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05.12.16 | 11:16 am

The Amazon vs. Walmart delivery war is on

Walmart—the world's biggest retailer by sales—is now testing two-day shipping, through an upgrade to its aptly-named shipping service, ShippingPass. Here's how it stacks up against Amazon Prime:

ShippingPass: 
• $49/year
• Unlimited 2-day shipping (invite-only, for now)

Prime:
• $99/year (but you can also subscribe monthly)
• Unlimited 2-day shipping (and even 2 hour delivery, in some places) 
• Streaming Transparent (and countless other TV shows, movies, and music)  
• Six free months of the Washington Post
• Coming up: a YouTube-style video service (with Prime-exclusive content)

Hm. 

09.28.16 | 9 minutes ago

Hello Kitty is running for president

Move over Donald and Hillary. Hello Kitty is on the campaign trail. 

Sanrio, which creates Hello Kitty merchandise, has launched a marketing campaign that involves the cuddly anthropomorphic cat running for president. Much like the other candidates, she's selling heaps of merchandise, including buttons and trucker hats. 

09.28.16 | 19 minutes ago

The internet loved GIFing Hillary’s comebacks during the debate

Giphy gave us the run-down on the moments viewers GIFed and shared the most. The two most popular GIFs involved Clinton's comebacks. 

Clinton's shoulder shimmy was a big hit. 

via GIPHY

Trump seemed to criticize Clinton for staying home to prepare for the debate. Clinton struck back saying she'd also be prepared to be president. 

via GIPHY

09.28.16 | 28 minutes ago

Elon Musk won’t be the first man on Mars

Elon Musk won't be the first man on Mars. And though he's obsessed with traveling to the red planet, he's also concerned about dying while doing it, he explained yesterday during the Q&A session after his keynote at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico. "The probability of death on the first mission is quite high," he said, pointing out that he has young children he would like to see grow up.

Whenever he does decide to go to Mars, however, he says he would need to develop a clear succession plan for his company, in case he dies. His full answer to the question is in the video below:

09.28.16 | 2 hours ago

Scientists urge regulators to reconsider “3-parent” technique 

A mother lost two babies to Leigh syndrome, a fatal genetic disorder, and experienced a slew of miscarriages. To help her carry a healthy baby, scientists in Mexico used a new technique that involves taking the nucleus from one of the mother's eggs and implanting it into a donor egg with the nucleus removed but containing the healthy mitochondrial DNA. 

This technique is intended to help parents avoid passing on mitochondrial diseases, which afflict 1,000 to 4,000 people in the U.S. each year. 

Versions of this technique are banned in the U.S., but in Mexico, there are comparatively few rules. Some critics say it allows scientists to play God. But many in the scientific community are urging regulators to reconsider their stance. The ban is "not scientific, not rational, not evidence-based," Dr. Richard J. Paulson, president-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine told the New York Times

09.28.16 | 2 hours ago

Google’s new YouTube-8M dataset includes over 500,000 hours of video

Now the wealth of information in YouTube videos—from mischievous cats and impossible stunts to documentaries and commencement speeches—will be available to researchers. The new YouTube-8M dataset includes 8 million YouTube video URLs (representing over 500,000 hours of video) is Google's newest research breakthrough. The labeled dataset "enables researchers and students without access to big data or big machines to do their research at previously unprecedented scale," according to Google's blog. For quality control, they used only public videos with more than 1,000 views and built a vocabulary of entities (for example, from "acoustic guitar" to "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" in the "Guitars" filter in the "Arts and Entertainment" category).

09.28.16 | 2 hours ago

Afternoon intel: Twitter Moments for all, Senate votes to override 9/11-related Obama veto

• Earth has now surpassed the 400ppm mark for carbon dioxide, far above the safe level of 350ppm, possibly never to return again.

Twitter is now letting all of its users create Moments instead of just media, letting your average Joe become an expert tweet curator.

• The U.S. Senate voted 97-1 against Obama's veto of the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act," which would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. If two-thirds of the House also votes against it, this could be the first override of Obama's presidency.

• Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made missile and not the Ukrainian militaryaccording to international prosecutors, Reuters reports

• Get your playtime in with this virtual Rubik's Cube that Bing created as part of its initiative to offer more resources to teachers and students

09.28.16 | 3 hours ago

The author of Airbnb’s anti-discrimination report says it misunderstood how to address the issue

Airbnb hired Laura Murphy, the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington, D.C. legislative office, to review its anti-discrimination policies after a study found that hosts with black-sounding names had a more difficult time booking a stay. According to Politico, Murphy discussed Airbnb's efforts during a roundtable discussion that included representatives from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "This problem had been percolating for the last two years," she said, referring to property owners discriminating against non-white guests. "The company thought it was addressing this issue by having a team of white engineers look at the algorithms they were using to address discrimination."

09.28.16 | 12:25 pm

VW unveils electric concept car it hopes will make up for its emissions scandal

It's still fresh in lots of people's minds–the giant 2015 scandal that resulted in Volkswagen having to pay nearly $15 billion as a result of its having gamed emissions standards.

Today, the company made one of its biggest steps toward trying to get people to forget: It unveiled its new concept car, an all-electric vehicle said to be capable of a range of more than 300 miles, potentially as much as 372 miles, on a charge. That would make it one of the industry's leaders.

According to Business Insider, VW says the new car is more than a concept and in fact will hit roads in 2020, and could be followed with a fully automated version by 2025.

[Image: Volkswagen] 

09.28.16 | 12:05 pm

Melinda Gates is on a new mission: to fix the gender balance in tech

Big-time philanthropist and Bill Gates's wife Melinda Gates is turning her focus to connecting female STEM graduates to tech jobs. The reason she's forming a new office dedicated to the effort, according to her conversation with Backchannel, is because she realized how far behind the U.S. is in terms of gender equality.

"I look at the representation of women in Congress — less than 20 percent. Some countries I go to in Africa have [representation as high as] 47 percent," Gates said during the interview. While she acknowledges that increasing the visibility of women in tech is crucial to keeping them in the field, she thinks the real key to fixing the problem, like so many of her other philanthropic efforts, is putting raw numbers in front of governments and organizations: "Data. Data, data, data."

 [Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter]

09.28.16 | 12:00 pm

Serena Williams on police brutality: “I won’t be silent”

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Serena Williams spoke out against the police shootings that have claimed so many black lives. 

She wrote that while her nephew—a black man—was driving her yesterday, she spotted a police car that had pulled over on the side of the road and she had a terrible thought. "I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend," Williams wrote. "I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew."

She continued: 

Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? But I realized we must stride on- for it's not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go . . . As Dr. Martin Luther King said, 'There comes a time when silence is betrayal.' I won't be silent.

Read the full post below: 

09.28.16 | 11:27 am

Google: Spanish-language searches for voter registration jumped 2,200%  in the last week

All those online efforts to promote voter registration seem to be paying off. According to Google Trends, Spanish-language searches for ways to register to vote leaped 2,200% and English-language searches jumped 430% in just the last week.

09.28.16 | 11:19 am

LIVE: White House shows off how Americans are using government open data

Right now, the White House is hosting an event that features "cutting-edge uses of government open data to promote government efficiency and effectiveness, drive innovation, economic opportunity, and improve the health and welfare of the American public." Sounds pretty grandiloquent, but there are some interesting speakers telling their stories, including Tim Yoon, the winner of the Food and Security Challenge, Beth Beck talking about NASA's Space Apps Challenge, Black Girls Code's Roxann Stafford, and U.S. chief data scientist DJ Patil.