The hyperscalers and public cloud providers are barreling ahead, unfazed by a rapidly deteriorating economic outlook, according to a recent Dell'Oro Group report.…
Microsoft has decided to open a store in India's Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) – an effort the nation hopes will make it harder for the likes of Amazon and Walmart-controlled Flipkart to dominate e-commerce in the world's second most populous nation.…
Black Hat Miscreants aren't only working to exploit flaws in an enterprise's security posture, they're also looking for holes in organizations' privacy programs to steal user data, according to Meta's Scott Tenaglia.…
The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), as its name plainly states, aims to help make open source software more secure, but improvements flowing from its efforts are hard to find.…
The question of whether AI-generated outputs can be patented is impacting how technology companies can protect their intellectual property.…
Black Hat It's time to reorganize the US government and create a new agency focused solely on on digital risk management services, according to former CISA director Chris Krebs.…
The fourth person affected by a bacterial outbreak linked to imported aromatherapy room sprays sold at Walmart last year occurred in a previously healthy 5-year-old boy in Georgia, who died of the infection. That's according to new information presented Tuesday at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICEID), hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The tragic new details of the boy's cases—presented by epidemiologist Jessica Pavlick of the Georgia Department of Public Health—have newfound significance for the US. In the year since the boy's death, the tropical soil bacterium behind his deadly infection has been found in environmental samples in southern Mississippi. The bacterium—Burkholderia pseudomallei—is now considered endemic to the Gulf Coast region, creating an ever-present threat to people in the area.Tragic infection
For years, CDC researchers have suspected that B. pseudomallei could already be lurking in soil and water in the continental US, rather than being brought in via imported animals and products (like the room sprays), as well as travelers and migrants. In recent years, the US has averaged about 12 cases of B. pseudomallei infection, which causes a disease called melioidosis.
Once upon a spring, we sprung for the iconic chicken crossbody bag. Now, in the hazy throes of summer’s swan song month, we’re entranced by yet another creature from the coop: the viral chicken lamp from Amazon.
The lamp, which has a lightbulb egg crowning out of the hen’s all-purpose hole (technically known as a “cloaca”—you’re welcome for the bird anatomy knowledge, has both enchanted and perplexed the internet, with Twitter users responding to the above image with remarks such as, “I volunteer my body to be used as a human version of this when I die” and “I kept thinking it was censored and didn't realize it was a lamp.”
It’s even made some ripples on TikTok as a “taxidermy chicken egg lamp,” and has continually sold out on Amazon, where some customers have left some memorable reviews. “I ordered this as a kind of gag gift for my 15-year-old niece who has quite a few chickens,” one reviewer writes. “What we got was a lot cuter than it appears in the advertising. She loves it! It will be a family dinner talking peace, for every holiday I’m sure.”
Some customers, however, expressed concern that the chicken was actually never alive. “No real feathers so not taxidermy,” one Amazon reviewer named Tamatha writes. “No real chicken feathers, it's just a resin chicken. Can't claim taxidermy.” Tamatha does have a point, as the various product images of lamp do vary—some show a lamp with feathers, others don’t—but the consensus amongst reviewer-shared lamp photos is that this is a small, kitsch chicken lamp that was 1) never alive, and 2) should absolutely be in your guest bathroom. If you do want a taxidermy chicken or rooster, you can purchase one Etsy for $200 and jam the light bulb up there yourself for a fun DIY project.
The Chicken Egg Lamp is available for purchase on Amazon.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
Sunglasses know no season, but hot damn if we don’t need them twice as hard come summertime. Once those flea markets pop off, the flowers bloom, and the Aperol spritzes begin to flow, our poor little peepers need a jumbo Claritin and fresh pair of sunnies that scream, “My other car is your mom.”
Are we guilty of starting a GoFundMe for the Oakley Over The Top sunglasses? You betcha. But the best sunglasses shouldn’t have to cost you all your coins, and honestly, most of our shades are destined to get tossed around tote bags, forgotten in Ubers, or crunched by a rogue rear end. (We can’t be expected to control where this sweet peach lands!) But that doesn’t mean we deserve to wear fake, neon Ray-Bans that look like they were given to us by a club promoter on a Florida beach. We’re grown now, dude, and we require the facial accessories that prove it.
