LAS VEGAS -- If anything is true, it is that Las Vegas has the most awesomely bad carpets in the world. The Convention Center, airports, and hotels collectively show a stupefying dedication to installing bad-trip psychedelic carpets. Perhaps they introduce massive amounts of cognitive noise, thereby distracting gamblers from their profit-losing enterprise. Maybe an evil sorcerer cursed the town long ago, following a dust-up with a conniving magician promoter. Whatever the reason, these carpets exist, and that should be enough to make you question this whole idea of Western civilization.
Alexis C. Madrigal is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.