Fox delays ‘Cosmos’ season 2 premiere over misconduct investigation

Fox delays ‘Cosmos’ season 2 premiere over misconduct investigation


Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Fox’s investigation into sexual misconduct claims against Neil deGrasse Tyson has led to a change of schedule for Cosmos: Possible Worlds. The company has quietly removed the show’s season 2 premiere from its March 3 schedule, indicating that it’s waiting on the results of the investigation before making a decision on airing the science program. There’s no official update on the investigation so far.

National Geographic didn’t wait to take at least some action, pulling Tyson’s StarTalk show from the air soon after the initial claims emerged.

The investigation started when two women, Dr. Katelyn Allers and former assistant Ashley Watson, alleged that Tyson made unwanted gestures that included groping and sexual overtures. It also followed a 2014 accusation from Tchiya Amet that Tyson had raped her when they were both graduate students. Tyson said that he recalled the first two incidents differently, apologized to Watson for his behavior, and flatly denied Amet’s claim.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

‘Pokémon Go’ settlement promises action on nuisance Pokéstops

‘Pokémon Go’ settlement promises action on nuisance Pokéstops


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Niantic, the creator of Pokémon Go, has reached a tentative settlement in a class action lawsuit filed against the company by homeowners who claim the game caused players to stumble into their yards searching for Pokémon. As part of the agreement, the company will be more responsive in fielding nuisance complaints from private property owners and will remove gyms and PokéStops that appear near residential areas.

As a part of the settlement, Niantic will agree to field any complaints from homeowners who claim Pokémon Go players have wandered into their yard in pursuit of a virtual pocket monster. Residents will have the right to file a removal request anywhere within 40 meters of their property if necessary. Niantic will have to maintain a database of complaints and will produce an in-app warning that will remind players to be respectful of peoples’ property any time a group of 10 or more players gather in the same area.

As a part of the agreement, Niantic will pay for an independent audit to make sure it is complying with all requirements. The company will also pay out $1,000 awards to the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. All other property owners and renters who joined the class action will be given a 100-meter buffer between their property and any PokéStop or gym. (The biggest winner, as is often the story with class action lawsuits, is the law firm behind it. It will be able to seek up to $8 million in attorney’s fees for work on the case.)

Niantic’s settlement proposal will still have to be approved by the judge before it can go forward. Should it be approved, the case could provide the first bit of groundwork in determining a company’s liability for the placement of virtual items. It’s also not the first lawsuit the game has produced. Niantic was hit with a class action after its disastrous Pokémon Go Fest event in Chicago and was the subject of a failed lawsuit that tried to force game developers to get permits before placing virtual objects in public parks.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Twitter may let us ‘clarify’ (but not edit) our old tweets

Twitter may let us ‘clarify’ (but not edit) our old tweets

There are reasonable arguments for and against being able to edit tweets once they’ve been posted to Twitter dot com. Jack Dorsey doesn’t necessarily want everyone to re-write their own history, but may allow us to re-contextualize our words in future. In a presentation at Goldman Sachs, the Twitter CEO said that he is looking at a way for users to clarify their previous statements.

“One thing that we’re seeing right now,” said Dorsey, “is people ‘being canceled’ because of past things that they said on Twitter.” That’s probably a nod to Kevin Hart, who lost his gig hosting the 2019 Academy Awards after homophobic tweets from 2011 were surfaced. “There’s no credible way to go back and clarify, or have a conversation to show the learning and transition since,” added Dorsey.

So, rather than just deleting the original tweet (which people could still do), Dorsey and his team is looking at a way of keeping it up. But attached to that would be a clarification, or rebuttal, resembling a quote tweet, to help explain the prior statement. Dorsey added that the clarification in whatever form couldn’t be removed, so people couldn’t quote-tweet the original and potentially misrepresent it out of context.

Dorsey added that Twitter has no official plans to launch such a feature in the near future, but it is being bandied about at headquarters. The CEO added that it’s part of his mission to make people less guarded online, since he believes that people are holding back to avoid the risk of public shame. Instead, he’s hoping that Twitter can act as a document of how people can grow and develop over time.

At least, that’s the hope.

