New York City's bike-sharing service Citi Bike, which launched less than a year ago, was intended to revolutionize New York City transit — but according to the Wall Street Journal, the service is already in trouble. Sources report that Citi Bike is trying to raise "tens of millions of dollars" to salvage the service, and has already approached Mayor Bill de Blasio about raising its rates.
The months since Citi Bike's May 2013 launch have been riddled with a number of unforeseen difficulties, including damage from Hurricane Sandy, the difficulty of transporting bikes through New York City traffic, and an unusually long and nasty winter. But the biggest problem lies in Citi Bike's base of users: The majority are annual subscribers, who pay just $99 per year for unlimited service. More lucrative short-term users — who can pay $9.95 for a 24-hour pass or $25 for a seven-day pass — have been slower to embrace the service.
There are basic logistical problems that need ironing out — but in the end, the easiest answer to Citi Bike's woes may be patience. With the weather warming up and the service continuing to expand its locations, Citi Bike will likely seem a far more appealing option to both New Yorkers and tourists in the warmer months to come. Scott Meslow
In Ben Carson's opinion, the war on women isn't about women — it's about babies. The Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon explained at a Thursday event in Little Rock, Arkansas: "They tell you that there’s a war on women. There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country."
As to what exactly Caron meant by "what's inside of women," he did not say. The Cut jokingly hypothesizes that he meant "there's a war on women's inner confidence, or even a war on the sexual exploits of Anastasia Steele's inner goddess," but, alas, his past comments seem to make it clear that Carson was really just talking about fetuses. Cosmo noted that Carson once told Fox News, "There is no war on [women], the war is on babies." Because the "unborn can't defend themselves," he said that "what we need to do is re-educate the women to understand that they are the defenders of these babies." Becca Stanek
Christopher Starks, a Savannah State University junior, died of gunshot wounds after an altercation at the school's student union, The New York Times reports. No arrests have been made in connection to the shooting.
Praying for my Alma Mater. #SSU
— RudeGyal. (@_KayChante) August 28, 2015
Located in Savannah, Georgia, SSU is a historically black university of about 5,000 students.
According to a spokesperson, administrators have few details on the incident. "While it may be natural to want to protect an associate," spokeswoman Loretta Heyward said in a statement urging anyone with information to come forward, “the lack of disclosure may do more harm than good in the long run." Jeva Lange
"This is it, the best car Consumer Reports has ever tested," says Jake Fisher, the consumer magazine's auto test director, standing next to the Tesla Model S P85D sedan. "Simply put, the fully electric car is a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry." How impressed was Consumer Reports with the luxury car? It originally gave it 103 out of 100, forcing the magazine to recalibrate its rating system so the P85D got a mere 100 — still beating the regular Tesla Model S, which scored 99 in 2013, under the old system.
Along with being the highest-rated, it's also the fastest car the magazine has tested, and more efficient than even the regular Tesla Model S, Fisher said. But there's one more superlative to come: At $127,820, it's also the most expensive car Consumer Reports has ever tested. And "it has imperfections," Consumer Reports says. "The interior materials aren't as opulent as other high-ticket automobiles, and its ride is firmer and louder than our base Model S."
But in terms of performance, efficiency, and speed — going from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with a silent electric motor is "frighteningly eerie," and the car is "so explosively quick that Tesla has created an 'insane' driving mode," the magazine said, creating "near-instant g-forces" that "can otherwise be achieved only by leaping off a building— literally" — this Tesla is "the closest to perfect we've ever seen," Fisher says. Elon Musk is probably not blushing. After all that gushing, you can watch Tesla's P85D in action below. Peter Weber
A Massachusetts boarding school is being sued by parents who claim the school's Wi-Fi signal is making their child sick, says Scott O'Connell at the Worcester, Massachusetts Telegram & Gazette. The plaintiffs say their 12-year-old son has endured headaches, nosebleeds, and nausea caused by "electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome" ever since the Fay School activated a more powerful wireless signal in 2013. School officials say their Wi-Fi is well within "applicable safety limits."
New emails reveal Bill Clinton tried to get State Department approval for paid speeches in North Korea, Congo
Newly uncovered State Department emails obtained by ABC News reveal that Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to accept invitations for "lucrative speaking engagements" in the notoriously repressive countries of North Korea and Congo. Ultimately, Bill turned down both speaking engagements.
The invitation to Congo offered a $650,000 speaking fee, but would have required Bill to pose for photos with the dictators of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, both of whose countries have a "particularly grim human rights record," ABC News says. In the instance of North Korea, Bill pretty assumed the State Department would shoot him down even though he still sent an email to double check that it was "safe to assume [the U.S. Government] would have concerns." He got a quick response from a State Department employee: "Decline it."
This system worked out by Bill and Hillary was set up prior to Hillary's confirmation as Secretary of State. In the interest of avoiding conflicts of interest, Bill "volunteered to submit information for proposed paid speeches to the Department of State's ethics agency to review," ABC News reports. Still, even without the speaking fees from the engagements turned down, Bill managed to earn more than $48 million in speaking fees while Hillary was Secretary of State, delivering 215 speeches in four years. Becca Stanek
A large burial ground in East Kazakhstan has archaeologists puzzled over the headless corpses discovered occupying the graves, Tengiri News reports. The bodies, which belong to ancient Huns and Sarmatians, are laid out in a line, with some burial mounds surrounded by circular fences of closely stacked stones, which researchers believe were used to drive away evil spirits. However, of all the bodies found, none of the skeletons had skulls.
There are several possible theories for the decapitated corpses: Grave robbers may have stolen the skulls as a precaution to prevent spirits of the dead from taking revenge; or perhaps the heads were collected by nomadic tribes of the Early Iron Age who believed the fertility of their women depended on the number of skulls they accumulated. Others experts believe that the heads of rulers and leaders were traditionally used as objects of worship; in another version, the skulls might have been gifted to brides as macabre wedding gifts. Or perhaps the heads were simply taken by the researchers of Catherine the Great, or nabbed by enemies as war trophies.
Other bodies in the region have also been found without their heads, in mounds dating back to the first centuries B.C. and A.D. Jeva Lange
On Thursday, two explosives-laden U.S.-made Humvees exploded near an Iraqi army convoy outside Ramadi, killing two generals. Islamic State, which captured Ramadi in May, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, which it says was carried out by four militants. In Baghdad, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attended Thursday's funeral of Maj. Gen. Abdulrahman Abu Ragheef, the acting chief of the Anbar Operations Command, and Brig. Gen. Safeen Abdulmajid, the head of the Iraqi Army's 10th Division.
The death of the commanders was another setback in the apparently faltering U.S.-backed effort to retake majority-Sunni Anbar Province and Ramadi, its regional capital. ISIS likely captured the Humvees from Iraq's army over the past year; such seizure of Iraqi Army equipment has allowed ISIS to carry out attacks like Thursday's. After the funeral, Iraqi officials vowed vengeance, eventually. "We will get revenge for them sooner or later," said an Iraqi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool. "We have lost commanders before during the battle against ISIS, but we will never stop until we defeat them." Peter Weber