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Monkey Ikea alive and well, 10 years later

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On December 9, 2012, a woman shopping at an Ikea store in Toronto saw an unusual customer: a Japanese snow monkey. A photo I took of the monkey gazing briskly through the glass door in a mini reed coat, and a meme was born: the Ikea monkey.

Ten years later, Darwin the monkey is living the best life of a monkey. “He’s doing a great job. He’s allowed to act like a monkey instead of a human child,” Dayna Lipa, Executive Volunteer Director for Primate sanctuary farm book story In Ontario, he told BuzzFeed News.

Darwin was about six months old when, in a raincoat and diapers, he ran out of his owner’s car and got lost in an Ikea. He ended up at a primate sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario after local animal control brought him to him (his former owner later I tried to no avail File a lawsuit to get it back). When Darwin first came to the shelter, the staff gave him extra attention and food to help him adjust. Slowly, he became comfortable and started playing with other monkeys. He now has a best friend named Maximus.

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Facebook almost sold its tech portal to Amazon Alexa devices

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In November, Meta announced that it was discontinuing Portal, its standalone video chat machine. The decision came as Meta The first mass layoffs Amid falling stock prices and worries about its ambitions in Metaverse.

Over the years, BuzzFeed News’ coverage of Meta and Facebook has been unwavering strict and sometimes hostile. our reviews The portal also spoke the truth: this was a really great product. we lovable He. She. I lovable He. She. Rest in power, Portal – you’ve been a fine little device.

The portal was born in a cruel world. released in fall 2018, Cambridge Analytica The bogus scandal — about Facebook’s botched user data handling and (in hindsight) exaggerated claims about its impact on the 2016 election — was still fresh in the public’s mind. It was also still fresh in the minds of the tech press who would review the devices. For many, the idea of ​​letting the always-on camera-powered Facebook device into your home was akin to sending your Pornhub history directly to the Kremlin.

Despite this, the portal has been selling well, Meta’s chief technology officer Andrew Bosworth told BuzzFeed News in an interview. (Meta declined to divulge exact sales figures, but Bosworth estimated the number of units sold in “the millions”) More importantly, Bosworth added, “This was a product that the people who bought it loved.” And it appealed to a different demographic than most devices: It sold a lot more with women and people over 40.

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Ultimately, the decision to pull the plug came about because executives didn’t see a path to Gateway becoming a huge company (rather than just a good business), and with changing priorities at Meta, it didn’t work out. “We’re very sad about it,” Bosworth said. “You know the saying, ‘There is no priority unless it hurts’? It hurts.” (Not a complete loss though: Existing gateway devices will continue to function and receive support.)

Bosworth said that “the whole smart home category has been undermining expectations for a while now.” He added, “I think if you go back to where we expected the smart home as an industry to be when Portal entered the market versus where it is today, it wasn’t as successful as we expected it to be.”

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Another satire of metaverse from the world of tech alum? It contains an error

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reconsidering

Please report your error here

Written by Josh Riddell
Holt: 288 pages, $28

If you purchase books linked to from our site, The Times may earn a commission from Bookshop.orgwhose fees are supported by independent bookstores.

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Josh Riddle”Please report your error herein Silicon Valley in the early 2010s. As the author was a very early employee of Instagram and his first novel, which comes embellished with connotations of Literary Tech Skeptics, framed as a diary show, we’re ready for some satire that’s both risky and close to the bone. However, this is not quite the world we know.

Technology, for one thing, is more advanced. One of the app’s best features, explains Ethan, a modern art history specialist who works on a junior dating app called DateDate, is its “mood sensing technology” that uses “your phone’s camera, microphone, and accelerometer to understand your current mood.” After Every Bite” and panels respond to the viewer’s emotions – so when a bemused Ethan looks at one, it turns from “horizontal to psychedelic swirls”.

