Piano Stairs

Here’s another example of meddlesome social engineering from those Godless, Communistic Swedes who claim to believe that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better.” Feh. With funding from Volkswagen (die Automobilfirma von Adolph Hitler, I might remind you) some Nordic boffins wanted to see if they could trick ordinary people into taking the stairs over the escalator by making it “fun” to do.

So I wonder…if confronted with this devious trap aimed at “changing people’s behaviour for the better” what would the average Bloggin’ Tory do, not merely to avoid this cunning ploy by simply taking the escalator, but to go one step further (so to speak) and make a statement that’s actively counterproductive? You know, in the same way they turn on every single light in their house when it’s Earth Hour…

h/t: Emily via e-mail.

17 Replies to “Piano Stairs”

  1. He /she would avoid the piano stairs….Press the stop button on the escalator…and mount same while sneering “Leftists”.

  2. Ah, ciboire…!

    This idea, while “fun” indeed, is a catastrophe from the point of view of behaviour modification. I’m a stairway-taker by nature, but I would almost certainly avoid mounting that cacophonous mess, if only to spare myself the inevitability of being trapped behind smart-arses playing “Chopsticks” and the “Toccata and Fugue”.

    Just look at the video. How many people actually used the stairs without playing on the fucking things for a half an hour first? “Bah humbug” from this quarter, I’m afraid.

    I prefer the conservative behaviour-modification technique–shaming–which the Japanese still employ to marvellous effect. We just need to shame North Americans into doing whatever it takes to shave the supercargo off their Rushmoresque asses, like taking the stairs consistently. We need to devise a public service advertising campaign to that effect, and field-test it on some of our hardest cases…like Del Mastro…

    …who is so fat, by the way, that his executive assistant doesn’t keep an agenda–he keeps a manifest.

  3. Press the stop button on the escalator…and mount same while sneering “Leftists”.

    I can’t top that.

    Those who have to think about pedestrian traffic want people to take escalators. The flow of traffic is smoother and more predictable and it results in fewer injuries.

    If we want North Americans to lose weight, it’s going to take a major redesign of our residential areas. I’m always irritated by how few places there are to walk to.

  4. It takes a lot of fancy footwork and equivocation to turn this non-government initiative into a crude critique of ill-defined conservatism.

    The Fun Theory has given some superbly elegant illustrations of how individuals rationally respond to incentives.

    Sorry, but I don’t think you took the right message here.

  5. if we want North Americans to lose weight, it’s going to take a major redesign of our residential areas. I’m always irritated by how few places there are to walk to.

    I live in an older Ottawa neighbourhood and the shoots of gentrification are just starting to show up. The reason for the popularity is the village feel, proximity to downtown and great community merchants… yet everyone who moves here gets into their Benz to drive to their yoga class five minutes away. I can’t relate to these people.

  6. It takes a lot of fancy footwork and equivocation to turn this non-government initiative into a crude critique of ill-defined conservatism.

    It wasn’t a critique of conservatism. It was a shot at “Conservatives,” particularly of the Bloggin’ Toree variety; angry, humourless cranks whose only idea of fun is laughing at silly liberals and lefties.

  7. I can’t relate to these people.

    Whatever happened to the good old days, when there was just one Glebe? Now, they’re popping up all over the place.

    One cannot take a step forward, backward or diagonally anywhere in the city without bumping into a perky, perma-tanned middle-aged former Treasury Board clerk in early retirement named “Asha” offering complimentary chakra re-alignments.

  8. If you do not mind SF, may I quote that wonderfully apt, satirical, and downright hilarious description of Ottawa? I don’t think you can get any better than that. I have Lugtread coming out of my nose right now.

    I really have nothing to add to that; it pretty much sums it all up.

  9. JKG:

    Please, be my guest–quote away!

    I’m quite proud of my little corner of Ottawa, in Lowertown–shabby chic, I’m sure, to the Glebers, Rockcliffites and New Edinburghese but grounded and real (and, incidentally, the only even marginally bi-lingual section of core Ottawa).