Whether you seek a new set of shades for the beach, or a practical pair that you can wear at night better than a Blues Brother, we’ve got you covered with the best sunglasses this side of the Bermuda Triangle. We found everything from 90s-nostalgic wire-frame shades to high fashion Euphoria dupes; we’ve gathered the best sunglasses bundles, Y2K-style shades, Mad Max-worthy pairs, and so much more.Ray-Bans are forever
Nothing says, “I think I left my bass here last night” quite like a pair of Wayfarers. Besides, has any pair of sunglasses lived as many lives as Ray-Bans? These iconic shades have graced the faces of The Blues Brothers, Johnny Marr, JFK, Roy Orbison, Tom Cruise (lol) in Risky Business, and so many others. If you own these, there’s a good chance you might (already) be on tour somewhere, smell like a 1970s phone book, and idolize Jack Kerouac. We’d roll our eyes some more, but you’d still look slick, dammit.The best sunglasses bundle on Amazon
Not one, but four pairs of soft-rectangle shaped sunglasses come in this 4.7-star rated Amazon bundle. “They come exactly [as pictured],” writes one reviewer about the sunnies, which come in black, cream, sage, and tortoiseshell colorways. “They’re just great overall.” They’re also one of the most affordable sets you can get online that actually look good, on sale now for roughly $5 per frame.You read the classics
“Not quite square, not quite round” is how Warby Parker describes this best-selling pair of sunglasses, which are the ideal shades for indecisive—but discerning and well-read—hot people such as yourself.The coolest thin metal frames
Ah, the 1990s. Grunge reigned supreme, our brows could cut a diamond, and we tried so hard to make sure that none of our sartorial choices were try-hard (easier said than done). We learned a trick or two from low-vibrational cool kids including Lisa Bonet and Aaliyah, who were both famously partial to round, wire-rimmed glasses.Alexa, play ‘Stars Are Blind’ by Paris Hilton
Were you an extra in Charlie’s Angels? You sure could’ve been, with a pair of Y2K-worthy shades such as these. The Dollger rimless rectangular shades are one of Amazon’s best-selling pairs with a 4.5-star average rating from over 3,000 reviews, and they come in multiple colorways ranging from “frosted tips” to “Baby Bottle Bop.”The aspiring gallerist
We get it, we get it—you have David Hockney on speed dial, and only go to the movies to catch a film that’s post-post-post French New Wave cinema. You also need these über-round sunglasses to accommodate your artistic tunnel vision.We made out at a Prodigy concert once
Well, you're a firestarter. We never forgot the glimmer of your tongue ring, but it’s the way you rocked those Oakley sunglasses that truly made our heart go pitter-patter at Glastonbury ‘95. There are two extremes in which Oakleys thrive on the sartorial spectrum: Bass Pro Shops/PBR-drinking uncle, and crusty-balloon-pants-ed cyberpunk. We prefer to have one leg in both, and a fresh pair of frosty Oakleys is just the ticket. Catch us in the iconic brand’s new Plazma Sanctuary Collection frames, or in its classic Crankshaft sunnies, which have garnered a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.You’re ‘The Dude’
We swerve for sunnies that make us look like we know how to parallel park a U-Haul (we don’t) and nothing says “gifted grifter” better than a pair of tinted shades. These sets are worthy of The Dude himself, and boast a whole gamut of mustard-hued lenses in aviator and square-shaped frames.‘The Matrix’ (re-re-loaded)
We could go into heavy detail about why these Balenciaga shades are so perfect, from the slightly raised rectangular shape to the fact that they’re 57% off, but you weren’t born yesterday. You were born today, from a 3D printer, and just started speaking in tongues about bitcoin and lizard people (and we never stopped listening).The hottest NPC
… But make it fashion. The French brand Jacquemus is at its best when it plays with proportion and form, and this time it took a playful page straight from Super Mario Bros with these pixelated lookin’ shades. Plus, they’re currently 20% off.The most comfortable sunglasses in the world
Finally, sunglasses that feel like a portable face pillow. These wild, feather boa-esque shades are lined in a fuzzy faux fur that rolled right out of our lucid dreams; so you can look like Kim Kardashian, for a fraction of the price.The ‘Euphoria’ dupe
Remember that season two episode of Euphoria where Alexa Demie’s character was floating in a pool—sorry, babysitting—in vintage Jean Paul Gaultier shades? King shit. The real 58-5201 archive sunnies are available to purchase online, but you’ll find us saving more money for happy hour negronis and impulse plane tickets by going for this pair of similarly steampunk-gothic dupes instead.The classic movie star frames
