Delta variant’s wild spread raises fears, fresh scrutiny of CDC mask guidance

States with low vaccination rates are already seeing a delta surge.

Crowds move past indoor food vendors.

Enlarge / Masked and unmasked people make their way through Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, California, on June 29, 2021, as the World Health Organization (WHO) urges fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks with the rapid spread of the delta variant. (credit: Getty | FREDERIC J. BROWN)

The highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire throughout the US, raising further concern for areas with low vaccination rates and renewing scrutiny of federal mask guidance.

The delta variant, first identified in India, now makes up more than 20 percent of cases in the US, with some estimates rising to at least 37 percent in recent days. The variant is rapidly overtaking the previously predominant variant in the US, Alpha, which was first identified in the UK and dominated the US in a matter of months this past spring. Scientists estimate that the alpha variant is around 50 percent more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus that exploded out of Wuhan, China.

Delta, on the other hand, is estimated to be 50 percent to 60 percent more contagious than Alpha. That is, it may be more than twice as contagious as the original virus.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ökozid – ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit?

Klimaaktivisten fordern, die Zerstörung ganzer Ökosysteme nach dem Völkerstrafrecht zu ahnden. Das wäre kompliziert umzusetzen. Die Idee ist aber nicht ganz neu

Klimaaktivisten fordern, die Zerstörung ganzer Ökosysteme nach dem Völkerstrafrecht zu ahnden. Das wäre kompliziert umzusetzen. Die Idee ist aber nicht ganz neu

Lilbits: Windows 11 on the Raspberry Pi 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G leaks (again)

Samsung hasn’t officially introduced its 2021 foldable phone lineup yet. But details about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G have been leaking for months, and last week Evan Blass posted a set of images that gave us a …

Samsung hasn’t officially introduced its 2021 foldable phone lineup yet. But details about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G have been leaking for months, and last week Evan Blass posted a set of images that gave us a closer look at the upcoming phones. Now he’s back with a […]

The post Lilbits: Windows 11 on the Raspberry Pi 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G leaks (again) appeared first on Liliputing.

Amazon doesn’t like FTC chair Lina Khan’s views, wants her off investigations

Sensing a changing antitrust landscape, Amazon fires a warning shot.

Lina M. Khan testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill on April 21, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / Lina M. Khan testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill on April 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. (credit: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)

Amazon filed a 25-page petition today with the FTC asking that Chairwoman Lina Khan recuse herself from antitrust investigations into the company.

Khan, a frequent critic of Amazon and other Big Tech firms, was appointed FTC chair less than two weeks ago. Though there has been plenty of speculation about her first moves, her short tenure to date means she hasn’t had much opportunity to file lawsuits or announce investigations. Amazon’s petition shows that its legal team hasn’t sat idle since her nomination as commissioner and subsequent appointment as chair.

“Although Amazon profoundly disagrees with Chair Khan’s conclusions about the company,” the company wrote in the petition, “it does not dispute her right to have spoken provocatively and at great length about it in her prior roles. But given her long track record of detailed pronouncements about Amazon, and her repeated proclamations that Amazon has violated the antitrust laws, a reasonable observer would conclude that she no longer can consider the company’s antitrust defenses with an open mind.”

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Not just OLED: LG is about to release its first Mini LED TVs

New TV models hit the US in July, the rest of the world a few weeks later.

A large flatscreen TV mounted on a white wall

Enlarge / A promotional image depicting one of LG's new Mini LED TVs. (credit: LG)

LG plans to introduce its first consumer Mini LED TVs sometime next month, according to a press release from the South Korean company. Mini LED is a new variant of LCD TV tech that offers better contrast ratios, among other improvements.

The new lineup in the US includes one 4K TV (dubbed the QNED90) and one 8K variant (called the QNED99). Both are available in three sizes: 65 inches, 75 inches, and 86 inches.

Much of the recent advertising and marketing muscle behind Mini LED TVs has come from Samsung, but that's not the only company making them. TCL, Hisense, and others have introduced Mini LED sets as well.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nintendo Fears Relaunch of Pirate Site So Asks for Legal Protection

Nintendo won a $2.1 million summary judgment against the operator of the pirate site RomUniverse last month. The California federal court denied a permanent injunction, however, noting that the site had already shut down. Nintendo now asks the court to reconsider this decision, as there are signs that RomUniverse may relaunch after all.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

romuniverseNintendo regularly takes legal action against pirate sites and services. The gaming company has sued several sites that offer pirated games, including RomUniverse, which it took to court two years ago.

The download portal, which also offered movies and books, was accused of massive online copyright infringement. Even worse, Nintendo’s complaint said that the site also charged users for access to premium features.

RomUniverse Fought Back

The site’s operator, Los Angeles resident Matthew Storman, clearly disagreed with these allegations and without an attorney decided to defend himself in court. In his view, the site wasn’t breaking any laws so he asked the court to dismiss the case.

Nintendo picked this defense apart and found the court on its side. This meant that Storman had to face the copyright infringement charges, as well as millions of dollars in potential damages.

The RomUniverse site initially remained online but last summer, after discussions with Nintendo’s legal team, the operator agreed to shut it down. But that didn’t end the case.

$2.1 Million Judgment

Nintendo was pleased to see RomUniverse offline, but the lawsuit continued. The gaming company moved for summary judgment and demanded millions of dollars in damages.

Last month, US District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled on the matter, largely siding with Nintendo. The court granted a $2.1 million summary judgment against the RomUniverse operator, for infringing the game company’s copyrights and trademarks.

