“Seems Ethernet Does Not Work in Theory, Only in Practice”

(p. A21) David Boggs, an electrical engineer and computer scientist who helped create Ethernet, the computer networking technology that connects PCs to printers, other devices and the internet in offices and homes, died on Feb. 19 [2022] in Palo Alto, Calif.

. . .

In the spring of 1973, just after enrolling as a graduate student at Stanford University, Mr. Boggs began an internship at Xerox PARC, a Silicon Valley research lab that was developing a new kind of personal computer. One afternoon, in the basement of the lab, he noticed another researcher tinkering with a long strand of cable.

The researcher, another new hire named Bob Metcalfe, was exploring ways of sending information to and from the lab’s new computer, the Alto. Mr. Metcalfe was trying to send electrical pulses down the cable, and he was struggling to make it work. So Mr. Boggs offered to help.

Over the next two years, they designed the first version of Ethernet.

“He was the perfect partner for me,” Mr. Metcalfe said in an interview. “I was more of a concept artist, and he was a build-the-hardware-in-the-back-room engineer.”

. . .

Before becoming the dominant networking protocol, Ethernet was challenged by several other technologies. In the early 1980s, Mr. Metcalfe said, when Mr. Boggs took the stage at a California computing conference, at the San Jose Convention Center, to discuss the future of networking, a rival technologist questioned the mathematical theory behind Ethernet, telling Mr. Boggs that it would never work with large numbers of machines.

His response was unequivocal. “Seems Ethernet does not work in theory,” he said, “only in practice.”

For the full obituary, see:

Cade Metz. “David Boggs, Co-Inventor of Ethernet, Dies at 71.” The New York Times (Tuesday, March 1, 2022): A21.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Feb. 28, 2022, and has the same title as the print version.)

New York Times Columnist Finds that Trump’s “Truth Social” Platform Is “Less Restrictive than Twitter”

(p. B1) Truth Social, Mr. Trump has said, would “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

The app’s surge in popularity this week caught the attention of Mr. Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist. In several tweets, the billionaire noted that Truth Social was “beating Twitter & TikTok on the Apple Store” and blamed Twitter’s rules on (p. B6) speech for birthing the alternative apps.

. . .

To test the app’s claims about political ideology, I published a Truth with a New York Times Opinion article that was critical of the Republican Party, and other posts with news articles about the Jan. 6 riot and how Truth Social’s prospects could be hurt by Mr. Musk’s takeover of Twitter. None of the posts were flagged as problematic. That suggested the app wasn’t discriminating based on politics, just as it had said it wouldn’t.

I also found some accounts that were not allowed to post on Twitter — like The Babylon Bee, the right-wing satire site that was suspended for misgendering a transgender Biden administration official — posting regularly on Truth Social. It was another sign that the app was less restrictive than Twitter.

For the full commentary, see:

Brian X. Chen. “Upgrade Frees Trump App, But Glitches Hold It Back.” The New York Times (Thursday, April 28, 2022): B1 & B6.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date April 27, 2022, and has the title “Truth Social Review: Trump’s Uncensored Social App Is Incomplete.”)

Technology Allows College Students to Stay Attached to Friends and Family at Home

(p. C5) I sometimes forget that my daughter has left for college. She Facetimes me on her way from the library to the gym. I see a small portion of her head, blue sky behind her, headphones dangling from an ear, part of a cup of coffee. She texts me updates on her failing quest to find the right edition of “The Waste Land” for one of her classes. I am still part of the dailiness of her life in a way that I am quite sure my mother was not in mine when I left for college in the last century.

My daughter also stays in close contact with her friends from home via group texts, Snapchat, TikTok, private Instagram stories. They are warm, vivid presences in her life that would likely have faded in a different technological moment.

While I remember high-school friends drifting, high-school boyfriends vanishing by winter break, many people she knows have romantic interests from home that endure. After all, their relationships with their new friends are also, to some degree, on the phone. With smartphones, physical presence becomes less important; it is no longer necessary to be with someone to communicate incessantly with them. The people in front of you comprise only one of many social situations you have access to.

. . .

Some part of me wonders if there aren’t benefits to this new way of being, along with the obvious downsides. My daughter is attached to her college friends and her friends from home. She is almost living in two places simultaneously; she is inhabiting more than one possible world.

