Musk on SNL: I Post Bad Tweets Because 'That's Just How My Brain Works'
Elon Musk’s bad tweets have gotten him into plenty of trouble over the years, costing him his position as Tesla chairman and landing him in federal court on more than one occasion. But during the Tesla CEO’s much-discussed appearance on Saturday Night Live last night, he offered a truly compelling reason for his behavior: He’s eccentric.
“Look, I know I sometimes say or post strange things, but that’s just how my brain works,” he said during his opening monologue. “To anyone I’ve offended, I just want to say I reinvented electric cars, and I’m sending people to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?”
“Offended” is an interesting choice of words here. When Musk openly mocked British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth and called him a “pedo guy” on Twitter back in 2018, I don’t think Unsworth was offended so much as concerned about defamation and potentially losing his job. As anyone rightfully would be after one of the richest men in the world accuses you of being a pedophile in front of his millions of Twitter followers.
I also don’t think Tesla employees were offended but rather horrified when Musk, via tweet, threatened that anyone who unionized would lose their company-paid stock options. An administrative law judge later ruled that Musk’s tweet along with the company’s other union-busting efforts over the years violated federal labor laws. The National Labor Relations Board ordered him to delete the tweet earlier this year, but it’s remained up as Tesla seeks an appeal.
Moreover, many would argue that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t sue Musk in federal court in 2018 because they were offended, per see. But rather because he was accused of committing securities fraud by manipulating stock prices with tweets—and all for the sake of a limp-wristed 420 joke. (Musk later called the tweet, which cost Tesla a $20 million fine and forced him to step down as chairman of the board in a settlement with the SEC, totally “worth it.”)
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Then of course there was the time he brushed off the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, wrongly predicting that there would be “close to zero new cases” in the U.S. by April 2020 and sharing blatant misinformation about immunity with his over 50 million Twitter followers. It’s possible some were offended by his tweets demanding officials to “reopen” its economy and “FREE AMERICA NOW” at a time when the nation was reporting over 20,000 new cases per day. Many people would argue that, with an audience of that size, one has a certain responsibility to avoid spreading misinformation that could potentially hurt or even kill people. But those people are probably just snowflakes anyway.
During his SNL monologue, Musk shared a screenshot of another 420 joke he tweeted that didn’t manage to land him in the crosshairs of federal regulators, perhaps as a reference to his infamous 420 tweet. It reads: “69 days after 4/20 again haha.”
So eccentric! And you remember that time he smoked a blunt on Joe Rogan’s podcast and dressed up as Wario on SNL? What a quirky but ultimately harmless dude. We have no choice but to stan. /s
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How to enable two-factor sign-ins on your PlayStation 5 and Sony account
Two-factor authentication should be your default setting for all the online spaces where you dwell. And for PlayStation owners specifically, setting that up is as easy as it could be.
Sony's two-step verification (2SV), as the company calls it, can be switched on from your console, web browser, or the PS App. It's a similar process no matter where you do it, but let's walk through all three just so everyone's clear.
Setting up PlayStation 2SV on your console (PS4 or PS5)
Whether you're on a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, open up the main Settings menu and then select "Users and Accounts." That should open a sub-menu with additional options; you're looking for the one that says "Account" (it should be the top option).
From there — you've almost made it, I promise — choose "Security" to open up one more sub-menu. This is what you should see. (2SV is deactivated here so you know what to look for.)
The bottom option, "2-Step Verification" is your final destination. You can read up on how 2SV works by selecting the "Learn More" option just below the 2SV menu setting. But you can get the exact same information from right here on Sony's website — selecting Learn More just opens that page in your console's web browser.
Anyway. We're assuming you want 2SV turned on, so highlight 2-Step Verification and hit the X button to open up one more page, where you'll choose which form your want your verification process to take.
Sony offers two options: Text messaging or an authenticator app. If you choose the first option, you'll be asked to verify your contact phone number. Sony will then send a verification code via text that you'll have to enter in. Do that and you're done, 2-Step Verification will be turned on.
The authenticator app is a similar process. If you've never used one of these apps before, they're all work in pretty much the same way and all the ones I know are either free or include a free option. Our friends at PC Mag have a round-up of the best authenticator apps out there. I personally prefer the simple setup and speedy performance of Google Authenticator.
Whichever app you settle on, you'll need to link it up with your PlayStation account. Select "Authenticator App" from the PlayStation settings menu shown above and you'll be presented with a QR code alongside a lengthy alphanumeric code. You can manually enter that code on the app side, but most authenticator apps I know of (including the Google option mentioned above) let you simply scan a QR code.
Whichever route you take to get your PlayStation account set up in the authenticator app, your final step will be checking the app and punching in the numerical code on the console side. And that's it, you're done.
Setting up PlayStation 2SV on the web or PS App
The setup process for PlayStation 2SV in your browser is fundamentally the same as it is on console, but the steps you take to get there are slightly different.
First, sign into your account on PlayStation.com. Once the main homepage reloads, click your little user icon near the top-right corner of the page, just to the right of the "My PlayStation" dropdown menu. I've positioned my cursor over the spot you're looking for in the screenshot below, though you'll see a different icon there depending on what you picked for your account thumbnail.
Clicking the icon will bring up a dropdown menu with a number of options; the top one, "Account Settings," is what you want.
Click that and you'll be zipped over to a completely different website where Sony stores user account information. Click "Security" in the menu on the left side of the screen, then click "Continue" if you get a pop-up that reads: "You will go to another page."
The new page is the browser version of the console's "Security" menu pictured above. (I'm not sharing a screenshot here because it shows more of your personal info, such as contact email address, on the browser menu.) It may look different, but the process remains the same.
Select the "Edit" button for the bottom menu option, which should be "2-Step Verification." Then choose either "Text Message" or "Authenticator App" and follow the instructions (which are identical to the ones described above) to complete the setup process.
You can also do all of this using the PS App. It's just a little more convoluted a process to achieve the same result, so you're best off sticking with console or browser setup. But for those who simply must turn on 2SV in the PS App, for whatever reason, here's a quick rundown of what to do.
Open your app and tap the gear icon near the top of the page. Then, in the menu that opens, scroll down until you see the "PlayStation Network" subheading. Tap the "Account Information" option just below that and a new window will open. (You may be asked to enter your password again here.)
From that new menu, tap the "hamburger" button and then choose "Security" from the menu that pops up. If you've been reading along to this point then you're in familiar territory now. Just select the Edit button on the "2-Step Verification" option at the bottom of the menu and follow the setup process for your preferred authentication method.
That's it! You now have many more options for setting up 2SV on your PlayStation device than most people will ever need. Your console is the easiest place to do it, but it's still simple enough to do in your browser (and slightly less simple in the PS App).
Dracula's BFF Renfield Joins Dark Universe in Solo Film for Universal
Actor Tom Waits as Renfield in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula 1992
Screenshot: Columbia Pictures
Early on, Universal had difficulty establishing their Dark Universe, consisting of films about Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, and Jekyll/Hyde. They tried to get things popping in 2014 with Dracula Untold, but that was a financial and critical failure. Unfortunately, 2017's The Mummy starring Tom Cruise suffered a similar fate in an attempt to reboot things.
With that, the studio’s Dark Universe was DOA. That is until Leigh Whanelle’s Invisible Man (2019) exceeded expectations and revived faith in the franchise.