If you’re trying to look like a leading man, or maybe a 60s-era James Bond, then the unequivocal answer is Oliver Peoples. This classic brand has been the favorite of cool-people and celebs for decades, so it’s safe to say these will never go out of style.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
Google has launched a campaign to pressure Apple to adopt Rich Communications Services (RCS), a protocol used by most mobile industry vendors but not the iPhone maker.…
You know those scammers “psychics” on the boardwalk, who’ll run their clammy, nicotine-stained hands across your palm and tell you that you sometimes get upset with your parents and have someone in your life whose name starts with the letter M? Well, allow me to do a little cold read of my own on you, dear reader. I’m sensing… that your back is sometimes stiff upon waking up in the morning, and you often wake up feeling like you need more sleep. Was I right on the money? If so, then it might be wise to stop shelling out your hard-earned clams for psychic readings and invest in a new mattress and bedding instead. Lucky for you, a few of our favorite brands are having big-time summer sales right now.
Whether you’re in search of an entirely new mattress and bed setup, or you’re just looking to swap out your light and breezy summer sheets for some heavier autumnal bedding, these deals and steals are ripe for the picking.Avocado
While you can’t make a tub of fire guac’ with what they have on offer, Avocado is a cult-fave mattress brand that slings a laundry list of environmentally friendly mattresses and bedding—and right now, five of the brand’s best-selling beds are on sale. Our pick: the Avocado Green Organic Mattress, which is easy on the planet, your back, and your wallet at $200 off with the code SUMMER. The mattress also features up to 1,414 individually tuned, tempered steel coils that float independently to reduce motion transfer, keep your back aligned, and distribute your weight more evenly.Bear Mattress
We spy 30% off sitewide mattress deals at Bear, including free sleep accessories with code LD30 at checkout, just in time for us to enter our post-summer hibernation. The Bear Hybrid mattress, the brand’s best-seller, has a combo of copper-gel memory foam and a moisture-wicking cover to keep you from getting too toasty. Plus, every Bear mattress is GreenGuard Gold Certified, made in the USA, and comes with a 120-night free trial and lifetime warranty.Casper
There's a reason Casper has become a household name, and why the brand’s models are top-sellers in the market. Even though you may know the brand from its fun and witty NYC subway ads, the mattress company makes a killer product that routinely gets a top rating from its customers to back up its marketing. Right now, you can save up to 50% on select bedding and up to 40% on select mattresses, including the Wave Foam mattress, which is perfect for sleepers with aches and pains who need some added support and cooling. The Hyperlite Sheets, made with 100% Tencel Lyocell, have a unique grid weave for maximum breathability and can be yours for half the regular price.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
As Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service continues racking up subscribers, its biggest competitor Sony recently swiped back with changes and upgrades to its PlayStation Plus service. The lead-up to PlayStation Plus' relaunch required a few explainers, particularly its varying prices and absorption of the cloud-streaming PlayStation Now service.
The dust has since settled enough for us to see PlayStation Plus' revision in action for more than two months, and as far as its bang-for-the-buck rating, Sony scores highly. Should you pre-pay for the "premium" tier, you can access hundreds of games from every PlayStation generation for $10 per month, including a good mix of hits and acclaimed indies (along with hundreds of games that neither set sales charts nor critics' lists on fire).
However, Sony's not ready to meet Microsoft in one key sales pitch: a subscription to first-party games available on launch day. Should you want to play new games in Sony-exclusive series like God of War or The Last of Us, those will continue to require payment of a full MSRP at launch; Xbox Game Pass is more generous with day-one access to all of its games, from Halo Infinite to Forza Motorsport. PlayStation Plus' apparent counter to this came in a new "classics" library, exclusively on the service's priciest tier, which would contain the PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable game libraries.
