The Hyperloop: Businessweek: "Almost a year after Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, first floated the idea of a superfast mode of transportation, he has finally revealed the details: a solar-powered, city-to-city elevated transit system that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. In typical Musk fashion, the Hyperloop, as he calls it, immediately poses a challenge to the status quo—in this case, California’s $70 billion high-speed train that has been knocked by Musk and others as too expensive, too slow, and too impractical."
Pods!: More from Businessweek's big get: "In Musk’s vision, the Hyperloop would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes. He describes the design as looking like a shotgun with the tubes running side by side for most of the journey and closing the loop at either end. These tubes would be mounted on columns 50 to 100 yards apart, and the pods inside would travel up to 800 miles per hour. Some of this Musk has hinted at before; he now adds that pods could ferry cars as well as people. 'You just drive on, and the pod departs,' Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek in his first interview about the Hyperloop.'"
The Big Reveal: San Jose Mercury News is live-blogging today's press conference.
Open-Source: Associated Press: "[Musk previously] said he would fulfill his commitment to publishing a design, and he said he invites critical feedback after its release Monday to 'see if the people can find ways to improve it.' It will be an open-source design, meaning anyone can use it and modify it."
Bulger Found Guilty of Gangland Crimes: Associated Press: "James 'Whitey' Bulger, the feared Boston mob boss who became one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives, was convicted Monday in a string of 11 killings and dozens of other gangland crimes, many of them committed while he was said to be an FBI informant. ... Bulger was charged primarily with racketeering, which listed 33 criminal acts— among them, 19 murders that he allegedly helped orchestrate or carried out himself during the 1970s and `80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston's ruthless Irish mob. The racketeering charge also included acts of extortion, conspiracy, money-laundering and drug dealing. After 4 1/2 days of deliberations, the jury decided he took part in 11 of those murders, along with nearly all the other crimes on the racketeering list. He was also found guilty separately of 30 other offenses, including possession of machine guns."
A Life Sentence Regardless: NBC News: "Bulger, who spent 16 years on the lam before being captured in California, will likely be locked up for the rest of his days. 'He will spend the rest of his life in prison, far away from the beaches of Santa Monica and far away from the streets of Boston,' U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said. Despite the probable life sentence, Bulger's lawyers said he was happy about the trial result because it exposed government corruption. He intends to appeal on the grounds that he was not allowed to argue he had immunity from the feds."
Stop-and-Frisk: New York Times: "In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms. In a blistering decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, found that the Police Department had 'adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling' that targeted young minority men for stops. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city would appeal the ruling, angrily accusing the judge of deliberately not giving the city 'a fair trial.' The mayor cited the benefits of stop-and-frisk, crediting the tactic for making the city safer and for ridding the streets of thousands of illegal guns. But in her ruling, Judge Scheindlin found that in doing so, the police systematically stopped innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing."
Making Mandatory Sentences Less Mandatory: Reuters: "The Obama administration unveiled steps on Monday to fix what it considers the longstanding unjust treatment of many nonviolent drug offenders, aiming to bypass tough mandatory prison terms while reducing America's huge prison population and saving billions of dollars. ... [Eric] Holder said that the Justice Department would direct federal prosecutors to charge defendants in certain low-level drug cases in such a way that they would not be eligible for mandatory sentences now on the books. Prosecutors would do this by omitting from official charging documents the amount of drugs involved in a case, lawyers with expertise in criminal law said. By doing so, prosecutors would ensure that nonviolent defendants without significant criminal history would not get long sentences."
N.C.'s Voter ID Law: Washington Post: "North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday signed into law one of the nation’s most wide-ranging Voter ID laws. The move is likely to touch off a major court battle over voting rights, and the Justice Department is weighing a challenge to the new law. The measure requires voters to present government-issued photo identification at the polls and shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days. It will also end pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-old voters who will be 18 on Election Day and eliminates same-day voter registration. Democrats and minority groups have been fighting against the changes, arguing that they represent an effort to suppress the minority vote and the youth vote, along with reducing Democrats’ advantage in early voting. They point out that there is little documented evidence of voter fraud. Republicans say that the efforts are necessary to combat such fraud and that shortening the window for early voting will save the state money."
She Didn't Know: CBS News: "Hannah Anderson was held against her will and did not know that her mother and brother had been killed until she was rescued Saturday afternoon, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has confirmed, according to CBS affiliate KFMB. Gore also revealed Monday that suspect James Lee DiMaggio, 40, fired off a gunshot before being fatally shot by a FBI tactical agent. ... The case began August 4 when the charred bodies of Hannah Anderson's mother, Christina Anderson, 44, and the teen's 8-year-old brother, Ethan Anderson, were found in DiMaggio's burning house outside San Diego, near the Mexico border. DiMaggio was close to the family. Christina Anderson's husband, Brett Anderson, has described him as a best friend and said the children thought of him as an uncle. Authorities have said DiMaggio had an 'unusual infatuation' with Hannah, although the father said he never saw any strange behavior."
Not, the Butter Cow!: Des Moines Register: "The Iowa State Fair’s beloved butter cow sculpture looks as good as new after vandals covered the icon in red paint early Sunday. The cow, a fair tradition since 1911, cleaned up well after the dousing. Vandals from the group Iowans for Animal Liberation attempted to churn controversy over factory farms by scrawling 'Freedom For All' on a glass window in the display. ... No arrests have been made in the weekend incident. Police are reviewing camera footage of the building’s exterior as part of the investigation, Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright said."
A Few More Quick Hits from Slate—
- Weigel: Another Day, Another Birther
- Moneybox: NBA Players Should Think Twice Before Putting LeBron James in Charge of Their Union
- Moneybox: BlackBerry Would Really Like Someone to Buy BlackBerry—but Who Wants It?
- Brow Beat: Footage Surfaces of Notorious, Unreleased Jerry Lewis Movie About a Clown in the Holocaust
- The Vault: The Entire History of the World—Really, All of It—Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart
- Weigel: Donald Trump Is Not a Candidate for President
That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.