VIRGINIA EXPECTS $2B IN PUBLIC-PRIVATE BROADBAND FUNDING 06
TRUMP ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF HIS VERY OWN SOCIAL MEDIA SITE 12
SENATOR ASKS FACEBOOK CEO TO TESTIFY ON INSTAGRAM AND KIDS 22
TESLA HITS RECORD PROFIT DESPITE PARTS SHORTAGE, SHIP DELAYS 32
NTSB: DRIVER WAS BEHIND WHEEL AT TIME OF TEXAS TESLA CRASH 46
MEXICO: DRUG CARTELS RECRUITING YOUTHS THROUGH VIDEO GAMES 56
DENIS VILLENEUVE’S DREAMS OF ‘DUNE’ REACH THE BIG SCREEN 66
IN ‘MASS,’ A WRENCHING DIALOGUE AFTER TRAGEDY 86
MacBooks: THE MOST POWERFUL PRO LINEUP EVER CREATED 98
BITCOIN-MINING POWER PLANT RAISES IRE OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS 130
AS BITCOIN GOES MAINSTREAM, WALL STREET LOOKS TO CASH IN 142
WALGREENS BEGINS TESTING DRONE DELIVERY IN TEXAS 152
COMPANY BEHIND TETHER ‘TOKEN’ FINED $41M BY US REGULATORS 158
FACEBOOK PLANS TO HIRE 10,000 IN EUROPE TO BUILD ‘METAVERSE’ 162
LAWMAKERS GIVE AMAZON ‘FINAL CHANCE’ TO CLEAR UP TESTIMONY 170
NETFLIX POSTS HIGHER 3Q EARNINGS, SOLID SUBSCRIBER GROWTH 178
WORKERS FED UP WITH NIGHTS, WEEKENDS SEEK FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES 184
COMMERCE HEAD OUT TO SAVE US JOBS, 1 COMPUTER CHIP AT A TIME 190
THE BEST TRAVEL PLAN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: A BACKUP PLAN 204
RIGHT ON CUE: NBA FINDS HIGH-TECH OPTION FOR VIRUS TESTING 212
NEW CREW DOCKS AT CHINA’S FIRST PERMANENT SPACE STATION 216
CHINA CALLS MISSILE LAUNCH ‘ROUTINE TEST’ OF NEW TECHNOLOGY 224
CHINA CRACKDOWN ON APPLE STORE HITS HOLY BOOK APPS, AUDIBLE 230
NIPPON STEEL SUES JAPAN BUSINESS PARTNER TOYOTA OVER PATENT 236
CARBON DIOXIDE UNDERGROUND STORAGE PROJECT ADVANCES 240
EXPECTS $2B IN
Virginia has received a record number of local
and private sector applications to match state
investments in broadband connectivity and
the state expects more than $2 billion in total
broadband funding, Gov. Ralph Northam
announced this week.
Virginia aims to expand high-speed internet
access to more than 250,000 homes and
businesses, using federal emergency aid to close
a gap in opportunity for remote work and study
during the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets
reported. Virginia has received requests for $943
million in grants to fund 57 projects to expand
access to broadband telecommunications,
The state expects to use $850 million in federal
and state budget funds, mostly American Rescue
Plan Act aid. It would be matched by $1.15 billion
in private and local government funds.
Not all projects will be funded this year, but
the state expects to award grants by the end
of the year. It will put Virginia on track to reach
universal broadband coverage by 2024, four
years earlier than expected.
Nine months after being expelled from social
media for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol
insurrection, former President Donald Trump
said this week he’s launching a new media
company with its own social media platform.
Trump says his goal in launching the Trump
Media & Technology Group and its “Truth
Social” app is to create a rival to the Big Tech
companies that have shut him out and denied
him the megaphone that was paramount to his
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge
presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American
President has been silenced,”he said in a
statement.“This is unacceptable.”
Conservative voices actually do well on traditional
social media. On Wednesday, half of Facebook’s
10 top performing link posts were from
conservative media, commentators or politicians,
according to a daily list compiled by a New York
Times technology columnist and an internet
studies professor using Facebook’s own data.
Trump has spoken about launching his own
social media site ever since he was barred from
Twitter and Facebook. An earlier effort to launch
a blog on his existing website was abandoned
after the page drew dismal views.
