Steven M. Johnson on Turn Signal Clothing

©. Steven M. Johnson

The inventor and humorist also was prescient about buses.

The Onion website is for sale; it is hard to stand out in an era when reality is crazier than satire. We have covered some of their stuff, humorous pieces that turned out to be astonishingly prescient.

Steven M. Johnson is a one-man Onion; he has been thinking of new solutions to problems for decades and doing wonderful cartoons out of them. We have shown a lot of them (as has Core77) because he came up with clever solutions to real world problems before most people knew the problem even existed.

smart jacket detail

© Ford

For example, after we showed the bike jacket designed by Ford UK which had built-in turn signals, he sent us a note asking, “Is this actual news in TH, or the Onion? This was my joking suggestion back in 1991.” Even he is having trouble keeping reality and satire apart.

His idea for Turn Signal is actually a better idea, in that it works everywhere, not just on a bike.

bus for the poor

© Steven M. Johnson

Then, after we wrote about how buses are often the only way for the poor to get around in and between cities, and questioned whether public transportation was a human right, he sent us this, “first published in 1974 in an issue of The Sierra Club Bulletin.” Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Johnson posts

TreeHugger/Screen capture

Steven M. Johnson is one of the very few living human beings to have his own tag on TreeHugger; see all of our posts on him here.