Recently Learned or Remembered
- via Frumination:
If you got rid of the New York City subway system, you would need the equivalent of a 228 lane Brooklyn Bridge to move commuters into Manhattan during Monday morning rush hour.
At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 42 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges. At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.
- via Molly Young:
Complaining and its brethren—bemoaning, carping, whining—are among the most useless activities you can do. The grievance at the root of most complaints is an abstract one, like the weather or joblessness. Abstractions can’t be touched by complaining and complaining does not itself provide relief.
Knowing all of this—and everyone does—continues to make no difference.
- via Natalie Angier’s science book, The Canon:
The law of conservation of energy is, in effect, a promise of eternal existence. The universe is, practically speaking, a closed system. Its total energy will be conserved. More will not be created, none will be destroyed. Your private sum of E, the energy in your atoms and bonds between them, will not be annihilated, cannot be nulled or voided. The mass and energy of which you’re built will change form and location, but they will be here, in this loop of life and light, the permanent party that began with a Bang.
Everyone works an average of 3 hours and 25 minutes a day in America. I represent the approximately 8% of Americans working through 7:00pm. The interactive chart was an easy way to waste a morning.
-via Harvard Business Blog:
How much would it cost to produce a “Good iPod”? One not produced in a sweatshop, but under decent labor conditions. Like, for example, one produced in the USA — hardly a paragon of labor standards, but a starting point.
The Sloan Foundation data estimate just $4 of an iPod’s cost is the final assembly in China. Using average Chinese hourly compensation costs, that’s about 2.7 hours of labor – then use American hourly compensation costs to adjust for what that final assembly might cost in the States.
The results are surprising. An American made iPod Classic costs just 23% more than a Chinese made iPod Classic: $58 more, to be precise. The same relationship holds across the iPod family (price differentials in the 20-30% range) The iPod is a durable good, so that’s a difference — but smaller than one might expect.
Is a 23% price difference between a “Good” and “Evil iPod” worth it — to Apple, society, communities, and our economy?