For the full commentary, see:

Katie Roiphe. “Even at College, Our Children Are Home.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, January 29, 2022): C5.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the same date as the print version, and has the same title as the print version.)

Technology Behind the Telephone Was Originally Intended to Aid Transcribing Telegraph Messages

(p. C5) Thomas Alva Edison’s self-proclaimed greatest invention, the phonograph, won him overnight fame.  . . .

In February 1877, the same month that saw Edison turn 30 and show his first streaks of silver hair, he and his fellow inventor Charles Batchelor began a new series of experiments on what they called, variously, the “telephonic telegraph,” the “speaking telegraph” and the “talking telephone.” This confusion of names would last as long as Americans took to adjust to the startling notion that an electrically transmitted message did not necessarily have to be transcribed.

It was beyond even Alexander Graham Bell’s imagination that people might one day use the telephone just to chat. As far as Edison was concerned, Bell’s invention was a device to speed up the process of turning words into pulsations of current, then turning the pulsations back into words at the other end—words intended to be heard only by a receiving operator, who would then (as Edison had done thousands of times as a youth) copy out the message for delivery. Hence the telephone really was, for all its crackly noise, telegraphic in function.

. . .

“Kruesi—make this,” Edison recalled saying to John Kruesi, his Swiss-born master machinist, giving him a drawing of a mounted, foil-wrapped cylinder, with a handle on one side to turn it, and a vibrant mouthpiece projecting a stylus that just touched the surface of the wrap. “I told him I was going to record talking, and then have the machine talk back,” Edison wrote. “He thought it absurd. However, it was finished, the foil was put on; I then shouted Mary had a little lamb, etc. I adjusted the reproducer, and the machine reproduced it perfectly….I never was so taken aback in my life.”

What awed Edison beyond any other thought was that the moment did not have to be a moment; it could be a century, if the foil and the stylus were preserved; and then in 1977, if some unborn person turned this same handle, the voice of a man long dead would speak to him. No wonder that Kruesi, listening with incredulity to the thing he had made talking with Edison’s voice, exclaimed, “Mein Gott im Himmel!” (My God in heaven).

All those who heard the miraculous machine in the ensuing months, from the president of the U.S. on down, reacted with equal disbelief. Since the dawn of humanity, religions had asserted that the human soul would live on after the body rotted away. The human voice was a thing almost as insubstantial as the soul, but it was a product of the body and therefore must die too—in fact, did die, evaporating like breath the moment each word, each phoneme was sounded. Even the notes of inanimate things—the tree falling in the wood, thunder rumbling, ice cracking—sounded once only, except if they were duplicated in echoes that themselves rapidly faded.

But here now were echoes made hard, resounding as often as anyone wanted to hear them again.

For the full essay, see:

Edmund Morris. “The Making of Thomas Edison’s Miraculous Machine.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, October 19, 2019): C5.

(Note: ellipses at the end or in between paragraphs, added; ellipsis internal to a paragraph, in original.)

(Note: the online version of the essay has the date October 17, 2019, and has the same title as the print version.)

The essay quoted above is adapted from Morris’s book:

Morris, Edmund. Edison. New York: Random House, 2019.

Technological Progress Helped Create Cosmopolitan Europe

(p. C7) Cultural history is frequently written as if circumscribed by national borders, with each country laying claim to a discrete social and intellectual way of life. Dismayed at this tendency, Orlando Figes, a noted historian of Russia, found himself wondering whether the forces of transnational integration weren’t at least as decisive as those that would drive cultures apart. In his new study “The Europeans” he aims “to approach Europe as a space of cultural transfers, translations and exchanges crossing national boundaries, out of which a ‘European culture’—an international synthesis of artistic forms, ideas and styles—would come into existence and distinguish Europe from the broader world.

. . .

His monumental work is the product of thorough and extensive research, largely in archival sources and in several languages. The author has a remarkable capacity to keep a huge quantity of factual material present in mind, and to bind it moreover into a coherent story. Woven through the biographical narrative is a detailed account of the transformations in technology, mores and law that created the new cosmopolitanism.