Invisible Man opened the door for new stories, cast, directors, and films. The latest film to find a home at Universal is Renfield. If you know the Dracula story, ole Renfield was one of Dracula’s familiars. He isn’t a central character in the story, so the choice to make a film about and explore his life pre and post Dracula is interesting.
Director Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War) is in talks to direct the movie with Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley. On Kevin Smith’s Fat Man Beyond podcast, writer and Renfield producer Robert Kirkman discussed what fans could expect from the film. “We’re doing this cool movie for Universal that’s a focus on Renfield,” Kirkman said. “It’s a story about him being Dracula’s henchman and how shitty a job that is. It’s a fun, extremely violent comedy because I’ve got a crutch, and it’s violence.”
Digital Spy reports that Dark Universe is quickly on the move, with several projects already in the works.
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Dracula, directed by Karyn Kusama
The Invisible Woman, directed by Elizabeth Banks
Ryan Gosling is starring in a new take on The Wolfman, directed by Leigh Whannell.
Paul Feig’s Dark Army, which is said to feature classic Universal monsters
There are even more films out there, but they don’t in development but don’t have any specific details available.
What do you think of the development of a new, solid Dark Universe? Any particular monsters you want to see? Let us know in the comments!
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SpaceX successfully reuses rocket for a record 10th time to launch Starlink satellites
SpaceX is making good on its reusable rocket claims.
Early Sunday morning, the tenth launch of a Falcon 9 rocket sent 60 Starlink satellites into orbit from Florida. It's the first of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets to be used this many times. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter Saturday — before appearing on Saturday Night Live — that this was the company's first booster to reach "double digits in flights."
The latest take-off and landing are part of SpaceX's mission to deploy a satellite-powered internet provider around the globe. There are now about 1,500 of the Starlink satellites in orbit, and thousands of active users already following the October 2020 launch of the beta program in the U.S. and a few other countries.
SpaceX posted the entire record-setting pre-dawn launch and landing on the drone ship called, "Just Read the Instructions." After liftoff it took about nine minutes to release the full set of satellites and touch back down at sea.
At the very end of the below video you can see the satellites deploy and separate from the rocket. They detach first as a group, and then deploy their solar panels and spread out in the days that follow.
The Falcon 9 rocket reused in Sunday's launch first lifted off back in 2019 and it has soot markings on the exterior from its previous nine flights.
No one said reusing rockets was neat and clean.
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Star Wars Novel High Republic: The Rising Storm Excerpt Now Available
StarWars.com has given fans all types of goodies this week. The site released an excerpt of Cavan Scott’s new novel, Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm, the next book in the Star Wars: The High Republic series.
Available on July 6, 2021, Scott told the Star Wars community what it was like to take the Star Wars universe in a new direction. “Writing a Star Wars novel is always an honor, and this has been no different. It’s a responsibility I never take lightly, especially while opening up a new era in Star Wars storytelling such as the High Republic.”
Scott is now a part of the exclusive group of authors who have written Star Wars novels to include Charles Soule, Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, and Daniel José Older.
The prologue excerpts from Rising Storm unpack Elzar Mann’s terrifying visions of the end of the Jedi order. Here’s a snippet of the text:
The screams had never left Elzar Mann. Many months had passed since Starlight Beacon’s dedication ceremony, since he had stood alongside his fellow Jedi. Since he had stood alongside Avar Kriss.”
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The eyes of the galaxy had been upon them in their temple finery, that damned collar itching as he’d listened to the speeches and platitudes, first from Chancellor Lina Soh, leader of the Galactic Republic, and then from Avar.
His Avar. The Hero of Hetzal.
The Beacon was their promise to the galaxy, Avar had said. It was their covenant. He could still hear her words.
Whenever you feel alone . . . whenever darkness closes in . . . know that the Force is with you. Know that we are with you . . . For light and life.
For light and life.
But that hadn’t stopped the darkness from closing in later that day. A wave of pain and suffering, a vision of the future too terrible to comprehend.”
He had staggered, grabbing hold of a rail, blood gushing from his nose as the pressure in his head threatened to split his skull in two.
What he had seen had haunted him ever since. It had consumed him.
Jedi dying one by one, picked off by a twisting, unfathomable cloud. Stellan. Avar. Everyone he had ever known in the past and everyone he would meet in days to come. Faces both familiar and strange torn apart.
And the screams.
The screams were the worst.
He had made it through the rest of the evening in a daze, going through the motions, not quite present, the echo of what he had seen . . . what he had heard . . . burned onto his mind’s eye.
There had been mistakes, a few too many glasses of Kattadan rosé at the reception, Avar asking for that dance she’d mentioned, Elzar leaning in a little too eagerly, a little too publicly.
He could still feel her hand on his chest, pushing him back.
“El. What are you doing?”
They had argued privately, his head still spinning.
“We’re not Padawans anymore.”
To read the rest of the excerpt, travel to Starwars.com for more!
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How to change the default email app on your iPhone in just a few seconds
It doesn't matter who you are. There's simply no way of getting around the fact that everyone needs to use email at some point in their lives. Just because that's true, however, doesn't mean you need to stick with an inferior email app on your iPhone if you don't want to.
Starting with the release of iOS 14 in 2020, Apple finally did one of the things it should have done years ago: Let users change their default web browsers and email apps.
Safari and the iPhone Mail app are both perfectly usable, but freedom is always a good thing. Whether you like Gmail, ProtonMail, or Outlook, you can tell your iPhone to route all email-related activity straight to the corresponding mobile app.
That's good in and of itself, but what's even better is how easy it is to do this. Here's how:
Make sure you have the app you want to use installed on your iPhone.
Open the Settings app and scroll down to the alphabetical list of every app on your iPhone. Tap the email app you'd like to set as your default.
You should see a "Default Mail App" setting in the next menu. Tap that and then select which app you want to be your default email app.
And voila! You've done it. Whenever you do anything pertaining to email on your iPhone, it'll automatically get directed to that app instead of the default Mail app. It's a shame iPhones had to be around for more than a decade before users could do this, but hey, better late than never. Godspeed and good luck.
This incredible new feature might come to the Apple Watch Series 7
Apple will launch the new Apple Watch Series 7 later this year alongside its upcoming iPhone 13 handsets. Apple has been upgrading the Watch’s health monitoring capabilities with each generation, and the Apple Watch Series 7 will be no different. The wearable is already rumored to sport what could easily be the most exciting sensor ever placed in a smartwatch, although reports are split on whether Apple will launch the feature this year or on the Apple Watch Series 8 in 2022. It’s a blood glucose sensor that could perform passive blood sugar readings and help diabetes patients manage their condition. Apple just sent a survey to some of its Watch customers where it asks specifically whether they use the gadget to keep track of nutrition-related parameters, including blood glucose. Measuring blood sugar is a tedious, invasive task that involves obtaining a blood sample and using a gadget to get readings. Knowing one’s blood glucose levels is a key aspect of diabetes management. The condition affects more than 34 million adults in the US; a significant portion of them might be undiagnosed. According to WHO statistics, the number of worldwide people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. The novel coronavirus illness might itself have triggered diabetes in some COVID-19 survivors, including children. Diabetes is a significant risk factor in COVID-19, which is why managing blood glucose is more critical right now than ever. People who have diabetes often require medication, and many of them need insulin therapy. Knowing blood glucose levels is necessary for dosing insulin and having the Apple Watch perform non-invasive readings at all times could also prevent a diabetes-related condition called hypoglycemia. Apple doesn’t disclose plans for next-gen products, but 9to5Mac obtained a survey that Apple sent to Apple Watch users in Brazil that mentions blood glucose monitoring apps. Apple is asking users to provide feedback on their Apple Watch experiences. The survey asks about the wearable’s health features, including step counting, flights of stairs climbed, and the Workout app. It also asks about third-party apps for managing health data, including tracking workouts, monitoring eating habits, and managing healthcare. Included in that last category are apps for tracking medications and blood glucose levels. This isn’t enough to confirm that Apple Watch Series 7 will feature a blood sugar sensor. But the blog points out that Apple did send out surveys before containing hints of features that might have been in development. In early 2020, Apple asked iPhone users actually used the power adapter that came with the box — the company ended up shipping its iPhone 12 models without included power adapters later that year. Similarly, a survey asked iPhone users what they thought about using Face ID with face masks on, and then Apple added a feature in iOS 14.5 that lets users unlock the iPhone with an Apple Watch while wearing a mask. Separately, a report a few days ago said that Apple might have even more advanced sensors in Apple Watch devices. In addition to a blood glucose monitor, the wearable might measure blood pressure and alcohol levels.