In a world unlike our own, one of the most effective ways a novel can clue the reader into its logistics is through the characters’ reactions. When narrator Ethan encounters these technological wonders, he doesn’t bat an eye. To lend to this alternate universe, the technology described is not particularly Jetsons-like – flying cars and robot maids are not. But when Ethan makes an accidental discovery while trying to clean up bugs in DateDate’s code, the established rules are broken, exposing (and possibly creating) a flaw in the tone of the novel that never resolves itself.

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Here’s what I mean: The discovery Ethan makes is that when a user on a dating app sees him as his perfect match, Ethan is briefly transported to a strange world vaguely referred to as “Other Worlds.” Standing “in a field, with tall, wet grass” under a sky “full of birds”, he hears the hum of nearby ocean waves before suddenly appearing in his office. His boss asks if he’s alright, and Ethan spouts a popular sci-fi story, pretending he’s alright because he can’t explain what just happened, and because, fittingly enough, when he tries to explain, he loses “all memory of what happened, from where you went “. Then he went back to work.

But that is not what drove me away; Rather, it was the strange things that felt strangely normal. DateDate, like a lot of startups, the enterprise gets, and like an apple A company with a well-developed campus and endless resources that turns out to be responsible for Ethan’s teleportation accident. As a way to test a new product called Gates, “a standalone app that takes you to different vacation destinations,” the company “pushed beta code to DateDate” before purchasing it. Ethan’s “other world” is a glitch that the company has not fully caught.

Release portals are much anticipated – beta testers included Johnny Depp and Beyoncé — and no one seems bothered by the invention of teleportation, not to mention that it’s much more Jetsonian than any other extrapolation in the book of current technology. It takes a while for the Department of Homeland Security to get through the gates, but even then it’s only because a small fraction of the flights may have been “undocumented.” Why isn’t any of this being treated as the massive, world-altering development?

This reaction is made even more confusing in light of the rest of the novel, which is firmly rooted in the real world. references for lyrics the NationalPaintings by Matisse and Miro, two books by Adrienne Rich and Sofia Coppola”lost in translation(Ethan stayed at the signature Tokyo hotel there) – All of this grounds Ethan’s narrative in a recognizable reality. It is difficult to reconcile this familiarity, bordering on banality, with technological magic realism.

If that sounds like nitpicking, that’s because it is. But in stories like this, the meticulous cultivation of an invented scientist requires precision and nuance, and on such a perilous path, a slight stumble can lead to a major meltdown. Creating a believable setting—especially a semi-realistic setting that is important to the story—is just as important (and challenging) to the success of the novel as creating compelling characters and interesting narratives.

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In fact, the teleportation items are “please report a bug here” problems. The plot mechanics, which include A.J Lisbeth Salander– A species named Numa searches for a young girl trapped in “other worlds”, extending Naivety in similar ways. How did the girl survive for years in this fleeting, ephemeral place that is alternately described, hazyly, as a void, a personal inventory of memories or another dimension? Like, what did you do He eats? And why don’t any of the characters—including the girl’s father—ask these questions, just to let the reader know that such things were considered?

A generous reader might be tempted to write off this as a by-product of satire, which stretches the rules of plausibility in a way that hard science fiction might not be. But then, the satirical elements just aren’t blunt enough to justify it. The establishment is like all the giant conglomerates that discredit contemporary fiction, from Dave Eggers”CircleTo Hooli from Silicon Valley toWall E“buy from large to large”severanceLomon Industries. The founder of DateDate is literally called the Founder (capital F), and that’s how everyone refers to it, but there’s a figure who’s only referred to as the Engineer (lowercase e) – a jab, no doubt, in the tech hierarchy, where it’s handled Upper class only as proper nouns. But he also reduces these characters to tropes.

Riedel aims to use these high-concept ideas to explore existential questions about identity, art, and technology, and there are moments when his talk on these topics is effective, even insightful. But novels are not unlike a complex piece of programming: a bewildering number of hidden components must work in unison to make seemingly simple functions possible, and as it first appears to Riddell, even small errors in the code can bring down an entire project.

