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US CHIPS Act Funds Are Not For 'Stock Buybacks'

Mon, 2022-08-01 20:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: The US Commerce Department says it will strictly control use of subsidies under the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act, which promises to unlock billions of dollars in funding for domestic chip manufacturing. The eagerly anticipated spending bill paves the way for $280 billion in funding for science and technology, roughly $52 billion of which is earmarked for boosting US semiconductor production. Its passing was greeted by companies such as Intel and Micron, the latter of which promised to ramp up stateside memory production over the next few years in exchange for some of that cash. However, the Commerce Department has given chipmakers notice that it will not be allowing a free-for-all, and will not let them use government funding for "stock buybacks or to pad their bottom line," it said in a published statement. Instead, subsidies awarded will be "no larger than is necessary to ensure a project happens here in the United States," the Commerce Department said, adding that it wanted to avoid a situation where states and municipalities became embroiled in a subsidy competition in the race to attract chipmakers to build there. The Department also warned that it will not hesitate to clawback funds or pursue other remedies from semiconductor companies that are found to have misused taxpayer dollars. Funding will come with conditions attached: chipmakers that receive a CHIPS subsidy will be prohibited from engaging in "significant transactions in China or other countries of concern" involving any leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing capacity for a period of ten years.

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Midnight Comes a Fraction Sooner as Earth Spins Faster

Mon, 2022-08-01 19:21
If time feels tighter than ever of late, blame it on the revolution. On 29 June this year, Earth racked up an unusual record: its shortest day since the 1960s, when scientists began measuring the planet's rotation with high-precision atomic clocks. From a report: Broadly speaking, Earth completes one full turn on its axis every 24 hours. That single spin marks out a day and drives the cycle of sunrise and sunset that has shaped patterns of life for billions of years. But the curtains fell early on 29 June, with midnight arriving 1.59 milliseconds sooner than expected. The past few years have seen a flurry of records fall, with shorter days being notched up ever more frequently. In 2020, the Earth turned out 28 of the shortest days in the past 50 years, with the shortest of those, on 19 July, shaving 1.47 milliseconds off the 86,400 seconds that make up 24 hours. The 29 June record came close to being broken again last month, when 26 July came in 1.5 milliseconds short. So is the world speeding up? Over the longer term -- the geological timescales that compress the rise and fall of the dinosaurs into the blink of an eye -- the Earth is actually spinning more slowly than it used to. Wind the clock back 1.4bn years and a day would pass in less than 19 hours. On average, then, Earth days are getting longer rather than shorter, by about one 74,000th of a second each year. The moon is mostly to blame for the effect: the gravitational tug slightly distorts the planet, producing tidal friction that steadily slows the Earth's rotation. To keep clocks in line with the planet's spin, the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations body, has taken to adding occasional leap seconds in June or December -- most recently in 2016 -- effectively stopping the clocks for a second so that the Earth can catch up. The first leap second was added in 1972. The next opportunity is in December 2022, although with Earth spinning so fast of late, it is unlikely to be needed.

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US Regulators Will Certify First Small Nuclear Reactor Design

Mon, 2022-08-01 18:40
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced that it would be issuing a certification to a new nuclear reactor design, making it just the seventh that has been approved for use in the US. But in some ways, it's a first: The design, from a company called NuScale, is a small modular reactor that can be constructed at a central facility and then moved to the site where it will be operated. From a report: The move was expected after the design received an OK during its final safety evaluation in 2020. Small modular reactors have been promoted as avoiding many of the problems that have made large nuclear plants exceedingly expensive to build. They're small enough that they can be assembled on a factory floor and then shipped to the site where they will operate, eliminating many of the challenges of custom on-site construction. In addition, they're structured in a way to allow passive safety, where no operator actions are necessary to shut the reactor down if problems occur. Many of the small modular designs involve different technology from traditional reactors, such as the use of molten uranium salts as the reactor fuel. NuScale has a much more traditional design, with fuel and control rods and energy transported through boiling water. Its operator-free safety features include setting the entire reactor in a large pool of water, control rods that are inserted into the reactor by gravity in the case of a power cut, and convection-driven cooling from an external water source.

