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Friday Watch

2023-12-01 04:52:43| Between the Hedges

Category: Investing

Stocks Close at Session Highs on US Economic "Soft-Landing" Hopes, Earnings Outlook Optimism, Technical Buying, Healthcare/Road & Rail Sector Strength

2023-11-30 22:52:49| Between the Hedges

Category: Investing

Bear Radar

2023-11-30 22:52:49| Between the Hedges

Category: Investing

Marketing and Advertising

TikTok ban in Montana blocked by US judge over free speech rights

2023-12-01 02:18:46| Engadget

Montana's unprecedented state-wide ban of Chinese short-video app, TikTok, was supposed to take effect on January 1, 2024, but as reported by Reuters, US District Judge Donald Molloy issued a preliminary injunction just one month ahead to block said ban. This means that for now, ByteDance and app stores are allowed to continue serving TikTok to users within the Montana state, without being fined $10,000 daily from the start date of the ban. The judge was quoted saying the ban "oversteps state power and infringes on the constitutional rights of users" echoing the legal challenge filed by five TikTok creators on the day after the bill was signed back in May, as well as another lawsuit filed by the platform's owner, ByteDance, later on in the same month. It was also questionable as to whether Google and Apple could have effectively enforced such a state-wide ban on their app stores.   The relevant bill was originally drafted based on claims that this Chinese app would share US users' personal data with the Chinese government, to which ByteDance had long denied since the presidency of Donald Trump. "TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access," the company claimed back in August 2020 and again via a new "transparency" push earlier this year, with reference to "Project Texas" for safeguarding US user data with help from Oracle.  To date, no other US state had passed a bill to bar TikTok. The outcome of Montana's case may hold the key to this Chinese app's fate across the rest of the country.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-ban-in-montana-blocked-by-us-judge-over-free-speech-rights-011846138.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

