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Here we go Monday!

Good morning. Elton John has performed “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in concerts 1,475 times over the past 50 years, according to, but he might have sung it for the final time Saturday night when he closed out his marathon tour in Sweden. John’s farewell tour, which began in 2018 and spanned 333 shows, is the highest-grossing tour ever, bringing in more than $900 million.

The record may not stand for long. Taylor Swift’s and Beyoncé’s ongoing stadium-bursting tours could each bring in more than $1 billion, and Beyoncé only just arrived in North America this weekend with shows in Toronto.

SF fights a guerilla war against robotaxis

A Waymo autonomous vehicle drives along California Street on April 11, 2022 in San Francisco, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Did you know you can disable a Waymo or Cruise robotaxi by placing an orange traffic cone on its hood?

A group of activists in San Francisco found out you can, and they’re using the tactic to protest driverless taxis taking over their city’s streets. The group, which calls itself Safe Street Rebel, has been putting traffic cones on robotaxis’ hoods to stop them from operating and has been giving instructions on social media to encourage others to make their own immobile orange unicorns.

The anti-robotaxi vigilantism comes ahead of a major hearing this week that could allow Cruise and Waymo, two autonomous vehicle companies with robotaxi services in SF, to expand their operations in the city to a level comparable to Uber’s and Lyft’s.

Why the pushback?

As regulations on Waymo and Cruise have slowly lifted, they’ve become a “ubiquitous presence” in San Francisco, the Washington Post reports. But without a human at the wheel, these cars have gotten into situations that could be set to the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music—for example, a swarm of them stopped moving at an intersection last summer, blocking traffic for hours.

But frustrated people in San Francisco say they didn’t sign up to be guinea pigs in Big Tech’s experiments. And safety leaders are sounding off: The city’s fire chief, Jeanine Nicholson, told MarketWatch that malfunctioning robotaxis have blocked first responders from getting where they need to go, and in the case of a growing fire, every second matters. “They are not ready for prime time,” Nicholson said of the autonomous vehicles.

The coneheads have been called “anti-progress”

Robotaxi companies and proponents of driverless cars say these hiccups are just the growing pains of a complex technology that will ultimately save many lives. Human drivers are incredibly lethal, after all, and a robot never needs to check its texts while driving. Accessibility advocates, economic development organizations, and elected officials are in Waymo’s and Cruise’s corner, so the robotaxi expansion is expected to pass at the hearing later this week.

Looking ahead…proving that driverless cars can successfully navigate SF’s hilly and winding roads would be a big step for Waymo and Cruise as they aim to bring robotaxis to other US cities.

Tour de headlines

MSG sphere lit up to advertise the Summer LeaguePutting as many pictures of the MSG Sphere in the Brew as possible. Greg Doherty/Getty Images

 The NBA announces an in-season tournament. NBA teams floundering in the regular season will still have a shot at a trophy: Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA will stage its first in-season tournament in November and December, with teams competing in a group stage for a chance to play in a “Final Four”-style round in Las Vegas. Silver said the new tradition was inspired by European soccer, which hosts several concurrent tournaments throughout the year, such as the Champions League.

 The US has a toxic lead cable problem. The US has more than 2,000 cables covered in toxic lead that present a health hazard and have gone unaddressed by the telecom companies that laid them, a WSJ investigation found. Over decades, lead on these cables has degraded into the soil and water in populated areas, including where kids go to school and people fish. Doctors say no amount of contact with lead is safe, which is why the US has eliminated the metal from products like paint and gasoline. This report may spark a closer look at lead from old phone cables.

 Threads won’t encourage hard news or politics. Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted (threaded?) that Threads will not try to attract conversations around politics or “hard news” in an effort to make the app feel less like Thanksgiving at the in-laws and more like happy hour. Critics shot back that this kind of content is necessary to keep a platform from turning into a milquetoast playground for brands and influencers. Meanwhile, Threads adoption has continued to skyrocket: More than 70 million users had signed up as of Friday, including the account tracking Elon Musk’s private jet.


Does Prime get you too amped?

Logan Paul and KSI pose with Prime hydration bottles prior to a regular season game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers on March 31, 2023, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

US lawmakers want to know. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the FDA to investigate Prime, the hot new energy drink created by YouTube superstars Logan Paul and KSI last year.

The problem Schumer and health experts have with Prime is that a) it contains an egregious amount of caffeine and b) it’s incredibly popular among teens and kids, for whom egregious amounts of caffeine can have negative health impacts, such as anxiety and heart problems. It’s already been banned in some schools around the world.

So how much caffeine is in Prime? 200 milligrams per 12 ounces, the same as almost two Red Bulls or six cans of Coke.

Prime seems to be aware that teens shouldn’t be drinking 200 mg of caffeine in four gulps, which is why the company slapped a “not recommended for children under 18” label on its drink. It has another drink, Prime Hydration, that has zero caffeine, but Schumer says that the company does not sufficiently differentiate between the two in its onslaught of social media marketing.