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Thousands of Lives Depend on a Transplant Network in Need of 'Vast Restructuring'

Mon, 2022-08-01 18:00
The system for getting donated kidneys, livers and hearts to desperately ill patients relies on out-of-date technology that has crashed for hours at a time and has never been audited by federal officials for security weaknesses or other serious flaws, according to a confidential government review obtained by The Washington Post. From the report: The mechanics of the entire transplant system must be overhauled, the review concluded, citing aged software, periodic system failures, mistakes in programming and over-reliance on manual input of data. In its review, completed 18 months ago, the White House's U.S. Digital Service recommended that the government "break up the current monopoly" that the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit agency that operates the transplant system, has held for 36 years. It pushed for separating the contract for technology that powers the network from UNOS's policy responsibilities, such as deciding how to weigh considerations for transplant eligibility. About 106,000 people are on the waiting list for organs, the vast majority of them seeking kidneys, according to UNOS. An average of 22 people die each day waiting for organs. In 2021, 41,354 organs were transplanted, a record. UNOS is overseen by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), but that agency has little authority to regulate transplant activity. Its attempts to reform the transplant system have been rejected by UNOS, the report found. Yet HRSA continues to pay UNOS about $6.5 million annually toward its annual operating costs of about $64 million, most of which comes from patient fees. "In order to properly and equitably support the critical needs of these patients, the ecosystem needs to be vastly restructured," a team of engineers from the Digital Service wrote in the Jan. 5, 2021, report for HRSA, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Oracle Starts Job Cuts In US

Mon, 2022-08-01 17:20
Oracle has started to lay off employees in the United States, The Information said on Monday, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Reuters reports: The publication in July reported that Oracle was considering cutting thousands of jobs in its global workforce after targeting cost cuts of up to $1 billion. The company had about 143,000 full-time employees as of May 31, according to its latest annual report. The layoffs at Oracle will affect employees at its offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Monday's report said, but it did not mention the number of employees affected. The report also said layoffs in Canada, India and parts of Europe were expected in the coming weeks and months.

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Microsoft Outlook Is Crashing When Reading Uber Receipt Emails

Mon, 2022-08-01 16:40
Microsoft says the Outlook email client will crash when opening and reading emails with tables such as Uber receipt emails. BleepingComputer reports: "When opening, replying, or forwarding some emails that include complex tables, Outlook stops responding," the company explains in a support document. To make matters worse, emails with the same table contents will also cause the Microsoft Word app to stop responding. While the known issue affects Microsoft 365 customers in the Current Channel Version 2206 Build 15330.20196 and higher, it can also trigger freezes in current Beta and Current Channel Preview builds. The Microsoft Word team has already developed a fix that will be released to Beta channel customers soon, after undergoing verification. Microsoft added that customers using Outlook versions in the Current Channel would receive the fix as part of this month's Patch Tuesday, on August 9, 2022. For those unable to wait for the fix, Microsoft has provided a workaround that requires users to revert to an older build.

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Craig Wright Wins 'Only Nominal Damages' of One Pound In Bitcoin Libel Case

Mon, 2022-08-01 16:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: For years Craig Wright has claimed that he is the mythical figure who created bitcoin. But a legal bid by the Australian computer scientist to defend his assertion that he is Satoshi Nakamoto resulted in a pyrrhic victory and a tarnished reputation on Monday. A high court judge ruled (PDF) Wright had given "deliberately false evidence" in a libel case and awarded him one pound in damages after he sued a blogger for alleging that his claim to be the elusive Nakamoto was fraudulent. "Because he [Wright] advanced a deliberately false case and put forward deliberately false evidence until days before trial, he will recover only nominal damages," wrote Justice Chamberlain. Wright had sued blogger Peter McCormack over a series of tweets in 2019, and a video discussion broadcast on YouTube, in which McCormack said Wright was a "fraud" and is not Satoshi. The issue of Nakamoto's identity was not covered by the judge's ruling because McCormack had earlier abandoned a defense of truth in his case. Wright claimed that his reputation within the cryptocurrency industry had been "seriously harmed" by McCormack's claims. He said he had been invited to speak at numerous conferences after the successful submission of academic papers for blind peer review, but 10 invites had been withdrawn following McCormack's tweets. This included alleged potential appearances at events in France, Vietnam, the US, Canada and Portugal. But McCormack submitted evidence from academics challenging Wright's claims, which were then dropped from his case at the trial in May. Wright later accepted that some of his evidence was "wrong" but said that this was "inadvertent," Chamberlain said in his judgment. The judge noted that there was "no documentary evidence" that Wright had a paper accepted at any of the conferences identified in the earlier version of his libel claim, nor that he received an invitation to speak at them except possibly at one, and that any invitation was withdrawn. Wright's explanation for abandoning this part of his case because the alleged damage to his reputation from the "disinvitations" was outside England and Wales "does not withstand scrutiny," the judge added. He concluded: "Dr Wright's original case on serious harm, and the evidence supporting it, both of which were maintained until days before trial, were deliberately false." [...] [T]he judge said that Wright's pre-trial case over the serious harm to his reputation made it "unconscionable" that he should receive "any more than nominal damages." In statement Wright said: "I intend to appeal the adverse findings of the judgment in which my evidence was clearly misunderstood. I will continue legal challenges until these baseless and harmful attacks designed to belittle my reputation stop."

