Category Archives: Technology

silicon valley & technology news

Kids + Screen Time = Dry Eyes

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in front of a computer, you’ve probably come away bleary eyed. That’s because you don’t blink as much when you are working on a computer, which could lead to dry eyes. With the popularity of video games and online activities, dry eye is becoming increasingly common in children and teens glued to their screens. The condition can cause permanent eye damage, but fortunately, as VOA’s Carol Pearson reports, there’s an app for that.

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Kids + Screen Time = Dry Eyes

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in front of a computer, you’ve probably come away bleary eyed. That’s because you don’t blink as much when you are working on a computer, which could lead to dry eyes. With the popularity of video games and online activities, dry eye is becoming increasingly common in children and teens glued to their screens. The condition can cause permanent eye damage, but fortunately, as VOA’s Carol Pearson reports, there’s an app for that.

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Tesla Board Evaluating CEO Musk’s Idea to Go Private

Tesla Inc’s board said it was evaluating taking the company private, a day after Chief Executive Elon Musk surprised shareholders with the idea of launching the biggest leveraged buyout of all time.

In a statement on Tesla’s website on Wednesday, six of Tesla’s nine directors said the board had met several times over the last week to discuss such an idea and was “taking the appropriate next steps to evaluate this.”

Musk said on Twitter on Tuesday that he was considering taking the loss-making electric car-maker private at $420 a share, which would value a deal at more than $70 billion. He said funding was “secured,” without elaborating.

Tesla said on Wednesday the discussions had addressed the issue of how to fund such a deal, but gave no details. The statement did not address how the $420-per-share price was established.

Several securities attorneys told Reuters that Musk could face investor lawsuits if it was proven he did not have secure financing at the time of his tweet.

Public companies have four days to report certain material events that shareholders should know about to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tesla’s shares were down 2.1 percent at $371.70 on Wednesday after closing up 11 percent on Tuesday.

Some Wall Street analysts were skeptical of Musk’s ability to gather the huge financial backing to complete such a deal, given that Tesla loses money, has $10.9 billion of debt and its bonds are rated junk by credit ratings agencies.

“Who gives $30 to $50 billion to buy back the shares?” asked NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “And if you stay as a shareholder you get less information than before and you depend more and more on Elon Musk.”

The deal would be the biggest leveraged buyout of all time, beating the $45-billion record set by Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings.

The most obvious equity partners for Musk would be a sovereign wealth fund such as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which sources said on Tuesday had taken a stake of just below 5 percent in Tesla, or a major technology investment fund such as SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund, bankers said.

China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, which took a 5-percent stake in Tesla last year, could also be a possible partner.

Surprise move

In a letter after his tweet on Tuesday, Musk fleshed out his idea, suggesting shareholders would get the option to sell their shares for $420 each or remain investors in a private Tesla, out of the glare of Wall Street and its need for positive quarterly results.

He said that would allow Tesla to “operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible.” Some on Wall Street shared that view.

“They’re being bombarded with questions that we don’t think are as relevant to the long-term value of the company,” said Sam Korus, an analyst for ARK Investment Management, which had 443,874 Tesla shares as of June 30. Korus said he would need more details from Musk to judge whether a buyout offer would be practical and at what price it would be attractive.

Musk has been under intense pressure this year to turn his money-losing, debt-laden company into a profitable higher-volume manufacturer, a prospect that has sent Tesla’s valuation higher than that of General Motors Co.

The company is still working its way out of what Musk called “production hell” at its home factory in Fremont, California, where a series of manufacturing challenges delayed the ramp-up of production of its new Model 3 sedan, on which the company’s profitability rests.

Going private is one way to avoid close scrutiny by the public market as Musk and the company face those challenges. Musk has feuded publicly with regulators, critics, short sellers and reporters, and some analysts suggested that less transparency would be welcomed by Musk.

The six board members who issued the statement on Wednesday included James Murdoch, chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and Brad Buss, who was the chief financial officer of solar panel maker SolarCity until it was bought by Tesla in 2016.

Other board members mentioned in the statement included Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias and Linda Johnson Rice. Tesla’s other board members are Musk, his brother Kimbal Musk and venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson.

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Tesla Board Evaluating CEO Musk’s Idea to Go Private

Tesla Inc’s board said it was evaluating taking the company private, a day after Chief Executive Elon Musk surprised shareholders with the idea of launching the biggest leveraged buyout of all time.

In a statement on Tesla’s website on Wednesday, six of Tesla’s nine directors said the board had met several times over the last week to discuss such an idea and was “taking the appropriate next steps to evaluate this.”

