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A Tech Billionaire's Heir Makes Her Mark on Congress

Hi, welcome to your Weekend!  

We interrupt your regular Elon Musk programming to bring you several stories that have nothing to do with unbuying Twitter, siring secret children with underlings, or threatening to fire employees. You can thank us in the comments.

Instead, this weekend’s lineup begins with a look at Rep. Sara Jacobs, D.-Calif., the 33-year-old first-term congresswoman who last month introduced the My Body, My Data Act with the backing of 50 cosponsors. The bill may have little chance of passing at the federal level but it could inspire similar state legislation, and would regulate the collection and use of reproductive health data by apps and other tech companies.

I didn’t realize until reading Nancy Scola’s fascinating profile of Jacobs that I actually grew up in her Congressional district, on the suburban east side of San Diego. That’s where our similarities end, as her grandfather is a Qualcomm cofounder and billionaire, and my grandfather managed a pawn shop. But I couldn’t help feeling an affinity for the young, ambitious lawmaker from sunny San Diego. 


the big read

‘My Body, My Data’: The Tech Heir Congresswoman Bringing a New Privacy Fight to the Capitol

In a hurry to make a mark on Congress, and with the financial backing of her billionaire grandparents, Rep. Sara Jacobs introduced the My Body, My Data Act, which would, among other things, limit the reproductive health data that apps, search engines and other commercial actors can collect. Nancy chats with Jacobs about the long odds of getting the bill through Congress and why it's crucial to try anyway.


social studies

Please Pass the Iguana: YouTube Hunters Are Taking Down Invasive Species in the Name of the Environment

From giant green iguanas to wild boars to marsh rats of unusual size, America has more invasive species than it knows. Jessica Lucas immerses herself in the world of the “invasivores,” a new class of hunting influencers who have shifted their focus toward killing and eating a few of America’s 6,500 invasive species. 


cryptography

 Crypto Wants Its Cash Back: Inside the Small but Mighty Legal Crusade to Win Back Lost Savings

Customers of the crypto lender Celsius Network were left empty-handed when the company froze withdrawals in June. That is, until Joshua Browder, founder and CEO of DoNotPay identified a clause in Celsius’s terms of service that made it possible to sue the company in small claims court. Margaux speaks with the 25-year-old “Robin Hood of the Internet,” whose company DoNotPay is trying to make crypto traders whole again.


screentime

Firefighter Turned Venture Investor Matthew Ball Is Also a Fortnite Power User

To say that Ball is all in on the metaverse would be a meta-understatement. In his new, succinctly titled book “The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything” (July 19), the VC looks forward to an “open and interoperable Metaverse, one that isn’t just technologically realizable, but also healthy.” Here, Ball breaks down his digital diet—from his predilection for inbox zero to his 2,000-photo-strong collection of dog pics.


Watching: An interior design reset button 
After two-plus years of a pandemic, we’ve all gotten sick of our living spaces. Enter Apple’s new “RoomPlan” API, in which an iPhone can become a virtual room eraser, creating an AR rendering of your space devoid of any pesky furniture or possessions. A new video from a Shopify product manager shows how apps might deploy the feature, using the program to disappear couches, coffee tables and even a very confused looking dog.  


Reading: How automakers made cars more deadly 
In 2021, vehicle crashes killed nearly 43,000 people in the U.S.—a 16-year high. This increase in deaths, according to the LA Times, can be attributed in part to the “candy store of distraction” available in today’s vehicles. From touch screens to cell phone integration tools to in-car apps, the features that distract drivers on phones are now just as accessible on the car’s own interface. Drivers know that texting while driving is dangerous, writes reporter Russ Mitchell, but “the options offered on a car’s dashboard offer a false basis for complacency.” Said one father, whose daughter was killed by a distracted driver, “People think, it came with the car, it must be safe.”


Noticing: The newly appointed “directors of vibes” 
In our current bear market, some Web3 companies are taking extensive measures to boost confidence. They’re swapping corporate culture managers for “directors of vibes.” Insider’s Kari McMahon speaks with some vibe directors, whose responsibilities may include hosting meditation events on Discord or tweeting “a disgusting amount of times.” Of course, as New York Times reporter Erin Griffith points out, vibes have been directed for years—in the 2010s startups hired “Vibe Managers,” too. We can only hope that the vibes are better now. 


Makes You Think

 Best wishes to all the “investors” out there.


Until next Weekend, thanks for reading.

—Jon

Weekend Editor, The Information


Jon Steinberg is the Weekend Editor at The Information. He is a former editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine and senior editor at New York magazine, where his work won many National Magazine Awards.
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