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2018-08-17T03:12:00.803Z
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  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai and cofounder Sergey Brin met with employees during an all-hands meeting on Thursday and discussed reports that Google planned to launch a censored search engine in China.
  • Pichai told staff that the company is not close to launching a search product in China.
  • The meeting grew tense as Pichai and Brin discovered someone was providing real-time reports on the meeting to a reporter.

On Thursday, in a meeting with employees, Google's leadership addressed reports from earlier this month that the company had built a censored search engine in order to once again operate in China, according to Twitter posts from multiple reporters.

Kate Conger, a New York Times reporter posted to Twitter what she said were comments made during the meeting by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Sergey Brin, one of the company's cofounders.

"If we were to do our mission well, we are to think seriously about how to do more in China," Pichai told employees, according to The Times. "That said, we are not close to launching a search product in China."

Brin denied having knowledge of the program until after news leaked and an ensuing controversy erupted, or as Brin called it "this kerfuffle."

A Google spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The reports that Google wanted to reintroduce search inside China is a reversal from the position the company took in 2010, when managers pulled out of the country instead of capitulating to the government's demands to filter out...

  • Elon Musk responded Thursday to a former Tesla employee's claims that the company spied on workers and kept quiet about alleged theft and drug-trafficking.
  • In a direct message to Gizmodo, Musk reportedly attempted to discredit the former employee and dismissed his charges, but didn't deny them outright.
  • The employee also claimed that Tesla staffed its security team with former members of a notorious security group at Uber that allegedly spied on rivals.
  • Musk didn't confirm or deny that the former Uber security workers now work for Tesla, but he defended one of them to Gizmodo. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday reportedly attempted to discredit a former security employee who alleges that the car maker spied on employees and kept quiet about drug-trafficking at its battery factory.

Karl Hansen made the allegations in a whistleblower tip he submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month. Hansen's lawyers made the allegations public in a press statement released Thursday.

Tesla and Musk have not responded to multiple requests from Business Insider for comment about Hansen's charges. But in a direct message Gizmodo says it received from Musk, the CEO reportedly attacked Hansen and dismissed his allegations, but didn't explicitly deny them.

"This guy is super [nuts]," Musk reportedly told Gizmodo, using the emoji for a peanut.

The statement from Hansen's lawyers accuses Musk of personally authorizing Tesla's security team to install equipment that would allow the company to eavesdrop on employees' cell-phone communications. According...

  • Employees assembling Model 3 vehicles at Tesla's Fremont factory on the GA3 line were sent home early from multiple shifts this week, three Tesla employees told Business Insider. 
  • One factory worker said the GA3 line, which is the main assembly line for Model 3 production, was sent home early on Wednesday without meeting goals
  • The worker said roughly 211 Model 3 sedans were assembled before workers were sent home three and a half hours early from their typical 12-hour shift. The employee said the company aims to make 300 Model 3 vehicles per shift on the GA3 line. 
  • In early July, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent out a company-wide email celebrating the Fremont plant hitting the 5,000-cars-per-week benchmark, and saying the factory was on track to raise that figure to 6,000 cars a week. 
  • The worker said the email "was laughed at," as the GA3 line has rarely hit its benchmarks. 
  • Tesla declined to comment on whether GA3 line workers were being sent home early and about internal targets for the Model 3. 

 

On Wednesday, Tesla factory workers putting together the Model 3 on the GA3 line were allowed to go home early from the Fremont, California plant, leaving at 2:30 p.m. PT, instead of the usual 6 p.m., three Tesla employees told Business Insider. The employees spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. 

Workers on GA3, which is Tesla's main assembly line for the Model 3, were also sent home early on the night...

  • A jury recently ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a plaintiff who alleged that his cancer was the result of using Roundup, the company's popular herbicide.
  • On the heels of the trial, an environmental nonprofit released a report that showed traces of the herbicide in popular cereals including Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and Lucky Charms.
  • One important thing the cereal report left out: The active ingredient in Roundup — a chemical called glyphosate — likely does not cause cancer in the very low levels at which it is present.

Last week, a jury in San Francisco ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a school groundskeeper who developed cancer after years of using Roundup, the company's popular herbicide. On the heels of the trial outcome, The Environmental Working Group published a scary-sounding report that found traces of the chemical in dozens of everyday foods, from cereals like Cheerios and Quaker Oats to granola bars.

One important thing the report left out: The active ingredient in Roundup — a chemical called glyphosate — likely does not cause cancer in the very low levels at which it is present.