    There’s just something about living right in the heart of Ottawa. We really need a name for the people here–the Canadian equivalent of Cockneys, as it were, living within hearing of the Peace Tower chimes instead of the Bow Bells. “Peacetoweries” comes immediately to mind, but that may need a re-think… 😉

  10. JKG, close, I’m in Mechanicsville. Still the wrong side of the tracks (other side of Scott) but it’s changing fast.

  11. I loved the stairs.

    I must admit, also liked KEvron’s blast from the climate change past from SDA too.

    Earth Day is what it is.

  12. SF and Navvy,

    Ah, Lowertown! It has a little place in my heart if for nothing else the fact that my ancestors were Irish Catholics and a lot resided there in the nascent days of Bytowne. It certainly does seem to have been untouched by the Minto Marauders and the Condo Constructo-Crusaders, though I have been seeing those architectural darlings begin to crop up along Rideau Street. Nevertheless, there is so much history with that area, the residents should deserve a name. Perhaps you can go with a French turned English phrase, you know, like the Basse-Villians? It does have a certain classy ring to it. It is the least the city can do after carving that neighbourhood up with multi-lane thoroughfares. So much money is dumped into maintain that particular infrastructure due to its high usage, I would almost entertain the idea of getting Gatineau to chip in a little as it always been my impression that their residents really use those bridges more than the Ottawan do (I could be very well wrong).

    I am luckily nestled just beside the Experimental Farm, which for a person like me who has to brave the not so courteous roads on my two-wheeled mode of transportation, is quite advantageous as I can access those wonderful NCC bike trails. I have to go down Booth street though, which on any given day, would be an ideal scene for “Motorists do the Darndest Things” or more precisely, “When Road Raged Motorists Attack!” Not to say they are all bad, but claiming just a sliver of width in the lane is for some reason committing some sort of blasphemy for some.

    In my residential area, it is quite nice as there are Food Basics stores almost equidistant to each other, meaning the cost of living is great. However, I get the sense that developers are now starting to gentrify the place a little more. The apartment complex next to me used to be a veritable pot pourri of bohemian and working class young adults, which usually entailed nights of detecting obvious signs of hotboxing and hearing sounds of metal and rap. Now, with a residential company swooping in, there is nary a sound from that place.

    I had no idea that Mechanicsville is experiencing the spillover from Westboro, though I suppose it was inevitable. However, given that I find myself in the Glebe visiting a lot of friends, I am wary of having a Glebe ver. 3.0. This cross between paganesque sensibilities and neo-ludditism is a little much even for me. It makes me feel like I fell down some sort of organic rabbit hole only to wind up in some sort of Vegan/ Fair Trade Wonderland in which the cruel matriarch is nothing more than a thick rimmed bespectacled woman, in eighties tights, and a scarf who would soon cut off my meat consumption than my head…..all the while of course wearing some accessory from Lululemon and uses as a chariot either a fixed gear bike or an Audi Q7 depending on her mood.

  13. Regarding the roads in lowertown. A couple weekends ago I was stupid enough to find myself on the East side of King Edward trying to get back downtown. Took me about an hour… and I’ve lived here for 26 years! I imagine the area is inhabited by the ghosts of tourists who never made it home.

    Yeah, Mechanicsville is changing fast. The old houses around Preston and by the river are being torn down and replaced with those fashionable… uh… things that have sprouted up allover the Glebe. Although, I’m lucky enough to have some social housing nearby, so I don’t know if it will reach me. Hintonburg, however, is a thing of the past.

    FYI, a fellow is putting on a play about Mechanicsville at the Carleton Tavern on Parkdale at some point. Includes true stories of the area back in the day. The Citizen published one about a cop who used to have the guys at the gas station at Parkdale and Wellington run his cruiser to make it look like he had been patrolling while he went to the Tavern for the day.

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