Samsung Display will reportedly stop making LCD panels this year – CNET

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Samsung Display is apparently shifting its business away from LCD.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Display will stop making LCD panels at its South Korean and Chinese factories by the end of 2020, CNET sister site ZDNet reported Tuesday. It'll apparently move workers onto its quantum dot (QD) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) production.

The company has two production lines in its native South Korea and two LCD-only factories in China, Reuters noted, and hasn't determined what it'll do with the latter yet. Most of the LCD panels made in these factories are used in Samsung Electronics' TVs.

Last October, it announced a five-year 13.1 trillion won (about $10.7 billion) investment in upgrading its production line for QD displays for future TV models.

The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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T-Mobile and Sprint are one: What you need to know about the mobile mega-merger – CNET

sprint-tmobile-logos

And finally, two become one.

Angela Lang/CNET

After nearly two years of waiting to close their $26.5 billion merger, T-Mobile and Sprint have crossed the finish line and completed its quest to combine the third- and fourth-largest national wireless carriers. 

The merger comes less than two months after a US District Court gave the green light to the deal in a ruling that went against 14 state attorneys general who opposed the transaction. The attorneys general decided against appealing the District Court decision, so here we are.

Now that the deal is finally closing, it could bring about a seismic shift in the mobile world. T-Mobile and Sprint's combined assets could jump-start their 5G ambitions, pushing the industry further into the next-generation technology. They've also said they'll lock in consumer prices for at least three years. As part of all the wrangling, Dish Network will become the fourth national carrier, giving consumers a new alternative.

What's next? The new company is retaining the T-Mobile name. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has stepped down from his role, and Mike Sievert, the company's COO, has moved into the CEO chair to run day-to-day operations of the merged company. 

Worried about how this might affect you? CNET breaks down everything you need to know about this mega mobile merger.

Why a merger?

T-Mobile and Sprint have long courted each other. The logic is simple: Verizon and AT&T are far bigger than either of the two companies. A merger would create a stronger competitor.

Now playing: Watch this: T-Mobile, Sprint make $26B deal to merge

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Why now?

Actually, T-Mobile and Sprint tried twice before. In 2014, Sprint parent SoftBank floated the idea of a deal with T-Mobile, but regulators and the White House were keen on keeping four national competitors.

The current administration and the FCC have been more open to deals, which is why both sides got close to an agreement in 2017. The deal fell apart in the later part of that year, when SoftBank and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom couldn't agree on how much control each side would get.  

Related stories: 

How to choose the best 5G network

9 things to consider when choosing a low-cost carrier

Best phones of 2020

What 5G phones are available now

Why has the merger dragged on? 

The deal won the backing of the FCC and the Justice Department last year, but attorneys general from 14 states and the District of Columbia, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, banded together in a multistate lawsuit to stop it, arguing the merger would "deprive consumers of the benefits of competition and drive up prices for cell phone services." 

This court battle was a major hurdle standing in the way of the merger. The Feb. 11 District Court decision helped clear the path to allow the companies to complete the merger. 

What's the deal with satellite TV provider Dish?

To get the Justice Department to sign off on the merger, Dish agreed to buy Sprint's prepaid brand Boost and acquire some wireless spectrum. The deal also gives Dish access to T-Mobile's network for seven years while Dish builds its own 5G offering. The whole purpose of this agreement is to create another nationwide carrier that could compete with the new T-Mobile, as well as with AT&T and Verizon.

Dish isn't exactly starting from scratch. The company has spent years accumulating spectrum -- radio airwaves -- that could be used to build a wireless network. 

T-Mobile also has a deal to potentially lease Dish's unused 600MHz spectrum for use in its own 5G rollout. 

Why would Dish want to strike a deal with T-Mobile?

While Dish already owns billions of dollars worth of its own spectrum, the company has yet to build its own wireless network. Some have accused the company of hoarding valuable wireless spectrum. Prior to the announcement of the deal, Dish hadn't made a major announcement about the plans for its spectrum. 

Prior to this deal, Dish had until March 2020 to utilize the airwaves or risk losing its licenses. But as part of the new agreement, the company gets an extension to June 2023, by which time it pledges to have a 5G network of its own that'll cover 70% of the US population. 

Purchasing the divested prepaid businesses, getting additional airwaves and adding the ability to begin offering service on the T-Mobile network while it builds its own would make it easier and more cost-effective for Dish to finally become a wireless competitor. 