The science linking glyphosate to cancer is limited at best. In fact, the majority of published research on glyphosate and cancer reveals low or zero risk. Here's what you need to know about the chemical in cereal.

The dose makes the poison

  • New evidence from a long-term study suggests that neither high-carb nor low-carb diets are necessarily great for your health. 
  • Scientists studied more than 15,000 people in the US and another 400,000-plus around the world, and found that getting about 50-55% of a day's energy from carbohydrates might be ideal
  • People who ate significantly more or less carbs than that were more likely to die, according to the study.

 
For years, dieters have had to deal with a lot of conflicting advice on how to eat.

First, fat was the bad guy. Then it was considered ideal to avoid sugar and go low-carb.

Lately, dieters trying the trendy ketogenic diet have discovered that if they replace carbs with fat, they can trick their bodies into a natural starvation mode and lose weight, while still enjoying bacon and slurping heavy cream. 

But a new, long-term study published Thursday in The Lancet suggests there may be a winning formula for the amount of carbohydrates to eat every day. It relies on some very unsexy, old advice: everything in moderation. 

Lead researcher Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutrition researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told Business Insider that her results suggested a diet "rich in plant based whole foods such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts is associated with healthy aging." 

That usually means about half of the calories you eat in a day should come from carbohydrates.

A Goldilocks rule for carbs

For the study, Seidelmann looked at the...

  • Some former members of a notorious security team at Uber are now allegedly employed by Tesla.
  • They include Nick Gicinto, who reportedly is the new head of security at Tesla.
  • At Uber, Gicinto allegedly led a team of former CIA case officers who hacked into rivals' computers and secretly recorded their conversations.
  • At Tesla, Gicinto and his team allegedly spied on employees and hushed up a drug-trafficking investigation.
  • The allegations about the Uber team working at Tesla were made by Karl Hansen, a former Tesla employee who has filed a whistleblower tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


"Several" employees in Tesla's security department — including the company's head of security — were previously a part of a similar team at Uber that allegedly stole data from rivals, hacked into their computer systems, and recorded their private conversations, according to a former employee of the electric-vehicle company who filed a whistleblower tip earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At Tesla, those employees were part of a group that spied on employees' personal cell-phone communications and hid from shareholders a theft of raw materials and a drug trafficking ring at the company's battery factory in Nevada, Karl Hansen, a former member of Tesla's security team, alleged in the tip, according to a statement put out Thursday by his lawyer.

"The security personnel accused of engaging in these tactics at Uber were hired by Tesla this year despite the revelation of a...

  • A letter is circulating among Google employees that calls for the creation of an "ethics review structure" that includes representatives from rank-and-file workers.
  • Over 1,400 Google employees have signed the letter, and counting.
  • This comes after news leaked that Google planned to build a search engine that censored information in an effort to comply with China's communist government and begin once again operating there.
  • Sources who spoke to Business Insider say that part of the problem is that Google's managers have yet to address the plan to re-enter China, and the associated ethical quandaries, with employees.    

Google faces yet another showdown with employees following news reports earlier this month that the company wants to offer a search engine in China — one that would censor information in accordance with governmental requirements.

A letter is circulating among Google's staff that calls for the creation of an "ethics review structure," which would make ethical assessments of  the company's projects. Representatives chosen by the staff and "ombudspeople" would take part in those assessments, according to the letter.

A source close to the situation said more than 1,400 employees have so far signed the letter, the existence of which was first reported by The New York Times. Google did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

You can read the full letter...

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk was attempting to hurt the company's short-sellers when he tweeted about taking the company private, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The agency is reportedly asking Tesla's board of directors what Musk told them before he tweeted that he had secured the funding to convert Tesla into a private company, were the proposal to pass a shareholder vote.
  • Tesla and the SEC declined Business Insider's requests for comment. 

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk was attempting to hurt the company's short-sellers when he tweeted about taking the company private, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The agency is reportedly asking Tesla's board of directors what Musk told them before he tweeted that he had secured the funding to convert Tesla into a private company, were the proposal to pass a shareholder vote.

Tesla and the SEC declined Business Insider's requests for comment. 

On August 7, Musk expressed his desire to take Tesla private in a now-controversial tweet.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk said via Twitter.

Some were confused in the hours and days following the tweet, since Musk did not initially disclose who might provide the funding he mentioned.

