Posts tagged with "Twitter"

Forever young? Jeff Bezos is backing anti-aging startup Altos Labs

September 8, 2021

Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is pushing the envelope—on marketing, on suborbital space travel, and now on longevity. He is among a group of investors backing a new anti-aging company, according to a new report obtained by Fox News.

The company, Silicon Valley-based Altos Labs, is working on biological reprogramming technology that is targeted at essentially prolong human life, according to MIT Tech Review.

A Russian-born billionaire tech investor, Yuri Milner, and his wife, Julia, also have invested in the company, according to the report. Milner—who is known for investing in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Airbnb—is worth about $4.8 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates.

Altos was incorporated earlier this year in the United States and the United Kingdom; and has plans to create institutes in California, Cambridge, and Japan, according to the report obtained by Fox News.  

It’s also reportedly seeking university scientists with deep pockets dedicated to researching how to reverse the process of aging cells.

Bezos’ investment office, Bezos Expeditions, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

However, this isn’t the first time the world’s richest man has invested in this kind of research.  The 57-year-old Bezos has also invested in the startup company Unity Biotechnology, the New York Post reported.

Unity, according to its website, is working to develop a “new class of therapeutics to slow, halt, or reverse diseases of aging.”

Representatives for Unity did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Airbnb says it will give temporary free housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees

August 25, 2021

Airbnb and its charitable arm, Airbnb.org, said on Tuesday, August 24,  that the company intended to provide free temporary housing globally for 20,000 refugees fleeing the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, The New York Times reports

As American and European governments race to evacuate tens of thousands of people from the landlocked nation at the crossroads of Central and South Asia, the property rental company called the displacement and resettlement of refugees a “significant humanitarian crisis.”

The cost of the accommodations will be covered with money from Airbnb and its chief executive, Brian Chesky, as well as contributions from the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, which was launched in June with the goal of raising $25 million. The organization is working with resettlement agencies and offered to support federal and state governments.

“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up,” Chesky said on Twitter.

“I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same,” he said, according to the Times, adding, “There’s no time to waste.”

Airbnb did not specify how long refugees could stay in the apartments or houses, but said its hosts were offering short- and long-term stays. The company said it had begun supporting Afghans fleeing the country last week when it gave funding to the International Rescue Committee and other organizations to provide temporary stays using the Airbnb platform for up to 1,000 refugees.

Over the weekend, Airbnb said, it placed 165 refugees in housing across the United States, including in California, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State.

Research contact: @Airbnb

Capitol Police investigate bomb threat near Library of Congress

August 20, 2021

After a standoff of nearly four hours, the United States Capitol Police continued negotiating at 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 19, with a man who claimed to have a bomb in a black pickup truck he had parked outside the Library of Congress—prompting evacuations from government buildings in the area, The New York Times reports.

The man drove the black pickup onto the sidewalk of the Library of Congress at about 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, and the police responded to a disturbance call, Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Capitol Police said in a news conference.

When the police arrived, the man said he had a bomb and one of the officers observed what appeared to be a detonator in his hand, Chief Manger said.

The police are negotiating with the man, he said. It was unclear whether the man actually did have explosives.

“We don’t know what his motives are at this time,” Chief Manger said. He confirmed that some of those negotiations had been streamed live on social media, and said the police have “a possible name” for the person.

“We’re trying to get as much information as we can to try to find a way to peacefully resolve this,” he said. Chief Manger declined to describe the conversation between the man and the negotiators.

The man, whom officials identified as a North Carolina resident, was making anti-government statements, according to a law enforcement official.

In alerts to Capitol Hill staff members earlier Thursday, the police urged some people to move inside offices, lock doors, and stay away from windows; and told others to evacuate to designated assembly areas.

The Metropolitan Police Department was “assisting with the report of an active bomb threat involving a suspicious vehicle,” and “currently evacuating the area,” according to a spokesperson, Alaina Gertz.

The Capitol Police declined to provide details about the investigation and referred questions to the agency’s Twitter account, which urged people to stay away from the area.

With lawmakers scattered across the country for a scheduled August recess, most congressional staff were not on Capitol Hill when much of the complex went into lockdown. Many of the evacuated employees work for the Architect of the Capitol staff, building employees and workers helping with construction. And while thousands of people typically work in each office building, the pandemic has limited how many people were inside.