Quotes edited for brevity.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

New tuberculosis drug may shorten treatment time for patients

New tuberculosis drug may shorten treatment time for patients

A new experimental antibiotic for tuberculosis has been shown to be more effective against TB than isoniazid, a decades-old drug which is currently one of the standard treatments. In mouse studies, the new drug showed a much lower tendency to develop resistance, and it remains in the tissues where the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria reside for longer, killing them more effectively. The research is published February 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The goal of TB drug development programs is to develop universal treatment regimens that will shorten and simplify TB treatment in patients, which typically takes at least six months, and sometimes more than a year, said lead author Gregory T. Robertson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

The new drug, called AN12855, has several advantages over isoniazid. Isoniazid, requires conversion to its active form by a Mycobacterial enzyme, KatG, in order to kill the pathogen, which creates a couple of problems. First, in some M. tuberculosis, KatG is nonfunctional. That doesn’t make M. tuberculosis any less pathogenic, but it prevents the drug from working.

That creates an easy avenue for the development of drug resistance. Under selection pressure from isoniazid, the tuberculosis bacteria with nonfunctional KatG — those that don’t activate the drug — are the ones that reproduce. Under these circumstances, drug resistance may develop.

A hallmark of human tuberculosis is the presence of “heterogeneous pulmonary disease.” This includes a host defense involving confinement of invading bacteria within small cyst-like bodies called granulomas, that lack vasculature and often prevent the drug from reaching the pathogen. Most mouse TB models used for clinical evaluation of new drugs fail to produce this advanced lung pathology. Thus, they give little insight into how drugs might behave in the presence of advanced lung disease that is typical of human tuberculosis.

In the study, the investigators used a new TB mouse model that develops these M. tuberculosis-containing granulomas to compare isoniazid and AN12855. “We discovered that the drugs differed dramatically with respect to their abilities to kill the pathogen in highly diseased tissues,” said Dr. Robertson. AN12855 proved more effective, “without selecting for appreciable drug resistance,” said Dr. Robertson

The superior efficacy is not surprising: AN12855 was superior in gaining entry and being retained in the granulomas, “where M. tuberculosis is found in highest numbers,” said Dr. Robertson. “Whether this translates into improvements in treatment of human disease will be the subject of future studies.”

“Our studies also further validate the use of a new TB mouse efficacy model (dubbed C3HeB/FeJ) as a research tool to study the impact of heightened human-like disease states on the activity and distribution of TB antibiotics that are in various stages of development,” said Dr. Robertson. That could accelerate development of better TB treatments.

“Despite significant progress in combatting tuberculosis, TB remains the leading infectious cause of death worldwide,” said Dr. Robertson. According to WHO, 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2017 and 1.6 million died from the disease.” Multidrug resistance is a further challenge to the mission to control TB globally, he said. “Collectively, our group has pioneered the use of new TB mouse efficacy models to help advance innovative new therapies designed to shorten the length of TB treatment.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.sciencedaily.com/rss/top/environment.xml Top Environment News — ScienceDaily

Top stories featured on ScienceDaily’s Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, and Fossils & Ruins sections.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/scidaily-logo-rss.png

Roger Ver attacks Bitcoin [BTC]; accuses the world’s top cryptocurrency of “censorship”

Roger Ver attacks Bitcoin [BTC]; accuses the world’s top cryptocurrency of “censorship”

The CEO of Bitcoin.com and outspoken advocate of Bitcoin Cash [BCH], Roger Ver has been known to launch bitter attacks against Bitcoin [BTC], in support of what according to him, is the true rendition of Satoshi’s invention, Bitcoin Cash. On 12 February, he launched into yet another jibe at the top cryptocurrency on Twitter.

In a recent tweet, Ver, fondly known by some as Bitcoin Jesus, stated that Bitcoin is for those people who enjoy “censorship” and like to see “dissenting voices silenced.” He added that the 18-month old product of the Bitcoin hardfork, Bitcoin Cash is the true cryptocurrency for “liberty, financial sovereignty and open discussions.”

Ver’s tweet, in its entirety read,

“If you enjoy censorship and having dissenting voices silenced, then BTC is the right crypto for you.
If you enjoy liberty, financial sovereignty, and open discussions, then Bitcoin Cash or just about anything other than BTC is the right crypto for you.”

Last week, Bitcoin Jesus shared a November 2016 Medium post on Twitter, which highlighted the censorship ordeal of Bitcoin. The post was authored by a John Blocke, a pseudonymous parody of the famous English philosopher John Locke, and was titled, “A (brief and incomplete) history of censorship in /r/Bitcoin.” In the article, Blocke highlighted several Reddit posts since 2015 which according to him, were examples of censorship within the BTC community.

