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SEC Charges Kim Kardashian for Unlawfully Touting Crypto Security

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Kim Kardashian for touting on social media a crypto asset security offered and sold by EthereumMax without disclosing the payment she received for the promotion. Kardashian agreed to settle the charges, pay $1.26 million in penalties, disgorgement, and interest, and cooperate with the Commission's ongoing investigation. From a report: The SEC's order finds that Kardashian failed to disclose that she was paid $250,000 to publish a post on her Instagram account about EMAX tokens, the crypto asset security being offered by EthereumMax. Kardashian's post contained a link to the EthereumMax website, which provided instructions for potential investors to purchase EMAX tokens. "This case is a reminder that, when celebrities or influencers endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, it doesn't mean that those investment products are right for all investors," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. "We encourage investors to consider an investment's potential risks and opportunities in light of their own financial goals. Ms. Kardashian's case also serves as a reminder to celebrities and others that the law requires them to disclose to the public when and how much they are paid to promote investing in securities," Chair Gensler added.

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Milky Way's Graveyard of Dead Stars Found

The first map of the "galactic underworld" -- a chart of the corpses of once massive suns that have since collapsed into black holes and neutron stars -- has revealed a graveyard that stretches three times the height of the Milky Way, and that almost a third of the objects have been flung out from the galaxy altogether. Phys.Org reports: "These compact remnants of dead stars show a fundamentally different distribution and structure to the visible galaxy," said David Sweeney, a Ph.D. student at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney, and lead author of the paper in the latest issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "The 'height' of the galactic underworld is over three times larger in the Milky Way itself," he added. "And an amazing 30 percent of objects have been completely ejected from the galaxy." [...] Sweeney added that "the hardest problem I had to solve in hunting down their true distribution was to account for the 'kicks' they receive in the violent moments of their creation. Supernova explosions are asymmetric, and the remnants are ejected at high speed -- up to millions of kilometers per hour -- and, even worse, this happens in an unknown and random direction for every object." But nothing in the universe sits still for long, so even knowing the likely magnitudes of the explosive kicks was not enough: the researchers had to delve into the depths of cosmic time and reconstruct how they behaved over billions of years. The intricate models they built -- together with University of Sydney Research Fellow Dr. Sanjib Sharma and Dr. Ryosuke Hirai of Monash University -- encoded where the stars were born, where they met their fiery end and their eventual dispersal as the galaxy evolved. The final outcome is a distribution map of the Milky Way's stellar necropolis. In the maps generated, the characteristic spiral arms of the Milky Way vanish in the 'galactic underworld' version. These are entirely washed out because of the age of most of the remnants, and the blurring effects of the energetic kicks from the supernovae which created them. Even more intriguing, the side-on view shows that the galactic underworld is much more 'puffed up' than the Milky Way -- a result of kinetic energy injected by supernovae elevating them into a halo around the visible Milky Way. "One of the problems for finding these ancient objects is that, until now, we had no idea where to look," said Sydney Institute for Astronomy's Professor Peter Tuthill, co-author on the paper. "The oldest neutron stars and black holes were created when the galaxy was younger and shaped differently, and then subjected to complex changes spanning billions of years. It has been a major task to model all of this to find them." "It's a little like in snooker," said Sweeney. "If you know which direction the ball is hit, and how hard, then you can work out where it will end up. But in space, the objects and speeds are just vastly bigger. Plus, the table's not flat, so the stellar remnants go on complex orbits threading through the galaxy." He added: "Finally, unlike a snooker table, there is no friction -- so they never slow down. Almost all the remnants ever formed are still out there, sliding like ghosts through interstellar space."