The Supreme Court building was evacuated shortly after 10 a.m., said Patricia McCabe, a spokesperson.

As the police investigated, they shut down several nearby streets around the 100 block of First Street SE. Technicians from the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the officers at the scene.

Just before 11 a.m., dozens of people flooded out of the Madison building, having been told by officers inside to leave the building.

“Everybody head south now,” a Capitol Police officer said as other officers ushered construction workers away from work in the road and asked diners outside a cafe to leave their tables.

Ultimately much of the crowd, some carrying laptops and tangled handfuls of charging cords and headphones, ended up in a park near the building, calling family members and figuring out how to get home.

The threat unsettled visitors and employees at the Capitol, eight months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Hill on January 6, in a violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.

Research contact: @nytimes

Editor’s note: Shortly aftern 2 p.m., the suspect peacefully surrendered. “As far as we can tell it was just his decision to surrender,” said Chief Manger, who identified the man as Floyd Roy Roseberry and said it appeared that he acted alone. He now faces federal charges. Authorities are examining the so-called bomb to determine whether it is an explosive device.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott tests positive for COVID-19 despite receiving vaccination

August 19, 2021

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), 63, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under quarantine—being treated with monoclonal antibodies—the governor’s office announced in a release on August 17, reported DFW, a CBS-TV local affiliate.

“Governor Greg Abbott today tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result. Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently. The governor will isolate in the Governor’s Mansion and continue to test daily. Governor Abbott is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment.”

While Governor Abbott has fought masking in schools and a mask mandate overall, back in 2020, on Tuesday, December 22, he joined the ranks of governors receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on live television in hopes of assuring the public that the inoculations are safe.

But that’s as far as he went: Back in April, he issued an executive order stopping government agencies and state-funded organizations from requiring proof of vaccination.

Then, on Thursday, July 29, he issued a new executive order to bring “clarity and uniformity” to the state’s COVID-19 response. The new order bans any local government in the state from requiring residents to get vaccinated. It also allows any business to continue operating at full capacity, no matter the virus’ rate of spread or how many people are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Now—with cases of the Delta variant skyrocketing throughout the state—Abbott appealed for out-of-state help on Monday, August 9.

Abbott has directed the Texas Department of State Health Services to use staffing agencies to find additional medical staff from beyond the state’s borders as the delta wave began to overwhelm its present staffing resources.

He also has sent a letter to the Texas Hospital Association to request that hospitals postpone all elective medical procedures voluntarily. Hospital officials in Houston said last week that area hospitals with beds had insufficient numbers of nurses to serve them.

Abbott also directed the state health department and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers to treat patients not needing hospital care and expand COVID-19 vaccine availability to the state’s underserved communities.

The governor is taking action short of lifting his emergency order banning county and local government entities from requiring the wearing of masks and social distancing to lower the COVID-19 risk. He has said repeatedly that Texans have the information and intelligence to make their own decisions on what steps to take to protect their health and the health of those around them.

Abbott isn’t currently experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, according to his office.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who is often at odds with Gov. Abbott when it comes to COVID-19 response, tweeted, “I hope @GovAbbott gets well quickly. Our enemy is the virus. Its enemy is all of us.”

Research contact: @CBSDFW

Introducing Twitter Blue, which comes with more bells and whistles—and a subscription price

July 14, 2021

Twitter is rolling out its first-ever subscription product this week in Australia and Canada, the social media site has announced on its blog.

“We’ve heard from the people that use Twitter a lot, and we mean a lot, that we don’t always build power features that meet their needs. Well, that’s about to change,” the blog states, adding, “We took this feedback to heart, and are developing and iterating upon a solution that will give the people who use Twitter the most what they are looking for: access to exclusive features and perks that will take their experience on Twitter to the next level.”

And for those wondering, no, a free Twitter is not going away, and never will. This subscription offering is simply meant to add enhanced and complementary features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it.

Those who sign up for a Twitter Blue subscription will get a set of features and perks that include the following:

  • Bookmark Folders:Want an easy way to better organize your saved content? Bookmark Folders let you organize the Tweets you’ve saved by letting you manage content so when you need it, you can find it easily and efficiently.
  • Reader Mode:Reader Mode provides a more beautiful reading experience by getting rid of the noise. Twitter is making it easier for you to keep up with long threads on Twitter by turning them into easy-to-read text so you can read all the latest content seamlessly.
  • Perks: Subscribers will get access to perks, such as customizable app icons for their device’s home screen and fun color themes for their Twitter app; andwill have access to dedicated subscription customer support.

