The Boomer Legacy

Technology

Boldly Into the Future

Marvelling at the Marvel Universe™; Pixel Time; Privacy inside the Panopticon; Cut-through Advertising; Meta™ injected tracking code; Click-bait; All the news that's fit make the feeds pop

While Technology could often be an asset, what you tended to see was never quite what you got.

Sample #5012
Fibre nescience    (Jan 2013)

Topic Images

There are currently 79 photographs in this section.

Pan atomicus

48 tonnes of reactor fuel blown into the sky; 500K liquidators to clean up the mess; 335k evacuees; 6k+ deaths; 90k+ animals culled; 20× increase in mutations; 2600 km² exclusion zone; €2.15G for the New Safe Confinement; $235G in damages; the collapse of the USSR… The effects of 1986-04-25 are with us still (National Geographic, 2019)

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Heritage locomotive at Central Station, Sydney [Jun-2019 261KB]

Eloi wonderland

We gathered by the harbourside, sipping infused agave nectar and nibbling on sweet fuyu persimmons, and were astonished by the vast contraptions built by our distant ancestors

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Sydney Harbour sunrise kayaks [Jan-2019 345KB]

Remarks

The 135mm TEM (11861) can be an amazing lens under the right conditions. Particularly when shooting into a low sun, it makes everything go an intense orange while still retaining sharpness and resisting flare. Unfortunately it is also 100g heavier than the more recent 135mm APO (11889), but it does have a greater focus-throw angle to make fine-tuning easier, and is (ahem) thousands of dollars cheaper

Stasi without the politics

HD-CCTV; IP address logging; Cookie tracking; SMM Profile Harvesting; Google Chrome & Android; EFTPOS transaction records; Data-mining; Phone-hacking; Location-sensitive personalised marketing; Mandatory QR Code scanning; Live facial-recognition surveillance; The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; The unassailable cult of predicting future demand by collecting every scrap of information about what everyone has ever done

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CCTV, Satellite, UHF and cable communications at Marrickville, in Sydney [Sep-2012 321KB]

The spam massif

We facilitated a global network of unsolicited urgent messages

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Sydney University public noticeboards [Oct-2017 788KB]

Stack overflow in Mathlib

Mate, I dropped “maffs” in school as fast as I could!

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At the One Circular Quay construction site, Sydney Cove. The site had been abandoned for months because the offshore developers had run out of money [Oct-2017 724KB]

Gaming the system

The Volkswagen “dieselgate” story, in which the company helped their cars pass emissions tests under special conditions that they later failed when the car was driven normally, was not an isolated incident (The Conversation, 2015)

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Befouled VW automobile, Summer Hill [Sep-2015 710KB]

DDoS attack

Governments and unions enthusiastically collaborated to build a rail-system so fragile that even the slightest disturbance would cause city-wide meltdowns

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Parramatta station during yet another Sydney train network failure [May-2021 193KB]

Off-line storage

Acres of tank-farms to cache our dreams

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Storage tanks at Tempe [Sep-2012 545KB]

Faisal's gambit

The engine warning light came on in October 1973, but we covered it over and kept going

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Abandoned shops (since demolished), Parramatta Road Homebush [Jun-2016 327KB]

The upgrade escalator

Every nine months there was always something just that little bit better

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York Street escalators, Wynyard station [Jul-2018 451KB]

Fabricating nostalgia

A lot was written about the impacts of deindustrialisation, but few missed the unimaginative and dangerous work

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Davy press at ATP Eveleigh Workshops museum [Sep-2017 600KB]

Aerotropolis now

Because airlines never supplied customers with carriage on any “particular flight”, but rather “a bundle of contractual rights” which they may (or may not) redeem at any time in the future

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Sydney International Airport in twilight [Nov-2017 140KB]

Interconnected loose-ends

Sprawling cities were serviced by deliberately substandard public transport

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Southern Cross station, Melbourne [Apr-2019 463KB]

Moving forward

Monorails; Supersonic airliners; Jet-packs; Hover-boards; Space-elevators; Bubble-canopy aero-cars; Submersible cars; Cars with a KITT computer; Fully autonomous vehicles effortlessly navigating suburban streets…

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First Lane at Hurstville, Sydney [Sep-2016 582KB]

