Los Angeles Times


How Rotten Tomatoes became Hollywood's most influential -- and feared -- website

Los Angeles Times

Rotten Tomatoes vice president Jeff Voris, middle, with senior editor Grae Drake, right, are filmed by creative director Jimmy Johenning at the Beverly Hills offices of the review aggregation website. Rotten Tomatoes vice president Jeff Voris, middle, with senior editor Grae Drake, right, are filmed by creative director Jimmy Johenning at the Beverly Hills offices of the review aggregation website. How Rotten Tomatoes became Hollywood's most influential -- and feared -- website On a recent Wednesday morning, the staff of Rotten Tomatoes gathers in a Beverly Hills office, laptops open -- steeling themselves for the next onslaught of reviews for Hollywood's biggest upcoming movies. That means the vast majority of critics liked the new 20th Century Fox movie -- and the $150-million "Apes" sequel gets the official "certified fresh" label on the movie-rating web site.


Lyft forms an autonomous vehicle unit, expects 200 employees in it by year's end

Los Angeles Times

Lyft said Friday it is setting up its own unit to develop autonomous vehicle technology, but its approach will be different from other companies and partnerships working on self-driving cars. The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service says it will open its network, inviting automakers and tech companies to use it to haul passengers and gather data. Like other tech companies and automakers, Lyft has established partnerships with companies such as Waymo -- the autonomous vehicle operation that belongs to Google's parent Alphabet Inc. -- and with General Motors. For example, GM, which has invested $500 million in Lyft, would be invited to run its own autonomous vehicles on Lyft's network.


Silicon Valley's push for universal basic income is -- surprise! -- totally self-serving

Los Angeles Times

But to me, having just published a book about the lopsided returns of the digital economy, universal basic income seemed an obvious solution to a problem first posed in the 1950s by the inventor of cybernetics, Norbert Wiener: What would happen when robots could till the fields, rendering human labor obsolete? In a highly automated environment, a guaranteed minimum income for basics like food, housing and healthcare would provide for those incapable of finding jobs. What's more, study after study has shown that a universal basic income doesn't lead to laziness. So I should have been glad last spring when the developers at Uber began to ask me about universal basic income, or UBI.


Republicans introduce bills to scrap new bank arbitration rule

Los Angeles Times

The rule unveiled last week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would ban banks and other financial institutions from using arbitration clauses to block customers from bringing or joining class-action suits. On Thursday, GOP members of the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee introduced resolutions that would do just that. The CFPB rule would allow that practice to continue, but would ban arbitration clauses that also ban consumers from bringing class-action suits. Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, the ranking Democrat on the House committee, called Thursday's action an "outrageous" move that would harm consumers.


Driver blames Tesla Autopilot feature for Minnesota crash

Los Angeles Times

A Minnesota man is blaming Tesla Inc.'s partially self-driving Autopilot system for a crash over the weekend. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office says David Clark was driving his Tesla Model S sedan with four passengers Saturday evening in Hawick, Minn. Clark told deputies that when he engaged the Autopilot feature, the car suddenly accelerated, left the roadway and overturned in a marsh. Tesla said it has not yet established whether the vehicle's Autopilot feature was engaged, but it has no reason to believe the feature worked other than as designed. Autopilot automatically drives, brakes and keeps the car within a lane.


la-oe-browne-ling-drones-memoir-brett-velicovich-20170716-story.html

Los Angeles Times

But a widely publicized new memoir about America's covert drone war fails to mention the "outflow increases," as one internal Air Force memo calls it. One might ask Velicovich to explain the deaths of Warren Weinstein, an American citizen, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian citizen -- both aid workers who were killed by an American drone strike that was targeting Al Qaeda members in Pakistan. In the acknowledgments section of the memoir, Velicovich mentions that the forthcoming movie will be directed and produced by Michael Bay, the filmmaker behind "Transformers," "Pearl Harbor" and "Armageddon." Alex Edney-Browne (@alexEdneybrowne) is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, where she is researching the psycho-social effects of drone warfare on Afghan civilians and veterans of the U.S. Air Force's drone program.


la-hm-jordan-kramer-la-affairs-20170715-story.html

Los Angeles Times

It also seems that Los Angeles singles, in their entirety, have been to Machu Picchu. Are you a veteran of L.A.'s current dating scene? Finding this common ground, even in blocks of time, is part of what makes online dating so attractive: It's the verbal foreplay and virtual courtship that often precede anything face-to-face. L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles.


Cadillac Super Cruise hands-free driving software takes on Tesla Autopilot

Los Angeles Times

A reporter jots a quick note as Super Cruise handles the steering on Interstate 280 near Palo Alto. A reporter jots a quick note as Super Cruise handles the steering on Interstate 280 near Palo Alto. And the map system allows Super Cruise, unlike Autopilot, to automatically adjust speed while taking a curve. Since 2016, all new Tesla cars have been equipped with sensor hardware capable of total driverless operation when the software is ready.


Used car 'time bomb' complicates auto industry transformation, new report says

Los Angeles Times

A few years ago, car sharing companies such as Zipcar, Car2go, Enterprise CarShare and others, which let users rent cars hours at a time, looked set to take off, with great expansion plans and high brand awareness. Last year, the report said, about 350,000 plug-in cars were sold in China, up 84% from the previous year and almost twice as many as in the U.S. And while foreign automakers account for the majority of total auto sales in China, the report said 96% of those electric cars are made by Chinese companies. But traditional automakers face a major public relations challenge on driverless technology. Silicon Valley "dwarfs traditional automakers in consumer awareness of driverless technology, survey statistics show.


Hollywood's summer box-office lesson: 'The disconnect between critics and audiences is largely gone'

Los Angeles Times

But the movies that have earned virtually unanimous praise from critics -- including "Wonder Woman," "Baby Driver," "The Big Sick" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" -- are the ones that are breaking out. "Getting off on the right foot is crucial and ... having a film that is critically well received makes it much easier for our message to cut through the clutter," said Adrian Smith, president of domestic distribution for Sony Pictures, which released "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Baby Driver."