Tesla's Cybertruck is a dystopian, masturbatory fantasy

2023-11-30 23:56:48| Engadget

Its been four years since Tesla first announced the Cybertruck, a hideously ugly electric pickup truck that didnt seem to actually improve on EVs or pickups in any meaningful way. Instead, the 6,600-pound mass of stainless super steel seems to be more the culmination of one man's bizarre fantasy, and that man just so happened to own an entire company he could leverage to birth that fantasy, with all its sharp angles and unnecessary lighting bars, into reality. Today, Tesla finally delivered the first, long-delayed production Cybertrucks to 10 buyers in a livestream on CEO Elon Musks decimated X platform, the first of an unknown number of wealthy consumers who have bought into his grim vision of the future. It's a car that promises for only those who can afford them a blank check for vehicular manslaughter and unnecessary survivability from semi-automatic firearms. Its tagline ("more utility than a truck, faster than a sports car") speaks almost poetically to two distinct but orthogonal archetypes of threatened masculinity: the tacti-cool milspec dork, and the showboating rich guy. A bulletproof body has been a key feature since the Cybertruck's introduction in 2019; today Musk admitted it was there for no good reason. Why did you make it bulletproof? Musk said. Why not? he said with a broad grin, before metaphorically waving his genitals at the cheering crowd, while also promising metaphorically larger genitals to anyone who buys the Cybertruck. How tough is your truck? Musk smirked. This admission came alongside video footage of a Cybertruck being sprayed with rounds from a .45 caliber tommy gun, a Glock 9mm and a MP5-SD submachine gun, which also uses 9mm rounds. We'd ask Tesla what cartridges they were firing and if they were being shot from within the effective range of any of these weapons, but the company dissolved its PR team in 2019. It was a stupid but expected bit of showboating from Musk during his rambling presentation. Right before the gunfire demo, Musk touted the trucks overall toughness, noting that its low center of gravity made it extremely difficult to flip in an accident. A video also showed the Cybertruck barely moving after a much smaller vehicle moving at 38 mph collided with it. To that, Musk commented that if youre ever in an argument with another car, you will win, glibly encouraging Cybertruck owners to engage in such "arguments." In a country where both traffic fatalities and gun violence have surged in recent years, its a little galling to see Musk promoting his vehicle as some sort of tool for rich people to survive the apocalypse, or even just the inconveniences of a world where their lessers occupy space at all. (All-wheel drive Cybertrucks start at about $80,000; a $60,000 RWD model is supposedly arriving in 2025.) Sometimes you get these late civilization vibes, the apocalypse could come along at any moment, and here at Tesla we have the finest apocalypse technology, Musk mused. Beyond that is the simple fact that SUVs and trucks have gotten dramatically bigger and heavier in the past decade or so. EVs naturally weigh more because of their batteries, but auto manufacturers have been making the fronts of cars larger and taller in recent years, too. Thats a combo that makes these vehicles more dangerous for pedestrians and other drivers alike. Whatever their nose shape, pickups, SUVs and vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches are about 45 percent more likely to cause fatalities in pedestrian crashes than cars and other vehicles with a hood height of 30 inches or less and a sloping profile, research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states. It also noted that pedestrian crash deaths have risen 80 percent since a low in 2009. Anyone who walks or bikes around a city has probably felt that danger before, and its even more startling when the wall of a truck stops short when youre crossing the street. Finally, its well known that the speed of a car dramatically impacts the survivability of a pedestrian, which isnt great when an extremely heavy car also can do 0-60 in less than three seconds. Now that the Cybertruck is nearly ready for public consumption, it looks like Musk has basically built a vehicle that, for a steep price, enables the worst impulses of US drivers and gives them the freedom to do whatever they want. It doesnt matter if the Cybertrucks lightbar headlights blind the drivers of smaller vehicles; they should get the hell out of the left lane. And if someone else on the road pisses off a Cybertruck driver, who cares? Other drivers should just accept that theyre about to lose a very expensive and potentially life-threatening argument with the Cybertrucks front fender. This all should have been obvious right from the start. From day one, the Cybertruck has alluded to a cyberpunk future, a genre with cool haircuts and hacking and slightly problematic orientalism, yes but also one where wealth inequality is even worse than it currently is, and the rules dont apply to those with money. The implicit promise of the Cybertruck has always been a vehicle that waives societal standards for people who can afford it, and todays spectacle made that explicit. To that end, maybe this marketing is as much genius as it is nonsense. If Al Capone showed up with a Tommy gun and emptied the entire magazine into the car door, youd still be alive, Musk crowed at one point, either promising to revive the dead or oblivious to the terrifying number of human beings who use guns to commit acts of violence. I dont know about you, but I dont want to live in a world where being swiss cheesed by lethal armaments is something I need to consider when Im buying a car. Maybe the rich survivalists playing out Blade Runner meets Mad Max in their Cybertrucks haven't considered that when everything burns down, the power grid will go down too.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/teslas-cybertruck-is-a-dystopian-masturbatory-fantasy-225648188.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

Apple patches two security vulnerabilities on iPhone, iPad and Mac

2023-11-30 22:58:54| Engadget

Apple pushed updates to iOS, iPadOS and macOS software today to patch two zero-day security vulnerabilities. The company suggested the bugs had been actively deployed in the wild. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited against versions of iOS before iOS 16.7.1, the company wrote about both flaws in its security reports. Software updates plugging the holes are now available for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Researcher Clément Lecigne of Googles Threat Analysis Group (TAG) is credited with discovering and reporting both exploits. As Bleeping Computer notes, the team at Google TAG often finds and exposes zero-day bugs against high-risk individuals, like politicians, journalists and dissidents. Apple didnt reveal specifics about the nature of any attacks using the flaws. The two security flaws affected WebKit, Apples open-source browser framework powering Safari. In Apples description of the first bug, it said, Processing web content may disclose sensitive information. In the second, it wrote, Processing web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. The security patches cover the iPhone XS and later, iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2nd generation and later, iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 11-inch 1st generation and later, iPad Air 3rd generation and later, iPad 6th generation and later, and iPad mini 5th generation and later. The odds your devices were affected by either of these are extremely minimal, so theres no need to panic but, to be safe, it would be wise to update your Apple gear now. You can update your iPhone or iPad immediately by heading to Settings > General > Software Update and tapping the prompt to initiate it. On Mac, go to System Settings > General > Software Update and do the same. Apples fixes arrived today in iOS 17.1.2, iPadOS 17.1.2 and macOS Sonoma 14.1.2. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-patches-two-security-vulnerabilities-on-iphone-ipad-and-mac-215854473.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
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