Airline boarding times have doubled since 1970

Like a lot of basically happy people, I believe the general public is getting stupider over time. It’s not a novel idea. In the Odes, Horace complains that “our fathers, viler than our grandfathers, begot us who are even viler, and we bring forth a progeny more degenerate still.” That was in like 12 BC, and we can only imagine how he would have felt had he lived to see everyone adopt Christianity a couple generations later. The future always looks weird and scary. Since the present is basically a broke-ass version of the future, it follows that it should appear gross and dumb. Or maybe—and I’m just spitballing here—the people alive now really are exceptionally lazy and stupid. The very notion of human progress implies the possibility of regress, so some iterations of society must be more inept than others, right? If only there were some way to measure it. Incidentally, airline boarding times have doubled since 1970.

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Bikes win Flight vs. Bike challenge at Carmageddon

Cyclists at the Critical Mass bike ride in Vancouver

When I visit Los Angeles, I am chauffeured from hot tub to bar to party to beach in private automobiles and therefore learn nothing of the city’s freeway system. There’s a 110* and a 101, and until last weekend there was a 405. That last one is really important, apparently, since its closure for construction prompted LA city officials to declare “Carmageddon” and urge Angelenos to stay home all weekend. The predicted final reckoning of good vs. evil cars didn’t really happen, but it seemed like enough of a possibility that Jet Blue offered a special flight from Burbank to Long Beach airports. Solving a traffic jam by taking a jet airplane across town was so stunningly American that it, in turn, prompted the Flight vs. Bike Challenge, in which a team of cyclists tried to beat the Jet Blue plane from BUR to LGB—and won, easily.

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