Musk said in a statement on Monday that he used the phrase "funding secured" because he believed there was "no question" Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund would provide funding for a deal to convert...

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The voice app ecosystem is booming. In the US, the number of Alexa skills alone surpassed 25,000 in January 2018, up from just 7,000 the previous January, in categories ranging from music streaming services, to games, to connected home tools.

As voice platforms continue to gain footing in homes via smart speakers — connected devices powered primarily by artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants — the opportunity for voice apps is becoming more profound. However, as observed with the rise of mobile apps in the late 2000s, any new digital ecosystem will face significant growing pains, and voice apps are no exception. Thanks to the visual-free format of voice apps, discoverability, monetization, and retention are proving particularly problematic in this nascent space. This is creating a problem in the voice assistant market that could hinder greater uptake if not addressed.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores the two major viable voice app stores. It identifies the three big issues voice apps are facing — discoverability, monetization, and retention — and presents possible short-term solutions ahead of industry-wide fixes.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The market for smart speakers and voice platforms is expanding rapidly. The installed base of smart speakers and the volume of voice apps that...

  • AMC Theatres announced on Thursday that it now has 260,000 members in its AMC Stubs A-List movie-ticket subscription service.
  • That makes up 4% of the chain's US attendance.


As MoviePass tries desperately to scale back so only the "occasional moviegoer" will be attracted to the service, AMC Theatres continues to grab more willing takers for its own subscription program.

AMC, the largest movie chain in the world, announced on Thursday that its movie-ticket subscription service, AMC Stubs A-List, now has more than 260,000 members in the seven weeks since its launch. AMC said that made up 4% of the chain's US attendance. 

The company also noted that A-List had been responsible for more than 1 million in attendance at its movie theaters since launch.

"While one would think that the rate of signups will inevitably have to slow down at some point, enrollments now are continuing at quite a brisk pace, getting AMC to scale much sooner than we initially anticipated," AMC Theatres president and CEO Adam Aron said in a press release. "This is very good for AMC and very good for our movie studio partners as well."

MoviePass has certainly proven that moviegoers love a subscription model. But it's hard to tell if it will be around long enough to reap the rewards.

It was revealed earlier this week in the quarterly filing of its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, that the compay had burned more than $219 million in...

  • Another former Tesla employee has filed a whistleblowing tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • The tip alleges that Tesla did not disclose to shareholders the theft of raw materials and unauthorized surveillance and hacking of employee devices and that the company did not tell federal authorities about information it received from former employee Karl Hansen about alleged drug trafficking at the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.
  • Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  • The SEC and DEA declined requests for comment.

Another former Tesla employee has filed a whistleblowing tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a statement from his attorney. 

Karl Hansen used to work in Tesla's internal security department and the company's investigations division, according to the statement. Meissner Associates, the law firm representing Hansen, filed the tip on his behalf on August 9, the statement said.

The tip alleges that Tesla did not disclose to shareholders the theft of raw materials and unauthorized surveillance and hacking of employee devices, according to the statement. The statement also alleges Tesla did not tell federal authorities about information it received from Hansen about alleged drug trafficking at the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.

"I never expected that my employment with such a major public company would lead to uncovering such issues, and am disturbed by Tesla’s highly unusual response to those like me who investigated them," Hansen said in the statement. "I am also very disturbed by Tesla’s failure to...

  • Motorola's new P30 smartphone is getting roasted online for looking almost exactly like the iPhone X.
  • It's not the only phone that sports a strikingly similar look as Apple's flagship phone, but it's the latest example of an amusing trend. 
  • Here's a quiz to see if you can tell the two apart. 

Motorola's newly-announced phone is making the rounds on the internet, but probably not for the reason it hoped. 

The phone, the Motorola P30, looks strikingly similar to Apple's iPhone X. In fact, they look almost exactly the same, minus a few minor differences. 

Here's a short quiz to see if you can tell the two apart — we'll give you the answers at the end. 

(1) Which phone does this notch belong to?

(2) How about this one?

If you can't tell at first, you're not alone. 

(3) Which phone sports this dual-lens camera?

(4) What about this one? 

 

 

 

(5) Here's the two side by side. Still not sure? 

We've cropped out any identifying features, like logos, in the above image. 

 

 

 

Still stumped? Here are the answers:

(1) Motorola P30

(2) iPhone X

(3) iPhone X

(4) Motorola P30

(5) Motorola P30 (left), iPhone X (right) 

Join the conversation about this story »

...