Bitcoin Cash has been languishing in the sixth spot on the global coin ladder, being pushed down by the collective rise of EOS [EOS] and Litecoin [LTC]. The aforementioned two coins saw massive double-digit price increases at the end of the previous week and have since amassed a market cap lead of over $400 million against Ver’s beloved BCH.

Even with Bitcoin Cash being looked down upon by the larger cryptoverse, the cryptocurrency’s community has been highlighted by ChainBulletin in their recent study as being the most ‘passionate.’ As per the study, Bitcoin Cash’s subreddit activity has surpassed other coins with an “activity score” of 115,676, ahead of well-known coin communities like that of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Roger Ver highlighted the same via Twitter, lauding the persistence of the community.

Twitter users however, were not too pleased with Roger Ver’s labeling users of Bitcoin as those who love “censorship,” while stating that all other cryptocurrencies, not just Bitcoin Cash, advocate liberty, and financial sovereignty.

A Twitter user @Ben_smashN commented, attacking Ver,

“It’s sad because he could have been one of the strongest voices for Bitcoin. Instead he choose this divisive ego driven path where he attempts to insist he made the reeeeaaal bitcoin.roger doesn’t see the problem force feeding his alt and naming it bitcoin.”

Another user, @CodyPMack commented,

“I genuinely appreciate hearing your alternate (or, different than my own) perspectives on the cryptospace… but I think this one is a bit of an emotionally driven reach, Roger.”

Another user, @trapscoop commented:

“You’re associating a trustless, secure, and decentralized currency (BTC) with the mass opinion that your view point is incorrect. BTC is not censoring you. People who support BTC are censoring you. These are different things yet you group them together in order to support BCH.”

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://news.google.com/news/rss/headlines/section/q/cryptocurrency/cryptocurrency?ned=us&hl=en&gl=US

“cryptocurrency” – Google News
Google News

‘Child’s Play’ reboot trailer suggests Chucky is now a killer robot

‘Child’s Play’ reboot trailer suggests Chucky is now a killer robot


Orion Pictures

It’s not completely impossible that robots could turn against us, so it’s no surprise killer robot movies have been popular for decades. The fear is real. We could be about to add another flick to the canon, as the new trailer for the Child’s Play reboot suggests. Plot details haven’t been confirmed yet, so it’s not totally certain this Chucky is a robot, but there’s enough to back up rumors it’s a defective doll “whose programming code was hacked so that he has no limitations to learning and also violence.”

The evidence in the trailer is pretty conclusive. It opens up like an ad for a big tech company, before showing some moving metal parts amid some familiar-looking clothing and a kid getting his face scanned after unwrapping a certain doll (which you don’t get a good look at here, unfortunately). A linked video posted this week seems to be from the same tech company, Kaslan, which hinted at a “new family product that will change the landscape of artificial intelligence forever.”

In addition, there’s a promo site for that toy, which is called Buddi. It has a “cloud-backed voice recognition engine capable of identifying speech,” along with 20 cameras and sensors that “provide real-time information about its environment.” It also connects to WiFi and can control all your smart home products. So, yeah, Chucky’s almost certainly an evil robot this time around, which will probably terrify Elon Musk.

The pedigree for the remake is nothing to sniff at (the solid cast includes Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza and the always excellent Brian Tyree Henry) and the trailer is fun, so there’s a chance this could be the most compelling Child’s Play/Chucky movie for a long time. We’ll find out when it hits theaters on June 21st.

Meanwhile, a trailer for another tech-heavy horror movie landed this week. AMI is about a high school student who sets up a Siri-esque voice assistant to sound like her late mother, which then compels her to kill a bunch of people. Please feel free to hit us with your best murderous Siri jokes in the comments. (I’ve already made the “Siri-al killer” one. I’m sure you can do better.)

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Woody Allen sues Amazon for backing out of film deals

Woody Allen sues Amazon for backing out of film deals


Gary Gershoff via Getty Images

Woody Allen filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon Studios today. The suit, filed with the Southern District Court of New York, claims Amazon backed out of a multi-film agreement with the controversial director over what Allen calls a “25-year-old, baseless allegation” stemming from accusations of sexual assault and abuse that have been levied against him by his daughter, Dylan Farrow.

