The Brooklyn Bridge's new two-way bike path finally gives enough space to the many pedestrians on the promenade of New York City's most iconic landmark, but another lane still needs to be reallocated to cyclists so there's enough space for cyclists to truly cross the bridge safely. An 8-foot wide two-way bike path simply isn't a wide enough for cyclists riding at different speeds, families biking with young children, anyone with a lot in tow on a wide cargo bike, and unlucky riders who have to deal with their bikes breaking down.
The new Brooklyn Bridge lane is an important first step, but much more is needed: Now is the time to build on that momentum with bold infrastructure changes. We are facing a record-breaking year for traffic violence and need a truly connected bike network across the city that enables cyclists to plan trips entirely along protected routes. This new connected network would feature wide protected bike lanes that meet national standards on all the bridges that connect our boroughs, including the East River bridges, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, and the Washington Bridge.
I've been increasingly seeing an item for Route Package Protection automatically added to my cart when I purchase things online:
If you haven't encountered Route, it's a company that offers package tracking and protection for lost, stolen, and damaged products for online merchants. Route offers plugins that integrate directly into common online store software platforms, and since Route is set up so the customer pays, it's free for the merchant. They have a mobile app that allows users to track packages, and companies can advertise within the app.
Later in the checkout flow, I have the option to remove Route Package Protection, but if I do so, it would be at my own risk:
It surprised me a little to see basic shipping insurance, something that's long been built into the costs of online shopping and shipping options, has suddenly shifted to a separate, explicit upcharge for shoppers. Part of the surprise is certainly because paying for it directly as a shopper feels like I'm being charged more for something that should be a core part of online shopping. It's a little unclear what value Route provides since insurance is available through most shipping companies: perhaps, it's difficult and time consuming to make claims with shipping companies, or maybe, it's just a belief that the customer paying for Route saves the company money.
The other part of my surprise lies in this third-party service automatically getting all of the information about my purchase, whether or not my package arrives safely. In an alternate universe, Route would have designed package protection to be an insurance service that companies buy into and request assistance when something goes awry with a package. Companies might increase costs slightly to cover Route's service fees, but they might not need to due to insurance pooling. Companies would get to save time dealing with lost and stolen packages, but most importantly, this model would significantly reduce the amount of customer data shared with Route.
Unfortunately, that's not the route Route chose (sorry not sorry), and instead, Route is gathering customer purchase data across a wide swath of online vendors. Purchase history data has a direct value propostion for retailers and advertisers, especially when it's tied to your actual personal information including your address and phone number - the latter being a common key for advertising databases.
When do we share it? We share personal information when needed to fulfill our legal obligations and when our vendors, business partners, and affiliates need it to perform the contracts we have with them. We provide further detail about our sharing of personal information here. We do not sell or rent any personal information from any data subjects to third party data brokers or marketing companies.
If we or any of our affiliates sell or transfer all or substantially all of our assets, equity interests, or securities, or are acquired by one or more third parties as a result of an acquisition, merger, sale, reorganization, divestiture, consolidation, or liquidation, personal information may be one of the transferred assets.
Of course, this issue around personal information privacy and company acquisition isn't unique to Route, but Route is a relatively young VC-funded company, the exact sort of company I expect to be eyeing acquisition. VC firms specifically want companies to grow fast and make large exits, and one common strategy to do that is to get acquired for a lot of money. In fact, it's plausible that an entity might even want to acquire Route solely for the vast amounts of customer data it has amassed from the various online stores that use it to save a little money dealing with lost packages. Sure, it's possible that Route's investors are simply happy for it to turn into a consistent business and have no aspirations of monetizing customer data, but I'm not willing to bet that VC firms are happy to leave potential money behind.
Purl Soho added some new colors and discontinued some old colors of the yarns called for in Joelle Hoverson's Library Blanket. I've added the eight new colors to the Library Blanket color palette preview tool I made last April, and I also labeled the discontinued colors as such. Hopefully knitters haven't already fallen in love with color combinations featuring discontinued colors unless they already had those colors in their stashes!
I also alphabetized the Linen Quill and Line Weight colors within the dropdown menus so they're easier to find.
