Just Like Riding A Bike: Google Streamlines Your Green Commute

More evidence that Google runs the world: they’re planning your next bike ride for you. As of two days ago, their latest mapping feature includes bike lane tracking, so that you can log in from your computer or portable internet toy – I mean phone! – and find your best route in about .2 seconds. Just enter your current location and destination, and bam: your own personal treehugger’s roadmap. Estimated travel time is included each time you calculate a route, but one of the Google guys behind the feature says that if you’re in good shape, you’ll beat those times.

You asked for it. According to the NYT’s Gadgetwise blogger, Miquel Helft, the new feature is Google’s answer to a plea that’s been ringing in biking communities for awhile now. A group called googlemapsbikethere.org, he says “has collected more than 51,000 signatures asking Google to add biking directions to its maps.” What can they say – they aim to please.

The best thing about the new feature is that it tries to offer routs that circumvent big hills, freeways, and high traffic areas. Wasn’t that nice of Google? The round-the-hill route programming will, presumably, be more useful in wavy cities like San Francisco than flat ones like New York – but the traffic-avoider one should be invaluable all over the place. It’s great news for bikers who prefer not to be plowed over by traffic, and for automobile drivers who prefer not to plow over bikers. Who knows – maybe we’re about to see Google bike mapping lower road rage rates nationwide. The feature is provided for 150 major cities around the country, and a lot of the bike trail data used to create it was provided by non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.  

It goes without saying (but I feel like saying it anyway) that Google mapping doesn’t help as much with planning your morning commute if you live (New York) in a city (New York) with no decent bike lanes (New York). Not to name any names. Maybe Google is secretly trying to shame cities into improving their bike lane systems.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Keep reading Show less