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Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) Lenovo made a unique device with the new Yoga Book. I like to describe it as a device the size of a netbook with the design of a convertible and the attitude of a stylus-equipped tablet. Starting at $499, the Yoga Book comes in Android and Windows versions, allowing you to choose your experience with it. However, no matter which operating system you choose, the design remains the most appealing thing about the device. While the display-baring tablet slab is familiar, the connected keyboard with no keys is unique. The Yoga Book also comes with Lenovo's Real Pen and a magnetic pad of paper, allowing you to draw both on the keyboard itself and on paper to digitize notes and artwork. But like so many convertibles, the Yoga Book tries so hard to be all things to all people that it doesn't truly excel in any one area. Look and feel The Yoga Book is the most tablet-like two-in-one I've ever held. Its 10.1-inch size, 1.5-pound weight, and 9.6mm thickness when closed makes it an incredibly light and portable device. Adding to that svelte profile is the matte magnesium alloy shell and Lenovo-signature watchband hinge. It is a convertible, however when I first unboxed the Yoga Book, its appearance struck me so much that it was hard to place it in the convertible category in my head. It's more like a tablet that, instead of having a detachable keyboard or a folio case, has a slim slab attached to it. Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Peter Bright) I didn't really know what to make of the Surface Studio when Microsoft first announced it. Before its New York event, I expected the company to announce an all-in-one. Rumors pointed toward something modular or upgradable. I thought Microsoft would attempt to turn the all-in-one concept on its head in much the same way that the Surface Pro subverted the norms of tablet computing to (after a couple of iterations) carve out a well-defined productivity tablet niche or that the Surface Book pushed the state-of-the-art of hybrid laptop/tablets. Those products are both more or less mainstream, and both serve a significant role in stimulating Microsoft's all-important OEM partners into producing better, cleverer, more versatile systems. We've seen a number of high-quality Surface Pro competitors, and I'd hope that in time we'll see the same for Surface Book. Read 69 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: KOMUnews) Leading hospital groups teamed up to warn President-elect Trump this week that repealing the Affordable Care Act could spark an “unprecedented public health crisis,” and cost the hospital industry billions of dollars. The two hospital trade groups—the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH)—even commissioned a study by an outside economics consulting firm to put real numbers to the losses. Their study, conducted by the Dobson | DaVanzo firm, modeled what would happen if the government enacted the ACA-demolishing legislation introduced by Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price (R-Ga.); the legislation was vetoed by President Obama in January. The study’s verdict: 22 million people would lose insurance by 2026, which would cost hospitals $165.8 billion. And, because the legislation wouldn’t undo certain payment cuts created by the ACA, hospitals would lose an additional $102.9 billion. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NASA John Glenn, the first American to fly into orbit around the planet Earth and later a US senator for 24 years, died Thursday at a cancer hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He was 95 and the last of the living Mercury Seven astronauts. Although he made history as an astronaut, that did not define Glenn as an American. Before joining NASA, he was a marine fighter pilot and decorated hero during World War II and the Korean War. After NASA he served four terms as a US senator, often focusing on issues not related to spaceflight, such as the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. "Overall, I think his legacy is one of public service," said John Logsdon, a space historian. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Being forced to miss those lower coins on the left to get the higher ones makes me twitch a little inside. As a serious, fan-site-creating Mario fan for the vast majority of my life now, I've played a lot of weird Mario games. Even without including the "Mario plays yet another sport" style of spin-offs, there's everything from the well-known weirdness of Super Mario Bros. 2 to the tiny, early monochrome weirdness of Super Mario Land to the melon-infused, cloying cuteness of Yoshi's Story to the coin-drenched oddity of New Super Mario Bros. 2, I've dived deep into plenty of games that twist Mario's basic run-and-jump-and-explore formula to the point of near-unrecognizability. After playing a four-level demo of the mobile Super Mario Run at an Apple Store this morning, though, I think I've experienced the weirdest official take on Mario yet. On the surface, Super Mario Run has all the trappings of a standard 2D Mario game—coins, goombas, koopa troopas, a jumpy mustachioed guy with a red hat and blue overalls. The graphics and sound assets seem to be taken directly from the New Super Mario Bros. series, and it all looks much better on the iPhone's retina screen than it ever did on the limited portable screens of the DS and 3DS. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Did they compete with the bots to get their tickets? (credit: Mat Hayward/Getty Images) Using software bots to buy concert tickets will soon be illegal, thanks to a bill passed by Congress yesterday. The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act makes it illegal to bypass any computer security system designed to limit ticket sales to concerts, Broadway musicals, and other public events with a capacity of more than 200 persons. Violations will be treated as "unfair or deceptive acts" and can be prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission or the states. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), who sponsored the bill, told The Associated Press that he intends to "level the playing field" for people buying tickets. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Klaus with K) A former IT specialist at Expedia has admitted he used his privileged position to access executives' e-mails in an insider stock-trading scheme that netted almost $330,000 in illegal profits, prosecutors said. During the two-year span that Jonathan Ly, 28, of San Francisco, worked at the online travel service, he accessed e-mail accounts belonging to the company's chief financial officer, head of investor relations, and other high-ranking employees, prosecutors with the US attorney's office in Seattle alleged in a criminal complaint filed late last week. The correspondence included upcoming earnings reports, a draft of an upcoming press release announcing Justice Department approval of Expedia's acquisition of competitor Orbitz, and other stock-moving developments that weren't yet public. Ly used the information to buy Expedia stock at a low price and then sell it after the disclosures went public at a much higher price. "Beginning in 2013, and continuing through October 2015, Ly secretly and fraudulently accessed the contents of Expedia executives' computer files and corporate e-mail accounts in order to obtain material, non-public, and proprietary information belonging to Expedia without the knowledge and permission of the executives or Expedia," the complaint alleged. "Ly fraudulently obtained the information in order to execute a series of well-timed and lucrative securities trades in Expedia options. As a result of his scheme, Ly obtained through his securities trades net profits in excess of $331,000." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty | MOLLY RILEY) For the first time since 1993, the life expectancy of Americans declined in 2015, dropping from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 years, according to newly released government data. The death rate rose by 1.2 percent. The single-year decline in life expectancy does not a trend make—it could just be a blip—but the breakdown of the data indicates trouble for middle-aged white people and black men, possibly linked to nationwide trends in obesity and opioid abuse, plus socioeconomic conditions. That speculation is backed up by research from last year, which found rises in the death rate of middle-aged whites due in part to spikes in suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol poisoning. At the time, researchers speculated that a blend of health problems, poor healthcare, and despair over unemployment and the financial crisis could be driving up deaths. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Geoscientist Lida Xing was shopping at an amber market in Myitkyina, Myanmar in 2015 when he saw an unusual piece of amber. Trapped inside was a small object that the amber merchants thought was a sprig of leaves. But Xing thought something much more interesting was going on, so he decided to take a closer look. What he found could change our understanding of how feathers evolved. Xing had discovered eight fully preserved vertebrae from a young, non-avian dinosaur called a coelurosaur. As an adult it would have been about the size of an ostrich, but this juvenile was still tiny enough to get trapped in tree sap and never escape. Feathers covered its tail, but at the tip they fluffed out in a pattern that suggested this animal may have had a fan-shaped tail. After Xing convinced the Dexu Institute of Paleontology to buy the amber, he and an international group of colleagues in China, England, and Canada examined it closely, using a number of imaging techniques that allowed them to generate 3-D reconstructions of the tail structure. Chung-tat Cheung Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty | Aurich) Current and former AT&T customers will get refunds or bill credits totaling $88 million within the next 75 days, satisfying the terms of a settlement between AT&T and the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC announced today. The AT&T customers were victimized by "mobile cramming," charges for third-party services that were placed on their phone bills without the customers' authorization. AT&T agreed to pay for the refunds and credits in a settlement announced in October 2014, and it agreed to notify current customers about the process for applying for refunds. The process, which was led by a third-party contractor that validated each customers' claim, is finally just about over. Some of the money was also recovered from Tatto and Acquinity, two companies that were allegedly behind cramming schemes that affected AT&T customers. Customers were allowed to apply for refunds for any unauthorized third-party charges that occurred in 2009 and later. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: We-Vibe Store) A few months back, we reported on the collision of the Internet of Things and sex toys. The maker of an Internet-connected, remote-controlled vibrator was sued in federal court for being a little too connected to its users: the company tracked various app settings such as vibration level and "temperature" without customer consent. Standard Innovation, the company behind the We-Vibe vibrator, was extremely apologetic at the time. It also noted that no customer data was compromised and said that it was updating its privacy policy. But now, the company has "agreed" to settle the proposed class-action lawsuit (PDF). According to Illinois federal court documents (PDF), the anonymous plaintiff—identified as "N.P."—and the company have mediated their dispute. They have "executed a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") regarding agreed terms for settlement of Plaintiff's claims on behalf of herself and a putative settlement class." A hearing is tentatively set for next month, and the actual settlement should be lodged in court by then. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The United States Treasury Department (pictured) sells bonds to investors and corporations. Bloomberg reported that Apple holds $41.7B in US Treasury bonds, the single largest corporate holder. (credit: Eric Gilliland) Apple has received at least $6 per American taxpayer over the last five years in the form of interest payments on billions' worth of United States Treasury bonds, according to a Wednesday report by Bloomberg. Citing Apple’s regulatory filings and unnamed sources, the business publication found “the Treasury Department paid Apple at least $600 million and possibly much more over the past five years in the form of interest.” By taking advantage of a provision in the American tax code, Bloomberg says that Apple has “stashed much of its foreign earnings—tax-free—right here in the US, in part by purchasing government bonds.” As The Wall Street Journal reported in September, American companies are believed to be holding approximately $2 trillion in cash overseas that is shielded from US taxes. Under American law, companies must pay a 35-percent corporate tax rate on global profits when that money is brought home—so there is an incentive to keep as much of that money overseas as possible. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. (credit: FCC) Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai yesterday vowed to take a "weed whacker" to FCC regulations after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, with net neutrality rules being among the first to be cut down. Pai is the commission's senior Republican and could end up being the FCC chairman, at least on an interim basis until Trump chooses a long-term chair. "I’m optimistic that last month’s election will prove to be an inflection point—and that during the Trump Administration, we will shift from playing defense at the FCC to going on offense," Pai said in a speech yesterday before the Free State Foundation in Washington, DC, said. The commission "need[s] to remove outdated and unnecessary regulations... We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation," he also said. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Google Home. It's listening! The Google Assistant is getting an API today with the launch of "Actions on Google," a way for developers to build "conversation actions" that can be called up on the Assistant's various interfaces. The "Actions on Google" API was announced during the Google I/O 2016 keynote and has since existed in some form as a private early access program. Today Google is throwing the doors open to developers, who can create Google Assistant commands using the chatbot developer tools API.AI and GupShup. The "Google Assistant" is available as a voice-command system on the Google Pixel and Google Home and as a chatbot in Google Allo, Google's new instant messaging app. While the branding "Assistant" suggests they are all the same system, we found out in our various reviews that they definitely are not. They are all slightly different implementations of the same idea, with some commands working in some interfaces and not others. Sure enough this "Actions on Google" API is only launching on one of the interfaces: Google Home. Google's blog post says it will "continue to add more platform capabilities over time, including the ability to make your integrations available across the various Assistant surfaces like Pixel phones and Google Allo." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Oh, poop. (credit: Sean Gallagher) Owners of Epson WorkForce, WorkForce Pro, and XP Series printers recently got a rude surprise, as the printers got stuck in a perpetual restart loop. And it quickly became apparent that the cause had something to do with the printers' connection to the Internet. On the BleepingComputer boards, one Epson owner reported, "Yesterday it just turned off. I'd turn it back on and 30 seconds later it would turn off. I started messing around and turned off my router. The printer stayed on when I powered it up. Turned on my router and as soon as the printer connected to Wi-Fi it would turn off. I'd leave my router on and I disabled Wi-Fi on the printer and the printer stayed on." Others reported similar experiences. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, we have a number of great deals to share today. Now you can get $150 off a Dell XPS 8900 desktop that features a Core i7 Skylake processor, 1TB hard drive, and 8GB of RAM. If you're looking for a desktop that doesn't crowd your office space, there's also a great deal on a Dell Inspiron Small desktop, featuring a Core i3 processor, 1TB hard drive, and 4GB of RAM, that brings the price down to just $299. Check out the list below for more deals on battery packs, wireless headphones, SSDs, and more. Featured Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge As promised when AMD rolled out its long-overdue Radeon Software Crimson graphics card driver in 2015, the company has followed up with a new major version for 2016. Released today and dubbed Radeon Software Crimson ReLive—conveniently sidestepping the initial plan to introduce a new colour and name each year—the new driver features a bunch of bug fixes, performance boosts of up to eight percent for cards like the RX 480, and new power-saving tech, but also screen capture software to rival Nvidia's ShadowPlay. Moreover, these features aren't just coming to AMD's consumer graphics cards. For the first time, the company is combining its professional Radeon Pro drivers with its consumer drivers, using the same underlying tech for both. That means whether you're using a normal Radeon GPU on a laptop, or a Radeon Pro user creating 3D models on a desktop, or a server administrator using Radeon VPro virtualisation, all will be served by the same, free driver. But about that headline feature first. Integrated into the existing Radeon Settings interface as an additional tab, the titular "ReLive" screen capture software allows users to record gameplay or desktop footage, take screenshots, enable a DVR-like instant replay mode, and stream directly to services like YouTube and Twitch. With Instant Replay enabled, up to the last 20-minutes of gameplay or desktop use is buffered to disk, ensuring that those 20-headshot kill streaks don't go uncaptured. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge Samsung is planning to launch an all-screen, bezel-free version of its flagship Galaxy phone in the form of the Galaxy S8. The S8, which is pegged for release in March or April 2017, would also ditch the physical home button. Instead, the S8 will feature a virtual home button "buried in the glass in the the lower section," Bloomberg reports. This would allow for Samsung to create a phone with a larger screen without increasing its overall footprint. What's not clear from the "people with direct knowledge of the matter" that Bloomberg spoke to is whether the button will be a standard capacitive key, or whether it will feature some sort of haptic feedback like the home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That Samsung will have a phone ready to launch in March comes as little surprise given the disastrous launch of the Galaxy Note 7. Despite early success, Samsung recalled the Note 7 not once, but twice following reports that flaws in the phone's battery design were causing it to smoke, or in some cases catch fire. Bloomberg notes that while Samsung is targeting a March release date for the S8, it could be pushed back further due to "tougher testing procedures" following the Note 7 fiasco. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Le Monde) GCHQ and the NSA have spied on air passengers using in-flight GSM mobile services for years, newly-published documents originally obtained by Edward Snowden reveal. Technology from UK company AeroMobile and SitaOnAir is used by dozens of airlines to provide in-flight connectivity, including by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, and many Arab and Asian companies. Passengers connect to on-board GSM servers, which then communicate with satellites operated by British firm Inmarsat. "The use of GSM in-flight analysis can help identify the travel of a target—not to mention the other mobile devices (and potentially individuals) onboard the same plane with them," says a 2010 NSA newsletter. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: European Parliament) Fake news hawkers have copped a sizeable telling off from Pope Francis, who has compared the phenomenon of spreading scandalous and false stories online to coprophilia—an abnormal fascination with poop. The Pope's pop at phony folk who run fake news stories on the Web—published mostly to stir up bizarre and frenzied smears against politicians and other public figures—sits at the extreme end of clickbait and, for many commentators, it left a skid-mark over the recent US election. "I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey—without offence, please—to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true," he told Belgian Catholic weekly newspaper Tertio. "And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson) We often, and quite rightly, complain about the way device makers customize the "stock" build of Android to suit their own needs. Customizing software is not inherently bad, but Samsung, LG, and others are usually doing it to push their apps and services. These companies frequently make unnecessary aesthetic changes for the sake of being different. You don't have to put up with the look and feel of Android on your phone, though. You can customize things to better suit your own style and usage patterns—all it takes it a little legwork. The more time you want to spend on it, the more extensive the customization can be. It all starts with the right tools. Wallpapers This is a very basic step, but it's an important one. You want the wallpaper on your phone to match the style you're going for with the rest of your customizations. In fact, you can take inspiration from wallpapers to inform the decisions you make regarding icons and widgets. OEMs usually only include a handful of device wallpapers that are, to be frank, lacking. Some of the wallpaper apps on Android aren't much better, and they often have spammy ads all over. Read 35 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NBC TV show host Jimmy Fallon has aggressively courted video game makers since taking over the NBC Tonight Show desk, and he continued his nerd-cred streak on Wednesday night with Nintendo's help. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime joined Fallon on stage with an iPhone in hand (and a slick Mario pin on his lapel) to show off the first full-level run of Super Mario Run we've yet to see—but this moment was quickly overshadowed by a "one more thing" reveal: The Nintendo Switch console. Even better, it was shown off running The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time; all previous footage of that game ran on the Wii U console. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Some of the VR headsets due to be released in 2017. (credit: Microsoft) At its WinHEC hardware conference in Shenzhen today, Microsoft announced a range of hardware-driven initiatives to modernize the PC and address two big goals. The first is expanded support for mixed reality; the second is to produce a range of even more power-efficient, mobile, always-connected PCs powered by ARM processors. Mixed reality is set to be a major part of next spring's Creators Update, with Microsoft promising a range of head-mounted displays (HMDs) with prices starting at $299. The Creators Update will include a 3D user interface derived from the one already used in the HoloLens, along with 3D modelling tools to allow people to explore 3D development. To support this move, Microsoft and Intel have announced a collaborative effort named "Project Evo" that outlines the capabilities of modern PCs. Project Evo systems will include certain capabilities that are otherwise optional. Specifically, they'll include far field array microphones to support voice commands from across the room; they'll include biometric authentication using the Windows Hello framework; they'll have sufficient graphical capabilities to drive HMDs; and they'll support a range of audio-visual capabilities such as 4K pictures, high dynamic range and wide color gamut displays, spatial audio, and Xbox controllers. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The new trailer for season two of The Expanse, from Syfy. We were blown away by the first season of Syfy's series The Expanse, based on the rip-roaringly great novels by James S. A. Corey. So we're seriously excited that season two starts February 1, 2017, and Syfy has just dropped a new trailer. Strap yourself in, because the troubles brewing between Earth, Mars, and the Belt are exploding into something that looks like the first war between all the human worlds. Set 200 years in the future, the series is about what happens after humans have colonized Mars and the asteroid belt (known simply as the Belt). Not surprisingly, our journey into space hasn't made humanity any more peaceful or politically astute. Earth and Mars are on the brink of war, and radicals in the Belt are protesting poor working conditions and gravity deprivation in their cheap-ass habitats on planetoid Ceres. What's so fantastic about this series are its fully-imagined political worlds, whose internecine battles feel brutally realistic. It helps that the special effects are pretty damn good too. All our favorite characters are back: there's the once-idealistic Earther Jim Holden (Steven Strait), who accidentally witnessed a war crime in space; mysterious former engineer Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), who has joined Holden as executive officer on the ship Rocinante to seek justice; grizzled Belter Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), a detective who sniffed out a government coverup and is now is major danger; U.N. deputy undersecretary Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), trying to figure out who would benefit from a war between Earth and Mars; and Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman), the leader of Belter radical group OPA, whose alliances are as ambiguous as his motivations. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images) A lawsuit accusing ride-hailing service Uber of not properly serving blind customers has been resolved, with the federal judge who oversaw the case giving final approval to a settlement and fee award yesterday. The National Federation for the Blind sued Uber in 2014, saying drivers would frequently refuse to pick up riders who used service animals, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. In April, the NFB and Uber reached a deal in which Uber would send reminders to drivers, using e-mail and popups, reminding them of their obligation to accept service animals. Uber also agreed to pay $225,000 so that the NFB could have blind riders test Uber. But while Uber and the NFB were able to agree on the terms of the deal, a fight over legal fees dragged on. Lawyers representing the NFB asked for more than $3 million in fees, enhanced by a multiplier of 2.0. In their fees motion (PDF), the lawyers argued the sum was justified, since the litigation addressed several novel issues—including whether a transportation network like Uber is a "place of public accommodation" subject to the ADA. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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