So Dish will be a new fourth carrier? 

Yes. Though it's unclear what the service will look like beyond utilizing Sprint's prepaid business and retail stores. 

Under the deal, Dish will pay $1.4 billion for the prepaid businesses and $3.6 billion for the 800MHz spectrum, which is coveted because it has great range and can go through walls, even if it can't carry super-high speeds. Dish already has spectrum holdings in the 600MHz and 700MHz bands, as well as some midband holdings that'll allow for greater speeds, though it doesn't have the same amount of range.

"Taken together, these opportunities will set the stage for our entry as the nation's fourth facilities-based wireless competitor and accelerate our work to launch the country's first standalone 5G broadband network," Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said in a statement.

Though T-Mobile CEO John Legere has called Dish a "credible competitor," many critics have doubts about Dish's commitment given its past reluctance to build out its network. 

What has T-Mobile promised the FCC it will do?

In May 2019, T-Mobile negotiated a deal with the FCC that promised 5G coverage to nearly all of the US. It included build-out requirements to ensure 5G deployment in rural communities, a promise to offer wireless home broadband that could substitute for a wireline, and the divestiture of Boost Mobile.

Specifically, as part of the FCC's deal, the new T-Mobile would meet several 5G network coverage benchmarks. For instance, within three years the company will provide 5G service to 97% of the US population, and within six years 99%. For rural Americans, the coverage would be 85% within three years, and 90% within six.

T-Mobile has also promised to offer a broadband alternative to rural customers and has guaranteed that 90% of Americans will see mobile broadband service at speeds of at least 100Mbps if the deal is approved. In addition to promises of a 5G rollout, T-Mobile also agreed to divest Boost Mobile, but it'll keep T-Mobile's prepaid brand, Metro.

What's it all mean for me?

That's the $26 billion question. T-Mobile and Sprint promise a combined network that'll deliver better service at lower prices. They argue that their combined scale would help them build out a faster, more efficient network.

But consumer advocacy groups disagree. 

"This deal will be most harmful to the two carriers' poorer and more urban customer base, who will pay dearly for this combination after yet another failure by our nation's antitrust enforcers," said Matt Wood, vice president of policy and general counsel for Free Press. "This approval is nothing but bad news for people who already pay too much for essential communications services."

So prices could go up?

That's what the Democrats on the FCC, who voted against approving the merger, have argued. In her statement following the FCC's official vote, Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, argued that "overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality and slow innovation."

"We've all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one," Rosenworcel said. "In the airline industry, it brought us baggage fees and smaller seats. In the pharmaceutical industry, it led to a handful of drug companies raising the prices of lifesaving medications. There's no reason to think this time will be different."

The companies have agreed to not raise prices for three years if the deal goes through. But after that, all bets are off. There's a reason why Wall Street likes this deal: Financial analysts think the industry is a little too competitive and that removing one player could ease the pressure. 

Following the court's decision on the states' lawsuit, Rosenworcel expressed her disappointment.

"I am concerned that antitrust enforcement is not working for consumers," she said. "Going forward it is absolutely essential that the FCC enforce the promises made by these companies in their effort to secure approval from this agency. Any other outcome would be unacceptable."

What happens to existing service plans?

T-Mobile's Sievert declined to comment on what the companies plan to do with many of the ultra-competitive grandfathered plans that customers have clung to. T-Mobile has generally been good about honoring existing plans within its own service, but it's unclear what it would do with Sprint's plans.

How will the migration happen?

The companies say it would take about three years to migrate customers over to the T-Mobile network. Though both companies support LTE, T-Mobile's older network is based on a technology called GSM, and Sprint's is based on CDMA -- two incompatible networks.

Fortunately, popular phones like some Samsung models and the iPhones on Sprint can run on T-Mobile. The new 5G-enabled phones are also supported on both networks. Sievert says there are about 20 million Sprint phones that are compatible on T-Mobile.

Eventually, the idea is to get everyone onto the T-Mobile network.

What about 5G?

One of the critical parts of T-Mobile and Sprint's argument for merging is the move to 5G. The companies say neither can build the 5G network they want without a combination, though that hardly would've been the rhetoric had you asked either side before this deal was announced.

