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05.17.16 | 10:48 am

Alphabet’s carpooling service won’t vet drivers

On Monday Alphabet announced it will pilot a new carpooling app in San Francisco. Workers at certain companies can now join a carpool to or from their offices with users of Alphabet's navigation app, Waze, at the cost of 54 cents a mile (all of that money goes directly to the driver, at least during the pilot phase).

In a potentially controversial move, Alphabet has no plans to vet drivers with a background check. Ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber require background checks, but they have come under fire for not requiring fingerprints. In a carpooling context–Alphabet plans to limit drivers to two rides, one to work and one home, to avoid professional use of the app–should the bar be set even lower?

09.26.16 | 11 minutes ago

Did Trump just confirm that he didn’t pay any federal taxes in some years?

During tonight's debate, Hillary Clinton suggested that Donald Trump hasn't paid his fair share of taxes. He has yet to release his tax returns, and Lester Holt asked him why. Trump evaded.

But during a face-off, Clinton pressed that Trump flat-out doesn't pay federal taxes. His response: "It would be squandered."

09.26.16 | 29 minutes ago

Trump insists he never said global warming was invented by China (though he tweeted it in 2012)

During tonight's presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said that Trump believes global warming was invented by China. To which he responded, "I did not."

Though he sure seemed to believe it back in 2012:

09.26.16 | 34 minutes ago

FWIW, Ford says not one American job will be lost in Mexico small-car move

It's a bit of a contrast from Donald Trump's characterization of the auto giant's decision to shift its American small-car production to Mexico over the next few years. 

Trump at the presidential debate against Hillary Clinton on Monday painted a different picture, saying "thousands" of jobs will be lost when Ford Motor Co. makes the move. 

Ford has repeatedly insisted this is not true. The Week has more. Decide for yourself what you want to believe. 

09.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Ready to live on Mars? Elon Musk is set to unveil a road map to the Red Planet

Sure, we haven't even been to the moon in more than 40 years, but Elon Musk is ready for the Red Planet. And tomorrow, the tech billionaire and SpaceX CEO is expected to unveil a plan for getting us there, Ars Technica reports. Musk is set to talk about his "Interplanetary Transport System," an ambitious spacecraft architecture that he says will be able to carry loads of cargo—or people—on the 33.9 million-mile trek to Mars. 

According to Ars Technica, Musk will make his speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. ET.

[Photo: TriStar Pictures]

09.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Drug maker Mylan underplayed its profits to Congress 

After months of public criticism, Mylan CEO was asked by Congress to justify the price hike for its potentially life-saving allergen treatment. CEO Heather Bresch responded that Mylan's profit was $100 for a two-pack of the injectors, which seemed odd to many given the $608 list price. 

The Wall Street Journal had a few questions for Mylan. The company admitted that the number it initially shared included U.S corporate tax rates. Those are five times higher than Mylan's overall tax rate last year.

A filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission today shows that without the tax reduction, the company's profit is $83 per pen. Or $166 total. And that's a difference of millions. 

09.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Siri doesn’t seem to know there’s a debate tonight

I asked the same question Walt asked of Siri, and got a different answer. She helpfully provided me with the time of day here on the West Coast. Siri doesn't appear to know much about the candidates either: 

09.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Feds say Thiel-founded Palantir discriminates against Asian applicants

If you have a lot of government contracts and specialize in big data, as Palantir Technologies does, you should be very well aware if your own data suggests you're not treating all job applicants equally.

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor accused the software company, which was cofounded by Silicon Valley bigwig Peter Thiel, of treating Asian job applicants different than those from other races. And not in a good way.

"In a complaint, the Department of Labor accused the Palo Alto, Calif.-based data mining company of utilizing a hiring process since Jan. 2010 that prevented the hiring of Asian applicants on the basis of their race," Forbes wrote. "Asian applicants were 'routinely eliminated' in resume screening and telephone interview phases of the hiring process, despite being 'as qualified as white applicants' for engineering positions, according to the complaint."

Palantir has denied the allegations, which the Feds first brought to the company's attention nearly a year ago, Forbes wrote.

