1. Elon Musk’s $48.7M Las Vegas Project
Elon Musk and The Boring Company (TBC) have rounded up their first commercial contract, a $48.7M project to shuttle people in an underground Loop system around the Las Vegas Convention Center. The new center is expanding, spanning about 200 acres once completed, therefore, officials want a transportation solution for the two-mile distance from one end to the other. The project, The Campus Wide People Mover (CWP), has a few strings attached. It will withhold over ⅔ of payments until the project is complete and will impose penalties of $300K if the system fails to accommodate enough passengers. CWP, once completed, is supposed to whisk people between stops at high speeds in modified electric Tesla vehicles. While the project is limited for now, TBC has said in the past that the project could someday connect downtown, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Las Vegas Boulevard Resort Corridor and McCarran International Airport. When is the projected expected to be completed? With Musk’s track record of missing deadlines, we’re curious to see if this project will pan out for the 2021 deadline.
2. Conned Taxi Drivers in an Uber Era
Many people believe that the crash of the taxi era in New York City was caused by ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. What most people don’t know is that industry leaders were the cause of this 2014 crash, leading to 950 cab drivers having to declare bankruptcy. The New York Times investigated into this phenomenon for over 10 months, interviewing 450 people, building a database of every medallion sale since 1995 and reviewing thousands of documents to piece together one hail of a ride. Back in 1937, local politicians in New York City decided to put a cap on taxi drivers to reduce city congestion by selling medallions, a transferable permit to allow a taxi driver to operate. Between 2002 and 2014, industry leaders drove up medallion prices from $200K to more than $1M to increase profit, targeting low-income immigrants who didn’t understand the terms and suckering these cab drivers into $1.7M loans.
“I don’t think I could concoct a more predatory scheme if I tried,” said Roger Bertling, an expert on predatory lending from Harvard. “This was modern-day indentured servitude.” It was easy at the time to blame Uber and Lyft, but the truth has now been uncovered and medallion prices have lost more than 90% of their value.
3. Google Search Has a New Design
Google released a blog post yesterday, announcing new changes to its Search feature, specifically for mobile. The change comes at a time when the web has altered drastically—from the proliferation of images and video, to the availability of 3D objects you can now view in AR. Search results will put more emphasis on websites’ and publishers’ branding, so it’s easier to tell at a glance where information is coming from. The design also alters the way search ads look. Instead of “ad” being written in green with a box around it, the word “ad” is now in bold black type, and above the text. The new design adds more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards, giving consumers a better sense of the content they are looking for. Take a look at the before and after picture below:
When is the design rolling out? This redesign is coming first to mobile and will be rolling out over the next few days.