Why California's High-Speed Rail Matters

Illustration for article titled Why California's High-Speed Rail Matters

Welcome to Reading List, a breakdown of some wonderfully constructed words, phrases, and sentences you should really be reading this week. Before you get too excited, take a second to take a peek over all our exhaustive (seriously I'm still recovering) coverage of CES 2015. But when you get a gadget overload, take a look at some of these great reads from around the web.


  • Many smart minds, including Elon Musk (remember Hyperloop?), have been worried that California's high-speed rail initiative will be woefully out of date once it's eventually finished. But Salon argues that the ambitious project to lessen our dependence on highway travel is an important step for American infrastructure, and these speedy trains may be the most important project of this century so far. [Salon]
  • Smartphones have become inseparably entwined with humanity. So much so that these pocket computers have even changed how are fingers work. In a small departure from our usual text-based selections, this Atlantic photo essay perfectly captures how smartphones are quickly become the most ubiquitous gadget in human history, whether the center figures in political protests or capturing fleeting memories with a loved one. [The Atlantic]
  • Star Wars' brief teaser trailer has been pulled apart, analyzed, and stitched back together so much, what does just one more time hurt? This time a physicist takes a look at just how fast Kylo Ren's speeder traverses the Tatooine (I assume) desert. Under strict scrutiny, the numbers don't quite add up. [Wired]
  • Although CES has officially closed its doors for 2015, the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, which was born from CES decades earlier like a porn-hawking Athena, is about to begin next week. But AVN isn't the only convention with a tech-y origin story, and The Verge details this ancestor of Vegas' most notorious trade show. [The Verge]

Image via CAHSR



I look forward to hearing one realistic proposal that actually gets the train to San Francisco. There is a ~0% chance of getting it up the Peninsula. The only hope is to loop around to Oakland then over the Bay. Good luck with that.

Also, I'm taking a pool on final cost. Since California estimates it at $68B, I'll take $130B.