Mapping human poo in San Francisco. Tracking stinky snails in Florida. And coming up with a way to tell men that if they could just learn to close their legs, please, the NYC subway would suck so much less for everyone. Be forewarned, it's kind of a gross edition of What's Ruining Our Cities.
It's a fact of life in most cities that some people use public spaces as public toilets, but San Francisco is facing some kind of epidemic, with turds rolling into streets and sidewalks with alarming frequency. Just look at St. George Alley, wedged between North Beach and the Financial District, where city workers currently scoop up 30 piles of poop per week, according to a Department of Public Works employee. But which places are the crappiest? Since people report their shitty experiences to 311, web developer Jennifer Wong created a (quite beautiful) map using this public data named (Human) Wasteland. The winning/losing neighborhoods are the Excelsior, SOMA, and the Outer Sunset. [(Human) Wasteland, SF Weekly]
Florida's most unwelcome new residents are giant African land snails, which are currently wreaking havoc on Miami-Dade County. The slimy beasts—which can reach up to eight inches in size!—likely hitched a ride over in an exotic plant shipment and they're pretty much the worst. They eat everything, from landscaping to agriculture to HOUSES (they use the stucco to build up calcium for their shells), plus they leave behind sticky trails of mucus that smell like rotten eggs. Now the bad news, according to an NPR report: They're hermaphrodites, which means they can self-reproduce. Shuddddddder. But here's the good news: In some African countries, the snails are also seen as delicacies. So maybe we'll see "giant escargot" on Miami menus soon? [NPR]
For years blogs have faithfully documented the scourge of "man spreading"—where men spread their legs and belongings far and wide on the New York City subway, taking up far more space than any human should ever require. The MTA is now planning a campaign for the new year that will publicly shame these men into closing their legs (yes, there are some women who take up too much room, but the offenders are mostly men!) and acting more respectably on trains. The campaign will also target people who don't take off their backpacks (also mostly men!). Perhaps a simple social media campaign encouraging people to photograph and hashtag offenders would suffice? [BuzzFeed]