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Elon Musk's 'SNL' appearance shows he's the face of EVs beyond Tesla
Cryptocurrencies, Mars colonization, and an unpronounceable child's name may have dominated Elon Musk's first Saturday Night Live appearance, but the Tesla CEO's influence on electric vehicles was clear from the ads that popped up during the late-night program.
Musk is known for "reinventing" electric vehicles as a more mainstream alternative to gas-powered cars with his Tesla brand and its original Model S sedan back in 2012. Now there are more than 50 EV models available in the U.S. including options from legacy automakers like Ford, Nissan, and Chevy.
Tesla doesn't do traditional advertising, but its competitors do. During Saturday's SNL episode several car companies ran ads for their EVs, timed with Musk's appearance. Musk didn't say much about Tesla or EVs during the show aside from a joke about driving a Toyota Prius hybrid.
During the ad breaks, there was a 30-second spot from startup Lucid with its yet-to-arrive Air luxury sedan, plugging its 517-mile range battery. Tesla has a Model S version coming out in 2022 with a purported 520-mile battery range.
Publications like The Verge and USA Today noticed other EV ads from Audi for its E-tron, Volvo with a plug-in hybrid SUV, Ford with the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, and Volkswagen with the recently released ID.4.
Musk is the the public figure most associated with electric vehicles, so his appearance on a show with an audience as wide as SNL's led car companies to take advantage of the moment. Lucid, the EV company that has delayed the release of its first car, saw a pop in Google traffic that matched search interest with Musk's Tesla during the SNL broadcast.
Musk has always welcomed competition in the EV space, but things are starting to heat up.
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This Is the Elon Musk Dogecoin Moment the Fanboys Were Waiting For
One of the most anticipated and hyped moments of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend was the possible, and highly probable, mention of Dogecoin, the meme cryptocurrency the tech billionaire has helped inflate to record highs. Never one to disappoint his adoring fanboys, Musk gave them what they wanted.
Musk, who hosted the internationally broadcast show on Saturday, talked about Dogecoin in a “Weekend Update” sketch in which he played financial expert Lloyd Ostertag. Almost immediately, Musk also introduced himself as the “Dogefather,” a reference to one of his recent tweets, which itself is a riff on The Godfather. The self-proclaimed Dogefather then proceeds to describe how cryptocurrencies work and states that, lately, prices for cryptocurrencies, especially Dogecoin, have been soaring.
Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che then presses Musk to explain what Dogecoin is, a question many of us have asked ourselves in recent months. The tech billionaire states that Dogecoin started out as a joke based on an internet meme, but it’s taken off in a real way. Not satisfied, Che, along with co-anchor Colin Jost, asks again for Musk to explain what Dogecoin is. And repeats the question again. And again.
After a bit of back and forth, Musk finally appears to break down Dogecoin in a way the anchors on the Weekend Update can understand.
“I keep telling you, it’s a cryptocurrency you can trade for conventional money,” Musk said.
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“Oh, so it’s a hustle,” Che said.
“Yeah, it’s a hustle,” Musk admitted.
Although it was a comedy sketch, Musk finally seemed to recognize what (real) financial experts have said about Dogecoin all along. (This week, Musk himself said that cryptocurrency is promising but also warned his followers to invest with caution). Ironically, but not unsurprisingly considering that cryptocurrencies are volatile, Dogecoin was down 40% early Sunday, or as low as 44 cents according to CNN, after the Dogefather talked about it on SNL.
Besides mentioning Dogecoin, it was highly likely that Musk would talk about another one of his many obsessions, Mars, especially considering SpaceX’s recent Starship success this past week. On Wednesday, the company successfully landed a prototype of the Starship rocket it will use to take astronauts back to the Moon and one day take humans to Mars. It has been the only prototype that hasn’t exploded.
In this sketch, set in the near future, Musk has apparently already built a colony on the Red Planet. However, it has been hit by a solar storm, which has affected the life support systems, specifically the oxygen supply. Musk oversees a brave but absent-minded colonist named Chad (Pete Davidson) outside of the colony to turn on the backup oxygen circulator.
“Chad, I want to make sure you understand that you won’t survive this mission,” Musk said. “To save your fellow colonists, you have to make the ultimate sacrifice.”
“Hm, sick,” Davidson said.
The sketch also includes Miley Cyrus, the episode’s musical guest, and is set to dramatic music one would expect in space movies. Chad is ultimately successful in his mission but meets a tragic end.
“Well, I did say people were going to die,” Musk said, another reference to statements he’s made about going to Mars. “I was never here.”
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We might finally know when Marvel’s epic ‘Avengers 5’ movie is coming
We’ve been wondering what Avengers 5 will be about and when it’ll be released since the moment Steve Rogers had his dance with Peggy Carter at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Marvel has yet to reveal anything at all about the next major Avengers installment. The studio announced the first films and TV shows from the MCU’s Phase 4 a few months after the Endgame premiere, but it didn't disclose any future Avengers projects. We explained at the time that Marvel will not just dump its most lucrative franchise, especially now that Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Deadpool are available for fabulous team-ups. But Marvel has to introduce plenty of new superheroes and add new Avengers team members before it can announce an Avengers 5 release date. The same goes for villains — we need scary new threats like Thanos. Since then, we've heard all sorts of rumors and reports about Marvel’s Avengers plans. The studio has already warned that Avengers 5 will not have the same scope as Endgame, teasing that it hopes it’ll be able to offer a similar movie down the road after a massive buildup. But Avengers 5 might be a sort of reboot because so many original Avengers will be replaced. It’s mid-2021 and Marvel hasn’t gotten around to making Avengers 5 announcements. The pandemic didn’t help, as Marvel postponed all of its Phase 4 movies by more than a year. But we now have a brand new Avengers 5 rumor that tells us the film is already “on the board,” and teases a potential launch timeframe. Marvel ran an excellent teaser video a few days ago, reminding fans of some of the most iconic moments in the MCU so far and teasing the films that are coming soon. Marvel showed footage for Eternals for the first time, revealed the titles for the Black Panther and Captain Marvel sequels, as well as release dates for Ant-Man 3 and Guardians 3. Here’s another reminder of Marvel’s MCU movie schedule through 2023: 2021:
July 9th: Black Widow
September 3rd: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
November 5th: Eternals
December 17th: Spider-Man: No Way Home
March 25th: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
May 6th: Thor: Love and Thunder
July 8th: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
October 7th: UNTITLED MARVEL PROJECT
November 11th: The Marvels
February 17th: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
May 5th: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
July 28th: UNTITLED MARVEL PROJECT
November 3rd: UNTITLED MARVEL PROJECT
YouTuber John Campea talked about Marvel’s teaser, wondering why some of the titles we already know are in the making have not been shown in the clip. The list includes Fantastic Four, Deadpool 3, Blade, and X-Men projects. The first Fantastic Four film was at least teased in the video. We expect it to drop in July 2023, according to previous rumors. Campea reached out to an unnamed person who is supposedly familiar with Marvel’s plans, and he received this answer:
It's basically the same reason Avengers 5 and Eternals 2 weren't announced. They were only announcing those films up to 2023 that have verified release dates. There are over 20+ projects on the board.