Chief among these was the rapid construction of railways, such that in France alone, for example, well more than 8,000 miles of track were laid down between 1850 and 1870. Railway travel gave people the time and comfort to read newspapers and fiction, which they could procure in the dozens of station bookstalls set up by merchants like W.H. Smith. “The train,” Mr. Figes notes, “was smoother than a horse-drawn carriage on a bumpy road, enabling passengers to read a book more easily.” Literacy had increased dramatically, and the rotary press, invented in 1843, facilitated the production of a vast quantity of printed matter, distribution of which deep into the provinces was in turn driven by the ramifying network of trains.

. . .

The spread of gas lighting, invented in the 1790s, made it possible for people to read comfortably in the evening. It also enabled them to play the piano at home, and of course piano technology had kept pace: The instruments became easier to play, and cheaper as well. In 1845, by the author’s estimation, 100,000 people in Paris were playing the piano, of which there were 60,000 in a city of about one million people.

For the full review, see:

Dan Hofstadter. “Engines of Progress.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, October 19, 2019): C7 & C9.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date October 18, 2019, and has the title “‘The Europeans’ Review: Engines of Progress.”)

The book under review in the passages quoted above is:

Figes, Orlando. The Europeans: Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2019.

Tesla Could Switch Chips By Internally Modifying Software Code that Other Car Companies Had Outsourced

(p. 1) For much of last year, established automakers like General Motors and Ford Motor operated in a different reality from Tesla, the electric car company.

G.M. and Ford closed one factory after another — sometimes for months on end — because of a shortage of computer chips, leaving dealer lots bare and sending car prices zooming. Yet Tesla racked up record sales quarter after quarter and ended the year having sold nearly twice as many vehicles as it did in 2020 unhindered by an industrywide crisis.

Tesla’s ability to conjure up critical components has a greater significance than one year’s car sales. It suggests that the company, and possibly other young electric car businesses, could threaten the dominance of giants like Volkswagen and G.M. sooner and more forcefully than most industry executives and policymakers realize. . . .

Tesla and its enigmatic chief executive, Elon Musk, have said little about how the carmaker ran circles around the rest of the auto industry. Now it’s becoming clear that the company simply had a superior command of technology and its own supply chain. Tesla appeared to better forecast demand than businesses that produce many more cars than it does. Other automakers were surprised by how quickly the car market recovered from a steep drop early in the pandemic and had simply not ordered enough chips and parts (p. 12) fast enough.

When Tesla couldn’t get the chips it had counted on, it took the ones that were available and rewrote the software that operated them to suit its needs. Larger auto companies couldn’t do that because they relied on outside suppliers for much of their software and computing expertise. In many cases, automakers also relied on these suppliers to deal with chip manufacturers. When the crisis hit, the automakers lacked bargaining clout.

Just a few years ago, analysts saw Mr. Musk’s insistence on having Tesla do more things on its own as one of the main reasons the company was struggling to increase production. Now, his strategy appears to have been vindicated.

. . .

“Tesla, born in Silicon Valley, never outsourced their software — they write their own code,” said Morris Cohen, a professor emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in manufacturing and logistics. “They rewrote the software so they could replace chips in short supply with chips not in short supply. The other carmakers were not able to do that.”

“Tesla controlled its destiny,” Professor Cohen added.

. . .

Doing more on its own also helps explain why Tesla avoided shortages of batteries, which have limited companies like Ford and G.M. from selling lots of electric cars. In 2014, when most carmakers were still debating whether electric vehicles would ever amount to anything, Tesla broke ground on what it called a gigafactory outside Reno, Nev., to produce batteries with its partner, Panasonic. Now, that factory helps ensure a reliable supply.

“It was a big risk,” said Ryan Melsert, a former Tesla executive who was involved in construction of the Nevada plant. “But because they have made decisions early on to bring things in house, they have much more control over their own fate.”

As Professor Cohen of Wharton pointed out, Tesla’s approach is in many ways a throwback to the early days of the automobile, when Ford owned its own steel plants and rubber plantations. In recent decades, the conventional auto wisdom had it that manufacturers should concentrate on design and final assembly and farm out the rest to suppliers. That strategy helped reduce how much money big players tied up in factories, but left them vulnerable to supply chain turmoil.