Musk said on Twitter on Tuesday that he was considering taking the loss-making electric car-maker private at $420 a share, which would value a deal at more than $70 billion. He said funding was “secured,” without elaborating.

Tesla said on Wednesday the discussions had addressed the issue of how to fund such a deal, but gave no details. The statement did not address how the $420-per-share price was established.

Several securities attorneys told Reuters that Musk could face investor lawsuits if it was proven he did not have secure financing at the time of his tweet.

Public companies have four days to report certain material events that shareholders should know about to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tesla’s shares were down 2.1 percent at $371.70 on Wednesday after closing up 11 percent on Tuesday.

Some Wall Street analysts were skeptical of Musk’s ability to gather the huge financial backing to complete such a deal, given that Tesla loses money, has $10.9 billion of debt and its bonds are rated junk by credit ratings agencies.

“Who gives $30 to $50 billion to buy back the shares?” asked NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “And if you stay as a shareholder you get less information than before and you depend more and more on Elon Musk.”

The deal would be the biggest leveraged buyout of all time, beating the $45-billion record set by Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings.

The most obvious equity partners for Musk would be a sovereign wealth fund such as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which sources said on Tuesday had taken a stake of just below 5 percent in Tesla, or a major technology investment fund such as SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund, bankers said.

China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, which took a 5-percent stake in Tesla last year, could also be a possible partner.

Surprise move

In a letter after his tweet on Tuesday, Musk fleshed out his idea, suggesting shareholders would get the option to sell their shares for $420 each or remain investors in a private Tesla, out of the glare of Wall Street and its need for positive quarterly results.

He said that would allow Tesla to “operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible.” Some on Wall Street shared that view.

“They’re being bombarded with questions that we don’t think are as relevant to the long-term value of the company,” said Sam Korus, an analyst for ARK Investment Management, which had 443,874 Tesla shares as of June 30. Korus said he would need more details from Musk to judge whether a buyout offer would be practical and at what price it would be attractive.

Musk has been under intense pressure this year to turn his money-losing, debt-laden company into a profitable higher-volume manufacturer, a prospect that has sent Tesla’s valuation higher than that of General Motors Co.

The company is still working its way out of what Musk called “production hell” at its home factory in Fremont, California, where a series of manufacturing challenges delayed the ramp-up of production of its new Model 3 sedan, on which the company’s profitability rests.

Going private is one way to avoid close scrutiny by the public market as Musk and the company face those challenges. Musk has feuded publicly with regulators, critics, short sellers and reporters, and some analysts suggested that less transparency would be welcomed by Musk.

The six board members who issued the statement on Wednesday included James Murdoch, chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and Brad Buss, who was the chief financial officer of solar panel maker SolarCity until it was bought by Tesla in 2016.

Other board members mentioned in the statement included Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias and Linda Johnson Rice. Tesla’s other board members are Musk, his brother Kimbal Musk and venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson.

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Twitter Breaks With Tech Giants, Keeps Alt-Right InfoWars

After several social media outlets banned alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his show InfoWars earlier this week, Twitter announced it would be keeping Jones, sparking backlash from users.

“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote. Jones, who has become notorious for hosting The Alex Jones Show on InfoWars, has more than 860,000 followers on Twitter.

On Monday, sites such as YouTube and Facebook banned Jones and his pages from their platforms, claiming that Jones’s videos violated the sites’ hate speech guidelines.

Jones has repeatedly used language incendiary towards Muslim and transgender people, and in July he appeared to threaten to shoot U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating President Trump and his White House on possible ties to Russia.

“[Mueller is] a demon I will take down, or I’ll die trying,” Jones said on a July broadcast, miming a gun-firing motion with his hands. “You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch.”

In the past, Jones has baselessly alleged the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Connecticut were hoaxes perpetrated by the U.S. government.

Several parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting are suing Jones for defamation. In a court document, the parents of one of the slain children claimed Jones broadcast his personal information on his show. At the time of its removal, Jones’s YouTube channel had more than 2.4 million subscribers, with 1.5 billion views across all of its videos.

Twitter’s hateful conduct guidelines bar “wishes for the physical harm, death, or disease of individuals or groups” as well as “behavior that incites fear about a protected group.”

“We do not tolerate behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice,” the site’s guidelines say.

While Dorsey acknowledged in a Tweet that accounts such as InfoWars can “sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors,” he also wrote that it “serves the public conversation best” for “journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly.”

Several journalists pushed back against Dorsey’s request.

“I am not getting paid to clean up your website for you,” wrote Matt Pearce, a journalist for The Los Angeles Times, in a response to Dorsey’s Tweet.