If genuine, the answer implies that Fantastic Four will be released by the end of 2023, which is already great news. It also tells us that Eternals will have a sequel at some point in the future. But the most exciting detail concerns the Avengers. If this is accurate, the next movie in the franchise will not launch any earlier than 2024. This gives Marvel plenty of time to prepare the audience for an Avengers team-up that might be unlike anything we’ve seen so far. As a reminder, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Steve Rogers are gone for good. Thor and Hawkeye might also retire soon, and their replacements are expected to be introduced in upcoming Marvel projects. Also exciting is the fact that Marvel has more than 20+ projects “on the board.” Considering the answer above is related to Marvel’s promo clip and that clip was an ode to watching Marvel movies in theaters, these 20+ projects must be movies. The list above only includes 13 projects, which means Marvel has some big plans for the near future, having mapped the MCU’s next phases several years in advance. That’s not exactly a surprise, as we already know that Kevin Feige and Co. plan out several years of Marvel adventures when deciding the MCU’s fate. That’s the only way to make these films intertwined and ensure they contain the necessary hooks that tie them to the bigger MCU storyline. As always with rumors, nothing is confirmed at this point. But if we don’t see an Avengers 5 announcement soon, it might be because the film is still several years out. Campea's full video is available below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhPoUkrZgq4
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Michael B. Jordan Talks Wakanda Forever and Kilmonger's Possible Return
Actor Michael B. Jordan as Kilmonger in Black Panther
Image: Marvel Entertainment
The topic of Black Panther and its sequel is an emotional one. Its leading man, Chadwick Boseman, passed away last August from colon cancer. Understandably, the cast has mixed emotions about returning to the set without Boseman.
Recently, actress Lupita Nyong’o commented on her feelings on shooting the Black Panther sequel. “I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there. His passing is still extremely raw for me.”
Last week, Marvel revealed the title for the Black Panther sequel titled: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. On the Just for Variety podcast, actor Micheal B. Jordan gave his thoughts on the new title. “Nice. A good ring to it, I like that. I think that’s great,’ he says.
“We all took a hit with the loss of Chadwick [Boseman], so for them trying to figure out how to move forward, I know it’s not an easy thing to do. So the fact that they settled on a title and figuring out the story, I think is truly incredible. If anybody could figure [it] out, [it’s] Ryan [Coogler, director] and Kevin Feige [Marvel Studios President] and their wonderful producers over there is going to figure out the way to do it.”
There’s speculation that Jordan could be reprising his role of Kilmonger, or returning in another capacity. He recently cleared that up on the Jess Cagle show when asked the likelihood of his return on a scale of one to ten. “I’ll go with a solid two. I didn’t want to go zero. Never say never. I can’t predict the future.”
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives July 8, 2022. Check the Marvel film release timeline for information on all other Marvel titles.
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Clubhouse finally launches its Android app
Clubhouse finally has an Android app that you can download from the Play Store — provided you live in the U.S.
The voice social network launched its beta Android app on Play Store users in the U.S. on Sunday, and said it will gradually make the new app available in other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world.
The social network, valued at about $4 billion in its most recent fundraise, first launched its app on iOS last year and until now has been exclusively available to iPhone users. The startup, which still requires new users to be invited by existing Clubhouse members, recently began testing the Android app.
“Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly,” the team wrote.
Clubhouse download figures across some of its popular markets, according to estimates by mobile insight firm AppMagic. (Though precise download estimates from other mobile insight firms vary, they all suggest Clubhouse app’s popularity has dropped in recent months.)
Clubhouse’s launch on Android comes at a time when scores of technology giants including Facebook, Twitter, Discord, Spotify, and Reddit, have either launched their similar offerings — or announced plans to do so.
Twitter’s clone of Clubhouse, called Spaces, has emerged as one of the biggest competitors to the A16z and Tiger Global-backed-startup. An unplanned Twitter Spaces, available on Android as well, hosted by a high-profile Indian startup founder on earlier Sunday attracted hundreds of listeners within a few minutes, for instance.
“As a part of the effort to keep the growth measured, we will be continuing the waitlist and invite system, ensuring that each new community member can bring along a few close friends. As we head into the summer and continue to scale out the backend, we plan to begin opening up even further, welcoming millions more people in from the iOS waitlist, expanding language support, and adding more accessibility features, so that people worldwide can experience Clubhouse in a way that feels native to them,” Clubhouse team wrote.
Clubhouse’s beta Android app currently lacks a number of features such as the ability to follow a topic, in-app translations, localization, ability to create or manage a club, link Twitter and Instagram profiles, payments, as well as the ability to change the profile name or user name.
More to follow…
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The human-focused startups of the hellfire
Disasters may not always be man-made, but they are always responded to by humans. There’s a whole panoply of skills and professions required today to respond to even the tiniest emergency, and that doesn’t even include the needs during pre-disaster planning and post-disaster recovery. It’s not a very remunerative industry for most and the mental health effects from stress can linger for decades, but the mission at the core of this work — to help people in the time of their greatest need — is what continues to attract many to partake in this never-ending battle anyway.
In the last three parts of this series on the future of technology and disaster response, I’ve focused on, well, technology, and specifically the sales cycle for new products, the sudden data deluge now that Internet of Things (IoT) is in full force, and the connectivity that allows that data to radiate all around. What we haven’t looked at enough so far is the human element: the people who actually respond to disasters as well as what challenges they face and how technology can help them.
So in this fourth and final part of the series, we’ll look at four areas where humans and technology intersect within disaster response and what future opportunities lie in this market: training and development, mental health, crowdsourced responses to disasters, and our doomsday future of hyper-complex emergencies.
Training in a hellfire
Most fields have linear approaches to training. To become a software engineer, students learn some computer science theory, add in some programming practice, and voilà (note: your mileage may vary). To become a medical doctor, aspiring physicians take an undergraduate curriculum teeming with biology and chemistry, head to medical school for two deadened years of core anatomy and other classes and then switch into clinical rotations, a residency, and maybe fellowships.
But how do you train someone to respond to emergencies?
From 911 call takers to EMTs and paramedics to emergency planning officials and the on-the-ground responders who are operating in the center of the storm as it were, there are large permutations in the skills required to do these jobs well. What’s necessary aren’t just specific hard skills like using call dispatch software or knowing how to upload video from a disaster site, but also critically-important softer skills as well: precisely communicating, having sangfroid, increasing agility, and balancing improvisation with consistency. The chaos element also can’t be overstated: every disaster is different, and these skills must be viscerally recombined and exercised under extreme pressure with frequently sparse information.
