The ESPN test

I have a relative who used to work for ESPN in a pretty high profile position. Let’s just say there were times I’d be away from home and I’d glance up at a television screen and, “Wow. My relative is on ‘Sportscenter.'”

In all our conversations about getting a job and working at ESPN, the subject of an entry test never came up.

But today, I see on Deadspin that ESPN tests its new employees. If you’re thinking about working there some day, here’s what you have to answer in 45 minutes. Think fast!

Passenger rail in the Northeast Corridor

Here’s something for all you train junkies to ponder over for a few hours: A map of all the available commuter rail service from Boston to Washington, D.C., and not just Amtrak. (Click to enlarge, because this is one huge poster)

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People use the rails far less in the U.S. than Europe, which is too bad, because when you factor in all the time it takes you to get from, let’s say, Midtown Manhattan to downtown D.C., a train will more often get you there faster than a plane will, because you have to add extra hours getting to and from airports.

But even with that, trains in Europe are faster.

Compare two cities: Brussels to Paris and New York to Baltimore. Both roughly the same distance from each other, about 185 miles.

It takes the Thalys in Europe an hour and 20 minute to get from one gare (station) to the other. But on Amtrak, it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to cover a similar distance. I think we should do better.