Trump Can Stop the Squeeze in Economy Class Seats

Five big ideas that made the week and the stories behind them.
Five Things We Learned This Week (08/03)

1) A Regulation Everyone Can Support

Airplanes are getting so uncomfortable it could be dangerous—at least according to a passenger rights group. A court has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to review standards for legroom and aisle space and consider setting minimum requirements to ensure passengers can safely evacuate in an emergency. The ruling comes as carriers seek to pack more seats into Coach. Flyers Rights, a group that brought the lawsuit, said the distance between seats has shrunk from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches in recent decades. “This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote for a three-judge panel.

Travelers at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

2) Alan Greenspan Has a Warning for the Economy

“Stagflation not seen since the 1970s.” That’s Alan Greenspan’s forecast for the economy, he said in an interview with Bloomberg. The former Federal Reserve chairman said bond prices are in a bubble and low, long-term interest rates will have to rise. “When they move higher they are likely to move reasonably fast,” he said. Central bankers around the world are trying to figure out how—and how quickly—to pull back stimulus.

3) Google Is Developing a Battery Killer

Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, has another moonshot underway. Its secretive unit that works on ambitious and maybe impossible projects is trying to develop a way to store renewable energy that involves salt and antifreeze. The system could last longer than lithium-ion batteries, Bloomberg reported. “In the first half of this year, California tossed out more than 300,000 megawatt hours produced by solar panels and wind farms because there's no good way to store it,” Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen reports. “That’s enough to power tens of thousands of homes.”

4) Bees Are Making a Comeback

Bees have been dying mysteriously, partly because of a phenomenon that has been known for the past decade as Colony Collapse Disorder. Now there’s good news: Commercial honeybee colonies in the U.S. rose 3 percent in the year that ended April 1, and the number of hives lost to the disorder was down 27 percent. The pollinators are crucial for the agriculture industry.

Photographer: Brett Gundlock/Bloomberg

5) The Model 3 Has Arrived, and It’s Even Better Than Expected

Bloomberg’s Tom Randall got the chance to drive the most hotly anticipated new car of the year: Tesla’s Model 3. “CEO Elon Musk has finally delivered an electric car for the everyday road tripper like me,” he says. “The seats embrace you in a gentle hug that feels a bit more geared for road trip than racetrack.” The upgraded version of the car zooms from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds with a range of 310 miles on a charge. And there's plenty of room to sleep when you fold the seats completely flat.

Tesla Model 3
Source: Tesla

 

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