  • Crypto took off at the end of 2017, with bitcoin hitting $20,000 at the end of December. 
  • In this oped, Bruce Elliott, president of ICOx Innovations, argues that big brands are just entering the space. This is what's going to take the nascent market to the next level, not ICO projects. 

If you would have asked me in January – when we helped Kodak launch KodakOne and KodackCoin – if both Starbucks and Facebook would let the world know this year that they have their eyes on cryptocurrency, I would’ve said, “Not likely.”

But here we are, six months later, and Facebook has reportedly engaged in conversations with blockchain projects including Stellar and is expanding its team focused on the much-hyped technology. And Starbucks recently announced a partnership with Bakkt, a new Intercontinental Exchange company whose mission is to create “an open and regulated global ecosystem for digital assets.”

So while we’re not quite there with mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency, Facebook’s and Starbucks’ leadership into the space is a milestone. We will see more household names exploring and entering cryptocurrency, looking for new models of customer engagement leveraging their brand equity in powerful new ways.

Now some of these big-brand cryptocurrency plays have been nothing more than publicity stunts – like the tartly cynical Long Island Iced Tea-Long...

  • Google is near to signing a deal to take control of 14,000 feet of retail space in Chicago's meatpacking district, according to the Chicago Tribune.
  • This would be Google's first-ever permanent retail store, putting it in a league with fellow tech titans Apple and Microsoft. 
  • If the report is correct, the opening up a retail shop to serve as a showcase for Google products is logical. The list of the company's gadgets is long and getting longer.
  •  The company said it doesn't comment on "rumors and speculation."

Google will soon take control of 14,000 square feet of retail space in the Chicago meatpacking district, which the company is expected to turn into its first-ever standalone retail store, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.  

The deal has yet to be finalized but a contract is expected to be signed soon, the newspaper reported Thursday.  Through a spokesperson, Google said the company does not comment "on rumors and speculation."

If the story is accurate and the deal is completed, it makes sense. The list of Google gadgets and products, which includes the popular Google Home smart speaker, the Pixel phone lineup, and the Google Chromecast smart dongle, is extensive and growing all the time.

Up to now, Google has satisfied itself with an offline presence that's consisted of mainly small...

A massive new open-world game from the folks behind "Grand Theft Auto" is on the horizon

It's named "Red Dead Redemption 2," and it's an incredible-looking prequel to 2010 blockbuster "Red Dead Redemption."

Unlike the satirical "GTA" games set in modern times, "Red Dead Redemption 2" is a gritty tale of American outlaws facing modernization at the turn of the 20th century. 

Rockstar Games isn't known for pumping out games. You may recall that the latest "GTA" game came out in 2013 — that's the most recent release from Rockstar Games.

Thus, the upcoming launch of "Red Dead Redemption 2" is a Pretty Big Deal. You might even call it the most-anticipated game of 2018 — it's scheduled to launch for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on October 26.

So, what's all the fuss all about? Isn't it basically "Grand Theft Horse"? Let's dive in.

SEE ALSO: We probably won’t see the next major ‘Grand Theft Auto’ game until at least 2020, after the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles launch — here’s why

Like the "GTA" series, "Red Dead Redemption 2" is a third-person action game set in a vast, open-world environment.

In a way, "Red Dead Redemption 2" is a sequel to "GTA V" — it's the latest iteration of the same third-person action games Rockstar has been making for years.

But in reality, "Red Dead Redemption 2" is a direct prequel —...

  • Shares of Symantec jumped as much as 10% to $20.50 Thursday after Starboard reported a stake in the cybersecurity giant.
  • Starboard, which manages roughly $6 billion, has taken a 5.8% stake in Symantec and nominated five directors to the board.
  • The stock surge recovers some of the price loss after Symantec fell sharply after bad earnings earlier this month.
  • Follow Symantec's stock price in real-time here.

Shares of Symantec surged as much as 10% to $20.50 Thursday on trading after Starboard, a $6 billion New York-based investment adviser, reported a beneficial ownership in the cybersecurity giant in a 13D filing.

Starboard has taken a 5.8% stake in Symantec and is seeking five board seats at the cyber-security company, the Wall Street Journal reported on ThursdayThe slate of five directors includes Dale Fuller, a former chairman of antivirus company AVG Technologies, and former Intuit executive Nora Denzel. It also includes three people Symantec previously put on the board of Marvell Technology — a semiconductor company it's trying to restructure.

The nominees could help improve operations and amend issues with financial reporting, according to the WSJ report.