A whole range of what might be dubbed “edtech” products could serve these needs, and not just exclusively for emergency management.
Communications, for instance, isn’t just about team communications, but also communicating with many different constituencies. Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, a social scientist at RAND Corporation, said that “a lot of these skills are social skills — being able to work with different groups of people in culturally and socially appropriate ways.” He notes that the field of emergency management has heightened attention to these issues in recent years, and “the skillset we need is to work with those community structures” that already exist where a disaster strikes.
As we’ve seen in the tech industry the last few years, cross-cultural communication skills remain scarce. One can always learn this just through repeated experiences, but could we train people to develop empathy and understanding through software? Can we develop better and richer scenarios to train emergency responders — and all of us, really — on how to communicate effectively in widely diverging conditions? That’s a huge opportunity for a startup to tackle.
Emergency management is now a well-developed career path. “The history of the field is very fascinating, [it’s] been increasingly professionalized, with all these certifications,” Clark-Ginsberg said. That professionalization “standardizes emergency response so that you know what you are getting since they have all these certs, and you know what they know and what they don’t.” Certifications can indicate singular competence, but perhaps not holistic assessment, and it’s a market that offers opportunities for new startups to create better assessments.
Like many of us, responders get used to doing the same thing over and over again, and that can make training for new skills even more challenging. Michael Martin of emergency data management platform RapidSOS describes how 911 call takers get used to muscle memory, “so switching to a new system is very high-risk.” No matter how bad existing software interfaces are, changing them will very likely slow every single response down while increasing the risk of errors. That’s why the company offers “25,000 hours a year for training, support, integration.” There remains a huge and relatively fragmented market for training staff as well as transitioning them from one software stack to another.
Outside these somewhat narrow niches, there is a need for a massive renaissance in training in this whole area. My colleague Natasha Mascarenhas recently wrote an EC-1 on Duolingo, an app designed to gamify and entrance students interested in learning second languages. It’s a compelling product, and there is no comparative training system for engaging the full gamut of first responders.
The Duolingo EC-1
Art delaCruz, COO and president of Team Rubicon, a non-profit which assembles teams of volunteer military veterans to respond to natural disasters, said that it’s an issue his organization is spending more time thinking about. “Part of resilience is education, and the ability to access information, and that is a gap that we continue to close on,” he said. “How do you present information that’s more simple than [a learning management system]?” He described the need for “knowledge bombs like flash cards” to regularly provide responders with new knowledge while testing existing ideas.
There’s also a need to scale up best practices rapidly across the world. Tom Cotter, director of emergency response and preparedness at Project Hope, a non-profit which empowers local healthcare workers in disaster-stricken and impoverished areas, said that in the context of COVID-19, “a lot of what was going to be needed [early on] was training — there were huge information gaps at the clinical level, how to communicate it at a community level.” The organization developed a curriculum with Brown University’s Watson Institute in the form of interactive PowerPoints that were ultimately used to train 100,000 healthcare workers on the new virus, according to Cotter.
When I look at the spectrum of edtech products existing today, one of the key peculiarities is just how narrow each seems to focus. There are apps for language learning and for learning math and developing literacy. There are flash card apps like Anki that are popular among medical students, and more interactive approaches like Labster for science experiments and Sketchy for learning anatomy.
Yet, for all the talk of boot camps in Silicon Valley, there is no edtech company that tries to completely transform a student in the way that a bona fide boot camp does. No startup wants to holistically develop their students, adding in hard skills while also advancing the ability to handle stress, the improvisation needed to confront rapidly-changing environments, and the skills needed to communicate with empathy.
Maybe that can’t be done with software. Maybe. Or perhaps, no founder has just had the ambition so far to go for broke — to really revolutionize how we think about training the next generation of emergency management professionals and everyone else in private industry who needs to handle stress or think on their feet just as much as frontline workers.
That’s the direction where Bryce Stirton, president and co-founder of public-safety company Responder Corp, has been thinking about. “Another area I am personally a fan of is the training space around VR,” he said. “It’s very difficult to synthesize these stressful environments,” in areas like firefighting, but new technologies have “the ability to pump the heart that you need to experience in training.” He concludes that “the VR world, it can have a large impact.”
Healing after disaster
When it comes to trauma, few fields face quite the challenge as emergency response. It’s work that almost by definition forces its personnel to confront some of the most harrowing scenes imaginable. Death and destruction are given, but what’s not always accounted for is the lack of agency in some of these contexts for first responders — the family that can’t be saved in time so a 911 call taker has to offer final solace, or the paramedics who don’t have the right equipment even as they are showing up on site.
Post-traumatic stress is perhaps the most well-known and common mental health condition facing first responders, although it is hardly the only one. How to ameliorate and potentially even cure these conditions represents a burgeoning area of investment and growth for a number of startups and investors.
Risk & Return, for instance, is a venture firm heavily focused on companies working on mental health as well as human performance more generally. In my profile of the firm a few weeks ago, managing director Jeff Eggers said that “We love that type of technology since it has that dual purpose: going to serve the first responder on the ground, but the community is also going to benefit.”
With a third of its capital deployed, Risk & Return is transforming how we think about emergency response
Two examples of companies from its portfolio are useful here to explore as examples of different pathways in this category. The first is Alto Neuroscience, which is a stealthy startup founded by Amit Etkin, a multidisciplinary neuroscientist and psychiatrist at Stanford, to create new clinical treatments to post-traumatic stress and other conditions based on brainwave data. Given its therapeutic focus, it’s probably years before testing and regulatory approvals come through, but this sort of research is on the cutting-edge of innovation here.
The second company is NeuroFlow, which is a software startup using apps to guide patients to better mental health outcomes. Through persistent polling, testing, and collaboration with practitioners, the company’s tools allow for more active monitoring of mental health — looking for emerging symptoms or relapses in even the most complicated cases. NeuroFlow is more on the clinical side, but there are obviously a wealth of wellness startups that have percolated in recent years as well like Headspace and Calm.
Outside of therapeutics and software though, there are entirely new frontiers around mental health in areas like psychedelics. That was one of the trends I called out as a top five area for investment in the 2020s earlier this year, and I stand by that. We’ve also covered a startup called Osmind which is a clinical platform for managing patients with a psychedelic focus.
5 startup theses that will transform the 2020s
Risk & Return itself hasn’t made an investment in psychedelics yet, but Bob Kerrey, the firm’s board chairman and the former co-chair of the 9/11 Commission as well as former governor and senator of Nebraska, said that “it’s difficult to do this if you are the government, but easier to do this in the private sector.”
Similar to edtech, mental health startups might get their start in the first responder community, but they are hardly limited to this population. Post-traumatic stress and other mental health conditions affect wide swaths of the world’s population, and solutions that work in one community can often translate more broadly to others. It’s a massive, massive market, and one that could potentially transform the lives of millions of people for the better.
Before moving on, there’s one other area of interest here, and that is creating impactful communities for healing. First responders and military veterans experience a mission and camaraderie in their service that they often lack once they are in new jobs or on convalescence. DelaCruz of Team Rubicon says that one of the goals of bringing veterans to help in disaster regions is that the veterans themselves “reconnect with identity and community — we have these incredible assets in these men and women who have served.” It’s not enough to just find a single treatment per patient — we oftentimes need to zoom out to the wider population to see how mental health ripples out.