Allen’s action against Amazon Studios comes after the company decided to shelve his film A Rainy Day in New York. The romantic comedy starring Timothée Chalamet, Selena Gomez, Jude Law and Elle Fanning has been complete for more than six months, but Amazon has declined to distribute it. The company hasn’t set a release date for the project, which it paid $15 million to secure the rights for. Amazon also struggled to find theatrical distribution for Allen’s 2016 film Wonder Wheel. The film came out while Allen was once again under scrutiny for sexual assault allegations, making the director’s work toxic to most parties.

Amazon Studios entered into an agreement with Allen back in 2016 that was supposed to cover five films and a TV show. The company has since reneged on that agreement, though has not commented publicly on it. Allen claims there is “no legal basis” for Amazon Studios’ decision and contends that the allegeations against him were known at the time the initial agreement was reached.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Watch the first trailer for HBO’s ‘The Case Against Adnan Syed’

Watch the first trailer for HBO’s ‘The Case Against Adnan Syed’


HBO

Nearly five years after Serial first aired and raised questions about the murder conviction against Adnan Syed, HBO is picking up the story to lay out more details about the crime and conviction. The premium cable company dropped its first trailer for its upcoming documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed, which is set to air later this spring.

The documentary, which has been in production since 2015, will reexamine some of the evidence already laid out by Serial. It will dive into the romantic relationship between Syed and Hae Min Lee, the 18-year-old he is accused of killing, what happened after she was reported missing and how the police investigated the case. The Case Against Adnan Syed will also cover the last half-decade since the first season of Serial, including the Maryland appeals court decision to vacate the conviction against Syed and his upcoming retrial.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Judge limits damages Qualcomm can seek from Apple

Judge limits damages Qualcomm can seek from Apple


Chris Velazco/Engadget

Qualcomm has enjoyed a few successes in its legal fight against Apple, but it just faced a significant blow. A judge has granted Apple’s request to limit potential damages in a Qualcomm patent lawsuit to the period after the suit was filed in 2017. The chip maker can’t demand cash for years upon years of infringements if the case is successful. The judge further reduced the possible impact by determining that Apple wasn’t infringing on one of the patents.

The patents dovetail with those in one of Qualcomm’s two International Trade Commission complaints, which also haven’t gone according to plan. The ITC hasn’t issued its final decision, but it has so far determined that Apple violated only one patent and that there was no need for an import ban. Companies frequently back up US lawsuits with ITC complaints in hopes of forcing their opponent’s hand, but that hasn’t panned out here.

Qualcomm sued Apple in response to antitrust lawsuits accusing the chipset giant of misusing its dominance to overcharge for wireless component royalties. And it’s unlikely to back down when it has accused Apple of owing billions in back payments. This fight isn’t about to end any time soon, then, even if Qualcomm also has an FTC antitrust trial looming over its head.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Heat waves, food insecurity due to climate change may weaken immune systems: Overheated mice do not defend against flu in lab study

Heat waves, food insecurity due to climate change may weaken immune systems: Overheated mice do not defend against flu in lab study

Heat waves can reduce the body’s immune response to flu, according to new research in mice at the University of Tokyo. The results have implications for how climate change may affect the future of vaccinations and nutrition.

Climate change is predicted to reduce crop yields and nutritional value, as well as widen the ranges of disease-spreading insects. However, the effects of heat waves on immunity to influenza had not been studied before.

University of Tokyo Associate Professor Takeshi Ichinohe and third-year doctoral student Miyu Moriyama investigated how high temperatures affect mice infected with influenza virus.

Flu in a heat wave

“Flu is a winter-season disease. I think this is why no one else has studied how high temperatures affect flu,” said Ichinohe.

The influenza virus survives better in dry, cold air, so it usually infects more people in winter. However, Ichinohe is interested in how the body responds after infection.

The researchers housed healthy, young adult female mice at either refrigerator-cold temperature (4 degrees Celsius or 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit), room temperature (22 C or 71.6 F), or heat wave temperature (36 C or 96.8 F).

When infected with flu, the immune systems of mice in hot rooms did not respond effectively. Most affected by the high heat condition was a critical step between the immune system recognizing influenza virus and mounting a specific, adaptive response.

Otherwise, heat-exposed mice had no other significant changes to their immune system: They had normal reactions to flu vaccines injected under the skin. Moreover, bacteria living in the gut, which are increasingly becoming regarded as important for health, remained normal in the mice living in hot rooms.

