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A 24-hour Metro? For one rider, the train is always half full – By Kytja Weir, Washington Examiner
|| 1/5/2011 || 10:09 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Logo for Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro

Earlier this week I got a random Facebook message from a reporter who noticed that I had created the Facebook Group Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro and was interested in doing an interview. I wrote her back and we ended up speaking for about 30 minutes about this project. A couple days later this article showed up on the Washington Examiner’s Capitol Land blog:


Screen grab from the Washington Examiner website

A 24-hour Metro? For one rider, the train is always half full

By: Kytja Weir 01/05/11 3:34 PM
Examiner Staff Writer

Nikolas Schiller has a dream. But even he calls it “a dream deferred.”

He’d like to see the Metro system operate 24 hours a day. And 689 others agree with him.

The D.C. consultant and artist created a Facebook campaign in February 2009 called “Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro.” It quickly got a following, even though he acknowledges that many of the fans were already his friends.

“The United States government operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so should Metro,” became the motto.

He traveled around to other systems and realized few agencies but New York City run 24 hours a day. But his thinking was that if riders miss the last train of the night in D.C., they have to shell out big bucks for a taxi to get home.

So why not charge riders more for late-night service, perhaps running just one train per hour? That would allow the trains to move on a single track, freeing up the other side for the track work and maintenance that gets done at night, he said.

He started the campaign to gauge interest. He even bought ads on Facebook to tout the idea.

At one point he tried to organize a meet up of the like-minded, hoping to re-create subway parties that occurred on London’s system.

But alas, Metro has talked of cutting service in recent years, not expanding it. Even the extended weekend service of 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights teetered on the chopping block during the last budget cycle, saved at the last minute by District officials.

Now, the current focus on safety makes Schiller’s idea even less likely. And then there’s the cost.

Metro has charged $27,000 to groups to open the rail system an hour early, say for a marathon or other event. At that rate, it would cost about $135,000 a day to keep trains running. That’s $49 million for an entire year.

To cover the extra costs, the system would need for riders to make about 26,000 more trips each day at $5.24 a pop (twice the current average rail fare) on top of the already 700,000 or so trips that occur on a typical weekday. That’s before taking into account the extra wear and tear on the trains and tracks or other costs that would come from running continuous service.

But Schiller says he would still like to see it happen. And the Facebook campaign lives on, gathering a few hopeful followers at a time. Three more joined this week alone.


Leave comments on the Washington Examiner website: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/capital-land/2011/01/24-hour-metro-one-rider-train-always-half-full



Mentioned Today On The Huffington Post Concerning Facebook’s Censorship of Advertisements Related To Cannabis
|| 8/24/2010 || 11:49 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Animated GIF featuring 3 iterations of the Huffington Post’s front page

This morning after reading the article on the Huffington Post about how Facebook banned certain ads related to cannabis, I contacted my friend who knows the author about how Facebook also banned a bunch of ads I created earlier this year, and was subsequently included at the end of the article.

Text and screen grab below:

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51 Random Banners Now Greet Visitors
|| 12/26/2009 || 1:21 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Banner Graphic Featuring A Detail from The Vicissitude of the Seasons Explained

New banner graphic featuring my name written in Hebrew over
The Vicissitude of the Seasons Explained” from Bowles 1780 Map of the World

On Christmas night I got a random Facebook message from a Peruvian friend of mine who recently moved to Israel. After we were done chatting, I asked the same request I’ve asked a few other times to friends in distant lands, “Can you translate my name into ____Hebrew____?” A few moments later I was sent the basis for these six new banners. Now my name is now randomly displayed in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Chinese, and Russian.

Below are the rest of the new banner graphics hyperlinked to their original blog entries:

Swampoodle Quilt #2
Banner Graphic Featuring Swampoodle Quilt No.2

Racine Quilt #2
Banner Graphic Featuring Racine Quilt No. 2

West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt
Banner Graphic Featuring West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt

Vassar Quilt Refraction
Banner Graphic Featuring Vassar Quilt Refraction

University of Southern California Quilt
Banner Graphic Featuring University of Southern California Quilt

Related Entries:



New Facebook Group: Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia
|| 12/9/2009 || 11:24 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

For the last 10 years, every District of Columbia appropriations bill passed by Congress has included this line of tyrannical text: Provides that the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998, also known as Initiative 59, approved by the electors of the District on November 3, 1998, shall not take effect. With the long-awaited news that Congress has finally decided to remove this line of text, I’ve created a new Facebook Group Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia:

After over 10 years of a congressionally imposed ban on medical marijuana in the District of Columbia, the passage of Ballot Initiative 59, known as the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998, *should* go into effect very shortly.

The Facebook Group “Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia” was created to help advance, advocate, and agitate for the responsible implementation of this important healthcare reform in the District of Columbia.