Twitter has banned significant alt-right personalities in the past.

In 2016, alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has ties to white nationalist groups, was permanently banned from the site after instigating racist and sexist harassment against American actress Leslie Jones, who is black.

And in 2017, Twitter suspended the account of James Allsup, a white nationalist who spoke at the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier that year.

“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term,” Dorsey wrote Tuesday.

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Twitter Breaks With Tech Giants, Keeps Alt-Right InfoWars

After several social media outlets banned alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his show InfoWars earlier this week, Twitter announced it would be keeping Jones, sparking backlash from users.

“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote. Jones, who has become notorious for hosting The Alex Jones Show on InfoWars, has more than 860,000 followers on Twitter.

On Monday, sites such as YouTube and Facebook banned Jones and his pages from their platforms, claiming that Jones’s videos violated the sites’ hate speech guidelines.

Jones has repeatedly used language incendiary towards Muslim and transgender people, and in July he appeared to threaten to shoot U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating President Trump and his White House on possible ties to Russia.

“[Mueller is] a demon I will take down, or I’ll die trying,” Jones said on a July broadcast, miming a gun-firing motion with his hands. “You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch.”

In the past, Jones has baselessly alleged the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Connecticut were hoaxes perpetrated by the U.S. government.

Several parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting are suing Jones for defamation. In a court document, the parents of one of the slain children claimed Jones broadcast his personal information on his show. At the time of its removal, Jones’s YouTube channel had more than 2.4 million subscribers, with 1.5 billion views across all of its videos.

Twitter’s hateful conduct guidelines bar “wishes for the physical harm, death, or disease of individuals or groups” as well as “behavior that incites fear about a protected group.”

“We do not tolerate behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice,” the site’s guidelines say.

While Dorsey acknowledged in a Tweet that accounts such as InfoWars can “sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors,” he also wrote that it “serves the public conversation best” for “journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly.”

Several journalists pushed back against Dorsey’s request.

“I am not getting paid to clean up your website for you,” wrote Matt Pearce, a journalist for The Los Angeles Times, in a response to Dorsey’s Tweet.

Twitter has banned significant alt-right personalities in the past.

In 2016, alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has ties to white nationalist groups, was permanently banned from the site after instigating racist and sexist harassment against American actress Leslie Jones, who is black.

And in 2017, Twitter suspended the account of James Allsup, a white nationalist who spoke at the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier that year.

“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term,” Dorsey wrote Tuesday.

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Tesla CEO Drops Latest Bombshell With $72B Buyout Proposal

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is considering leading a buyout of the electric car maker in a stunning move that would end the maverick company’s eight-year history trading on the stock market.

In his typically unorthodox fashion, the eccentric Musk dropped his bombshell on his Twitter account, which he has used as a platform for pranks, vitriol and now for a proposal to pull off one of the biggest buyouts in U.S. history.

Musk got the ball rolling Tuesday after the stock market had already been open more than three hours with a tweet announcing he might buy all of Tesla’s stock at $420 per share with no further details.

At that price, the buyout would cost nearly $72 billion, based on Tesla’s outstanding stock as of July 27, but it’s unlikely the deal would cost that much because Musk owns a roughly 20 percent stake in the Palo Alto, California, company. He also said he intends to give Tesla’s existing shareholders the option of retaining a stake in the company through a special fund, if they want.

“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” Musk wrote in his first tweet, following up with “good morning” and a smiley emoji.

His tweet came hours after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had built a significant stake in Tesla Inc., but it was unclear if that was the funding Musk was referring to. The Financial Times, citing unnamed people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had built a stake of between 3 and 5 percent of Telsa’s shares.

Musk’s announcement was initially met with widespread skepticism, with many people connecting the proposed $420-per-share offer with 420 being a common slang term for marijuana.

Musk also previously used his Twitter account to joke that Tesla was going bankrupt in an April Fool’s Day tweet and his stability was called into question last month after he called a British diver who helped rescue children from a Thailand cave a pedophile. That baseless tweet was quickly deleted and Musk apologized to the diver.

The confusion caused by Musk’s Tuesday announcement via Twitter also prompted regulators of the Nasdaq stock market to temporarily suspend trading in Tesla’s stock.

Musk later brought some clarity to the situation in an email to Tesla employees that was also posted on Tesla’s blog. Trading in Tesla’s stock resumed shortly after, and the stock climbed 11 percent to $379.57. Musk’s offer is 9 percent higher than Tesla’s peak closing price of $385 reached nearly a year ago.

