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06.16.16 | 10:20 am

Zuckerberg’s social-minded fund makes its first big bet, leading $24 million investment in education startup Andela

After the birth of their daughter last December, Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan announced that they would be devoting billions of dollars to "advancing human potential and promoting equality" through an unusual philanthropic effort that would combine nonprofit and for-profit investments. 

Today they took a first step toward following through on that promise through their foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, leading a $24 million Series B investment in Andela, a New York-based education startup training Africa's most talented software developers for jobs at IBM, Microsoft, and other leading technology companies. Google's venture capital arm also participated in the round. 

Since launching two years ago, Andela has fielded over 40,000 applications and admitted fewer than 300 prospective engineers (its acceptance rate hovers around 0.7%). The company, cofounded by 2U cofounder Jeremy Johnson, currently operates programs in Kenya and Nigeria, with a third location to be announced later this year. 

Read our feature on Andela fellow Faiçal Tchirou to learn more about the education venture's tuition-free model. 

[Photo: Andela's Faiçal Tchirou, second from left, works with other fellows and a client. Courtesy of Andela]

09.27.16 | 10 minutes ago

Senators demand answers from Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer about the massive hack

Six Democratic U.S. senators wrote a joint letter to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer asking for details about the company's probe into the massive hack of 500 million user accounts. In the letter, Sens. Patrick Leahy, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Roy Wyden, and Edward Markey said they were "disturbed" that the hack, which happened in 2014, was just announced by Yahoo last week:

"That means millions of Americans' data may have been compromised for two years. This is unacceptable. This breach is the latest in a series of data breaches that have impacted the privacy of millions of American consumers in recent years, but it is by far the largest."

09.27.16 | an hour ago

Uber has a “ghost driver” problem in China

As Didi takes over the company's operations in China, passengers have reported booking rides through the app with drivers who never show up ("ghost drivers"). The app still charges customers for a short ride, and one scammed customer told Forbes that the "drivers' profile pictures all looked zombie-like."

09.27.16 | an hour ago

Morning intel: America survived the first debate, Google announces video app for India

• This morning, Americans are waking up late, bleary-eyed but relieved that the country survived "the debate of the century," as the face-off between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has been dubbed. Fast Company covered all the angles—from Trump's conflicting answers about whether he pays taxes to the candidates' heated exchanges over whether Ford is really moving jobs to Mexico, Clinton's use of the term "super predators," the night's most-retweeted tweet, what the early polls said, Trump blaming his performance on a "defective mic," and even Howard Dean's odd theory for why Trump kept sniffling, and much more.

Google announces YouTube Go, a data-saving video app for India.

• Hundreds of tech companies, including Spotify and About.com, are letting their employees skip work on Election Day.

26 people were killed, including 6 children, in airstrikes targeting rebel-held areas in Aleppo, Syria

09.27.16 | 2 hours ago

Lands’ End CEO is out, after a rocky year

Last year, Federica Marchionni became the CEO of Lands' End after a career at high-end companies like Ferrari and Dolce & Gabbana. She was tasked with repositioning Land's End as a luxury brand, but her efforts fell flat. On Monday, she announced that she was stepping down immediately. 

Earlier this year, Lands' End made Gloria Steinem the face of the brand, but this sparked widespread outrage from pro-lifers. Several schools boycotted the brand, which was a serious loss since Lands' End supplies many school uniforms. The company ended up apologizing for using Steinem in marketing, only to face the ire of feminists. 

Read more in Fortune.

 [Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lands' End]

09.27.16 | 4 hours ago

The company behind talking Barbie will let anyone make a chatbot, with  no coding required

PullString, the company that developed the technology for Mattel's talking Hello Barbie and the Call of Duty Facebook chatbot Lt. Reyes, is launching a tool to let other companies develop their own talking bots with no programming required.

The PullString Author platform will let writers create dialogue trees for bots that can speak through text or audio through an interface similar to popular screenwriting tools. Then, they can publish them to PullString's cloud platform and automatically integrate them with platforms including Facebook's Messenger, Skype, and Telegram, or with other interfaces through a programmer interface. Pricing will depend on factors such as peak and average use, says founder and CEO Oren Jacob.

