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04.05.16 | 3:52 pm

PayPal cancels plan to expand in North Carolina over LGBT discrimination law

PayPal had been set to open a new global operations center—bringing with it some 400 jobs—in Charlotte, North Carolina, but now the company is scrapping that plan due to the state's passage of legislation that permits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. "As a company that is committed to the principle that everyone deserves to live without fear of discrimination simply for being who they are, becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable," president and CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement.

Around this time last year, a number of companies, including Salesforce and Angie's List, ceased operations in Indiana in protest of a law that would legalize discrimination against LGBT people. 

05.22.17 | 5:22 pm

Twitter picks e-sports king to lead its live business

Twitter CFO announced today that the company has hired Todd Swidler as its new "Global Head of Live Business." According to LinkedIn, Swidler was most recently CEO of the e-sports gaming company ESC Games.

Twitter is trying to become a more dominant digital player, and video is one of the company's big priorities, as CEO Jack Dorsey has repeatedly emphasized in recent months.

05.22.17 | 4:28 pm

UNHCR and Google partner on website to educate the public about Syria

Today the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in partnership with Google announced Searching for Syria, a new website that combines Google Search trends, UNHCR data and stories, and other information to answer common questions about the Syrian refugee crisis. Questions tackle everything from what Syria was like before the war, to where refugees are going and how you can help. 

Jacqueline Fuller, vice president of Google.org says that among the top searches in Germany, France, and the U.K. last year was "What is happening in Syria?" The hope is that the website will help raise awareness about the current crisis and inform the public about what is happening and how they can help going forward.

05.22.17 | 2:49 pm

Tesla’s Elon Musk says new autopilot software is coming in June

On Sunday evening, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to discuss Tesla's new autopilot software, set to be released next month. According to Musk, the control algorithm in the new release is safer, but also feels "smooth as silk." June's update will also "hopefully" add perpendicular parking and rain sensors, according to his tweets.

05.22.17 | 2:29 pm

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey says he’s “kicked around” the idea of a premium subscription service

Speaking at Twitter's annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco on Monday, Dorsey said the company has considered a membership model. Here's his quote in full:

"Yeah, so this has been kicked around for quite some time. We do believe that there is a real importance that Twitter is accessible to everyone in the world no matter what their economic stature is and where they are in life, so the general case has been to make Twitter free and open. We're always talking with our customers around what could be and what they'd like to see, and this is an idea that has come up. We don't have any particular plans to announce today but we're always looking at those patterns, that feedback and understanding if it's the right thing to do for the greater Twitter audience."

05.22.17 | 11:34 am

Cargo pilots plan to protest outside Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting tomorrow

As Amazon ramps up its own logistics operations—which means the e-commerce giant is purchasing and leasing an increasing number of cargo aircrafts and crews—the pilots are seeing operational risks on the horizon. The companies Amazon contracts with—Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) and Air Transport Services Group (ATSG)—are seeing higher rates of attrition due to short staffing and alleged contract violations, claim the pilots. They hope their presence outside Amazon's annual meeting tomorrow will send a message to shareholders and pressure Bezos and his company to exert some influence on these cargo providers. 

05.22.17 | 11:33 am

Robocops are now patrolling the streets of Dubai 

Last year, Dubai announced that they wanted to modernize their police force. They weren't talking about new body armor, innovative handcuffs, or body cams, though, but a robot police force, which they hoped to have on the streets by 2020. Dubai beat their schedule, though, and the first robocop is on duty at the three-day Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC). It is expected to be patrolling the streets by Wednesday, according to CNN

The Dubai Police Robot looks a lot more like a human than Silicon Valley's egg-shaped version (and hopefully it would fare better in a fight, too). In its current iteration, people can report crimes to the robot via a touchscreen on its chest, pay traffic fines, and submit paperwork, The Telegraph reports. The cop can also tip off its human coworkers to start investigations. As soon as they update its operating system, make sure its facial recognition technology is higher than its current 80% accuracy, and are confident it won't pull a Skynet, Dubai Police hope the metallic cop can start doing the hard work of chasing down suspects in the Dubai heat and making arrests.

Dubai isn't stopping there, though. To continue their reputation for being the model of a modern city, they hope to make a quarter of their police force require battery charging and system updates by 2030, according to CNN.  "We are looking to make everything smart in Dubai Police," Brigadier Khlaid Nasser Al Razouqi told Gulf News in March. "By 2030, we will have the first smart police station which won't require human employees." It makes sense, because robot cops will have an easier time keeping an eye on those flying taxis.

