Cheapest Place to Buy Gasoline in the United States

You think the gas near you is getting cheaper? Try filling up in the South Carolina city of Rock Hill.
That’s the market with the nation’s lowest gas price heading into Labor Day weekend — an average of $3.09 a gallon, according to industry observer GasBuddy.com.

The good news for drivers is that prices like that could come soon to a station near you — as long as you don’t live on the West Coast or some other pockets of high-priced gas.
The nationwide average price stands at $3.44 a gallon, down about eight cents from a month ago and nearly 12 cents from this time last year.
The summer driving season will end with the cheapest Labor Day gas prices since 2010. And prices will drop even further when stations stop selling the more expensive summer blends of gasoline in late September.
Related: What’s the gas price in your state?
“We think the national average will bottom out in the $3.15 to $3.25 range later this year, but that is actually inflated by the high prices on the West Coast,” said Tom Kloza, GasBuddy’s chief oil analyst. “From the Rocky Mountains, east, most people will be able to find gas at or below $3.”
rock hill gas prices
Gas prices are already approaching $3 a gallon in parts of South Carolina, and prices at or below that level could be common later this fall.
South Carolina is the state with the lowest statewide average with an price of $3.17 a gallon.
“South Carolina has one of the lowest state gas taxes. And states supplied by Gulf Coast refiners, they tend to have the cheapest wholesale prices,” said Kloza.
Kloza said the Gulf Coast refineries are producing gasoline at record levels right now, helped by the fact they have avoided disruptions from hurricanes or major accidents this summer.
Drivers are also benefiting from increased production of U.S. crude, which has kept oil prices below global averages despite unrest in the Middle East.
The increased fuel economy of U.S. cars, which has limited demand for gas, also helps.
Related: Your Labor Day BBQ will cost more
Finally, low natural gas prices are helping to keep gasoline prices low, since refineries use natural gas to heat the crude oil in order to refine it into gasoline, jet fuel and other products.
There can be short-term disruptions, such as hurricanes or refinery accidents, that could cause gas price spikes. But Kloza said he expects the downward pressure on U.S. gas prices will continue for at least the next few years.
First Published: August 29, 2014: 12:38 PM ET

If the Boot Fits

 

Applied Fashion Special: sick of searching for the boot to end all boots, Rebecca Willis went to the top: shoe designer Tracey Neuls. Together they created the perfect answer—well, almost

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From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, September/October 2014

As the door to the street opens and closes, the shoes move slightly in the breeze. They hang from the ceiling on bright orange ribbons; the walls around them are white. One pair, steel-blue and frilled with a row of tiny leather oak leaves, has a curved heel, tapering like an animal’s claw. Another has the slightly worn shagginess of a much-loved teddy bear. I could be in an art gallery, but in fact I’m in a shop in central London. It’s one of two belonging to Tracey Neuls, a footwear designer garlanded by the fashion industry. I have come to meet her in the hope that she will be able to make—for once and for all, so that I never have to shop for them again—the perfect pair of boots.

The word “perfect” is, I know, a trope used by marketing people, journalists and retailers to make you take notice, so I admit to using it tongue-in-cheek. No piece of clothing can be perfect for every­one. So let me define exactly what, on this occasion, I mean by it. When we asked some of our readers, for our Fashion Manifesto last year, whether you have to suffer to look good, the groundswell of opinion was, “No…except for high heels.” Wearing heels is a bit like childbirth—for some women it’s a breeze, but for most of us it hurts. Still, is it really so impossible to make a pair that are truly comfortable? Heels that you can walk around in all day without wanting to take them off and put your feet up? We decided to find out.

We make no apology for choosing boots rather than shoes: boots are warmer, more supportive and harder-wearing. In the cooler latitudes they are a contemporary uniform. Yet the quest for the Holy Grail looks like a walk in the park compared with finding a pair that ticks all the required boxes. Boots that work with jeans don’t work with a skirt. Boots that look right in the day look wrong in the evening. If they’re stable they’re clumpy, and if they’re low they’re frumpy. And if you do eventually find the pair of your dreams, you’ll wear them to death and won’t be able to replace them. It’s not famine in Africa, I know, but it would be nice to find a solution.

So we asked Tracey Neuls to work with us to create a comfortable boot with a heel—the Intelligent Life boot—which would go on sale to the public. It would have to be stable, stylish, interesting and relatively fashion-proof. Also, the boots would need to pass what I call the Gallery Test: can you wander in a pair round an exhibition without thinking about your feet? All of which is, if you’ll forgive the expression, a tall order.