The current monthly price in Canada and Australia, respectively, is CAD $3.49 or AUD $4.49 (or about $2.75 in U.S. dollars).

Research contact: @Twitter

Fox’s News changes the climate for weather TV

July 7, 2021

Weather is taking the media industry by storm. In fact, later this year, Rupert Murdoch is set to debut Fox Weather, a 24-hour streaming channel that promises to do for seven-day forecasts what Fox has done for American politics, financial news and sports, The New York Times reports.

Not to be outdone, the Weather Channel—the granddaddy of television meteorology, broadcasting from Atlanta since 1982—has announced the creation of a new streaming service, Weather Channel Plus, that the company believes could reach 30 million subscribers by 2026.

Amid a waning appetite for political news in the post-Trump era, media executives are realizing that demand for weather updates is ubiquitous—and for an increasing swath of the country, a matter of urgent concern, the Times notes.

In the past week alone, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest broke records, wildfires burned in Colorado and Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into a hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean.

At CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, average viewership for the first half of 2021 fell 38% from a year prior. Concurrently, the audience for the Weather Channel was up 7%.

“All the networks are ramping up for this,” Jay Sures, a co-president of United Talent Agency who oversees its TV division, told the Times, adding, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that climate change and the environment will be the story of the next decade.”

 One of his firm’s clients, Ginger Zee, the chief meteorologist at ABC News, now has 2.2 million Twitter followers — more than any ABC News personality besides George Stephanopoulos.

Fox Weather’s impending debut opens a new front in the media wars, but Byron Allen, the comedian-turned-media-baron whose Allen Media Group bought the Weather Channel for $300 million in 2018, insists that he welcomes the competition. “Rupert Murdoch is very smart; he is the best of the best,” Allen said in an interview. “I am not surprised he’s coming into the weather space. Honestly, I would have been disappointed if he didn’t.”

Allen told the Times that he and Murdoch recently met for an hour in the latter mogul’s office on the Fox lot in Los Angeles. “We had a great time together,” he recalled. “Now the world will understand how big of a business the weather business is and how important it is.” (A spokesperson for Murdoch did not comment on the meeting.)

The weather media ecosystem—from iPhone apps to localized subscription sites and umbrella-toting personalities on the local 10 o’clock news—is a lucrative, if often overlooked, corner of the industry, where the battle for attention is increasingly fierce. Advertisers weary of the choppy politics and brand boycotts of the Trump years see weather as a relatively uncontroversial port in the squall.

At Fox, Sean Hannity will not be giving a forecast (yet). But Fox Weather, which will be funded by advertisers, is aggressively poaching star meteorologists from Houston, Seattle, St. Louis and other markets. It is also taking a run at major talent at the Weather Channel, with several Hollywood agents recounting frenzied bidding wars. A top Weather Channel meteorologist—Shane Brown, whose title was “senior weather product architect”— defected to Fox last month despite efforts to keep him.

The Weather Channel already is throwing some shade.

“They couldn’t even get a headline right about Tropical Storm Bill,” said Nora Zimmett, the network’s chief content officer, referring to a FoxNews.com article that some meteorologists criticized because it claimed that a relatively benign storm posed a “massive” risk to the Eastern Seaboard.

“I applaud Fox getting into the weather space, but they should certainly leave the lifesaving information to the experts,” said Zimmett, who worked at Fox News in the 2000s. She called climate change “a topic that is too important to politicize, and if they do that, they will be doing Americans a disservice.”

A Fox Weather spokeswoman shot back: “While the Weather Channel is focused on trolling FoxNews.com for unrelated stories, Fox Weather is busy preparing the debut of our innovative platform to deliver critical coverage to an incredibly underserved market.”

Research contact: @nytimes

USPS honors Yankees legend Yogi Berra with ‘Forever’ stamp

June 25, 2021

If he were here today, he would have repeated one of his most famous lines: “I want to thank everybody for making this day necessary.”

