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07.09.16 | 11:40 am

Protests take over U.S. streets in the wake of a tragic week

Last night, protesters gathered in Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, and other cities around the country.

• Thousands of protesters gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, at one point blocking the entrance to the I-75/85 highway at Williams Street, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Mayor Kasim Reed arrived at the protest and reportedly said "We're gonna let these young people go forward with this protest…We're respecting their first amendment right and we're the home of Dr. Martin Luther King."

• Police in Phoenix, Arizona sprayed activists with pepper spray, according to ABC News.  Arizona State Troopers reported on Twitter that some protesters were throwing rocks at officers.

• In St. Paul, Minnesota, protesters gathered peacefully in front of the governor's mansion to express discontent over the killing of Philando Castile by police, according to the Washington Post. The governor upheld their right to amass peacefully and did not have the group disbanded. 

Fast Company photo editor Celine Grouard curated some moving photographs of the protests and other instances of Americans coming together after a week of tragedy. You can view them here

• The intern who shot this emotional photo of a police officer and woman consoling one another in a hospital lobby reflected on the image in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review.

10.24.16 | 21 minutes ago

HTC’s Vive is selling about 20,000 units a month

Until now, HTC has kept mum about sales for its $799 high-end virtual reality system. But according to Forbes, the company's cofounder and chairperson, Cher Wang, told the Chinese site 87870 news that the Vive has sold about 140,000 units since launch in April.

It's hard to put the number in perspective, given that this is first-generation high-end hardware in an all-new product category. Facebook-owned Oculus hasn't said how many of its $599 Rifts have been sold. Facebook has said that there have been a million monthly active users of Samsung's $99 Gear VR, which uses Oculus software.

10.24.16 | an hour ago

The former CEO of a red light camera company is going to prison for bribery

Karen Finley, who served as CEO of the red light camera company Redflex from 20015 to 2013, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison, reports Ars Technica. In 2015, Finley pled guilty to corruption charges over backroom deals with the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati that offered political contributions in exchange for municipal contracts. 

Finley faces sentencing next month for similar charges in Chicago where she also pled guilty. In a statement to the court, reports Ars Technica, she wrote she is "ashamed and angry at myself for behaving in a manner that was inconsistent with the way I have lived my entire life."

10.24.16 | an hour ago

Siri’s evil twin? Cybercriminals look to exploit voice-activated AI.

The weakest link in any security chain is usually a human, not a software program. Which makes the rise of voice-activated artificial intelligence, or AI, a major concern for cybersecurity experts, who foresee new opportunities for scammers to take advantage of the intimacy that characterizes Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. 

"It is only a matter of time before such software is put to criminal use," the New York Times reports

The lesson for consumers: If Siri asks you for personal information, you should think twice before providing it. 

10.24.16 | an hour ago

Michael Bloomberg wants cities to start planning for driverless cars

Ready or not, here they come: Robotic cars. And truth be told, most cities are likely not prepared for the coming influx of autonomous vehicles that will occupy roads in the not-too-distant future. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to fix that by making a series of policy recommendations for cities to follow

Bloomberg Philanthropies is hoping that by sparking conversations between local governments and academics now, they can help cities understand the logistical, economic, and social impact of driverless cars before they overtake our cities. The initiative will start with Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and Paris as test cities.

10.24.16 | 2 hours ago

Leslie Jones took over “Weekend Update” to hammer back at online bullies

Back on her SNL home turf, the comedian took anonymous hackers to task: "Do you think some words on the internet can hurt me? I once had a crazy bitch try to beat me with a shovel at the bus stop because I took her spot on the bench." 

See the clip over on Co.Create

10.24.16 | 2 hours ago

Is student debt exacerbating racial inequality? 

Four years after college graduation, black students find themselves staring down nearly double the debt burden of white students due to differences in wages, interest accrual, and graduate school borrowing, a new research study shows. 

At the time of graduation, black students owe $7,400 more on average than their white counterparts. But that gap quickly balloons to almost $25,000.

Those differences are perpetuating the wealth gap between black and whites, the study suggests. According to the Pew Research Center, the wealth gap between whites and blacks has grown from 10x household net worth to 13x since the Great Recession. 

10.24.16 | 2 hours ago

Zelle is the banks’ answer to Venmo

Banks have long wanted to facilitate the kind of instant peer-to-peer money transfers that services like Venmo and Square have become known for. Soon they'll be able to. 