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Florida's Space Coast On Track After Ian, Set For 3 Launches In 3 Days

NASA says the damage to their launch facilities in Florida following Hurricane Ian was minimal and work was already underway for a "rapid-fire succession of three launches in three days," reports Ars Technica. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: First up is a commercial mission on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket to launch SES-20 and SES-21 satellites for Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES. Stacked in its '531' configuration, this Atlas rocket has a five-meter-diameter payload fairing, three solid rocket boosters, and one engine on the upper-stage Centaur. On Friday, United Launch Alliance said everything continues to progress toward the launch of this mission on Tuesday, October 4, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The launch is planned for 5:36 pm EST (21:36 UTC). Weather is forecast to be favorable, with a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions for launch. After launching, the Atlas V rocket will deliver the pair of communications satellites into near-circular, near-geosynchronous orbits. Once separated, the satellites will use onboard propulsion systems to circularize their orbits at 35,900 km above the equator. Next up in Florida is NASA's Crew-5 mission, which will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. NASA officials confirmed this mission remains on schedule for noon EST (16:00 UTC) on October 5 from Launch Complex-39A at Kennedy Space Center. The crew of four -- NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina -- have been holding at Johnson Space Center in Houston pending the outcome of Hurricane Ian. However, they will now fly to Florida on Saturday in preparation for the launch. SpaceX, meanwhile, will roll its Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the launchpad on Friday night or Saturday, ahead of a static fire test on Sunday. There appear to be no significant technical issues to be worked on ahead of the launch next Wednesday. Finally, on October 6, SpaceX plans an additional launch. For this mission, from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral, a Falcon 9 rocket will deliver Intelsat's Galaxy 33 and 34 satellites telecommunications satellites into a geostationary transfer orbit. The launch is set for 7:07 pm EST (23:07 UTC). Of note for this mission, this Falcon 9 first-stage booster will be making its 14th launch. This marks the first time a SpaceX rocket has flown a purely commercial payload on its 10th flight or later. This strongly suggests that the commercial satellite market is becoming increasingly comfortable with SpaceX's refurbishment process for even well-used rockets. Additionally, NASA said that its Artemis I hardware "survived Hurricane Ian just fine, safely tucked inside the large Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center," notes Ars. "The agency will aim to have the rocket ready for a launch attempt in about six weeks."

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LSD-Like Molecules Counter Depression Without the Trip

"Scientists have designed compounds that hit the same key receptor that LSD activates without causing hallucinations. A single dose produced powerful antidepressant and antianxiety effects in mice that lasted up to two weeks. The study was recently published in the journal Nature. UC San Francisco reports: The compounds were designed to fit into the 5HT2a receptor, which is the main target of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. The receptor is also activated by serotonin, a naturally occurring hormone that regulates mood, cognition and many other functions in the body. The 5HT2a receptor is thought to play a role in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, as well as anxiety and depression, and a host of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs block its activity. The new molecules activate it, but in a very different way than psychedelics. [...] Although it's been known for several decades that 5HT2a receptors activate different signaling pathways in cells, until now there were no compounds selective enough to see what each pathway did. The scientific team discovered the receptors could set off two different pathways, a hallucinatory pathway and an antidepressant/antianxiety one. LSD activates the first one more, while the new compounds activate the second one more. "The receptors are like antennae," said Brian Shoichet, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. "They pick up a chemical signal, and downstream a bunch of things get activated in a cell." The compounds had been selected from a computational library of 75 million candidates. Jonathan Ellman, PhD, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry, and professor of pharmacology at Yale, synthesized them. And the UCSF, UNC, Yale team worked for more than a year to optimize them. "The final molecules were 100 times more potent than what we started with," Shoichet said, although they were still not nearly as strong as LSD. "In the animals they are very potent, much more potent than Prozac." The team expanded to test the designer molecules in mice, adding William Wetsel, PhD, who directs the Mouse Behavioral and Neuroendocrine Analysis Core Facility at Duke. His lab looked for head twitch responses that are the tell-tale signs of psychedelic activity in mice. But the mice hardly twitched. Wetsel's lab ran the mice through a battery of tests to see if the molecules could ameliorate symptoms analogous to human anxiety and depression. And they were highly effective. After many years, what had begun as a science experiment arrived at a discovery with great clinical promise. "The team's next project will be optimizing the compounds, making them selective enough to be used in clinical trials," adds the report. "A key issue will be making molecules that have no affinity for 5HT2b. Drugs that hit this receptor, like the banned diet drug fen-phen, can cause valvular heart disease when taken chronically. That receptor is also hit by psychedelics, particularly LSD."

