I'm ba-ack (in San Francisco).
Photo: Bloomberg Businessweek
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, hackers believed to be working on behalf of the Chinese government managed to sneak a nearly invisible spy chip onto servers made by Supermicro and deliver them to Apple and Amazon.
According to Apple, Amazon, Supermicro and the Chinese government, nothing of the sort took place.
What they're saying:
Our thought bubble: It's worth noting that no other publication has said it has any of the same information as Bloomberg. Nor has anyone provided a plausible explanation for the striking disparity between the report and the denials.
The big picture: The Bloomberg report comes in the wake of security concerns about Chinese hardware, especially those manufactured by Huawei and ZTE.
Perhaps the best piece out there came from longtime security reporter Zack Whittaker, of TechCrunch, who writes about the murkiness and pitfalls of national security reporting.
I think this Bloomberg "chip spy" story boils down to one basic point. The real problem is that some of the smartest, brilliant minded, rational people who are experts in this field have no idea who to believe on this story. I'm an idiot — and I have no clue, either.
Facebook policy executive Joel Kaplan's attendance at Brett Kavanaugh's testimony last week sparked a firestorm inside the company, according to multiple reports.
Our thought bubble: The reaction, Axios' David McCabe notes, is another example of the kind of turmoil Silicon Valley companies face when leaders make choices that clash with values held by many in their workforce.
Kaplan and Kavanaugh are close friends, having served in the George W. Bush administration together. Kaplan's wife, Laura Cox Kaplan, has also been a vocal supporter of the Supreme Court nominee since allegations emerged that he may have committed sexual misconduct in high school and college.
What they're saying:
"Sexual assault is an issue society has turned a blind eye to for far too long — compounding every victim's pain. Our leadership team recognizes that they've made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we're grateful for all the feedback from our employees."— Facebook spokesperson
The bottom line: "Even at Facebook, people seem more riled up about the Kavanaugh hearings than the giant Facebook hack," Wired editor Nicholas Thompson notes on Twitter.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is back on Twitter antagonizing the Securities and Exchange Commission just four days after settling with the agency for $20 million.
Musk also took issue with one of his own tweets, a six-year-old message in which he defended the rights of short sellers. Yesterday, he replied, "What they do should be illegal."
Why it matters: The SEC reached settlements with Musk and Tesla that contain provisions aimed at vetting Musk’s shoot-from-the-hip tweeting. He’s mocking the very commission he struck a deal with — before that deal has even been approved by a judge. A deal, we should point out, that will require him to get approval from the company for his Tesla-related tweets.
A call center in the Liberian capital Monrovia, where people could report Ebola cases in August 2014. Photo: Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images
Public health officials say that polling using text messages, social media platforms and other digital tools can be key in both tracking the health care behavior of people and disseminating lifesaving information during emergency situations.
Why it matters: During public health emergencies — such as the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — it's difficult for public health officials to monitor people's health care behavior.
Digital polls and social media monitoring can complement physical tracking in a way that could save time, money and offer more safety to health care workers, according to New York University's Rumi Chunara.
Study details: The study examined the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2015, and found health officials were able to use text message surveys to determine in real time how people used maternal health services, measuring a "significant drop" in hospital-based births during the outbreak, Chunara tells Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly.
Also: Social media is being used to help forecast seasonal flu epidemics. The Los Alamos National Laboratory told Axios during the last flu season that they found social media (in particular using Google health trends) to be helpful in their forecasting.
Go deeper: Eileen has more here.
I think we could all use some kittens, no?