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Vox Sentences: Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Hurricanes; Snapchat; and clown matters.

“You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

Road in a hurricane Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
  • Hurricane Matthew is poised to make landfall in Florida and Georgia beginning tonight. The National Weather Service is urging everyone in the region to evacuate as soon as possible. [Vox / Brad Plumer]
  • Or, in the words of Florida Gov. Rick Scott to the 1.5 million Floridians living in the evacuation zone: “You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.” [The Guardian / Richard Luscombe]
  • The hurricane has already killed at least 108 people in Haiti, where it hit earlier this week. It's already the deadliest storm since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. [BBC]
  • Preliminary analysis suggests the damage to homes in Florida and Georgia could exceed $200 billion. [CNBC / Diana Olick]
  • Nonetheless, you can expect a sizeable number of people in the affected area to not evacuate. They tend to be poorer or disabled, and thus the people for whom evacuation is logistically most difficult. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • Naturally, people are already wondering about the political implications of the storm. Election law expert Rick Hasen has a good rundown; displaced Floridians might have a harder time registering, absentee ballots will be tough, and courts will probably get involved. He calls it "one of the worst election administration nightmares." [Rick Hasen]
  • The Drudge Report is not helping matters by telling its readers that Hurricane Matthew isn't really that bad and is being overhyped by liberals to spread their global warming agenda. [Vox / Libby Nelson]
  • On the other end of the panicked versus blasé spectrum, there's Fox News' Shep Smith, who offered this cheery thought: "If this moves 20 miles to the west, you and everyone you know are dead. All of you. Because you can't survive it. It's not possible unless you're very, very lucky. And your kids die too." [Twitter]

Snap crackles, yet to pop

Snapchat logo on a phone Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images
  • Snap Inc. (the company formerly known as Snapchat) is preparing an initial public offering for early next year, valuing itself at $25 billion or more. [WSJ / Maureen Farrell, Juliet Chung, and Rolfe Winkler]
  • Back in 2013, Snapchat was roundly mocked for turning down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook. They are looking … considerably less foolish in retrospect. [Slate / Will Oremus]
  • So, what happened? Well, for one thing, Snapchat has kept growing remarkably fast, and in June surpassed Twitter in total users. [Bloomberg / Sarah Frier]
  • For another, the company started actually generating revenue by selling ads two years ago, and it's doing pretty damn well. Its projected revenue for 2016 was $350 million, and WSJ's sources say it's already blown past the latter number. Revenue next year is projected at $1 billion. [WSJ / Maureen Farrell, Juliet Chung, and Rolfe Winkler]
  • Helping its speedy revenue growth is an automated system for selling ad space, a technology that's been key to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram's revenue models. [Recode / Kurt Wagner]
  • So, is Snapchat worth $25 billion? We don't know yet, and if they go through with the IPO, the market will render its judgment soon enough. But it's not a crazy figure, especially given that millennials are a pretty choice advertising demographic. [Vox / Timothy B. Lee]

Can't sleep, clown will eat me

Terrifying clowns Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • So I realize that clowns are pretty played, but, like ventriloquists, they are unfortunately very real, and at some point you have to talk about them.
  • Currently, as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere permanently passes 400 parts per million and climate-related doom approaches, we, naturally, find ourselves in the midst of a nationwide clown panic. [NYT / John Schwartz]
  • Specifically, people are making remarkably similar accusations about clowns in their area just … standing around. Being clowns. Being creepy, creepy clowns. The claims have led to at least 12 arrests, often of people who filed false reports of crown criminality. [NYT / Christopher Mele]
  • Let us be very clear: There is not a national movement of malevolent clowns coming to harm you or your children. These accusations are all made up — or cases of criminals piggybacking on the clown trend once it got up and running. You should focus your fears on other things, like global warming or nuclear apocalypse or genetically engineered super-viruses.
  • The trend appears to have begun with a promotional gimmick for the horror movie Gags. The short film's Wisconsin-based director took images of the movie's lead clown character lurking around Green Bay at night, and they quickly went viral. [Green Bay Press-Gazette / Kendra Meinert]
  • The meme has led to a number of clown-related hoax threats sent to schools — something that will sound familiar to people who went to public school at the height of the school shooting phenomenon in the late-'90s and early-'00s, when it felt like students were constantly making dumb threats that never materialized. [NPR / Camila Domonoske]
  • It's also proven deadly in at least one case. A boy wearing a clown-like mask in Reading, Pennsylvania, was stabbed to death in September. [AP]
  • Ultimately, this is just another moral panic, akin to the "Satanic ritual abuse" hysteria of the 1980s or even the "Slenderman" phenomenon of more recent years. It's a trumped up fad that's disconnected from actual threats to kids. [UPROXX / Mark Shrayber]
  • Clown sightings are actually a rather common kind of moral panic in America. They've been happening since at least 1981. [Slate / Matthew Dessem]


  • Wombat butts are so powerful they can literally crush the skulls of predators. [Washington Post / Jason Bittel]
  • Pallas's cat is the fluffiest wildcat you'll ever see. And it's finally getting its own park in Siberia. Seriously, these things are extremely fluffy. [Atlas Obscura / Cara Giaimo]
  • Artemisia Gentileschi's paintings included bold, violent depictions of women taking revenge against men who oppressed them. She lived in the early 1600s. [The Guardian / Jonathan Jones]
  • The original cowboys were Latino or Native American. It's about time casting in Westerns started to match historical reality. [The Atlantic / Leah Williams]
  • Shengzhou, China, is the necktie production capital of the world. (It's where Donald Trump brand ties are made.) But the rise of business casual in Western countries is forcing the city to shift gears. [Racked / Spencer Woodman]


  • "If Donald Trump's entire candidacy turns out to be an elaborate I'm Still Here–style mockumentary, don't say he didn't warn us." [NY Mag / Margaret Hartmann]
  • "I know that Damn Daniel is back at it again with the White Vans; but for climate change, we need a president who’s back at it with some Tight Plans." [Former Vice President Al Gore, as transcribed by Fusion / Jason Gilbert]
  • "They also discovered that pedophiles are three times more likely than non-pedophiles to be left-handed. This fact may seem trivial, but it hints at a biological contribution, since handedness is usually determined well before birth." [The Walrus / Simon Lewsen]
  • "Don’t blame yourself. You are just a statistic, crushed beneath the wheels of history." [FT / Simon Kuper]
  • "Before Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012, some residents who refused to evacuate were asked to write their Social Security numbers on their arms in permanent marker so that they could be identified if they did not survive … 'Communicators do this to stress the possibility that people who do not evacuate could be killed,' said Professor Cuite." [NYT / Christopher Mele]

Watch this: Settlers are taking over East Jerusalem one house at a time

The ideological gentrification of Jerusalem. [YouTube / Johnny Harris]