Helping people find purpose may not be the easiest challenge to solve as a startup, but it’s certainly a major challenge for many, and an area fermenting with new approaches now that the the social networking wave has reached its nadir.
Crowdsourcing disaster response
Decentralization has been all the rage in tech in recent years — just mention the word blockchain in a TechCrunch article to get at least 50 PR emails about the latest NFT for a toilet stain. While there is obviously a lot of noise, one area where substance may pan out well is in disaster response.
If the COVID-19 pandemic showed anything, it was the power of the internet to aggregate as well as verify data, build dashboards, and deliver highly-effective visualizations of complex information for professionals and laypeople alike. Those products were developed by people all around the world often from the comfort of their own homes, and they demonstrate how crowds can quickly draft serious labor to help respond to crises as they crop up.
Jonathan Sury, project director at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, said that “COVID has really blown so much of what we think about out of the water.” With so many ways to collaborate online right now, “that’s what I would say is very exciting … and also practical and empowering.”
Clark-Ginsberg of RAND calls it the “next frontier of disaster management.” He argues that “if you can use technology to broaden the number of people who can participate in disaster management and respond to disasters,” then we might be reaching an entirely new paradigm for what effective disaster response will look like. “Formal structures [for professional frontline workers] have strengthened and that has saved lives and resources, but our ability to engage with everyday responders is still something to work on.”
Many of the tools that underpin these crowdsourced efforts don’t even focus on disasters. Sury pointed to Tableau and data visualization platform Flourish as examples of the kinds of tools that remote, lay first responders are using. There are now quite robust tools for tabular data, but we’re still relatively early in the development of tools for handling mapping data — obviously critical in the crisis context. Unfolded.ai, which I profiled earlier this year, is working on building scalable geospatial analytics in the browser. A lot more can be done here.
Ex-Uber team raises $6M seed for geospatial analytics platform Unfolded.ai
Oftentimes there are ways to coordinate the coordinators. Develop for Good, which I looked at late last year, is a non-profit designed to connect enterprising computer science students to software and data projects at non-profits and agencies that needed help during the pandemic. Sometimes these coordinators are non-profit orgs, and sometimes, just very active Twitter accounts. There’s a lot more experimentation possible on how to coordinate efforts in a decentralized way while still engaging with professional first responders and the public sector.
Speaking of decentralization, it’s even possible that blockchain could play a role in disaster and crisis response. Many of these opportunities rest on using blockchain for evidence collection or for identity. For example, earlier this week Leigh Cuen took a careful look at an at-home sexual assault evidence collection kit from Leda Health that uses the blockchain to establish a clear time for when a sample was collected.
Radical Ethereum entrepreneurs are redefining what ‘rape kit’ means
There is a lot more potential to harness the power of crowdsourcing and decentralization, and many of these projects have applications far outside disaster management itself. These tools not only solve real problems — they provide real community to people who may not be related to the disaster itself, but are enthusiastic to do their part to help others.
The black swans of black swans
In terms of startups, the three markets I identified — better training, better mental health, and better crowdsourcing collaboration tools, particularly around data — collectively represent a very compelling set of markets that will not only be valuable for founders, but can rapidly improve lives.
In his book Normal Accidents, Charles Perrow talks about how an increasing level of complexity and coupledness in our modern technical systems all but guarantee disasters to occur. Add in a warming world as well as the intensity, frequency, and just plain unusualness of disasters arriving each year, and we are increasingly seeing entirely novel forms of emergencies we have never responded to before. Take most recently the ultra-frigid conditions in Texas that sapped power from its grid, leading to statewide blackouts for hours and days in some parts of the state.
Clark-Ginsberg said, “We are seeing these risks emerge that aren’t just typical wildfires — where we have a response structure that we can easily setup and manage the hazard, [we’re] very good at managing these typical disasters. There are more of these atypical disasters cropping up, and we have a very hard time setting up structures for this — the pandemic is a great example of that.”
He describes these challenges as “trans-boundary risk management,” disasters that cross bureaucratic lines, professions, societies, and means of action. “It takes a certain agility and the ability to move quickly and the ability to work in ways outside typical bureaucratic structures, and that is just challenging full stop,” he said.
The Future of Technology and Disaster Response
Part 1: The most disastrous sales cycle in the world: The future of sales
Part 2: Data was the new oil until the oil caught fire: Data and AI
Part 3: When the Earth is gone, at least the internet will still be working: Connectivity
Part 4: The human-focused startups of the hellfire: Training, mental health and crowdsourcing
Even as we begin to have better point solutions to the individual problems that disasters and their responses require, we can’t be remiss in neglecting the more systematic challenges that these emergencies are bringing to the fore. We have to start thinking about bringing humans together faster and in more novel ways to be the most effective, while coupling them flexibly and with agility to the best tools that meet their needs in the moment. That’s probably not literally “a startup,” but more a way of thinking about what it means to construct a disaster response fresh given the information available.
Amanda Levin, a policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “even if we mitigate, there are huge pressures and huge impacts today from a warming world … even if we stop emissions today, [they] will still persist.” As one of my interviewees in government service who asked to go unnamed noted about disaster response, “You always are coming up short somewhere.” The problems are only getting harder, and we humans need much better tools to match the man-made trials we created for ourselves. That’s the challenge — and opportunity — for a tough century ahead.
Silicon Valley’s myths and realities of existential risk
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Clubhouse finally launches on Android in the U.S.
If you use the world's most popular mobile operating system and have been jonesing to get in on the Clubhouse action, today is your lucky day.
That's because Clubhouse, the voice-based social network that's exploded in popularity over the past several months, is finally rolling out on Android starting Sunday in a beta state. It'll just be available in the United States at first, with other English-speaking places (and eventually the rest of the world) getting access in the coming weeks.
According to the announcement, the U.S.-only period won't include some features (such as payments) right away, as the company collects user feedback before the wider rollout.
Android users can finally get in on the Clubhouse fun.
For Android users, that's the good news. The bad news, if you can call it that, is that Clubhouse will remain invite-only for the time being across both iOS and Android. Clubhouse's announcement also said iOS users who have been sitting on the waitlist will start getting access as the summer rolls on.
Clubhouse has been the talk of the social networking town in 2021, as more people are gradually let into what has traditionally been a fairly exclusive marketplace of ideas. Its massive voice chat rooms have been known for entrepreneurial discussions, though the Clubhouse ecosystem hasn't been without controversy.
On Friday, for example, Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield was caught participating in a Clubhouse chat, which listed him as a moderator, that was rife with anti-Semitism. (Stanfield has since acknowledged what happened and apologized for the role he played.)
And that's to say nothing of potential security concerns that are inherent to any new social network. Anyone who manages to get into the Android beta of Clubhouse should, of course, be vigilant about what information they put out there and what's being said in their chat rooms. Keep your guard up, folks.
Everything coming and going on Netflix: Week of May 9th
We haven't had the opportunity to say this much so far in 2021, but this is a pretty exciting week for new releases on Netflix. Depending on your tastes, the highlight of the week will likely either be the fourth and final season of the streamer's anime adaptation of Castlevania or the premiere of The Woman in the Window, starring Amy Adams. People also seemed to really dig Love, Death & Robots, and there's more of that coming this week too.
