I’m back from Japan (and my corresponding unannounced blogging hiatus), and though at the moment I’m fighting a losing battle against jet lag, expect posting to pick up in 2014 relative to the last few months.

As for Japan, behold the world famous Kyoto subway station caloric stair nudge:


You may have seen some version of this photo floating around the internet, but it’s worth pointing that not only are very few Japanese people overweight, my unscientific observation is that standing on the escalator rather than walking up the escalator or stairs is quite popular in Japan relative to the U.S. That means telling people how many calories they’ll burn for each stair may be less about encouraging healthy behavior and more about optimizing pedestrian traffic during rush hour.

And because there’s a rule against going to Japan and not posting at least one photo of a hilarious English translation, here’s my favorite.


The absence of a single letter can make something exponentially more terrifying.

Finally, in case you missed it, I wrote something for Pacific Standard about the psychology of living in urban environments.

Happy new year!

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