09.27.16 | 7:26 am

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement union is endorsing Trump

For the first time in its history the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has endorsed a presidential candidate, reports Politico. ICE represents that nation's immigration officers and staff and given Trump's hardline stance on immigration, it's no wonder the union is endorsing him. "In his immigration policy, he has outlined core policies needed to restore immigration security—including support for increased interior enforcement and border security, an end to sanctuary cities, an end to catch-and-release, mandatory detainers, and the canceling of executive amnesty and non-enforcement directives," an ICE statement said.

[Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Wikimedia Commons]

09.27.16 | 6:43 am

Google announces YouTube Go, a data-saving video app for India

The search giant has announced that it will soon launch the new app, which is designed for India's mobile users, who often see harsher prices for large data plans and less reliable connectivity than users in the States do. YouTube Go will enable users to view YouTube's catalog without eating up lots of data. Viewers can then preview videos and choose what MB size they want to view them at and download the videos for offline viewing later in places where internet connectivity isn't so good. The YouTube Go app even allows users to shares videos with other users via a Bluetooth connection—saving other people from having to use their data plans to download the same video.

[Image: Google]

09.27.16 | 6:08 am

NASA finds water vapor plumes on Europa

It's not quite as exciting as finding alien life, but it makes it much more likely. NASA accounted that its Hubble telescope has confirmed sightings of water vapor plumes "spewing water jets" from the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, reports the BBC. The finding is significant because it is believed that Europa has a liquid water ocean underneath the moon's icy crust, and such water vapor plumes are a good sign this ocean exists. This liquid ocean could contain microbial life–or even forms of life more advanced. The fact that water jets are being spewed into space makes finding out if life exists on the moon somewhat easier, too. Instead of actually needing to land a rover on the moon, a NASA spacecraft could theoretically do a flyby through the vapor plumes to see if it can detect signs of microbial life.

09.27.16 | 5:55 am

It’s probably Google’s 18th birthday today

If you've gone to the Google home page today you'll notice a new doodle—one celebrating the company's 18th birthday. However, as Wired points out, Google's birthday has shifted over the years. The company was officially incorporated on September 4, 1998 (but the research that led to Google began two years earlier), yet the company has never celebrated that date. In 2004 Google celebrated its birthday on September 7. In 2005 it celebrated its birthday on September 26. One year it celebrated its birthday on September 8. But hey, now that the doodle is out, Google says September 27 is its birthday—at least for this year.

[Image: Google]

09.27.16 | 5:47 am

Here’s what the new Google Pixel phone looks like

Though the phone won't be officially unveiled until October 4, leaked images of the device were obtained and posted by VentureBeat. As is the flavor of the moment with smartphones, the Google Pixel phone will come in two sizes: a 5-inch Google Pixel model and a 5.5-inch Google Pixel XL model. Each model is rumored to have a 1080p display, a quad-core 2.0 GHz 64-bit processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. The Pixel phone is set to replace Google's Nexus line of smartphones.

[Image: Google via VentureBeat]

09.27.16 | 5:39 am

You can soon buy Uber gift cards at 35,000 U.S. retail locations

It might now be time to call ride sharing mainstream since everyone will soon be able to pick up Uber gift cards right next to all those iTunes Store, chain restaurant, and cinema ticket gift cards you can buy in check-out lines across the country. Uber has announced the cards will be in stores including Walmart, Target, and CVS in the next few weeks and will come in $25 and $50 denominations, as well as a denomination you can set yourself from $15 to $500 dollars. To redeem a gift card, users will simply have to enter the number from the card in the Uber app to add the credit to their account. For now Uber is rolling out the gift cards in the U.S. only.

[Image: Uber]

09.27.16 | 5:27 am

Hillary Clinton to be interviewed by Mary J. Blige on a new Apple Music show

The show, called the 411, will see the R&B singer interview the Democratic presidential hopeful on September 30, Apple tweeted on its official Apple Music Twitter feed. Honestly, the first preview clip, which shows Blige singing to Clinton, is a bit cringeworthy; but the second clip posted, which addresses race and politics, seems more promising.