What We’re Following
Mid-Midterms: The U.S. midterm elections are still ongoing—multiple House races have yet to be called, though in the week since November 6, several more Democratic candidates have been swept into office, many in Republican-leaning districts. Turns out, writes Ronald Brownstein, that the GOP strategy of aligning itself closely with Donald Trump is very limiting: Here’s the electoral evidence.
Fall From Grace: Remember earlier years, when technology giants like Facebook or Google were scrappy, ambitious darlings, born in Silicon Valley and set to change the world? As recent reports unfold of just how poorly Facebook executives mishandled the company’s many scandals of the past two years, Alexis Madrigal asks, “What if the news stays bad, but the people using their products can’t extract themselves from the platforms tech has built?”
Short-Term Memory: Bad news gets overshadowed by more bad news, and on no subject is that punishing pattern clearer than when the news is about mass shootings. How long do such stories dominate headlines? That time span has stayed remarkably consistent over the past few decades.
Nobody loves being stuck in traffic, and the Los Angeles gridlock is severe. So Elon Musk’s Boring Company started digging a 14-foot-wide, mile-long tunnel under parts of the city to accommodate a futuristic transit system. But did anyone bother to ask the people living in these neighborhoods? Alana Semuels writes:
I talked to a dozen people who live along the tunnel’s route, and most said they hadn’t witnessed any extra noise or traffic. But none had been informed ahead of time that a private company would be digging a tunnel beneath the street. Some only learned about the tunnel in mid-2018—not when the digging started, in 2017—because the company purchased a dilapidated house on 119th Place for nearly $500,000 in cash. (Other homes in the neighborhood are assessed at between $200,000 and $500,000.) The company plans to install an elevator in the garage of the house to practice raising cars from the tunnel to ground level. It says it will rent the rest of the house to SpaceX employees.
The company sent letters to some neighbors about the project and held public meetings to discuss it with residents in July 2018. But when those public meetings occurred, the tunnel was nearly complete.