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Nord Stream Rupture May Mark Biggest Single Methane Release Ever Recorded, UN Says

The ruptures on the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system under the Baltic Sea have led to what is likely the biggest single release of climate-damaging methane ever recorded, the United Nations Environment Programme said on Friday. Reuters reports: A huge plume of highly concentrated methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent but shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, was detected in an analysis this week of satellite imagery by researchers associated with UNEP's International Methane Emissions Observatory, or IMEO, the organization said. "This is really bad, most likely the largest emission event ever detected," Manfredi Caltagirone, head of the IMEO for UNEP, told Reuters. "This is not helpful in a moment when we absolutely need to reduce emissions." Researchers at GHGSat, which uses satellites to monitor methane emissions, estimated the leak rate from one of four rupture points was 22,920 kilograms per hour. That is equivalent to burning about 630,000 pounds of coal every hour, GHGSat said in a statement. "This rate is very high, especially considering it's four days following the initial breach," the company said. The total amount of methane leaking from the Gazprom-led (GAZP.MM) pipeline system may be higher than from a major leak that occurred in December from offshore oil and gas fields in Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which spilled around 100 metric tons of methane per hour, Caltagirone said. The Gulf of Mexico leak, also viewable from space, ultimately released around 40,000 metric tons of methane over 17 days, according to a study conducted by the Polytechnic University of Valencia and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. That is the equivalent of burning 1.1 billion pounds of coal, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

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Tesla Now Has 160,000 Customers Running Its Full Self Driving Beta

One piece of news from Tesla's AI Day presentation on Friday that was overshadowed by the company's humanoid "Optimus" robot and Dojo supercomputer was the improvements to Tesla's Full Self Driving software. According to Autopilot director Ashok Elluswamy, "there are now 160,000 customers running the beta software, compared to 2,000 from this time last year," reports The Verge. From the report: In total, Tesla says there have been 35 software releases of FSD. In a Q&A at the end of the presentation, Musk made another prediction -- he's made a few before -- that the technology would be ready for a worldwide rollout by the end of this year but acknowledged the regulatory and testing hurdles that remained before that happens. Afterward, Tesla's tech lead for Autopilot motion planning, Paril Jain, showed how FSD has improved in specific interactions and can make "human-like" decisions. For example, when a Tesla makes a left turn into an intersection, it can choose a trajectory that doesn't make close calls with obstacles like people crossing the street. It's known that every Tesla can provide datasets to build the models that FSD uses, and according to Tesla's engineering manager Phil Duan, now Tesla will start building and processing detailed 3D structures from that data. They said the cars are also improving decision-making in different environmental situations, like night, fog, and rain. Tesla trains the company's AI software on its supercomputer, then feeds the results to customers' vehicles via over-the-air software updates. To do this, it processes video feeds from Tesla's fleet of over 1 million camera-equipped vehicles on the road today and has a simulator built in Unreal Engine that is used to improve Autopilot.

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Netherlands Researchers Break the 30 Percent Barrier In Solar Cells

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Interesting Engineering: A collaboration of researchers from various institutes in the Netherlands broke the 30 percent barrier associated with solar cells. The achievement will help uptakeworldwide solar energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, an organizational press release said. [...] To do so, researchers in the Netherlands came together to create a four-terminal perovskite/silicon tandem device. A tandem device can better use solar spectrum since it uses a mix of silicon-based solar cells with perovskite-based solar cells. While the former works well with light in the visible and infrared spectrum, perovskites can use wavelength in the ultraviolet and visible light while being transparent to infrared light. In a four-terminal tandem device, the top and bottom cells can operate independently, allowing bifacial tandems to be used, further boosting the power output of the architecture. The press release said that the researchers improved the efficiency of a semi-transparent perovskite cell with an area of 3x3 sq. mm up to 19.7 percent. Below this, a silicon solar cell, which was 20X 20 sq. mm wide, was placed. The tandem device also had a highly transparent back contact that allowed 93 percent of the near-infrared light to reach the bottom of the device. The silicon device was optimized using a host of features, and its efficiency improved to 10.4 percent. Together with the perovskite solar cell, the device delivered a combined energy conversion efficiency of 30.1 percent, making it the best efficiency achieved so far.