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Google CEO Tells Employees Productivity and Focus Must Improve

Mon, 2022-08-01 15:25
Google is launching a new effort called "Simplicity Sprint" in an effort to improve efficiency and improve employee focus during an uncertain economic environment. From a report: The Alphabet company had its regular all-hands meeting last Wednesday, and the tone was somewhat urgent as employees expressed concern over layoffs and CEO Sundar Pichai asked employees for input, according to attendees and related internal documentation viewed by CNBC. Google's productivity as a company isn't where it needs to be even with the head count it has, Pichai told employees in the meeting. "I wanted to give some additional context following our earnings results, and ask for your help as well," Pichai opened, referring to the company's second-quarter earnings report Tuesday. "It's clear we are facing a challenging macro environment with more uncertainty ahead." He added, "There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the head count we have." He asked employees to help "create a culture that is more mission-focused, more focused on our products, more customer focused. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity."

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Amazon Says Its Planet-Warming Carbon Emissions Grew 18% in 2021

Mon, 2022-08-01 14:47
Amazon said its carbon footprint grew 18% in 2021, as the company's rapid growth during the pandemic overwhelmed nascent efforts to cut its contribution to the emissions warming the planet. From a report: The world's largest online retailer emitted 71.54 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent last year, Amazon disclosed on Monday in an updated edition of its sustainability report. That's up about 40% since the company first disclosed the figure, with data from 2019. Amazon's carbon intensity -- a measure that divides its emissions by gross merchandise sales -- fell 1.9%, an indication of the company's success in delivering products and running its warehouses, data centers and offices more efficiently. Amazon aims to become a "net zero" emitter of greenhouse gases by 2040.

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The US Is Investing Big in Chips. So Is the Rest of the World.

Mon, 2022-08-01 14:05
A mega-spending package to grow U.S. semiconductor production must reckon with a tough reality: The world is already awash in chip-making incentives. From a report: What makes the U.S. effort unique is the enormous one-time sum -- roughly $77 billion in subsidies and tax credits -- earmarked to boost American manufacturing of the ubiquitous tech component. But other countries, especially in Asia, have doled out government dollars and offered favorable regulations for decades. And they plan for more. China has prepared investments of more than $150 billion through 2030, according to one estimate. South Korea, with an aggressive array of incentives, aims to encourage roughly $260 billion in chip investments over the next five years. The European Union is pursuing more than $40 billion in public and private semiconductor investments. Japan is spending about $6 billion to double its domestic chip revenue by the end of the decade. Taiwan has around 150 government-sponsored projects for chip production over the past decade, with its leader pushing for more localized manufacturing of semiconductor equipment.

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LendUp is Liquidating Assets, Including Its Neobank

Mon, 2022-08-01 13:20
A bet on banking doesn't seem to have saved troubled fintech LendUp. Parent company LendUp Global has reportedly begun liquidating assets, including its neobank subsdiary, through an assignment for the benefit of creditors, a quieter alternative to a public bankruptcy. From a report: Fintech Business Weekly reported LendUp's plans Sunday. In December, the CFPB ordered LendUp, a fintech primarily known for its earned wage access product, to cease lending operations after allegedly misleading and deceiving customers. At the time, a spokesperson told Protocol that a neobank also owned by their parent company, Ahead Money, would continue operations. The company, once considered an exciting investment opportunity by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures, faced a lengthy regulatory battle from 2016 to the end of 2021. The company first entered into consent orders with regulators in 2016 after allegedly deceiving borrowers about the terms of their loans, paying $3.63 million in fines. Four years later the company entered another consent order via a joint deal between California and CFPB regulators, paying $6.3 million after allegedly violating the Truth in Lending Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act. In early 2021 the company entered a settlement whereby it paid $1.25 million because of similar allegations of violations.