Clark is the author of “Oasis of Horror in the Desert of Boredom” and “Skateboard”.

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Did celebrities learn their lesson from the FTX debacle?

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While roaming off the soccer field, Tom Brady makes his home for the FTX cryptocurrency trading platform.

“It’s better,” said the esteemed quarterback Says As he reviews an investment portfolio looking skyward on his phone. “I like better.”

The ad posted on FTX’s Instagram account in September, was not It’s the first time Brady has thrown his massive weight behind a tech company — but it was likely the last.

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After a month and a half, the balance sheet leaked From Alameda Research, a trading firm co-founded by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, it led to a crash of epic proportions.

FTX is now based in the Bahamas bustyand Bankman-Fried sits in Palo Alto under house arrest As faces fraud charges. Some of the alien world’s closest associates turned against him; begged Not guilty.

If Brady hadn’t been completely caught up in the meltdown, he wouldn’t have come out completely unscathed, either. The professional athlete is among several celebrities being sued in a class action alleging they helped promote the sale of unregistered securities in the form of yielding FTX accounts.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami, highlighted the important role played by high-profile athletes, actors, and other entertainers in promoting FTX. Although some legal experts believe it will be difficult to prove liability, the federal case forces a reconsideration of how celebrities interact with the controversial cryptocurrency industry.

“It is clear that FTX’s paid validator program is designed to use the positive reputation associated with specific celebrities to convince consumers that FTX is a safe place to buy and sell cryptocurrency,” the lawsuit says. “Celebrities have a moral and legal obligation to know that what they are promoting is not likely to cause physical or financial harm to customers.”

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Ahead of its extraordinary implosion, FTX pulled together a red carpet of celebrity sponsors, bringing glamor and glamor to the ill-fated House of Cards.

Larry David starred In an FTX Super Bowl ad that positioned cryptocurrency as a world-historic innovation on par with the wheel or the flashlight.

Shaquille O’Neal Requested Potential investors: “I’m in. Are you?”

Other Familiar Names – Steve Curry, David Ortiz, Shuhei Ohtani, Naomi Osaka, Kevin “Mr. Brilliant” O’Leary – also promoted the company. All defendants are listed.

“It’s a warning to these celebrities,” said Adam Moskovitz, one of the attorneys filing the lawsuit. “If you are going to take a risk, there will be consequences.”

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An attorney representing Brady and David declined to comment. Representatives for O’Neal, Curry, Ortiz, Otani, Osaka and O’Leary did not respond to requests for comment. O’Neal has far himself from the company, framing his role as a “paid spokesperson”. O’Leary, known for his role as a celebrity investor on “Shark Tank,” told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Involvement With FTX it was the result of “groupthink”.

In addition to any permanent reputational damage, Brady and his ex-wife, model Gisele Bundchen, will likely be involved Lost Most or all of the significant financial stake they own in FTX.

The crypto space has always been awash with A-listers. Matt Damon, LeBron James, Reese Witherspoon, Snoop Dogg, Steve Aoki, and Steven Seagal have all promoted various crypto products. A year ago, Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton were in an awkward position shilling Non-fungible tokens, a specific class of cryptocurrency, on “The Tonight Show”. Cryptocurrency trading is unique prominently In a 2021 music video posted by Post Malone and The Weeknd.

And with celebrities comes celebrity scandals, especially in an industry as unregulated as cryptocurrency. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DJ Khaled in 2018 with failing to disclose that they were paid to promote crypto tokens; Kim kardashian She met a similar fate in October. (At the time, Kardashian’s lawyers said the socialite fully cooperated and was pleased to solve this issue.)

FTX’s downfall has affected others in the entertainment industry, including former CAA agent Michael Kives, whose fund earned $300 million. investment From Bankman-Fried, according to the info. The former CEO reportedly wanted to sign A.J financing deal With the never-fulfilling power of Taylor Swift’s music.