Peace through superior fire-power

Build it and they will die

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Vought F-8 Crusader at the Intrepid Museum, NYC [Oct-2017 310KB]

Reeks & Wrecks in Dumpstercopia

A sustainable future could only be found in scavenging, scrapping and repairs

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Cardboard packaging in Blue Anchor Lane at Circular Quay, awaiting transport to an interstate landfill [Nov-2017 802KB]

Your privacy was taken very seriously

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner; The Information and Privacy Commission of NSW; The NSW Information Commissioner; The NSW Privacy Commissioner; The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Amendment Act 2012 (Cth); The Australian Privacy Foundation; The Cyberspace Law and Policy Community; The NSW Council for Civil Liberties; The Law Council of Australia Business Law Privacy Sub-committee; The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era Inquiry; The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) to replace the National Privacy Principles and Information Privacy Principles; The drone "roundtable" inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs; The Royal Guide Dogs of Tasmania Privacy Officer

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A Menckenesque kaleidoscope ensured that everyone in Wollongong could see you taking a bath [Feb-2011 438KB]

Tip of the spear

The most inspiring thing about the Kamikaze was that every problem had exactly the same solution

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Lockheed A-12 engine aerospike at the Intrepid Museum, NYC [Oct-2017 87KB]

Start your holidays in hell

School-break queues snaking out the door; One flight cancelled, the next delayed; Overweight baggage fees; Overhead locker-bin arguments; Drunken footy players booted from first class and warned; A 40 minute wait for take-off clearance; The oversized bloke kicking the back of your seat; Barefoot passengers using headrests as footrests; Screaming toddlers, scrolling teens and impassive parents; Instantaneously reclining seats; The window-view of the port side ailerons

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Budget airline on final approach at Rockdale [Dec-2013 541KB]

Force carrier

Sometimes we just couldn't contain ourselves

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Electrical junction box at Chippendale, Sydney [Jul-2017 729KB]

Astounding Science Fiction

Superconducting NbTi coils; Holmium magnetic flux condensers; 4°K liquid helium insulated within a liquid nitrogen jacket; A suitcase-sized helium condenser; A FFT-processing rack more powerful than a dozen 1980s mainframes… A 3T magnetic field from a machine the size of a family SUV, to obtain non-intrusive millimetre resolution 3D internal body images

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The 3T MRI scanner at a medical imaging practice at Penrith, in Sydney [Sep-2013 148KB]

Nostalgic Futurism

The Eighties didn't quite get the future right

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The now dismantled Sydney Monorail at One Dixon Street, Sydney's Chinatown [Jan-2012 309KB]

Built for comfort

Cruise control ✓ Loudspeakers ✓ Touch-screen TV ✓ Dual petrol tank caps ✓ National flag ✓ Oversized padded seat ✓

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Indian Roadmaster motorbike at Mandible Street, Alexandria [Aug-2019 498KB]

Fermions coralled

Everything depended upon the flow of wave-particles which before 1897 no-one knew existed

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33kV AC transmission tower outside the Penrith Transmission Substation [Jul-2011 288KB]

All our tomorrows

Don't be afraid — we loved you more than our grandchildren! You were our greatest and most cherished asset, an organic talisman that gave us light and warmth and votes and windfall profits, and glistened so beautifully in the dying sun…

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Anthracite in Lithgow, NSW [Jun-2019 212KB]

On the road to serfdom

Productivity-enhancing infrastructure was just a bullet-point away

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Locked-down pedestrian crossing button, near QVB Sydney [Nov-2020 145KB]

We have some planes

All this technology, yet commercial airliners could be made to disappear by flipping a transponder switch

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Church Street cone sculpture, removed in 2021 by the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 construction [Feb-2017 649KB]

A fist full of pills

Many of us were kept alive by medicine which didn't exist as little as twenty years ago

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Six days worth of cardiovascular, diabetes & cholesterol tablets, Nepean Hospital Kingswood [Jul-2023 541KB]

Edgy by order

Zeitgeist-y environments were created to have fun, be niche, leverage the likes & disrupt the new normal

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Disposable bicycles on Pitt Str, outside World Square [Jan-2018 240KB]

415 Unsupported Media Type

Yesterday's broadcast-quality analogue equipment was reutilised as landfill

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Tape-based off-line editing equipment in a dumpster at Darling Harbour [Jan-2013 256KB]