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Hackers Stole Passwords for Accessing 140,000 Payment Terminals

Mon, 2022-08-01 12:40
Hackers had access to dashboards used to remotely manage and control thousands of credit card payment terminals manufactured by digital payments giant Wiseasy, a cybersecurity startup told TechCrunch. From a report: Wiseasy is a brand you might not have heard of, but it's a popular Android-based payment terminal maker used in restaurants, hotels, retail outlets and schools across the Asia-Pacific region. Through its Wisecloud cloud service, Wiseasy can remotely manage, configure and update customer terminals over the internet. But Wiseasy employee passwords used for accessing Wiseasy's cloud dashboards -- including an "admin" account -- were found on a dark web marketplace actively used by cybercriminals, according to the startup. Youssef Mohamed, chief technology officer at pen-testing and dark web monitoring startup Buguard, told TechCrunch that the passwords were stolen by malware on the employee's computers. Mohamed said two cloud dashboards were exposed, but neither were protected with basic security features, like two-factor authentication, and allowed hackers to access nearly 140,000 Wiseasy payment terminals around the world.

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Pearson Says Blockchain Could Make It Money Every Time E-Books Change Hands

Mon, 2022-08-01 12:00
The chief executive officer of Pearson, one of the world's largest textbook publishers, said he hopes technology like non-fungible tokens and the blockchain could help the company take a cut from secondhand sales of its materials as more books go online. From a report: The print editions of Pearson's titles -- such as "Fundamentals of Nursing," which sells new for $70.88 -- can be resold several times to other students without making the London-based education group any money. As more textbooks move to digital, CEO Andy Bird wants to change that. "In the analogue world, a Pearson textbook was resold up to seven times, and we would only participate in the first sale," he told reporters following the London-based company's interim results on Monday, talking about technological opportunities for the company. "The move to digital helps diminish the secondary market, and technology like blockchain and NFTs allows us to participate in every sale of that particular item as it goes through its life," by tracking the material's unique identifier on the ledger from "owner A to owner B to owner C," said Bird, a former Disney executive.

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Apple, Intel, Microsoft Ask Supreme Court To Uphold Affirmative Action

Mon, 2022-08-01 11:22
New submitter mrex writes: More than 60 major American companies that employ tens of thousands of U.S. workers are asking the Supreme Court to uphold the use of race as a factor in college admissions, calling affirmative action critical to building diverse workforces and, in turn, growing profits. The businesses -- some of the most high-profile and successful in the U.S. economy -- outlined their position in legal briefs filed Monday ahead of oral arguments this fall in a pair of cases expected to determine the future of the race-based policy. The companies told the court they rely on universities to cultivate racially diverse student bodies which in turn yield pools of diverse, highly educated job candidates that can meet their business and customer needs. "The government's interest in promoting student-body diversity on university campuses remains compelling from a business perspective," the companies wrote in an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief. "The interest in promoting student-body diversity at America's universities has, if anything, grown in importance." Among the signatories are American Express, United and American Airlines, Apple, Intel, Bayer, General Electric, Kraft Heinz, Microsoft, Verizon, Procter & Gamble and Starbucks. Citing data and research on a rapidly diversifying America, the companies said race-based diversity initiatives are about more than what many call a moral imperative and critical to their bottom lines. "Prohibiting universities nationwide from considering race among other factors in composing student bodies would undermine businesses' efforts to build diverse workforces," they said.

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Welcome To Aotearoa? The Campaign To Decolonize New Zealand's Name

Mon, 2022-08-01 10:40
The first European contact with indigenous Maori ended with four sailors killed and a hasty retreat. But it led to an identity for this South Pacific country: Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch, or New Zealand when it later became part of the British Empire. Now, some lawmakers want New Zealanders to drop a name that harks back to an era of colonization and adopt another -- Aotearoa, a Maori word referring to the clouds that indigenous oral history says helped early Polynesian navigators make their way here. From a report: Around the world, several countries are rethinking their identities to address resentment at their colonial past and forge a new future. In some cases, that involves changing the head of state, such as Barbados's severing of ties to the British monarchy. In others, it has meant changing its official name, as Eswatini did in 2018 when its absolute ruler decided it should no longer be known as Swaziland. Australia in recent years tweaked its national anthem because it didn't reflect its Aboriginal history. In New Zealand, the issue is coming to a head because a petition to rename the country Aotearoa -- pronounced 'au-te-a-ro-uh' -- garnered more than 70,000 signatures and will be considered by a parliamentary committee that could recommend a vote in Parliament, put it to a referendum or take no further action.

