Shorts

1. No, we cyclists don’t approve of how stupid riding, either:

The above video adheres to the bicycle messenger video style manual, which mandates that any video must include messengers talking about how dangerous their job is while simultaneously including footage of them doing their job in the most idiotically dangerous way possible…. I’d like to see a video from the IBEW in which electricians talk about how dangerous their job is, intercut with footage of them randomly stabbing at wall outlets with forks. – BSNYC

2. On the eve of the government shutdown:

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) drew cheers by saying, “If liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making a small down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say, ‘Shut it down.’” – reported by John Avlon, Daily Beast

I’d like to see these Ayn Rand-worshipping teabagger extremists survive a true government shutdown. End Social Security and Medicare payments, garrison the forts, abandon the airports and ports and border crossings, freeze defense contractors’ payments, stand down the poultry inspectors, turn off MedLine, rope off the Interstates. See how your constituents feel after a few days of living in the Stone Age. Those taxes we pay are (h/t Oliver Wendell Holmes) the price of civilization, and without them we’ll descend into anarchy — which ain’t pretty.

3. David Roberts says of a nifty LLNL flowchart of America’s energy consumption: “Holy sh*t we waste a lot of energy! Well over half of the raw energy that enters our economy goes to waste.” Less than 1/3 of the fuel going into electric plants actually ends up as used energy; generator losses and line loss accounts for much of the rest. (Smart grids and better transmission lines should go a ways to solving that.) Yet the huge waste is in transportation: just as much energy is wasted in transportation as is provided by coal. Only 1/4 of the energy going into the transportation sector actually gets used. Increasing fuel economy will surely help matters a great deal, but surely a great deal of that inefficiency stems from America’s overreliance on the 20%-efficiency internal combustion engine for almost all of its transportation needs.

4. DCentric’s Elahe Izadi reveals how (in DC as in Chicago, although less dramatically since gentrification led to net gains in DC vs. net losses in Chicago) suburbanization rather than gentrification actually explains much of the decline in both cities’ Black populations.

Yesterday we spoke with demographer Roderick J. Harrison, a senior fellow at the Joint Center and a Howard University associate professor, to get a better understanding of the city’s shifting demographics. He framed D.C.’s loss of 39,000 black residents in this light: gentrification wasn’t the major driving force in Wards 7 and 8, where population losses were the greatest. Rather, it was by-and-large classic suburbanization in which people left the city’s poorest wards “that are often considered the worst neighborhoods,” Harrison said.

“The force behind it probably is seen as a positive force. These are people who are some way or another, they are upwardly mobile, they are improving their housing and neighborhood conditions, they are making personal decisions that they see, on the whole, as an improvement,” he said.

5. I’ve previously despaired over whether Continental Airlines’ marketing strategy might win out over United Airlines’ — and yes, it seems that CO’s Kaplan Thaler is behind the new company’s branding. As Lewis Lazare wrote in the Sun-Times:

A golden age in the annals of airline advertising officially ended Tuesday when the merged United Airlines unveiled its first ad campaign from Kaplan Thaler/New York ad agency… does away with the elegant, illustration-centric print ads and television commercials that for the past four years were a hallmark of the United advertising created by the Minneapolis boutique shop Barrie, D’Rozario Murphy. Those print ads and story-driven commercials were always smart and sophisticated — the finest examples of airline advertising since the landmark ‘World’s Favorite Airline’ campaigns for British Airways from Saatchi & Saatchi/London in the late 1980’s… United’s ads from BDM helped elevate the carrier’s image even as the airline was struggling to right itself after a difficult bankruptcy filing… The new United advertising just now breaking incorporates much of the imagery associated with previous Continental campaigns, which have been handled for many years by Kaplan Thaler. It is certainly a functional campaign, if not hugely creative.

However, what worked for Continental might not work for the new United: the two competed in very different market spaces. Continental faced very little competition for its “hub captive” travelers, and has been able to profit immensely from that. That’s highlighted in Nate Silver’s recent analysis of airports with “unfair fares.” Legacy Continental’s hubs are #1, #2, and #6 on his list of most overpriced large airports, with megahubs IAH and EWR taking the top slots. Of United’s hubs, IAD and ORD are #7 and #8, but United’s other three hubs are apparently at least fairly priced — and United has at times been #2 to American at ORD.

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