Crossover Vehicles, Smart Phones 2004 vs 2014, and Why Your Restaurant Visit Is Now Taking Twice As Long

I don't usually do a linkwrap because there are far better and more disciplined and experienced readers out there (for example, herehere, and here). That said, I thought I'd give it a spin around the block and see how it feels.

We're still working on our new office, but we are now open for business. I need to frame a door, finish the first floor bathroom (paint, mostly), and get our file room in order, but other than that we are functional. We are very comfortable in our new space and I'm excited to get to work.

1) The ubiquity of the crossover vehicle, now taking over American roads, by Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic:
These days, three times as many crossovers are sold as SUVs and minivans combined. Even SUVs in their Clintonian fin-de-siècle glory days cannot touch the growth of the crossover. Just take in these numbers. 

2) A restaurant studies surveillance video from 2004 and when comparing it to 2014, finds that the average visit length has increased by 77% (50 minutes).

The reason for the increase: smart phones. By Maia McCann, Distractify.
27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo. 14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another 5 minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.

3) Speaking of 2004, it's pretty wild that getting retro with a cell phone only takes you back 10 years. Ashley Feinberg at Gizmoto spends a month with a Motorola Razr V3 so you don't have to.
Smartphones are so ingrained in our daily lives that we swipe them open with the same unconscious instinct we'd use to swat a fly on our arm. Five idle minutes would pass by in a subway car. I'd reach for my phone, realize just a little too late that it had nothing to offer me, and then self-consciously pretend that I had just wanted to look at my impotent lump of a phone.

4) One of the troubling things about studying and understanding the universe at very, very large scales and very, very small scales is that during the process of answering each question, several new and bizarre questions seem to emerge. Ian O'Neal at Discovery tells us that according to some studies, the Higgs boson should have destroyed the universe soon after the Big Bang. Great.

5) Weird, first-person story of a journalist stumbling upon a family of descendants of Civil War southerners who migrated to Brazil rather than live in the American South after "the War of Northern Aggression." A strange story well told by Stephen Bloom at Narratively.
His speech was wobbly and splintered, run together, so some of the words didn’t make any sense. And his voice: It was scratchy, like it creaked forth from the worn and weathered horn of a hand-cranked Victrola.

6) The implications of the self-driving car are more far-reaching than you may imagine. Seth Godin writes that "[t]his is a bigger shift than the smart phone, and it might happen nearly as fast," and could reshape American cities and suburbs.