On Sunday, Early Warning announced a product called Zelle that will allow people to send money to one another directly from their bank account. Zelle will have its own standalone mobile app that will roll out sometime in February 2017. But its technology will also be baked into participating consumer banking apps, like U.S. Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Bank of America. Early Warning, which provides fraud and risk services to banks, thinks that it can surpass the success of incumbents by making payments more instantaneous, portraying the itself as a more secure option, and by reaching out to the scads of people who are not already using a peer-to-peer money transfer app. The folks behind Zelle are also hoping to expand its capabilities beyond banks to facilitate money transfers between governments and companies directly into consumer accounts.

"Whether its my child who's car has broken down, whether its hurricane Matthew and the government needs to get funds out and available, or whether I'm a single mother and I've wrecked my car, I need my insurance claim money," says Lou Ann Alexander, Early Warnings Group President of Payments. "Zelle gives me that immediate ability to manage my finances as well as send receive money very safely."

10.24.16 | 3 hours ago

Netflix seeks cash for its next “Stranger Things”-level blockbuster

As effortless as they may be for you, those weekend Netflix binges don't come cheap for the Los Gatos, California-based streaming company. To shore up some cash for new content and other expenses, Netflix is proposing an $800 million debt offering

Last week, Netflix beat expectations on revenue and subscriber growth in its earnings report for the third quarter. Riding high on the success of original shows like Narcos and Stranger Things, Netflix added 3.57 million new subscribers last quarter. The company expects to add 1,000 hours of new programming next year. 

10.24.16 | 4 hours ago

Morning intel: Second Avenue subway opening, iPod turns 15

• A refugee camp in Calais, France—which houses 10,000 refugees and migrants—was shut down due to poor living conditions and is being demolished this week. 

• The Obama administration was considering a proposal to send heavy weaponry to CIA-backed forces in Syria, but the plan has since stalled due to increasing uncertainty about the CIA program responsible for training Syrian fighters

• At last, the Second Avenue subway line is set to make its debut this December with three new stations at 72nd, 86th, and 96th. That said, we're not keeping our fingers crossed. 

• On Saturday, AT&T announced its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Whether the deal will actually go through, however, is still a question: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have already expressed their concerns over the proposed acquisition, as have lawmakers and regulatory groups

• The iPod turned 15 yesterday: Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPod on October 23, 2001. 

Bradley Tusk has positioned himself as Silicon Valley's political maneuvering expert. Fast Company's Sarah Kessler takes a look at how Tusk became the Valley's political fixer—and what's next. 

10.24.16 | 7:27 am

Samsung’s swift recall may have impeded the investigation of the Galaxy Note 7

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung may have been hasty in issuing a recall of the Galaxy Note 7 phone before adequately investigating what was causing its batteries to explode. From the WSJ

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which oversees product recalls in Samsung's biggest smartphone market, is expected to investigate whether Samsung notified the agency soon enough of dangers posed by the device. Samsung's decision to launch its own recall, bypassing the CPSC's formal process for a time, may have prevented regulators from figuring out more about the root cause, some U.S. lawmakers suspect.

Usually, companies work in tandem with the CPSC when making the decision to issue a recall; in this case, it took almost two weeks for the CPSC and Samsung to agree to a joint recall following Samsung's initial recall announcement. 

Read more over at the WSJ

10.24.16 | 6:40 am

What the former AOL CEO says about the AT&T-Time Warner merger

On Saturday, AT&T confirmed it would acquire Time Warner for a whopping $85.4 billion. If this sounds familiar, it's because Time Warner merged with AOL back in 2000—a disastrous acquisition that has been all but dismantled over the past 15 years. 

Here's what Steve Case—the former CEO and chairman of AOL who inked the deal with Time Warner—had to say about the AT&T acquisition, as told to Recode's Kara Swisher

While back in 2000, some didn't believe in the internet and/or didn't believe in convergence—of course those concepts now seem obvious. So it's not surprising to me that we are again seeing attempts to marry communications and content . . . The idea of the AOL/Time Warner merger made sense, both strategically and, at least for AOL, financially. What was flawed was the execution. But, as Thomas Edison said more than a century ago, vision without execution is hallucination. And execution is all about the right people focused on the right priorities, working together in the right way.

Maybe I should send a copy of my book to the boards and senior teams at both companies?

10.21.16 | 7:13 pm

It’s official. Donald Glover is young Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo spin-off movie

The realization of a lot of fanboy dreamcasting was confirmed by the official Star Wars Instagram page late Friday afternoon.