 The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring the inimitable Yankees catcher Yogi Berra on June 24. This Forever stamp was dedicated during a ceremony at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey, and is now being sold at Post Office locations nationwide and online at usps.com/yogiberrastamp.

News about the stamp is being shared on social media using the hashtags,  #YogiBerraStamp and #BaseballStamps.

“We hope this stamp will serve as a reminder of Yogi’s larger than life personality — both on and off the field,” said Ron A. Bloom, chairman, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. Bloom was joined for the ceremony by  Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas; and Larry, Tim and Dale Berra, sons of Yogi Berra. The ceremony can be viewed on the Postal Service Facebook and Twitter pages.

“The Berra family wishes to thank the U.S. Postal Service for honoring our father with a Forever stamp for his prowess as a baseball icon who demonstrated the right way to earn the respect of family, friends, competitors and people everywhere,” the family said in a statement.

Research contact: @USPS

Why is DOJ still defending Trump in E. Jean Carroll lawsuit?

June 10, 2021

The Biden Justice Department is forging ahead with a controversial legal effort started under former President Donald Trump to intervene on Trump’s behalf in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by a writer who says Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, NPR reports. But the question remains, why?

E. Jean Carroll leveled the accusations against Trump in her memoir published in Jean Carroll leveled the accusations against Trump in her memoir published in 2019. Trump denied the allegations and accused Carroll of lying to sell books.

Carroll sued the then-president for defamation, but the suit has been caught up in litigation since the Trump-era Justice Department attempted to step in on Trump’s behalf and make the government the defendant instead of the now-former president.

In its filing late Monday, the Justice Department—now led by Attorney General Merrick Garland under the Biden Administration—sought to continue its defense of Trump while distancing itself from his alleged actions.

“Then-President Trump’s response to Ms. Carroll’s serious allegations of sexual assault included statements that questioned her credibility in terms that were crude and disrespectful,” Brian Boynton, the acting head of the department’s Civil Divisionwrote in the brief. “But this case does not concern whether Mr. Trump’s response was appropriate. Nor does it turn on the truthfulness of Ms. Carroll’s allegations.”

Instead, Boynton said, it boils down to a few legal questions, including whether a president is an “employee of the government” and whether Trump’s denials were made within the scope of his office. The department said the answer to both questions is yes, and therefore under federal law it said the government should be able to replace Trump as defendant in the case.

If the department were to succeed in its efforts, legal experts said the move would effectively end the case because the federal government can’t be sued for defamation.

According to NPR, Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, slammed the Justice Department’s decision to continue the Trump-era effort to intervene.

“The DOJ’s position is not only legally wrong, it is morally wrong since it would give federal officials free license to cover up private sexual misconduct by publicly brutalizing any woman who has the courage to come forward,” she said on Twitter.

“Calling a woman you sexually assaulted a ‘liar,’ a ‘slut,’ or ‘not my type’—as Donald Trump did here—is NOT the official act of an American president.”

The new filing is the latest development in the case since the Trump-era Justice Department first took the unusual step of seeking to intervene in the lawsuit last year.

The Justice Department and then-Attorney General William Barr came under fierce criticism for the move, which opponents argued was one in a series of actions the department took under Barr that benefited Trump or his friends.

A federal judge in October denied the Justice Department’s initial attempt to step in on Trump’s behalf. Trump appealed the decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, where the matter now stands.

Research contact: @NPR

AMC courts individual investors with free popcorn

June 3, 2021

Meme stock AMC has long since passed the point where individual investors outnumber institutional ones—and now it’s opening a dialogue with those owners directly, Fortune magazine reports.

The term, “meme stock,” refers to investments that have become sought after by retail investors trading on apps such as Robinhood. Trading in meme stocks is mainly driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO). Traders ignore the fundamentals and focus on the potential.

The theater chain on Wednesday announced AMC Investor Connect— a program that will offer investors ve some perks (and, more importantly, get people back into theaters). Up first: A free large tub of popcorn.

“During my five-plus year tenure as CEO at AMC, I’ve taken great pride in the relationships I have forged with AMC’s owners,” said Adam Aron, president and CEO of AMC in a statement. “With AMC Investor Connect, that effort in relationship-building will continue apace, even if our shareholders now number in the millions. After all, these people are the owners of AMC, and I work for them.”

Indeed, Fortune reports, people who sign up for AMC Investor Connect will receive everything from free and discounted items to invitations to special screenings to direct communications from Aron.