Until the legislation becomes law, the members of this group are not *yet* legal medical marijuana recipients. However this group is open to everyone, including those who plan on becoming patients in the near future and want to ensure they can find the cannabis that meets their medical needs when the laws are officially changed.

We hope this group can engender the support of everyone who believes in safe, legal, and affordable medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

While I don’t expect the laws to be changed overnight, my aim is to create an informal body of concerned citizens who will help ensure that the law is implemented in a way that benefits those who need medical marijuana most. I imagine this change in the law is going to be a big can of worms that many elected officials are going to try to step lightly around, so it’s somewhat important that there is an organized group of concerned citizens willing to make sure that the law is enacted properly.


So what will medical marijuana look like in the District of Columbia? I don’t know yet. Hopefully its similar to Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, which is one of the best dispensaries in California. I think they have created a model that can easily be replicated in Washington. Watch their well-produced YouTube video to get a better idea of how medical marijuana can be dispensed:


[Watch On YouTube]

Below is the legislative text of Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998. It was originally passed with the support of 69% of the voters in the District of Columbia:

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FRIEND REQUEST: MCA Invitational
|| 12/2/2009 || 2:38 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Flier for the Mid City Artist's group exhibition Friend Request

I was asked by my neighbor Chuck Baxter, who is a member of the Mid City Artists, to participate in the dynamic group exhibition. I intend on hanging a large 60″ x 40″ printing of Park La Brea Quilt #3 on display. This gorgeous map was originally printed out as a supplement to a book proposal in 2008. After the proposal was rejected and map sent back, it sat rolled up in my closet for over a year, and I’m excited to have it on display for the first time in Washington, DC.


Please attend the opening reception on Friday, December 11th, 2009 from 5pm to 8pm.
Art 17 @ Coldwell Banker is located at 1606 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
The exhibition will be up until January 29, 2010.



Map of Teacher Starting Salary vs. Annual Amount Spent on Inmates
|| 9/23/2009 || 11:50 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Map of Teacher Starting Salary vs. Annual Amount Spent on Inmates

I found this map through a friend’s link on Facebook. It shows how each state pays it’s new teachers compared to the amount that each state spends on each inmate. I was quite surprised to see the variance in starting pay throughout the United States.

In summary:

  • Alabama is the only state to pay their new teachers $20,000 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 23 states pay their new teachers $10,000 – $19,999 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 6 states pay their new teachers $5,000 – $9,999 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 8 states pay their new teachers $2,000-$2,999 more than what is spent on each inmate
  • 6 states pay their new teachers about the same that is spent on each inmate (+/- $1,999)
  • Massachusetts & Oregon spend $2,000-$2,999 more on each inmate than each new teacher
  • Wisconsin spends $3,000-$3,999 more on each inmate than each new teacher
  • Rhode Island spends $4,000-$4,999 more on each inmate than each new teacher
  • Maine & Minnesota spend $5,000 more on each inmate than each new teacher

Fortunately, more states (38) pay their new teachers more than inmates. But the larger issues comes to my mind. Do these inmates even belong in jail? Are they being incarcerated due to a non-violent crime? Conversely, do violent criminals need more attention and therefore more money needs to be spent on them? Should we, as a society, be paying our new teachers more money in order to prevent people from not receiving a complete education, resorting to crime, and ending up in jail? I will not attempt to answer these questions, but I will say that America has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world and I hope this changes.


*The District of Columbia is excluded from this map



Groupon.com is illegally using my map “DC Stencil” for a Facebook advertisement
|| 8/10/2009 || 6:09 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Screen grab from Facebook showing my map DC Stencil being used without my permission -- click to see full size

Click the Screen Grab to see the full-size image

About 15 minutes ago I visited my Profile Page on Facebook and noticed a familiar map of mine was being used without my authorization:

DC Stecnil by Nikolas Schiller - created August 22nd, 2005

My website’s Fair Use policy states “For any intended commercial use of content on this website, I request that you contact me so that we can arrange appropriate compensation.” There was no effort to contact me before using my map in the advertisement and had they chosen to contact me, I would have requested some form of compensation. I decided to report the advertisement to Facebook:

Screen grab from Facebook showing my map DC Stencil being used without my permission and my message to Facebook as to why the ad should be removed-- click to see full size

Click the Screen Grab to see the full-size image
(Yes I am aware of the grammatical error!)

I also sent the company, which I am purposely not linking to in this entry, a polite cease and desist e-mail asking them to either take down the advertisement or pay me and I sent out a tweet linking to this entry. Maybe I should pursue further action? Let’s see how they respond…



UPDATE – A few minutes after I sent my Tweet, I received the following responses:

Twitter replies about the illegal Facebook ad

Later in the evening I noticed that they merely changed the graphic and kept the original ad:

Screen grab from Facebook showing the same ad with a new graphic-- click to see full size

Click the Screen Grab to see the full-size image

Makes me wonder if they are using someone else’s image illegally?


