“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
Tesla’s new P100D will go zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. That’s faster than any other production car, including the P90D shown above. | Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
On a test drive of a Tesla Model S P90D last fall, I pulled up to a stoplight on Manhattan’s West Side Highway and glanced over to find a McLaren 570 in the next lane. I had the urge to jokingly rev the engine, the universal signal for “let’s drag-race.” Unfortunately, the Tesla Model S’s engine doesn’t really rev, because it’s electric. When the light turned, I punched the gas, just in case the McLaren driver happened to do the same. He did not, thus ending my dream of racing an exotic supercar in a four-door family sedan.
Believe it or not, this is apparently a serious use case in the mind of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. On Tuesday, he announced a new version of the Model S that actually accelerates from zero to 60 mph faster than that McLaren—and every other production car on the market today. (A production car is basically a vehicle that you can buy, as opposed to a concept car.)
The Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous—yes, that is its actual name—comes with a newly reconfigured 100 kWh battery that will boost its EPA-rated range to 315 miles on a charge and give it a mind-bending zero-to-60 time of 2.5 seconds. The only production cars ever to beat that time, by Tesla’s calculations, are the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder, neither of which is currently available for sale.
To be precise, this is not the fastest production car on the market: Its top speed is capped at a jaunty-but–not-breathtaking 155 mph. But near-instant acceleration is a virtue of all-electric motors, and in a call with reporters Tuesday, Musk argued that zero-to-60 is “what really matters” if you’re talking about speed you can use on the street, as opposed to on a race track.
“For an electric car, one which has four doors, to be the fastest car in production of any kind—I think this is really going to send a great message to the public that sustainable transport is the future,” he said.
It’s safe to say this new Model S is not for everyone. The price starts at $135,000, although the same 100 kWh battery will also be available to existing P90D Ludicrous owners as a $20,000 upgrade. That said, if your goal is simply to beat a McLaren in a drag race, this would probably count as a bargain relative to the other options available.
Donald J. Trump, after weeks of self-inflicted damage, has seen support for his candidacy in national polls dip into the 30s — Barry Goldwater and Walter F. Mondale territory — while Hillary Clinton has extended her lead to double digits in several crucial swing states.
Time to declare a landslide, right? Not so fast.
The vote may be more favorable to Mr. Trump than the worst-case-scenario prognosticators suggest for a very simple reason: Landslides do not really happen in presidential elections anymore.
It has been 32 years since a president won the popular vote by a double-digit percentage. That was when Mr. Mondale suffered an 18-point defeat to Ronald Reagan in 1984. It was also the last time there was a landslide among states, with Mr. Mondale winning only Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
There are a variety of factors that are likely to prevent a candidate today from rallying the huge, 60-plus-point majorities that swept Franklin D. Roosevelt back into office in 1936, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and Richard M. Nixon in 1972.
Ian Bradley-Perrin (left) and fellow graduate student Olga Brudastova have been active in the campaign to unionize grad students who work as teaching and research assistants at Columbia University. | Karen Matthews/AP
The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 Tuesday that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees with the right to collective bargaining.
The decision comes in response to a petition filed by the Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC and the United Autoworkers Union, which has been seeking to represent grad student assistants at Columbia University.
NPR’s Yuki Noguchi reports that “only a small fraction of graduate students at public universities are currently represented by unions — but the decision governing private university students is expected to lead to unionization efforts that could organize tens of thousands more.”
The NLRB had long held that students who teach or research at a private university were not employees covered under the National Labor Relations Act, Yuki reports. That changed in 2000, when the board decided a case in favor of students, and changed again with another ruling four years later. Now the NLRB has reversed itself yet again.
In Tuesday’s decision, the board majority wrote that the 2004 ruling “deprived an entire category of workers of the protections of the Act, without a convincing justification in either the statutory language or the policies of the Act.”
In 2004, the NLRB reasoned that graduate assistants cannot be statutory employees because they “are primarily students and have a primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.” The current board disagreed:
Fall-TV season is upon us, and once again, there are way too many shows for even the most seasoned binge-watcher to even begin wading through. But the upside of our overstuffed Peak TV era is that we’re seeing more and more shows starring and created by women, with a glut of excellent female-led comedies and visionary auteurs like Ava DuVernayand Jill Soloway telling stories — particularly the stories of LGBT women and women of color — that have long been excluded from the TV landscape. Here are some of the women remaking TV in their image this fall:
Aya Cash continues to plumb the darkness on You’re the Worst, August 31 on FX.
Last season brought new depths to FX’s racy relationship comedy, thanks largely to Aya Cash’s humanizing and sensitive depiction of what it means to live with severe clinical depression. In season three, Gretchen seeks help from a therapist (played by Orange Is the New Black’s Samira Wiley!), which doesn’t mean she (or the gang, particularly Kether Donohue’s glorious hot mess Lindsay) have renounced their dirt-bag ways.
Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey continue their partnership with Queen Sugar, September 6 on OWN.
Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s new OWN drama, led by DuVernay and helmed entirely by female directors, centers on three estranged siblings Nova (Rutina Wesley), Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) who are forced back into each other’s lives when they inherit their family’s sugar-cane farm. The trailer promises an intense family drama set against the fraught backdrop of race relations in the Deep South, and it sounds like it’s going to be a major conversation starter. “I’m telling you,” Oprah promises, “black Twitter is gonna blow up.”
The fight over the Hugos reflects the larger cultural struggle that led to Trump — and the trolls aren’t winning
For those who want to understand the social dynamics of the Donald Trump revolution — and why it is almost certain to fail — look no further than the ongoing kerfuffle over the Hugos, an annual set of awards for excellence in sci-fi and fantasy, which have been under attack by a bunch of embittered reactionaries.
Since 1955, the Hugos have been awarded through a fairly straightforward process: Members of the World Science Fiction Convention nominate and then vote on their favorites in a variety of categories. Past winners have included luminaries like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Connie Willis, Robert Heinlein and George R.R. Martin.