The case for 5G leadership is tailor-made for the White House, which killed a proposed takeover of Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom because it threatened the US' position in regard to the next-generation wireless technology. 

T-Mobile and Sprint say they'll invest roughly $40 billion in 5G over the next three years, potentially creating new jobs. 

Now playing: Watch this: What the heck is a 5G network?

1:29

How does this combination help with 5G?

It's all about spectrum, or the radio airwaves each company holds. T-Mobile owns a large swath of lower-frequency spectrum, which is great for covering long distances, but at lower speeds. It also has a super-high frequency band known as millimeter wave spectrum, which gives you greater speed and capacity, but at a short range.

Sprint has plenty of spectrum in the midband, a sort of compromise between the two.

The combined portfolio of radio airwaves provides superior coverage in terms of both speed and capacity, particularly in rural areas.

"As we move forward and drive this major investment in a combined network, every dollar we spend here will be a 5G dollar," said T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray.

CNET's Eli Blumenthal contributed to this story. 

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Damon Motorcycles buys Mission Motors’ IP, debuts limited editions of its Hypersport EV – Roadshow

The Damon Hypersport turned heads at CES and sold out its run of pre-orders, but hope isn't lost if you still want in.

Damon

Electric motorcycle startup Damon turned a lot of heads and likely opened a lot of wallets with its wild, shapeshifting CES debut. Since then, it's been taking preorders on the Hypersport Premier and HS models, and, according to a Tuesday announcement by the company, it's been making some moves behind the scenes.

Specifically, it took the big step of acquiring the intellectual property of the now-defunct Mission Motorcycle, which kicked the bucket back in 2015. Mission was doing some exciting stuff with its battery and motor technology before if shut down, but what does that mean for Damon?

"The purchase of the Mission Motors IP will add to Damon's capability to build the highest performance drive trains in motorcycling," said Derek Dorresteyn, COO of Damon Motorcycles, in a statement. "Mission Motors was a technical leader and we are happy that some of that competitive DNA has passed into the Damon Hypersport. We intend to improve upon it considerably to take motorcycling into an entirely new level of performance."

That sounds cool, but how much benefit is Damon getting from technology that's five years old, at best? Further, that raises the question of just how much development the company has to do before it can reach its ambitious production date of late 2021.

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Damon is offering a limited run of the Hypersport Premier in Arctic Sun and Midnight Sun colorways.

Damon

If Damon were just trying to be an electric motorcycle company, that goal would seem challenging, let alone one with a claimed 200 miles of highway range, 200 horsepower and a top speed of 200 miles per hour, but with the added complexity of its "Shift" system that changes the motorcycle's shape and rider geometry, that seems like a lofty expectation.

More complicated still is its "CoPilot" system that it claims will scan the road and alert the rider to dangers as well as report back to Damon, allowing it to make the system more intelligent is something that will take massive amounts of computing power and development -- more than Roadshow's seen from any two-wheeled EV manufacturer so far.

Despite our reservations, Damon is confident enough in its abilities to offer reservations for its Hypersport Premier which says something. People, it would seem, are confident in the company's ability to deliver too, because preorders are sold out for the limited Premier Founder's Edition of the Hypersport. That's cool, but fear not if you didn't get your money in fast enough: There are two new special editions of Hypersport Premier for you to reserve.

For your $1,000 reservation, you can now choose between the Hypersport Premier Arctic Sun or Midnight sun, which features white and gold or black and gold paint, respectively. These new colorways are limited, and the bikes will retail for a relatively eye-watering $39,995 at launch.

As a journalist, it's my job to be both excited by the future but cautious in my optimism, and Damon hits me on both fronts. The startup is making big promises on future products -- as startups are wont to do -- but all I've seen so far is a mostly static model on the CES show floor. So there's a long way to go, but I'm excited to see what might happen.

Now playing: Watch this: Damon Hypersport HS electric motorcycle offers outrageous...

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Huawei reports smallest profit jump in three years as US ban takes its toll – CNET

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Huawei's 2019 annual report reflects the pitch of the US ban.

Angela Lang/CNET

The US ban on Huawei appears to have taken its toll on its 2019 profits. The Chinese company's annual report revealed that its net profit for the year was 62.7 billion yuan (around $8.8 billion), which Reuters noted was its lowest increase in three years at 5.6%.

