Timothy B. Lee
Timothy B. Lee
Timothy B. Lee began his journalism career writing for Ars in 2007. He then spent time at the Washington Post and Vox before returning home to Ars in 2017. Today he covers technology policy, artificial intelligence and the future of transportation. He holds a master's degree in computer science from Princeton. He lives with his family in Washington, DC.Source
Washington, D.C., Virginia
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Coinbase doubles down on anti-politics stance with exit package offer

Coinbase doubles down on anti-politics stance with exit package offer

In the last few years, big technology companies have faced growing pressure from employees to become involved in social justice issues. This pressure intensified this summer with the George Floyd protests. But this week, CEO Brian Armstrong of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase staked out a contrarian stance. "While I think these efforts are well-intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction, and by creating internal division,"  in a blog post. "We've seen what internal strife at companies like Google and Facebook can do to...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Sep 30
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How the Supreme Court saved the software industry from API copyrights

How the Supreme Court saved the software industry from API copyrights

Google and Oracle's last October left opponents of API copyrights extremely nervous. For the previous decade, Google had been arguing in lower courts that it didn't infringe copyright law when it re-implemented Java for use in Android. Google had lost—twice—at the appellate level.Last October, justices for the nation's highest court seemed skeptical as well. Not only were they asking Google's lawyer, Tom Goldstein, a lot of tough questions, a number of them didn't seem to even understand what an API was. That seemed like a bad sign for Google because the distinction between code that...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Apr 6
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Biden pushes EV chargers as six utilities plan a unified network

Biden pushes EV chargers as six utilities plan a unified network

US President Joe Biden has made the shift to electric vehicles an early focus of his administration. Days after his inauguration, he to replace hundreds of thousands of federal civilian vehicles with electric versions. On Tuesday, Biden with CEOs from companies building charging infrastructure. The administration has to build more than 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations by 2030.Also on Tuesday, a coalition of six electric utilities  that will help Biden achieve his goal. The companies are planning to build a "seamless network of charging stations" in and around the American...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Mar 3
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Amazon admits its drivers sometimes have to pee in bottles

Amazon admits its drivers sometimes have to pee in bottles

Amazon has to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) for a denying that it makes its workers urinate in water bottles.The controversy started with a by Pocan blasting Amazon for its treatment of workers—a topic of particular public interest as workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama were ."Paying workers $15/hr doesn't make you a 'progressive workplace' when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles," Pocan wrote."You don't really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?" Amazon responded on March 24. "If that were true, nobody would work for us."Recode's Jason Del Rey that Amazon's...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Apr 3
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Short-selling firm accuses Lordstown of exaggerating truck pre-orders

Short-selling firm accuses Lordstown of exaggerating truck pre-orders

The short-selling firm Hindenburg Research has published a alleging that startup electric truckmaker Lordstown Motors has been exaggerating customer demand to aid in fundraising. CEO Steve Burns has claimed that Lordstown already has more than 100,000 pre-orders—enough to keep its Ohio factory busy for more than a year once the company starts production. In reality, these pre-orders are non-binding. And Hindenburg claims that some of the supposed customers don't seem to have the financial resources to make good on their multi-million dollar orders even if they wanted to.Hindenburg is in the...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Mar 12
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Report: Tesla is secretly building a giant 100 MW battery in Texas

Report: Tesla is secretly building a giant 100 MW battery in Texas

Tesla is best known as an electric car company, but the firm also has a thriving business in battery storage—including utility-scale battery installations to support the electric grid. Bloomberg that Tesla is currently building a battery installation in Tesla CEO Elon Musk's new home state of Texas. The project is in Angleton, about an hour south of Houston.Tesla hasn't publicized the project, which is operating under the name of an obscure Tesla subsidiary called Gambit Energy Storage LLC. When a Bloomberg photographer visited, a worker discouraged picture-taking and said the project was...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Mar 8
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Supreme Court rules API copying is fair use

Supreme Court rules API copying is fair use

The Supreme Court has in its decade-long legal battle with Oracle over the copyright status of application programming interfaces. The ruling means that Google will not owe Oracle billions of dollars in damages. It also has big implications for the broader software industry, since a ruling in the opposite direction could have triggered a wave of lawsuits against software companies that re-implemented other companies' APIs.The case dates back to the creation of the Android platform in the mid-2000s. Google decided to base Android on Sun's Java programming language, enabling existing Java...

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Timothy B. Lee
Apr 5
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Nikola admits to making “inaccurate” statements under disgraced founder

Nikola admits to making “inaccurate” statements under disgraced founder

Aspiring electric truck maker Nikola has that nine statements made by founder Trevor Milton were "inaccurate." Milton was forced to in September, shortly after the falsehoods first came to light.Between 2016 and 2020, Milton told a series of whoppers about his fledgling truck maker. At a 2016 press event, Milton took to the stage to unveil a prototype of the company's first truck, dubbed the Nikola One. During the event, Milton claimed that the truck "fully functions." In reality, Nikola never got the truck to move under its own power.Nikola's most infamous flimflam came in 2018, when the...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Feb 27
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Self-driving companies are inching toward fully driverless service

Self-driving companies are inching toward fully driverless service

Motional, a joint venture of Hyundai and giant auto parts supplier Aptiv, has begun testing its self-driving vehicles in Las Vegas without anyone behind the wheel, the company announced in a .Motional isn't ready to launch a driverless commercial service yet. But Motional—which was part of Aptiv before Hyundai's investment—has been operating a commercial self-driving taxi service (with safety drivers) for several years. The service is operated in partnership with Lyft; Lyft customers in Las Vegas can opt to ride in a Motional car during some of their rides. Motional says its vehicles have...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
Feb 22
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FTC urges courts not to dismiss Facebook antitrust case

FTC urges courts not to dismiss Facebook antitrust case

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday urged a federal judge in DC to reject Facebook's request to dismiss the FTC's high-stakes antitrust lawsuit. In a 56-page legal brief, the FTC reiterated its arguments that Facebook's profits have come from years of anticompetitive conduct."Facebook is one of the largest and most profitable companies in the history of the world," the FTC wrote. "Facebook reaps massive profits from its [social networking] monopoly, not by offering a superior or more innovative product because it has, for nearly a decade, taken anticompetitive actions to neutralize,...

arstechnica.com
Timothy B. Lee
6 days ago
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