UPDATE – This morning I received this e-mail:

Screen grab of the reply

So I get to BUG him about a $10 coupon after my copyright was violated? That ad was probably seen by thousands of people! What a crock.


UPDATE – August 12th, 2009 – I decided to do some sleuthing and found that the image that Groupon.com replaced my image with was also a copyrighted image! Using the website TinEye.com I was able to eventually trace their current image to this blog entry. I contacted the copyright holder and he said that he had not given them permission to use his photograph either….



Revisiting the Dupont Lenz Quilt Animation
|| 7/17/2009 || 7:16 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Embedded from Facebook

In August of 2007 I posted the Quicktime Movie of Dupont Lenz Quilt Animation on this blog. I had not joined YouTube yet, nor had I released the contents of this website to search engines, so only recently have I begun to port some of my animations to other websites. Today I decided to upload the animation to Facebook and to YouTube.

The animation uses same layout from my map “Dupont Circle Quilt 2005.” The 30 second animation features two 15 second segments of the same imagery shown from two different perspectives. The modified aerial photography of Dupont Circle in Washington, DC is magnified using transparent glass spheres to create unique cartographic perspective.


Related Animations:

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Analyzing my Facebook friends social behavior through Google Reader
|| 6/17/2009 || 3:16 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I haven’t written about Facebook since I created the group “Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro” back in February. Previous to that, the entries were related to my experiments using their internal advertising system (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) and prior to that, I briefly wrote about the Nexus application that shows the relationships & commonalities of my Facebook friends. Back in March of 2008, I had a little under 400 friends and since then I have gained over 600 new friends and now have a little more than 1,000 Facebook friends and they share a lot links.

A few months ago I discovered that I could subscribe to my friend’s shared links on Facebook through an RSS reader. I was attempting develop a means to synch up what I shared on Facebook with what I shared on this website and found that I could subscribe to what all my friends were sharing on Facebook. I had come to the conclusion that it was easier to share information through the Facebook platform than through this blog and I wanted to find a way that my shared links would show up here using my Daily Links concept. While I ultimately abandoned the effort (as well as the Daily Links concept), I kept my subscription active in Google Reader.

Today I decided to check out the statistics related to my Facebook friends shared link RSS feed. What I found was quite interesting….


The average links shared per week is a little over 574 “posts” (posts are technically individually shared links) and with a little over 1,000 friends, this would statistically translate to half of my friends share one link a week. However, from my experience, I would say that its probably 10% to 25% of my friends are active users who share links often and the rest are passive users or don’t use Facebook that much. To reach the number of 574 shared links per week, then in the last 30 days there was roughly 2300 links shared during the month (574 posts per week x 4 weeks = 2296.8 links per month), which translates to a little over 2 links per person per month. As far as the shape of the graph goes, like the traffic on this website, there is a seemingly up & down flow that I’ve found to correlate to how most people use the internet during the week and not using it during the weekend.

This screen grab shows something I wasn’t expecting. The time of day in which my friends share their links does not completely correlate to my initial notion that most people share links on Facebook only while at work. Instead the times in which my friends share the most links are around 10pm & 11pm at night; probably before they go to bed. However, judging by the 4pm & 5pm spikes in the number of shared links, I can deduce that people are sharing links more at the end of the work day than at the beginning. The spike at around 11am in the morning might indicate that people are using Facebook during their lunch break. In all, I think this graph is the most telling of the Facebook usage of my friends on-line social behavior.

Finally, this screen grab also shows shows the which day of the week my friends share the most links. This graph mimics the undulation shown on the Last 30 Days graphic above. Interestingly, Thursday edges out Wednesday as the most popular day and Tuesday is more popular than Friday. I personally expected Friday to be the day that the most links are share because in my experience it was the day of the week that required the least amount of work. At below 200 links, nearly half the amount for the other five days of the week, I was not surprised by the low number of links shared on the weekends. As I stated before, this mimics the traffic this website.


In summary, I find this type of information very interesting. I don’t think its that useful information for everyone because it only shows the on-line social behavior of my friends. Moreover, this information does not fully paint the entire picture of my friends Facebook usage. Status updates, uploaded photos, uploaded videos, and those stupid quizzes are not shown in these graphs; only the number of links that are being shared. However, I believe there are some general concepts that can possibly be extrapolated if you were to subscribe to your friend’s shared links.



Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro
|| 2/4/2009 || 5:32 pm || Comments Off on Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro || ||

Recently I’ve read about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority threatening to cut back on services. Today I decided to create a Facebook Group that ignores this threat and asks for expanded services– specifically, having the Metro run 24 hours a day. I’d be willing to pay more for late night service, but will WMATA care? Will they expand their services and make DC a more world-class city? I doubt it…





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

If you would like to use content found here, please consult my Fair Use page.

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  • thank you,
    come again!