The phone maker's overall 2019 revenue jumped 19.1% to 858.8 billion yuan (about $121 billion) -- it reported revenue growth of 23.2% for the first half of the year last summer, so sales took a slight dip after that.

It expects 2020 to be more challenging, board chairman Liang Hua acknowledged.

Now playing: Watch this: Huawei P40 Pro and Plus first impressions: CNET editors...

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"We will need to further adapt to the long-standing restrictions imposed by the Entity List, while also addressing the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," he wrote.

The company unveiled its flagship P40 phones last week, but those devices are hampered by the lack of Android support.

The US has long alleged that Huawei maintains a tight relationship with the Chinese government, creating fear that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. The Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei following a May 2019 executive order from President Donald Trump that effectively banned the company from US communications networks.

Prior to the P40 launch, Trump administration officials reportedly agreed to new rules to cut off Huawei from global chip suppliers.

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WWE WrestleMania 2020: How to watch, start times, two day card and WWE Network – CNET

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Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre headlines this year's bizarre WrestleMania. 

WWE

It's unprecedented times, which calls for an unprecedented WrestleMania. This year's show, on paper the biggest wrestling event of the year, is unlike any other in WWE history. Originally scheduled for Tampa, Florida's Raymond James Stadium, it'll instead take place at WWE's Performance Center training facility in front of no fans. Much of it has reportedly already been taped. It's spread over two nights, Saturday and Sunday, instead of the usual one-night extravaganza. 

So yeah, it's weird as hell. There are a lot of questions surrounding WrestleMania 36. Many pundits have criticized WWE for putting the event on at all, calling it a health risk. In an age of social distancing, watching between two and six people grapple with one another will be jarring for some. But as noted, much of it has reportedly already been filmed. So at this point, it only makes sense to try and enjoy. 

Whether that'll be possible, with no crowd for the wrestlers to perform to, is another question.

The main event of the show is Brock Lesnar defending his WWE Championship against Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre. Normally I'd say this would be a surefire great match, but, as you're no doubt tired of hearing, it's not normal times. Elsewhere, John Cena returns to face Bray "The Fiend" Wyatt and The Undertaker rises to face AJ Styles. 

Roman Reigns is scheduled to wrestle Goldberg for the Universal Championship, but he's since pulled out of the match. Who will take the reins and face Goldberg instead is yet to be officially announced. 

Start times

WrestleMania 36 takes place in WWE's Orlando, Florida-based Performance Center on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5. The main card starts both days at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET. If you're a WWE Network subscriber -- at $9.99 per month, but free for one month for new subscribers -- you can watch it live for free. Otherwise you'll need to contact your local cable provider and pay a separate fee to watch. 

Viewers in the UK will have to stay up late, as the show starts midnight Sunday and Monday. WrestleMania starts for Australians at 9 a.m. AEDT time on Sunday and Monday.

Match Card

  • WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre.
  • Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. TBA.
  • Raw Women's Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler.
  • Firefly Funhouse match: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt.
  • Edge vs. Randy Orton.
  • Boneyard match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles.
  • NXT Women's Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair.
  • Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins.
  • Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan.
  • SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina.
  • SmackDown Tag Team Championships ladder match: The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Usos.
  • Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza and Austin Theory.
  • Elias vs. Baron Corbin.
  • Women's Tag Team Championships: The Kabuki Warriors vs. Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss.
  • Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler.
  • Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley. 

Yep, that's a lot of matches. We don't yet know which matches will take place on which night. 

How to watch: WWE Network, Fite TV apps

You can start (or restart) a subscription to the WWE Network here:

The monthly price is $9.99 (US) or £9.99 (UK). New subscribers get a free month and you can cancel anytime.

The WWE Network app is available on RokuXbox OnePlayStation 4Amazon Fire TVAmazon Kindle FireApple TViOS and Android.

WrestleMania is also available on Fite TV in both English and Spanish. It costs $60 for the two-day WrestleMania package. 

The event should also be available as a one-off pay-per-view purchase on many cable and satellite TV systems.

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2021 Genesis G80 is bursting with style and tech – Roadshow

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Genesis' new sedan gets a pair of turbocharged engines.
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Tiger King: 9 things you didn’t know about Netflix’s insane hit show – CNET

New Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has managed to do the impossible: temporarily distract a world stressed out by dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The seven-episode series, directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, focuses on Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- aka Joe Exotic -- and his Oklahoma exotic-animal park. As of Monday, it was the No. 1 show on the streaming network.

