Why Cellular Network Towers Get Disguised as Trees


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With the rise of mobile phones in the 1980s came ever more cellular network towers, and, of course, not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) criticisms from nearby residents who saw them as eyesores. Thus, an array of camouflage techniques emerged alongside this expanding technology. Towers were hidden inside church steeples, coupled with water towers, disguised as flagpoles and otherwise made to stand out less in their environments. Of course, there’s not always another structure handy to help hide a tower. So, in the early 1990s, a new idea took root and towers designed to look like trees began to crop up.

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Kurt Kohlstedt — 99% Invisible

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Office Space Time Loop: From Open Plans to Cubicle Farms and Back Again


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Do you sit in a cubicle or in an open space?

As Nelson foresaw, Action Office II cubicles went on to become a commercial success and its systems were widely imitated by other companies. Along the way, though, much of the optimism and modular vision was lost. Today’s “cubicle farms” are often static, cramped and the subject of derision in popular media (including Office Space and The Matrix). Herman Miller stills sells a variety of Action Office systems, some of which look quite elegant and functional, but the associations they conjure have changed a lot over the decades.

The complete article

Kurt Kohlstedt — 99% Invisible

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Magic Roundabout


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Today’s needull is a straightforward article about the most complex roundabout in the world. The Swindon Magic Roundabout has to be seen to be believed. But, even though it looks difficult to understand, it is very efficient.

While this simplicity remains a key asset, the relative safety and efficiency of magic roundabouts are enhanced by the slowness of traffic moving through them, as well as increased awareness of drivers. Uncontrolled intersections, roundabouts and otherwise, force motorists to pay more attention to the road and their surroundings, relying on their wits instead of signs or signals.

The complete article

99% Invisible — Kurt Kohlstedt

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