The moon in Aquarius connects with Jupiter in Aries at 4:08 AM, inspiring open hearts, generosity, and a sense of expansion and adventure. This all bodes well for the sun in Leo’s squares with Uranus in Taurus at 8:53 AM, which can find us eager to explore and experiment. Just be careful not to rush into things!
Venus enters Leo at 2:30 PM, bringing passion and drama and inspiring us to love with our whole hearts! Mars connects with Neptune in Pisces at 5:44 PM, bringing a sense of optimism as we courageously go after our goals. The moon squares off with Uranus in Taurus at 8:57 PM, perhaps kicking up surprising emotions, and the full moon in Aquarius takes place at 9:36 PM, inspiring a sense of release and distance from whatever we’ve been passionately pursuing during Leo season.
All times ET.
Stay in the cosmic loop with the VICE horoscopes newsletter. Get horoscopes straight to your inbox when you sign up here!Aries: March 20, 2022 - April 19, 2022
Try to keep your impulses in check as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus! Venus enters fellow fire sign Leo, inspiring romance, glamor, and creativity. Your ruling planet Mars, now in Taurus, mingles with Neptune in Pisces, bringing compassion and creativity. An issue that’s been building in your social life may come to a climax during today’s full moon in Aquarius. You might find yourself less interested in a social circle you’ve been part of, but new connections could also be forming!Taurus: April 19, 2022 - May 20, 2022
You could be making some surprising choices today as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in your sign, Taurus. Your ruling planet Venus enters Leo, inspiring a warm, comforting atmosphere at home, and Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces, which can find you making meaningful social connections. The full moon in Aquarius could also find you making an important career achievement or realizing something crucial about your life’s purpose.Gemini: May 20, 2022 - June 21, 2022
Surprising news may arrive as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus. Venus enters Leo, boding well for communication. A sweet message might come your way! Mars in Taurus connects with Neptune in Pisces, inspiring passion and creative inspiration. The full moon in fellow air sign Aquarius can find you having a philosophical breakthrough! A conversation could reach a climax. News about travel or school may be on the way.Cancer: June 21, 2022 - July 22, 2022
You’re focused on progress and are in an experimental mood as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus. Venus enters Leo, which could bring a lovely gift or bode well for your finances. Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces, which can find you connecting with inspiring people or ideas. The full moon in Aquarius might mean you’re releasing a project or kicking an old habit.Leo: July 22, 2022 - August 22, 2022
Your astrological ruler, the sun, which is now in your sign, squares off with Uranus in Taurus, finding you making a surprising career move! Venus enters your sign, which can find you feeling especially charming and attractive, and Mars in Taurus connects with Neptune in Pisces, inspiring creativity and a smooth, productive atmosphere. The full moon in Aquarius may bring an important breakthrough for you and a partner. Relationships might be going through a transformation at this time.Virgo: August 22, 2022 - September 22, 2022
The sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus, which can find you exploring unexpected opportunities. Venus enters Leo, and you’re craving quiet time alone with your lover, or more space to rest and relax. Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces, inspiring a productive atmosphere for communication. The full moon in Aquarius may find you resolving a debt.Libra: September 22, 2022 - October 23, 2022
Unexpected shifts might pop up in your social scene as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus. Your ruling planet Venus enters Leo, which can find you feeling quite popular! Awkward issues may be smoothed over as Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces. The full moon in Aquarius may find you and a crush taking things to the next level, your relationship with an established partner deepening, or a creative breakthrough taking place. Or, you might simply feel called to let loose and have fun!Scorpio: October 23, 2022 - November 22, 2022
Important shifts may be taking place in your relationships as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus. Some attention and applause could arrive as Venus enters Leo. Your ruling planet Mars, now in Taurus, mingles with Neptune in Pisces, inspiring a passionate atmosphere. It’s an exciting time for love and creative collaborations! The full moon in Aquarius can find you working out how to create a stronger work-life balance.Sagittarius: November 22, 2022 - December 21, 2022
