After catching fire, Lyft bikes pulled from East Bay, San Jose

SAN FRANCISCO — Lyft on Wednesday pulled all of its black and pink electric bikes from the East Bay, San Francisco and San Jose after reports of at least two bikes catching fire earlier this week.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, an anonymous witness on Wednesday reported seeing flames coming from an e-bike that was docked near Page and Scott streets. And on Saturday, San Francisco resident Zach Rutta spotted a burnt e-bike at the corner of Second and Folsom streets.

Don’t think I’ll be going on a @lyft @baywheels any time soon. Yikes.

— Zach Rutta (@zrutta44) July 27, 2019

Although Lyft spokeswoman Julie Wood said the company “will always be proactive and transparent when it comes to putting rider safety first,” she did not respond to repeated questions about whether the two known incidents of batteries catching fire this week were the only malfunctioning bikes reported to Lyft.

Wood said the bikes were made unavailable for customers on Wednesday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily making the e-bike fleet unavailable to riders while we investigate and update our battery technology,” she said.

Lyft last year acquired Motivate, the company that runs the Bay Area’s only publicly-sponsored bicycle-sharing service, which was formerly known as Ford GoBike. It rebranded the bikes as Bay Wheels and began rolling out the new black and pink ebikes in San Jose in June, followed by San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville last month.

There were no reports of injuries from the malfunctioning bikes, Wood said, and the issue was limited to the Bay Area. Motivate operates on-demand bike rentals in cities across the country.

She said it’s unclear whether the bikes and batteries were tampered with or vandalized.

“We are seeing …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Trump plans additional tariffs on Chinese goods

By Makini Brice and Susan Heavey | Reuters

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he would impose an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports starting Sept. 1, as talks aimed at easting tensions between the world’s two largest economies continue.

“Trade talks are continuing, and during the talks the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country. This does not include the 250 Billion Dollars already Tariffed at 25%,” Trump tweeted.

In a string of tweets, Trump also faulted China for not following through on promises to buy more American agricultural products and personally criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping for failing to do more to stem sales of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

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U.S. stock prices fell after Trump’s announcement, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling into negative territory.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended two days of talks in Shanghai on Wednesday with little sign of progress, although both countries described the negotiations as constructive. Another round of meetings between the negotiators has been scheduled for September.

The United States and China have been locked in a trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs since last year. The …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Universal announces Epic Universe in escalation of Orlando theme park arms race

Universal is getting ready to expand its theme park world once again just as Disney prepares to make the jump to lightspeed.

Universal Parks & Resorts on Thursday announced its fourth theme park in Orlando, which is being called Epic Universe. This will be in addition to the existing parks Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement that Epic Universe “represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall.”

Nobody knows what will occupy this new universe, though, as Universal provided scant few details other than vaguely but confidently declaring that it will “create an entirely new level of experience that forever changes theme park entertainment.” Super Nintendo World, however, is one possibility, as are more Harry Potter related attractions, notes the Tampa Bay Times. The park is to also to include an entertainment center, as well as hotels, shops, and restaurants.

Universal did release a logo and concept art for the new park, even as no actual attractions were specified. The park will be a few miles away from the resort and located on a 750-acre site.

Highlights from the announcement: [a thread]

Concept art for new theme park #EpicUniverse has been revealed!

— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) August 1, 2019

This announcement, The Washington Post notes, comes less than a month before Disney is set to open its highly-anticipated Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge area in Disney World after already debuting it at Disneyland, with this already being seen as Disney’s answer to Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Dennis Speigel, the president of consulting firm International Theme Park Services, told the Post, “this is a major competitive program with Disney, there’s …read more

Source:: The Week – Business


Former Amazon engineer accused of Capital One hacking barely bothered to hide

By GENE JOHNSON and FRANK BAJAK | The Associated Press

SEATTLE — The 33-year-old former Amazon software engineer accused of hacking Capital One made little attempt to hide her attack. In fact, she effectively publicized it.

It’s one of many riddles swirling around Paige Thompson, who goes by the online handle “erratic.” Well-known in Seattle’s hacker community, Thompson has lived a life of tumult, with frequent job changes, reported estrangement from family and self-described emotional problems and drug use.

FBI agents arrested Thompson Monday for allegedly obtaining personal information from more than 100 million Capital One credit applications, including roughly 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers. There is no evidence the data was sold or distributed to others.

Thompson, in federal custody pending an Aug. 15 detention hearing, wasn’t reachable. Her public defender, Mohammad Hamoudi, did not return an emailed request for comment.

But her online behavior suggested that she may have been preparing to get caught. More than six weeks before her Monday arrest, Thompson had discussed the Capital One hack online with friends in chats and in a group she created on the Slack messaging service.

Those chats and the recollections of others offer a sketch of someone talented and troubled, grappling with what friends and her own posts indicate was an especially bumpy crossroads in her life.

Friends and associates described Thompson as a skilled programmer and software architect whose career and behavior — oversharing in chat groups, frequent profanity, expressions of gender confusion and emotional ups and downs — mirror her online handle.

“She had a habit of openly struggling with her state of mind in public channels,” said Aife Dunne, an online friend. “It’s where her screen name comes from.”

Prior to working for Amazon, Thompson held six jobs, each for less than a year, at organizations such as ATG Stores, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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