The stock increase recovers some of the loss incurred when Symantec fell as much as 15% in a single day after bad earnings earlier this month. The drop came after the cybersecurity software maker announced an 8% labor cut and gave a disappointing forecast for quarterly profit and revenue.

Shares of Symantec are down 30% since the...

  • The Gowanus Canal, one of the most polluted bodies of water in the country, is filled with toxic sewage, bacteria, and heavy metals.
  • The EPA has created a plan for cleaning up the canal, starting with a pilot study in Brooklyn's Fourth Street Turning Basin.
  • Workers cleaning the turning basin recently found relics that go decades back, including a World War II-era "crash boat" and large wooden textile spools from the early 1900s.

The Gowanus Canal is one of the dirtiest bodies of water in the United States.

The canal has become more and more polluted by runoff and dumping over the past few decades. Raw sewage tanks overflow into it, giant clumps of bacteria have been found at the bottom of the canal, and officials have detected amounts of heavy metals — like arsenic — that are 60 times higher than healthy exposure levels.

The EPA has committed to cleaning the canal in a project that's expected to cost more than $500 million. During the the cleanup, workers recently discovered several relics that go back to Brooklyn's industrial past, including a "crash boat" from World War II, wagon wheels, and large wooden textile spools.

The relics were found during a pilot study underway in the Fourth Street Turning Basin, a 1.8-mile section of the Gowanus. Contractors will soon move on to cleaning up the rest of the canal.

The 63-foot-long...

  • Someone on Urban Dictionary is taking a swipe at Elon Musk's now infamous tweet in which he declared 'funding secured' in regards to his plans to take Tesla private.
  • The post says 'funding secured' is something said "when you have no idea where you're gonna get the money." 
  • Countless brands, companies, and Twitter users were already mocking the now-notorious phrase.

Elon Musk's now-famous "funding secured" tweet continues to evolve into an internet meme.

Someone on Urban Dictionary, a website dedicated to explaining modern slang, has taken a jab at Tesla CEO Musk's tweet, in which he declared 'funding secured' in regards to his plans to take Tesla private.

The Urban Dictionary post defines '"unding secured" as "when you have no idea where you're gonna get the money," and gave an example of the phrase used in a sentence: "Me to my new girl: 'Taking you to Hawaii this winter. Funding secured,'" followed by the hashtags #money #funds #budget #broke #bankrupt. 

To be clear, Urban Dictionary definitions can be submitted by anyone, and the submissions are then voted on to determine their order in the definition results. Like Reddit, the highest-voted submission will be moved to the top of the available definitions for a particular word or phrase, but 'funding secured' currently only has one submission with 742 upvotes and 200 downvotes. 

Musk's Tweet has been the subject of a wealth of online jokes and mockery, coming from everyone...

Apple now sells three premium iPhone models for the first time in the product's history.

So which should you buy? The iPhone 8? The 8 Plus? The X?

I've used all three models extensively. Here's how they compare.

SEE ALSO: The full iPhone X review

The phones are powered by the same processor, so you won't notice a difference in speed or performance.

They also run iOS 11, the latest version of Apple's iPhone operating system. (They'll also run iOS 12 when that's released this fall, likely in September.)

They have wireless charging.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

  • Many investors in the parent company of MoviePass, Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), have seen their stakes dwindle over 99% in recent months, with some losing over $100,000.
  • To fund massive MoviePass losses, Helios has flooded the market with new shares, diluting previous shareholders and sending the stock price plummeting.
  • Helios is currently trading at around $0.05.

When Ken, a retiree investor, logged into E-Trade in March to research a stock called Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), it looked like a killer deal.

“I use the analyst research to decide if I am going to buy a stock and after buying it, when to sell,” Ken told Business Insider, describing a feature on E-Trade that allows retail investors to see a summary of the ratings — buy, hold, or sell — that Wall Street analysts have given a company.

Ken liked what he saw in Helios, the owner of popular movie-theater subscription service MoviePass, which comprises effectively all the company’s business. Helios stock was trading under $5, but at the time, the two Wall Street analysts covering the stock recommended investors that “buy,” with price targets of $15 and $16.

Ken saw a lot of upside in the Nasdaq-listed stock. On March 6, he bought 10,000 shares at $4.62, putting $46,200 into the stock, according to E-Trade screenshots shared with Business Insider. (Ken requested we not use his full name when discussing his personal finances, as did the other investors I spoke with.)

The stock didn’t go up...