Bottom line: It’s going to take a powerful gravitational force to slow down Prime’s ascent. The brand rode its cult-like following to $250 million in retail sales in its first year, and it’s inked deals to become the “official” sports drink of the LA Dodgers and FC Barcelona.

The week ahead

Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Stansted Airport in Essex, ahead of his meetings with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III.Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

Like everyone else you know, Biden is visiting Europe. The president is in London on the first leg of a five-day Eurotrip, highlighted by the annual NATO summit in Lithuania. NATO found a new sense of camaraderie after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Biden will try to preserve the unity as the war drags on and disagreements emerge, including over the US’ decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine.

Earnings season is back: Miss seeing terms like “adjusted profits” and “forward guidance” in the Brew? They’re coming back as earnings season gets underway on Friday with big banks reporting. Tech companies, in particular, will have to impress to justify their expensive share prices. Also on the economic calendar is June’s inflation report.

Tom Cruise will try to pull off his biggest stunt yet: saving the slumping summer box office. His Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One hits theaters on Wednesday and is expected to rake in more than $300 million in its North American debut. Barbie and Oppenheimer will follow nine days later.

Everything else…

  • MLB’s Home Run Derby is tonight, and the All-Star Game is tomorrow in Seattle.
  • Wimbledon enters its final week. Georgia Tech alum Christopher Eubanks is a surprise quarterfinalist.
  • Your neighborhood French bistro will be popping off for Bastille Day this Friday. But France itself is on edge following mass anti-police protests.
  • Americans in 17 states should be able to see the northern lights on Thursday thanks to a solar storm.


Key performance indicators

South Park character saying South Park/Paramount Global via Giphy

Stat: Every one of the world’s declared chemical weapons has been destroyed after the US drained its final rocket of sarin nerve agent and deactivated it in Kentucky on Friday. Chemical weapons directly killed 100,000 people in World War I and the US and Russia amassed huge stockpiles during the Cold War, but in the 1990s almost 200 countries signed the Chemical Weapons Convention that prohibits them from making, owning, or using chemical weapons. Still, rogue states like Syria, Russia, and North Korea have deployed undeclared chemicals in some attacks recently.

Quote: “This came back in extremely good condition.”

New Bedford Public Library Director Olivia Melo said a book that was just returned to shelves was in pretty good shape, which is surprising because it’s been overdue for 119 years. According to the AP, James Clerk Maxwell’s An Elementary Treatise on Electricity was checked out of the New Bedford Free Public Library in 1904 and was only recently discovered by a rare books curator in West Virginia, who called the library and said, “I think I have something you might be looking for.” FYI: The max late fee for a book checked out of the New Bedford library is $2.

Read: How AI and ChatGPT compare to past technological disruptions. (Benedict Evans)


What else is brewing

  • The BBC suspended an unnamed top presenter who is accused of paying a teenager for sexually explicit photos. The publicly funded outlet is under fire for not addressing the allegations more quickly.
  • Heavy rains drenched the US Northeast yesterday, and flooding in New York’s Hudson Valley resulted in one death. Heat waves are expected to roast the Southwest and Florida this week.
  • Megan Rapinoe will retire from women’s soccer after the current NWSL season. She’s won an Olympic gold medal and two World Cups (and could make it three later this summer).
  • Who bought nearly $1 billion of land near an Air Force base in California?


Monday to-do list image

 Amazon Prime Day starts tomorrow: Here are the best early deals.

 Overwhelmed by regular Wikipedia? Try simple Wikipedia.

 Bunny ears vs. granny knot: Here is the mathematically correct way to tie your shoes.

 Nerd out on elevators: This YouTube video will teach you the strange hacks that keep elevators moving up and down.

 Creator econ: Every marketer knows brands and influencers can build powerful relationships. Before connecting with an influencer, learn the ins and outs of the creator economy.


 Must-have travel accessory: Travel season is here—learn to speak like the locals with Babbel. Whether it’s Spanish, French, Italian, or a dozen other languages, you can get 55% off a Babbel subscription for a limited time and start speaking a new language in 3 weeks.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


The puzzle section

Turntable: Your task is to find the 45 words hidden in today’s Turntable (or as many as you can). There’s no time limit, so feel free to come back to it throughout the day to keep making progress. Play Turntable here.

April 8, 2024, trivia

On April 8, 2024…

  • Plane tickets from LA to Mazatlán, Mexico, are sold out.
  • A Hilton Garden Inn in Texarkana, TX, is charging $743 for a room with two queen beds.
  • A Comfort Inn & Suites in Plattsburgh, NY, is charging $559 for a similar room.
  • The Drury Inn in Carbondale, IL, is 99% full.

What is going on that day?


Solar eclipse! The first solar eclipse viewable in the US since 2017 will arrive next April 8.

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