Tuesday, May 11th
Money, Explained — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
We spend it, borrow it and save it. Now let's talk about money and its many minefields, from credit cards to casinos, scammers to student loans.
Wednesday, May 12th
Dance of the Forty One — NETFLIX FILM 🇲🇽
A gay congressman marries the Mexican president's daughter but cavorts with a young man at a secret club. And then scandal hits. Based on a true story.
Oxygen — NETFLIX FILM 🇫🇷
A woman wakes up in a cryogenic unit with no memory. Quickly running out of oxygen, she must find a way to remember who she is in order to survive.
The Upshaws — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
A working-class Black family in Indiana strives for a better life and a happy home while juggling everyday struggles in this comedy series.
Thursday, May 13th
Castlevania: Season 4 — NETFLIX ANIME
Dracula's influence looms large as Belmont and Sypha investigate plans to resurrect the notorious vampire. Alucard struggles to embrace his humanity.
Friday, May 14th
Ferry — NETFLIX FILM 🇧🇪
Before he built a drug empire, Ferry Bouman returns to his hometown on a revenge mission that finds his loyalty tested — and a love that alters his life.
Haunted: Season 3 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
A menacing mansion. A haunting melody. A demonic cat. More real people share scary stories from their past — and the truth is terrifying.
I Am All Girls — NETFLIX FILM 🇿🇦
A relentless detective finds common ground with a killer systematically targeting the perpetrators running a powerful child-trafficking ring.
Jungle Beat: The Movie — NETFLIX FAMILY
When a lost and lonely alien crash-lands on Earth, his new crew of talking animal friends helps him get back home — and try to save the world!
Love, Death & Robots: Volume 2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
From wild adventures on far-flung planets to unsettling encounters close to home: The Emmy-winning anthology returns with a crop of provocative tales.
Move to Heaven — NETFLIX ORIGINAL 🇰🇷
Finding life in all that's left behind, a trauma cleaner with Asperger's and his ex-con uncle deliver the untold stories of the departed to loved ones.
The Strange House — NETFLIX FILM 🇦🇹
When a big-city family moves to a remote town, two young brothers and their new friends try to solve the menacing mystery that haunts their new home.
The Woman in the Window — NETFLIX FILM
Confined to her home by agoraphobia, a psychologist becomes obsessed with her new neighbors — and solving a brutal crime she witnesses from her window.
Monday, May 10th
Friday, May 14th
Sherlock: Series 1-4
We’ll be back next week with another roundup of all the new shows, movies, and specials arriving and departing from Netflix. In the meantime, check out everything coming and going on Netflix this May, as well as the calendar of release dates for all of Netflix’s original movies and shows.
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Co-chair of Facebook Oversight Board defends decision to uphold Trump ban
"This is a plain violation of Facebook's rules against praising dangerous individuals and organizations at a time of violence," McConnell said in an interview on Fox News Sunday, discussing Trump's January 6 posts. "Mr. Trump is subject to the same rules on Facebook as everyone else and the oversight board held that this was in fact a violation, and thus Facebook was justified in taking them down."
McConnell did note that the board also found Facebook's rules are in "shambles" and have made recommendations to the company to increase transparency.
"They needed some time because their rules are shambles, they are not transparent, they are unclear, they are internally inconsistent," McConnell said.
He added, "we gave a series of recommendations about how to make their rules clearer and more consistent."
The board told Facebook that although it was right to suspend Trump's account in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, the platform couldn't make the suspension "indefinite" with no rule on its books allowing for that. The board said Facebook must review the decision and decide if Trump should be banned from the platform forever.
When asked if the decision hinders Trump's first amendment rights, McConnell responded that Facebook is a private company, and therefore does not have to uphold the first amendment.
"Private companies are not bound by the first amendment, so he has no first amendment rights, he's a customer," McConnell said.
"He issued those posts, he is responsible for doing that, he bears a responsibility for his own situation, he put himself in this bed, and he can sleep in it," McConnell said.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan contributed to this report.
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Suicide Squad Director James Gunn Confirms Multiple Post-Credit Scenes
Cast of Suicide Squad 2 Promo Photo
Image: DC Entertainment
Comic book movies are in the business of post-credit scenes, and according to James Gunn, his Suicide Squad film may have more than one. How do we know this? Well, this Tweet gives a pretty clear indication he has something up his sleeve.
Gunn is doing a complete 180 from David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad film. He told Den of Geek, he added as many off-the-wall characters as possible to have the freedom to unpack them all.
“I wanted to do the things that other spectacle films haven’t been able to do, which is really take my time and investigate these characters, get to know them, focus on the character aspects, focus on who they were, and deal with time in a different way than it’s been dealt with in these movies,” he says.
Gunn also mentions the film’s antagonist. It’s such a wacky choice that it’s easy to think he’s joking, but he’s dead serious. “Starro is hilarious because he’s ridiculous. He’s a giant, cerulean blue starfish, but he’s also f**king terrifying.” Gunn wants to make fans laugh but terrify them as well.
G/O Media may get a commission
“When I was a kid, I thought that was the scariest thing of all time, and I think that exemplifies what this movie is: it is ridiculous, and it’s also terrifying and serious. So he works really well as the villain of the movie – as one of the villains, actually.”
There is a bunch of new cast addition to the lineup of degenerate anti-heroes from DC comics.
Idris Elba as Bloodsport
John Cena as Peacemaker
Peter Capaldi as The Thinker
Michael Rooker as Savant
David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man
Mayling Ng as Mongal
Nathan Fillion as TDK
Pete Davidson as Blackguard
The only actors/characters returning from the Ayer’s Suicide Squad movie are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jai Courtney Captain Boomerang—with king shark voiced by Sylvester Stallone.
Suicide Squad premiere’s in UK theaters on August 6, 2021, while simultaneously being released on HBO MAX in the US.
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Apple and Epic wrap up first week of their blockbuster trial. Here's what happened and what's next
Is an iPhone just another gaming device, or a tightly controlled ecosystem? And is it really as secure as it is reputed to be?
Apple, the maker of the iPhone, and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, wrapped up the first week of testimony on Friday, with the iPhone inventor trying to fend off accusations from the video game developer that its App Store constitutes a monopoly and that it has engaged in anti-competitive behavior.
At the heart of the trial is Apple's payment system, which must be used for any in-app purchases and gives Apple a 30% cut of any such transactions. In August last year, Epic
attempted to circumvent the system
, resulting in Fortnite's removal from the App Store, followed by a lawsuit and, now, the ongoing trial.
What is a game?
On the stand, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney repeatedly sought to define Fortnite as more than just a game, using the word "metaverse" multiple times to refer to a virtual world where people, through their online avatars, attend concerts, watch movies and go to parties. Other game-driven virtual worlds such as Minecraft and Roblox — both of which are still available on Apple's App Store — also came up repeatedly.
Epic is trying to buttress its argument that people do a lot more in Fortnite than just play games, and that Apple's 30% take on transactions within Fortnite's iOS app are anti-competitive since alternative systems aren't allowed.
Presenting Fortnite as more than a game is an attempt to expand the scope of the case and show how onerous Apple's restrictions are, according to Ari Lightman, a professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon University.
