take,' and 'Inside Your Love,' and you can buy the album over at iTunes or on his label Tate Music Group's website. (Brandon Soderberg)


As U.S. activists focus on police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, Mother Jones offers some context: Cops in Brazil kill an average of six people per day. Things are getting worse in Sao Paulo, where the rate of killings by police has roughly doubled in the past year. We point this out not to excuse the increasing use of force by American law enforcement, but to compare parallel trends. As in the U.S., Brazilian cops say the problem is that criminals have become less reluctant to shoot at cops, and this is likely true. But Brazil is one of the most unequal societies in the Western Hemisphere, with billionaires in Rio de Janeiro living just a few miles from squalid favelas. Much of the official violence occurs, MoJo reports, "where there's been a heightened military presence, in part to try and pacify the area for the World Cup and 2016 Olympics." So, it appears that if your economic policies back people up against a wall (or a mountain, in Rio's case) and leave them little opportunity to make a living in the legal economy, then, over a generation or two, a significant minority of them turn into outlaws. If you send more cops with weapons, what you get is more violence. Hmmm. The relevance of this to the U.S. should be obvious, but if it's not, here's the news (which is not news): Today the top 1 percent of Americans have as much money as the bottom 90 percent. And the bottom 90 percent today have less wealth than they had in 1987. (Edward Ericson Jr.) 

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