Temperature and nutrition

Notably, mice exposed to high temperature ate less and lost 10 percent of their body weight within 24 hours of moving to the hot rooms. Their weight stabilized by day two and then mice were infected by breathing in live flu virus on their eighth day of exposure to heat.

Mice living in heat wave temperatures could mount a normal immune response if researchers provided supplemental nutrition before and after infection. Researchers gave mice either glucose (sugar) or short-chain fatty acids, chemicals naturally produced by intestinal bacteria.

In experiments at room temperature, researchers surgically connected mice so that body fluids moved freely between underfed and normally fed mice, both infected with influenza. The fluids from normally fed mice prompted the immune systems of underfed mice to respond normally to the flu virus.

“Does the immune system not respond to influenza virus maybe because the heat changes gene expression? Or maybe because the mice don’t have enough nutrients? We need to do more experiments to understand these details,” said Moriyama.

The results may shed light on the unfortunate experience of getting sick again while recovering from another illness.

“People often lose their appetite when they feel sick. If someone stops eating long enough to develop a nutritional deficit, that may weaken the immune system and increase the likelihood of getting sick again,” said Ichinohe.

Future of infection

An important area of future study will be the effect of high temperature on different types of vaccinations. Flu vaccines injected into the upper arm use inactivated virus, but vaccines sprayed into the nose use live attenuated (weakened) virus.

“The route of delivery and the type of virus both may change how the immune system responds in high temperatures,” said Moriyama.

Until more research can clarify what these findings may mean for humans, Ichinohe and Moriyama cautiously recommend a proactive approach to public health.

“Perhaps vaccines and nutritional supplements could be given simultaneously to communities in food-insecure areas. Clinical management of emerging infectious diseases, including influenza, Zika, and Ebola, may require nutritional supplements in addition to standard antiviral therapies,” said Ichinohe.

The researchers are planning future projects to better understand the effects of temperature and nutrition on the immune system, including experiments with obese mice, chemical inhibitors of cell death, and different humidity levels.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.sciencedaily.com/rss/top/environment.xml Top Environment News — ScienceDaily

Top stories featured on ScienceDaily’s Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, and Fossils & Ruins sections.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/scidaily-logo-rss.png

Lyft will reportedly sue over New York’s minimum pay for drivers law

Lyft will reportedly sue over New York’s minimum pay for drivers law


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lyft is planning to file a lawsuit today against the city of New York in an attempt to block a new law that would require ride-hailing guarantee a minimum wage floor for drivers, according to The Verge. Lesser known ridesharing service Juno is joining the lawsuit, but Uber is remaining on the sidelines for it. Engadget reached out to both Lyft and Juno for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

In response to the lawsuit, New York Taxi Workers Alliance executive director Bhairavi Desai said, “Shame on Lyft and Juno. These companies are collectively valuated at billions of dollars but claim to be too broke to pay drivers even minimum wage. …Drivers organized too hard to win this victory and there is no way these companies will steal it from our hands.” New York City mayor Bill De Blasio took to Twitter to call the legal action “Unconscionable,” and said the city will “fight every step of the way to get workers the pay they deserve.”

The law the ride-hailing companies are taking issue with would establish a wage floor of $17.22 per hour after expenses for drivers. It was passed in December by New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission and is set to go into effect on February 1st. The law intends to bring wages for contract drivers in line with the city’s $15 minimum wage, with an additional $2.22 tacked on to account for payroll taxes and paid time off. The commission estimates that drivers in New York City currently make about $11.90 per hour after expenses.

New York has been engaged in an ongoing effort to regulate ride-hailing services. Last year, the state recognized three Uber contract drivers as employees of the company, potentially changing the way that drivers can be classified. New York City also made the decision to stop issuing ride-sharing licenses for one year in an attempt to cap the number of contract drivers on the road.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

How screwed is Huawei?

How screwed is Huawei?

After years of public mistrust, the US government has finally, officially laid out its cases against tech giant Huawei. The Chinese company stands accused of a laundry list crimes ranging from wire fraud to trade-secret theft to violating Iranian sanctions to obstruction of justice — all told, we’re looking at 23 charges across two states. (Naturally, the company denies allegations of wrongdoing.) And now that the US government has made its claims against Huawei we’re left with one weighty question: Just how screwed is this company, exactly?

