Re: generation slowed down dramatically
Just a random streak of bad luck. It looks steady to me.
Competition doesn't have an effect until the next automatic retarget adjustment, and we haven't reached the next one yet.
The adjustments are every 2016 blocks. To calculate our progress towards the next one, divide the block total by 2016. The fractional part is how far we are to the next one.
My back-of-the-envelope projection: 42032 blocks/2016 = 20.85 = 85% of the way. About 1.5 days to go until the next one. That'll only be about 10 days since the last one, the target is 14 days, so 14/10 = 1.4 = around 40% difficulty increase.