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Why Toyota Isn't All-In On EVs

During Toyota's annual dealer meeting in Las Vegas last week, which was called "Playing to Win," CEO Akio Toyoda explained why the company isn't all-in on electric vehicles. CNBC reports: Toyoda last week simply stated what he would like his legacy to be: "I love cars." Despite criticism from some investors and environmental groups, Toyoda this past week doubled down on his strategy to continue investing in a range of electrified vehicles as opposed to competitors such as Volkswagen and General Motors, which have said they are going all-in on all-electric vehicles. The plans could arguably cement Toyoda's "I love cars" legacy or tarnish it, depending on how quickly drivers adopt electric vehicles. "For me, playing to win also means doing things differently. Doing things that others may question, but that we believe will put us in the winner's circle the longest," he said [...]. Toyoda, who described Toyota as a large department store, said the company's goal "remains the same, pleasing the widest possible range of customers with the widest possible range of powertrains." Those powertrains will include hybrids and plug-in hybrids like the Prius, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai and 15 all-electric battery models by 2025. Toyoda reiterated that he does not believe all-electric vehicles will be adopted as quickly as policy regulators and competitors think, due to a variety of reasons. He cited lack of infrastructure, pricing and how customers' choices vary region to region as examples of possible roadblocks. He believes it will be "difficult" to fulfill recent regulations that call for banning traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035, like California and New York have said they will adopt. "Just like the free autonomous cars that we are all supposed to be driving by now, EVs are just going to take longer to become mainstream than media would like us to believe," Toyoda said in a recording of the remarks to dealers shown to reporters. "In the meantime, you have many options for customers." Toyoda also believes there will be "tremendous shortages" of lithium and battery grade nickel in the next five to 10 years, leading to production and supply chain problems. Toyota's goal is carbon neutrality by 2050, and not just through all-electric vehicles. Some have questioned the environmental impact of EVs when factoring in raw material mining and overall vehicle production. Since the Prius launched in 1997, Toyota says it has sold more than 20 million electrified vehicles worldwide. The company says those sales have avoided 160 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent to the impact of 5.5 million all-electric battery vehicles. "Toyota can produce eight 40-mile plug-in hybrids for every one 320-mile battery electric vehicle and save up to eight times the carbon emitted into the atmosphere," according to prepared remarks for Toyoda provided to media. Toyoda also said the company has no plans to overhaul its franchised dealership network as it invests in electrified vehicles, like some competitors have announced. "I know you are anxious about the future. I know you are worried about how this business will change. While I can't predict the future, I can promise you this: You, me, us, this business, this franchised model is not going anywhere. It's staying just as it is," he told dealers to resounding applause.

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Magic Leap's Smaller, Lighter Second-Gen AR Glasses Are Now Available

Magic Leap's second take on augmented reality eyewear is available. "The glasses are still aimed at developers and pros, but they include a number of design upgrades that make them considerably more practical -- and point to where AR might be headed," reports Engadget. From the report: The design is 50 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter than the original. It should be more comfortable to wear over long periods, then. Magic Leap also promises better visibility for AR in bright light (think a well-lit office) thanks to "dynamic dimming" that makes virtual content appear more solid. Lens optics supposedly deliver higher quality imagery with easier-to-read text, and the company touts a wider field of view (70 degrees diagonal) than comparable wearables. You can expect decent power that includes a quad-core AMD Zen 2-based processor in the "compute pack," a 12.6MP camera (plus a host of cameras for depth, eye tracking and field-of-view) and 60FPS hand tracking for gestures. You'll only get 3.5 hours of non-stop use, but the 256GB of storage (the most in any dedicated AR device, Magic Leap claims) provides room for more sophisticated apps. The base model of the glasses costs $3,299, with the Enterprise model amounting to about $5,000.