TMTG has not set its sights low. In addition to
the Truth Social app, which is expected to soft-
launch next month with a nationwide rollout
early next year, the company says it is planning
a video-on-demand service dubbed TMTG+ that
will feature entertainment programming, news
One slide in a TMTG presentation on its
website includes a graphic of TMTG’s potential
competitors, which range from Facebook and
Twitter to Netflix and Disney+ to CNN. The same
slide suggests that over the long term TMTG will
also become a power in cloud computing and
payments and suggests it will go head-to-head
with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Stripe.
TMTG also takes some jabs at Trump’s previous
favorite social network. Slides accompanying the
Truth Social preorders listing in Apple’s app store
depict a social network that strongly resembles
Twitter, right down to short messages and user
handles preceded by “@” signs.
The same graphics also feature a user named
Jack’s Beard, who in one image fumes when an
employee pushes back on an order to delete a
user and its posts, calling it “kinda an overreach.”
The Jack’s Beard account uses the handle @
jack, which is Jack Dorsey’s handle on the real
Twitter; Dorsey’s long scraggly beard has also
drawn attention during the his congressional
appearances over Zoom.
Truth Social’s terms of service, meanwhile, bar
users from annoying any of the site’s employees
and from statements that “disparage, tarnish, or
otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the
Site.” It was not immediately clear who the “us” in
that statement refers to.
In a release, the new venture announced it had
been created through a merger with Digital
World Acquisition Corp., and said it seeks to
become a publicly listed company.
DWA, based in Miami, is a special-purpose
acquisition company, or SPAC. Such publicly
traded companies are designed to list the
shares of a private company more quickly than a
traditional initial public offering. In practice, that
means the SPAC acquires a private firm and then
changes its name and other details to those of
the acquired firm.
SPACs pay for their acquisitions with cash
provided by investors who bought into the
SPAC’s initial public offering. DWA’s Sept. 8 IPO
raised $287.5 million, according to a filing with
the Securities and Exchange Commission.
DWA said it has raised roughly $293 million in
cash, which it will use to grow TMTG’s ventures.
Among the company’s biggest shareholders
are several institutional investors, including
Lighthouse Investment Partners, D. E. Shaw
& Co., and Radcliffe Capital Management,
according to an SEC filing. DWA said more
details about the deal will be disclosed in
The deal has an initial enterprise value, a
measure that takes into account a company’s
total debts and assets, of $875 million, according
to the release. It still requires the approval of
shareholders of both DWA and TMTG, as well
Shares of Digital World Acquisition soared 94%
TO TESTIFY ON
The senator leading a probe of Facebook’s
Instagram and its impact on young people
is asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to
testify before the panel that has heard far-
reaching criticisms from a former employee of
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who heads
the Senate Commerce subcommittee on
consumer protection, called in a sharply worded
letter Wednesday for the Facebook founder to
testify on Instagram’s effects on children.
“Parents across America are deeply disturbed
by ongoing reports that Facebook knows that
Instagram can cause destructive and lasting
harms to many teens and children, especially to
their mental health and wellbeing,” Blumenthal
said in the letter addressed to Zuckerberg.
“Those parents, and the twenty million teens
that use your app, have a right to know the truth
about the safety of Instagram.”
In the wake of former Facebook product
manager Frances Haugen’s testimony early this
month, Blumenthal told Zuckerberg, “Facebook
representatives, including yourself, have
doubled down on evasive answers, keeping
hidden several reports on teen health, offering
noncommittal and vague plans for action at
an unspecified time down the road, and even
turning to personal attacks on Ms. Haugen.”
Blumenthal did offer, however, that either
Zuckerberg or the head of Instagram, Adam
Mosseri, could appear before his committee.
“It is urgent and necessary for you or Mr. Adam
Mosseri to testify to set the record straight and
provide members of Congress and parents with
a plan on how you are going to protect our kids,”
he told Zuckerberg.
A spokesman for Facebook, based in Menlo Park,
California, confirmed receipt of Blumenthal’s
letter but declined any comment.
As public discomfort and scrutiny of the social
network giant has grown in recent weeks, the
focus has homed in on Zuckerberg, who controls
more than 50% of Facebook’s voting shares.
Haugen, who buttressed her statements with
tens of thousands of pages of internal research
documents she secretly copied before leaving
her job in the company’s civic integrity unit,
accused Facebook of prioritizing profit over
safety and being dishonest in its public fight
against hate and misinformation.
“In the end, the buck stops with Mark,” Haugen
said in her testimony. “There is no one currently
holding Mark accountable but himself.”