An unexpected change in plans may arrive as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus. Venus enters fellow fire sign Leo, inspiring a fun, playful atmosphere. Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces, perhaps finding you sprucing things up at home or adding a little magic to your everyday routine. The full moon in Aquarius can bring an important conversation to a climax. Information may come to light.Capricorn: December 21, 2021 - January 19, 2022
The sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in fellow earth sign Taurus, which may bring unexpected thrills! Allowances and adjustments are offered as Venus enters Leo. Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces, which can find you learning inspiring news. The full moon in Aquarius may mean resolving a financial issue or realizing something important about security.Aquarius: January 19, 2022 - February 18, 2022
The mood is experimental and surprises may pop up as the sun in Leo squares off with your ruling planet Uranus in Taurus. Venus enters your opposite sign Leo, boding very well for your relationships. Mars in Taurus mingles with Neptune in Pisces, inspiring strength and compassion. The full moon in your sign, Aquarius, can inspire deep emotional release. An important shift in your relationship with yourself (and as a result, with others) may take place.Pisces: February 18, 2022 - March 20, 2022
A surprising change in plans may take place as the sun in Leo squares off with Uranus in Taurus. Venus enters Leo, making it a lovely time for a spa day…pamper yourself, dear Pisces! Mars in Taurus mingles with your ruling planet Neptune in your sign, inspiring creativity and compassion. The full moon in Aquarius can find you releasing an old habit! It also encourages you to slow down and rest.
Black Hat With the world's largest collection of security folk gathering in Las Vegas for Black hat there are encouraging signs that the US government might actually be getting smarter about hiring.…
I did the impossible this week, and retired some of my sex toys. Not for good, and probably not for long, but a recent end-of-summer sad cleaning bender made me realize that I am a dildo magpie, and that it was time to place some of my lesser-used toys into storage. I love all of my children equally, but electro-stimulation toys aren’t exactly in the weekly rotation. However, the Womanizer Duo? That workhorse has been one of my ride-or-die dildos for years. And as I started the brow-sweating triage of picking my top-tier nightstand toys, it continued to make the cut against even the swishest, most talked-about sex toys of the moment.
It’s been years since I first charged my Womanizer Duo, but its combo of G-spot and clitoral suction capabilities still makes it one of the most high-tech toys I’ve used. You know that meme about how advanced society would be if boomers could just say “Chipotle” correctly? Well, inside each one of its futuristic apartments is a Womanizer Duo.
This is a sex toy review, but it’s also a long-overdue love letter to a vibrator that’s carried me through years of a varying sex drive, dark New York City winters, and a legit G-spot education. And, in the hopes of helping y’all build out your sex toy pantry like a pro, I’ve broken down all the specs—from the effortless to the potentially confusing—and eye-bulging a-wooga moments that this trusty vibe can bring into your life.What was rad
I almost regret that the Womanizer Duo was one of my first vibrators; it’s like having insanely high-quality caviar the first time you try seafood, and using your superior experience as the standard for eating at all Red Lobsters (no shade to the Lobster, ILY). Vibrators are being held to higher engineering standards these days thanks to forward-thinking, engineer-led sexual wellness brands, but it’s rare to find a vibrator that pulls out all the stops and has a whisper-quiet motor.
The first time I slid the Duo out of its silky pouch, I was surprised by how firm but soft the silicone material was. The shaft/dildo looked substantial enough to serve as a solid humping and grinding toy, and the clitoral suction component slyly tucked into its Alien-esque head. H-O-T.Photo by the Author
With all of my roommates out of the house, I powered it up. I was shocked that I could barely hear its motor, which has low-vibrational purr and little rumble. The curve of the dildo was also a major learning moment for me, as I started to understand exactly where to find my G-spot, which varies from person to person, but is often two-ish inches inside the front wall of the vagina, in front of the cervix—the perfect target spot for the curved tip of the Duo, which has another magic trick up its sleeve: Its vibrational intensity increases in tandem with the pressure you apply to it like a sentient pro, and makes it one of the most high-tech sex toys on the market. Most importantly, it makes the Duo one of the most easy-to-use toys (no fiddling with buttons, mate) out there.