Finally, I made a new color palette that used all three of the new Linen Quill colors and all five of the new Line Weight colors called "Featuring September 2021 new colors." Here's the new combination:
Line Weight Clear Sky (new)
Line Weight Clover Green (new)
Line Weight Hydrangea Blossom (new)
Line Weight Lilac Fog (new)
Line Weight Mountain Blue (new)
Linen Quill Heirloom White
Linen Quill Clover Green (new)
Linen Quill Blue Pansy (new)
Linen Quill Green Turqouise
Linen Quill Blue Blue (new)
Color combo list:
A: Linen Quill Blue Blue + Line Weight Hydrangea Blossom
B: Linen Quill Clover Green + Line Weight Clear Sky
C: Linen Quill Blue Blue + Line Weight Lilac Fog
D: Linen Quill Blue Blue + Line Weight Mountain Blue
E: Linen Quill Heirloom White + Line Weight Clear Sky
F: Linen Quill Blue Pansy + Line Weight Hydrangea Blossom
G: Linen Quill Heirloom White + Line Weight Clover Green
H: Linen Quill Blue Blue + Line Weight Clover Green
I: Linen Quill Green Turquoise + Line Weight Lilac Fog
J: Linen Quill Blue Pansy + Line Weight Mountain Blue
K: Linen Quill Blue Blue + Line Weight Clear Sky
L: Linen Quill Clover Green + Line Weight Clover Green
M: Linen Quill Blue Pansy + Line Weight Lilac Fog
N: Linen Quill Heirloom White + Line Weight Lilac Fog
O: Linen Quill Blue Pansy + Line Weight Clear Sky
P: Linen Quill Green Turquoise + Line Weight Clover Green
Q: Linen Quill Heirloom White + Line Weight Mountain Blue
R: Linen Quill Heirloom White + Line Weight Hydrangea Blossom
S: Linen Quill Clover Green + Line Weight Lilac Fog
T: Linen Quill Blue Pansy + Line Weight Clover Green
I became vegetarian in February. It was a really, really long time coming, and becoming vegetarian before the start of a pandemic was really convenient. Few things beat having a bunch of dried beans, lentils, and veggies plus a bunch of rice on in my pantry while you're figuring out grocery delivery in NYC that doesn't exploit gig labor.
In March, April, and May, I made a lot of granola and ate it primarily with homemade almond milk. I have never been more grateful to have a powerful Vitamix blender than when we were making almond milk at least twice a week, and I can't believe I waited months before buying a nut milk bag to strain it instead of using a fine mesh sieve. I really cannot overstate how much time using a nut milk bag saves. Mexican Horchata also entered our regular drink rotation.
Toast slathered in butter that's topped with thinly sliced radishes and finished sea salt has become my favorite savory breakfast/afternoon snack. Toast slathered in one of Ayako & Family's many varieties of plum jam has become my favorite sweet breakfast/afternoon snack.
Soy eggs are a regular snack when we realize we have accumulated too many eggs through our weekly farm share delivery. I use a regular sodium soy sauce and leave them overnight, and despite the warning in the ingredient list, they have never been excessively salty.
When I'm feeling uninspired regarding a veggie in my farm share, I decide whether it would rather be roasted or salad and just do that. Roasted veggies are always a welcome side or addition to a dish in my home. Salad tossed in any quickly homemade dressing is still an incredible and simple to prepare treat, and yes, I admit I will forever be a stock photo cliché.
It's decorative gourd season, so I made a vegan squash soup. Cooking red lentils in the spices I would usually add to a soup and adding those to the blender helped make this a full meal, alongside some crusty bread, of course.
I've been craving mapo tofu for months. (I'm not aware of a good vegetarian version available in my part of the city.) My friends Alex and Erin sent me this very detailed recipe from Chinese Cooking Demystified, which made me feel confident I could make it if I gathered the right ingredients - though I wanted to have a minced protein instead of just omitting it to make it vegetarian. I use food processor minced fresh mushrooms instead of beef, which take longer to cook down and require more oil as mushrooms absorb it instead of releasing fat, and I replace the broth with shiitake dashi. (If you don't have another plan for the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, they can be minced and added to the fresh ones to replace the beef.)
Tali sauce is still a fun way to transform a simple bowl of rice and beans, and it freezes beautifully. That said, a humble bowl of rice and beans is always a pleasure on its own.
Speaking of beans, I never throw out bean cooking liquid. If I don't want it as part of the beans, I save it to reheat and mix with miso paste, as a treat.
Soy curls are a delightful shelf-stable protein. I often use them in Japanese or Thai curries.
Lekka Burger's vegan chocolate chip cookie is made entirely of shelf-stable pantry staples and is absolutely incredible. I highly recommend microwaving any cookies you don't eat the first day for 15 seconds before eating.
When I saw the Library Blanket Joelle Hoverson designed for Purl Soho, I immediately fell in love. The marled combinations of oranges, pinks, blues, and purples were calling to me, so I ordered a kit right away. Other knitters commented that while they loved the pattern, the colors used weren't quite right for them.
The tool will also generate the color combo list for the yarn names given, so you know which two yarns are held together in each block.
I've included a few preconstructed color palettes, including the one stated in the pattern, other combinations Purl Soho provided in the comments, and a few options I discovered while testing this tool. You can also create your own palettes either by selecting Purl Soho Line Weight or Linen Quill yarns from the dropdowns or by entering custom yarns in the text and color input fields. For each of the Purl Soho yarns in the dropdowns, I selected a hex color I felt corresponded well to the photo of that colorway. (Of course, a single color doesn't fully capture the subtleties in these yarns, and you may think a different hex color better matches a colorway than the one I chose! If you'd rather use a different hex color for a yarn, you can input it like you would for a custom yarn.) To preview this pattern with different yarns than the two Purl Soho specified in the pattern, you can enter your own yarn names and hex colors.
When you update any of the fields in the tool, the Library Blanket rendering and color combo list automatically update below.