clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vox Sentences: Burn after tweeting

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

North Korea tests a new long-range missile; Volvo announces it is moving toward all-electric vehicles; CNN gets caught up in allegations of blackmail.

North Korea launches a new missile

  • Over the weekend, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, which experts believe could have a long enough range to hit Alaska. [NPR / Elise Hu]
  • The US military is already classifying the weapon as a new missile not yet seen, because it contained a second stage that allowed the weapon to travel a greater distance. [CNN / Barbara Starr and Jeremy Herb]
  • The missile ultimately did not get that far, or land in any other country; it was launched at a high enough trajectory so that it traveled for more than 500 miles before eventually falling into the sea between North Korea and Japan. It also was not carrying a nuclear weapon, but that’s the ultimate goal for the regime. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • But the implications of this latest launch are frightening. North Korea testing weapons has always been a scary prospect, but what is increasingly scary is that the regime is making good on its promise to develop nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • The question on everyone’s mind now is how the US and other nations will respond — and to what lengths they will go to halt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
  • Foreign policy experts generally agree there is a handful of possible options, but with a country as unstable as North Korea, none of them are ideal. The first would be to continue the Obama-era policy of “strategic patience,” essentially working to punish the regime through further sanctions and diplomatic means in the hopes that they start behaving better. [The Atlantic / Mark Bowden]
  • The latest missile tests have shown North Korea isn’t planning to comply, which is why some believe the US may pursue other options involving military force. This could include limited strikes on North Korean missile sites to try to de-nuclearize the country, without removing dictator Kim Jong Un. [The Atlantic / Mark Bowden]
  • Trump’s strategy so far has been to lean on China, encouraging the country to put pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear ambitions. On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned China that if it continues to trade with North Korea, the US would consider pulling its trade deals with China. [Associated Press / Edith Lederer]
  • With any action toward North Korea, the US has to tread carefully and think about how the regime would respond, and how that could impact its key Asian allies South Korea and Japan, two populous nations within range of a potential attack from the North. [NYT / Motoko Rich]
  • After North Korea’s launch this weekend, the US and South Korea quickly responded with military exercises of their own, while Russia and China urged diplomatic talks. [CNN / Jim Westcott and Stella Kim]

Goodbye, gasoline

Jonas Ekstromer / Getty Images
  • The Swedish carmaker Volvo announced today that it is doing away with gas engines in the next two years; starting in 2019, all of its new models will be hybrid or electric. [WSJ / William Boston]
  • It’s the first major automaker to do so, and the announcement is big news for an industry that has so far taken baby steps toward relying on renewable power (although they are growing, hybrids and electric cars still represent a tiny fraction of the market). [WSJ / William Boston]
  • That’s in large part because gas is still cheap, and most electric cars are more expensive. Some battery-powered cars also can’t get very far on a single charge before either needing to be plugged in or having the engine switch to gasoline. [Business Insider / Matthew DeBord]
  • One of problems with electric cars in the past is how much they cost. But the cars could be getting cheaper as the cost of car batteries themselves fall. They did so by 80 percent between 2010 and 2016, allowing for manufacturers to make cheaper cars that can go up to 200 miles on one battery charge. [Electrek / Fred Lambert]
  • Charging stations can also be difficult to find, although the Obama administration launched a program in 2016 to try to incentivize more to be built. [The Verge / Andrew Hawkins]
  • More carmakers in the US and around the world are developing electric vehicles, including Chevy, Ford, and Nissan. The all-electric Tesla was the most valuable car company on the stock market this spring, despite the fact that it sold far fewer cars than rivals GM and Ford. However, the company has been dogged by production issues and not meeting its own goals. [Bloomberg / Dana Hull]
  • With its aggressive development of car batteries, Tesla is still trying to position itself as the car manufacturer of the future. [Vox / Timothy Lee]
  • The big picture is that the car industry is changing, in part because of the reality of climate change and an international push toward lowering emissions.
  • Where companies like Tesla and Volvo are leading, other carmakers may soon be following suit because they have to. The EU is mandating that carmakers develop models that emit less CO2, and individual European countries are pursuing other initiatives like trying to phase out diesel engines and requiring new and refurbished homes to have plugs to charge electric cars. [Huffington Post / Robert Bright]
  • Expect more cars on the market soon; Volvo says it hopes to sell 1 million electric cars by 2025. [BBC]


Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Right now there’s a huge controversy over a CNN story about a Reddit user who goes by the username “HanAssholeSolo.” Seriously.
  • It all goes back to the CNN controversy of last week, when the president of the United States tweeted a meme showing an old video of him body-slamming a man at a WWE wrestling match, with the CNN logo superimposed on the man’s head, plus the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN. [Donald Trump via Twitter]
  • The Trump administration and CNN have always had a rocky relationship, but things have escalated in recent weeks after CNN published a story about a Trump associate that was wrong. The network ultimately retracted the story and even went to the lengths of firing the reporter and two editors responsible for it. [Politico / Hadas Gold]
  • After Trump tweeted the wrestling GIF, there was an outcry as members of the press and politicians accused Trump of encouraging violence toward reporters. [The Hill / Julia Manchester]
  • Then CNN’s investigative team decided to track down the person behind the meme. Reporter Andrew Kaczynski found the user “HanAssholeSolo” on Reddit, along with a bunch of anti-Semitic and racist content the user had created and posted there. [CNN / Andrew Kaczynski]
  • Kaczynski wrote what at first appeared to be a standard story about the Reddit user, saying he had found the man’s identity through social media and attempted to contact him for an interview. [CNN / Andrew Kaczynski]
  • But Kaczynski’s story also contained a couple of confounding lines, saying CNN would not reveal the identity of the Reddit user because “HanAssholeSolo” is a private citizen who had since apologized and taken down the offending content. It then said the network reserved the right to reveal the man’s identity if he ever went back on that promise, which sounded an awful lot like a threat. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Kaczynski and CNN have responded by saying they did not intend the story to be blackmail. Media ethicists say that while they don’t consider the lines intentional blackmail, it was a bad choice to leave the sentences in the story before publishing, especially given the highly polarized political climate. [Poynter / Indira Lakshmanan and Benjamin Mullin]
  • And the pro-Trump alt-right movement has reacted with a firestorm, starting to dox, or post the personal information of, the CNN journalists and their families to be harassed online. [Southern Poverty Law Center / Keegan Hankes]
  • It also speaks to a larger problem: the inordinate amount of time and attention the media gives to Trump’s self-described war against it. [CJR / Kyle Pope]


  • Albino squirrels, a mini Statue of Liberty, a bog monster, and a town named Toad Suck: America’s best small-town weirdness, in one list. [Meg Neal / Atlas Obscura]
  • Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how Americans like their steak cooked (or not cooked), in two graphs. [FiveThirtyEight / Walt Hickey and Rachael Dottle]
  • Black-market DVDs of Hollywood movies are one of the main ways North Korean citizens get glimpses of a world outside their country, and they are getting more and more creative in how to keep watching without the regime knowing. [NPR / Danny Hajek]
  • Other countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, and Sweden, put far more government funds toward the arts than the United States does. That can have a big payoff when artists from those countries make a huge hit. [Pitchfork / Marc Hogan]
  • NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter for a year now, and the information it’s gathering is already defying what scientists thought they knew about the largest and hottest planet. [Wired / Emma Gray Ellis]


  • “I like the idea of D.C. being on one big contact high. Some member of Congress may be walking down the street, fuming about health care, getting themselves worked up into a partisan fury, and find themselves mysteriously mellowing.” [Adam Goodheart to the Washington Post / Maia Silber]
  • “This country has always been rooted in the politics of identity. The genocide of Native Americans was about identity, right? The enslavement of black people is about identity. The wealth of this country is built on identity politics. I think I’m fascinated by this notion that somehow it’s new.” [DeRay Mckesson to Longreads / Cody Delistraty]
  • ‘‘Lawyers were making journeys to Mr. Trump’s office to represent him for nothing, just for the publicity.” [Jay Goldberg to NYT / Jonathan Mahler]
  • “What does the word ‘ordain-able’ mean? It literally means, ‘possesses a penis.’ It does not mean, ‘is currently in seminary, has graduated with an M.Div, and has gone before a licensure committee.’” [Michelle Higgins to the Atlantic / Emma Green]
  • “I understand that there is a family just across the small cove from the nest that have been holding off blasting out rock for a foundation in a new house construction project so as not to frighten the eaglet." [Carmen Vance to the Associated Press]

Watch this: Why there are twice as many solar jobs as coal jobs

America is changing how it gets its energy, and coal is losing out. [YouTube / Mallory Brangan and Liz Scheltens]

Read more

If the Senate health care bill passes, many will lose coverage. But these workers could lose their jobs.

Bernie Sanders is the Democrats’ real 2020 frontrunner

Answers to every paranoid question you’ve ever had about sunscreen

Trump is preparing to meet Putin this week by reading tweet-length memos

A legal journalist on the “surreal” experience of becoming a US citizen under Trump

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.