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Climate Change Is Turning Trees Into Gluttons

Hmmmmmm shares a report from Phys.Org: Trees have long been known to buffer humans from the worst effects of climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Now new research shows just how much forests have been bulking up on that excess carbon. The study, recently published in the Journal Nature Communications, finds that elevated carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased wood volume -- or the biomass -- of forests in the United States. Although other factors like climate and pests can somewhat affect a tree's volume, the study found that elevated carbon levels consistently led to an increase of wood volume in 10 different temperate forest groups across the country. This suggests that trees are helping to shield Earth's ecosystem from the impacts of global warming through their rapid growth. Over the last two decades, forests in the United States have sequestered about 700-800 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which, according to the study, accounts for roughly 10% to 11% of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions. While exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide can have ill effects on natural systems and infrastructure, trees have no issue gluttoning themselves on Earth's extra supply of the greenhouse gas. To put it in perspective, if you imagine a tree as just a huge cylinder, the added volume the study finds essentially amounts to an extra tree ring. Although such growth may not be noticeable to the average person, compared to the trees of 30 years ago, modern vegetation is about 20% to 30% bigger than it used to be. If applied to the Coast Redwood forests -- home to some of the largest trees in the world -- even a modest percentage increase means a lot of additional carbon storage in forests. Researchers also found that even older large trees continue adding biomass as they age due to elevated carbon dioxide levels. "Forests are taking carbon out of the atmosphere at a rate of about 13% of our gross emissions," said Brent Sohngen, co-author of the study and professor of environmental and resource economics at The Ohio State University. "While we're putting billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we're actually taking much of it out just by letting our forests grow."

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Debian Chooses Reasonable, Common Sense Solution To Dealing With Non-Free Firmware

Michael Larabel writes via Phoronix: Debian developers have been figuring out an updated stance to take on non-free firmware considering the increasing number of devices now having open-source Linux drivers but requiring closed-source firmware for any level of functionality. The voting on the non-free firmware matter has now concluded and the votes tallied... The debian votes option 5 as winning: "Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, one installer." Basically the Debian Installer media will now be allowed to include non-free firmware and to automatically load/use it where necessary while informing the user of it, etc. Considering the state of the hardware ecosystem these days, it's reasonable and common sense since at least users will be able to easily make use of their graphics cards, network adapters, and more. Plus a number of modern CPU security mitigations also requiring the updated closed-source microcode. So all in, I am personally happy with this decision as it will allow for a more pleasant experience for Debian on modern systems and one akin to what is found with other Linux distributions. The solution is described in full via the Debian Wiki.

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PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan 'Flew To Brussels' To Voice Concerns To EU Over Xbox's Activision Deal

PlayStation boss Jim Ryan reportedly flew to Brussels last month to meet with European Union regulators currently scrutinizing Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The visit was first reported by Dealreporter sources (paywalled). Video Game Chronicle reports: As has been widely publicized in recent weeks, PlayStation's concerns over the deal are around the future release arrangements for the Call of Duty series -- which is regularly PlayStation's annual best-seller -- and whether it will be pulled from their platforms. Google is also said to have voiced its concerns to EU regulators, according to the same sources. Last month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft had committed to making Call of Duty available on PlayStation for "several more years" after Sony's current marketing deal with Activision expires. However, SIE CEO Ryan, who is reportedly seeking access to future Call of Duty games on equal terms and in perpetuity, responded publicly by calling Microsoft's proposal for keeping the series on PlayStation consoles "inadequate on many levels." "By giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry," Sony claimed. "We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA's focus on protecting gamers."

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Tesla Unveils New Dojo Supercomputer So Powerful It Tripped the Power Grid

