A Better Way to Exit a Crowded SEPTA Train

We’ve all been there: crowded Regional Rail train, morning rush, and everyone’s getting off in Center City. The de-boarding process can be a hot mess. Why? People in the aisle try to be polite and let seated passengers squeeze into the queue, gumming up the works.

What if we told you there’s a better way? We had a hunch that if all aisle-standers exited first and seated passengers simply filled in behind, everything would move much more quickly. To test our hypothesis, we rang up Jason Steffen — an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UNLV who notably developed a method (the Steffen method!) for efficiently boarding airplanes. Guess what? He thinks we’re onto something, noting that as soon as someone stops and prevents the steady flow of people moving out the doors, efficiency drops off. A better way to ensure that flow? Populate the line from the back of the car. Read more »

Despite Fears, UNESCO Withdrawal Won’t End Philly’s World Heritage Status

Independence Hall

Photo by RD Smith (license)

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – a.k.a. UNESCO.

The international agency, based in Paris, works to promote global collaboration through educational, scientific and cultural strategies (as the name hints).  Read more »

Philly Sex Offender Sues Big Tobacco for $50 Million

Left: Philadelphia sex offender Ted McCracken. (Megan’s Law registry) Right: A pack of Kool cigarettes. (Wikimedia Commons)

We here at Philly Mag see a lot of personal injury lawsuits rolling through the local courts, but we don’t remember the last time we saw somebody suing big tobacco. For $50 million. And then there’s the fact that the guy suing is a registered sex offender. Read more »

Trump Picks Philly-Native Businessman to Run Federal Weather Agency

trump, barry myers, weather

L: Via Gage Skidmore (license) | R: Via AccuWeather

In typical fashion, President Donald Trump has picked the wealthy CEO of the for-profit Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather to oversee the National Weather Service.

Trump tapped Philly-native Barry Myers to lead the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the country’s top agency for weather, climate and ocean research. The organization runs the NWS, which is tasked with providing the public with the most current weather forecasts and warnings.  Read more »

SEPTA Cautiously Monitoring Boston Train Tests in China

(AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma.)

To ensure that they didn’t screw up their $137.5 million investment, SEPTA officials are paying close attention to testing being conducted in China by a company that the transit authority contracted with to produce 45 high-tech Regional Rail trains last spring. Read more »

OPINION: Philly NAACP President Should Resign Over Paid Soda-Tax Lobbying

Rodney Muhammad via YouTube screenshot

When the Inquirer reported last week that Philadelphia NAACP chapter president Rodney Muhammad had been paid by a PR firm working for a “dark money” nonprofit to do “community outreach” in 2016 on behalf of Mayor Jim Kenney’s soda-tax initiative and that since April of this year he has received $25,000 from Kenney’s political action committee for … well, no one is saying, I felt an instant sense of betrayal.

Not because Muhammad supported the mayor’s soda tax (which I still loathe), but because he gave the community the impression that he had championed the 2016 legislation solely from a place of advocacy and not personal financial gain. (Why, exactly, was he listed as “Rodney Carpenter” on the latest Kenney for Philadelphia campaign-finance report even though he was actually born Rodney Ellis?) Read more »

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