Guess what, that Chinese straddling bus is STILL in the news. When I first saw this invention, I thought it would fade away over all the shouts of how impractical and possibly dangerous it could be. But you still see it mentioned in the social media now and then. That of course gets me thinking, why is this kind of technical inventions hyped, while new information systems for the mass transit systems, or even newer more fuel efficient engines for buses are forgotten by all but the technically inclined people?
The answer is probably spectacle. This… thing… is something we aren’t used to see. I mean, this is probably not a new idea in itself but to actually starting going from thought to action is something.
Another answer may be accessibility. This monster is easy to understand. It has the coolness factor a regular bus with a better motor with a different fuel lacks. A bus is a bus. This is interesting even if you usually find technical innovation dull.
Perhaps the problem of science being boring can be solved, in part, with this kind of presentations of finds and inventions too. A wow factor now and the may really spice up the whole environmental debate. And not a “Wow we are all doomed in 20X0″ wow factor. Its all about presentation and good results and inventions with a possible big environmental impact needs some more attention as well.
Take bio-gas for instance. Many cities in Sweden has buses that runs of Bio-gas from garbage or sewage sludge. A very good if not a perfect system, but do we hear about THAT kind of fuel in the green news? Not often, and when it does it is usually some small thing that is easily forgotten. Yet it may be a great way to reduce our addiction to oil. Bio-gas is only one example. Solar and wind power are two very hyped sorts of green energy, but what about wave power and geo-thermal heating? Water power? There are many green options that would need a wow factor now and then, as they tend to be forgotten.
The commute seems to be one of those areas, and that is why I am really glad about that straddling bus as well as all the different mass transit and bike initiatives out there. They lift an otherwise boring subject out of the fog, makes it sparkle a bit and catches attention which in turn raises awareness with the public. Which is great.