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January 7, 2022

Former Tech Boss Found Guilty of Fraud

A California jury found Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of Theranos, guilty of conspiracy and fraud.

According to Axios, “Holmes was the poster child of Silicon Valley hubris.”

Holmes was convicted on four charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud with regards to certain investors. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, though she would likely serve them concurrently. She is expected to appeal her conviction, Axios reported.

Holmes’ blood-testing company raised more than $1 billion in fundraising from a litany of investors, including some recognizable names: Rupert Murdoch, Betsy DeVos, and the Walton family.

Prosecutors claimed Holmes made “knowingly false statements” to investors regarding Theranos’ blood analysis tech’s limitations and capabilities.

The defense argued that Holmes was naive, having been psychologically and sexually abused by former Theranos COO Sunny Balwani.

Holmes’ sentencing date is not yet scheduled.

Balwani is set to stand trial on similar charges next month.


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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes found guilty

December 31, 2021

Paralyzed Man Posts First ‘Direct-Thought’ Tweet Using Brain Chip

A man diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) made history by posting the world’s first “direct-thought” tweet using a computer chip implanted in his brain.

Australia’s Philip O’Keefe, 62, posted the tweet using only his thoughts and an interface created by the neurotech startup Synchron.

The tweet, posted to Synchron CEO Thomas Oxley’s account, read: “No need for keystrokes or voices. I created this tweet just by thinking it. #helloworldbci.”

According to The Independent, the Stentrode device was initially implanted in April 2020 via O’Keefe’s jugular vein. The neurotechnology has enabled O’Keefe to play simple computer games like Solitaire and even communicate with loved ones by email.

“When I first heard about this technology, I knew how much independence it could give back to me,” O’Keefe said after posting the tweet.

“The system is astonishing, it’s like learning to ride a bike – it takes practice, but once you’re rolling, it becomes natural. Now, I just think about where on the computer I want to click, and I can email, bank, shop, and now message the world via Twitter.”

Oxley said the tweets are “an important moment for the field of implantable brain computer interfaces.”

“They highlight the connection, hope and freedom that BCIs give to people like Phil who have had so much of their functional independence taken away due to debilitating paralysis,” Oxley said.


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Paralyzed man with brain chip posts ‘first direct-thought’ tweet

December 30, 2021

Amazon Alexa Dares 10-Year-Old to Put Penny in Wall Outlet

Amazon announced an Alexa update after the software “challenged” a 10-year-old girl to touch a penny to a live electrical outlet.

“OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said,” Kristin Livdahl wrote on Twitter, alongside a screenshot of Alexa’s shocking recommendation.

“We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier,” Livdahl said. “Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”

The penny challenge originated on TikTok in January 2020 after several viral videos encouraged viewers to stick a penny in an outlet to create sparks.

“This video is a concern and similar to past viral videos that encourage unsafe behavior,” Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey told the Boston Globe at the time. At least two incidents were reported in Massachusetts, with participants being charged with attempted arson.

“Customer trust is at the center of everything we do, and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers. As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it,” Amazon said in a statement.

Thankfully, Livdahl’s daughter didn’t take Alexa’s recommendation.

“My daughter says she is too smart to do something like that anyway,” Livdahl tweeted.



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Alexa tells 10-year-old girl to touch live plug with penny

December 30, 2021

Google Dethroned as World’s Most Popular Website

TikTok took the lead as the world’s most popular website, knocking Google into second place.

Last year, Google had a comfortable lead over TikTok, which came in seventh place.

In September 2021, TikTok hit a new record high of 1 billion monthly active users.

Here is the complete list of the top 10 most popular websites in 2021:

  1. TikTok
  2. Google
  3. Facebook
  4. Microsoft
  5. Apple
  6. Amazon
  7. Netflix
  8. YouTube
  9. Twitter
  10. WhatsApp

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In 2021, the Internet went for TikTok, space and beyond

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