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: Tesla has unveiled its latest version of its Dojo supercomputer and it's apparently so powerful that it tripped the power grid in Palo Alto. Dojo is Tesla's own custom supercomputer platform built from the ground up for AI machine learning and more specifically for video training using the video data coming from its fleet of vehicles. [...] Last year, at Tesla's AI Day, the company unveiled its Dojo supercomputer, but the company was still ramping up its effort at the time. It only had its first chip and training tiles, and it was still working on building a full Dojo cabinet and cluster or "Exapod." Now Tesla has unveiled the progress made with the Dojo program over the last year during its AI Day 2022 last night. The company confirmed that it managed to go from a chip and tile to now a system tray and a full cabinet. Tesla claims it can replace 6 GPU boxes with a single Dojo tile, which the company claims costs less than one GPU box. There are 6 of those tiles per tray. Tesla says that a single tray is the equivalent of "3 to 4 fully-loaded supercomputer racks." The company is integrating its host interface directly on the system tray to create a big full host assembly. Tesla can fit two of these system trays with host assembly into a single Dojo cabinet. That's pretty much where Tesla is right now as the automaker is still developing and testing the infrastructure needed to put a few cabinets together to create the first "Dojo Exapod." Bill Chang, Tesla's Principal System Engineer for Dojo, said: "We knew that we had to reexamine every aspect of the data center infrastructure in order to support our unprecedented cooling and power density." They had to develop their own high-powered cooling and power system to power the Dojo cabinets. Chang said that Tesla tripped their local electric grid's substation when testing the infrastructure earlier this year: "Earlier this year, we started load testing our power and cooling infrastructure and we were able to push it over 2 MW before we tripped our substation and got a call from the city." Tesla released the main specs of a Dojo Exapod: 1.1 EFLOP, 1.3 TB SRAM, and 13 TB high-bandwidth DRAM.

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Meta Ordered To Pay $175 Million For Copying Green Beret Veteran's App

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was found by a federal jury in Austin, Texas, to have infringed on two patents held by Voxer, a walkie talkie messaging app founded by a former Army Green Beret. The social media giant was ordered to pay nearly $175 million in damages. Military Times reports: Voxer launched the app in 2011, which was named Best Overall App in the First Annual Silicon Valley Business App Awards in 2013. In 2012, Facebook approached Voxer about a potential collaboration that led to Voxer sharing its patents and proprietary information with the company. "When early meetings did not result in an agreement, Facebook identified Voxer as a competitor although Facebook had no live video or voice product at the time," court filings read. "Facebook revoked Voxer's access to key components of the Facebook platform and launched Facebook Live in 2015 followed by Instagram Live in 2016. Both products incorporate Voxer's technologies and infringe its patents." The Texas jury found that Facebook Live and Instagram Live incorporated two pieces of Voxer's technologies that involve streaming media over networks. Meta countered in court filings that "Facebook has prioritized live video messaging since the launch of Facebook Live and Instagram Live, with one report identifying Facebook Live as Facebook's 'top priority.'" In a statement to TechCrunch, Meta said the social media company will continue to press the issue through the courts. "We believe the evidence at trial demonstrated that Meta did not infringe Voxer's patents," Meta's spokesperson said in the statement. "We intend to seek further relief, including filing an appeal."

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Pentagon Is Far Too Tight With Its Security Bug Bounties

Discovering and reporting critical security flaws that could allow foreign spies to steal sensitive US government data or launch cyberattacks via the Department of Defense's IT systems doesn't carry a high reward. The Register reports: The Pentagon, in its most recent week-long Hack US program conducted with HackerOne, paid out $75,000 in bug bounties and another $35,000 in bonuses and awards to ethical hackers who disclosed critical- and high-severity vulnerabilities in Uncle Sam's networks. [...] According to bug bounty platform HackerOne and the DoD, the Hack US initiative received 648 submissions from 267 security researchers who uncovered 349 security holes. Information disclosure flaws were the most commonly reported vulnerabilities, followed by improper access controls and SQL injection. The Pentagon didn't say how many bug hunters received rewards, or how much they each earned. However, in announcing the contest earlier this year, it pledged to pay $500 or more for high-severity flaws, $1,000 for critical holes, and as much as $5,000 for specific achievements, such as $3,000 for the best finding for * Meanwhile, Microsoft paid $13.7 million in bug rewards spread out over 335 researchers last year, with a $200,000 Hyper-V Bounty payout as its biggest prize. And Google awarded $8.7 million during 2021. [...] It's also worth noting that the DoD's pilot vulnerability disclosure program, which ended in April, didn't pay any monetary rewards. So at least Hack US, with its paid (albeit measly) bug bounties, is a step up from that. "The most successful bug bounty programs strike an even balance between monetary and social benefits," Google's Eduardo Vela, who leads the Product Security Response Team, told The Register. "For bug hunters, there must be a monetary incentive to get them to participate -- but, there's also value in creating a space where folks can get together, connect with one another, and hack as a team. Bringing together the top bug hunters requires both -- one without the other is not enough."

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