It's hot pretty much everywhere and everyone's in a horrible mood. Which means there is plenty of ruining of cities to be had—so much so, that I've had to double up on this week's selections. From a plan to plunge Russia into darkness, to a steamy, sweaty Tube in London, it's What's Ruining Our Cities: The Dog Days of Summer Edition.
I know, I know, winter ruins Russia for about half the year at least. But now even more so. Vladimir Putin—who seems determined to retain his role at "least fun" president—has declared that the country will permanently move from "summer time" to "winter time." Which means Russians will "fall back" on October 26 just like everyone else, and then never ever "spring forward" again. Russia actually moved to its current version of perpetual daylight savings in 2011, and the experiment has not been altogether successful. Russians complained that the early morning sunlight had a negative impact on their health. Sounds like someone had a hangover! [Daily Mail]
The real estate world is abuzz with the announcement that a new luxury condo building will indeed have separate entrance for the affordable housing units the developers were required to add. These "poor doors" have been squarely attacked by the media, but it turns out that they were predicted several years ago: as a spoof by students at the SCI-Arc architecture school in L.A. But as columnist Carolina Miranda points out, is it really all that different from the gated communities you see in almost every neighborhood around the country? [Los Angeles Times]
"I hate bicyclists. How much would I have to pay you to run one of these over?" starts a horrific video posted to YouTube by a volunteer police officer in Santa Paula, California. From the passenger seat of an SUV, Laura Weintraub narrates footage of passing cyclists, screaming at them to get out of the way and ending with a photo of a car plowing through a crowd of bikes. After first defending her cinematic work as satire, the police department has now placed Weintraub on administrative leave. [NBC LA]
An initiative to repaint the aging, outdated ads on the sides of buildings has gone awry in the British city of Cambridge as folks are up in arms about the "restoration" of these historic works of art. In their desire to "clean up" the century-plus signage, the team behind the restoring process have not stayed true to the original typefaces, letterforms, or colors, note many commenters (mostly designers), who think better approach would have been "preservation" of the old signs, instead of completely erasing them with a layer of shiny new paint. Now the "ghosts" of these celebrated signs have been lost forever. [Ghostsigns]
London isn't the first place you think of when you think "heat wave," but that's exactly what the city has been experiencing for the past week. Which means that conditions on the Tube have become unbearable. With temperatures topping 90 above ground, the sticky tunnels have seen temperatures as high as 96, which, as one paper has noted, is hotter than is legally permissible to transport livestock (86, for those transporting cattle at home). However, there's no real reason to invest in system-wise air conditioning since it's rarely this hot, so Londoners will have to Keep Calm and Carry Deodorant. [CityLab]
Toad statues are a familiar sight in China, as the amphibian is symbolically supposed to bring wealth to a home. But a particular toad statue in Beijing is unfortunately a little too familiar for some local residents, who think that it is actually supposed to be Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese president and head of the ruling Communist Party. (Check out this Photoshop job of the statue, and this photo, it TOTALLY looks like him.) Artist Guo Yongyao has not yet commented on the inspiration for his inflatable sculpture, although you wouldn't know it: Any mention of the incident has been blocked by Chinese censors. [NY Times]
Moscow mornings will have more of this, photo by Dmitry Lovetsky/AP