408 Request Timeout

2000-08-07 purchase Omega Speedmaster Automatic watch (35105000) #56462628 $2150
2001-01-13 repair under warranty for loud rattling inside watch
2005-03-29 repair due to watch stopped $595
2009-08-03 repair due to watch requiring movement replacement $655
2017-07-20 watch gains 10 minutes every hour, Omega quote to replace movement and watch hands $1295 (+ $75 courier fee)
2017-07-25 quote declined and watch returned without repair
2017-08-15 watch thrown into landfill at Blaxland Waste Management Facility

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A luxury wristwatch achieved its destiny as a piece of garbage at Blaxland [Aug-2017 436KB]

Carbon capture

Wholesale deindustrialisation led to scaling back fossil-fuel and carbon-related activities, eventually

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The abandoned remains of the Illawarra Coke Company at Coalcliff [Sep-2014 559KB]

The flipped classroom

A tremendous benefit of student BYOD was the ability to collect quality data to inform our effective & evidence-based focus on Action Learning, along with facilitating the continuous improvement in teaching skills and excellence

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At the State Library of NSW [Oct-2014 595KB]

X-out & scroll

First they came for the factory workers, then it was our turn

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Gomo Sportswear prior to its demolition to make way for Granville Place [Jul-2017 592KB]

In the days of the citizen journalist

Broadcast-quality equipment was no longer required to craft good stories

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Media-workers at the Sydney Opera House [Jul-2014 348KB]

Remarks

Media-workers had to adapt to a new environment for which they were greatly unprepared. How were they going to survive in an increasingly interconnected world, where they had to not only be proficient in delivering content, but also in understanding and using the increasingly complex tech which made it possible?

The imperfect panopticon

Own nothing, have no privacy and life has never been better (Auken, 2016)

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Apartment courtyard surveillance cameras awaiting connection at Victoria Park. The cameras were still not connected in 2018, four years after this photo was taken… [Sep-2014 189KB]

Option V for victory

The UPU Terminal Dues System was adjusted to ensure only developing countries received generous subsidies when exporting small parcels to the west

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Airport Drive, outside Sydney International Airport [Oct-2019 192KB]

Big data and the cloud

Off-line storage by the exabyte → provided you could afford to live in an area with a fast-enough network connection

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Mobile phone tower and clouds from a summer storm, at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains [Dec-2012 164KB]

Chariots of freedom

You could only be what you drove

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Custom licence plates, Sydney [Jul-2023 468KB]

Well maintained infrastructure

Continuous effort was required to sustain our vibrant economy

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New Canterbury Road Lewisham and Light Rail construction Sydney CBD [Jul-2016 561KB]

The automotive chrysalis

The 3-tonne car of your dreams came with its own shroud

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SUV promotion, Darling Harbour Sydney [May-2023 532KB]

Radical self-reliance

The smartest thing a person could do was marry well and inherit big

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Indigo Slam at Chippendale [Jul-2017 225KB]

The Great Reset

Wearing face-masks was every academic's favourite nostrum, until it wasn't

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Masked commuters at Granville try to get home after another network meltdown [May-2021 271KB]

0xDEADBEEF

if ( generations < 3 ) {
   $core→assemble( byhand );
   $size = MAINFRAME::room;
   }
else {
   $my→teraflops( laptop );
   }

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The 1963 ICT 1301 mainframe display at the Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin NZ [Nov-2017 285KB]

Lifespans & outcomes

Living longer lives no longer needed to be an curse

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Anzac Day marcher, Liverpool Street Sydney [Apr-2018 217KB]

Let them drive cars

How was the world's largest network of private toll-roads ever going achieve it's projected ROI if people weren't encouraged to use them?