Neuls, 46, is a gentle-voiced Canadian with an infectious laugh, pale skin and long red hair, which she often wears in schoolgirl plaits or on top of her head, Heidi-style. We approached her not just because it is her stated mission to make footwear that is “individual, timeless and comfortable”—a promising trio of adjectives—but because she cares about feet themselves as much as what we put on them. “I design from the inside out,” she tells me. “I always start with the foot.” One reason that she suspends her wares from the ceiling is so that you can see them from all angles. “Sometimes the best view is from the back,” she 
explains. But also she wants them to move, to remind us what footwear is for: boots are made for walking. Or should be. She wants women to be “empowered, not impeded” by their footwear. And impeded is the right word, since its roots are in the Latin impedio, to shackle—literally, to un-foot.

We begin with me showing her photographs of my collection of boots past and present—I could start a small museum. She dates them all with uncanny accuracy (“that’s from the mid-1990s”, she says and she is right; I’d told myself they were timeless). And although she doesn’t actually say the word “boring”, I’m pretty sure it’s what she’s thinking. Neuls worked in big-brand fashion for ten years (Nike and Falke are on her CV), but since she set up her own label in 2000 she has shown no signs of swimming in the fast-moving mainstream, and she eschews its methods, too. Most shoes on sale in the high street are mass-produced. They are, in effect, assembled from a kit of parts offered by manufacturers each season in response to the trends decreed by fashion forecasters: gladiator sandals, biker boots, whatever. That’s why the stock in shoe shops appears to move as one body, like a shoal of fish. Neuls, by contrast, starts the design process from scratch, modelling organic shapes from a piece of plasticine, Zaha Hadid-style. All her shoes are hand-made. The more I hear about her methods, the more I feel like someone who has just discovered fresh food after years of living on ready meals.

On the subject of heels, Neuls gives me fair warning. “Something happens between 5cm and 7cm. We’ve found that once you go beyond a certain height—about 5.5cm, I’d say—the foot is always going to be less comfortable. But let’s see what we can do.” She talks me through some of her past creations. There are court shoes in knitted woolly overcoats and others covered with a filigree of orangey-pink fishing net. There are boots made of hand-knitted leather strips that look like chain mail, and others with a transparent PVC panel at the toe—change your socks and you change your look. Some knee-length boots are unlined to allow the leather to stretch to the calf, others are buckled, with expandable panels for the same reason.

Then Neuls shows me a piece of charcoal she found which gave her an idea for boots with burnt heels, burnished and black. The Italian factory she used didn’t want the fire risk (and who can blame them?), so Neuls burnt the heels herself with a blow-torch, in her back garden. That’s about as far from mass production as it gets. Whether or not wearing our boot feels like walking on air, it is unlikely to be dull.

Above right Walk this way: The Intelligent Life boots—things of beauty even from below

20 Signs of a broken film culture

Across the Ungreat Divide
20 signs of a broken film culture

By Armond White

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Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Since 2004, the year that film culture split along moral and artistic lines, political and class biases have been exhibited in films that became more and more partisan. This rift was furthered by a compromised media, where critics praised movies that exhibited cynicism along with political bias.

Not just entertainment, the 20 films listed here effectively destroyed art, social unity, and spiritual confidence. They constitute a corrupt, carelessly politicized canon.

1) Good Night and Good Luck (2005) — George Clooney, president of the corrupt canon, directed and acted in a dishonest fantasy biopic of TV-news icon Edward R. Murrow to revive blacklist lore as part of a liberal agenda.

2) The Dark Knight (2008) used the Batman myth to undermine heroism, overturn social mores, and embrace anarchy.

3) Ocean’s Twelve (2004) — Steven Soderbergh salutes land of the greedy and home of the depraved in a reboot franchise sequel, scoffing at the post-War conviction of Sinatra’s Rat Pack original.

4) 12 Years a Slave (2013) distorted the history of slavery while encouraging and continuing Hollywood’s malign neglect of slavery’s contemporary impact.

5) Wall-E (2008) — Nihilism made cute for children of all ages who know nothing about cultural history or how to sustain it.

6) Manderlay (2005) — Lars Von Trier’s Dogville sequel sold American self-hatred back to us, and critics fawned.

7) United 93 (2006) reduced the pain and tragedy of 9/11 to the inanity of a disaster movie.

8) Frost/Nixon (2008) — Political vengeance disguised as a dual biopic that prized showbiz egotism over conflicted public service.

9) Knocked Up (2007) — Judd Apatow’s comedy of bad manners attacked maturity and propriety.

