Tesla owners immediately tested the new Smart Summon in parking lots

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Tesla released its latest software update, V10, on Thursday, and amongst the new games, streaming services (Spotify at last!), and Joe Mode, came an autonomous driving update.

Customers who have a Full Self-Driving capable car or Enhanced Autopilot package already had a Summon feature through the Tesla mobile app. Now they have Smart Summon. And everyone is trying it out. 

Smart Summon goes beyond its predecessor’s simple ability to remotely move the car forward and backward while outside the vehicle. Now you can set the car to navigate a parking lot and come to you — but only if the car is within your line of sight.  Read more…

More about Tesla, Elon Musk, Summon, Autonomous Vehicles, and Tech

Lizzo synced up perfectly to Disney’s animated classic, ‘The Aristocats’

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It looks like Cats has some competition.

A fan-made mash-up bringing together “Truth Hurts” and Disney’s 1970 classic, The Aristocats was good enough to earn a shout and a share from Lizzo herself.

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THIS IS BIG PUSSY ENERGY

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on

The video comes from fan Brendan Carey, who first shared it on Friday on his Instagram. It’s not clear when Lizzo first saw it, but Carey, a self-described Lizzbian, was clearly thrilled, breaking a two-year Twitter hiatus to interact with well-wishers and re-tweet this: Read more…

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Airline’s baby map could help some passengers strategically pick seats

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Japan Airlines is giving passengers as much information as possible to help them decide where they want to sit on a flight. 

On Tuesday, a frequent flyer noticed a kid icon on the seating chart for his 13-hour flight on JAL, as the Japanese airline is known. He tweeted out his gratitude for what he called a warning “about where babies plan to scream and yell.”

Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.

Please take note, @qatarairways: I had 3 screaming babies next to me on my JFK-DOH flight two weeks agopic.twitter.com/kQYQFIqqCD

— Rahat Ahmed (@dequinix) September 24, 2019 Read more…

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Behold, Virginia Tech’s football team has a robot that does pushups when they score

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On Friday night, a completely unremarkable college football game produced something extraordinary. The Virginia Tech Hokies didn’t do much to write home about on the field, but on the sideline, a robot celebrated the few points they scored in its own way.

ESPN’s broadcast of Friday night’s Virginia Tech-Duke matchup captured footage of a robot that does pushups for each point Virginia Tech scores. When the Hokies kicked a field goal to go up 3-0 in the first quarter, the robot peeled off three quick pushups to show support for the home team.

This is either a neat, futuristic gimmick or a case of rampant automation claiming another human job. As ESPN’s commentators pointed out, sideline pushups used to be the realm of cheerleaders and mascots. Kansas State University’s mascot Willie the Wildcat, for example, is the king of the touchdown pushup. Read more…

More about Sports, Football, Robotics, College Football, and Virginia Tech

Android is replacing Google Play Music with YouTube Music on new devices

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Google launched YouTube Music four years ago, but Android owners have been able to avoid it. Until now, anyway.

In a Friday blog post, Google announced the YouTube-branded music streaming service would supersede Google Play Music as the default music player on Android devices. It’ll come pre-installed on new Android 9 and Android 10 devices, though Google was quick to note that Google Play Music can still be downloaded from the Play Store.

This probably won’t be all that disruptive in the short term, since the old app isn’t going away. Plenty of people probably use a separate service like Spotify anyway. That said, it’s worth noting that there are going to be drawbacks to YouTube Music becoming the new go-to Android music app. Read more…

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Gas station converting to EV chargers is a 2019 feel-good story

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In these times, climate change and the effects of a warming planet are top of mind, especially with recent extreme weather events, Donald Trump administration policy roll-backs, and climate activists like Greta Thunberg reminding us how we’re destroying her future.

So in true 2019 fashion, the heartwarming story of the week isn’t about a kitten and a duck snuggling, but about a gas station in Maryland fully embracing emission-free transportation, or at least cleaner energy than gasoline to power vehicles. 

As CNBC first reported, the RS Automotive gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., switched out all its pumps for electric charging stations on Thursday. Working with the Electric Vehicle Institute and the city, the conversion was possible through a $786,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration.  Read more…

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‘Minecraft Earth’ will open up to players in October and you can sign up right now

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Microsoft’s answer to Pokémon Go is finally ready for showtime.

Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality game in the vein Niantic’s 2017 hit, and its “early access” phase of release is officially set to begin in October. Fans interested in participating can sign up starting on Sep. 28 at the game’s website.

Signing up means you’ll be notified when Minecraft Earth launches in your country. Microsoft’s plan is to roll out the early access in smaller markets – exactly where isn’t clear – and then expand into other countries once everything is running OK. The plan is to have worldwide availability by the 2019 holidays. Read more…

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NASA managed to catch a black hole totally annihilating a star

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It’s been a big year for black holes. Back in April, NASA gave us our first direct glimpse of an existentially terrifying gravitational event, and now, the agency has gotten another look at what one can do to a star much like our own sun.

NASA announced this week that Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (or TESS) managed to spot what’s called a tidal disruption event. In layman’s terms, that’s when a star gets a little too close to a black hole and, well, it stops being a star after that.

There’s a lot of fun space lingo at play here. NASA is calling the event ASASSN-19bt, named after the ASAS-SN telescope network that first noticed the tidal disruption back in January. Once the star got close enough to the black hole, it experienced something known as “spaghettification,” which is when an object encounters gravity so powerful that it gets stretched out like noodles. Read more…

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Screenless Sundays or Tech Shabbat? Time to add one (or both) to your life.

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Buried deep in the “someday” folder of my Todoist is the germ of a book I am nowhere near brave  enough to write: “A Year Without Screens.” Picture it: 365 days in which you shun all smartphones, computers, and TV. It could be a nightmare, or it could be incredibly good for real-life relationships and create mad focused reading skills (for one thing, imagine only learning about Trump’s onslaught of outrages in a once-daily newspaper). 

Is that digital-free life even possible in the 21st century? Without access to a remote Pacific island, probably not. When your profession involves reading and writing on the internet, certainly not. Okay, how about just 52 days a year without screens?  Read more…

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5 young climate activists to follow beyond Greta Thunberg

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By now, you probably know who 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is. From the brilliant shade she threw at President Trump after he mocked her heartfelt speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, to leading the Global Climate Strike of 4 million people, it’s clear she’s a superstar climate activist who isn’t going anywhere.  

But she’s not the only young person demanding action on the climate crisis.

Here are five young climate activists you should also follow.

1Alexandria Villaseñor, 14 years old

As the founder of Earth Uprising, a global climate change movement, and one of the youngest organizers of the historic Sept. 20 Global Climate Strike, it’s no secret that Alexandria Villaseñor is on the frontlines of the climate change movement.  Read more…

More about Youth, Activists, Climate Change, Greta Thunberg, and Social Good