When the show begins, Joe has an impressive blond mullet, a flamboyant wardrobe, multiple husbands, and a raging feud with Carole Baskin, the owner of a big-cat sanctuary. All of that is as tame as a bowl of warm milk compared with what comes next. Every element in Tiger King gets weirder, and every personality who comes on camera has a secret, a compellingly weird event in their history, or dozens of each. Joe runs for president and governor, tries for a country music career, makes bizarre videos suggesting his rival fed her missing husband to her tigers and so, so much more. 

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Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic have a running feud that explodes in the Netflix series Tiger King.

Courtesy Netflix

There's a strange comfort to be had in taking refuge in this specific brand of American craziness. For viewers self-isolating in their homes, it's a reminder that the world was weird in so many varied ways before coronavirus. God willing and the creek don't rise, it will one day get a chance to be that weird again.

Since the series started streaming on March 20, dozens of news stories and interviews have dug into the real people and events behind the show. Some spoilers ahead, but if you've already watched the series, read on for nine juicy tidbits that the show itself didn't reveal.

1. That (mostly) isn't Joe singing

In multiple episodes, Joe brags about his singing career and songs such as "I Saw a Tiger" are heard. But anyone with ears can tell the polished, country-music-veteran voice crooning the tunes doesn't sound anything like Joe Exotic's drawling speaking voice. Real musicians Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton were the real musical power behind Joe's Milli Vanilli act. Johnson told Vanity Fair they worked for free, thinking they'd earn fame from a reality show about Joe's life. (Clinton died in October, TMZ reports.) The show's directors, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, told the L.A. Times that a fact-checker discovered that Joe did sing somewhat on certain songs, so they chose not to call him out on it in the show.

2. Don't blame the tiger for that missing hand

In the first episode, Kelci Saffery, one of Joe's employees, is seen immediately after being bitten by a tiger. Saffery chooses to have the injured hand amputated rather than undergo numerous operations, returns to work just five days later, and shows up throughout the show displaying a stump. Saffery has said from the beginning that no one should blame the tiger and, though it's not mentioned in the episode, the tiger was not put down.

In a 2013 statement, Saffery said, "I broke protocol and stuck my hand in a cat cage instead of using the stick provided." Actor David Spade interviewed Saffery in a video published March 27. "I just got complacent," Saffery said about the injury. And the tiger didn't pay the ultimate price for the bite. "(The tiger) wasn't put down, we just moved it off of the park, off of display," Saffery said.

Now playing: Watch this: What's new to stream for April 2020

4:31

3. John Finlay got his teeth fixed

David Spade, who's admitted he's obsessed with the show, didn't just interview Saffery, but also a number of other Tiger King cast members, including John Finlay, one of Joe Exotic's romantic partners. Finlay was noteworthy on the show for only having a few visible teeth, but now he has full dentures and is almost unrecognizable. 

"It took a while," he told Spade of his dental procedures. "But after I got 'em fixed the right way, they were perfect." Finlay did tell Spade that he thought getting his teeth fixed was more painful than getting his 51 tattoos and that the pink-shirt three-groom wedding seen on the show was all Joe's idea.

4. Those alligators were famous

Tiger King is mostly about the big cats, although the reptile residents of the park have a sad storyline in one of the episodes when their enclosure catches fire. John Finlay told David Spade in his video interview that some of the alligators at the exotic-animal park came from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. He also said that working with the crocodiles and alligators was more dangerous than working with the big cats, in part because of the reptiles' giant and threatening tails. Finlay also said he's not in contact with Joe Exotic at all, plans to get all the tattoos of Joe's name covered up and is engaged to a woman now.

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Courtesy Netflix

5. The accident that took John Reinke's legs was even worse than described

John Reinke, former manager at Joe Exotic's animal park, is shown many times putting on and taking off his artificial legs, explaining that he needs them not because of a cat attack, but due to a previous accident. Like everything in Tiger King, that's only half of the dramatic story. 

Back in 2010, Reinke explained his accident to The Oklahoman newspaper. Though he describes it as a ziplining accident in the show, the article describes it as a bungee-jump accident -- it certainly involved a fall from a terrifying height. Not only did a pulley malfunction, sending Reinke tumbling 55 feet to the ground and crushing his legs, but he didn't just land on the earth. He fell onto a 6-inch metal stake, piercing his colon and stomach, the paper reports. He later had more than 20 operations on his feet and legs.

