The Daily Valet. - 6/26/24, Wednesday

Wednesday, June 26th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
🎶 Watch me snap like a Motorola flip phone … mmhmm.

Today’s Big Story

Dangerous Roads for Non-Drivers


Fatalities dropped more than 5%, but remain concerningly high


At first, it seems like good news. After hitting a 40-year high last year, pedestrian deaths decreased in 2023, according to a report published Wednesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The report shows a 5.4% fall in the annual number of pedestrian deaths, the first decrease since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The association's CEO, Jonathan Adkins, says the progress is a step in the right direction. “We're happy to see it going down, but we're not having a party.”

That’s because it’s still a 14% increase over the death count of 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. According to Streetsblog, other research suggests that pedestrian activity itself might be down far more steeply than pedestrian deaths, with one big mobility data company reporting a 36% decrease in walking trips nationwide between 2021 and 2022. If that trend continued into 2023, it could mean that the rate of pedestrian fatalities per journey is actually rising sharply. There's also the open question of how many lives were “saved” by hard-to-predict phenomena, like historic rates of extreme weather that may have encouraged Americans to stay home rather than take a stroll.

So, what kind of numbers are we talking about here? More than 35,000 pedestrians have died in the past five years and the number of deaths rose nearly 77% between 2010 and 2022. The 2023 figures are projected estimates based on preliminary data from state highway-safety offices. America’s embrace of bigger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs, an increase in speeding and a lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure are partly to blame, said Pam Shadel Fischer of the Highway Safety Association. “As a nation, you know, in some ways we failed,” Fischer said. “We failed all other modes, we focus so much on cars.”

Most new cars have automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems, which use cameras and radar to detect an imminent crash and apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so. While the technology has significant safety benefits, studies have shown that it’s ineffective in avoiding pedestrian crashes at night or at high speeds. Congress has directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make AEB technology standard on all passenger vehicles and to establish minimum performance standards, including pedestrian protection. The new rule, issued in April, gives automakers until 2029 to upgrade their systems to operate at higher speeds and better avoid pedestrians. Of course, automakers are asking regulators to reconsider the rule, but until we see a lot less deaths, the technology could be a real lifesaver.

No One Wants to Pay Costly College Tuition


Many schools are eager for paying students … and ready to offer deals

As more than 2 million graduating high school students from across the United States enjoy their summer before starting university this fall, many are facing jaw-dropping costs—in some cases, as much as $95,000 a year. The Associated Press reports that a number of private colleges (some considered elite and others middle-of-the-pack) have exceeded the $90,000 threshold for the first time this year as they set their annual costs for tuition, board, meals and other expenses.

So it’s no surprise that many will incur debt and join the already 43.5 million Americans who have student loans. However, the sticker shock only tells part of the story. Many colleges with large endowments have become more focused in recent years on making college affordable for students who aren’t wealthy. Lower-income families may be required to pay just 10% of the advertised rate and, for some, attending a selective private college can turn out to be cheaper than a state institution.

Unlike retailers, colleges don’t use the term “discounts”. Rather, Intelligencer found, they attach fancy names, like “Presidential Award”, to what is generally known as merit aid because it sounds better than a price cut. Giving merit aid to students who don’t qualify for need-based aid is nothing new; the strategy has been around since the ’70s. But in the last decade, the discounting has become much more ubiquitous among all kinds of private colleges and especially widespread for families—even those upper middle class and wealthy families. The result is a new world where more and more students and parents comparison shop over fine gradations of prestige. The calculus among college-going families often looks like this: Is a school ranked 25th by U.S. News & World Report worth full price when a school ranked 40th is willing to give a $10,000-a-year discount?

A recent survey found that many parents saving for college aren’t ready to pay the first-year tuition.

Will the Razr Make a Comeback?


Is this the flip phone that goes mainstream?

As I still wait (impatiently) for Apple to answer one of my emails demanding a folding iPhone, the market keeps experimenting with other models. As Gizmodo points out, the return of the Razr flip phone in foldable form didn’t set the world on fire as much as Motorola may have wanted last year with its Razr+ phone. Still, Moto’s coming back in 2024 with a few improvements and the largest exterior screen ever seen on a foldable phone.

The Motorola Razr Plus and Razr are packed with upgrades and fun features, reports CNET. The phones forgo the glass back slabs we expect on other devices and have similar vegan leather backs that we saw last year, but this time in a variety of faux leather textures and even a faux suede. A new, smaller hinge has fewer moving parts, which should be good for long-term durability. The large exterior screen is a full extra display that can run any app on your phone while the upgraded camera is a huge improvement according to hands-on reviews.

Wired says Motorola is on a hot streak—it’s number one in the folding flip phone category in the U.S., which grew by three times in the past year, and Motorola is claiming 75% of this market share. Bad news for Samsung, which is expected to launch new folding phones next month. Motorola even says one out of every five Razr users switched from an iPhone. (You hear that Apple!?)

Starbucks Launches New Energy Drinks


The coffee chain is joining competitors in offering Gen Z’s beloved buzzy beverage

While the short-lived and controversial run of Panera's Charged Lemonades may have been a cautionary tale to some, it seems to have spurred inspiration in other brands, reports The Takeout. Back in February Dunkin' added Sparkd' Energy drinks to its menu, and now Starbucks has just debuted some fruity energy-packed beverages—each containing nearly enough caffeine to fuel you right into the weekend.

The 20-ounce (venti size) drinks contain between 180 and 205 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the flavor, which for some people may seem like, well, a lot. But consider this: A standard (eight-ounce) cup of coffee has about 95 milligrams of caffeine, so one energy drink would be like having two cups of coffee—though if you get your caffeine hit from a can of Diet Coke, which has only 46 milligrams of caffeine, that equivalent would be like drinking four 12-ounce cans.

The Iced Energy comes in three flavors, including one only available temporarily through the Starbucks app. Its two in-store menu offerings are Melon Burst and Tropical Citrus. Except for its limited-edition Frozen Tropical Citrus Iced Energy with Strawberry Puree, Iced Energy is sugar-free, made with artificial sweeteners. All flavors are sold in Starbucks' venti, 24-fluid-ounce size only and have caffeine, vitamins and taurine—an amino acid common in popular energy drinks that has been touted as helping to improve exercise performance, though more studies are needed. While taurine is not a stimulant, NBC News reports that some studies indicate that regular consumption of it in high doses could be harmful to adolescents’ developing brains.

The FDA says healthy adults can generally consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, the equivalent to about four or five cups of coffee.

Fight Sleep Procrastination


The name sounds a bit melodramatic, but it makes sense


Look, we all understand that sleep is one of the greatest tools for health. Going to bed early and getting a full, restful night of sleep might be the ultimate act of self-care. So why do so many of us say 'screw it' and stay up? I, myself, am guilty of this. I don't know if it's genetic or simply a personality quirk, but ever since I was young I've refused to give up the day—preferring to stay up late well past my bedtime, despite the consequences.

With more and more of us working longer hours these days, this phenomenon of prioritizing personal leisure time over sleep after a long day is becoming more common. After all, when you've given so much of yourself throughout the day, a guy's gotta have a little “me time,” right? For your own hobbies and interests or simply to relax and be unproductive. But at what cost?

If revenge bedtime procrastination is a problem for you, here are some expert tips on how to fight it.


What We’re Buying


A necklace


This simple stainless steel chain has an understated curb link chain design, finished with a secure lobster clasp. If you want something to shine under shirts this summer, this is it.

Get It:
Curb chain necklace, $15 / $10 by UO

Morning Motto

Clear your mind.



Don't forget to close all the tabs in your head too.




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