09.26.16 | 3 hours ago

Journalists covering tonight’s debate are paying $200 for a basic internet connection. What?

And if they try to use their own mobile hotspot to connect they could have their press credential revoked. That's the way they play at Hofstra University, where reselling Wi-Fi is apparently a big part of the payoff for holding the debate. Ken Vogel of Politico posted a pic of the fancy device the tech cops at Hofstra are using to locate and shut down mobile hotspot use. 

09.26.16 | 3 hours ago

Drake’s “Views” is the first album to stream more than a billion times on Apple Music

The record debuted April 29 and was available from Apple Music exclusively for a week. The Canadian rapper made the happy announcement on Instagram earlier today. Drake also debuted a 23-minute companion film to Views called Please Forgive Me on Apple music today, also an exclusive. 


A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

09.26.16 | 3 hours ago

Want to track more than steps? This new startup is pioneering an approach it calls “scientific wellness” 

Today's step count isn't a particularly useful window into your overall health, but it can be if analyzed over months alongside other biometric data. That's why a Seattle-based startup, called Arivale, is marketing a new concept called "scientific wellness," and it is planning to demonstrate its efficacy through peer-reviewed research.  

Arivale CEO Clayton Lewis, who started the company with biologist Leroy Hood, says the company aggregates wellness information, such as activity levels and lifestyle, and couples it with genetic data and clinical labs. It then assigns a coach to each customer to make actionable health recommendations by phone. To avoid regulation, the company's coaches will suggest that users see a doctor if they discover something potentially concerning ("we don't diagnose and we don't prescribe," Lewis stresses). The price tag isn't cheap at $3,500, but Lewis says it is working with employers to subsidize the cost for their workers. 

Arivale is part of a broader trend of private companies offering health and wellness coaching to make up for the lack of preventative care. But some in the medical sector see a potential downside: As ProPublica's Charles Ornstein writes, too much data can lead to potentially risky tests and procedures. 

09.26.16 | 5:20 pm

Do we expect to know too much when it comes to presidential candidates’ health? 

Why do we expect so much transparency from presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when it comes to their health? It wasn't always that way. John Dickerson, a history buff and Slate columnist, recently spoke to the New York Times' "The Run-Up" podcast (a must listen for those following the election) on the history of voters demanding medical information from presidents. Some highlights: 

* After president Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack in the middle of the night, reporters were told that it was a bout of indigestion. The press soon learned the truth, but Eisenhower's press secretary, James Hagerdy, came up with a brilliant strategy to divert their interest elsewhere. The president's physician reported that Eisenhower had a "successful bowel movement," and the Associated Press printed it as "official news."

* Sen. John McCain also overwhelmed the press with too much information. He released thousands of carefully selected medical records for several hours to the media during his 2000 and 2008 bids for the presidency. 

*A president's health was once considered out of the public view, for the most part. Former presidents John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson all hid serious medical conditions from the public. 

Where would you draw the line on how much you'd want to know about a presidential candidates' health? Let me know @chrissyfarr on Twitter

09.26.16 | 4:23 pm

Reid Hoffman says he’s in a “constant state of argument” with buddy Peter Thiel over Trump

It's like a buddy movie out of the 1980s, but based in Silicon Valley and featuring a presidential election. Stanford classmates, PayPal coworkers, and longtime buddies, LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and investor Peter Thiel are feuding over Donald Trump. Hoffman has been just as vocal in his opposition to the Republican nominee as Peter Thiel has been in support of him. 

"We're in a constant state of argument over this," Hoffman told Bloomberg TV today, adding that though he liked Thiel's speech at the Republican National Convention in July, he thinks his buddy is "inventing policies for Trump that Trump doesn't actually have." He says that fellow tech entrepreneurs often ask him whether Thiel is crazy. When asked the question, Hoffman replied, "Maybe a little."

Hoffman also discussed his biggest concern about Trump—that he doesn't have a policy plan and "no demonstrated record of public service." He added that the impact of a Trump presidency on the American economy and Silicon Valley would "range between disastrous and terrible."