‘Partner-Swapping, Pills…’ NY Post Investigates Sam Bankman-Fried’s ‘FTX Party House’

Are we missing some clarifying details in the saga of Sam Bankman-Fried? The New York Post seems to think so, writing among other things, that inside a glamorous Bahamas penthouse, 10 roommates became “a group of financial renegades that dropped speed, blithely swapped in and out of relationships with one another, and watched their boss play video games while pitching for a billion-dollar investment.”

And they all lived together atÂAlbany, Bahamas, home to the swanky $40 million digsÂused by cryptocurrency giant FTX — Âthe $15 billion company that went recently belly up amid allegations of fraud and mismanagement — according to accounts of staffers who lived and worked there. Led by disgraced CEO and co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, a 30-year-old Californian known as SBF, the group pulled all-nighters while high on amphetamines at their retreat — which boasted six bedrooms, two elevators, manicured grounds, a golf course and a boat basin packed with super yachts.

“The feeling was that they were treating Albany like a frat house,” a well-heeled Bahamian local told The Post…..

“Stimulants when you wake up, sleeping pills if you need them when you sleep” — that was the formula for FTX’s success, according to a tweet from Bankman-Fried….

“He gave money for this, money for that,” a restaurateur in Nassau told The Post. “I don’t know if he is a great fellow with bad management.” Asked what the Albany locals are saying about the implosion of FTX, the high-society source responded: “Nothing. They’re embarrassed.”

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The US Bans Huawei, ZTE Telecommunications Equipment Sales Over Chinese Spying Fears

The U.S. government “has banned approvals of new telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE,” reports CNN, “because they pose ‘an unacceptable risk’ to US national security.”

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Friday it had adopted the final rules, which also bar the sale or import of equipment made by China’s surveillance equipment maker Dahua Technology, video surveillance firm Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and telecoms firm Hytera Communications.

The move represents Washington’s latest crackdown on the Chinese tech giants amid fears that Beijing could use Chinese tech companies to spy on Americans.

“These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

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South Korean Capital Launches Self-Driving Bus Experiment

South Korea’s capital launched its first self-driving bus route on Friday, part of an experiment which engineers said aims to make people feel more comfortable with driverless vehicles on the roads. From a report: The new vehicle does not look like a regular bus and has rounded edges along with large windows that make it appear more like a toy than a technological breakthrough. This design is intentional, said Jeong Seong-gyun, head of autonomous driving at 42dot, the start-up responsible for the self-driving technology that is now owned by auto giant Hyundai. “This is the future,” he told AFP, adding that the bus required “a considerable new type of design.” The bus looks a bit “like Lego” and is made of composite parts to help keep costs down and make it easy to replicate, he said. It uses cameras and lasers to navigate the way instead of expensive sensors, Seong-gyun added. The company’s goal was to make the technology low-cost, safe and easily transferable to many types of vehicle in the future, for example delivery trucks.

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Indian Actor Wins Court Order for His Personality Rights

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan won interim protection of his personality and celebrity rights from the Delhi High Court Friday. From a report: The court barred not just identified entities from using Bachchan’s persona, without his consent, but also passed a John Doe order, or an order against world-at-large, from infringing his personality rights. The lawsuit before the court flagged Bachchan’s name, voice, images, pictures, likeness and his “unique style of dialogue delivery” among the traits which fall under legal protection. Counsel for the actor told the court that mobile applications, telephone numbers and websites had mushroomed that monetized his images or likeness without permission. “Personality right is a strong right to enforce for persons with high level of identifiability and strength of association,” said Eashan Ghosh, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights. “Both these factors hold true for Amitabh Bachchan.”

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Binance Releases Proof-of-Reserves System

Binance has released its proof-of-reserves system, starting with bitcoin, in order to show that the exchange is healthy and solvent. From a report: This comes just weeks after rival exchange FTX collapsed, after seemingly swapping user funds for other, more illiquid tokens — eventually leading to a liquidity crisis. Binance’s goal is to show that it holds its users’ assets in the same tokens that they have deposited. For bitcoin, Binance has provided a snapshot of account balances and the exchange’s bitcoin reserves. It claims it has 582,485 bitcoin in its reserves, while its users have a net balance of 575,742 bitcoin — giving it a margin of 6,743 bitcoin. It also provided a link for Binance users to verify their own bitcoin on the exchange.

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EU Allows Smartphones During Flights

Within the European Union, airlines will be able to install the latest 5G technology on their aircraft, allowing passengers to use their smartphones and other connected devices just as they do on the ground. From a report: The European Commission has adapted the legislation on mobile communications to the most modern standards. As a result, 5G coverage can also be made available on aircraft. “The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to high-speed, high-capacity connections,” said EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton. “5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies.” The 5G coverage will be made possible by installing a so-called “pico-cell” in the aircraft.

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Apple Engineer Says Lossless Isn’t the Be-all And End-all of Audio Quality

Despite Apple Music supporting lossless streaming, wireless AirPods only support lossy Bluetooth codecs. Apple engineer Esge Andersen tells WhatHiFi that’s not really an issue: “We want to push the sound quality forward, and we can do that with a lot of other elements. We don’t think that the codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products.”

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Stable Diffusion Made Copying Artists and Generating Porn Harder

AmiMoJo writes: Users of AI image generator Stable Diffusion are angry about an update to the software that “nerfs” its ability to generate NSFW output and pictures in the style of specific artists. Stability AI, the company that funds and disseminates the software, announced Stable Diffusion Version 2 early this morning European time. The update re-engineers key components of the model and improves certain features like upscaling (the ability to increase the resolution of images) and in-painting (context-aware editing). But, the changes also make it harder for Stable Diffusion to generate certain types of images that have attracted both controversy and criticism. These include nude and pornographic output, photorealistic pictures of celebrities, and images that mimic the artwork of specific artists.

“They have nerfed the model,” commented one user on a Stable Diffusion sub-reddit. “It’s kinda an unpleasant surprise,” said another on the software’s official Discord server. Users note that asking Version 2 of Stable Diffusion to generate images in the style of Greg Rutkowski — a digital artist whose name has become a literal shorthand for producing high-quality images — no longer creates artwork that closely resembles his own. “What did you do to greg,” commented one user on Discord.

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Netflix is Working on ‘Brand-New AAA PC Game’

Netflix has put up more than a dozen job listings on its website for Netflix Games Studio’s Los Angeles office. From a report: These listings give us a few hints about the company’s plans for the new studio. In particular, Netflix is hiring a game director to work on “a brand-new AAA PC game.” Last month at TechCrunch Disrupt, Netflix VP of Gaming Mike Verdu originally announced that his company was opening a new studio in Southern California. Verdu also said that Chacko Sonny would be leading the studio. Sonny is the former executive producer on Overwatch.

Sonny left Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind Overwatch, while the company was dealing with a California lawsuit for sexual harassment and discrimination as well as an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also in charge of the development of Overwatch 2. And now it seems like Netflix wants to put together the core team for the initial project of Netflix Games Studio in Los Angeles. The game director will be in charge of a AAA PC game. That would be the company’s first PC game as Netflix currently only offers games for smartphones and tablets. In the video game industry, AAA projects are major games with very large budgets and development teams.

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