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Apple, Disney, Others Speak Out on Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade

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The Supreme Court on Friday eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion in the US, overturning the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade. 

The court’s decision gives states the power to make their own laws on abortion, many of which are expected to ban or severely restrict access to abortion.

As the nation grapples with the impact of the ruling, several prominent executives from tech, entertainment and other industries have spoken out. Some companies have also said they’ll cover travel expenses for employees who can’t access abortions where they live. 

Here’s a look at what companies and their leaders have said so far. 

What executives say and companies are doing

Apple: The iPhone maker said it supports “employees’ rights to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health.”

“For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state,” said an Apple spokesperson.

Box: CEO Aaron Levie shared a statement from the file-sharing and cloud storage company, saying he was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“In light of the decision, we want to reaffirm that Box will continue to support paid time off and will also cover travel and medical expenses for employees to obtain critical reproductive health care services,” reads the statement Levie shared on Twitter. “We remain committed to creating a safe, equitable, and inclusive workplace for all Boxers.”

Bungie: Game studio Bungie said it was “undeterred” in its “commitment to stand up for reproductive choice and liberty.”

In a blog post, the company said it would implement a travel reimbursement program for employees to use when they or their dependents can’t access needed health care where they live. 

Disney: Disney told employees on Friday that it’s “committed to providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care,” including family planning and pregnancy termination.

The company offers travel benefits that let employees access medical treatments that may be unavailable in their location, said a Disney spokesperson. All US employees who opt in to Disney’s health care plan are eligible, including cast members at parks and resorts. 

Meta: In a post on the social network, Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg said the ruling “jeopardizes the health and the lives of millions of girls and women” across the US. 

“I cannot believe that I’m going to send my three daughters to college with fewer rights than I had,” Sandberg wrote. This is a huge setback. For ourselves, our daughters, and every generation that follows, we must keep up the fight.”

Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment. 

Uber: On Friday, the ride-hailing company reiterated to US employees that it provides “a range of reproductive health benefits, including pregnancy termination and travel expenses to access health care,” according to a spokesperson.  

“We will also continue to stand behind drivers, reimbursing legal expenses if any driver is sued under state law for providing transportation on our platform to a clinic,” said the Uber spokesperson. 

The company put that policy in place last year after Texas passed Senate Bill 8, a law that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. It allows individuals to sue people aiding in an abortion, including doctors and people driving someone seeking an abortion to a clinic.

Yelp: Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO and co-founder of Yelp, said in a tweet that the Supreme Court ruling “puts women’s health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe.” He called on business leaders to speak out against the “wave of abortion bans” triggered by the decision and call for Congress to codify the right to an abortion into law. 

In April, the company expanded its health insurance coverage, which already included abortion care, to provide travel benefits to US employees and their dependents who may need to seek care out of state. In 2018, Yelp also undertook efforts to reduce misinformation on the reviews site and ensure it accurately categorized reproductive health care providers, which offer abortion services, and crisis pregnancy centers, which steer people to other options. 

More notable reactions to Roe v. Wade being overturned

Bill Gates: In a tweet Friday, the co-founder of Microsoft said overturning Roe v. Wade is an “unjust and unacceptable setback. And it puts women’s lives at risk, especially the most disadvantaged.”

Hillary Clinton: In a tweet Friday, the former secretary of state said: “Most Americans believe the decision to have a child is one of the most sacred decisions there is, and that such decisions should remain between patients and their doctors.” Clinton added that the Supreme Court decision will “live in infamy as a step backward for women’s rights and human rights.”

Michelle Obama: Former first lady Michelle Obama said in a statement posted to social media that she was “heartbroken for people around this country who just lost the fundamental right to make informed decisions about their own bodies.” She called the decision “horrifying” and “devastating” but encouraged people to take action by getting involved with organizations including Planned Parenthood and The United State of Women. 





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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


Blizzard

For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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