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Hello lovely friends. Hope you're well.

It must be coming up to holiday season for many, so just as you receive this I'll be getting a flurry of out-of-office messages. So please make sure you make those auto-responses funny, people. Yeah? Okay, let's press on, we've got a hill to climb...
Sign to the cable car, Nordkette. Can't see it? Click to view in browser
CABLE CARS: The skyline of St Helier, Jersey, is dominated by a 19th-century hilltop fort that suffered an awkward 1970s conversion to a leisure centre. Looking back, the logic of placing such an attraction on a site designed to keep people out is hard to grasp. Until the late Eighties, the best access was via a small cable car system that dangled its clumsy way up a few hundred feet over a narrow cutting; a disused railway terminus turned into a car park. It was here, as a six-year-old, that I came to like cable cars.

Unless you're Roger Moore in that memorable James Bond fight sequence, cable cars are a pretty likeable way of getting about. It starts with the weird sensation of mechanical acceleration, followed by peaceful, near-silent flight while seated comfortably in a fibre-glass kiosk.

You can do worse than choosing travel destinations by where cable cars are, or at least detouring as you pass. This taken me to, or over, some amazing places. From the popular Skyway gondola in Australia's Blue Mountains to Queensland's Skyrail cableway gliding over rainforest canopy for nearly five miles. In Canada, the Peak 2 Peak linking Whistler and Blackstone mountains would clear the Eiffel Tower, and Hong Kong's Ngong Ping 360, while touristy, offers incredible views of Lantau Island.

Combine a cable car with a funicular railway and I'm guaranteed to visit. In Barcelona, the funicular and cable car from the underground metro right up to the castle at the summit of Montjuïc is a delight. Most recently, I took the Hungerburgbahn funicular, with fancy stations designed by Zaha Hadid, from Innsbruck up to the Nordkette cable car, and then onwards to the peak where there are some interesting architectural 'interventions'.

Were I to make a thing of it, there's an awful lot of cool cable cars to visit, from gondolas to aerial tramways. But the place I've got my eye on is not a cable car so much as a cable-car factory. Doppelmayr, one of the biggest cable car manufacturers, has its own zoo. 🐢
🎨 The Late-Capitalist Privileges of Being an Art Monster: a story of trying to make art while also working a tech job. I'm slightly allergic to 'work-life balance' because I hear it being used to describe quite different things. This story well-articulates the common challenge of balancing several cognitive loads at once.

🤗 How to Instantly Create Intimacy With Any Person You Meet: an interesting self-study into relationships and the importance of intimacy.

⚫️ How to Understand the Universe When You’re Stuck Inside of It: the problem with understanding the universe is you can't step outside it and look back, for there's no 'outside'. Physicist Lee Smolin has been thinking about this for his whole career and has an idea.

🚗 Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake? A detailed weighing up of the tremendous cost of the motor vehicle in terms of resources and human lives.

🔌 The internet is rotting – let's embrace it: a significant unintended 'problem' with digital media is that the data doesn't perish the way the human memory does, and it's changing us. Typically, things in the distant past are fuzzier but warmer in our minds, clearing space for sharper attention on other things, whereas digital memories, good and bad, are available in high fidelity, indefinitely. Would the internet be better if it were more forgetful?

🤝 How One Colorado Suicide Prevention Program Got Through to Working-Class Men: really interesting use of humour underpinned by clinical psychology screening to help men get back on track.

🚡 used to be Twitter’s most unpopular emoji. No longer. Turns out cable cars are interesting. Emoji are interesting too, particularly the differences in how they are used between different cultures.
Cable cars as public transport: Hang in there; cable cars aren't solely for winter sports and holidaymakers. In rural Engelberg, cable cars are used in agriculture to overcome the mountainous terrain without the expense of road-building. Elsewhere, cable cars have been introduced as a low-disruption public transport solution; the most spectacular example being in La Paz, Bolivia. Mi Teleférico offers a 'subway in the sky' that reaches neighbouring El Alto over challenging terrain. The service has been so successful in closing an economic gap that network of lines is being expanded.

As a public transport option, there's some limitations that are hard to overcome. While there are some interesting options that could increase capacity, cable cars could never realistically replace high-capacity options such as a rail network. But where there's a need to move a steady stream of people over something awkward, that can be up-and-running quickly and relatively cheaply, there's a case for a cable car.

Even London has one, albeit crossing one of the least scenic bits of the Thames that almost nobody needs to cross. Built as little more than a vanity project by a self-serving former mayor but, as it's there, we may as well try and enjoy it. After all, it could always be moved to somewhere useful. Plus if you're going to waste public funds, a cable car is quite a cheap way of doing it. I wonder what became of that guy. 🤦
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Penultimately: Last week, as ever, people were most interested in Millie the cat. Further proof, if needed, that 'online engagement' is simply a measurement of how many cat pictures there are. So just for you, I've added some more pictures of the cat. 😼
Finally: The trouble with a Hornby model railway or a Scalextric set is that they take up impractical amounts of space. It's enough to make you wonder why nobody made a cable car that could be strung up out of the way. Fortunately, dear reader, they did. From the charming Lehmann Rigi from 1928 and its descendants, to the startling Jaegerndorfer Electric Cableway. For the very keen, the London Transport Museum will even sell you a perplexing model of the Emirates Air Line built by the manufacturer of the real thing. For authenticity, be sure to put it somewhere you'll never need to go. 🚠

Holy kamoley, it's the bottom of the email. More good stuff next week. Know someone who likes interesting things? And whose dreary inbox would benefit from an injection of interestingness? Of course you do! They can join in at momorgan.com/blast. 💌

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