Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Regulation and Deregulation of Industry

Climate Promises Made in Glasgow Now Rest With a Handful of Powerful Leaders

Climate Promises Made in Glasgow Now Rest With a Handful of Powerful Leaders

Technology, World
GLASGOW — After two weeks of lofty speeches and bitter negotiations among nearly 200 nations, the question of whether the world will make significant progress to slow global warming still comes down to the actions of a handful of powerful nations that remain at odds over how best to address climate change.The United Nations global conference on climate change closed Saturday with a hard-fought agreement that calls on countries to return next year with stronger emissions-reduction targets and promises to double the money available to help countries cope with the effects of global warming. It also mentions by name — for the first time in a quarter century of global climate negotiations — the main cause of climate change: fossil fuels.But it did not succeed in helping the world avert the wors...
Biden Chooses Robert Califf to Lead F.D.A., Despite Drug Industry Ties

Biden Chooses Robert Califf to Lead F.D.A., Despite Drug Industry Ties

Technology
“The truth of the matter is industry develops drugs — you have to work with industry. The issue is disclosure in publication,” said Ellen V. Sigal, the founder and chairwoman of the nonprofit Friends of Cancer Research, which accepts industry funding. “Rob has done many, many clinical trials with industry, but he has not been a pawn of industry. He’s completely committed to transparency, integrity and science.”Dr. Aaron S. Kesselheim, who served on the F.D.A. advisory panel that considered the Alzheimer’s drug and resigned from the committee after it was approved, said Dr. Califf’s background running clinical trials would be valuable for leading the agency.“I don’t think it’s necessarily disqualifying,” said Dr. Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and ...

Key takeaways from Week 10 of the Elizabeth Holmes trial.

Technology
This week, the main witnesses at the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the blood testing start-up Theranos, were former lab directors who testified about some of the inner workings of the failed company. But a different issue increasingly loomed over the proceedings: Just how long is Ms. Holmes’s trial going to last?Here are the key takeaways from this week’s events.Plagued by delaysFirst there was a Covid scare. Then a juror had to travel for a funeral. Then a broken water main canceled testimony. And on Tuesday, the court’s technology system went down, delaying proceedings several hours and forcing lawyers to show exhibits on a projector.Judge Edward Davila of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, who is overseeing the case, apologized and said he was...

Google Loses Appeal of $2.8 Billion E.U. Antitrust Fine

Technology
In a major ruling that bolsters the European Union’s efforts to clamp down on the world’s largest technology companies, Google lost an appeal on Wednesday to overturn a landmark antitrust ruling by European regulators against the internet giant.The decision by the Luxembourg-based General Court related to a 2017 decision by the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, to fine Google 2.4 billion euros (about $2.8 billion) for giving preferential treatment to its own price-comparison shopping service over rival services.The penalty was the first of three issued by Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s top antitrust enforcer, against Google. And with the other cases also being appealed — and additional European investigations underway against Amazon, Apple and Facebook — the ...

Alibaba Downplays Singles Day for a Tense Time in China

Technology
Singles Day used to be the biggest, most unabashed celebration of consumerism on earth: a 24-hour online retail extravaganza, kicking off with a confetti-filled gala and culminating in stupendous piles of riches for brands, celebrity pitchmen and Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce titan at the center of it all.This Singles Day, an annual Nov. 11 tradition, Chinese shoppers are still likely to buy a lot of stuff. But this year’s bash is looking a little more abashed.The shopping holiday, which Alibaba invented over a decade ago, is evolving for a chastened new era for China’s internet industry, one that emphasizes fairness and responsibility and publicly spurns growth-at-all-costs excess. Past Singles Days were opportunities for Alibaba to showcase its latest innovations in getting people to s...

How Data Is Reshaping Real Estate

Technology
Jordan Fisher was troubled. Every variety of the Red Bull energy drink comes in a similar metallic can, and his company’s camera system, which tracks products that customers pick up in stores, was having trouble distinguishing them.This obstacle was one of many that his company, Standard AI, faced while retrofitting a Circle K convenience store in Tempe, Ariz., with computer vision software, which tracks every item customers pick up so they can simply scan their app-enabled phone to pay as they leave, eliminating the checkout line. A network of more than 100 cameras can identify any of the thousands of similarly sized candy bars or beverages grabbed by customers, including cans of Red Bull, now identifiable thanks to a combination of geometric projections and higher-resolution cameras.This...

Biden Administration Moves to Limit Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

Technology, World
GLASGOW — The Biden administration said Tuesday that it would heavily regulate methane, a potent greenhouse gas that spews from oil and natural gas operations and can warm the atmosphere 80 times as fast as carbon dioxide in the short term.For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency intends to limit the methane coming from roughly one million existing oil and gas rigs across the United States. The federal government previously had rules that aimed to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas wells built since 2015, but they were rescinded by the Trump administration. Mr. Biden intends to restore and strengthen them, aides said. Older oil and gas rigs tend to leak more methane than new systems.The announcement came as more than 100 nations around the world joined together at a Unit...
Regulators Ask Congress to Create New Rules for Cryptocurrencies

Regulators Ask Congress to Create New Rules for Cryptocurrencies

Technology
Tyler Gellasch, a former S.E.C. lawyer who now leads the Healthy Markets Association, questioned if Congress would take the necessary steps. “Given the incredible growth of the industry and its lobbying prowess, there’s no guarantees that new legislation will lead to more oversight and frankly, it’s likely to lead to less,” he said. “This report is unquestionably the starting gun for the crypto lobbying games.”The rise of stablecoins is tied to the wider crypto boom this year.Stablecoins are used to underpin a growing number of crypto trades and transactions in the $2.6 trillion crypto industry because most cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, are extremely volatile and impractical for those purposes. These include accounts where stablecoin holders can get loans or earn high-yield returns ...

Andreessen Horowitz’s Plan to Dominate Crypto

Technology
WASHINGTON — There was lunch at a French bistro near Congress with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and a meeting with some of President Biden’s top economic aides. Then came a private dinner with a major financial regulator.The topic was always the same: “how to win the future” in the global race for cryptocurrency dominance — at least from the perspective of Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that dispatched a team of Washington insiders to make its case during a recent five-day lobbying blitz.At a moment when technology companies have a bad odor in Washington and as the fast-evolving crypto industry is drawing increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, Andreessen Horowitz is pursuing a particularly audacious plan: to both own big chunks of the em...

The Metaverse Is Mark Zuckerberg’s Escape Hatch

Technology
But the most interesting question, to my mind, is: Why is Mr. Zuckerberg doing this? After all, it’s not a prelude to a huge corporate reorganization or a sign of a chief executive who wants to give himself an easier job, as was the case when Google renamed itself Alphabet in 2015 and Larry Page handed over day-to-day control of Google to Sundar Pichai. And even though some have speculated that the Meta rebranding is meant to distract from Facebook’s most recent round of scandals, it’s bizarre to think that announcing a radical plan to reinvent the digital world would make critics less skeptical of the company’s motives.To understand why Mr. Zuckerberg is going all in, it helps to understand that a successful metaverse pivot could help solve at least four big, thorny problems Facebook face...