How Trump is planning to force TikTok to sell itself

It looks like the Trump administration is getting tougher on TikTok, the wildly popular social media app that’s best known as a place for teens to post short videos, amid mounting national security concerns about the app’s relationship with the Chinese government. According to Bloomberg, President Trump plans to sign an order compelling TikTok’s parent company, Chinese-based ByteDance, to sell its US operations. Some are floating Microsoft as a potential buyer.

Trump’s order would direct ByteDance to divest from the US-based TikTok, last valued at around $80 billion, most likely by selling to another company. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin …

A 17-year-old has been charged with 30 felonies over the big celebrity Twitter hack

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A teenager in Florida allegedly played a major role in the massive Twitter hack earlier this month that commandeered some of the platform’s highest profile accounts, including Elon Musk’s and former President Barack Obama’s, to scam people out of about $120,000 in bitcoin.

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was charged with 30 felonies related to the hack, according to a local news station in Tampa, Florida, where he lives. Though federal authorities led the investigation, Clark was charged by the state’s attorney because, state attorney Andrew H. Warren said, Florida law makes it easier for Clark to be tried as

Millions of people will see a sharp drop in their unemployment benefits because Congress failed to act

In a shocking move even for Congress, the Senate has adjourned for the week while supplemental unemployment insurance for millions of Americans simply expires.

These benefits — a key lifeline for many workers during the Covid-19 pandemic — are now set to lapse on Friday, with no clear indication of when they’ll be renewed.

It’s a change poised to affect as many as 32 million people who are currently relying on the $600 weekly UI expansion allocated by the CARES Act. Since talks over extending this expansion have stalled, many will see a sharp drop in their UI benefits. (Depending …

The NYPD unit that snatched a protester off the street has been accosting people for years

A silver minivan had been driving just ahead of a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Manhattan Tuesday night when it came to a sudden stop. Five men in plain T-shirts and cargo shorts came pouring out of the vehicle and grabbed a young woman in the crowd off of her skateboard. They then violently placed her into the van, driving off, leaving surrounding protesters confused and upset about what just happened.

To some observers, it looked like a kidnapping; in video clips, protesters are seen surging forward, trying to intervene. Then, immediately, a group of about a dozen …

America is now a Covid-19 hot spot

The US is now in the middle of what can only be described as a national Covid-19 epidemic, with cases across the country rising at alarming rates in recent weeks.

Public health experts look at a few markers to determine how bad things are in each state: the number of daily new cases; the infection rate, which can show how likely the virus is to spread; and the percentage of tests that come back positive, which should be low in a state with sufficient testing.

A Vox analysis indicates the vast majority of states report alarming trends across all three …

On Mars, an autonomous rover and helicopter will roam free

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NASA’s Perseverance rover launched at 7:50 am ET on July 30, the first day of a flight that will take the fifth NASA rover to Mars. During its mission, the boxy, car-sized vehicle and its extendable arm will be charged with looking for signs of ancient life and gathering data about Mars’s geology and climate. It will even lay the groundwork for eventual human exploration of the planet.

To make all that possible, the rover carries a stunning display of technology designed especially for Perseverance’s historic mission, from pieces of a new spacesuit to an autonomous helicopter, the first aircraft …

Amazon just posted record sales and profit in the middle of a pandemic

Amazon registered nearly $89 billion in sales and $5 billion in profit over the last three months, setting company records on both figures and blowing away Wall Street expectations as Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns pushed more shoppers online and into Amazon’s arms.

CEO Jeff Bezos had said last quarter that the company planned to spend around $4 billion on pandemic-related health and safety efforts for its workers throughout April, May, and June, and that those expenses might wipe out all of the company’s profit over the quarter. Instead, Amazon customers surprised company executives by expanding their pandemic-driven purchases beyond low-profit goods …

Why Facebook and Twitter won’t fact-check Trump’s latest false claims about voting

Twitter and Facebook are not fact-checking factually unsupported claims about mail-in voting in the 2020 election posted by President Trump on both platforms Wednesday. The inaction has angered some critics, who say these companies allow the spread of dangerous misinformation to go unchecked online, harming the integrity of the election as a whole.

Trump’s posts made the completely unsubstantiated assertion that universal vote-by-mail, a practice in which states automatically mail a ballot to all registered voters, will lead to the most “inaccurate” and “fraudulent” election in history, and then went on to suggest delaying the election “until people can properly, …

In this joyous fantasy novel, books and art are the key to cheating death

There’s something about the books of fantasy novelist Jo Walton that resist straightforward reading. Technically, they are marvels: The prose is always rich and pleasurable, the characters fully dimensional, the world-building immersive, the philosophical questions twisting and intricate. But every time I try to sink myself fully into her books, I find myself fidgeting, uncomfortable, viscerally trapped — as if, I wrote a few months ago, I am inside the skull of an alien creature, and the skull is the wrong shape.

Reading Walton’s latest novel Or What You Will, I didn’t feel that sense of constraint any …

James Baldwin’s faith in America

If I could bring back from the dead any American writer and ask them to describe the country they see today, it would be James Baldwin, the great 20th-century essayist and novelist.

I don’t know what the Black experience is like in America, but I can say that no writer made it as visceral or vivid for me as Baldwin. He had a rare combination of raw literary talent and intellectual honesty that made him uniquely equipped to communicate an alien reality to someone like me, a white kid growing up in the South.

As it happens, Baldwin, who would …