Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today, we have reports from The New Yorker, Motherboard and Pacific Standard.
Shut Up and Deal – The New Yorker
James Surowiecki has a nicely worded column about laws in various states that protect a very old way of doing business. Tesla is the prime example this year, of course.
Tesla, since it's starting from scratch, has no existing dealers, and so in theory it isn't encroaching on anyone's turf. But auto dealers around the country have still been lobbying state governments to force the company to change its ways. Dealers like the existing system, and they don't want other automakers to get any ideas. Fiona Scott Morton, an economics professor at Yale who has written extensively on car dealers, told me, "There isn't a rational argument for why a new company should have to use dealers. It's just dealers trying to protect their profits."
Watch where you're flying those paper planes.
Basically what happened was, a couple years ago, a drone pilot named Raphael Pirker flew his 5 pound, styrofoam drone around the University of Virginia, and got paid to do it. That angered the FAA, who has been trying to keep commercial drone flights grounded. But, because they never actually made regulations, they went after Pirker for the "reckless operation of an aircraft," which turned out to be a really bad idea, because the FAA has always specifically referenced "model aircraft" when it wants to talk about RC aircraft or drones.
You Feel Closer to Your Destination Even When You're Not – Pacific Standard
This is kinda trippy.
Where you're headed seems closer than the place you've left. People waiting for eastbound and westbound trains consistently rated the stops they were going toward as seemingly closer than the stops they were moving away from, regardless of the actual distance.
Photo: Getty Images