[Screenshot: Ruptly

05.22.17 | 11:05 am

Meet Ford’s new smart mobility chief: Marcy Klevorn  

As James Hackett steps up as Ford's new CEO, Marcy Klevorn will fill his former duties as head of the automaker's smart mobility unit. Klevorn has been at Ford since 1983 and rose to become the company's first female chief information officer in 2015. Her career at Ford has been based almost entirely within the IT department, where she's helped transform and manage Ford's manufacturing systems and led a campaign to digitally enable Ford's workforce, according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition to updating Ford's workplace for the digital era, she's also known for her ability to extract cost savings out of operations—something Ford is keen to apply to other departments, no doubt. From 2006-2011, IT costs dropped 30% when Klevorn served as global head of IT operations. At the top of Ford's mobility unit, Klevorn will be charged with managing the development of autonomous technology and figuring out how Ford can financially optimize such a system. 

[Photo: courtesy of Ford]

05.22.17 | 10:42 am

Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know he is really, really not running for office

The Facebook CEO has been touring the nation on a months-long "listening tour," which some have seen as a precursor to a political campaign. On Sunday, Zuckerberg set the record straight in a lengthy Facebook post. Here's the highlight: 

Some of you have asked if this challenge means I'm running for public office. I'm not. I'm doing it to get a broader perspective to make sure we're best serving our community of almost 2 billion people at Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Got that? Of course, that only means that he is not running for office right now. It certainly doesn't preclude the possibility of a future Senator Zuckerberg, especially after all the uproar over Facebook's internal guidelines for content moderators on how to deal with posts involving sex, violence, and terrorism dies down. Zuck's well-timed statement could assuage investors' fears and keep those stock prices high, which is probably the best way to ensure that the Chan Zuckerberg initiative is well-funded for the future.

[Photo: Flickr user Anthoy Quintano

05.22.17 | 10:27 am

CVS wants to save your skin this summer, one low SPF sunblock at a time

Along with Baz Luhrmann and the Chicago Tribune's graduation speech writer Mary Schmich, the drug store chain is joining the fight to encourage the youth of today to wear sunscreen. 

The pharmacy has introduced a "Long Live Skin" campaign, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson and the American Cancer Society, and one of its biggest moves will be to clear its shelves of any sun care products with an SPF lower than 15, saving their shelf space for products with higher SPF and helping shoppers make healthier choices. As Glamour notes, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product with an SPF of 30+, while the FDA recommendation is a minimum of 15 SPF. Your future self—and Baz Luhrmann—will thank you.

[Photo: Flickr user Lady May Pamintuan

05.22.17 | 10:11 am

“The future is not a fantasy,” says Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett, in his first comments since taking over

Artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics—"We need to have a point of view on all these things," said Ford executive chairman Bill Ford in a press conference this morning to introduce new CEO Jim Hackett, who abruptly replaced Mark Fields at the company. During Fields' tenure at the top, Ford has been criticized for not moving that far beyond its core auto business. Likewise, its stock has dropped 37% over the last three years. Though Ford has invested substantially in autonomous car technology—most recently through a deal with Argo AI—the company has been quiet about how it plans to monetize its boldest bets. 

"The future is not a fantasy," said Hackett, who led Ford's Smart Mobility unit, adding that the company is working on a vision for the future concerning, "where we're going to play and how we're going to win." Both Ford and Hackett want to scrap some of the hierarchies embedded in the business in order to make decisions faster. It's uncertain what that will look like and whether Ford may need to cut some of its workforce in order to flatten its ranks. Since making the announcement this morning, Ford's stock is up 1.4%

05.22.17 | 9:25 am

MIT gets into the athletic wear business with new breathable fabric made with live cells

Step aside, Nike and Lululemon. In what sounds like the worst Project Runway challenge ever, a team of MIT researchers has created a new workout suit that incorporates live microbial cells. The cells sense when an athlete is hot and sweaty or cooling down and then shrink or expand to open or close ventilating flaps on the fabric, helping the athlete warm up or cool off as necessary. They've also fashioned a running shoe lined with cells that can help wick away moisture. Details of both designs are published today in your favorite nerd's favorite bathtub reading material, Science Advances.

The researchers have more ideas of how to incorporate microbes into fashion, too, including swapping florescent microbes for reflective strips as well as what they call "odor-releasing functionalities." Male rompers can't be far behind.

[Photo: Hannah Cohen]

05.22.17 | 9:00 am

Portland just got the most Portland parking app ever

The population and tourist appeal of Portland, Oregon has exploded in the last few years (thanks, Portlandia) and the city's infrastructure is racing to catch up. To help meet the increasing demand for parking, the city has just launched a new app that lets you pay for parking by phone. While the Portland Mercury notes that the app offers the same service as ones used in Chicago and other big cities, Portland's has a unique twist—it's cat themed, because of course it is. The only way it could be more Portland is if it yarn-bombed the parking meter while yelling at you for driving a car. The pretty pink app is not only bedazzled with adorable little kittens, but it will meow to remind you when the session is about to expire. The app only works with parking meters, so you're still on your own for trying to get a spot near Salt & Straw or Pip's Original.