For the full story, see:

Jack Ewing. “Tesla’s Edge in Pandemic: Superior Command of Supply Chain.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, January 9, 2022): 1 & 12.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 8, 2022, and has the title “Why Tesla Soared as Other Automakers Struggled to Make Cars.”

Silicon Valley Pioneer at Age 16 Survived on 5 Cents of Carrots a Day

(p. A23) Jay Last, a physicist who helped create the silicon chips that power the world’s computers, and who was among the eight entrepreneurs whose company laid the technical, financial and cultural foundation for Silicon Valley, died on Nov. 11 [2021] in Los Angeles.

. . .

Ultimately, he agreed to join the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory because it sat in the Northern California valley where he had spent a summer harvesting fruit after hitchhiking there from his home in Pennsylvania steel country.

But he and seven of his collaborators at the lab clashed with Dr. Shockley, who later became infamous for his theory that Black people were genetically inferior in intelligence to white people. They quickly left the lab to create their own transistor company. They later came to be called “the traitorous eight,” and their company, Fairchild Semiconductor, is now seen as ground zero for what became known as Silicon Valley.

. . .

With the blessing of his parents — and carrying a letter from the local police chief saying he was not running away from home — he hitchhiked to San Jose, Calif., which was then a small farming town. He had planned on making a little money picking fruit, but he arrived before the harvest began.

Until it did, he lived, as he often recalled in later years, on a nickel’s worth of carrots a day. Whenever he faced a difficult situation, he said in an interview for the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute) in 2004, he told himself, “I got through that when I was 16, and this is not that bad a problem.”

. . .

Using materials like silicon and germanium, Dr. Shockley and two other scientists had shown how to build the tiny transistors that would one day be used to store and move information in the form of an electrical signal. The question was how to connect them together to form a larger machine.

After using chemical compounds to etch the transistors into a sheet of silicon, Dr. Last and his colleagues could have cut each one from the sheet and connected them with individual wires, much like any other electrical device. But this was enormously difficult, inefficient and expensive.

One of the founders of Fairchild, Robert Noyce, suggested an alternative method, and this was realized by a team Dr. Last oversaw. They developed a way of building both the transistors and the wires into the same sheet of silicon.

This method is still used to build silicon chips, whose transistors are now exponentially smaller than those manufactured in the 1960s, in accordance with Moore’s Law, the famous maxim laid down by another Fairchild founder, Gordon Moore.

For the full obituary, see:

Cade Metz. “Jay Last, 92, Physicist and a Pioneer of Silicon Valley.” The New York Times (Monday, November 22, 2021): A23.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Nov. 20, 2021, and has the title “Jay Last, One of the Rebels Who Founded Silicon Valley, Dies at 92.”)

The “Adventure” and “Fun” of Driving Cars

(p. B6) For one Monday in early December, the New York Stock Exchange played the role of vintage car museum. At one end of Broad Street, outside the exchange, sat a high-roofed and stately 1921 Duesenberg coupe. At the other, a fearsome 1966 Ford GT40 racecar. Between them, encased in a glass vitrine, was an imperturbably cheery 1967 Porsche 911S.

Shaking hands by the coffee stand was McKeel Hagerty. The chief executive of the classic car insurance company that bears his name, Mr. Hagerty was there to ring the opening bell, and celebrate the first day of trading for his newly public company (HGTY). Later, at a brunch in the Big Board’s boardroom, Mr. Hagerty wielded a ceremonial gavel and said, “This is only just the beginning.”

The origins of Hagerty, the company, are far humbler. It was founded by his parents, Frank and Louise, in 1984, in their basement in Traverse City, Mich., as a boutique insurer of wooden boats.

In the early 1990s, the company began insuring collectible cars. With Mr. Hagerty at the helm, it has become one of the largest indemnifiers of vintage vehicles, with over two million classics on its rolls. The actuarial data necessary to determine repair and replacement costs on these cars has also made it a foremost authority on their valuation.

. . .

Hagerty went public via a SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company, raising roughly $265 million in the process with a goal of expanding. So, what are Hagerty’s ambitions now? And why did it need to become a publicly traded company in order to achieve them?

“The purpose of the company is to save driving and car culture,” Mr. Hagerty said flatly, as we piloted a zippy, Hagerty-insured 1972 BMW 2002 tii toward the tip of Lower Manhattan. “If we’re going to save car culture, we have to make investments outside of the core business, and really help create a whole ecosystem.” Achieving this lofty goal required hundreds of millions of dollars in additional investment, he said: “That would have been tough for us to afford just as a private company.”

