Today's PM is 499 words, a 2 minute read.
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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
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
Surfers look on as dolphins fly through the air off Tamarama Beach on July 09, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.
2. What you missed
- 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.
- 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.
- A federal appeals court ruled that Trump violated the Constitution in blocking critics of his viewpoints on Twitter. Go deeper.
- 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.
- 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.