Well, it really depends on your definition of “screwed.” No matter how hard a stance the US takes against Huawei, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the world’s second-largest smartphone maker goes out of business entirely. Its dominant position in China (not to mention its close ties to the state) makes sure of that. Should US courts ultimately find Huawei guilty of all these charges, the company stands to get slapped with a few fines, at the very least. But considering just how patently unethical Huawei looks, money isn’t the only thing it stands to lose — international trust in the company is eroding already.

Slaps on the wrist?

In sifting through the mountain of trouble Huawei might be up against, it’s helpful to prioritize its problems. While it’s in some ways the more interesting story, Huawei’s T-Mobile trouble is likely to be less problematic for the company. In its unsealed indictment, the US formally accused Huawei of (among other things) attempted theft of trade secrets, conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice. The really interesting bit to keep in mind is that Huawei and T-Mobile already had their day in court over all this: Huawei claimed the theft was carried out by rogue actors, and a jury awarded T-Mobile nearly $5 million as a result.

That was a civil case, though, and the Justice Department now alleges that Huawei’s plan to steal helpful technology extended well beyond some disgruntled employees. It’ll be a while before the courts fully deliberate on Huawei’s actions here, but recent cases can help give us a rough sense of the possible penalties already. Consider this: Last year, a Chinese wind-energy group called Sinovel was found guilty on counts of trade-secret theft, conspiracy and wire fraud after it stole proprietary software and code from an American company called ASMC.

That list of charges sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? At the end of it all, Sinovel was forced to pay a $1.5 million fine, plus more than $50 million in restitution to ASMC. That hefty sum was meant in part to help recoup the nearly $800 million in lost revenue ASMC reported, and we already know T-Mobile to tried to get $500 million out of Huawei for the theft of its robotic trade secrets the first time.

If (and that’s a pretty big “if”) T-Mobile gets what it originally wanted, those hundreds of millions of dollars in damages sounds bad only until you remember that Huawei pulled in more than $100 billion in revenue in 2018. Whatever it’ll have to pay to settle with T-Mobile will probably be a drop in the bucket.

Of course, the company stands to pay even more as a result of its illicit operations in Iran. Long story short, Huawei is accused of bringing US-made technology into the sanctioned country through a subsidiary masquerading as a business partner and defrauding the US government and the financial institutions that handled the money on Huawei’s behalf. It’s hard to see a way Huawei — and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou — getting out of this looking good.

To really get a sense of the possible consequences, it’s helpful to look at another Chinese company that found itself in hot water: ZTE. It too was found to have violated US sanctions on Iran for years, and as part of a deal brokered with the US government, the company ultimately paid a $1.2 billion fine. Considering the icy relationship Huawei has had with the government and the deeply questionable nature of the company’s worth in Iran, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the United States try to stick Huawei with a similar fine. Shelling out $1 billion is certain to sting, but again, Huawei pulled in more than $100 billion in revenue last year — as far as fines go, the company might not have to worry too much.

The real problems

The thing to remember about the ZTE fine, though, is that it ultimately helped prevent ZTE from facing an even more severe penalty. See, ZTE has relied heavily on US chipmaker Qualcomm for the processors that power its premium smartphones and has sourced components from another handful of US companies. By enforcing an order (however short-lived) that effectively banned ZTE from using any of those components, the US aimed the economic equivalent of a revolver at the Chinese company’s head. Had that ban actually stuck, ZTE wouldn’t exist in its current form.

Huawei could easily find itself staring down a similar threat, though it’s unclear how badly it would actually hurt. On one hand, the company designs and produces its own mobile chipsets, so getting cut off from Qualcomm wouldn’t matter. Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei even said as much in an interview with Nikkei, where he noted that a ban of this nature would affect the company but “the impact would not be very big.”


Suppliers (including representatives from US companies) at Huawei’s Global Core Supplier Convention
Huawei

Even so, a list of Huawei’s global “core” suppliers released last year included 33 US companies. For now, at least, it’s unclear how crucial those relationships are and how quickly Huawei could work around them. Still, it’s probably safe to say a ban on selling phones and networking equipment with US-made components would make device sales at least somewhat more difficult in the short term.

Ultimately though, Huawei’s networking business stands to suffer even more, especially as carriers and countries around the world gear up to build their own 5G networks. So far, the company’s actions in these and other matters have led a handful of countries to rethink their trust in Huawei (where trust existed in the first place, that is).

