(CNN) — I haven’t been on vacation in 10 years. Of course, part of the reason is that I’m a workaholic. The other part is that I hate flying. I despise the lines, the tight seats, the security, it all seems like a colossal waste of time.
I usually keep these feelings to myself. (Who needs to hear me complain more than I already do?)
Some of them probably don’t like flying as much as I do. It got me thinking, is there a better way to travel?
He came up with a model of how and where we put our luggage when finding a seat.
“You want adjacent passengers to have their seats distributed throughout the plane so that when one person stops in their row, the next person behind them can stop in their row,” Steffen said. “In this case it was two rows away.”
If people are two rows apart, “both could put down their luggage at the same time without disturbing each other, and they could sit down at the same time.”
Travelers maneuver through a long line at a security checkpoint at Denver International Airport this month.
Why don’t we just start using the Steffen method? This requires strict quality control. Steffen also said that airlines have so many priority boarding groups based on status that they interfere with his model.
Maybe one day the airlines will change.
And maybe airplanes aren’t your thing. Do you want to drive outdoors and enjoy the countryside?
If so, a statistical model is available here as well.
Let’s say you have 50 places you want to visit because you really want to see the United States. “There are three times 10 to 64 possible ways to arrange these 50 destinations,” Olson told me. “If you tried to get your computer to find the optimal route by trying each one, it would take about ‘9.64 times 10 to 52 years.’
That’s a lot of time—more than I can type here—and it’s not really helpful.
The key is to use randomness and route optimization, Olson told me, which means swapping two destinations and measuring the journey of the new road. “Is it shorter? If so, keep it, if not throw it away and just keep trying, trying, trying,” he said. “It only takes a few minutes on my MacBook to find the optimal driving route.”
If you really did the whole brilliant route, you could probably knock it out in a couple of weeks. But Olson recommends setting aside a month or two to see the sights.
Here’s one leg of the trip: You drive north from the Grand Canyon, up through Utah and Idaho before arriving at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. You then head back south through Colorado and New Mexico until you reach the Alamo in Texas.
Fuel costs are a factor in driving. Here, traffic resumes on Interstate 395 in Washington, DC in June
Kevin Deitch/Getty Images
Of course, everything is fine with driving. But what about fuel costs? Not to mention the environmental impact that plagues airplanes as well.
Kelp is “one of the fastest-growing organisms on the planet,” Kim said. “Under ideal conditions, you’re talking about growth rates in excess of 1 foot per day. And so you can generate a ton of biomass that you have to convert into bioenergy.”
The first results of kelp experiments are promising, although the use of kelp as a major energy source will not happen for some time. And even if we could use kelp, that’s only part of the solution.
Kelp could be “about a third of our energy consumption in the United States,” Kim said. “You’d need a lot of kelp, and you’d take up a lot of ocean space, but there’s a lot of open ocean space. Compared to fossil fuels, I think it’s a much better alternative.”
If you want to find the best way to travel, you should listen to this episode. You’ll find out what happened when we called people who love to travel by bus. It turns out that they are not easy to find.