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Elon Musk is driving Tesla’s Cybertruck prototype around Los Angeles

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The Cybertruck prototype at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, California on November 21st. | Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

Just a few weeks after Elon Musk unveiled his polarizing sci-fi Cybertruck, the Tesla CEO was seen driving the prototype vehicle in Malibu, California this weekend, all while knocking over a sign and possibly making an illegal turn in the process.

It’s not the first time the Cybertruck has been spotted on public roads since its unveiling on November 21st. But it is the first time Musk was seen in the driver’s seat, which was enough to spark TMZ and the Daily Mail into licensing the paparazzi footage that has since gone viral. (The truck was also spotted later that evening cruising down Interstate 405.)

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mrobold
2 days ago
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That car isn't street legal here and he should be cited and the car impounded
Orange County, California
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FCC tries to bury finding that Verizon and T-Mobile exaggerated 4G coverage

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A photo of Ajit Pai.

Enlarge / Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, during an interview in New York, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular exaggerated their 4G coverage in official filings to the Federal Communications Commission, an FCC investigation found. But FCC officials confirmed that Chairman Ajit Pai does not plan to punish the three carriers in any way. Instead, the FCC intends to issue an enforcement advisory to the broader industry, reminding carriers "of the penalties associated with filings that violate federal law."

"Overstating mobile broadband coverage misleads the public and can misallocate our limited universal service funds, and thus it must be met with meaningful consequences," FCC staff said in an investigative report released today.

But there won't be any meaningful consequences for Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. "Based upon the totality of the circumstances, the investigation did not find a sufficiently clear violation of the MF-II [Mobility Fund Phase II] data collection requirements that warranted enforcement action," an FCC spokesperson told Ars via email.

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mrobold
9 days ago
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Orange County, California
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EPA still moving to limit science used to support regulations

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Image of a human.

Enlarge / Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler. (credit: Win McNamee / Getty)

Former Texas Congressman Lamar Smith may have retired in January, but his ideas still stalk the halls of the US Environmental Protection Agency. The New York Times reported Monday that the latest incarnation of Smith's quest to change the science the EPA can use for its rule making is moving forward.

Smith had unsuccessfully pushed a bill called the "Secret Science Reform Act," which would have required the EPA to consider only those studies with data that is "publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results." He claimed that opponents of regulations were often unable to audit the science underlying the regulations—although those opponents could, of course, have done their own science.

Limiting science

The scientific community noted that this requirement would have the effect of excluding quite a lot of relevant science published in peer-reviewed journals. In particular, research on the public health impacts of pollutants is only possible through the use of confidential health data. There are systems in place to give researchers controlled access to that data, but releasing it to the public is simply not an option, and doing so very well might violate other federal rules.

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mrobold
29 days ago
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Orange County, California
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Han Solo’s scene with Greedo in Star Wars: A New Hope may be edited differently on Disney+

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Disney+ arrived with seven chapters of the Skywalker saga, but people have started to notice something strange about the first Star Wars film, A New Hope: it appears to have an entirely different edit than the ones fans have seen before.

The new edit, spotted by the Star Wars Visual Comparisons Twitter account, reportedly features an entirely new insert of the Rodian bounty hunter Greedo saying something while talking to Han Solo in the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine. A Disney representative told The Verge they’re investigating.

The famous scene, which depicted the two characters having a tense conversation about the money Solo owned, was originally filmed and edited to feature Solo shooting Greedo first. The Special Edition release of A...

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mrobold
32 days ago
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Orange County, California
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Disney says its new Disney+ streaming service is so popular you can’t stream it

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A man in armor holds up a weapon and dodges behind a wall. A scene from The Mandalorian, a new Star War series streaming on Disney+. | Lucasfilm

“The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations.” Translation: Whoops.

Disney spent billions of dollars to launch its long-awaited streaming service today, and ... lots of people can’t stream it.

The internet lit up with reports of consumers who were unable to find, download, or get Disney+ to work on Tuesday (it worked fine for this reporter). Launch day snafus are common for any consumer internet product, but this one is apparently large enough that Disney can’t brush it off as carping from a few disgruntled tweeters.

Here’s an official, not terribly helpful, statement from a Disney public relations rep: “The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. While we are pleased by this incredible response, we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them. We appreciate your patience.”

Again, it’s not shocking that Disney had some kind of issues launching a much-publicized streaming video service.

But it is surprising, since Disney executives were well aware of the attention and scrutiny they would face. The company rolled out a test version of the service in the Netherlands this fall, and Disney executives told reporters last week that they had seen some technical issues with the beta version of Disney+ but had resolved them.

And on Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Iger assured investors that his company was, indeed, ready for today’s big push:

Disney wasn’t just hoping that it was ready for scale: The company had invested some $3 billion to make sure it would be ready to stream video to tens of millions of people. It spent that money on BamTech, the streaming service originally built by Major League Baseball to let people watch games online, which was subsequently used to outsource video streaming for everyone from HBO to the WWE.

At the time of that deal, industry observers criticized Disney, arguing that it overpaid for a tech company it could have built itself for much less. Disney executives shrugged and said they didn’t mind overpaying if it got them the tech they needed, quickly.

So what went wrong today? Disney certainly isn’t saying. BamTech’s tech stack was supposed to be particularly good at moving live video around the web, which isn’t an issue here — everything Disney is streaming today is pre-recorded, like The Mandalorian, a new Star Wars spinoff TV show.

It’s also supposed to be good at handling many concurrent users, which very well could be an issue here as Disney fans piled into the service early this morning.

It’s tempting to draw conclusions about a big media company’s inability to figure out streaming, especially when it is trying to chase down Netflix, which now streams to some 160 million customers around the world. Apple’s TV+ service, which launched earlier this month, didn’t have similar technical problems — but the actual shows on the service drew lackluster reviews.

In the past, some big media companies that tried and struggled to stream ended up handing that work over to BamTech, but Disney simply bought BamTech instead. If that doesn’t work, what’s next?

On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Disney’s launch-day problems are just that and won’t be around in a day or two. And that tens of millions of people who didn’t get up on Tuesday morning to stream Disney+ will eventually download the app and find that it works just fine.

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mrobold
32 days ago
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Orange County, California
freeAgent
32 days ago
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Los Angeles, CA
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Microsoft vows to ‘honor’ California’s sweeping privacy law across entire US

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

On Monday, Microsoft announced that it would honor the “core rights” provided to Californians through the state’s landmark data privacy law and expand that coverage across the entire United States.

In a Monday blog post, Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, said that the company will extend the main principles of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) across the US just as it did with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year. The law goes into effect in California on January 1st, 2020.

CCPA, which was approved in June 2018, is one of the fiercest and most sweeping data privacy regulations in the US. It’s somewhat similar to GDPR. Under CCPA, companies must disclose to users what personal data of theirs...

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mrobold
33 days ago
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Orange County, California
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