10) The Social Network (2010) — David Fincher’s new Horatio Alger tale glorified technocrat Mark Zuckerberg with chic, digital-era arrogance.

11) Precious (2009) coincided with Obama’s first year in office to revive racial condescension with the audacity of nope.

12) The Hangover (2009) infantilized privileged adulthood, a celebration of chaos and irresponsibility.

13) Slumdog Millionaire (2008) — an Oscar-winning tale of game-show greed as an answer to systemic poverty.

14) A History of Violence (2005) — David Cronenberg’s new take on Ugly Americans blamed patriotic sadism.

15) Inglourious Basterds (2009) — Quentin Tarantino’s answer to Abu Ghraib, a cruel, jokey, ahistorical revision of WWII.

16) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) — Ass-kicking espionage disparaged American foreign policy while making money off it.

17) Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) — Sarcastic violence is the new marriage equality, says Brangelina, Hollywood’s POTUS and FLOTUS.

18) Che (2008) — Steven Soderbergh gives Hipster Hollywood its own four-hour rebuttal to Oliver Stone’s JFK.

19) There Will Be Blood (2007) — Paul Thomas Anderson’s pseudo-epic of the American soul cooked up an anti-Christian, weirdly misogynist history lesson.

20) Lincoln (2012) — Spielberg succumbs to Tony Kushner’s limousine-liberal cynicism to valorize Obama-era political chicanery.

— Armond White, a film critic, writes about movies for National Review Online. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies.

35 Young Entrepreneurs Who Might Change the World

INVENTORS

Introduction
All 35 of these people are doing exciting work that could shape their fields for decades. But they’re solving problems in remarkably different ways. We consider some of them to be primarily Inventors; they’re immersed in building new technologies. Others we call Visionaries, because they’re showing how technologies could be put to new or better uses. Humanitarians are using technology to expand opportunities or inform public policy. Pioneers are doing fundamental work that will spawn future innovations; such ­breakthroughs will be taken up by tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs, ­people who are building new tech businesses.

Everyone on the list was nominated either by the public or by MIT Technology Review’s editors. Some got our attention when they were picked by our international publishing partners as Innovators Under 35 for their regions. After our editors pared the roughly 500 nominees to 80 finalists, outside judges rated the originality and impact, or potential impact, of their work; those scores guided the editors as they crafted the list.

GET STARTED

The Judges
David Berry, Partner, Flagship Ventures; Edward Boyden, Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab and McGovern Institute; Yet-Ming Chiang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT; James Collins, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University; John Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, Caltech; Jennifer Elisseeff, Professor of Biomedical; Engineering, Johns Hopkins; Javier García-Martínez, Director of Molecular Nanotechnology Laboratory, University of Alicante, Spain; Julia Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, Caltech; Eric Horvitz, Managing Director, Microsoft Research; Hao Li, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, University of Southern California; Cherry Murray, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University; Kristala Jones Prather, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT; Carmichael Roberts, Entrepreneur and General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners; John Rogers, Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science Engineering, University of Illinois; Umar Saif, Vice Chancellor, Information Technology University, Punjab; Laura Schewel, Cofounder and CEO, StreetLight Data; Rachel Sheinbein, Managing Director, Balfour Asset Management; Sophie Vandebroek, CTO, Xerox; Ben Zhao, Professor of Computer Science, UC Santa Barbara