By taking Tesla private, Musk believes that the company will be able to sharpen its long-term focus of revolutionizing an automobile industry dominated by fuel-combustion vehicles without having to cater to investors’ fixation on how the business is faring from one quarter to the next.

Making money has proven elusive for Tesla while it has been investing in electric car technology and ramping up production of its vehicle, including a sedan with a starting price of $35,000 to appeal to a broader audience.

The company has only posted a quarterly profit twice in its history and has never made money during an entire calendar year, something that Musk has been trying to change by cutting costs, including recent mass layoffs that trimmed Tesla’s workforce by 9 percent. Tesla lost another $717.5 million in its most recent quarter.

Despite its challenges, Tesla has remained a favorite among many investors, partly because of their faith in Musk, who made his initial fortune as a co-founder of PayPal and also is the CEO of a trail-blazing aerospace company, SpaceX, that’s already private.

But another substantial segment of investors are convinced Tesla is doomed to fail and are betting on the company’s eventual demise by becoming “short sellers” of its stock. Short sellers borrow shares from other investors and then immediately sell them on the premise that they will be able to buy them back at a lower price later to replace they stock they borrowed.

Musk has long raged against short sellers and mentioned his desire to be rid of them as one of his reasons for taking Tesla private. “Being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company,” he wrote.

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Tesla CEO Drops Latest Bombshell With $72B Buyout Proposal

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is considering leading a buyout of the electric car maker in a stunning move that would end the maverick company’s eight-year history trading on the stock market.

In his typically unorthodox fashion, the eccentric Musk dropped his bombshell on his Twitter account, which he has used as a platform for pranks, vitriol and now for a proposal to pull off one of the biggest buyouts in U.S. history.

Musk got the ball rolling Tuesday after the stock market had already been open more than three hours with a tweet announcing he might buy all of Tesla’s stock at $420 per share with no further details.

At that price, the buyout would cost nearly $72 billion, based on Tesla’s outstanding stock as of July 27, but it’s unlikely the deal would cost that much because Musk owns a roughly 20 percent stake in the Palo Alto, California, company. He also said he intends to give Tesla’s existing shareholders the option of retaining a stake in the company through a special fund, if they want.

“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” Musk wrote in his first tweet, following up with “good morning” and a smiley emoji.

His tweet came hours after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had built a significant stake in Tesla Inc., but it was unclear if that was the funding Musk was referring to. The Financial Times, citing unnamed people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had built a stake of between 3 and 5 percent of Telsa’s shares.

Musk’s announcement was initially met with widespread skepticism, with many people connecting the proposed $420-per-share offer with 420 being a common slang term for marijuana.

Musk also previously used his Twitter account to joke that Tesla was going bankrupt in an April Fool’s Day tweet and his stability was called into question last month after he called a British diver who helped rescue children from a Thailand cave a pedophile. That baseless tweet was quickly deleted and Musk apologized to the diver.

The confusion caused by Musk’s Tuesday announcement via Twitter also prompted regulators of the Nasdaq stock market to temporarily suspend trading in Tesla’s stock.

Musk later brought some clarity to the situation in an email to Tesla employees that was also posted on Tesla’s blog. Trading in Tesla’s stock resumed shortly after, and the stock climbed 11 percent to $379.57. Musk’s offer is 9 percent higher than Tesla’s peak closing price of $385 reached nearly a year ago.

By taking Tesla private, Musk believes that the company will be able to sharpen its long-term focus of revolutionizing an automobile industry dominated by fuel-combustion vehicles without having to cater to investors’ fixation on how the business is faring from one quarter to the next.

Making money has proven elusive for Tesla while it has been investing in electric car technology and ramping up production of its vehicle, including a sedan with a starting price of $35,000 to appeal to a broader audience.

The company has only posted a quarterly profit twice in its history and has never made money during an entire calendar year, something that Musk has been trying to change by cutting costs, including recent mass layoffs that trimmed Tesla’s workforce by 9 percent. Tesla lost another $717.5 million in its most recent quarter.

Despite its challenges, Tesla has remained a favorite among many investors, partly because of their faith in Musk, who made his initial fortune as a co-founder of PayPal and also is the CEO of a trail-blazing aerospace company, SpaceX, that’s already private.

But another substantial segment of investors are convinced Tesla is doomed to fail and are betting on the company’s eventual demise by becoming “short sellers” of its stock. Short sellers borrow shares from other investors and then immediately sell them on the premise that they will be able to buy them back at a lower price later to replace they stock they borrowed.

Musk has long raged against short sellers and mentioned his desire to be rid of them as one of his reasons for taking Tesla private. “Being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company,” he wrote.

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