Nintendo didn’t get everything it was after. Judge Marshall denied a permanent injunction against Storman, as Nintendo failed to show that it was suffering irreparable harm. Additionally, the fact that Storman had already shut down the site showed there was no imminent threat of further infringements.

Nintendo Asks Court to Reconsider

New court filings reveal that Nintendo isn’t planning to let the permanent injunction go just yet. The company has filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that, under the recently implemented Trademark Modernization Act, there is a ‘mandatory’ presumption of irreparable harm for trademark infringers.

Perhaps just as crucially, Nintendo is worried that RomUniverse hasn’t shut down permanently and could make a comeback in the near future.

In a signed declaration, Nintendo’s lawyer William C. Rava says he spoke with Mr. Storman over the phone earlier this month. At the time, RomUniverse’s operator didn’t rule out a comeback. However, he did offer assurances that this would be without any Nintendo titles.

Nintendo Fears a Comeback

Still, this potential relaunch has the Japanese gaming giant worried and it believes that a permanent injunction preventing such a comeback is warranted.

“Defendant’s threat to continue to operate RomUniverse to distribute videogame ROMs, using the same website he used for the past several years to mass-infringe Nintendo’s copyright and trademark rights, necessitates the entry of an injunction,” Nintendo informs the court.

In addition, the motion highlights that Mr. Storman has already disregarded previous legal obligations. The court previously awarded sanctions that required a monthly $50 payment, but this money has yet to come in.

“This failure to make even the modest $50/month payment, an amount that he proposed and agreed to, demonstrates that Nintendo has no adequate remedy at law for Defendant’s past or future infringement and underscores the need for a permanent injunction.”

RomUniverse Wants Damages Scrapped

Nintendo’s concerns are not the only remaining issue, Mr. Storman himself has also filed a motion for reconsideration.

According to RomUniverse’s founder, the court erred in awarding $2.1 million in damages. Mr. Storman contests that Nintendo suffered actual damages and also questions whether game copyrights were registered on time.

Both motions are opposed by the other side, so it is ultimately up to the court to decide who’s right and wrong. At the time of writing, however, the RomUniverse website remains offline.

A copy of Nintendo’s follow-up to the motion for reconsideration is available here (pdf). We also have a copy of Storman’s motion for reconsideration (pdf) and Nintendo’s reply (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

Robinhood ordered to pay $70m penalty to US regulator

It’s the largest penalty the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has ever ordered.

Robinhood ordered to pay $70m penalty to US regulator

Enlarge

A Wall Street regulator has ordered the retail trading platform Robinhood to pay more than $70m in penalties for causing what it described as “widespread and significant” harm to its customers.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) announced on Wednesday that it was fining Robinhood $57m and ordering it to pay $12.6m plus interest in restitution to its customers—the largest penalty ever ordered by the regulator.

Among a litany of failures alleged by Finra, widespread technical problems on the platform during periods of high volatility cost some traders tens of thousands of dollars, it said.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

More hints of progress toward a malaria vaccine

Two recent papers describe strong protection against a difficult parasite.

Image of a health worker administering a shot.

Enlarge / A health worker vaccinates a child against malaria in Ndhiwa, western Kenya. (credit: BRIAN ONGORO / Getty Images)

The incredible success of the COVID vaccines has been a triumph of biotechnology. But that triumph has in some ways obscured the amount of luck involved. We've been trying for decades to produce vaccines against HIV, but no amount of high-tech biology has gotten us one to date.

Malaria is another killer that has so far resisted vaccine efforts. But this spring has brought hope that progress is being made. Back in May, a small clinical trial of a relatively traditional vaccine showed an efficacy of over 70 percent. And this week, a paper describes a very different way of generating highly effective immunity to the malarial parasite.

Why is malaria so hard?

Malaria has resisted vaccination for a variety of reasons. One is that it's not caused by just a single infectious agent. Instead, it's caused by several related species in the Plasmodium genus. Plasmodium falciparum typically causes more severe illnesses and has thus been the target of most vaccine efforts. But even if we're able to prevent infections by this strain, we won't see the end of malaria.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Starlink’s “next-generation” user terminal will cost a lot less, Musk says

Musk expects near-global coverage in August and up to 500,000 users in one year.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appears on a giant video screen while he discusses Starlink.

Enlarge

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his company's Starlink division is trying to cut the price of its user terminal from $500 to as low as $250. Starlink has been charging $99 a month for Internet service during its beta phase, plus $500 up front for the user terminal/satellite dish, and it's losing money on the sale of each dish.

"We are losing money on that terminal right now. That terminal costs us more than $1,000," Musk said yesterday during a Mobile World Congress Q&A session (see a YouTube video posted by CNET). "We obviously are subsidizing the cost of the terminal. We are working on next-generation terminals that provide the same level of capability, roughly the same level of capability, but cost a lot less."

Musk noted that "selling terminals for half price is not super compelling" given that SpaceX is planning for millions of Starlink customers. "Over time, we'd like to reduce the terminal cost from $500 to, I don't know, $300 or $250, or something like that."

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Next batch of AYA Neo handheld gaming PCs will have improved hardware (Update: free upgrade kits for first 500 backers)

The AYA Neo is a handheld gaming computer with a 7 inch touchscreen display wedged between a set of game controllers and an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor with Radeon Vega 6 graphics powering the system. It went up for pre-order through a crowdfunding ca…

The AYA Neo is a handheld gaming computer with a 7 inch touchscreen display wedged between a set of game controllers and an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor with Radeon Vega 6 graphics powering the system. It went up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, and the developers have shipped more than […]

The post Next batch of AYA Neo handheld gaming PCs will have improved hardware (Update: free upgrade kits for first 500 backers) appeared first on Liliputing.