Uber just fired its controversial self-driving car engineer Anthony Levandowski

TwitterFacebook

We finally know what it takes to get fired at Uber. 

No, not allegedly propositioning your subordinates for sex, but pleading the Fifth Amendment in a massive court case in which you’re accused of stealing Google’s self-driving car technology and bringing it to Uber. 

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg and Travis Kalanick laugh it up at ‘Babes and Balls’ party

So reports The New York Times, which notes that the news of Anthony Levandowski’s ousting was delivered to Uber employees Tuesday in a companywide email written by Uber Associate General Counsel Angela Padilla.

“Over the last few months Uber has provided significant evidence to the court to demonstrate that our self-driving technology has been built independently,” reads the message obtained by the paper. “Over that same period, Uber has urged Anthony to fully cooperate in helping the court get to the facts and ultimately helping to prove our case.” Read more…

More about Google, Uber, Self Driving Cars, Waymo, and Travis Kalanick

Hard-hitting viral Ramadan ad draws strong mixed emotions on social media

TwitterFacebook

A terrorist strapped with a suicide vest confronts his would-be victims in a back-and-forth musical chorus that ultimately defuses his violent plans.

That’s the weighty premise of a viral Ramadan ad that’s sparked a wide-ranging social media discussion on terrorism this week.

The three-minute video, a commercial for Kuwait-based telecom Zain, has racked up more than 3 million views on YouTube in the past few days.

It opens on a man hunched over a set of homemade explosives at a workbench as a disembodied child’s voice implores him to rethink his mission.

“I will tell God everything,” the young girl in the voiceover says. “You’ve filled the cemeteries with our children and emptied our school desks.” Read more…

More about Viral Videos, Ramadan, Zain, Business, and Advertising

Some advice for supporters of that ridiculous ‘Cancel Far Cry 5’ petition

TwitterFacebook

If you don’t like what Ubisoft is doing in Far Cry 5, petitioners, why not just go and make your own game?

For anyone who’s not caught up: Earlier in May, Ubisoft announced that Far Cry 5 would be heading to the series most exotic locale to date — a cult-occupied county in the U.S. state of Montana. Much like the previous games, you’ll run around an open world environment gunning down armies of natives.

SEE ALSO: ‘Far Cry 5’ will take place in an unsettling version of Montana

In past games, all set outside the U.S., “natives” amounted — primarily — to varying shades of non-white skin colors. In Far Cry 5, the leaders of the cult that we’ve been introduced to are all white. For all anyone knows, there are non-white cultists as well. The game isn’t out until early 2018. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Ubisoft, Far Cry 5, and Entertainment

New video reveals the complex way a self-driving car “sees” the world

TwitterFacebook

We all know that self-driving cars are the future — it’s just a matter of time and testing (lots and lots of testing) for safety purposes until they take over the road. But how, exactly, does the self-driving car know exactly what’s going on? How does it see the world around us?

Thanks to information and videos shared by 3D mapping company Civil Maps (which received a huge investment from Ford Motors last year), we can get a better sense of what’s happening when a self-driving car is perusing through traffic. 

Anuj Gupta, a Civil Maps product manager, wrote about the process on Medium and shared a couple of videos, including the one above, which was spotted by TechCrunch. In the video, which comes from a recent test in April 2017 on the roads of Plymouth, Michigan, viewers can experience exactly what a self-driving car sees when it hits the road. Read more…

More about Self Driving Cars, Lidar Mapping, and Tech

Ukraine tweeting a ‘Simpsons’ GIF at Russia is peak 2017 politics

TwitterFacebook

Twitter is obviously the place to be for anyone (or any nation) looking to pack a political punch in the 21st century.

So on Tuesday the official Twitter account for Ukraine decided that tweeting a Simpsons GIF at Russia’s Foreign Affairs account, itself pretty active on Twitter, would be the perfect way to properly usher the nations’ conflict into the digital age.

