Uber’s Legal Battle With New York City

Grind for February 20th, 2019
“It is the cause, not the death, that makes a martyr.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

The Headline

Study confirms “night owls” perform best at night

The Grind

Today’s business culture of waking up early can be particularly difficult for “night owls,” whose bodies are programmed to stay up late.

According to a new study conducted at the University of Birmingham in the UK, forcing night owls to wake up early can have adverse health effects.

“A huge number of people struggle to deliver their best performance during work or school hours they are not naturally suited to,” explains lead researcher Dr. Elise Facer-Childs.

When forced to follow a traditional work schedule, night owls may experience symptoms similar to jet lag.

The Details

For the study, Facer-Childs divided 38 volunteers into an “early rise” group and a “late sleeper” group based on their melatonin and cortisol circadian rhythms.

After conducting MRIs and testing participants’ performance on a variety of tasks, the team discovered that “late sleepers” had noticeably lower resting brain connectivity in areas associated with maintaining consciousness.

The “late sleepers,” who on average went to bed at 2:30 am and woke up around 10:15 am, also had slower reaction times, shorter attention spans, and lower energy levels.

They exhibited their best performance around 8:00pm.

“This mismatch between a person’s biological time and social time – which most of us have experienced in the form of jet lag – is a common issue for night owls trying to follow a normal working day,” says Facer-Childs. “Our study is the first to show a potential intrinsic, neuronal mechanism behind why night owls may face cognitive disadvantages when being forced to fit into these constraints.”

Facer-Childs insists that society must take a hard look at its organizational structure in order to prevent the adverse health effects night owls experience when forced to work outside their natural rhythm.

“If, as a society, we could be more flexible about how we manage time, we could go a long way toward maximizing productivity and minimizing health risks,” she says.

Not So Fast

The Headline

Uber sues New York City over ride-sharing laws

The Grind

Uber filed a lawsuit against New York City Friday over its controversial decision to limit the number of ride-sharing vehicles allowed to operate inside the state.

City officials say the cap is necessary in order to decrease traffic congestion and improve drivers’ wages.

Uber worries the cap will become permanent and claims the state is not addressing traffic congestion.

The Background

New York last August passed a series of bills designed to restrict the growth of companies like Uber and Lyft.

The controversial package halts the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses for one year (supposedly while City officials study the industry), requires ride-hailing companies to pay drivers a minimum wage, and forces Uber and Lyft to provide data on usage and charges.

“We finally put caps on Uber and the other ride-sharing services so that we could create more fairness and stop this race to the bottom with the wages of drivers,” says NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re going to put ongoing caps in place on the for-hire vehicles.”

De Blasio’s comments were cited in Uber’s complaint.

“This is a ‘ban first, study later’ approach where the study is nothing more than post hoc window-dressing for a predetermined course,” reads the lawsuit. “The City chose to significantly restrict service, growth, and competition by the for-hire vehicle industry, which will have a disproportionate impact on residents outside of Manhattan who have long been underserved by yellow taxis and mass transit. The City made this choice in the absence of any evidence that doing so would meaningfully impact congestion, the problem the City was ostensibly acting to solve.”

The controversial law is backed by taxi drivers, who claim they are being driven out of business by Uber and Lyft (this, of course, is the point of Capitalism).

In a statement, taxi drivers blamed Uber for a “crisis of congestion” and “plummeting income.”

When the cap was imposed, there were over 100,000 for-hire vehicles in the state of New York (about 4x more than the number of yellow taxis).

Did you know… At 120 miles per hour, a Formula One car generates so much downforce that it can drive upside down on the roof of a tunnel.