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Bolt Mobility Has Vanished, Leaving E-bikes and Unanswered Calls Behind in Several US Cities

Mon, 2022-08-01 10:00
Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, appears to have vanished without a trace from several of its U.S. markets. From a report: In some cases, the departure has been abrupt, leaving cities with abandoned equipment, unanswered calls and emails and lots of questions. Bolt has stopped operating in at least five U.S. cities, including Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont and Richmond, California, according to city officials. City representatives also said they were unable to reach anyone at Bolt, including its CEO Ignacio Tzoumas. TechCrunch has made multiple attempts to reach Bolt and those who have backed the company. Emails to Bolt's communications department, several employees and investors went unanswered. Even the customer service line doesn't appear to be staffed. The PR agency that was representing Bolt in March of this year told TechCrunch it is no longer working with the company. Bolt halted its service in Portland on July 1. The company's failure to provide the city with updated insurance and pay some outstanding fees, Portland subsequently suspended Bolt's permit to operate there, according to a city spokesperson.

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Will the US Army, Not Meta, Build an 'Open' Metaverse?

Mon, 2022-08-01 07:34
Just five weeks before his death in 2001, Douglas Adams made a mind-boggling pronouncement. "We are participating in a 3.5 billion-year program to turn dumb matter into smart matter..." He gave the keynote address for an embedded systems conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center... Adams dazzled the audience with a vision of a world where information devices are ultimately "as plentiful as chairs...." When the devices of the world were networked together, they could create a "soft earth" — a shared software model of the world assembled from all the bits of data. Communicating in real time, the soft earth would be alive and developing — and with the right instruments, humankind could just as easily tap into a soft solar system. It's 21 years later, in a world where the long-time global software company Bohemia Interactive Simulations claims to be "at the forefront of simulation training solutions for defense and civilian organizations." And writing in VentureBeat, their chief commercial officer argues that "We do not yet have a shared imagination for the metaverse and the technology required to build it," complaining that big-tech companies "want to keep users reliant on their tech within a closed, commercialized ecosystem." I envision an open virtual world that supports thousands of simultaneous players and offers valuable, immersive use cases. The scope of this vision requires an open cloud architecture with native support for cloud scalability. By prioritizing cloud development and clear goal-setting, military organizations have taken significant leaps toward building an actual realization of this metaverse. In terms of industry progress towards the cloud-supported, scalable metaverse, no organization has come further than the U.S. Army. Their Synthetic Training Environment (STE) has been in development since 2017. The STE aims to replace all legacy simulation programs and integrate different systems into a single, connected system for combined arms and joint training. The STE fundamentally differs from traditional, server-based approaches. For example, it will host a 1:1 digital twin of the Earth on a cloud architecture that will stream high fidelity (photo-realistic) terrain data to connected simulations. New terrain management platforms such as Mantle ETM will ensure that all connected systems operate on exactly the same terrain data. For example, trainees in a tank simulator will see the same trees, bushes and buildings as the pilot in a connected flight simulator, facilitating combined arms operations. Cloud scalability (that is, scaling with available computational power) will allow for a better real-world representation of essential details such as population density and terrain complexity that traditional servers could not support. The ambition of STE is to automatically pull from available data resources to render millions of simulated entities, such as AI-based vehicles or pedestrians, all at once.... [D]evelopers are creating a high-fidelity, digital twin of the entire planet. Commercial metaverses created for entertainment or commercial uses may not require an accurate representation of the earth.... Still, the military metaverse could be a microcosm of what may soon be a large-scale, open-source digital world that is not controlled or dominated by a few commercial entities.... STE success will pave the way for any cloud-based, open-source worlds that come after it, and will help prove that the metaverse's value extends far beyond that of a marketing gimmick.

