- The Guardian does the best job, thanks to a simple illustration, explaining the in-flight problem that likely caused Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo to disintegrate during a test flight Friday. Aviation Week also gives a good technical explanation of what's known about the events leading to the craft's breakup.
- The Los Angeles Times reports on Virgin chief Richard Branson's vow that the incident won't derail his effort to launch the world's first commercial space tourism service.
- Where's all the money coming from in California's elections? A variety of interest groups, of course. But wealthy individuals are becoming a dominant force in financing candidates and ballot measures. John Myers, senior editor of KQED's new California politics and government desk, runs down the five biggest individual donors on his Faultlines blog.
Brittany Maynard and the right to die
- Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old East Bay woman, died in Oregon over the weekend -- having followed through on her plan to end her life with a physician's assistance. The day before she died, the Washington Post published a medical ethicist's essay on the case's national impact: The Brittany Maynard effect: How she is changing the debate on assisted dying.
- The San Francisco Business Times profiles Floyd Kephart, the Southern California horse player who is now leading the effort to launch Oakland's ambitious Coliseum City development.
- Want a sneak peek at tomorrow's election results in San Francisco? SFGate gave the world an advance look, sort of. (SFWeekly)
Drought and noir in L.A.
- In L.A. Observed, a nice essay from UCLA's Jon Christensen on the many delights of rain during drought -- and explaining the familiar smell that fills the air when showers first start to fall.
- Did a black private eye in Los Angeles serve as inspiration for two of detective fiction's most enduring characters? L.A. Times writer Daniel Miller tries to track down the truth behind Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade.
And also ...
- The simple economics -- and perhaps dire economic consequences -- of the unforgivably slow and expensive Internet access most of us suffer through in the United States. (New York Times Upshot blog).