Jul 9, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Today's PM is 499 words, a 2 minute read.

🚨Coming tomorrow: We’re launching Axios Cities, a once-weekly newsletter penned by Axios’ own Kim Hart.

Situational awareness: Joe Biden "reported $11 million in income for 2017 and $4.6 million in 2018, making him the richest among chief Democratic 2020 hopefuls." [WashPost]

1 big thing: Alerting the next big one

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the next "Big One" hits, the U.S. Geological Survey really hopes you'll pay attention to the alert on your phone.

Why it matters: The ShakeAlert system, installed along the West Coast, can provide anywhere from seconds up to a minute of warning to areas outside the epicenter that a big quake is on the way.

  • "Depending on the distance, that could be enough time to automatically slow trains, stop industrial machines, start generators, pull a surgical knife away from a patient or tell students to put the 'drop, cover and hold' drill into action," the AP reports.

Between the lines: The system didn't alert anyone this time, and that was on purpose.

  • The app "will only send out a ShakeAlert — that is, the message — if a particular area experiences a level of shaking that’s potentially damaging," Robert-Michael de Groot of the USGS told The Verge.
  • "This is why we’re saying that it worked exactly as intended because the earthquake was out in Ridgecrest, which is about 150 miles or so from Los Angeles."
  • In LA, "ShakeAlerts only get sent to people when there’s potentially damaging shaking — where things get broken or people can get hurt."
  • "If people are getting ShakeAlerts every single time there’s an earthquake, people are going to begin to ignore them."

The bottom line: A warning only works if people heed it, and hopefully that moment doesn't come for a very long time.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Surfers look on as dolphins fly through the air off Tamarama Beach on July 09, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.

2. What you missed
  1. Tom Steyer has officially entered the 2020 race and pledged to spend as much as $100 million of his own money, after earlier saying he wouldn't run. Go deeper.
  2. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta defended the plea deal he approved in 2008 for accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta was serving as U.S. attorney in southern Florida at the time. Details.
  3. A federal appeals court ruled that Trump violated the Constitution in blocking critics of his viewpoints on Twitter. Go deeper.
  4. Scoop: Israel's newly appointed Minister of Education Rafi Peretz said the rate of intermarriage among U.S. Jews is "like a second Holocaust," according to 3 people who were in the room. Go deeper.
  5. Netflix is now losing "Friends" in addition to "The Office": The former is heading to Warner's upcoming HBO Max, and the latter to NBCUniversal's upcoming streaming service. Go deeper.
3. 1 pricier thing

Uber announced its rollout of Uber Comfort today, which allows "riders who are constantly on the go and want a little extra comfort" to pay extra to request rides with newer cars, more legroom — and quiet drivers.

  • "You can request your ideal temperature in advance and let your drivers know when you’re looking for a quiet ride so you can stay comfortable on the road."
  • It'll cost you ... "Comfort rides cost 20% to 40% more for time and distance than standard Uber rides," per the AP.
Mike Allen