6. Shaq is not Joe Exotic's friend

Tiger King gets so weird viewers might forget NBA star Shaquille O'Neal briefly shows up in an episode. But on March 25, O'Neal said on The Big Podcast with Shaq that the two are not pals. He said he loves tigers and visited the park a few times but "had no idea all that stuff was going on." He said he still loves the animals and has made donations to support them, but is not close to Joe Exotic. "I was just a visitor," O'Neal said on the podcast. "I met this guy, not my friend, don't know him, never had any business dealings with him." And don't go to the athlete's house expecting to see big cats, though he could certainly afford them. "Do I own tigers personally at my house?" O'Neal said. "No."

7. Petting the cubs has a dark side

Joe Exotic earns money by charging visitors to come to his exotic-animal park and take photos cuddling with the big-cat cubs. But directors and writers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin told the L.A. Times that they never gave in and cuddled the the baby cats, especially after what they saw. "Most of the tigers we were around were subjected to abject cruelty," Chaiklin said. "We saw babies being torn from their mothers and screaming. They'd get sick from being handled so much and get ringworm and mange. It was disturbing."

8. Carole's missing husband is still missing

A large part of the series focuses on Joe Exotic's nemesis, activist Carole Baskin, whose husband Don Lewis disappeared in 1997. Joe Exotic, who is now serving 22 years in prison for charges related to Baskin, claims over and over in the series that Baskin killed James and fed the remains to her big cats. On the website for Big Cat Rescue, her animal organization, Baskin refutes how she was portrayed in the documentary. "(The directors) did not care about truth," she says. "The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers." As for Don James himself, his disappearance remains a mystery. On Monday, Hillsborough, Florida Sheriff Chad Chronister even tweeted out a request for anyone with any leads in the case to call him.

9. Joe loves the publicity. Duh.

You couldn't watch more than a minute of Tiger King and not realize Joe Exotic adores fame and publicity. Even though he's now in prison, the directors told the L.A. Times that Joe knows the show has made him famous and he's overjoyed. "He is absolutely ecstatic about the series and the idea of being famous," Goode told the paper. "He's absolutely thrilled." And the directors aren't buying Joe's sudden change-of-heart. "He is in a cage and of course he's gonna say that he now recognizes what he did to these animals," Goode said.

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What your Zoom background says about you – CNET

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What does this say about me as a person?

Nicole Archer

Like so many others, I've been spending a lot of time on Zoom recently. The coronavirus pandemicmeans more of us are working from home and fully dependent on video conferencing services for meetings. For my co-workers and I, Zoom has been a wonderful gift in this isolating time. The chat rooms are little windows into everyone's lives, an exercise in voyeurism that can tell you a lot about the people you work with five days a week. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get to meet an adorable pet or baby. 

And of course there are the backgrounds.

Zoom has that fancy little feature that allows you to add virtual backgrounds to chats. Gone are messy lounge rooms -- enter endless opportunities for personal expression. Much like the rooms you are trying to hide, your choice of background can say a lot about what kind of person you are. It's like astrology, but less divisive. Like Buzzfeed quizzes, but with less Disney princesses. 

Default background 

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Look at me! I'm on a tropical beach! Ha ha, just kidding everyone, just kidding.

Nicole Archer/ Zoom 

You're hanging out on the tropical beach or conferencing under the Northern Lights. This says, "Hey! I'm an outdoorsy person." You miss fresh air and feeling the sand between your toes while bragging about how in touch with nature you are. 

Or you're just really hoping someone brings the subject up and you can talk about your trip to Iceland for longer than necessary. It's kinda basic, but you're not trying too hard -- and we respect it. But when this is over, please stop wearing those toe shoes to work. 

A super specific cultural reference 

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"If no one recognizes these photos from the American Horror Story 2019 Halloween party I will scream." 

Nicole Archer/Zoom

You're probably one of the younger people in the office. Older co-workers don't understand the memes you share in the #random Slack channel but you're having a great time and you make them feel more in touch with the younger generation. They come to you for advice about their kids and probably tried to set you up with their nephew at last year's Christmas party. 

