The Good: Google’s Co-Founder Takes Taxi To The Skies
As the world begins to develop more autonomous technology, testing continues throughout the globe with giants like Google taking the lead. This week Google’s co-founder Larry Page took to the skies with one of the first self driving taxis. Page released video of the newly designed product taking off and flying successfully in New Zealand proving that not only can new technology offer a more convenient mode of transportation, but one that will decrease impact on the environment. “We are offering a pollution free, emissions free vehicle that flies independently,” said Fred Reid the head of Kitty Hawk operations in New Zealand. The taxi seems part helicopter and part plane; it can take off and land with no runway and can fly similar to a small plane for a distance of 63 miles, and an average speed of 93 miles per hour.
The Bad: Self Driving Uber Kills Pedestrian
This week Uber was faced with an unfortunate event when a pedestrian was killed by one of it’s autonomous cars. Over the past decade several companies such as Uber, Lyft and Google have been testing new self driving technology in areas like San Francisco and Arizona, however Uber has suspended testing after Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed on Sunday around 10 p.m. in Tempe, Arizona. A spokesperson for Uber released a statement offering condolences to Ms. Herzberg’s family and said the company would be cooperating with police to investigate the incident. Although there was a emergency operator inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, police say that the car was moving at approximately 40 mph and the scene showed no evidence of avoidance. Officials in Arizona are urging people to reserve judgement on the new technology until the investigation is complete.
The Good: Most Of Kidnapped Schoolgirls Returned, Says Nigerian Officials
Nigerian officials have reported that most of the 110 school children who were abducted last month have been returned. The children were initially kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram on February 19th, similar to an 2014 abduction that included over 300 students. The students were given back without payment and no demands from the terror group were made except that they would be the the ones to drop off the students and would not hand them over to a third party. A representative of the Nigerian government said that the students had been freed by “back channel efforts” of high ranking officials. Upon the students return, the kidnappers were quoted saying: “Don’t take your girls to that school again if you don’t want us to kidnap them again.”
The Bad: Another School Shooting Takes Place
Although a lone resource officer was quick to respond to this week’s school shooting in Maryland, two students were sent to the hospital after Austin Wyatt Rollins opened fire on students at Great Mills High School. The hero officer identified as Blaine Gaskill, was praised across social media and news outlets after his quick response to the shooting which subdued the shooter in “seconds”. Although Gaskill’s bravery likely saved countless other lives, lawmakers continue to urge Congress to pass laws that better protect anyone from being harmed by gun violence, especially students. The superintendent of St. Mary’s schools issued a statement concerning the incident: “It looks as though the SRO [school resource officer] did exactly what the SRO is trained to do, and yet we still have a tragic loss of life,” he said. “We still have somebody in critical condition. And we have students at the school and staff at the school impacted.”
The Good: Rihanna Calls Out SnapChat
In what seems to be a part of SnapChat’s steady decline, Rihanna took shots at the popular social media platform after the app mistakenly approved an ad that asked viewers whether they would rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown. Rihanna took to Instagram after viewing the ad and addressed the inappropriate ad: “Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there! But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance but I know you ain’t that dumb. You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV (Domestic violence) victims and made a joke of it.” After the shade SnapChat received from the singer, it’s stock took a 800 million dollar hit. SnapChat addressed the issue in a statement which didn’t go over very well with Rihanna or her fans: “We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.” This is the second time in recent news a celebrity has taken aim at the platform. Several weeks ago Kylie Jenner dissed SnapChat over Twitter saying: “sooo does anyone else not open SnapChat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” After Jenner’s post SnapChat’s stock value decreased by 7.2%.
The Bad: Facebook Loses Massive Share Value
As questions about Facebook’s data access continues, the world’s most popular social media platform lost tremendous amounts of stock value after lawmakers began probing into Facebook’s security and the privacy of it’s users. An estimated 35 billion was lost after it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica, (a data firm hired by the Trump administration during the 2016 elections) had unauthorized access to data from some 50 million Facebook users. Officials are claiming that the data was used to falsely persuade people with ads and fake news that played a part in swaying the 2016 elections. As U.S. and European lawmakers call for investigations, Facebook says that it ordered for Cambridge Analytica to destroy data it received from users in 2015, however CNN reports that the firm likely still has most of, if not all the data.
Alexa…The Creep In Your House
Amazon is currently looking into complaints that it’s smart speaker Alexa has been acting “weird.” Dozens of creeped out customers went to social media to share their experiences with Alexa who reportedly has become non compliant and is spontaneously laughing. “I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on,” one user observed. “After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh.”
Driver Presents Fake I.D. At Traffic Stop
While tons of spring breakers are flocking across the country trying to use their fake I.D.’s to procure alcohol, a British man tried using his to avoid arrest. Thames Valley police reported that Milton Keynes was pulled over and when asked for identification handed over a Homer Simpson license. The car was seized and Keynes was reported as driving without insurance or a proper license. The incident has since gone viral on twitter.
Make sure to keep up with the good, the bad, and the hilarious every week only here at EMCEE!