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Federal Judge Says Visa Knowingly Facilitated Pornhub's Monetization of Child Porn

Mon, 2022-08-01 03:34
Variety reports: In a setback for Visa in a case alleging the payment processor is liable for the distribution of child pornography on Pornhub and other sites operated by parent company MindGeek, a federal judge ruled that it was reasonable to conclude that Visa knowingly facilitated the criminal activity. On Friday, July 29, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California issued a decision in the Fleites v. MindGeek case, denying Visa's motion to dismiss the claim it violated California's Unfair Competition Law — which prohibits unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business acts and practices — by processing payments for child porn.... In the ruling, Carney held that the plaintiff "adequately alleged" that Visa engaged in a criminal conspiracy with MindGeek to monetize child pornography. Specifically, he wrote, "Visa knew that MindGeek's websites were teeming with monetized child porn"; that there was a "criminal agreement to financially benefit from child porn that can be inferred from [Visa's] decision to continue to recognize MindGeek as a merchant despite allegedly knowing that MindGeek monetized a substantial amount of child porn"; and that "the court can comfortably infer that Visa intended to help MindGeek monetize child porn" by "knowingly provid[ing] the tool used to complete the crime." "When MindGeek decides to monetize child porn, and Visa decides to continue to allow its payment network to be used for that goal despite knowledge of MindGeek's monetization of child porn, it is entirely foreseeable that victims of child porn like plaintiff will suffer the harms that plaintiff alleges," Carney wrote. From the judge's ruling: "At this early stage of the proceedings, before Plaintiff has had any discovery from which to derive Visa's state of mind, the Court can comfortably infer that Visa intended to help MindGeek monetize child porn from the very fact that Visa continued to provide MindGeek the means to do so and knew MindGeek was indeed doing so."

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Leaked Amazon Memo Reveals Anti-Union PR Idea: Score Points by Hiring Former Inmates

Mon, 2022-08-01 00:46
Someone leaked an internal Amazon memo to Vox's Recode. The May 2021 memo "offers rare insights into the anti-union strategies of one of the world's most powerful companies," Recode writes: The memo laid out two crucial goals for Amazon: establish and deepen "relationships with key policymakers and community stakeholders" and improve "Amazon's overall brand...." To achieve these goals, the memo proposed strategies to help Amazon boost its reputation and simultaneously "neutralize" company critics by befriending these critics' own allies and by launching feel-good initiatives to turn the media and local politicians into company boosters.... Amazon staff acknowledged in the memo that the Teamsters' "economic argument is ... currently stronger," with union truck drivers, warehouse workers, and grocery store staff earning better or equal compensation packages as Amazon employees in the Southern California region the memo focused on. (A few months later, in September 2021, Amazon announced it had raised its average starting wage for front-line workers to $18 an hour, though many workers make less than that....) Amazon shrewdly planned to "intentionally seek partnerships with some organizations that work closely with our opposition." Those included organizations dedicated to helping incarcerated people find stable work upon reentry into society, such as the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Homeboy Industries, and Defy Ventures, all named in the memo.... Taken together, these proposals are an unsurprising but stark reminder that, as is the case with many corporations, Amazon's public-facing actions are overwhelmingly in service of promoting or protecting the company, often in reaction to critics demanding that the company improve its labor practices. The billboards and TV commercials selling the narrative of Amazon as a great place to work, and the PR-friendly community partnerships in towns across the country where Amazon wants to set up shop, are developed for these reasons. Altruism this is not.... Overall, the memo highlights the extent to which union-led criticisms are creating sizable obstacles to Amazon's growth plans in its most crucial US market. But they also serve as a clear reminder that the company possesses vast resources to combat critics, and cunning strategies to portray reputation makeovers as corporate benevolence.

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Meta Cuts Funding for US News Publishers

Sun, 2022-07-31 22:44
Engadget writes that "After Meta's revenue shrank for the first time in its history, the company has reportedly told publishers it will no longer pay for content to run in Facebook's News Tab, according to Axios." Axios notes it's the end of three-year deals Facebook brokers in 2019 with news publishers. At the time, the company was ramping up its investment in news and hired journalists to help direct publisher traffic to its new tab for news. The deals were worth roughly $105 million in the U.S., sources told Axios. In addition to that, the company spent around $90 million on news videos for the company's video tab called "Watch." "A lot has changed since we signed deals three years ago to test bringing additional news links to Facebook News in the U.S. Most people do not come to Facebook for news, and as a business it doesn't make sense to over-invest in areas that don't align with user preferences," a Facebook spokesperson told Axios.

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