Huawei devices have been officially banned for US government use, and that’s unlikely to change soon. Ditto for Australia and New Zealand. And wireless carriers in France are wary of embracing Huawei. The UK hasn’t come out with an official ban, but BT Group — the company that owns Britain’s largest wireless carrier — has left Huawei off its list of 5G network gear suppliers and purged existing 3G and 4G networks of Huawei equipment. Meanwhile, the Japanese government has put an end to Huawei equipment purchases, and the country’s three top wireless carriers are expected to use other suppliers as they continue work on their own 5G networks.

These are major markets embracing the next generation of connectivity, and they collectively represent billions of dollars of network contracts and infrastructure investments. Huawei has been effectively cut out of all of them. Sure, Huawei could shell out millions, possibly billions, in fines by the time the courts in New York and Washington state have their way. But the real problem facing Huawei is the damage it’s done to its own reputation. Of course, the trouble with trust extends well beyond these two court cases. They’re just two more reasons to be wary, and prolonged wariness only spells more bad news for Huawei.

In this article:

china, gear, huawei, mobile, politics, zte

Chris is Engadget’s senior mobile editor and moonlights as a professional moment ruiner. His early years were spent taking apart Sega consoles and writing awful fan fiction. That passion for electronics and words would eventually lead him to covering startups of all stripes at TechCrunch. The first phone he ever swooned over was the Nokia 7610, because man, those curves.


Shares

Share

Tweet

Share


Save




Comments

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

US charges Huawei with stealing trade secrets and violating sanctions

US charges Huawei with stealing trade secrets and violating sanctions


RomanBabakin via Getty Images

The US has filed 10 trade secret-related charges and 13 linked to sanction violations against Chinese telecom Huawei. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the charges in a joint press conference Monday, which are likely to further deepen the tensions between the US and China.

Prosecutors say that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile. They also claim the company committed bank fraud and violated sanctions when it carried out business with Iran.

In 2017, a jury awarded T-Mobile $4.8 million in a suit against Huawei — it claimed the Chinese company stole parts from “Tappy,” a robot that simulates smartphone use. Last month, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada last month for allegedly committing fraud to bypass Iran sanctions. She was released on bail, though potentially faces extradition to the US.

There are signs elsewhere that the US-China trade issue may rumble on, particularly with regards to telecoms. Earlier this month, congresspeople and senators introduced bills that seek to enforce export bans on Chinese telecoms convicted of violating US sanctions and export laws. One of the bills’ co-sponsors said the likes of Huawei and ZTE are growing threats to US national security.

Meanwhile, US and Chinese officials are scheduled to meet this week to work on a deal that could end a tariff war between the two nations. It’s unclear if or how the Huawei charges will affect the talks, though Ross claimed the charges are “wholly separate from trade negotiations.”

This post is developing…

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

DeepMind AI AlphaStar goes 10-1 against top ‘StarCraft II’ pros

DeepMind AI AlphaStar goes 10-1 against top ‘StarCraft II’ pros


Blizzard Entertainment

After laying waste to the best Go players in the world, DeepMind has moved on to computer games. The Google-owned artificial intelligence company has been fine-tuning its AI to take on StarCraft II and today showed off its first head-to-head matches against professional gamers. The AI agent, named AlphaStar, managed to pick up 10 wins against StarCraft II pros TLO and MaNa in two separate five-game series that originally took place back in December. After racking up 10 straight losses, the pros finally scored a win against the AI when MaNa took on AlphaStar in a live match streamed by Blizzard and DeepMind.

The pros and AlphaStar played their games on the map Catalyst using a slightly outdated version of StarCraft II that was designed to enable AI research. While TLO said during a stream that he felt confident he would be able to top the AI agent, AlphaStar managed to win all five games, unleashing completely unique strategies each time.

AlphaStar had a bit of an advantage going up against TLO. First, the match used the Protoss class of units, which is not TLO’s preferred race in the game. Additionally, AlphaStar sees the game in a different way than your average player. While it is still restricted in view by the fog of war, it essentially sees the map entirely zoomed out. That means it can process a bit of information about visible enemy units as well as its own base and doesn’t have to split its time to focus on different parts of the map the same way a human player would have to.