"If you download the app from the [App Store] and then you do in-app purchases, a certain percentage comes back to Apple, part of its agreement," he said. "But if you want other additional things, if you want digital experiences, virtual experiences that doesn't relate to the gaming but relates to the brand, does Apple still get a part of that? Should they get a part of that? And Epic's arguing: no."
While Epic is trying to broaden its scope, Apple — which accounts for more than a billion devices worldwide — is trying to diminish its own. The iPhone and iPad are simply two of the many devices on which Fortnite can be played, the company argues, among others that include the Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Switch and even smartphones using Apple's main competitor, Google's Android system.
Apple claims many of those platforms are far more restrictive than its own — Sony, for example, rarely allows play against people on other devices and doesn't permit outside payment systems. Game consoles also charge 30% commissions. all of them?
Epic countered that argument by saying consoles are fundamentally different from iPhones, since they are used for a specific purpose -- gaming only -- and called Microsoft Xbox executive Lori Wright to the stand to help make that point.
"We certainly don't view the iPhone as a competing device" in the same way as a Playstation, Wright said in response to questions from Epic's lawyer.
It's all about the market
The fight to define games and gaming devices is a proxy for a much bigger battle.
Epic's case hinges on defining Apple as a market unto itself. It is attempting to show that the company exercises complete control of its own ecosystem, where app makers must play by its rules if they want access to the hundreds of millions of Apple users and devices.
And Apple, of course, needs to convince U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that there are numerous competitors users can choose from if they don't like how it operates.
"While courts are reluctant to define single-brand markets, it seems appropriate to do so here," said Mark Lemley, director of Stanford University's program in law, science and technology. "If you own an iPhone, you can only buy apps through the Apple App Store... People aren't going to switch phone ecosystems based on the availability of a single app."
Epic also faces the challenge of proving that Apple's payment requirements are anti-competitive. Apple has countered that the commissions are necessary to help pay for its frequently touted privacy and security features.
Epic sought to throw cold water on that argument in the second half of the week, by extensively questioning two Apple executives — App Store VP Matt Fischer and app review director Trystan Kosmynka — on the company's process for adding apps to the company's devices. Epic's lawyers showed several pages of internal Apple emails that revealed fraudulent, malicious and copycat apps that made it through the review process.
While both executives conceded that the app approval process isn't foolproof, they defended Apple's current system and practices.
Fischer said the company felt "justified that we earn our commission" on digital transactions.
"I think the number of mistakes are a small fraction of the effectiveness of the overall review process," Kosmynka added.
What happens next
So far, testimony has come from Sweeney and several other Epic Games executives, two Apple executives and one representative each for Microsoft and computer systems maker Nvidia, as well as the maker of a yoga app called Down Dog, who testified about Apple's App Store policies and restrictions.
The court proceedings will resume Monday, with Epic continuing to build its case before Apple is expected to take over later in the week. Several senior Apple executives are expected to testify, including CEO Tim Cook and senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi.
The trial is expected to run until May 24, so it could be weeks until a verdict is reached — and appeals are likely to follow.
Whatever the result, the case is bound to mark a big shift on several fronts, including the broader app ecosystem worth tens of billions of dollars and tech regulation in general.
"I think Apple has more to lose here because it has a very lucrative business model at stake," said Lemley, of Stanford, though he points out that Epic — valued at nearly $29 billion — also has a lot of money on the table. The company has a
pending lawsuit against Google over its Android app store
and could open itself up to a battle with console makers over their own restrictions.
"More generally, the public stands to benefit from an Epic win, both because it would mean that Apple would find it much harder to exclude apps it competes with and because it will reduce the cost of entry for new apps," Lemley added.
Lightman, of Carnegie Mellon, echoed that Apple has more on the line.
"Apple is going to be ... in a place where their brand has been tarnished a bit," he said. "Win or lose, Apple is going to be perceived as a company that's sort of extorting exorbitant rents out of the folks that they work with."
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Dogecoin fell off a cliff after Elon Musk joked about it on 'SNL'
Cryptocurrency: Where the rules are made up and the points don't matter.
That's the impression one could reasonably arrive at after what happened to Dogecoin following Elon Musk's Saturday Night Live appearance, anyway. The Tesla CEO's hosting gig included a sketch where he joked about the meme-based cryptocurrency being a "hustle" and, predictably, its value on Binance dropped from around $0.65 to a low point of $0.47, per Reuters.
That's a nearly 30 percent drop for the internet funny money, which has had a huge 2021 thanks in part to Musk's frequent tweets about it. Dogecoin has been around for years, originally established in 2013 as a parody of Bitcoin. But since nothing is real and we can make any cryptocurrency valuable if we just believe hard enough, Dogecoin has soldiered on through the years before finally becoming a digital currency worth paying attention to in 2021.
While there's no reason to believe the "hustle" line was anything other than a joke for a sketch comedy program, Musk does have a history of dictating market trajectories with public statements.
Tesla stock famously exploded when he tweeted about the publicly traded company potentially going private in 2018, an act that invited the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In other words, when Musk talks about markets (traditional or otherwise), the markets listen.
At least Dogecoin traders got a little bit of Sunday morning excitement out of Musk's SNL appearance, if nothing else.
from Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide https://ift.tt/3txZnj4
These ingenious iPhone wallpapers ensure your battery never dies
The image above shows three iPhone 12 units, each featuring three different wallpapers. But upon closer inspection, you’d realize it’s the same iPhone 12 device rocking a type of wallpaper that’s not exactly available on iPhone. The image rotates depending on a specific action, in this case, your worst smartphone fear. They match the iPhone’s battery life. It’s a brilliant contraption that anyone can set up on their iPhones without jailbreaking the handset. It’s all possible thanks to a different iPhone functionality that’s already built into iOS. It’s 2021, but smartphone battery life is still a concern. We still wonder how big the phone battery is, and we want to know how long it’ll last even before we order the device. That’s despite the various technologies that should make battery life concerns a thing of the past. Some phones deliver better battery than others but pick any of the newest handsets, and you’re likely to get excellent battery life. Last year’s iPhones and Androids also qualify. Smartphone components are more efficient than ever, and battery capacities have steadily increased in recent years. On top of that, all new smartphones support significantly faster charging speeds, and many of them come with wireless charging support. This makes it even more convenient to recharge the handset during the day. Still, if dropping battery life freaks you out, then Ben Vessey’s smart iPhone wallpaper trick might help. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the wallpaper rotates depending on the battery state. You get to choose a different home and lock screen for healthy battery, low battery, and charging mode. That way, a quick glance at the screen will tell you all you need to know about it. iOS doesn’t offer this kind of iPhone dynamic wallpaper functionality, however. So Vessey took one of the great iOS features that could pull it off, the Shortcuts automation app built into iOS. The Dynamo wallpapers that Vessey devised aren’t an iOS app, so you won’t find them in the App Store. You’ll have to purchase the two packs, each containing three sets of dynamic Wallpaper, directly from Vessey’s website. Each pack costs around $5.50 and comes with a video and PDF instructions to make it all work. There might be no jailbreaking involved, but you will need to set up shortcuts to change those wallpapers depending on battery life. If you’re already well-versed in setting up automation on iPhone, then you might already know how to set up such shortcuts. You could use any images as battery life indicators, as long as they’re descriptive enough for the battery states shown above. You’ll need an iPhone 6s or later to make it all work on your own or with Vessey’s dynamic iPhone wallpapers, which are available at this link.
from BGR https://ift.tt/3f916pR