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David McNew, Newsmakers/Getty Images
David McNew, Newsmakers/Getty Images

The World's Most Congested City Is Right Here in America

David McNew, Newsmakers/Getty Images
David McNew, Newsmakers/Getty Images

Los Angeles is famous for its clogged freeways, but even Angelenos might not realize just how justified their complaints about sitting in traffic are. Not only does L.A. have the worst traffic in the U.S., it has the worst traffic in the world, according to an international study spotted by Travel + Leisure.

It’s the sixth time that L.A. has topped the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, an annual analysis of traffic across 1360 cities in 38 countries. INRIX, a Washington-state-based company that provides transportation and connected-car analytics, found that in 2017 the average Angeleno spent 102 hours sitting in traffic jams during peak hours. This idling time likely cost these drivers around $2800 in extra fuel over the course of the year, making traffic a waste of more than just time.

Los Angeles obviously isn’t the only city with bad traffic. Both Muscovites and New Yorkers sat in traffic for 91 hours over the course of the year. New York’s Cross Bronx Expressway was named the most congested single roadway in the country, with drivers spending 118 hours per year stuck on the 4.7-mile-long roadway. Five of the 10 top cities for traffic congestion were located in the U.S. as San Francisco (5), Atlanta (8), and Miami (10) all made the list.

On the bright side, there’s reason to think that L.A., at least, will eventually clean up its highways a bit, freeing up some time for its car-bound residents. Despite its reputation as a city without reliable transit options, L.A. has made some big strides in the last few years when it comes to expanding public transportation. The city is pushing particularly hard to open 28 new transit projects before the summer Olympics come to town in 2028. Unfortunately, it’s still far from having a super user-friendly transit network—despite its expansion projects, the system is currently losing riders. Looks like it may be a while before everything's moving in the right direction.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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This Just In
How Much Does a Missing Comma Cost? For One Dairy in Maine, $5 Million
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iStock

Copy editors aren’t the only ones who should respect the value of the Oxford comma. Since 2014, a dairy company in Portland, Maine has been embroiled in a lawsuit whose success or failure hinged on the lack of an Oxford comma in state law. The suit is finally over, as The New York Times reports, and die-hard Oxford comma-lovers won (as did the delivery drivers who brought the suit).

The drivers’ class action lawsuit claimed that Oakhurst Dairy owed them years in back pay for overtime that the company argues they did not qualify for under state law. The law reads that employees in the following fields do not qualify for the time-and-a-half overtime pay that other workers are eligible for if they work more than 40 hours a week:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

(1) Agricultural produce;

(2) Meat and fish product; and

(3) Perishable foods

Notice that it says the “packing for shipment or distribution” and not “packing for shipment, or distribution of.” This raised a legal question: Should dairy distributors get overtime if they didn’t pack and distribute the product?

The case eventually made its way to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which ruled that the lack of comma made the law ambiguous enough to qualify the drivers for their overtime pay, overturning the lower court’s verdict that the state legislature clearly intended for distribution to be part of the exemption list on its own.

In early February, the company agreed to pay $5 million to the drivers, ending the lawsuit—and, sadly, preventing us from ever hearing the Supreme Court’s opinions on the Oxford comma.

Future delivery drivers for the dairy won’t be so lucky. Since the comma kerfuffle began, the Maine legislature has rewritten the statute. Instead of embracing the Oxford comma, though—as we at Mental Floss would recommend—lawmakers decided to double down on their semicolons. It now reads:

The canning; processing; preserving; freezing; drying; marketing; storing; packing for shipment; or distributing of:

(1) Agricultural produce;

(2) Meat and fish products; and

(3) Perishable foods.

Come on, guys. What do you have against the serial comma?

[h/t The New York Times]

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Flights Grounded After World War II Bomb Discovered Near London City Airport
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

London City Airport grounded all flights on the night of February 11, after a World War II bomb was found in the neighboring River Thames, The Guardian reports.

The half-ton bomb was revealed Sunday morning by development work taking place at the King George V Dock. Following its discovery, police set up a 702-foot exclusion zone around the area, closing local roads and shutting down the London City Airport until further notice. According to the BBC, 261 trips were scheduled to fly in and out of London City Airport on Monday. Some flights are being rerouted to nearby airports, while others have been canceled altogether.

The airport will reopen as soon as the explosive device has been safely removed. For that to happen, the Met police must first wait for the river's tide to recede. Then, once the bomb is exposed, they can dislodge it from the riverbed and tow it to a controlled explosion site.

The docks of London’s East End were some of the most heavily bombed points in the city during World War II. Germany’s Blitz lasted 76 nights, and as the latest unexpected discovery shows, bombs that never detonated are still being cleaned up from parks and rivers more than 75 years later.

[h/t The Guardian]

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