. . .

Outside experts agreed with this assessment of Mr. Hagerty’s vocation. “They encourage driving. Their tag lines all the time are, ‘Drive your cars,’” Mr. Gross said. “In some ways, you think, that’s a little strange for an insurance company. You think they’d want you to drive as little as possible to minimize the risk.” He laughed.

Instead, Mr. Hagerty said he sincerely wants to help people find the pleasure in “the experiential sides” of the automobile, those organized around adventure, preservation, culture and legacy. “I think that if we can help steward along the reasons that people drive and love cars, other than to get from Point A to Point B, then we win.”

Mr. Gross concurred with this plan. “I don’t know how many companies there are that take the long way around. And that’s what Hagerty is doing here. They’re not only selling insurance. They’re trying to make sure that the reason you need that insurance is viable and fun, and lots of people are doing it,” he said. “As a business strategy, it’s pretty smart.”

For the full commentary, see:

Brett Berk. “A Classic Car Insurer’s Vision to ‘Save Driving’.” The New York Times (Friday, Dec. 17, 2021): B6.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date December 16, 2021, and has the title “A Classic Car Giant With a Lofty Mission: Save Driving.”)

Bans on Natural Gas for Cooking and Heating Could Most Hurt Low-Income Citizens

(p. A13) This week, New York City moved to ban gas hookups in new buildings, joining cities in blue states like California, Massachusetts and Washington that want to shift homes away from burning natural gas because it releases carbon dioxide, which causes global warming.

Instead, developers in New York City will have to install electric heat pumps and electric kitchen ranges in newly constructed buildings.

. . .

But the gas industry is fighting back and has lobbied in statehouses across the country to slow the shift away from gas. It argues that gas appliances are widely popular and still cost less than electric versions for many consumers. Opponents have also warned that a rush to electrify homes could strain power grids, particularly in the winter when heating needs soar, at a time when states like California and Texas are already struggling to meet demand.

Karen Harbert, president and chief executive of the American Gas Association, an industry group, said efforts to disconnect homes and businesses from the extensive network of gas pipelines would make it difficult to supply those buildings with low-carbon alternatives that might be available in the future, such as hydrogen or biogas.

“Eliminating natural gas and our delivery infrastructure forecloses on current and future innovation opportunities,” she said.

The question of whether to use natural gas in homes has become part of the culture wars, pitting climate activists against industry and other interest groups. Some chefs and restaurant owners have argued that they won’t be able to cook certain dishes as well without gas.

. . .

In a statement, Bill Malcolm, a senior legislative representative at the AARP, said the group had “supported legislative and regulatory initiatives allowing customers to continue to use the fuel of their choice to heat their homes and cook their food.” He added: “Outright bans on certain fuel options would run contrary to that choice.”

. . .

For now, natural gas remains the dominant fuel in much of the country, heating nearly half of American homes. Electric heat pumps, by contrast, satisfy just 5 percent of heating demand nationwide.

. . .

Experts have warned that as more homeowners go electric, gas utilities will still have to pay to maintain their existing network of pipelines, which could mean higher costs for the smaller base of remaining customers, many of whom may be low-income.

For the full story, see:

Brad Plumer and Hiroko Tabuchi. “Gas vs. Electric Stoves Join Partisan Battlefield.” The New York Times (Friday, December 17, 2021): A13.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 10, 2021, and has the title “How Politics Are Determining What Stove You Use.” The online version says that the New York print edition had the title “Gas vs. Electric Stoves on a Partisan Battlefield.” My National print edition had the title “Gas vs. Electric Stoves Join Partisan Battlefield.” Where there is a slight difference in wording between the versions, the passages quoted above follow the online version.)

Elon Musk Likes Government the Referee, Not Government the Subsidizer

Here are some especially important passages from the Wall Street Journal transcript of the Elon Musk interview:

Joanna Stern

Well, I want to come back to autonomous vehicles, but wanted to just stay a little bit more on the role of government. You said at this conference, actually, a year ago, that you think the government should really just be hands off when it comes to innovation. Though with this bill, there is a lot of support for EVs and it could be the biggest change that we’ve seen throughout the country in terms of the infrastructure of EVs. And it helps Tesla. What do you think the role of government should be?