The List
Fadel Adib, 25
Here’s how you can use Wi-Fi to track people moving around in other rooms.
Emily Balskus, 34
More precise knowledge of the bacteria in our guts could lead to better-targeted treatments for chronic conditions.
George Ban-Weiss, 33
A USC professor who studies climate and pollution influences policy in California.
Miles Barr, 30
The CEO of a solar startup hopes you never see his product.
Ayah Bdeir, 31
Electronic blocks that link with one another also connect art and engineering. (+video)
Kuang Chen, 34
A novel way to get data off paper records and into the digital age.
Rumi Chunara, 32
Crucial information about disease outbreaks can be gleaned earlier.
Emily Cole, 31
Can we cheaply convert carbon dioxide into something useful?
Tanuja Ganu, 31
Simple devices allow consumers to cheaply and easily monitor India’s rickety power grid.
Shyam Gollakota, 28
An expert on wireless technology figures out how to power devices without batteries.
Severin Hacker, 30
A novel approach to learning languages is making the Web more accessible.
David He, 28
This watch could finally get your blood ­pressure under control.
Kurtis Heimerl, 30
Inexpensive boxes could help bring mobile coverage to the billion people who lack it.
Rand Hindi, 29
Guiding your life using the power of big data.
Sarah Kearney, 29
A financial innovator is crafting a way for foundations to invest in clean energy.
Duygu Kuzum, 31
Brain-inspired chips could mean better computer processing and neural implants.
Quoc Le, 32
Frustration with waiting for computers to learn things inspired a better approach.
Jinha Lee, 27
Finding more powerful ways to manipulate and interact with digital data.
Aaron Levie, 29
The founder of Box wants to reconfigure the way we work.
Alex Ljung, 32
SoundCloud is changing how music gets made.
Palmer Luckey, 21
If you can make virtual reality affordable for consumers, things fall into place.
Megan McCain, 31
Heart on a chip paves the way for personalized cardiac medicines.
Maria Nunes Pereira, 28
Patching holes in the hearts of sick infants.
Manu Prakash, 34
Imaginative inventions liberate science from the ivory tower.
Michael Schmidt, 32
There aren’t enough data scientists to go around—unless you automate them.
Julie Shah, 32
This MIT engineering professor is turning robots into ideal colleagues for humans.
Maryam Shanechi, 33
Using control theory to build better interfaces to the brain.
Bret Taylor, 34
The former CTO of Facebook is reimagining the word processor.
Kay Tye, 33
Identifying how the connections between regions of the brain contribute to anxiety.
Santiago Villegas, 29
An online reporting system encourages crime victims and witnesses to speak up.
Jonathan Viventi, 32
A high-resolution interface reveals the brain storms of people suffering seizures.
Kathryn Whitehead, 34
A systematic search discovered nanoparticles that could improve drug delivery.
Tak-Sing Wong, 33
Carnivorous plant inspires solution to “sticky” problems.
Hui Wu, 31
Cheaper and more powerful batteries could help reduce China’s deadly air pollution.
Guihua Yu, 33
Electronic gels could lead to sensors and batteries that are more like biological tissue.
SUGGEST CANDIDATES FOR 2015

Abbey Road Still Going Strong at 45

ABBEY ROAD STILL FAMOUS AT 45

~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, August 8th 2014

BEATLES ABBEY ROAD album cover from October 1969 Courtesy EMI Apple

Forty-five years ago today, four young men walked across a zebra crossing in north-west London, the shutter of a camera clicked, and history was made. The cover of the Beatles’ 11th studio album immortalised the Abbey Road crossing—and everything else in the picture, too. (Apparently the number plate of the white VW Beetle parked half on the pavement in the background was repeatedly stolen.)

Paul McCartney, who still lives around the corner, had the idea for the image and sketched it out. The creative director decided not to put the name of the band or the album on the cover—even though EMI wanted it—because “they were the most famous band in the world”. And so, thanks to the contagion of celebrity, it’s now the most famous zebra crossing in the world.

Those of us who live nearby are accustomed to being asked for directions to Abbey Road by strangers outside the tube station. Legions of fans crowd the crossing—especially at this time of year, and no doubt even more today—eager for their chance to get “The Shot”. There is even a “crossing cam”, so you can watch it live online.

If you drive regularly over it, as I do, you soon learn that the rules of the Highway Code are virtually impossible to implement here. You can still “look out for pedestrians waiting to cross” and “be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross”, but however much you may want to “give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing”, they just don’t want you to. They wave you impatiently on, scanning the road beyond for a break in the traffic. The last thing they want is your car in their photo—even my little electric car, which is white and could do a passable imitation of the Beetle behind George Harrison’s head.

What the fans possibly don’t know is that, at 11.35am on August 8th 1969 (also a Friday), a policeman stopped the traffic for the shoot, and the photographer, Iain Macmillan, stood on a stepladder in the middle of the road to get his vantage point. Today, at the same time exactly 45 years on, cast members of “Let It Be” (a Beatles musical) will lead a group of fans across the crossing. There will be a sing-a-long to mark the occasion too.

I knew a French woman who parodied the album cover for her change-of-address card when she moved back to Paris. She hired a photographer and turned her husband and two young children out of bed at 4.30am to get the shot with no vehicles on the road. It worked brilliantly. But on a normal day, once the 21st-century daytime traffic has built up, forget it. Fans will still try, but unless they start very early (jetlag could be a positive here) they will have cars, lorries and double-decker buses in their photos. And local drivers will still find that Abbey Road is the only place in Britain where pedestrians give way to vehicles on a zebra crossing.

Rebecca Willis is associate editor of Intelligent Life

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Abbey Road Still Going Strong at 45

BEATLES ABBEY ROAD album cover from October 1969 Courtesy EMI Apple

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