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Code/red: Gates Family "Fecal Fiasco" a Load of Crap

Plus, Carl Icahn continues to pester Apple and Elon Musk is afraid of Skynet.


That’s No Storage Facility, That’s the Vista Memorial

Bill Gates is causing something of a stink in Wellington, Fla. Evidently, the “horse-waste storage facility” on the $8.7 million horse farm he owns via the Mallet Hill Trust in the town was improperly installed and built without the required permits. Page Six, which broke the story, says Gates has piled up about $42,000 in code violation fines since July over the “fecal fiasco.” According to the Gates family that descriptor is a bit of an exaggeration. “When the Gates family purchased the home in Wellington, they immediately had the storage bin moved to be in compliance with local laws,” a family spokesperson told Code/red. “Yesterday, the Gates family learned that the related paperwork was not filed properly. This administrative oversight is unfortunate, but I want to reiterate that the Gates’ home was never out of compliance. We are working directly with appropriate officials to ensure all the paperwork is in order.”

TL;DR, Carl …

Carl Icahn published his promised letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning, and it’s nowhere near as “interesting” as he promised. The gist of it: Icahn — who holds nearly 53 million shares in Apple — would be significantly more wealthy if the company would only take his advice and repurchase “a lot more” stock. The disgruntled billionaire figures Apple’s shares are trading at about half their value because the broader market “misunderstands and dramatically undervalues” it. If the company were to use its cash hoard to increase share repurchases, its stock might trade at $203, significantly higher than the $100.80 it closed at Wednesday. Apple’s response to Icahn’s latest treatise: “We always appreciate hearing from our shareholders.”

Carl C. Icahn, Super Genius

Matt Levine, Bloomberg View: “Here is the structure of Icahn’s argument:

1. Apple is doing great stuff and making lots of money.
2. That means its stock price should go up.
3. No one has noticed this but me.
4. Now I’m telling you.
5. So you can buy the stock before everyone notices and it goes up.
6. Hurry!”

What to Expect at Apple’s Next Event: Not a Behemoth 12.9-Inch iPad

Looks like production of Apple’s largest-ever iPad is on hold for the time being. Supply chain sources tell the Wall Street Journal that demand for the company’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is so great that it has delayed plans to begin manufacturing the 12.9-inch iPad until 2015. “The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones. The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory,” one source told the Journal. “It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now.” Unless they were never planning to begin production until early 2015 anyway, which is what Bloomberg reported back in August.

Tesla Founder: Flying Cars Could Bonk You on the Head

Elon Musk: “If the sky was full of cars flying all over the place, it would affect how things look. It would affect the skyline. And it would be noisier, and there would be a greater probability of something falling on your head. Those are not good things. On the other hand, you’d be able to go from one place to another faster.”

Septuagenarian Billionaire Announces 65-Inch Apple Television

Carl Icahn: “We expect Apple to sell 12 million 55″ and 65″ TV sets in FY 2016 and 25 million in FY 2017 at an average selling price of $1,500 at gross margins consistent with the overall company.”

Well, That Was Fast

Vivian Schiller, the veteran news executive who joined Twitter less than a year ago to oversee its news relationships, is stepping down from the company. Schiller joined Twitter this past January after serving as chief digital officer for NBC News.

What Happened to “If You Have Something That You Don’t Want Anyone to Know, Maybe You Shouldn’t Be Doing It in the First Place”?

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt on U.S. government surveillance: “We’re going to wind up breaking the Internet.”

You’re Just Upset Because You Keep Mistaking BuzzFeed Ads for BuzzFeed Articles

Andrew Sullivan, founding editor, The Dish: “Buzzfeed is really an ad agency with some journalistic window dressing. They’re not the future of journalism; they’re the marginalization of it. And the New York Times, alas, is following suit with merry abandon.”

Now That’s an Aggressive Spam Filter

Artificial intelligence is all well and good — until it begins to threaten humanity. This according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who worries that a super-intelligent machine might someday destroy human life as we know it. “I don’t think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing,” Musk said at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit last night. “Particularly if [the machine is] involved in recursive self-improvement … and its utility function is something that’s detrimental to humanity, then it will have a very bad effect. If its [function] is just something like getting rid of email spam and it determines the best way of getting rid of spam is getting rid of humans.”

It’s Not the Size That Matters, It’s How You Use It

Kara Swisher: “You know Apple is run by men when they call it an iPhone 6 Plus and it’s only 5.5 inches.”

Off Topic

Joseph Stalin Has a Few Concerns About the New Roommate and What is Ebola?

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and Paper Airplane Machine Guns to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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