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Walmart is suing the federal government in a preemptive strike against claims the retailer fueled the opioid crisis by filling suspicious prescriptions
- Walmart is suing the DOJ and DEA, asking a federal court to clarify what legal authority its pharmacists have to refuse to fill opioid prescriptions.
- Walmart's legal action comes as it expects the federal government to file its own lawsuit alleging the retail giant helped fuel the opioid crisis by refusing to fill suspicious prescriptions, the company said in a statement Thursday.
- Walmart claimed the government's "unprecedented" threatened lawsuit would put its pharmacists "between a rock and a hard place" of facing legal action whether or not they refuse to fill the prescriptions.
- Walmart is currently facing lawsuits from several states and counties over its role as an opioid distributor and pharmacy.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Walmart has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency in an attempt to head off what it said was the government's own planned civil legal action related to the retail giant's alleged role in the opioid crisis, the company said in a statement Thursday.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Walmart claimed the federal government is trying to shift blame for its own regulatory failings onto the company, and asked the court to clarify whether its pharmacists have the authority to refuse to fill prescriptions under the Controlled Substances Act.
"In the shadow of their own profound failures, DOJ and DEA now seek to retroactively impose on pharmacists and pharmacies unworkable requirements that are not found in any law and go beyond what pharmacists are trained and licensed to perform," Walmart said in the lawsuit.
The dispute concerns Walmart's role as both a pharmacy and prescription drug distributor. In the wake of the opioid crisis, pharmacies have faced scrutiny and legal action for what critics say was a failure to detect and refusal to fill suspicious, high-volume opioid prescriptions.
In its lawsuit, Walmart said that it has already faced legal action from state and health regulators who accused the company of "going too far by refusing to fill opioid prescriptions." But it also said the federal government's "unprecedented" proposed lawsuit would, conversely, punish Walmart's pharmacists "for not going far enough by continuing to fill opioid prescriptions of certain licensed doctors—many of whom are still authorized by DEA to prescribe opioids to this day."
"Because these new, unsupported expectations directly conflict with the requirements of state regulators who oversee the practice of pharmacy and medicine, pharmacists are left between the proverbial 'rock and a hard place,'" the complaint said.
Walmart is among several major corporations that have faced legal action for allegedly playing a role in fueling the opioid crisis, including distributors like McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, and more recently, pharmacies such as CVS Health and Rite Aid.
A Colorado trailer park owner says he’ll raise his tenants’ rent if Biden wins the election, or freeze it if Trump wins
- A Colorado landlord who manages a trailer park sent a letter to tenants saying rents would likely double if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the election, KUSA-TV reported.
- Tenants are calling it a form of voter suppression.
- A complaint was filed with Colorado's secretary of state's office.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A landlord who manages a trailer park in Colorado is accused of sending a letter to tenants saying that if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the election, rents would likely double, KUSA-TV reported.
The news station, citing a copy of the letter, reported that it also said if Trump won, rents would stay the same for at least two years.
"Voting is your choice and we are not telling you how to vote. We are just informing our tenants what WE will do according to the election results," the letter read. "If Trump wins, we all win. If Biden wins, we all lose."
The letter claims taxes and other living expenses would increase if Biden was elected and that the trailer park would respond with the rent increases.
Business Insider reached out to Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser's office to learn whether the notice is legal. KUSA-TV reported the Colorado secretary of state's office did receive a complaint about the issue and passed it along to Weiser's office.
Some tenants living at Pagel's Trailer Park in Fort Morgan told KUSA-TV they believe the letter amounts to voter suppression.
"I mean, we can't control how this whole election goes," Cindy Marquez, a tenant of the trailer park, told KUSA. "We can't control what everyone else does, you know? We can't control the results."
Marquez said her family lives paycheck-to-paycheck and would not be able to afford higher rent. She also said it isn't fair to be "threatened" with the election results which are outside of the tenants' control.
Juana Hernandez, whose parents have lived at the trailer park for about a decade told The New York Times: "It's just really infuriating because most of the people who live in the trailer park are Hispanic. A lot of them, they don't even have the right to vote. I do think that it is intimidation."
At least 47 million early votes have already been cast in this year's presidential election as of Thursday, according to Public Citizen.
Quibi’s content failed to hook viewers and convince them to pay. Insiders said Jeffrey Katzenberg had close control of many programming decisions.
- Quibi, the mobile-video startup that raised $1.75 billion from backers like Alibaba Group, JPMorgan Chase, and Disney, is folding six months after debuting its subscription service.
- The Jeffrey Katzenberg-founded startup said in a statement that its demise was likely caused by a combination of an idea that wasn't strong enough and poor timing.
- But Quibi's failure ultimately comes back to a slate of content that did not break through with its target audience of 25- to 35-year-olds.
- That falls on Katzenberg, who insiders previously told Business Insider was hyper-involved in programming decisions, from greenlighting shows to ground-level decisions like casting and wardrobe.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
During a pandemic in which streaming viewership boomed, mobile-video service Quibi lasted only six months.
The Jeffrey Katzenberg-founded startup, which raised $1.75 billion in funding, said in a statement announcing its winding-down on Wednesday that its failure was likely caused by a combination of an idea that wasn't strong enough and poor timing.
Quibi took a risk in betting that millennials would pay for a streaming service with episodes under 10 minutes that could only be watched only on their smartphones. The risk was even greater when the pandemic forced people to remain at home, removing what Quibi perceived as its primary use case, the in-between moments of people's days when they waited in line at Kroger or on the subway.
But Quibi's failure ultimately comes back to a slate of content that did not break through with its target audience of 25- to 35-year-olds.
Shows like "Chrissy's Court" with Chrissy Teigen attracted enough eyeballs for Quibi to order second seasons. And the police drama "#FreeRayshawn" earned Quibi Emmys acclaim. Yet neither show, nor Quibi titles starring Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Kevin Hart, and others, swayed enough people to pull out their credit cards to subscribe.
"We're proud of the content that we made," Katzenberg told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Thursday. "Emmy award-winning content in a very short period of time. We're proud of the product and the engineering team and what they built. But in the end we did not get the acceptance of consumers and customers in a way in which we had to in order for this to be a successful business."
While Meg Whitman was Quibi's CEO, Katzenberg, its founder and chairman, was the driving force behind many of Quibi's programming decisions, insiders previously told Business Insider.
And at the end of the day, content is make or break for streaming services in 2020. Netflix, the streaming-video frontrunner, underscored that reality earlier this year when it promoted its content chief as co-CEO alongside its Silicon Valley-rooted founder.
Katzenberg is a seasoned Hollywood exec, who put Disney's animation studio back on the map in the 1980s and 1990s, and cofounded and led DreamWorks to classics like "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda."
He worked closely with Quibi's content team that commissioned programming for its mobile platform.
Multiple people close to the company said Katzenberg personally greenlit many of the shows on Quibi. He was also intimately involved with ground-level decisions, including casting, wardrobe, and set decoration, several production partners said.
Katzenberg's reputation loomed large within the startup, as well. Two people close to the company said the content team, many of whom were in their 30s and 40s, often deferred to Katzenberg's judgment, even when they disagreed.
Under Katzenberg's leadership, Quibi's content team struggled to use online influencers, who had massive followings among the platform's target audience, to their full advantage.
Quibi released shows by digital creators like Liza Koshy, Tony Greenhand, and Kirby Jenner, and featured influencers like TikTok star Addison Rae. But in trying to distinguish itself from the content on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, Quibi often put these influencers in familiar TV formats — like Liza Koshy's series "Floored," a dance competition series that also puts the contestants through obstacles in the style of the network series like "Wipeout," or Rachel Hollis' talk show.
One YouTube manager whose client pitched Quibi said that the company dismissed some ideas as "YouTuber ideas."
"If it can be on YouTube, it can't be on Quibi," Katzenberg was known to say, other sources close to the company said.
In some ways, Katzenberg's heavy influence on Quibi is no different from Silicon Valley founders like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Elon Musk.
Employees, content creators, advertisers, investors, and other partners bought into Quibi because they bought into Katzenberg's vision.
But that also means Katzenberg is responsible for Quibi's legacy.
Currently, the executive is still banking on Quibi's content slate to help it save some face. Quibi is trying to sell the rights to the content it licensed as well as its technology, to help return more money to its investors.
How to watch UFC 254: Lightweight champion Khabib returns to defend his title for the first time in 2020
When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje is the main event of UFC 254 streaming live from UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on October 24.
- Early prelims for UFC 254 will start at 11 a.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass, then prelims will air at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
- UFC 254's main card is a $64.99 pay-per-view event starting at 2 p.m. ET, and you'll need an ESPN+ subscription to stream it.
- See also: All your questions answered about ESPN's streaming service
The UFC Lightweight Champion will be crowned when Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje meet in the main event of UFC 254 this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
Nurmagomedov enters UFC 254 with a perfect record through 28 fights — his dominant victory over Connor McGregor at UFC 229 helped make him one of UFC's most recognizable fighters. Travel restrictions and the coronavirus pandemic have prevented him from competing in 2020 but he hopes to reclaim his title as the undisputed lightweight champion with a win.
Gaethje has won four straight fights since losing to Dustin Poirier in April 2018, claiming the interim lightweight championship with a knockout victory over Tony Ferguson in the final round of their May 2020 fight.
On the undercard, former champion Robert Whittaker will take on Jared Cannonier in a match that will likely decide the next challenger to face reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Whittaker has won 10 of his last 11 fights, with the sole loss coming to Adesanya in October 2019.
UFC 254 will broadcast live from Yas Island, a private resort in Abu Dhabi that UFC has dubbed Fight Island. The event campus spans six miles and allows UFC to book international fighters that could otherwise face travel restrictions. Fans will still not be in attendance for UFC 254 due to the pandemic.
Here's the match schedule for UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje
Early Prelims — 11 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. PT only on UFC Fight Pass
- Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev [Lightweight]
- Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick [Women's Flyweight]
Prelims — 12 p.m. ET, 9 a.m. PT on ESPN+ and ESPN
- Sam Alvey vs. Da-un Jung [Light Heavyweight]
- Alex Olveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov [Welterweight]
- Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney [Catchweight]
- Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa [Heavyweight]
Main Card — 2 p.m. ET, 11 p.m. PT only on ESPN+ for $64.99
- Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba [Light Heavyweight]
- Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova [Women's Flyweight]
- Jacob Malkoun vs. Phillip Hawes [Middleweight]
- Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris [Heavyweight]
- Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier [Middleweight]
- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje [Lightweight Title Bout]
How to watch UFC 254
UFC 254 is separated into three portions: the early prelims, the prelims, and the main card. The early prelims are only available to UFC Fight Pass subscribers, while the prelims will air on ESPN+ and the ESPN2 cable channel. The main card, meanwhile, is an ESPN+ exclusive pay-per-view event.
This means that you have to subscribe to the ESPN+ streaming service before you're able to purchase the PPV fight. An ESPN+ membership costs $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year. The UFC 254 PPV event costs $64.99 for ESPN+ subscribers.
You can access the ESPN+ app on all major mobile and connected TV devices, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, and more.
Ways to save on the UFC 254 pay-per-view price
If you plan on signing up for ESPN+ to watch UFC 254, you can take advantage of a special discounted package.
New subscribers can purchase a year-long ESPN+ membership with access to UFC 254 included for a total of $84.98. That's over 25% off the standard price. Following your first year of service, ESPN+ will then renew for the regular annual price of $49.99.
Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for October 23. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected]
Today's news: Quibi's investors want their money back, Facebook's Carolyn Everson talks about the recent advertiser boycott, and GroupM global CEO Christian Juhl makes the case for a new ad model.
A Quibi investor says the startup should have tried to 'fight more' but that he'll be happy if he can get 50% of his investment back
- Ashley Rodriguez spoke with Anis Uzzaman, whose firm Pegasus Tech Ventures is an investor in Quibi, which said that it will shut down this week. He said that he wishes Quibi would've stuck it out for longer: "I would've wanted them fight more rather than giving up so quickly."
- "This was a company where Hollywood met Silicon Valley," Uzzaman said. "Now I realize how important it is to have startup experience."
- Quibi has said it will return $350 million in capital to shareholders, or about 20% of the funding it raised, but that it's also trying to sell its content and tech in the hopes of giving back more.
- Tanya Dua reports that Facebook's VP of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said the advertiser boycott against the company made it her "most difficult summer" professionally.
- "Given the vast reach of 3 billion people …[Facebook] was under a very critical microscope, as we should be," Everson said while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing conference yesterday.
- Everson said Facebook had already been tackling hate and misinformation but that the boycott ramped up its efforts with initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), an industry effort to set common standards for digital safety.
The global CEO of GroupM: Brands need to put more media dollars toward making a positive social and environmental impact and less on funding hate speech
- Christian Juhl, the global CEO of ad-buying firm GroupM, writes in an opinion piece that the "brand safety" protocols that advertising agencies have set up are expensive and do little to help their image.
- He says advertisers should pivot and place a premium that focuses on media's social and environmental impacts, which means factoring in carbon footprints, diversity, and new tools to empower other marketers.
- "We need to evolve our valuation and measurement so they place a premium not just on reach, viewability, and effectiveness, but on social and environmental impact," he writes. "We need to be willing to pay more for clicks that help boost a stable society, not just our quarterly reports."
More stories we're reading:
- Jared Kushner floating launch of a new Trump-branded media outlet, GOP sources say. It's another sign of a looming 2020 defeat. (Business Insider)
- Netflix staffers who helped design a new curriculum for emerging Black talent share their advice for getting a start in the tech industry (Business Insider)
- Shonda Rhimes said she left ABC after an exec told her she was asking for too much (Business Insider)
- This is how 16 tech companies have reacted to the QAnon conspiracy theory on their platform (Business Insider)
- Gen-Z influencers are charging the most money for sponsored Instagram content of any age group, according to a survey of 4,850 creators (Business Insider)
- YouTube is so flooded with political ads it can't place them all (Bloomberg)
- E-commerce marketing tech firm Rokt raises $80 million (Wall Street Journal)
- Quibi's content production cost the startup up to $100,000 per minute.
- While production costs range platform to platform, Quibi's $100,000 per-minute budgets were largely in line with high-end streaming and cable TV productions.
- It intended to spend $1.1 billion on content in its first year, but the six-month-old streaming platform on Wednesday announced that it would shut down.
- Quibi did receive multiple short-form Emmy nominations and wins, and the stars of one of the shows with a reported $100,000 per-minute budget, "#FreeRayshawn," each won awards.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Quibi's content spend was as much as $100,000 per minute while it was still in business, a stark reminder that high production spending does not guarantee a startup will be successful.
"People on Quibi have $100,000 a minute to make content," Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi's founder, told Vulture some three months prior to his company going out of business. "That doesn't exist on other platforms."
The company had announced it intended to spend $1.1 billion on content in its first year.
While production costs range platform to platform, Quibi's $100,000 per-minute budgets were largely in line with high-end streaming and cable TV productions.
Quibi, which launched as a mobile-only platform with short content designed to be consumed in 10 minutes or less, struck high-profile deals and landed big names like Liam Hemsworth, Chrissy Teigen, and Anna Kendrick.
One of those $100,000-per-minute shows, according to Vanity Fair, was "#FreeRayshawn" starring Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who both won an Emmy in the short-form drama category.
But even with deep investor pockets, massive content budgets, and 10 short-form Emmy nominations and multiple wins, the interest from consumers failed to follow. The six-month-old streaming platform announced on Wednesday that it would shut down. Quibi was unable to attract enough viewers despite raising $1.75 billion from investors such as PepsiCo, Walmart and Anheuser-Busch InBev.
"We had a new product," Katzenberg said Thursday in an interview with CNBC. "We asked people to pay for it before they actually understood what it was. I think we thought there would be easier adoption by people to it."
Previously, The Wall Street Journal reported that Quibi was examining its options and was open to a potential sale. But less than two weeks after The Information reported that Facebook, Apple, and WarnerMedia had passed, the plug was pulled.
Katzenberg, along with CEO Meg Whitman, wrote in an open letter published Wednesday that Quibi was unsuccessful, "likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn't strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing."
"The circumstances of launching during a pandemic is something we could have never imagined but other businesses have faced these unprecedented challenges and have found their way through it," the executives wrote. "We were not able to do so."
Katzenberg reportedly told employees during a call on Wednesday to listen to the song "Get Back Up Again" from the soundtrack of the 2016 animated movie "Trolls" to help them cope with the news of the layoffs.
Diabolical ironclad beetles can get squished under 39,000 times their weight and survive. Scientists figured out how.
- The diabolical ironclad beetle can withstand forces up to 39,000 times its body weight.
- They can do that, researchers discovered, thanks to hardened casings on each wing that interlock and support the beetle's exoskeleton.
- By mimicking the interlocking nature of these protective layers, scientists could build better planes and armored vehicles.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Imagine a 200-pound man being crushed by the weight of nearly two space shuttles and coming out unscathed. That's about how indestructible the diabolical ironclad beetle is.
The 1-inch-long insect's exoskeleton is capable of withstanding forces up to 39,000 times its body weight. Entomologists who try to mount these beetles for display usually wind up with their steel pins bent or snapped in half.
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists revealed the secrets of this beetle's stab-proof and smash-proof body. An analysis of the beetles' elytra — the hardened casings on top of each forewing — shows that the shields interlock like a 3D jigsaw puzzle and can deform under enormous weight without losing their shape.
Those elytra also fit together with the rest of the beetle's exoskeleton like a suit of armor, making it impervious to crushing forces.
These insights could have applications for improvements to the design of aircraft and armored vehicles.
This beetle can get run over by a Toyota Camry and survive
Whereas most beetles live for weeks or months, diabolical ironclad beetles typically live for two years, mostly in oak trees on the Pacific coast of North America. They can't fly away from danger, which may explain why they developed an exoskeleton that protects them from birds' stabbing beaks and crushing blows.
The researchers behind the study tested how much force the beetle, known as Phloeodes diabolicus, could take without getting squished. The answer: 149 newtons, which means the insect can get stomped on or run over by a car and survive.
"We heard from folklore that you could run them over with a car or step on them, and they don't die. And, of course, we had to try that. So we took a old Toyota Camry and put the diabolical on the ground and ran it over, and it survived," David Kisalius, the lead author of the study, told NPR.
An exoskeleton that locks together like a jigsaw puzzle
Kisalius's group also investigated the beetle's exoskeleton closely using electron microscopes and CT scans. The secret to the beetle's resilience, they found, are a variety of joints that lock pieces of its exoskeleton together.
Imagine the insect's exoskeleton as two halves of a pistachio shell protecting the soft bits inside. The hardened elytra ensconcing its wings are the top half of the shell, and they connect to the underbelly of the beetle's exoskeleton to make one overall suit of armor.
But the various parts of the armor are are joined together in different ways. The researchers found three different types of connections, called lateral supports, between the top and bottom halves of the beetle's exoskeleton.
Each support serves a different purpose in protecting the beetle.
"The strong and stiff interdigitated supports are used to protect the beetle's vital organs from being crushed," Po-Yun Chen, a materials scientist from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan who wrote an accompanying Nature article about the findings, told Business Insider. "Whereas the compliant latching and free-standing supports allow deformation of the exoskeleton, so that the beetle can squeeze into crevices in rocks or tree bark."
That variation in joint type "is absent in other beetles, which have only interdigitated supports throughout their bodies," according to Chen.
However, cockroaches also have the ability to change their shape to fit into and move within tight spaces, he said.
Insights from this beetle could help us build better vehicles
The researchers discovered that the beetle's elytra, too, are made of pieces that interlock. On top of its wings, they found a rigid joint called a suture that fuses the elytra together like two 3D puzzle pieces nestled together, as shown below.
The interlocking pieces of that suture, called blades, have multiple layers. As the scientists increased the forces on the beetle, those blades broke layer-by-layer, which prevented the suture from snapping all together.
Learning how to mimic those multilayered blades could help engineers design better ways of joining materials. By using the beetles' blades as an inspiration, for example, scientists could create tougher joining materials that won't fracture apart unpredictably, Chen said. Or perhaps they could use the design to keep joints from degrading way that the adhesives, bolts, and pins used in aircraft do.
"When you bring two metals together, it's usually the joints that fails," Aura Gimm, a program officer with the US Air Force office of scientific research, told NPR.
The new research, in fact, is part of an $8 million project funded by Gimm's office that looks to create new impact-resistant technologies that mimic the natural armor of animals.
Chen said the different types of supports the study authors observed on the beetle could be incorporated into armored vehicles, too.
Some of that biomimetic design is already happening.
In 2016, US defense contractor BAE Systems announced a new type of bendable suspension system inspired by the diabolical ironclad beetle, which could allow military vehicles to weather landmine explosions unscathed.