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Abandoned bus at Opoho Road, Dunedin NZ [Dec-2017 702KB]

Perpetual congestion

Once the great symbol of individual freedom and personal mobility, the car has become a ball and chain. Slow, expensive, and surrounded by endless others, automobiles have taken us as far as they can (Hume, 2012)

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Weedon Avenue garage at Paddington [Mar-2017 567KB]

Means of ascension

Those who could afford to do so, raced toward an off-grid future

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Cars on the Eastern Distributor at Woolloomooloo [Jul-2018 266KB]

Hazard perception test

There was an emotional component about driving vehicles that spoke of freedom, independence and to be in control of one's own destiny

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2013 Ford G6E Turbo wreckage, Blue Mountains [Mar-2014 611KB]

Fighting a war for the future

A branch-office economy was adopted to ensure the redundancy of skilled workers

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3801 heritage locomotive at Central [Oct-2022 303KB]

Deferred consumption model

As we grew older, we could finally afford the things we wanted so much when we were young

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A mint green 1977 BMW 633 CSi at the Classic Throttle Shop showroom at Milsons Point [Dec-2020 170KB]

Embrace a better tomorrow

Technological progress turned out to be a bit of a chimera

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Dalek ornament at Wilson Street, Lawson [Aug-2021 692KB]

Staging server

What was once esoteric technology confined to a research lab, was now routinely used for entertainment

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Stage technician, Campbells Cove Sydney [Jan-2019 311KB]

Remarks

Had for years wanted to capture an scene which not only celebrated the amazing capabilities of modern technology, but also hinted at some of its dilemmas

Waves don't vote

Roughly 2TW of energy was freely available in the form of coastal wave-power, but it was ignored because fossil fuel production was electorally more important

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The abandoned 2006 Oceanlinx Mk1 Wave Generator prototype at Oilies Beach, Port Kembla. In June 2017 it was eventually towed out to sea and sunk [Sep-2014 559KB]

Scheme Number 218

It took only fifty years and an extra $AUD 300M to rectify most of the Stage III issues (SOH Renewal, 2022)

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Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall exterior [Dec-2018 494KB]

Logic-bomb

Our love affair with (ICE) came to a sudden end

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Georgina Street white paint, Newtown [Jun-2023 547KB]

Building new pathways to wealth

A culturally unbalanced society where BScs and BEs were displaced by BAComs, CPAs, LLBs, MPsychs, FRACGPs and BA(Hons)MT

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Sand-blasting and repainting the Sydney Harbour Bridge to replace the decades-old lead-based paint [Jul-2011 483KB]

The fruits of ascendancy

Electric vehicles solved one problem by creating a multitude of others

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Enmore Road mechanic spare parts automobiles [May-2023 513KB]

Kernel panic

LCD in the bedroom; OLED in the lounge-room; Playstation, XBox, iPhone, Galaxy, Note, iPad, iOS and Android everywhere else

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Home entertainment in suburban Kingswood, in Sydney's West [Sep-2010 655KB]

Beat the bowser

Our vehicle preferences said a lot about what really mattered

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Toyota sedan vs. Mazda dual-cab ute, Penrith car park [Mar-2021 538KB]

Project attention deficit disorder

Every Prague Spring had its tanks

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Construction cranes at the Central Park development at Broadway, in Sydney [Oct-2012 313KB]

Think small

A charismatic and perfectionist architect; Engineers hamstrung by 1960s tech; A meddling public broadcaster; Timorous bureaucrats & spiteful politicians… The Sydney Opera House looked magnificent from afar, but up close it was riddled with defects caused by years of controversy, indecision, compromise and bickering

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Domestic fountain at Church Street, Croydon [Sep-2016 630KB]

Remarks

After seven years Jørn Utzon was forced out of the country in 1966 due to “ineptitude” during the design and construction of Stages I & II (the SOH podium and shells). It then took the Minister for Public Works and his hand-picked team another seven years to complete Stage III (the performance halls and windows), resulting in a 300% cost blow-out and some of the worst acoustics and sightlines in the world. These were only rectified in 2022 by the 50th anniversary renovations

Congestion busting

At election time Very Fast Trains were on everyone's agenda

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Bushfire wreckage, Zigzag Railway Clarence NSW [Jul-2019 721KB]

Fibre nescience

Do consumers really need data transfer rates that only fibre could provide? (Liberal Party of Australia, 2013)

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Mothballed satellite dishes in Rozelle, in Sydney's East [Jan-2013 462KB]

Sound of sirens

Everything you could possibly ever want, via your smart-phone

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Mobile phone users, Sydney CBD [Mar-2015 464KB]

404 Not Found

We could detect Gravitational Waves (LIGO, 2015), prove Fermat's last theorem (Wolfram, 2014) and even ridicule Wall Street's misuse of Gaussian copula functions (Wired, 2009) — but no-one could figure out the true cost of mobile-phone plans (WSJ, 2013)

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Mobile phone users at Martin Place, Sydney [Dec-2014 473KB]

Induced dependency

To what extent was a person's sense of belonging determined by the world around them?