Elon Musk

I think the role of government should be that of, like, a referee. But not a player on the field. So generally, government should just try to get out of the way and not impede progress. I think there’s a general problem, not just in the U.S., but in most countries, where the rules and regulations keep increasing every year.

Rules and regulations are immortal. They don’t die. Occasionally you see a law with a sunset provision, but really, otherwise, the vast majority of rules and regulations live forever. And so if more rules and regulations are applied every year and it just keeps growing and growing, eventually it just takes longer and longer and it’s harder to do things.

And there’s not really an effective garbage collection system for removing rules and regulations. And so gradually this hardens the arteries of civilization, where you’re able to do less and less over time. So I think governments should be really trying hard to get rid of rules and regulations that perhaps had some merit at some point but don’t have merit currently. But there’s very little effort in this direction. This is a big problem. Continue reading “Elon Musk Likes Government the Referee, Not Government the Subsidizer”

Higher Demand and Lower Supply Cause Higher Electric Bike Prices

(p. A1) For a glimpse at why inflationary pressures aren’t likely to ease anytime soon, consider the bicycle.

Bike prices in the U.S. and Europe rose sharply at the start of the pandemic because of booming consumer spending and snarl-ups in global supply chains that meant long delays and higher costs for manufacturers.

Now, manufacturers are working on building bikes for 2022 in a continuing environment of economic uncertainty—with more questions added recently by the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Today’s rampant demand and strangled supply are already pushing next year’s prices higher.

“The cost of our product is not going down,” says Richard Thorpe, chief executive of Karbon Kinetics Ltd., which sells Gocycle electric bikes world-wide from its base in Chessington, southern England. “If that is inflation, I wouldn’t call it transitory.”

. . .

(p. A12) Mr. Thorpe resisted pushing up prices for Gocycles in 2021 because he spent a chunk of the year explaining to unhappy customers why supply-chain disruptions meant there would be delays to their orders.  . . .

He says he is pressing ahead with price increases for 2022 because he doesn’t expect these supply-chain issues to get much better. He estimates the cost to the company of producing a single bike has shot up by 20% to 25% compared with the cost before the pandemic, as competition between manufacturers for common parts pushes prices skyward.

Seatpost prices have gone up 20% in the past 12 months. So have prices for the cranks the rider turns when pedaling. Handlebars are up 11%. Brake levers and calipers are up 14%. Chain prices are up 17%, and reflectors are up 50%, according to Karbon Kinetics.

Mr. Thorpe learned by email Wednesday that higher prices for magnesium—used in Gocycle wheels—mean future shipments of wheels will be 17% more expensive than they are now.

Multiple industries are competing for the batteries, semiconductor chips and tiny electronic components Gocycle uses for its dashboard displays, power management systems and charging ports.

. . .

Shipping a container full of parts from China costs him around $20,000, Mr. Thorpe says. It used to cost $4,000. Shortages of pallets and blockages at ports mean he can’t be certain when shipments will arrive. He estimates shipping costs for a single bike have effectively doubled, on average, depending on where exactly it is destined.

The flood of demand for bikes as the pandemic arrived took the industry by surprise, executives say, an example of how unprepared the global economy was for the mass switch in consumption to goods from services as the pandemic forced people to stay home.

. . .

Part of the explanation for consumer demand for bikes is a Covid-19-related trend that is pushing up prices for all sorts of manufactured goods. The pandemic has meant people are less able to spend their income on eating out, overseas travel and other services, so have been splashing out on gadgets and recreational products instead.

Retailers say consumer demand pushing up bicycle prices is still intense. Some bike buyers are seeking ways to avoid traffic or public transport as they return to the regular commute, a trend that is fueling adoption of pricey electric bikes in particular. Some retailers say they are seeing recent converts to cycling upgrade basic models for more expensive rides.

For the full story, see:

Jason Douglas. “Bicycle Makers Offer Clues on the Persistence of Inflation.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, Dec. 02, 2021): A1 & A12.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date December 1, 2021, and has the title “Is Inflation Sticking Around? Bicycle Makers Offer Some Clues.”)