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Contamination-seeking drones - IBM Patent 9447448.

Stay back and let the drones do the dirty work. Patent 9447448 makes cognitive drones able to inspect and decontaminate places so humans don’t have to. The drones’ on-board AI system can collect and analyze samples, so it can identify and clean up any bacteria or outbreak. Meanwhile you get to hang back, safely out of harm’s way.

This is just one of the record-breaking 8,000+ patents IBM received this year. Explore the latest IBM patents. →

Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data from Trump

  AT 10 AM the Saturday before inauguration day, on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania, roughly 60 hackers, scientists, archivists, and librarians were hunched over laptops, drawing flow charts on whiteboards, and shouting opinions on computer scripts across the room. They had hundreds of government web pages and data sets to get through before the end of the day—all strategically chosen from the pages of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—any of which, they felt, might be deleted, altered, or removed from the public domain by the incoming Trump administration.

  By the end of the day, the group had collectively loaded 3,692 NOAA web pages onto the Internet Archive, and found ways to download 17 particularly hard-to-crack data sets from the EPA, NOAA, and the Department of Energy. Organizers have already laid plans for several more data rescue events in the coming weeks, and a professor from NYU was talking hopefully about hosting one at his university in February. But suddenly, their timeline became more urgent.
  On the day that the Inside EPA report came out, an email from O’Brien popped up on my phone with “Red Fucking Alert” in the subject line.“We’re archiving everything we can.”


Amazon Go’s “just walk out” technology sounds like a headache for shoppers of color

Minority shoppers know this feeling all too well: A store employee singling us out, continually checking on us, issuing warnings. Store managers operate under the false assumption that people of color are more likely to steal. 

It’s an effort known as “loss prevention,” but it looks and acts like racial profiling. Which is why a store like Amazon Go is exciting, yet unnerving.

“In a world where even Oprah has been profiled for walking around a store, there are lots of people who might not want to risk trusting a store to treat them fairly,” tech CEO Anil Dash said in an email.

White people who have never been “randomly” followed around at a Walgreens may have no problem walking into a store, grabbing an item and leaving. But shoppers of color, who already see enough unwanted attention, may have their doubts. Read more

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A Tasty Solution 

Saltwater Brewery created an answer to floating plastic six pack rings harming the ocean environment and its creatures. Their rings are edible and made from wheat and barley leftover from the beer making process. It’s a great way for the brewery to cut back on waste product and provides a snack for fish and other sea dwelling animals. If more companies recycled like this maybe we could cut down on the amount of garbage polluting our waters daily.

Kudos, Saltwater Brewery.

If Twitter accounts fall silent in the woods, can they still make a sound? Turns out, yes — lots.

Tuesday afternoon, a new Twitter account called “AltUSNatParkService” appeared and began tweeting out facts about climate change, support for the National Parks and comments in opposition of President Trump, who has called climate change a hoax created by China.

All this came in response to the news of new orders to limit outward contact with the public, including bans on social media postings, at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Service. The EPA was ordered to enact a temporary media blackout as the Trump administration transitions its team into the agency roles.

Rogue National Park Accounts Emerge On Twitter Amid Social Media Gag Orders

Photo: Francis Temman/AFP/Getty Images
Caption: The official Twitter account of Badlands National Park in South Dakota was the first to tweet climate change facts in defiance of the gag order placed on the Environmental Protection Agency.


Journalist says he was refused Uber service for being Arab

  • On Sunday, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, a correspondent for AJPlus, requested an Uber ride after arriving at Union Station in Washington, D.C..
  • When the car arrived, Eldin told the driver his name was Ahmed. 
  • The driver, according to Eldin, said he shouldn’t have approached his vehicle in a hurry. “You could be an attacker,” the driver said.
  • The driver then refused to open the trunk of his car and locked his passenger doors. 
  • Eldin explained that he was trying to escape the cold, but the driver refused to allow him into the vehicle. 
  • After the incident, Eldin filed a complaint with Uber and shared a screencap of it on Twitter.
  • Uber said it is currently investigating the incident, but in the meantime, the driver will be prohibited from accessing the Uber app. Read more

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A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.” The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.

We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help.

We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here’s What We Learned

Illustration: Fanatic Studio/Getty Images


Twitter suspends Martin Shkreli for harassing journalist Lauren Duca

  • Martin Shkreli spent his weekend persistently harassing writer and Teen Vogue editor Lauren Duca on Twitter. 
  • On Thursday, Shkreli began his bombardment with an invitation, asking Duca to be his “+1 to the inaug.”
  • After being rebuffed, Shkreli apparently added a note to his Twitter bio: “also i have a small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out).”
  • He then updated his profile picture to one of Duca and her husband but with Shkreli’s face edited onto her husband’s body.
  • He also replaced his cover photo with a collage of her face, which was allegedly “fan-made.”
  • The pharma bro told the Verge that he wasn’t harassing Duca — because she hadn’t directly told him to stop, he couldn’t knowingly be acting “against Duca’s will.”
  • Twitter suspended him at approximately 1 PM Sunday. Read more

The plan began with an idle thought.

Glancing at a map earlier this month, Owen Delaney realized something funny: Seen from above, the Diana Fountain in London’s Bushy Park bears a striking resemblance to the bulbous nose of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — at least, it would if that famous nose of his were blue. At any rate, that fountain-nose would look better if seen in the context of a full face.

So, Delaney decided to do it himself.

Using Strava, a social network that allows athletes to track and share the routes of their workouts, he traced the path of his run through Bushy Park using GPS. The result was a squiggly (and probably sweaty) take on a favorite holiday character, seen from a bird’s-eye view.

Dancer, Prancer, Runner — And Artist? Holiday Cheer, Courtesy Of GPS

Images: Owen Delaney/Courtesy of Strava


People who unfollowed Donald Trump on @POTUS Twitter account are mysteriously following him again

  • Many people who say they unfollowed the @POTUS handle yesterday after Obama left the office say they are following it again as of Saturday morning.
  • Twitter users used the social platform to express their anger at having to see Trump’s face on their timeline.
  • Twitter is aware of the problem and mentioned there may have been issues during the transition of accounts.
  • Twitter is trying to remedy it, according to its own support accounts. Read more

Meet Raheem, a Facebook Messenger chat bot who wants your help to keep tabs on police

At any time of day, no matter what happens between you and a police officer, Raheem wants to know about it. Raheem never sleeps. Raheem is a Facebook Messenger chat bot that will gather and map out interactions with police across the country; it just entered beta testing and is looking for a few thousand helping hands. Raheem’s creator, Brandon Anderson, eventually wants to use reports from thousands of users to build a people’s map of police behavior. Using Raheem is super easy.

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The Congressional Black Caucus wants answers about Facebook’s racial ad targeting

On Friday, a brief investigation by ProPublica found that Facebook’s ad targeting system allows advertisers to exclude certain ethnic groups from seeing advertisements. If used to advertise housing, Facebook could be violating civil rights laws like the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Members of the Congressional Black Congress sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday morning asking for an immediate response to the allegations. When the news first broke, Facebook defended the practice.

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