But the company isn’t exactly insisting on proof of ownership. Signing up for the program is done simply by checking a checkbox on the signup page. (You’ll also have to be a member of AMC’s loyalty program, called AMC Stubs.)

The program was warmly welcomed on Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets community, which is where a lot of the AMC enthusiasm is generated.

“This is a ceo who understands. I love it!,” exclaimed JurassicPark-fan-190, while Hard2Digest used the program to further pump the stock, saying “[Aron] is giving away FREE large popcorn. The LEAST you apes can do today is buy 1 more share. Just one share. 3.2million apes, let’s keep pushing.”

Twitter was just as enamored with the announcement.

AMC said over 3.2 million individual investors held an ownership stake in the company as of March 11. That number has certainly gone up since then. The theater chain is now more than 80% owned by individual investors.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Not so authentic? Meghan Markle is accused of plagiarizing her children’s book

May 6, 2021

Meghan Markle has been accused of stealing her children’s book, “The Bench” from a British author’s 2018 work, The Sun (UK) reports.

The Duchess of Sussex penned the book—scheduled to be released in the United States on June 8 by Random House Books for Young Readers— after originally writing a poem for Harry’s first Father’s Day with their son Archie, who will turn two next month.

But critics have pointed out that it bears  some close similarities to “The Boy and The Bench”—published by Farshore in September 20018 and written by Corrinne Averiss and Gabriel Alborozo.

Not only do both books feature a colorful cover illustration of a bench under a tree surrounded by birds—but one illustration by award-winning artist Christian Robinson in Meghan’s book shows a dad with his baby boy dozing on a lounge chair outside.The text says: “From here you will rest, see the growth of our boy.”

Some have claimed the image is similar to one in “The Boy and the Bench,” which features a birds-eye view of a dad and son on a bench, The Sun notes.

“Before you run out and waste money on the book by Harry’s wife, read ‘The Boy on the Bench’ by Corrinne Averiss and Gabriel Alborozo … The original,” one Twitter user wrote of the apparent likeness, according to a report by The New York Post’s Page Six.

Dozens of others soon complained on Twitter that the Duchess of Sussex’s book, “The Bench,” didn’t only share a similar title to UK author Averiss’ 2018 book — but also similar artwork from Christian Robinson.

One online critic, Emma Kaye Wootton, even suggested that the book was “blatantly plagiarized” and that Markle’s work should be “boycotted.”

Another British reader said, “This woman is incapable of an original thought. “The Boy on the Bench” is a story about the love between a father and son, and describes how the boy learns to socialize confidently. I hope that Corrine Averiss considers legal action.”

Yet another, “British born & bred @Dianne Zecher,” commented, “I find it quite a coincidence that someone else named Corrine Averiss wrote a book called “The Boyon the Bench” in 2018 about a young boy & his father. Surely the duchess wouldn’t have accidently [sic] lifted someone else’s work, tweaked it, & served it up to be published?”

The hubbub comes after Markle was accused in July 2019 by the authors of a book to which she contributed of ripping off the design of her “British Vogue” cover.

At the time Cosmopolitan magazine noted, “Apparently, Meghan ‘helped produce’ (read: wrote an essay for) “The Game Changers” by Samantha Brett and Steph Adams about three years before guest editing Vogue’s Force of Change issue—and it also uses a grid cover with black-and-white photos.”

Meghan, herself, has said: “The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after Archie was born. That poem became this story. Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations that capture the warmth, joy and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life. This representation was particularly important to me and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens.

“My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the make up, as much as it does with me.”

But, The Sun notes, royal experts have pointed out it comes at a time when Meghan and Harry’s relationships with their own fathers could not be more strained.

Meghan has not spoken to her father Thomas, 76, for three years and even embroiled him in a High Court privacy case.

Meanwhile Harry, 36, accused his father Prince Charles of being trapped in the Royal ­Family and told Oprah Winfrey in their interview that his family had cut him off financially.

A press release that accompanies the announcement describes it as a story that “touchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between fathers and sons and reminds us of the many ways that love can take shape and be expressed in a modern family.”

Meanwhile, the author of the 2018 book, Corrine Averiss, refuses to become involved in the ruckus—denying that she sees any similarities.

Research contact: @TheSun