Japanese Flying Cars, Hagfish Slime, and Measuring Inequality

Weekend Reads: January 25, 2019

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Supreme Court Won’t Hear a Lawsuit Over Defamatory Yelp Reviews

Adi Robertson | The Verge | Tweeted by Jennifer Huddleston-Skees

Dawn Hassel brought a complaint before the California Supreme Court demanding that false, negative reviews about her law practice be taken down by Yelp. California ruled in Yelp’s favor, citing Section 230, which holds that web platforms generally aren’t liable for content posted by their users, and the US Supreme Court denied a complaint brought by Hassel to hear the case.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Become Chinese Billionaires

Ray Kwong | Forbes | Retweeted by David Beckworth

Billionaires in China have cause for concern, as a Chinese billionaire dies every 40 days of unnatural causes such as homicide, suicide, and executions.

The Gambia River Bridge Set to End ‘Centuries’ of Trade Chaos with Senegal

Omar Wally | BBC News | Retweeted by Tyler Cowen

After seven years of construction, the Senegambia Bridge linking the two halves of The Gambia has opened. Before the bridge’s construction, people would have to spend days, and sometimes a week, waiting for a ferry to cross the river.

No One Is Prepared for Hagfish Slime

Ed Yong | The Atlantic | Retweeted by Alex Tabarrok

The hagfish releases less than a teaspoon of slime from its 100 or so slime glands, and that little amount will expand by 10,000 times fending off both sharks and Priuses.

Japan Is Getting Serious About Flying Cars

Matthew Campbell, Jie Ma, and Kiyotaka Matsuda | Bloomberg Businessweek | Retweeted by Brent Skorup

A select group of bureaucrats in Japan are attempting to make flying cars a reality. They face an uphill battle with conservative regulators and a distaste for disruptive innovation.

Best Way to Protect Air Travel from the Shutdown: Reduce Washington’s Role

David Ditch | The Daily Signal | Shared by Donald Boudreaux

The partial government shutdown has highlighted the dependency of Americans on federal security screeners and air traffic controllers. Private providers have better incentives and stronger accountability and would decrease traveling costs for Americans.

Understanding Trump’s Trade War

Douglas Irwin | Foreign Policy | Retweeted by Veronique de Rugy

2019 could define US trade policy for years to come, as President Trump unveils his motives behind rhetoric targeting foreign auto exporters, China, and the World Trade Organization.

Britain Has a New Wealthiest Man after Dyson’s Big Year

Benjamin Stupples and Tom Metcalf | Bloomberg | Shared by Tyler Cowen

After a record profit year for Dyson, its founder James Dyson is now the wealthiest person in Britain. This signals the waning power of inheritances and land ownership in the country.

Are 26 Billionaires Worth More Than Half the Planet? The Debate, Explained.

Dylan Matthews | Vox | Tweeted by Matthew Mitchell

Every year, the charity group Oxfam releases a statistic attempting to measure how many of the world’s richest people have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half. At a time when global poverty is falling, the statistic is a little more complicated than the headlines make it out to be.