On Tuesday, the attorney general of the District
of Columbia added Zuckerberg as a defendant
in a 2018 lawsuit he filed against Facebook on
the privacy of users’ personal data. The action
by Attorney General Karl Racine seeks to hold
Zuckerberg personally liable in addition to
Facebook in the case involving data-mining firm
Cambridge Analytica, which gathered details on
as many as 87 million Facebook users without
The Facebook users’data is alleged to
have been used to manipulate the 2016
“These allegations are as meritless today as
they were more than three years ago, when the
District filed its complaint. We will continue to
defend ourselves vigorously and focus on the
facts,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said.
Racine’s office said it was the first time a U.S.
regulator specifically named Zuckerberg in a
legal action. He and the company could face
millions of dollars in penalties if violations of law
The Federal Trade Commission has filed a major
antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, and various
state attorneys general also have taken legal
action against the company.
“Based on the evidence we gathered in
this case over the past two years ... it’s clear
Mr. Zuckerberg knowingly and actively
participated in each decision that led to
Cambridge Analytica’s mass collection
of Facebook user data, and Facebook’s
misrepresentations to users about how secure
their data was,” Racine said in a statement.
“The evidence further demonstrates that Mr.
Zuckerberg also participated in misleading
the public and government officials about
Record electric vehicle sales last summer
amid a shortage of computer chips and other
materials propelled Tesla Inc. to the biggest
quarterly net earnings in its history.
The company said Wednesday that it made
$1.62 billion in the third quarter, beating the
old record of $1.14 billion set in the second
quarter of this year. The profit was nearly five
times larger than the $331 million Tesla made
in the same quarter a year ago.
Revenue of $13.76 billion from July through
September also set a record, but it fell short of
Wall Street expectations of just over $14 billion,
according to FactSet.
Image: David Zalubowski
Excluding special items such as stock-based
compensation, Palo Alto, California-based
Tesla made $1.86 per share, beating analyst
estimates of $1.62. CEO Elon Musk has said he’s
moving the headquarters to Austin, Texas, the
dateline of Wednesday’s earnings release.
Some of the quarterly profit, though, came
from selling regulatory credits to other
automakers. Tesla made $279 million on credits
during the quarter.
“A variety of challenges, including
semiconductor shortages, congestion at ports
and rolling blackouts, have been impacting our
ability to keep factories running at full
speed,” the company said in a statement
Earlier this month Tesla said it delivered a
record 241,300 electric vehicles in the third
quarter even as it wrestled with the shortages
that have hit the entire auto industry. Most
automakers reported sales declines in the U.S.
last quarter due to chip and other shortages,
including General Motors and Ford.
Previously, Musk has said Tesla kept its
manufacturing lines running largely by finding
chips from alternate suppliers and then
scrambling to rewrite some of the software in
its cars to ensure all the technology
Third-quarter sales rose 72% over the 140,000
deliveries Tesla made for the same period a
So far this year, Tesla has sold around 627,300
vehicles. That puts it on pace to soundly beat
last year’s total of 499,550.
While sales grew in the third quarter, the
average sales price fell 6% because Tesla is
selling more less-expensive Models 3 and Y
and fewer pricier Models S and X.
Tesla also took an impairment charge of $51
million due to a decline in value of its
Musk didn’t appear on this quarter’s
conference call with with analysts and
investors. He said previously that he would
show up only when he had something
important to say.
That left Chief Financial Officer Zachary
Kirkhorn and Vice President of Vehicle
Engineering Lars Moravy to answer questions.
Kirkhorn said the company was able to hit an
operating margin — how much it makes pretax
after variable production costs — of just
But Kirkhorn said Tesla may face some
difficulties in the future that could threaten
that margin, including rising commodity
prices and labor shortages. Tesla’s biggest cost
exposure is for nickel, which goes into battery
cells, and aluminum, which the company uses
for other nonbattery components, he said.
Tesla also will face inefficiencies as it starts
production at new factories in Texas and
Germany next year, he said.
The company already is seeing commodity
cost increases, which have resulted in price
hikes, Kirkhorn said. Next year it’s possible that
Tesla will see more. “It’s difficult to say precisely,
but the volatility and the increases are just so
substantial,” he said.
Tesla executives also made their first public
comment on multiple investigations of the
company by U.S. safety regulators. Moravy said
Tesla is cooperating as much as possible.
The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration has opened an investigation into
why Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system keeps
running into parked emergency vehicles. Of
the dozen crashes that are part of the probe, 17
people were injured and one was killed.