You're really into fandom and had a thriving Tumblr account in high school. Today, you're a proper grownup, and have moved onto Twitter, where you run a popular stan account. You list the dates and times your idol interacted with you on Twitter and can't stop saying sksksksksksk. 

A cute animal 

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ADORABLE. They'll never know you've been using your treadmill as a wardrobe. 

Nicole Archer/ Zoom 

Let's be real. Your hair hasn't felt the touch of a brush in days. Quarantine treats that were meant to last several weeks only lasted three days and every day your skin grows more pallid thanks to a total lack of vitamin D. We've all looked better, it's OK. The easiest fix of all is simply using a cute animal in the background. People will be so distracted by the adorable bunny behind you they'll forget you even exist! It's a win-win. 

A screenshot of another person in the Zoom call 

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"This is really funny. I haven't spoken to a person in real life in two weeks." 

Nicole Archer/Zoom

Picture this: You're in the middle of a catch-up meeting and someone sneezes funny. Or gets distracted by something just out of frame. To everyone else, this is just another moment in the day. Not you. You take a sneaky screenshot and set it as your background. You say nothing. Slowly people realize what you've done and there's little laughs of recognition. Some might even laugh through their nose -- that little blast through the nostrils that says "that was a good one." 

To you, this is the height of comedy. You're probably the eldest child and, even to this day, younger siblings flinch a little bit when you walk past, scarred from the 'hilarious' pranks you pulled growing up. 

Bonus points: There are TWO people like this in the chat. They take screenshots until everyone forgets what the original meeting was about. Your co-workers are so, so tired. 

A photo of you at your desk (to make it seem like you're paying attention) 

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 "Hey! I'm so glad you reached out. I'm actually at capacity/helping someone else who's in crisis/dealing with some personal stuff right now, and I don't think I can hold appropriate space for you..." 

Nicole Archer/Zoom

If you're anything like me, you probably have had some trouble sleeping at the moment. Anxiety, uncertainty and a touch of existential dread thrive at night, when you've just gone to bed and want nothing more than rest. Or, you've been playing Animal Crossing for eight hours straight because you have a mortgage to pay off and those sea bass aren't going to catch themselves. 

Either way, you're tired. You can't stop from dozing off during catch-ups.. Thankfully, there's a solution. Simply take a photo of you at your desk and set it as your background. It's foolproof. You're an innovator, a go-getter and have buckets of creativity. You're probably fun at parties, when you're not sneaking off to random bedrooms to have a nap.  

No background, but sitting in front of your perfectly arranged bookshelf 

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I don't really know what the words I'm reading mean. That, my friends, is ACTING. 

Nicole Archer

Oh, someone has joined the Zoom chat? Sorry, I was lost in The Bard's writings. 

You like books. You're proud of your collection and ordered five more this week because books are the only thing you can control right now. You like to say the books are better than the movies and when someone asks for Netflix recommendations, you tell them to read a book. You spent 10 minutes before the call finding the perfect angle, rearranging shelves so co-workers only saw  your smart books and not the teen fantasy novels you prefer to read. If no one comments on your bookshelf you are devastated

No background, but props or a costume 

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Oh this old thing? Just something I acquired from my circus days. 

Nicole Archer/Zoom

You're the office enigma. No one really knows who you really are outside of work. Sure, you're friendly and talk about your life with your co-workers -- but there's always some critical information that you leave out. 

Zoom chat is the perfect opportunity to add to your growing mythology. Who cares what the meeting is about when your background is a smorgasbord of peculiar paraphernalia? Where did you find such a flawless replica of a 16th century longsword? Are you a trained opera singer? Is that skull in the background plastic or real? You say nothing; these are but a taste of the real you that lurks beneath the surface. 

No background 

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Your office chair is an exercise ball. 

Nicole Archer/Zoom

You're not here to indulge in small acts of whimsy. You're here to talk numbers and strategy. KPI! Synergy! Let's circle back at the end of the week! You love saying stuff like this and it makes you feel important. Working from home hasn't fazed you. You still wake up at 5 a.m. to do push-ups and walk around the block exactly once. 

The real kicker is that your work space is entirely blank -- you don't even give your co-workers a chance to take a peek at your place. They have no choice but to assume your place looks like Patrick Bateman's in American Psycho. Your favorite books are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Four Hour Work Week. You wear jeans to work. At home. Every day. 

Or, you haven't learned how to change your background yet. Chop chop! 

