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06.20.16 | 5:00 pm

Y Combinator’s Sam Altman compares Trump to Hitler

The Silicon Valley visionary, who says he's supported Republicans in the past, just posted a tough-worded rebuke of Donald Trump. Altman says that Trump is right to focus on problems like the sluggish economy and the spread of political correctness but that his proposed solutions are wrong. 

And he compares him to Hitler, writing: "to anyone familiar with the history of Germany in the 1930s, it's chilling to watch Trump in action.

Altman ends by calling on his peers in tech and Americans of all parties to denounce Trump. He quotes Edmund Burke:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." This would be a good time for us all—even Republicans, especially Republican politicians who previously endorsed Trump—to start speaking up.

05.22.17 | an hour ago

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 | an hour ago

“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 | 2 hours ago

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 | 2 hours ago

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.  

05.22.17 | 6:09 am

ISS astronauts are going on a spacewalk tomorrow

Two astronauts on the International Space Station have been given the go-ahead by NASA to conduct a spacewalk to fix malfunctioning equipment on the station, NASA announced in a blog post. The spacewalk is expected to last around two hours and begin around 8 a.m. EDT Tuesday, "or earlier, if the crew is running ahead of schedule with its spacewalking preparations," NASA says. Earthlings will be able to tune into NASA Television beginning at 6:30 a.m. EDT to catch all the action.

05.22.17 | 6:00 am

Ford is replacing its CEO with the exec who leads its self-driving car division

Mark Fields is out, according to the New York Times, and Jim Hackett is in at Ford. Fields is reportedly being shown the door "for failing to expand the company's core auto business and for lagging in developing the high-tech cars of the future." Hackett joined the company last year as the head of its "smart mobility" unit, which includes Ford's self-driving car division. The switch is a clear sign that Ford sees autonomous vehicles as the future of the automotive industry and comes after Tesla recently surpassed Ford and GM in market capitalization.

05.22.17 | 5:48 am

The #orb is Trump’s latest gift to Twitter

The picture of President Trump, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi placing their hands on a glowing globe has made people on Twitter unable to stop making comparisons to evil organizations wanting to take over the world.

05.21.17 | 11:48 pm

These are some of the most shocking details in Facebook’s newly revealed rulebook for moderators

The Guardian blew up a quiet Sunday with its exposé on Facebook's internal guidelines for content moderators on how to deal with posts involving sex, violence, and terrorism submitted by its 2 billion users. More than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets, and flowcharts were obtained by the Guardian, which published several stories detailing the rules, some of which have raised concerns among moderators due to their "inconsistency and peculiar nature." Among them:

• Due to the onslaught of posts that may be inappropriate, moderators are so overwhelmed they often have "just 10 seconds" to make up their minds. 

• Facebook gets 6.5 million reports a week involving potentially fake accounts. 

• Prominent people are more protected, so that a post saying "Someone shoot Trump" is recommended for deletion, while more graphic threats such as "To snap a bitch's neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of her throat" are permitted.

Some videos of violent deaths are permitted, because "they can help create awareness of issues such as mental illness."

Read the full story here.

05.19.17 | 4:09 pm

Travel startup Away snags $20 million

Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, who met while they were working at Warby Parker, launched travel brand Away 15 months ago. Their suitcases cost between $225 and $295, but are on par with much more expensive brands. (The brand's tagline is, "First-class luggage at coach price.") The brand has sold almost 100,000 suitcases since launching and has done more than $20 million in sales. 

Away just snagged a $20 million series B round. The brand tells us it will be using the new cash to expand in a range of ways. It will be creating new products in the travel goods space, it plans to open between four and six new brick-and-mortar stores around the world, and also create new content like, perhaps, a podcast. 

05.19.17 | 3:40 pm

MM.LaFleur wants to bring well-tailored professional clothing to plus-size women

It seems like the fashion industry is finally realizing that 67% of American women are plus-size. For women sizes 14 and up, finding any attractive clothing can be a challenge, but when it comes to more complex garments, like swimwear, jeans, or workwear, it can be close to impossible. 

MM.LaFleur, a startup catering to professional women, is about to expand its line by making twenty of its best-selling styles in larger sizes. This "First Addition" collection, which drops on May 24, comes after a year of in-depth research and development to better understand exactly how to adapt each garment so that they look flattering on different body types. The brand has also developed its own custom sizing model with only three sizes for the entire 14 to 22 range. "The thing that mattered most to us was getting the fit right," says Sarah Lafleur, founder and CEO. "The women we interviewed universally told us, 'The industry sizing doesn't work for me.' We said, 'Screw the industry sizing. We're going to do our own thing.'"

05.19.17 | 3:36 pm

Hey brands, people don’t like when you make fun of your competition on Twitter

Social media has fostered an age of post-post-irony, so it's understandable that major brands want to speak the same language. One way to do that is by trash-talking the competition with cheap shots and snark. Case in point: that time Delta Air Lines weighed into United's leggings-ban controversy with a cutesy subtweet encouraging people to wear leggings on Delta flights. #Owned 

The tweet got Delta some headlines, and maybe some people were amused, but a new survey from Sprout Social suggests most consumers aren't really into that kind of pettiness. Among the respondents, 67% said they find it annoying when brands make fun of the competition. Other consumer turnoffs include brands using slang (69% say it's annoying), talking politics (71% say it's annoying), and making fun of customers (88% say it's annoying). Really, who makes fun of their customers? 

Check out the full survey here

[Image: Sprout Social]

05.19.17 | 3:10 pm

Drone hobbyists: Sorry you wasted your time with that FAA registration

A D.C. appeals court struck down the FAA's requirement that hobbyist drone owners register their unmanned aircraft, saying Congress explicitly blocked the agency from regulating "model aircraft" under a 2012 law. "Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler," according to the court's opinion. "The Registration Rule is unlawful as applied to model aircraft." 

The FAA said in a statement that it's "considering our options," and a spokesman declined to comment further on how the ruling could affect drone owners who've already paid to register their aircraft. "That is something I'd be curious to hear from the FAA about, because people have been asking me," says John Taylor, the plaintiff in the case, who explained his suit didn't address refunds or deletion of the FAA's databases since he never registered his own aircraft. "I've been like, I think we should give them a reasonable amount of time to decide that, if they haven't decided that already, but if they don't, I think they'll be getting some phone calls."