The meltdown continues at Twitter since Elon Musk acquired the social media platform for $44 billion in October. Musk right away laid off roughly half of the 7,500-person workforce, then followed up with a directive to remaining staff to either resign with severance or commit to “extremely hardcore” work with “long hours and high intensity.” Hundreds chose to resign, according to various new reports. The blue checkmarks associated with identity verification were traded out for an $8/month paid service, and users report an increase in imposter accounts. Some Twitter users have been quitting the platform and creating accounts elsewhere. Mastodon, for example, was created in 2016 and looks similar to Twitter but uses an open-source code, meaning anyone can view (and debug) its behind-the-scenes operational infrastructure. Millions of new users have joined in recent weeks, with 5.9 million accounts as of Nov. 21, up from 4.5 million two weeks prior. There are 3.7 million active users, far fewer than Twitter’s 238 million active daily users.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I support the Coastal Commission’s decision to allow this project to move forward.” - Gov. Gavin Newsom weighed in to support the 8-2 vote to grant a permit to California American Water for a controversial desalination plant in Marina (see story, mcweekly.com/news).
GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK
Good news for those looking for a fun activity during the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holiday weekends: Handcar Tours, a company that offers seasonal tours on the train tracks in Marina along Highway 1 and Fort Ord Dunes State Park, is back. Visitors can ride handcars, similar to those railroad workers used in the 1800s, on a six-mile out-and-back. “This section of track is very rare and unbroken,” says Todd Clark, director of administration for the Santa Clarita-based company. “The other thing which is really unique about this is the ocean. And the weather is perfect.” Each car can hold up to four people; riders have to push and pull to provide energy to move. Handcar Tours opened last summer, after volunteers helped clear the tracks for this pilot experience. Rides are $200 for four people and last for about 90 minutes. (For more information, visit handcar.com.)
Young local musicians with an interest in Mexican music have a great opportunity to get training and performance experience. Nonprofit Youth Orchestra Salinas is starting a new group for banda and mariachi. The idea started after Eliodoro Vallecillo, the brass specialist at YOSAL and leader of 4to Prestigio – a regional Mexican music group – reached out to his coworkers to share that his students were interested in learning Mexican music. “I have all this expertise in regional Mexican music, and there’s a market for it and people want this kind of music,” Vallecillo says. Auditions are open until Dec. 19 for a group that will include 20 to 25 musicians; there is no minimum age, but players must be 18 or under. Prospective members do not need to know how to play a traditional instrument, but should have curiosity about the genre. (For audition information, visit yosal.org.)