Add the optional clitoral suction component into the mix, and you’re looking at a blended orgasm machine. Womanizer’s standalone Premium 2 suction vibrator has made a name for itself in its own right by imitating some of the best parts of getting head—from light, undulating suction to subtle tongue-flicking, and having a version of it attached to the Duo is what elevates it to the status of not only a multi-talented dildo, but a money saver as well. After all, why buy a dildo and a clitoral vibrator, when you can invest in one epic cream machine?
As someone who loves collecting various sex toys and dildos, it’s hard for me to admit this to you, but the proof is in the pudding: If you’re looking to invest in a single, high-quality Dildo to Rule Them All, the Duo is hard to beat.What was tricky
While the bells and whistles of the Duo are a plus in my book, it is helpful to make sure you read up on them in the provided literature (aka the manual) before you start to blast off. Also, to the Womanizer rep who may be reading this: Could y’all PLEASE change the name of the company? It’s 2022, and your toys are way too cool to have a Mad Men-era name.TL; DR
After owning and reviewing dozens of sex toys over the years, this whisper-quiet dildo is still a mainstay in my nighstand drawer. It boasts a G-spot-stimulating dildo and clitoral toy, and it uses a motion-smart technology to apply more pressure to your nethers in accordance with the movements and pressure of your own hands.
Give it the Pulitzer. The Emmy. The Software System Award. The ASHRAE Personal Award for General Society Activities. Whichever trophied accolades are out there, they’re easily deserved by the Womanizer Duo.
Amazon will expand its Amazon One palm print checkout system to dozens of Whole Foods locations, marking the most significant expansion of the technology that was introduced in 2020.
Amazon One allows customers to speedily check out at retail locations using only their palm prints after storing a scan of their hand via an interface at Amazon's kiosks. The palm print data is encrypted and stored on Amazon's servers. And before you worry too much about COVID-19 transmission or future pandemics, Amazon One works when you hover your palm over the scanner—unlike some handprint tech.
Amazon initially added the technology in its Amazon Go stores and the now-shuttered Amazon Books retail locations. It then made its way to several Whole Foods locations in the Seattle area. (Amazon has owned the Whole Foods grocery chain since 2017.)
When Napoleon was infamously defeated at Waterloo in 1815, the conflict left a battlefield littered with thousands of corpses and the inevitable detritus of war. But what happened to all those dead bodies? Only one full skeleton has been found at the site, much to the bewilderment of archaeologists. Contemporary accounts tell of French bodies being burned by local peasants, with other bodies being dumped into mass graves. And some accounts describe how scattered bones were collected and ground up into meal to use as fertilizer.
It's that last claim that particularly interests Tony Pollard, director of the Center for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. He has examined historical source materials like memoirs and journals of early visitors, as well as artworks, to map the missing grave sites on the Waterloo battlefield in hopes of finding a definitive answer. He recently provided an update on his efforts thus far in a recent paper published in the Journal of Conflict Archaeology.
Napoleon had initially been defeated and deposed as emperor of France in 1813, ending up in exile on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean. He briefly returned to power in March 1815 for what is now known as the Hundred Days. Several states opposed to his rule formed the Seventh Coalition, including a British-led multinational army led by the Duke of Wellington, and a larger Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal von Blücher. Those were the armies that clashed with Napoleon's Armée du Nord at Waterloo.
Private Facebook chats between a Nebraska mother and her daughter has been used by law enforcement to build a criminal case against the teen for getting a now-illegal abortion in her home state.…
Two of Alex Jones’ Attorneys Are Facing Disciplinary Hearings for How They Handled Confidential Files
Two of Alex Jones’ attorneys, Norm Pattis and Federico Reynal, are facing disciplinary hearings in a Connecticut court over how they handled confidential medical and psychiatric records in one of the lawsuits brought by a group of Sandy Hook parents against Jones. Judge Barbara Bellis, who’s presiding over the Connecticut Sandy Hook lawsuit, said in court Wednesday that there have thus far been four disciplinary hearings involving Alex Jones’ lawyers, which she dryly noted is “unprecedented.”
