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Recode Daily: Why the Uber model of diplomacy won’t work for scooter startups

Plus, Defense Distributed has begun selling blueprints for 3-D printed guns online; a deep dive into ... ranch dressing.

A Lime dockless electric scooter parked on a street with people walking by Mario Tama / Getty

Programming note: Recode Daily will take a break for the U.S. Labor Day weekend, so there will be no newsletter in your email on Monday morning — we’ll see you back here on Tuesday. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the holiday!


The Uber model — launch your service in a city without permission, become wildly popular and then ask for forgiveness — is not going to work for scooter startups. For evidence, look at Bird and Lime, which aggressively “pioneered” scooter-sharing in Santa Monica, Calif. Today, the city is expected to announce the companies that can operate during its scooter-sharing pilot, and Bird and Lime might be left out. Recode’s Johana Bhuiyan argues that cities now have the upper hand: They’ve gotten better at this since the early days of Uber and Airbnb, and scooters don’t have the same fervent user base as ride-hail apps. [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

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Apple bought a startup focused on making augmented reality glasses, Colorado-based Akonia Holographics, for an undisclosed amount. Apple is betting big on AR as a potential successor to the iPhone — or at least one of its next big businesses. Longtime Apple watcher Gene Munster predicts Apple Glasses, an AR-focused wearable, will be released in 2021. [Stephen Nellis / Reuters]

China is building a $15 billion, 34-mile bridge to create a high-tech megalopolis to rival Silicon Valley. Connecting the former European outposts of Hong Kong and Macau for the first time and tying them both to southern China, this so-called Greater Bay Area — with 67 million residents — would boast a trillion dollar economy and eclipse Japan as the world’s fourth-largest exporter. [John Follain / Bloomberg]

The Russian government secretly funded a group of online news websites in Eastern Europe and dictated content for them to publish under the guise of independent news outlets. Skype logs and other files, obtained from computers seized by investigators, reveal the secrets and obfuscating tactics used by Russia as it tries to influence public opinion and push Kremlin talking points. [Holger Roonemaa and Inga Springe / BuzzFeed News]

Defense Distributed, which makes 3-D printed guns, has begun selling the blueprints for the weapons on its website despite a recent federal court order blocking the designs from being posted online, according to the Texas-based company’s founder, Cody Wilson. According to the court’s order: “Files cannot be uploaded to the internet, but they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States” — all of which Wilson said he intends to do. [Deanna Paul / The Washington Post]

Sinclair Broadcast Group filed a $1 billion counter-lawsuit against Tribune Media for breach of contract, heightening the legal battle between the two companies over Tribune’s failed $3.9 billion sale to Sinclair. [David Shepardson / Reuters]

ELON WATCH: No tweets yet today (but he replied “!” to this video of an airborne Tesla). TRUMP WATCH: ”The hatred and extreme bias of me by @CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function. ... Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, & AT&T should fire him to save credibility!”

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Republican fury about “bias” on the internet is just a distraction, ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum says.

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A deep dive into … ranch dressing.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.