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It’s no accident that Hollywood’s star power frequently overlaps with what is otherwise a fairly niche financial vehicle, experts say.

“Celebrity endorsements have been extremely important to cryptocurrency for a very long time,” said Yesha Yadav, associate dean at Vanderbilt Law School whose work focuses on securities regulation. The sector has “relied on celebrities to popularize it; on celebrities to use their existing social networks, credibility and reputation to drive an asset class that many people were unfamiliar with.”

“They’re really using celebrity as a tool to convince unsuspecting consumers to invest,” said Bonnie Batten, executive director of consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising.

Moskovitz, the attorney behind the class action lawsuit, said he has been following cryptocurrency fraud cases for a while: first with low-level scammers, like a Kazakh teenager, and then around more formal crypto platforms over the past two years.

Now the lawyer wants to hold several of the celebrities he says have allowed Bankman-Fried to be held accountable. Pursuing celebrity sponsors provides a faster path toward recouping what FTX victims owe, Moskovitz told The Times, rather than trying to get money from an embattled Bankman-Fried and his fractured empire.

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“We have people who have lost millions of dollars … because they were told at 8% interest that this was the safest investment,” said Moskovitz, who claims some of his clients lost their savings after being persuaded by celebrity FTX sponsors. A safe place to park their money.

He added, “People respect celebrities.” “Right or wrong, people respect them, and you kind of get acceptance in the community” by enlisting them as sponsors.

was established In 2019 and worth $18 billion by 2021, FTX was a poster child for the cryptocurrency industry in part because Bankman-Fried proactively nurtured political connections, including via campaign Donations, and sought to create an aura of respectability that is lacking in most of the cryptocurrency industry – riddled with fraud and price swings. This summer, with the sector suffering, FTX made buyout and acquisition bids for other crypto companies, even when ordered by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Stop suggesting That cryptocurrency investments were backed by the government.

The company’s reputation really began to unravel in November with the leak of Alameda Research’s balance sheet, setting off a domino chain reaction that led to bankruptcy, house arrest, and Moskowitz’s class action lawsuit.

In addition to this case, the attorney is also pursuing a case in Florida State Court v. Brady, Ortiz, and O’Leary, which he hopes will lead to a ruling on whether interest-bearing FTX accounts constitute unregistered securities.

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For Moskowitz, this question is straightforward: “These are unregistered securities, you promoted them, and you are responsible.”

But others aren’t so sure.

“We don’t know if these things will eventually be considered securities,” said Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation trade group. There is a strong argument that they are not at all like that and never have been; There is an argument that they start out as stocks. … All these arguments are there, and they are unresolved.”

“Our regulatory framework for the broader cryptocurrency market hasn’t really caught up,” said Yadav, associate dean for Vanderbilt Law. “When we talk about certain financial institutions like FTX that deal in tokens, because the tokens themselves don’t have any consensus about what they are legally, the institutions they deal with don’t either.”

Yadav added that it is unlikely that the court will issue a regulatory issuance for cryptocurrency on its own; What’s more conceivable is that some of the celebrities named in the lawsuit chose to settle the case to protect their reputations.

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Class action cases are hard to win, Truth in Advertising’s Patten said, and it won’t be easy to prove that the celebrity sponsors named in this case caused investors harm.

“I wouldn’t bet on the consumer side,” she said.

Regardless, the reputational damage from FTX’s implosion may be more daunting for celebrity affiliates than any dollar amount. Brady and the rest lent their prestige to Bankman-Fried when he was on top of the world; Now they are caught up in the fallout.

This could precipitate a long-term shift in how listeners interact with cryptocurrencies.

“I think we’ll see more caution in terms of assessing what might be reputational issues if you go into something that… I might not understand,” said Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council. “Maybe we should think about what it means to be involved in something so new.”

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Yadav predicted that the cryptocurrency industry may now turn to sources of validation for non-celebrities — such as legitimacy through regulation, for example.

“I think now celebrities don’t do that anymore,” she said. “Certainly not the big names.”



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