SEE ALSO: The Russians trolled Trump and released photos of him on the internet

After Russian President Vladimir Putin met with President of France, Emmanuel Macron to deliver a joint press conference on Monday, much to the ire of Ukrainians, Putin said Anna Yaroslavna, queen consort of France from 1051 to 1060, was Russian. Read more…

More about Twitter, Russia, Gifs, Ukraine, and Social Media

A NASA moon mission got smacked by a piece of space debris and lived to tell the tale

TwitterFacebook

Way back in October 2014, one of NASA’s spacecraft had a very bad day. 

The space agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) — which launched on its mission to study the moon in 2009 — was actually smacked in the camera by a tiny piece of fast-moving space debris on Oct. 13, 2014. 

But amazingly, it lived to tell the tale. 

SEE ALSO: The Best Moons in the Solar System

A photo taken that day by the LRO’s camera in question shows a kind of incredible looking zigzag pattern distorting a black and white image of the moon. 

Posted in: Blog

Lebanese ministry calls for ban of ‘Wonder Woman’ movie

TwitterFacebook

Lebanon’s ministry of economy is seeking to ban the 2017 Wonder Woman movie because its lead actress — Gal Gadot — is an Israeli, though a formal request for a ban has not yet been received, a Lebanese security official said Tuesday.

A ban would require a recommendation from a six-ministry-member committee, a process that also has not yet began, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

An advance premier of the movie is scheduled for Wednesday in at least one cinema in Beirut, which offers its members attending the show free popcorn. Posters of the movie and digital billboards have sprouted up around the Lebanese capital. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Movies, Dc, Warner Bros., and Associated Press

‘The Bachelorette’ was a two-hour ‘Air Bud’ tribute last night, which is very cool

TwitterFacebook

Air Bud is the story of love and sick dunks. Last night, The Bachelorette wisely took some hints from its playbook. 

Rachel Lindsay brought her trusty pup along for the ride and shot some hoops. “Who’s a good boy?” is the question on the table as she sorts the players from the champs. In this game, loyalty is the way to score her heart. 

SEE ALSO: Why do ‘The Bachelorette’ producers hate Rachel Lindsay?

The episode begins kind of like Air Bud, except celebrity couple Ashton Mila Kunis are there for some weird reason. In the movie, we meet the Framm family as they’re trying to pick up the pieces following the death of Josh’s dad. Josh’s mom, Wendy. Josh happens upon a lost Golden Retriever who he names Buddy, and decides he’s a dog dad now because he has a void to fill. Only Josh makes a lot of rookie mistakes as a father, like only feeding Buddy pudding and trying to conceal his existence from his mom.  Read more…

More about Dogs, The Bachelorette, Reality Tv, Air Bud, and Watercooler

Actual politics has caught up to and surpassed ‘House of Cards’

TwitterFacebook

In 2013, Netflix dared to air original television, including the ballsy, barrier-breaking House of Cards. Four years and as many seasons later, the malevolent memoir of political mastermind Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is as ruthless as ever, but in a world now accustomed to Spacey’s slithery monologues and the general debacle of the American political landscape, Season 5 doesn’t make quite the same splash. 

As The Hollywood Reporter‘s Daniel Fienberg asks, “Is there an opposite of escapism? Get-further-submerged-in-the-muck-ism?”

If there is, this is it, and critics simultaneously love and hate it. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Television, Netflix, Reviews, and House Of Cards

Donald Trump is selling a subscription box no one asked for

TwitterFacebook

President Donald Trump will reportedly take a page from the subscription box business model with his own monthly box full of stuff people probably don’t want.

As CNN reporter Betsy Klein tweeted Monday, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee will offer “Big League Boxes,” packed with “exclusive and vintage” (read: old) Trump merchandise and delivered monthly to recurring donors’ doors. 

SEE ALSO: White House staff wants to vet Trump’s tweets —good luck with that

Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity noted that the starting price for a Big League Box is a monthly donation of $69 toward Trump’s reelection campaign. Read more…

More about Watercooler and Watercooler