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Pitt Street Mall passageway [Aug-2018 424KB]

Orderly exodus

When we were finally done, we got into our white vans and disappeared

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Toyota HiAce vans await delivery at Penrith [Apr-2017 483KB]

Traction in an attention economy

100 km/hr in 2.85 and a top speed of 340 km/hr, while the maximum permissible speed limit in NSW was 110 km/hr

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Ferrari 488 Pista, Pitt Street Sydney [Nov-2022 370KB]

It just works

Release now, patch later

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Jensen Avenue at Dover Heights [Nov-2016 405KB]

Remarks

As a web-developer in the early 2000s, it was incredibly frustrating to ship feature-bloated software while still incomplete. Go-go management would often make optimistic promises, which then fell upon us coders to deliver in an unrealistic time-frame. The resulting apps would always end up “imperfect”, although this often turned out to be fair, as many dot-com clients had a similarly dysfunctional attitude toward paying invoices

Meaningful social interactions

Facebook, Twitter “X”, WhatsApp, TikTok, WeChat, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, LLM-based generative AI, 4/8Chan: elaborate frameworks were created to ensure you could never ever be alone

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Stargazer lawn at Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney [Aug-2016 753KB]

Remarks

Another scene discovered by accident. Had revisited Millers Point to re-shoot the clothesline crucifix image. Went for a walk afterwards and ended up on the “Stargazer Lawn” to find this installation, with people walking around and through the wooden ties

∇×H

The implementation of renewable energy struggled beneath a mantle of ignorance, obfuscation and lies

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Distribution cables (since demolished) in College Lane, at Stanmore in Sydney [Sep-2012 615KB]

Rattle & roll

With a maximum cruising speed of 130 km/hr, you could theoretically travel between Sydney and Melbourne in 7½ hours. In practice it took 12. During the trip, you could rock yourself to sleep to the sound of squeaking bogie springs and the rumble from turbocharged diesel-electric engines, while your 1980s XAM sleeper car jerks about on back-country tracks and even occasionally becomes airborne, landing a moment later with a satisfying KERBOOM

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XPT trains at Sydney Central terminus. After decades of service, they were due to be retired in 2023 [Apr-2019 472KB]

Honest mistakes

Just because we were reckless didn't mean we didn't care

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The MV Baragoola before (Sept 2018) and after (Feb 2022) sinking, Waverton [Feb-2022 413KB]

Cut-through messaging

Make your mark, repeat, move on

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Vandalised rail-car at the Zigzag railway, subsequently destroyed by the 2019 summer bushfires, Clarence [Jul-2019 569KB]

Remarks

Photography as a time capsule. Found this abandoned rail-car while walking along the decommissioned Zig Zag rail line at Clarence in the Blue Mountains. Apparently the carriage was scheduled for restoration, despite being extensively vandalised. A few months later another bushfire swept through the area, and this time the carriage was completely destroyed

Retro-tech

Some Edwardian technologies weren't as clueless as we originally thought

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The pantograph of a NSW Heritage “Set F1” suburban carriage, Central station [Jun-2019 154KB]

Accidental monuments

Civil Engineering 101: slap it together as cheap as you can and then completely rebuild it later at 5× the cost, to solve issues you should have addressed the first time

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Zigzag Railway upper viaduct, Clarence [Jul-2019 826KB]

Remarks

Landscapes are hard. You not only have to be in the right place, at the right time with the right gear, but you also have to work with the prevailing light AND come up with an something more substantial than “eye-candy”

Call the police

It has been said one Police horse is more effective than ten foot Police when performing crowd & traffic control (Australian Police, 2019)

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Mounted Police at the Winter Magic Festival, Katoomba [Jun-2023 495KB]

Rust-belt agriculture

I'd rather put my trust in looking at the sheep and seeing how it performs, than in some number dreamed up by some scientists on a bit of paper (Merriman, 2012)

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Farm sculpture, Cathedral Street Woolloomooloo [Jul-2018 902KB]

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