Scientists Warn Self-Driving Cars Could Worsen Inequality

New research suggests that introducing autonomous vehicles to the Washington D.C. area could worsen inequality and explores solutions.

Share the Road

Advocates of self-driving cars argue that by taking error-prone humans off the streets, there’ll be fewer accidents and less traffic.

But a new study shows that that may not actually be the case, as roads full of autonomous vehicles could worsen road congestion and increase inequality in large cities.

Swarm Robotics

The research, conducted by a nonprofit organization called the Union of Concerned Scientists, focused specifically on the impact autonomous vehicles might have on the Washington D.C. area.

Ultimately, the research suggests that introducing autonomous vehicles to the area would increase traffic by 66 percent, and that the added congestion would likely benefit Lees verder

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NASA Chief: Space Agency “Well on Our Way” to Discovering Aliens

Life on Mars

The sad report that the Opportunity Mars rover had died was accompanied by a bit of exciting news last week: NASA thinks it’s close to discovering alien life.

During a ceremony announcing Opportunity’s death, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine shared an update on the agency’s Mars 2020 mission, which will hunt for signs of alien life on the Red Planet.

“We’re going to be able to look at samples and determine if there’s a biosignature in there,” he said, according to “The goal is to discover life on another world; that’s what we’re trying to Lees verder

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Those Health Apps Send Your Biometric Data Straight to Facebook

A Wall Street Journal investigation reveals that several popular health tracking apps send data to Facebook without ever asking or informing users.

Sharing is Caring

When you use an app to monitor your heartrate, track your period, or store any other private medical data, Facebook may be listening in.

That’s the result of a new Wall Street Journal investigation that revealed how Facebook collects data from 11 popular health data apps like Flo and Breethe — whether or not users signed into Facebook through the apps or even have a Facebook account at all.

Closed Doors

When someone adds information to the apps, they send what’s called an “App Event” to Facebook in the form of a transmission that describes the device, location, and personal data ranging Lees verder

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This Fast Food Drive-Thru Is Now Using AI to Take Orders

A fast food AI platform is taking orders at a drive-thru in Colorado, and it could be the latest sign that restaurants are prepared to lean on automation.

Fries With That

We already had a robot that could make fast food burgers. And now we have an artificial intelligence that can take your order for one.

Earlier this month, Colorado-based startup Valyant AI announced the launch of a voice-based AI customer service platform, which is now taking customer orders at the drive-thru at Denver’s Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard.

“We’re excited to deliver a customer service experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before,” Valyant AI CEO Rob Carpenter said in a press release.

Pull Forward

Unlike multipurpose assistants such as Alexa or Siri, Valyant’s Lees verder

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Legal Marijuana Could Threaten the Alcohol Industry, Says Report

The continued legalization and acceptance of marijuana could be a problem for the alcohol industry, according to a new report.

Risky Business

Marijuana is becoming more accepted — and that could be a problem for the alcohol industry, according to new research.

“Though not yet mainstream, cannabis adoption is certainly growing in states where it’s legal and does pose a risk to the beverage alcohol industry in the future,” Brandy Rand, U.S. president of the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR), a company that collects data on the alcohol industry, said in a press release about its new report on alcohol and cannabis.

In the Weeds

On Thursday, the IWSR published a new report it created in partnership with BDS Analytics, a company Lees verder

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Hospital Goes Out of Business, Pulls Medical Records Offline

When an Arizona hospital went bankrupt, its servers full of people's medical records went offline. Now its patients need access to get medical care.

Medical Records

When two hospitals in Arizona went bankrupt in June, all of their medical records went into storage — meaning that patients can’t access them.

The Florence Hospital at Anthem and Gilbert Hospital took on various investors that are currently fighting over who’s to blame for the hospitals’ bankruptcy. Meanwhile, patients and their doctors are left waiting with no ability to pull their own medical records, according to The Arizona Republic — a worrisome indication of how reliant health care providers have become on digital records and how quickly those records can vanish.

Dangerous Standoff

The hospitals’ main largest investors were Indigo-DLI Holdings, Somerset Capital Group, and Medhost, Lees verder

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Police: Uber Data Helped Prove Jussie Smollett Faked Hate Crime

Chicago police claim data from Uber allowed them to crack their case against actor Jussie Smollett, whom they believe faked a hate crime against himself.

Actor Arrested

Data from Uber helped land actor Jussie Smollett in jail.

On Wednesday, Chicago police officially charged Smollett, an actor with a role on the hit Fox series “Empire,” with filing a false police report, a felony crime.

The next day, Smollett turned himself in to authorities, and they shared details on how they built their case — and it turns out that Uber data played a significant role.

Rideshare Snitch

If you haven’t been following this bizarre case, around 2 am on Jan. 29, Smollett filed a police report in which he claimed to be the victim of Lees verder

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Facebook Reportedly Let Marketers Advertise to Nazis

Once again, Facebook has been caught offering advertisers the ability to specifically market to neo-Nazis and people interested in Nazi music.

Targeted Ads

Facebook’s massive stash of user data allows advertisers to target their ideal customers with specially-crafted messages. However, several investigations have found that Facebook helps advertisers target specific unsavory demographics, including literal neo-Nazis, according to The Los Angeles Times.

In a recent attempt to test Facebook’s advertising service, the LA Times found that it could pay just $25 to advertise to thousands of Facebook users interested in Nazi leaders Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and Josef Mengele, as well as fans of Nazi music.

Déjà Vu

Every time Facebook is caught in another advertising scandal — like when Pro Publica found in 2017 that Facebook Lees verder

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Virgin Galactic’s Space Plane Soars to New Heights

Virgin Galactic's suborbital space plane VSS Unity reached a maximum altitude (apogee) of 240,000 feet or 45 miles(73 km) on its fifth test flight.

New Heights

Virgin Galactic’s supersonic space plane, the VSS Unity, took off on its fifth test flight today. Mothership WhiteKnightTwo released the suborbital space plane at around 44,000 feet — and VSS Unity reached a new maximum altitude of 55.85 miles (89.9km.)

The second generation SpaceShipTwo, dubbed VSS Unity, reached an altitude of 51.4 miles (82.7  km) during its fourth test flight in December 2018. This time, the space plane traveled with a much heavier payload — close to full commercial weight — and a third crew member, Beth Moses, the first woman to enter space on a commercial US spacecraft.

“Zombie” Deer Disease Could Spread to Humans, Experts Warn

Deadly Deer

“Zombie deer disease” is spreading across the globe.

Known more formally as chronic wasting disease (CWD), the infection eats away at the brains of deer, elk, and moose. It causes the animals to show signs of dementia, manifesting as difficulty walking and eating, before they ultimately die — and experts are now warning that the disease could make the jump from animals to humans.

Global Issue

“Zombie deer disease” is spread by prions, pathogenic proteins that can’t be killed because they aren’t alive. They’re neither bacteria nor viruses, but once they infect an animal, they cause its cells to fold abnormally and Lees verder

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