Transportation & Infrastructure.
- An investigation into exploitative New York taxi medallion loans, which created an artificial asset bubble that enriched an industry of creditors while financially ruining countless drivers.
- The Boring Company, Elon Musk's tunneling firm, seems to be building just a regular car tunnel, not an innovative new form of transportation. "In a mere two years we’ve gone from a futuristic vision of electric skates zooming around a variety of vehicles in a network of underground tunnels to—and I cannot stress this enough—a very small, paved tunnel that can fit one (1) car."
- A strange battle in Aurora, Illinois between a company trying to build a tower for high-frequency trading and another company who claims the new tower will block the signal from its existing high-frequency trading tower. As Matt Levine points out, many high-frequency trading issues are just zoning issues.
Architecture & Planning.
- An interesting argument that Jane Jacobs actually undermined the relevance of urban planning as a field. "Planning in America has been reduced to smallness and timidity, and largely by its own hand. So it’s no surprise that envisioning alternative futures for our cities and towns and regions has defaulted to nonplanners."
- Nicola Twilley on indoor air pollution, which is largely unregulated and unmeasured. "The combined emissions of humans and their daily activities—cooking, cleaning, metabolizing—are more interesting, and potentially more lethal, than anyone had imagined."
- A tool that procedurally generates medieval towns.
Hardware & Software.
- Don Norman, who invented user-centered design, on how too many technology products fail to accommodate the elderly. "Today, Apple’s products violate all the fundamental rules of design for understanding and usability, many of which...I had helped develop."
- The music industry's carbon footprint has increased in the streaming era. While plastic consumption has decreased since the peak of CDs in the early 2000s, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with digital streaming are much higher.
- How the Milwaukee Bucks (and a former wedding DJ) won the t-shirt cannon arms race. A brief history of t-shirt launchers at sporting events and the constant demand for bigger, more powerful models. Milwaukee's Quad is a four-barreled gatling gun that can fire nearly 200 shirts in 15 seconds.
- A Japanese waste plant has a bar where visitors can drink while watching trash being processed.
- Cosmic latte is a name assigned to the average color of the universe, a "slightly beigeish white."