AlphaStar 'Starcraft II' vision

Still, AlphaStar didn’t benefit from the type of benefits that one might imagine an AI to have over a human. While TLO and MaNa are theoretically limited in how many clicks they can physically perform per minute in a way that an AI isn’t, AlphaStar actually performed fewer actions per minute than his human opponent and significantly fewer than the average pro player would use. The AI also had a reaction time of about 350 milliseconds, which is slower than most pros. While the AI took its time, it was able to make smarter and more efficient decisions that gave it an edge.

AlphaStar APM

AlphaStar’s expertise in the game comes primarily from an in-depth training program that DeepMind calls the AlphaStar League. DeepMind took a bunch of replays of human games and started training a neural network based on that data. That agent made of human data was forked to create new players and those competitors were matched up against one another in a series of matches. Those forks of the original data were encouraged to take on specialties and master different parts of the game to create unique game experiences.

The AlphaStar League ran for one week, with each of the matches producing new information that helped to refine the AI’s strategy. Over the course of that week, AlphaStar played the equivalent of 200 years worth of StarCraft II. By the end of the league session, DeepMind selected five individual agents that it determined had the least exploitable strategy and had the best chance to win. It tossed those five agents at TLO and pulled off a five-game sweep.

AlphaStar League

Seeing as the AI managed to top a pro using his off race, DeepMind decided to put AlphaStar up against a Protoss expert. For the matchup, DeepMind tapped MaNa — a two-time champion of major StarCraft II tournaments. AlphaStar got another week of training before the competition, including the knowledge gained from taking on a pro-level player in TLO. The commentators noted the AI played significantly more like a human in its matches, ditching some of its more erratic and unexpected actions while fine-tuning its decision making and style.

Just like TLO before him, MaNa put up a valiant effort but fell short in every match against the AlphaStar agents. The AI once again won all five of its matches against its human opponent, finishing 10-0 in its first 10 matches against professional players.

Following the broadcast of the recorded matches, DeepMind introduced a new version of AlphaStar that MaNa took on in a live match. The agent that played the live game didn’t have the benefit of the overhead camera and instead had to make decisions on where to place its focus in the same way a human would. DeepMind said within a week, AlphaStar was up to speed with the new view of the game, but didn’t have the opportunity to test the AI against a human pro before taking on MaNa live on the stream.

With the new restriction on AlphaStar’s view, MaNa was able to exploit some of the AI’s shortcomings and pulled out the win, dealing AlphaStar its first loss against pro players.

While AlphaStar’s immediate level of expertise and unmatchable pace of learning is bad news for any StarCraft pro thrown in its path, gamers may find some useful strategies that can be taken from the AI and its 200 years of accumulative knowledge about the game. The full set of replays of all of AlphaStar’s matches against TLO and MaNa are available on DeepMind’s website if you’ve like to study the strategies developed by the AI.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Facebook will do more to tackle scam ads following defamation lawsuit

Facebook will do more to tackle scam ads following defamation lawsuit


Kirsty O’Connor – PA Images via Getty Images

UK TV personality Martin Lewis has dropped his defamation lawsuit against Facebook after the company pledged to step up its fight against scam ads. Lewis — who dishes out personal finance advice on UK morning shows and is the co-founder of the MoneySavingExpert consumer website — launched his legal action against the social network in April of last year. He said that over 1,000 fake adverts had appeared on Facebook bearing his face or name, many of them crypto scams.

As part of the settlement, Facebook will roll out a dedicated reporting button for fraudulent ads in the UK. It’s also agreed to donate £3 million ($3.9 million) to Citizens Advice — a UK charity that provides free legal advice. The money will go toward a new UK Scams Action project (CASA), due in May. “Facebook will fund it through a £2.5m donation in cash over the next two years and £500,000-worth of Facebook ads, issued in tranches over the next three years,” explained a MoneySavingExpert report. It added that Facebook would also work with Citizens Advice to develop the project’s technology.

The details of the settlement were announced in a joint press conference, which Lewis shared on Facebook Live. In a separate Facebook post, Lewis said the terms formed part of “a Tomlin order legal settlement which literally means if it is not complied with I can go back to court.” He added: “I don’t believe that will be necessary though.”

But scam ads aren’t unique to Facebook. And Martin Lewis isn’t the only celeb being appropriated to swindle unsuspecting users. Twitter’s problems with fake Crypto giveaways that used Elon Musk’s likeness are well-documented. Google also fell prey to a fake ad that briefly appeared at the top of its search results page for “Amazon” last year.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true