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Airbnb to pay hosts $250 million to cover coronavirus cancellations – CNET

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Airbnb said it will pay hosts for their reservation losses due to the coronavirus.

Chesnot/Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Airbnb said Monday it will pay hosts $250 million to help offset losses due to guest bookings canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The payments apply to canceled reservations made before March 14 with check-in dates between March 14 and May 31.

The company had previously said that guests would receive a full refund for reservations canceled by March 14 for check-in between March 14 and April 14.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made the announcement in a letter to hosts that apologized for making the decision to offer refunds without consulting hosts.

"If we allowed guests to cancel and receive a refund, we knew it could have significant consequences on your livelihood," Chesky wrote. "But, we couldn't have guests and hosts feel pressured to put themselves into unsafe situations and create an additional public health hazard.

"While I believe we did the right thing in prioritizing health and safety, I'm sorry that we communicated this decision to guests without consulting you -- like partners should," he wrote.

The spread of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc worldwide, especially on the travel industry. As people are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others, a cascade of event cancellations and postponements has led to an estimated $24 billion lost and 825,000 jobs wiped out.

The company also announced the creation of a $10 million relief fund for "superhosts," or experienced and highly rated property owners, who rent out their own home to guests and need help paying their rent or mortgage. Hosts can apply for $5,000 grants that don't need to be repaid starting in April. The fund was started with employee donations that totaled $1 million; Airbnb's three co-founders personally contributed the rest, the company said.

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How my iPhone unexpectedly helped me cope with being stuck at home – CNET

Just like many people these days, I've been stuck at home. It's been a difficult time for me. But in the solitude of what is now my bedroom, office and home video studio, I came across a ton of lost moments I'd forgotten about. They were living in my iPhone for years in the form of three-second videos that were recorded when I took a Live Photo. But this isn't just an iPhone feature: Some were Motion Photos that I took using Android phones, which do the exact same thing. This isn't about OS loyalty or specs, but about discovering the emotional moments Live Photos captured without me knowing. At a time when tech companies loftily claim their products are life-changing, this is one instance when it was actually true for me.

Because of all the anxiety that is engulfing our world, I've spent more time escaping to my room lately. It's my office. It's my studio. It's my quiet place. This meme is me in a nutshell: I've been stuck in this room for 14 days and cabin fever is taking over.

But one day last week, when I was feeling frustrated, I closed my work computer, took out my iPhone and started scrolling through photos to take a mental break. That's when I noticed a collection called Live Photos, which contained over 1,300 images. One was a live photo of my cat, Stella. I adopted her while working on A Streetcar Named Desire at the Writers' Theater in Chicago and named her after a character from the play. In the photo, she was napping on my roommate's heating pad. When I tapped and held it, Stella moved her head and let out a tiny meow.

My cat Stella passed away last year. Tapping and holding on this cute photo revealed a few precious moments I'd never seen before.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

That's when I nearly lost it. Stella died last summer, but as I tapped and held the photo she came back to life. A rush of emotions rolled over me like a thunderstorm rolling in on a hot summer day. To say the least, I did not expect a Live Photo to spark such intense feelings.

I immediately started scrolling through every photo looking for the tiny Live Photo circle indicator. The marketing guru at Apple that named this feature couldn't have had any idea how on-the-nose the name "Live" Photo would be for me.

I found another photo of Stella craning her neck looking at birds outside my window. I also found other photos that were of family, friends or people I met. There were Live Photos I took with GZA and Masta Killa from Wu-Tang and the Aflac duck at CES. Live Photos also revealed those first few seconds it took my friends to get ready as they were just about to pose for a picture.

A Live Photo selfie of four people acting like dinosaurs.

Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET

(The only Live Photos I didn't engage with were a few I found of an ex girlfriend -- I'm not a glutton for punishment.)

True, I could just watch videos of my cat Stella or my video interview with the Wu-Tang Clan. But those provide a different feeling. Live Photos captured small candid, natural moments that were both mundane and intimate. And the best part was that when I took those photos, my friends, Stella and Wu-Tang didn't even realize these moments were being recorded. The three seconds of Stella that Live Photos brought back to life were a wonderful distraction from the uncertainty that surrounds us all.

As Eunice says at the end of Streetcar as she comforts Stella, "You've got to keep on goin' honey. No matter what happens, we've all got to keep on going."

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