Archive for July 2nd, 2009

How to Solve Traffic*

*This isn’t entirely genuine; it’s more of a “How to Slightly Improve Traffic.”

“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

Perhaps no fictional character has lost more credibility in the past calendar year than Gordon Gekko, played so well by Michael Douglas in Wall Street. But I’m not here to talk about the exposure of greed in fiscal terms; rather, I’m here to detail greed’s insidious impact on something another Douglas film is named after: Traffic.

Traffic may be the most singularly hated affliction in civilization. Contemplate it. Unlike murder, no one commits traffic. Unlike AIDS, no one knowingly gives someone traffic. Unlike war, no one starts traffic on faulty reasoning or to build community.

It is entirely possible—if not probable—that there has not been a single individual throughout human history who has been “pro-traffic.” And yet we’re all guilty of perpetuating traffic. For traffic is not the inevitable, unsolvable, irremediable collateral of living in an automobile age. Sure, there are causes of traffic that are beyond our control: construction, accidents, overpopulation. But once that traffic starts, and maybe a lane is closed or a bridge is coming up and the road’s width is narrowing, traffic is made much worse by the foundational sin of humanity: greed.

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The Value of Derek Jeter

Sam Borden raises a question that is quietly sneaking up on the Yankees: what is to be done about Derek Jeter’s contract? His 10-year, $189 million contract expires after next season, when he will be 36 years old. What do you pay an aging shortstop, who just might be the most popular player in your team’s history?

It’s quite the conundrum, as Borden points out: “Normally, you might be inclined to offer two years, $20 million for a high-end shortstop entering his 36- and 37-year-old seasons. Do that here and you’ll probably be laughed out of the room.” Continue reading