The safety agency also is questioning why Tesla
didn’t recall vehicles with Autopilot when it did
an over-the internet software update so they
better recognize firetrucks and police cars in low
light. NHTSA said the update addressed a
Kirkhorn said safety is important to Tesla as the
auto industry transitions from traditional cars
to being more software-oriented. “Regulatory
bodies, and understandably so, are interested
in understanding how to regulate in this
environment, and NHTSA is no exception,” he
said. “Were excited to partner and we’ll work
collaboratively with all the different
Tesla hasn’t always cooperated with the safety
agency, though. In January, Tesla resisted a
request from NHTSA to recall about 135,000
vehicles because their touch screens could go
dark. The agency said the screens were a safety
defect because backup cameras and windshield
defroster controls could be disabled.
A month later, after NHTSA started the process
toward holding a public hearing and taking Tesla
to court, the company agreed to the recall.
In its shareholder statement, Tesla also said
that construction of its new factory near Austin
is progressing as planned and it’s preparing
equipment and“fabricating our first pre-
The factory, which is centrally located versus
Tesla’s other assembly plant in Fremont, California,
will send Model Y small SUVs and new Cybertruck
pickups to East Coast population centers.
Tesla said it expects to expand its factory capacity
quickly, and over a“multi-year horizon”it expects
sales to grow an average of 50% annually.
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TIME OF TEXAS
A driver was behind the wheel when a Tesla
electric car crashed and burned last April near
Houston, killing two men, neither of whom was
found in the driver’s seat.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board
announced the findings in an investigative
report update released Thursday on the April 17
crash on a residential road in Spring, Texas.
Although first responders found one man in the
back seat and the other in the front passenger
seat, the NTSB said both the driver and a
passenger were in the front seats with belts
buckled at the time of the crash.
The agency said the car was traveling up to 67
mph in the five seconds leading up to the crash,
and the driver was accelerating. Data from the
car’s fire-damaged event data recorder revealed
that at times, the accelerator pedal was pressed
as high as 98.8%, the NTSB report said.
The investigation is continuing, and the agency
made no determination as to whether Tesla’s
Autopilot partially automated driver-assist
system was running at the time of the crash.
The NTSB said it is still looking into Autopilot,
whether the men could have had trouble
getting out of the car, driver toxicology tests
and other items. The agency will make those
determinations in a final report.
The update report left unclear how or why the
driver unbuckled the seat belt and changed
seating positions, although it said the crash
damaged the Tesla Model S’s high-voltage
lithium-ion battery case, where the fire started.
The fatal trip began at the owner’s home near
the end of a cul-de-sac, and home security video
showed the owner getting into the driver’s seat
and the passenger entering the front passenger
seat, the report said. The car traveled about 550
feet before leaving the road on a curve, going
over a curb, hitting a drainage culvert, a raised
manhole and a tree.
The crash occurred around 9:07 p.m. on
Hammock Dunes Place, a two-lane residential
road. Both the 59-year-old owner and the
69-year-old passenger were killed.
In a preliminary report from May, the NTSB said it
tested a different Tesla vehicle on the same road,
and the Autopilot driver-assist system could not
be fully used. Investigators could not get the
system’s automated steering system to work, but
were able to use Traffic Aware Cruise Control.
Autopilot needs both the cruise control and the
automatic steering to function. Traffic Aware
Cruise Control can keep the car a safe distance
from vehicles in front of it, while autosteer keeps
it in its own lane. The report said the road also
did not have lane lines. That could have have
been why the automatic steering wouldn’t work.
The agency says it intends to issue safety
recommendations to prevent similar crashes.
Local authorities said one man was found in
the front passenger seat, while another was in
Harris County Precinct Four Constable Mark
Herman said at the time the car was traveling
at a high speed. He would not say if there was
evidence anyone tampered with Tesla’s system
to monitor the driver, which detects force from
hands on the steering wheel. The system will
issue warnings and eventually shut the car down
if it doesn’t detect hands. But critics say Tesla’s
system is easy to fool and can take as long as a
minute to shut down.
Consumer Reports said in April that it was able
to easily trick a Tesla into driving in Autopilot
mode with no one at the wheel.
The NTSB, which has no regulatory authority
and can only make recommendations, said it’s
working with the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration on the probe. NHTSA has the
power to make vehicle safety regulations. The
federal probe is running at the same time as a
parallel investigation by local authorities, the
The Texas crash raised questions of whether
Autopilot was working at the time, and whether
Tesla does enough to make sure drivers are
engaged. The company says in owner’s manuals