This Handy London Underground Map Shows Trains Moving in Real Time

Matthew Somerville
Matthew Somerville

Londoners' commutes just got a whole lot better thanks to a real-time train map for the Tube created by Birmingham programmer Matthew Somerville.

This amazing resource depicts trains as yellow Pac-Man-like circles moving along the lines of the London Underground so you can get a precise look at when the next train is coming. Each dot has a directional arrow, and clicking one of the dots will bring up more information: most importantly, the destination and number of minutes until the train gets to the next station. The data is taken directly from Transport for London.

You can choose from three views: Geographic, which shows a map of the city, Schematic, which is strictly a map for the Tube, and Skyfall, which simplifies everything down to red lines and dots with descriptive text. Somerville created one for the London bus system, too.

This is the latest in a series of problem-solving tools for city living that Somerville has made. His past work includes a split ticket finder, which helps riders across the UK determine if they can game the complicated and somewhat nonsensical National Rail system and save money by splitting a train trip across multiple tickets rather than buying one. There are also maps to help Brits locate their nearest mailbox or ATM. And then there's what is arguably his most important project of all: a database of searchable Doctor Who scripts compiled using the show's subtitles. Each episode also has a word cloud that measures the top words uttered in the series (unsurprisingly, doctor comes up a lot).

The New iPhone 11 Is Triggering People With Trypophobia

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

People with trypophobia, or a fear of clusters of small holes, know which triggers to avoid. Soap bubbles, lotus seed pods, and the insides of cantaloupes can all induce panic and revulsion in people who are sensitive to the pattern. Now, they have a new item to add to their list. As Gizmodo points out, the new iPhone has a design feature that's turning off trypophobes.

Apple debuted the iPhone 11 at an event on September 10 ahead of its release on September 20. This latest model comes with many upgrades, including a super-powered processor and longer battery life, but the biggest change has been met with a mixed reception.

The iPhone 11 Pro has three camera lenses where there would normally be one. People who prefer Apple's sleek, minimalist style have criticized the design, while those with trypophobia have had even stronger reactions. Some scientists think the fear of clusters of holes originally developed as a survival mechanism to steer people away from infectious diseases. When someone gets nauseous at the sight of three cameras grouped on the back of a smart phone, it's because it reminds them of decaying flesh.

Presentation launching iPhone 11.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The iPhone likely looks the way it does today thanks to another highly specific fear that afflicted Steve Jobs. The Apple founder suffered from koumpounophobia, or a fear of buttons—an incredibly rare phobia that's only been documented once in all of psychiatric literature. His fear may have lead to the popularization of the smooth, buttonless touch screen. It also explains why the tech giant preferred black turtlenecks to button-down shirts.

Though similar to trypophobia, a fear of buttons and fear of clusters of circles aren't quite the same thing. So while triggering to many, the updated iPhone doesn't necessarily conflict with Jobs's original design aesthetic.

[h/t Gizmodo]

The Reason Why Ships Are Often Painted Red on the Bottom

75tiks/iStock via Getty Images
75tiks/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve ever salvaged a sea vessel, you might have noticed that ship hulls are often red. If you haven’t dealt with a shipwreck—and chances are you haven’t—you may have still seen a red hull in pictures or in partial view at a shipyard. Since that portion of the ship is below the waterline, it seems strange to opt for a specific color.

The reason is tradition. And worms.

In a piece for Jalopnik, Andrew P. Collins explains that early sailing ships protected themselves against barnacles and wood-eating worms by covering their hulls in a copper or copper oxide paint that acted as a biocide. The copper gave the paint a red tint. By reducing the muck that naturally collects on the hull, ships can maintain their structural integrity and avoid being weighed down by gunk like seaweed that would reduce drag.

These days, biocides can be mixed with virtually any color of paint. But the hulls are often painted red to maintain a nautical tradition. Collins also points out that the red may help observers gauge the load of a ship’s cargo. The more weight on board, the lower in the water it will be. That's why you often see numbers positioned vertically on the side of the hull.

No matter what’s covering the hull, it’s never going to completely eliminate growth. Often, ports will prohibit ship owners from scraping hulls while docked, since ships traveling in outside waters might have picked up a non-native species of weed that could prove problematic in a new environment.

[h/t Jalopnik]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER