“Selling Sunset” Star Christine Quinn Is Leaving The O Group To Go All-In On Crypto

According to Quinn, the recent crash in crypto is good for her business. “Crypto volatility motivates real estate purchases,” she explained. “Most clients have opted into our volatility hedge product, and are therefore not exposed [to getting in over their heads with the crash].”

Real Open isn’t the only company bringing crypto to real estate. Hoseki is a startup that offers a proof-of-funds letter, and other new companies like Ledn and Milo have mortgage offerings that will put up cash when you have crypto as collateral.

But these competitors will have to go up against Quinn, who knows that her celebrity status as the villain of Selling Sunset is an asset to the company. After all, as Dumontet points out, if his famous wife wasn’t involved in the business, “It would cost $10 million to get the marketing out.” (This is certainly true — I wouldn’t be writing this article if the most compelling villain in reality television wasn’t a cofounder.) “This isn’t something that my husband made and I’m just promoting,” Quinn said. “This is something that we’ve been working on feverishly for a year and a half.”

Over a Zoom interview, Quinn appears differently than the larger-than-life character she plays on TV. Dressed down without makeup or extensions and in a hoodie (OK, a Balenciaga hoodie), she is a lot more knowledgeable about the history of bitcoin than you’d expect from a reality star. She joked about how the early bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was from “the wizard game,” referring to Magic: the Gathering. She had gone through a phase of being interested in NFTs, but “you can’t live in an NFT,” Quinn said.

Fans of Selling Sunset can rest easy: Quinn told BuzzFeed News that although she’s quit the Oppenheim Group, she isn’t quitting the show, and will appear on Season 6 — she’s just no longer promoting her old boss. “It’ll be an interesting new season!” she told BuzzFeed News.

“It’s so nice to be in an environment where I’m in control of the people I’m working with, and there’s no noise in the background,” Quinn said. “Everyone who calls me, they’re enthused about crypto — it’s such a great thing to have people so excited.”


President Rodrigo Chaves says Costa Rica is at war with Conti hackers

The Conti cartel, which is thought to be run from Russia, has upped its ransom demand to $20m (£16m).

Wear OS companion app opens up beta program, could be a sign of things to come

What you need to know

  • Google has opened up the Wear OS companion app for beta testing.
  • The app has yet to receive any new updates since the beta launch.
  • The company is expected to launch Wear OS 3 on more smartwatches later this year.

Wear OS users interested in trying out the latest software from Google now have a window of opportunity. The company has opened up beta testing for the companion app, and users can sign up now.

The new beta sign-up was spotted on the Play Store by 9to5Google, where users can sign up with just a click. There’s also a direct link to enroll in the beta program, which includes the following message:


Every title including Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - best sam raimi movies ranked

Raimi’s mostly known for indie horror like his Evil Dead films, but there’s a lot more to him that that. This begs the question: what are the best Sam Raimi movies. Below, you’ll find every Sam Raimi movie ranked, along with where to watch them. Read on for our top picks, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Every Sam Raimi movie ranked

15. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

James Franco and Mila Kunis in Oz the Great and Powerful

At first glance, Oz the Great and Powerful looks like a perfectly fine adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, offering a new perspective on the famous story. Sadly, just about every detail feels off. The Disney prequel can’t decide if it wants to be an origin story for Oz himself or for the Wicked Witch of the West. The latter is ultimately the more sympathetic of the two, though she doesn’t get the screentime for any kind of satisfying resolution. While the film boasts some great performances — Michelle Williams is inspired casting as Glinda — James Franco is a painfully lacklustre lead. Raimi’s name may at first inspire hope, but the final product comes off like a rushed theme park ride by a studio that couldn’t secure the film rights to Wicked.

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14. Crimewave (1985)

A man holds a woman hostage in Crimewave - Sam Raimi movies ranked

Raimi has a long history with the Coen brothers. Joel Coen was one of the editors of Raimi’s The Evil Dead, and Raimi helped the duo with their debut feature, Blood Simple. Then, the three co-wrote the script for this largely forgotten 1985 crime film. Crimewave follows a death-row inmate on the bizarre night that led up to his wrongful arrest. While Crimewave features some fun slapstick violence, dark humor, and B-movie camp, it’s not a great movie and certainly not among Raimi’s better efforts.

13. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Spider-Man wears a black suit in Spider-Man 3 - best Sam Raimi movies ranked

Spider-Man 3 gets some undeserved hate, certainly. One of its most ridiculed scenes, in which a conspicuously emo Peter Parker struts and dances, is not played straight by any means. It still doesn’t really land though. And the film is a slog, packing too many villains into its runtime while losing a lot of the magic of its predecessors. The pacing is off, the themes are watered down, and the stakes feel strangely low. Spider-Man 3 is a sadly lacklustre finale to an otherwise terrific trilogy.

12. For Love of the Game (1999)

Kevin Costner and John C. Reily playing baseball in For Love of the Game

The black sheep of the Raimi film family, For Love of the Game is a rather mid-tier baseball movie with few ties to the filmmaker’s other works. An aging baseball player pitches the last game of his career as he reminisces about his years-long relationship with a woman who may be falling out of reach. For Love of the Game doesn’t break any new ground, and Raimi’s distinctive authorial voice feels mostly lost in the shuffle, but it’s a competent baseball movie and love story, with Costner very obviously well-suited to the role of the all-American ball player after his 80s turns in Field of Dreams and Bull Durham.

11. Darkman (1990)

Liam Neeson in bandages in Darkman - best sam raimi movies ranked

More than a decade before setting his sights on Spider-Man, Raimi proved himself in the superhero genre with Darkman. The film follows scientist Peyton Westlake, who is brutally attacked when his girlfriend angers mobsters. When a cure for his burns fails, Westlake develops superhuman abilities as a side effect. His new strength comes with psychotic tendencies though. Raimi shows off his abilities as a big-budget studio filmmaker, crafting a taut thriller about a monstrous avenger with roots in pulp novels and Universal monster movies. 

10. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - best sam raimi movies ranked

Billed as the MCU’s first horror film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a refreshingly off-brand entry in the sprawling franchise. Raimi injects his distinct style into the film, with Strange making his way through the multiverse to save a young girl in need. With plenty of Marvel lore, cameos, and continued world-building, it’s an MCU title through and through, but it takes a few swerves into new territory, which is mostly welcome, even if it doesn’t quite rise to the top tier of the expanded narrative universe. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is currently only in theaters.

9. Army of Darkness (1992)

Bruce Campbell holds up a rifle in Army of Darkness

Easily the weakest link in the Evil Dead trilogy, Army of Darkness is nevertheless a whole lot of fun and a great showcase for Raimi’s playful side — not to mention his love of imaginative practical effects. Picking up right where Evil Dead II left off, Army of Darkness sees hero Ash transported back in time, where he has to fight off armies of the undead and read from the Necronomicon to return home safely. Luckily, he’s armed with modern science and his trusty chainsaw and shotgun. Groovy!

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8. The Gift (2000)

Cate Blanchett in a police station in The Gift - best sam raimi movies ranked

Directed from a script co-written by Billy Bob Thornton, The Gift is among Raimi’s most underrated films. His last horror film before directing Spider-Man, The Gift is a tight supernatural thriller about a small-town psychic who has visions about a murdered woman. Speaking up means inviting attention from a sheriff who sees her as a charlatan as well as the wrath of the dangerous men who are suspects in the case. While a few interesting thematic threads are left unexplored, the film is a beautifully haunting story, with Raimi leaning into the more subtle sides of his style. It also features some powerful performances from Cate Blanchett, J.K. Simmons, and more.

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7. Spider-Man (2002)

Spider-Man hangs on a building

Two decades ago, Sam Raimi effectively wrote the rulebook for a new breed of superhero film. Spider-Man leaned into its comic book roots while drawing in fans and novices alike. The film introduces audiences to Peter Parker, who becomes the superhero Spider-Man after being bitten by a radioactive spider and gaining superhuman abilities. Spider-Man remains a high benchmark for the genre and is one of Raimi’s best forays into blockbuster filmmaking, with some standout performances by Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, and Kirsten Dunst.

6. The Evil Dead (1981)

An undead woman looks out from a trap door in The Evil Dead

The film that put Sam Raimi on the map and launched a franchise remains a gem that’s tons of fun to revisit. With a bit less humor than the other Evil Dead films and series, The Evil Dead remains a key entry in the fan-fouvorite franchise. A group of friends vacationing at an isolated cabin unleash a curse when they read from a mysterious book, The Necronomicon or book of the dead, that they find in the basement. Working with a shoestring budget, Raimi proves that less is more and relies on his creativity and immense skill in this debut indie.

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Time to scream with this horror streaming service

Horror movie fans will find a lot to watch with the Shudder streaming service. It serves up a collection of classic and contemporary horror movies to chill you to your core.

5. The Quick and the Dead (1995)

Sharon Stone smokes a cigar in The Quick and the Dead - best sam raimi movies ranked

Quentin Tarantino has become Hollywood’s de facto patron saint of spaghetti westerns with films like Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. But long before the cult auteur dabbled in the genre, Sam Raimi made the excellent (and arguably superior) The Quick and the Dead. A huge shift away from horror, the film still featured his signature, showy style, adapted to fit the themes and aesthetics of Once Upon a Time in the West and A Fistful of Dollars. In The Quick and the Dead, a mysterious woman rides into a town to compete in a quick-draw tournament, secretly intent on killing the man who murdered her father. With knockout performances by Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s a great modern western, and one of Sam Raimi’s best movies.

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Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

4. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

A young woman lying in a hospital bed is attacked by an older woman in Drag Me to Hell - best Sam Raimi movies ranked

Raimi’s first film following his Spider-Man trilogy, Drag Me to Hell is a return to form of sorts. The small-scale horror film sees a bank loan officer rejecting an elderly woman’s request for an extension on her mortgage, condemning her to forfeiture and eviction. When the old woman puts a curse on her, the woman fights to escape the forces after her and avoid being dragged to hell. Drag Me to Hell came out amid the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis and is a smart and compassionate look at the suffering, uncertainty, and cruelty that marked a period of extreme hardship, all filtered through Raimi’s distinct slapstick humor and dark horror flourishes.

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3. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Peter Parker has his back to his Spider-Man suit, which is in the trash in an alley, in Spider Man 2

Spider-Man 2 remains the best live-action Spider-Man movie, and it’s one of the best Sam Raimi movies. The film focuses on Peter Parker’s struggles to maintain his double life as a masked superhero and a working-class student with bills to pay. We watch Peter grapple with his choices and what it means to actively choose to be Spider-Man rather than treating it simply as a responsibility thrust upon him by fate. But turning his back on being Spidey comes at a great cost too, especially with Doctor Octopus on the loose in New York. Blending comedy, action, romance, and even a few hints of horror, Spider-Man 2 is a classic of the superhero genre and a perfect showcase of Raimi’s gifts as a filmmaker.

2. Evil Dead II (1987)

Ash and three other characters together in Evil Dead 2 - best sam raimi movies ranked

Rosebud Releasing Corporation

Ranking Evil Dead II on its own almost feels like cheating. It’s not a traditional sequel and really doesn’t exist without Raimi’s earlier The Evil Dead. It’s a reboot and a companion film, but it is the better title, often holding the number one spot in Sam Raimi movie rankings. Roughly repeating the structure of the 1981 original, it sees Ash, again played by Raimi mainstay and cult icon Bruce Campbell, heading to a deserted cabin with his girlfriend. Once there, they find a tape of a professor reading from The Necronomicon and unleash hellish evils upon themselves. The film blends chilling horror and unforgettable practical effects with Raimi’s signature outrageous sense of humor for a true horror classic.

1. A Simple Plan (1998)

Three men huddle over a bag of money in the snow in A Simple Plan

A major outlier in Raimi’s career, A Simple Plan highlights the links between the filmmaker and his friends the Coen brothers. The film follows three men. Upon finding a bag of millions in a downed plane, the trio devises a simple plan to make off with riches. As the three clash over how to approach their windfall, things get increasingly complicated, and their allegiances are tested. With echoes of the Coens’ Fargo and Raimi’s own stripped-down indie style, A Simple Plan is a moving exploration of desperation and the failures of the American Dream. It ranks as the best Sam Raimi movie.

Those are our pics of the best Sam Raimi movies ranked. What’s your favorite Sam Raimi movie?


Prime Minister of Vietnam meets with Tim Cook

The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Pham Minh Chinh, has met with Tim Cook at Apple Park. During his visit to the United States, Chinh stopped at other Silicon Valley tech giants like Intel and Google. The purpose of this visit was to reach out to US tech companies with the hope they’ll bring business to Vietnam.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister underlined cooperation in trade, investment, and finance as the driving force for a successful US-Vietnam partnership. Chinh mentioned to Cook that his government is working to create a market-based environment to help US firms progress in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s interest in Apple and its products continues to increase alongside the growth of the digital economy. Chinh also expressed that Vietnamese residents of all ages use and enjoy Apple devices and that this appreciation would only grow more with Apple’s business.

Apple doesn’t have a plant in Vietnam. The country does, however, have 31 companies with 160,000 workers producing and assembling parts for Apple products. As Vietnam becomes more active in the global supply chain, Chinh expressed interest in Apple doing more business there. He explained to Tim Cook how Vietnam could become Apple’s model market within Asia. The tech giant could also expose its products to a wider audience within the country.

Cook added that Apple is looking to extend its supply chains to Vietnam and involve more of the country’s firms. Additionally, the CEO is considering increasing domestic suppliers and raising the rate of domestic products used in production lines.

The hope is the Vietnamese Government will introduce more favorable policies to encourage investments from US tech firms like Apple.

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Google Lens now works in landscape on Android tablets

A week ago at I/O 2022, Google said it would optimize over 20 of its Android apps for large-screen devices. The first tablet update is now here, and that distinction goes to Google Lens.

Like Assistant and Podcasts, Lens is part of the Google (Search) app on Android and gets its updates through the app. The current beta (version 13.19) introduced yesterday evening allows Google Lens to work in landscape mode on tablets.

Google’s visual search tool previously only opened in portrait orientation on both tablets and foldables. It launched that way regardless of how you held a large screen device.

As of 13.19, you get a widescreen UI with everything spaced out. As such, you get to see all the available filters when in the live viewfinder instead of having to scroll that bottom carousel. That sheet of results is wide, but there’s padding at the left and right, while the gallery view is full-width.

It’s a straightforward update that reveals that there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit across first-party applications. The rest of the Google app is already pretty well optimized for tablets. This includes two-column layouts in Discover and Podcasts, while Search results are padded so they are not too wide. Meanwhile, there’s no change to the Google Lens UI on phones today, which remains portrait only.

Version 13.19 of the Google app should hit the stable channel over the next week.

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Canoo production starts could slip, but CEO remains confident in funding

DETROIT (Reuters) – Start of production by electric vehicle maker Canoo Inc at its Arkansas and Oklahoma assembly plants could slip due to supply-chain pressures, but its chief executive remains bullish on the company’s ability to raise money.

The global chip shortage and higher material costs could, in a worst-case scenario, delay start of vehicle production at Canoo’s Arkansas plant by a few weeks into early next year from the fourth quarter this year, CEO Tony Aquila said Wednesday.

In addition, start of production at Canoo’s planned plant in Oklahoma could slip from late 2023 into 2024, he said.

However, Aquila said he was not worried about the Oklahoma plant and Canoo has strong intellectual property, allowing it to raise additional funds to continue its vehicle launches.

He also said he still expected Canoo to build 14,000 to 17,000 vehicles in 2023, and is targeting closer to 20,000. He added Canoo will sell whatever it builds.

In late 2020, Canoo went public through a reserve merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with the aim of competing with Tesla and Rivian, as well as traditional automakers that have committed billions of dollars to building EVs.

Last week, Canoo warned investors it might not be able to meet its financial obligations and there was “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern. Canoo had about $105 million in cash at the end of March and has access to another $600 million in funding.

Aquila, Canoo’s largest shareholder, said funds were available for companies that hit their strategic goals.

“You want to be milestone-driven and just-in-time capital, but have enough facilities that you can access through your most important next two milestones,” he said.

The $600 million in accessible funds gets Canoo through the launch in Arkansas, Aquila said. And the Oklahoma plant’s location on Cherokee Nation land makes it an “opportunity zone” meant to encourage investment in low-income communities, allowing wealthy individuals to invest in a tax-free and tax-deferred manner, he said.

Aquila did not say how much Canoo would seek to raise through an “opportunity zone” fund. He also said Canoo has not accessed the $400 million in Oklahoma state incentives it was awarded.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)


How a Trash-Talking Crypto Founder Caused a $40 Billion Crash

Do Kwon, a trash-talking entrepreneur from South Korea, called the cryptocurrency he created in 2018 “my greatest invention.” In countless tweets and interviews, he trumpeted the world-changing potential of the currency, Luna, rallying a band of investors and supporters he proudly referred to as “Lunatics.”

Mr. Kwon’s company, Terraform Labs, raised more than $200 million from investment firms such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Galaxy Digital to fund crypto projects built with the currency, even as critics questioned its technological underpinnings. Luna’s total value ballooned to more than $40 billion, creating a frenzy of excitement that swept up day traders and start-up founders, as well as wealthy investors.

Mr. Kwon dismissed concerns with a taunt: “I don’t debate the poor.”

But last week, Luna and another currency that Mr. Kwon developed, TerraUSD, suffered a spectacular collapse. Their meltdowns had a domino effect on the rest of the cryptocurrency market, tanking the price of Bitcoin and accelerating the loss of $300 billion in value across the crypto economy. This week, the price of Luna remained close to zero, while TerraUSD continued to slide.

The downfall of Luna and TerraUSD offers a case study in crypto hype and who is left holding the bag when it all comes crashing down. Mr. Kwon’s rise was enabled by respected financiers who were willing to back highly speculative financial products. Some of those investors sold their Luna and TerraUSD coins early, reaping substantial profits, while retail traders now grapple with devastating losses.

Pantera Capital, a hedge fund that invested in Mr. Kwon’s efforts, made a profit of about 100 times its initial investment, after selling roughly 80 percent of its holdings of Luna over the last year, said Paul Veradittakit, an investor at the firm.

Pantera turned $1.7 million into around $170 million. The recent crash was “unfortunate,” Mr. Veradittakit said. “A lot of retail investors have lost money. I’m sure a lot of institutional investors have, too.”

Mr. Kwon did not respond to messages. Most of his other investors declined to comment.

Kathleen Breitman, a founder of the crypto platform Tezos, said the rise and fall of Luna and TerraUSD were driven by the irresponsible behavior of the institutions backing Mr. Kwon. “You’ve seen a bunch of people trying to trade in their reputations to make quick bucks,” she said. Now, she said, “they’re trying to console people who are seeing their life savings slip out from underneath them. There’s no defense for that.”

Mr. Kwon, a 30-year-old graduate of Stanford University, founded Terraform Labs in 2018 after stints as a software engineer at Microsoft and Apple. (He had a partner, Daniel Shin, who later left the company.) His company claimed it was creating a “modern financial system” in which users could conduct complicated transactions without relying on banks or other middlemen.

Mr. Shin and Mr. Kwon began marketing the Luna currency in 2018. In 2020, Terraform started offering TerraUSD, which is known as a stablecoin, a type of cryptocurrency designed to serve as a reliable means of exchange. Stablecoins are typically pegged to a stable asset like the U.S. dollar and are not supposed to fluctuate in value like other cryptocurrencies. Traders often use stablecoins to buy and sell other riskier assets.

But TerraUSD was risky even by the standards of experimental crypto technology. Unlike the popular stablecoin Tether, it was not backed by cash, treasuries or other traditional assets. Instead, it derived its supposed stability from algorithms that linked its value to Luna. Mr. Kwon used the two related coins as the basis for more elaborate borrowing and lending projects in the murky world of decentralized finance, or DeFi.

From the beginning, crypto experts were skeptical that an algorithm would keep Mr. Kwon’s twin cryptocurrencies stable. In 2018, a white paper outlining the stablecoin proposal reached the desk of Cyrus Younessi, an analyst for the crypto investment firm Scalar Capital. Mr. Younessi sent a note to his boss, explaining that the project could enter a “death spiral” in which a crash in Luna’s price would bring the stablecoin down with it.

“I was like, ‘This is crazy,’” he said in an interview. “This obviously doesn’t work.”

As Luna caught on, the naysayers grew louder. Charles Cascarilla, a founder of Paxos, a blockchain company that offers a competing stablecoin, cast doubt on Luna’s underlying technology in an interview last year. (Mr. Kwon responded by taunting him on Twitter: “Wtf is Paxos.”) Kevin Zhou, a hedge fund manager, repeatedly predicted that the two currencies would crash.

But venture investment came pouring in anyway to fund projects built on Luna’s underlying technology, like services for people to exchange cryptocurrencies or borrow and lend TerraUSD. Investors including Arrington Capital and Coinbase Ventures shoveled in more than $200 million between 2018 and 2021, according to PitchBook, which tracks funding.

In April, Luna’s price rose to a peak of $116 from less than $1 in early 2021, minting a generation of crypto millionaires. A community of retail traders formed around the coin, hailing Mr. Kwon as a cult hero. Mike Novogratz, chief executive of Galaxy Digital, which invested in Terraform Labs, announced his support by getting a Luna-themed tattoo.

Mr. Kwon, who operates out of South Korea and Singapore, gloated on social media. In April, he announced that he had named his newborn daughter Luna, tweeting, “My dearest creation named after my greatest invention.”

“It’s the cult of personality — the bombastic, arrogant, Do Kwon attitude — that sucks people in,” said Brad Nickel, who hosts the cryptocurrency podcast “Mission: DeFi.”

Earlier this year, a nonprofit that Mr. Kwon also runs sold $1 billion of Luna to investors, using the proceeds to buy a stockpile of Bitcoin — a reserve designed to keep the price of TerraUSD stable if the markets ever dipped.

Around the same time, some of the venture capital firms that had backed Mr. Kwon started to have concerns. Hack VC, a venture firm focused on crypto, sold its Luna tokens in December, partly because “we felt the market was due for a broader pullback,” said Ed Roman, a managing director at the firm.

Martin Baumann, a founder of the Hong Kong-based venture firm CMCC Global, said his company sold its holdings in March, at about $100 per coin. “We had gotten increasing concerns,” he said in an email, “both from tech side as well as regulatory side.” (CMCC and Hack VC declined to comment on their profits.)

Even Mr. Kwon alluded to the possibility of a crypto collapse, publicly joking that some crypto ventures might ultimately go under. He said he found it “entertaining” to watch companies crumble.

Last week, falling crypto prices and challenging economic trends combined to create a panic in the markets. The price of Luna fell to nearly zero. As critics had predicted, the price of TerraUSD crashed in tandem, dropping from its $1 peg to as low as 11 cents this week. In a matter of days, the crypto ecosystem Mr. Kwon had built was essentially worthless.

“I am heartbroken about the pain my invention has brought on all of you,” he tweeted last week.

Some of Mr. Kwon’s major investors have lost money. Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of the crypto exchange Binance, which invested in Terraform Labs, said his firm had bought $3 million of Luna, which grew to a peak value of $1.6 billion. But Binance never sold its tokens. Its Luna holdings are currently worth less than $3,000.

That loss is still only a drop in the bucket for a company as large as Binance, whose U.S. arm is valued at $4.5 billion.

“Most of the V.C.s have the analysts they need to assess these things,” Mr. Nickel said. “They may have figured they could cash out on the backs of retail.”

Much of the pain of the collapse has instead been felt by regular traders. On a Reddit forum for Luna evangelists, users shared lists of suicide hotlines, as people who had poured their savings into Luna or TerraUSD expressed despair.

The crash has also devastated the enthusiasts who were building start-ups that used the crypto infrastructure developed by Mr. Kwon.

Neel Somani, 24, quit his job as a quantitative researcher at Citadel, a hedge fund, in February to work on a project that connected Luna’s underlying blockchain to Ethereum, another crypto system.

In April, Mr. Somani joined Terra Hacker House, a monthlong program in a Chicago office sponsored by Terraform Labs and its investors, designed to incubate projects built on Mr. Kwon’s technology. Within a few weeks, Mr. Somani lined up $10 million in commitments for venture funding that valued his project, Terranova, at $65 million. He was close to hiring three employees, he said, and had 40 customers excited about the idea.

After Luna and TerraUSD tumbled, Mr. Somani and his fellow hackers initially thought Mr. Kwon and his partners could turn things around. But by last Tuesday, Mr. Somani realized it was over, and felt relieved he hadn’t yet accepted the funding. He lost around $20,000 of Luna, he said, which didn’t bother him since he has made money on other risky stock and crypto bets.

Over the last week, the desks at the hacker house have emptied. A Telegram group called Rebuilding Terra, with nearly 200 members, has been actively discussing how to salvage projects and funds.

Mr. Somani is sanguine. “For those of us who are crypto builders, the feast and famine mentality comes really naturally, and that’s maybe what attracted us to the community,” he said.

On Thursday, he plans to pitch his now-obsolete technology at the hacker house’s demo day. Most other groups have left the program, he said, so he expects less competition for a $50,000 first-place prize.

“It’s in U.S. dollars,” he said. “I asked.”

Kirsten Noyes contributed research.


Parents allege son suffered ‘permanent hearing loss’ from alert on AirPods

The parents of a Texas child are suing Apple after they say an Amber Alert played while the child was wearing AirPods damaged his ear. 

Carlos Gordoa and Ariani Reyes, the parents of the boy identified in the complaint as B.G., said their child was watching Netflix on his iPhone with AirPods connected at a “low volume” when the Amber Alert went off, according to the complaint

The volume of the alert “tore apart B.G.’s ear drum, damaged his cochlea, and caused significant injuries to B.G’s hearing,” court documents alleged.

The complaint added that the boy “suffered sudden and permanent hearing loss in his right ear” in addition to other injuries like dizziness, vertigo, nausea and tinnitus.

The parents accused Apple of gross negligence and fraud, saying the AirPods were defective to play alerts at such “ear shattering sound levels.”

“The AirPods do not automatically reduce, control, limit, or increment notification or alert volumes to a safe level that causes them to emit,” the complaint claims.

“This boy’s life has been severely altered because Apple did not provide a warning about the volume levels of its AirPods, leading to his permanent hearing loss,” Tej Paranjpe, an attorney for the family, said in a statement to Reuters.

The Hill has reached out to Apple for comment. 


Scientists develop tool to identify patients most at risk of COVID death | World News

An algorithm to identify people most at risk of dying from COVID when being treated in a hospital has been developed by scientists.

The COVID-19 Disease Outcome Predictor (CODOP) will help to give early warning to doctors about who needs critical care.

The system uses 12 blood molecules which are normally collected in hospital when a patient is admitted – meaning the algorithm should be easy to adopt by health care systems across the world.

CODOP uses artificial intelligence and can identify which patients face a poor prognosis, according to the study published in eLife.

It found that the algorithm can predict the survival or death of hospitalised patients with high accuracy until nine days before either outcome occurs.

Along with helping doctors make decisions on those patients needing the most critical care and the route of treatment, it could also help countries who have access to fewer resources.

The study’s senior author and leader of the international project said new variants, waning immunity and the relaxation of safety measures “means we are likely to continue seeing surges of infections and hospitalisations”.

He added: “There is a need for clinically valuable and generalisable triage tools to assist the allocation of hospital resources for COVID-19, particularly in places where resources are scarce.

“But these tools need to be able to cope with the ever-changing scenario of a global pandemic and must be easy to implement.”

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Dogs can be trained to detect COVID

Data was used from routine blood samples taken from nearly 30,000 patients in more than 150 hospitals in Spain, the US, Bolivia, Honduras and Argentina between March 2020 and February 2022.

This allowed researchers to collect information from people with vaccinated, unvaccinated and natural immunity status and covered the emergence of different variants, including Omicron.