There are plenty of legitimate concerns about the advent of the self-driving automobile — road safety chief among them. But if nothing else, our future robot-chauffeur overlords are presumed to be more efficient drivers, less prone to speed up and brake based on emotion and the irrational urge to get to work two minutes faster, safety be damned. Steadier speeds, slower acceleration, and less braking are a recipe for using less fuel, so driverless cars should be a boon for the environment, right?
Probably not, says Chandra Bhat, director of the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas. After a talk at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Bhat told KUT's Kate McGee that driverless cars will be great for people — without the need to drive, you can work or relax or even sleep during your morning commute. But that could reverse the trend away from gas-guzzling vehicles: People will probably want their mobile offices to be big and comfortable. They also may not mind longer commutes and be less likely to take public transportation. Thanks, Google. --Peter Weber
Alexander Hamilton is among the most famous American statesmen to never be president, but the hit Broadway musical based on his life will perhaps help Hillary Clinton do what Hamilton did not.
The Clinton campaign has rented the whole 1,300-seat Richard Rogers Theatre for a special fundraising performance of Hamilton on Tuesday, July 12. Individual tickets start at $2,700 — the same as the maximum individual donation permitted for a given federal candidate per election cycle — though big spenders can pay $100,000 to sit with Clinton herself and get an invite to the Democratic National Convention, which may also host Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The money raised — expected to top $3.5 million — will be split between the Clinton camp and the Democratic National Committee per a joint fundraising agreement. Bonnie Kristian
At least two people have died in a fast-moving wildfire in central California which started on Thursday and is finally showing signs of slowing its growth. Firefighters found additional remains in a mobile home Saturday, but they were too badly burned to immediately determine whether the body belonged to a human or an animal.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 25, 2016
The fire has spread to cover about 35,000 acres and has destroyed 150 homes so far. Evacuations from affected areas are mandatory, and firefighters say the blaze is 10 percent contained as of Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry updated his European itinerary to include stops in London and Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, abbreviating in the process scheduled talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While in each city, Kerry will meet with top diplomats to address the implications of the Brexit vote and urge a careful approach to the extrication process. Kerry believes a smooth transition will help "the marketplace understand there are ways to minimize disruption, there are ways to smartly move ahead in order to protect the values and interests that we share."
"The most important thing," he said in Rome on Saturday, "is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible." Bonnie Kristian
A petition to Parliament arguing that "if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 percent based [on] a turnout [of] less than 75 percent there should be another referendum" on Brexit has attracted more than 3 million signatures from Britons since this past week's vote.
The request is so popular that its traffic briefly crashed the entire parliamentary website.
— Gissur Simonarson CN (@GissiSim) June 26, 2016
Though the effort is considered unlikely to succeed, petitioners do have on their side the fact that the original vote is technically not legally binding, so the government could (in theory) overrule it. Needless to say, the political backlash from such a move would be immense, and even a new vote might not swing results in favor of remaining in the European Union.
The Iraqi army retook the final piece of territory held by Islamic State fighters in Fallujah on Sunday, confirming a tentative win declared a week ago when a small number of terrorists had yet to be routed.
The city was controlled by ISIS since January of 2014, when the then-nascent terrorist organization had yet to declare a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. Sunday's victory came after five weeks of fighting in which 1,800 ISIS militants were killed.
"We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter terrorism service," said Iraqi Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, "and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Fallujah is over."
Now, however, a humanitarian crisis lingers, as refugees from the war-torn city are crowded into nearby camps with inadequate supplies of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Some 85,000 people have fled the fighting in Fallujah, and aid agencies are struggling to keep up. "People are going to die," said Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, "because they are exposed to the elements and the searing heat." Bonnie Kristian
Britain's Tory prime minister, David Cameron, announced his resignation following the Brexit vote — but now it looks like Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who supported remaining in the EU, may lose his position of power as well.
Corbyn fired Hilary Benn, his shadow foreign secretary, Saturday evening, and another one of Corbyn's senior advisers on the shadow cabinet soon resigned. "I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding," former shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander wrote in her public resignation letter to Corbyn, "and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential."
Additional resignations are expected amid rumors of a open party coup to oust Corbyn in the near future. With Alexander, Corbyn's opponents argue his failure to prevent Brexit bodes poorly for attempts to reclaim power in Parliament. Bonnie Kristian
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, but the now-official Brexit won't happen overnight. The EU has a formal, two-year exit process, which Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said Saturday should not coincide with an Irish unity vote.
"I share the view that at some stage in the future that the unification would be in the best interests of the people but only when there is a majority consent of the people in Northern Ireland," Flanagan remarked, adding, "We now have a situation following the referendum, where the UK is leaving the European Union. Any further referendums in Northern Ireland would cause a greater level of division than we have now and is therefore in my view particularly unhelpful."
His comments come after Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness called for the unity vote on Friday, arguing that the British government "now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union" because 56 percent of Northern Irish voters backed remaining in the EU. Bonnie Kristian