July 12, 2019

Is the Flying Dutchman a Myth?

Of course the flying Dutchman ship is a myth. But I'm talking here about today's average flying Dutch person.

But that word "average" contains a thousand pitfalls: in a recent column, Tim Harford points out that there is no such person who is the "average" person. In talking about populations, the average tells you something, but is far from the complete picture.

The distrbution is the important thing.

One - rather extreme - example is that of the United States, which is said to be one of the richest countries in the world but has plenty of citizens who go to bed hungry.

Meaning, the "average American" is a myth.

So it comes as no surprise that the "average American eater" is also a myth. A recent study has shown that only 20% of Americans are responsible for 46% of American's food-related emissions. This would be the 20% who eat a lot of beef and dairy.

Infographic by Sara Chodosh

July 7, 2019

Why Bicycle Riding Is Good For Democracy

"Which way shall we go?" says CelloDad.

There's no question where we're headed: to the Market Square in Delft, the Netherlands, which hosts the City Hall where we were married all those years ago. But today we were headed to have pancakes at one of Delft's many find establishments.

When we borrowed my dad's car, we would not have sweated the question. I would be at the wheel, and we went however I decided to go, and that was that.

But we're on bike, and that changes everything.

From my dad's place, it takes less time to reach the market square by bike than by car, and you don't have to pay the horrendous parking fees. But it takes negotiation, because there are lots of ways to reach downtown by bike.