The biodegradable paper airplane that could revolutionize humanitarian aid


Paper planes aren’t just for passing secret notes across the classroom anymore. Now, they can even save lives.

Otherlab, an engineering research and development lab based in San Francisco, has created the world’s most advanced industrial paper airplanes. The paper gliders look almost like stealth fighters, capable of carrying more than two pounds of supplies like blood and vaccines to those in need.

And they could totally transform humanitarian aid for people in remote regions.

The project is part of Otherlab’s Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions (APSARA) system, which uses computational design to create low-cost aerial supply vehicles. Read more…

More about Humanitarian Aid, Gadgets, Tech, Drones, and Social Good

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The newest Barbie is a smart doll you can't touch


Over her nearly 60-year life, Barbie has taken on many forms, but she’s never been a hologram.

Now, though, she is having a truly out-of-body experience, showing up in her first holographic figure, Hello Barbie Hologram. Barbie parent company Mattel unveiled the semi-translucent and chatty AI figure, which lives inside a pink plastic box, on Friday at the New York Toy Fair.

This is far from Barbie’s first brush with AI. Mattel introduced Hello Barbie artificial intelligence inside a physical Barbie doll in 2015. She was a particularly powerful digital assistant, engaging in conversations about interests, favorite foods and telling jokes. A year later, the AI showed up in Barbie’s first smart home, The Hello Barbie Dreamhouse, where, using voice commands, you could ask the house to give Barbie a ride on the elevator and customize the lights. Read more…

More about Toy Fair, Toys, Holograms, Barbie, and Tech

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How Donald Trump's own tweets could be his undoing


On Dec. 7, 2015, Donald Trump sent a tweet that now feels darkly foreboding. It was titled a “Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration” and attached was a link to a radical, nearly unimaginable approach to U.S. immigration policy: a clear call to totally exclude one specific religious group.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” the first line of his statement read. Since then, he became president of the United States and signed an executive order attempting to prevent people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.   Read more…

More about Muslim Ban, Immigration Ban, Donald Trump, Trump, and Tech

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Worried about your public Facebook data? You might want to try these tools


If you’re a Facebook user, by now you probably know that every “like” and piece of information gets aggregated into a set of anonymized data, which eventually turns into advertising dollars for the social media giant. 

Facebook offers multiple layers of privacy settings so the world doesn’t have to see every cringeworthy photo your mom uploaded and tagged you in. Still, changing those settings can be pretty time-consuming. Trust us, we get it. 

But as mass surveillance and digital privacy becomes more of a prevalent threat, you might want to know, at the very least, what information about you is public. Two tools that can help you do that — at least when it comes to your Facebook data — are Data Selfie and Stalkscan. Read more…

More about Social Media, Tracking, Privacy, Data, and Facebook

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Facebook wants to own the world, not save it


Mark Zuckerberg used nearly 6,000 words to describe the future of Facebook Thursday, but you could sum it up in two: global domination.

Sure, Facebook’s CEO appears more “woke” than ever. He meditates on substantive issues like inclusivity, the eradication of disease, responsible artificial intelligence and the future of media. 

And yet. In the simplest terms, his manifesto is about how the social network will continue to be a relevant online product as more of the world becomes connected. It explores how Facebook can become a key part of global “infrastructure,” to borrow a word Zuckerberg uses literally 24 times, that will make it an indispensable part of daily life for people across the planet. Read more…

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