Old habits

Dang, I’m a wordy fella, aren’t I? My previous post could have been summed up as: “Here’s an intersection that’s covered in sand. I hate it but I still go through it.” Instead, I wrote almost 1,000 words on it. Maybe I should have been a journalist. Anyhoo…

Sunday evening I was listening to Marketplace Money on the local Public Radio station. It’s on at 7PM on Sundays, usually just in time for me to do some dishes while listening. I’ve become a big fan of the show. (Again with the wordiness! Just get to the point!) OK OK! One particular story caught my ear – “Teens Getting Behind the Wheel Less.” It’s not one of those NY Times fake trend stories, teens are actually driving less. In 1978, 75% of 17 year olds had a driver’s license. In 2008, that was down to 50%. The biggest drop happened in the 90’s evidently. My first reaction to this story was, “what the hell is wrong with these kids?” Of course, then I remembered that I now actively advocate for people to drive less. In fact, Spouse didn’t get a driver’s license until her mid-20’s. I, on the other hand, got my learner’s permit on my 15th birthday, and my license on my 16th.

On NPR this morning, there was a brief blurb about the cars with the highest and lowest theft rates.

Highest: Cadillac Escalade

Maybe if they used less PLATINUM people would steal it less.

Lowest: Volvo S80.

Implication: this car will get you laid in a totally quaint manner.

Upon hearing that the Volvo was the least likely to be stolen, half of NPR’s audience breathed a smug sigh of relief.

Slate.com has the eerie ability to publish stories just as I’m thinking about a particular issue. Tom Vanderbilt (author of the book most often mentioned on this blog, “Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do.”) recently wrote an article entitled, “Dude, Where’s Your Car? How not having a car became Hollywood shorthand for loser.” Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day, Mark Wahlberg in I Heart Huckabees, Napoleon Dynamite, Pee-Wee, et cetera. Both the Marketplace piece and the Slate piece both reference Clueless, oddly enough. Marketplace to illustrate teen driving, Slate to illustrate that only weirdos don’t drive. I love media coincidences like that.

In other news, Tom Vanderbilt has a blog. Looks like I’ve lost the rest of my evening.

Except that I have to dole out one more teaser picture of my new road bike:

transmitter for a cateye strada double wireless

The “double” in “Cateye Strada Double Wireless” is because it transmits both speed and cadence. I’m not really sure what I want to do with the cadence information, but I figured I’d spring for it now in case I want it later.

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4 responses to “Old habits

  1. I didn’t hear it on NPR but I saw the list in my Google Reader yesterday, via Jalopnik, IIRC.

    A disproportionate number of the top stolen cars are made or marketed by GM. Almost all of them, in fact, including the Corvette, H2, Avalanche, Silverado and Yukon.

    Given the fact that every 10th (or even 20th) car on the road isn’t one of those, I can only guess that GM makes their cars fabulously easy to steal. Trust me. I do security and risk analysis for a living.

    • I just like making cheap jokes about NPR listeners and what could be cheaper than “Volvo-driving NPR listener” (said the NPR listener who washes dishes by hand.)

      I think you are onto something about GM models being easier to steal. Maybe this is their plan for long-term repeat customers, a variation on “planned obsolescence.” If more of their cars are stolen (but not enough to arouse suspicion), then their customers will have to come back and buy new ones.

  2. Yes but what does it transmit the data to?

    The weirdo thing. When I took the new job they asked for my car registration. I told her I didn’t own a car. You had to see the look.

    I then explained that I really do live in the CENTER of the city. So it’s pretty easy to not have a car here.

    • I’m still holding off on all of the other pictures of the road bike. You will see soon enough.

      Your new job asked for car registration? For parking purposes, I take it? If you want to seem them give you a really weird look, tell them about how California employers can give non-drivers a transit benefit equal to what the company pays in parking costs for other employees. So if your employer rents parking spaces for your coworkers at $150/month, they have to pay you $150 a month extra for you to spend on transit. Imagine what kind of bike you could buy every year for that! (I mentioned this in a post back in April).

      Do you have a license? I still had my car when I got my license renewed, but I biked to the DMV because it’s a reasonable distance and I hate the parking lot there (and I really enjoyed the irony). I’ll have to post my pictures of my bike parked at the DMV. They used to have a bike rack – but not anymore. Oh the indignity!

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