In case you have been cozily ensconced in a warm, blissful place where knowledge of Jones’ legal issues does not reach you, he and Infowars lost a series of defamation cases by default in Connecticut and Texas, brought by Sandy Hook parents after he repeatedly called the massacre that killed their children a “hoax.” Last week, a Texas jury determined that Jones and Infowars should pay two of the plaintiffs, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, $49.3 million in combined compensatory and punitive damages. (Infowars’ parent company Free Speech Systems filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection mid-trial. That number will be subject to legal wrangling, probably in bankruptcy court, and will likely be reduced; Texas also places caps on punitive damages in civil cases, but it’s not yet clear whether those caps apply here.)
The biggest shock of the damages trial came when plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Bankston revealed that Jones’ Texas defense counsel had accidentally shared an enormous amount of data with him, including what he said were many text messages from Jones’ phone and, puzzlingly, medical and psychiatric records from the Lafferty plaintiffs, the group of Sandy Hook parents suing Jones in Connecticut. (Bankston also said he would be turning over the records he has to the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, who might also be interested in Alex Jones’ phone.) Bill Ogden, another attorney representing Heslin and Lewis, told Motherboard this week that Jones’ defense counsel sent all of the plaintiffs’ counsel a file-sharing link containing an enormous amount of data (including the phone records Bankston referenced in court).
“We started downloading it and realized it was multiple hundreds of gigs,” Ogden said.
The question was why Reynal—who is representing Jones in Texas—would even have documents from Jones’ Connecticut case, where he’s not currently appearing. Judge Bellis in Connecticut immediately ordered both Pattis and Reynal to attend hearings in her courtroom, regarding, as she wrote in her orders, “the purported release of medical records of the plaintiffs, in violation of state and federal statute and this court's protective order, to unauthorized individuals.”
In an initial hearing for Pattis on Wednesday, Judge Bellis laid out what she currently knows about how this happened, calling the matter “very serious.” On July 6, she said, Pattis filed a motion for Reynal to appear pro hac vice in the Connecticut case, meaning he was asking that he be allowed to appear in a state where he’s not licensed to practice. In doing so, Bellis said, Pattis agreed he would “assume full responsibility” for court filings and anything else Reynal did in the case. But Reynal almost immediately was removed from the case, not for disciplinary reasons but by an agreement among the attorneys; he never made an appearance.
For that reason, Bellis said, Reynal shouldn’t necessarily have been sent the Lafferty plaintiffs’ files, and she said she was “troubled” that they might have been released to people who weren’t authorized to have them. Bellis also registered her displeasure that she heard about the document kerfuffle the way everyone else did.
“I’m gravely concerned about what I have to hear about headlines in the news,” she said. “It was never reported to me.” (That said, she added, “It may be that there were no violations and we’ll see.”)
Pattis, Bellis noted, previously faced a disciplinary hearing over an affidavit he submitted from Alex Jones that was not actually signed by Jones. (An “agent” signed it on his behalf, with an attorney present.) In that case, a statewide grievance committee determined that Pattis hadn’t meant to deceive his opposing counsel, but were still critical of his “level of diligence” in the case, and concluded that he was “sloppy” with regard to the execution of the affidavit.” The disciplinary complaint was dismissed by that committee.
Pattis has represented InfoWars and Jones in various capacities for years, but said in a recent hearing that Jones is no longer communicating with him. He’s also an aspiring stand-up comic who faced heat for deliberately using a racist slur in a routine; in the same routine, he also dropped his pants.
Both Pattis and Reynal will appear for hearings to determine whether they will be disciplined or sanctioned for their handling of the Lafferty records next week. Neither attorney immediately responded to a request for comment from Motherboard.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected Starlink's application to receive $885.51 million in broadband funding, essentially canceling a grant awarded by the FCC during then-Chairman Ajit Pai's tenure.
Starlink was tentatively awarded the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) grant in December 2020. But the satellite provider still needed FCC approval of a long-form application to receive the money, which is intended for areas with little or no high-speed broadband access.
We wrote about potential problems with the SpaceX grant a week after the FCC's reverse auction, in which ISPs bid on grants organized by census blocks. Consumer advocacy group Free Press accused Pai of "subsidiz[ing] broadband for the rich," pointing out that Starlink was awarded money in urban areas including locations at or adjacent to major airports.