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Self Driving Uber Kills Woman

Image result for uber self driving car

A 49-year old pedestrian, who was struck while pushing her bike and later died from her injuries, was walking outside of the crosswalk, according to a Tempe police department statement.  The car was operating in self-driving mode, the police said, but a vehicle operator was behind the wheel at the time. The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that it planned to open an investigation of the incident.

The Volvo XC90-based prototype was traveling at 38 mph in a 35 mph zone when it hit the pedestrian. The car made no attempt to brake or swerve. But while Uber’s prototype most likely isn’t to blame, the operator behind the wheel could ultimately face charges.

A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association released March 1 said Arizona had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the nation, based on available data from 2017.

The complete Tempe Police Department statement:

The vehicle was traveling northbound just south of Curry Rd. when a female walking outside of the crosswalk crossed the road from west to east when she was struck by the Uber vehicle. She was transported to a local area hospital where she passed away from her injuries. Her next of kin has not been notified yet so her name is not being released at this time. Uber is assisting and this is still an active investigation.


Bitcoin Mining Banned In Plattsburg New York


Thursday evening, the city council in Plattsburgh, New York unanimously voted to impose an 18-month ban on Bitcoin mining in the city.

Mining is the extremely energy-intensive computational process that secures the Bitcoin blockchain and rewards miners with bitcoins. The Bitcoin ban was proposed by Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read earlier this month after local residents began complaing about wildly inflated electricity bills in January. The ban affects only new commercial Bitcoin operations and will not affect companies that are already

Most cryptocurrencies require a “mining” process in which servers are used to guess the solution to a complex equation—the computer that gets the answer gets the newly minted coin. It takes a lot of electricity to be a miner, and the ones who are successful tend to use a large network of mining rigs. To cut down on their energy expenses, miners have flocked to cities with cheap power and we’re just beginning to learn what cost that brings for the municipalities themselves.

Photo: Getty

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Apple Maps Has Bike Station Locations

Locations of bike stations in 179 cities in 36 countries is now searchable in Apple Maps thanks to transportation data company Ito World. To find the nearest stations, simply type “bike sharing” in the search box when you open the app, then select the top result, which should have a “nearby” label with it.

The current time the information isn’t as detailed as you’d want it to be, so it only shows the locations of the bike stations rather than information on bike availability. 

Higher Priced Smartphones Mean Lower Purchases

This year and last, Samsung, Apple, and, recently, Google set the bar higher for smartphones pushing their price bar higher than ever before. It was somewhat necessary to recoup the costs of R&D, production, marketing, and the like. It also helped inflate the smartphones’ status as premium products to die for. It appears that they may be digging their own graves in the long run.

High-end components, of course, are more expensive than more common ones, but the rate of price increase doesn’t seem proportional to the build costs. The gap seems to grow even more for each new generation of smartphones.

Business considerations aside, this rise in prices has a double-edged effect on consumers. On the one hand, they paint the picture of a product that only a few can afford, which has the ironic effect of making it even more desirable. Apple has been doing it for years.

On the other hand, it is actually and factually something very few people can afford. That ultimately meant that fewer people actually bought the new phones, which may have contributed to last month’s decline in smartphone shipments last quarter, when the most expensive non-luxury phones shipped for the first time. 

The lower sales numbers become an even bigger problem in the context of the current practice of releasing flagship smartphones every year. Some, like Samsung, even release twice a year. Others release multiple ones at the same time or spread them over the months. Long story short, there are dozens of new phones every year.

The smartphone market is changing and so is user habits. Smartphone vendors aren’t, although some, like LG and HTC, may have noticed, even though they already had lower prices. Samsung may have seen clues, but it isn’t one to change directions so quickly. Apple is one that’s unlikely to change at all. High-end smartphones are becoming luxury items that very few can afford. And whatever few can afford, very few will buy. And that may spell trouble for the companies that rely on them to survive.

2,000 Buses In Ecuador Equipped With Alarms For Sexual Harassment

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Last he San Carlos Cooperative equipped around 2,000 buses in Ecuador with a text message alarm system that responds to sexual harassment reports. When harassment occurs, victims can text ‘ACOSO’ (‘harassment’) to a designated number, along with the number of the bus they’re traveling on. The organization immediately notifies the driver, who makes a loudspeaker announcement. At the same time, police are called to board the bus at the next bus stop, and a psychologist reaches out to the victim.

The issue of sexual harassment on public transport is particularly horrifying in Latin America. But this is a global issue, too. Research suggests 80% of all women experience harassment on public transport, while 90% of these incidents go unreported.

Zillow’s Algorithms Overestimated a $225,000 For 1.8 Million

A three-bedroom home in Belfair sold for $225,000 last June, but Zillow’s website estimated it was worth $1.8 million. (Courtesy of Sue Carlson  )

Seattle bought a modest home on the Kitsap Peninsula in June, they paid $225,000 — a discount because the house was headed for foreclosure.

Redfin now estimates the home in Belfair, southwest of Bremerton, is worth $318,000.’s algorithm pegs the house at $268,000. And the county assessor has valued it at $283,000. When you Google its address, the first thing that shows up is its Zillow page. According to that Zillow page, the home is now worth $1.8 million.There’s no waterfront access, redevelopment potential or anything else significant about the property — in fact, it needs serious work. So how could an unremarkable three-bedroom home, located in a city where Zillow says the median home costs $286,000, be worth that much? Overall, the Zestimate is incredibly accurate — with a median error rate of 4.5 percent — but occasionally human error does occur,” Zillow spokesman Viet Shelton said in a statement



Uber Health


Uber Health allows health care professionals to arrange Uber rides for patients traveling to and from the facility for non-urgent visits. Rival ridesharing service Lyft launched a similar service at the end of 2017.

Uber Health’s dashboard offers “simple billing, reporting, and management,where organizations can easily keep track of what they’re spending on rides.

Features include flexible ride scheduling for patients, caregivers, and staff, allowing rides to be booked immediately, within a couple of hours, or even up to 30 days in advance, if necessary. This makes it easy to plan a follow-up appointment with the patient while they’re present at the facility, allowing both parties to agree on a mutually convenient time and date.

Riders won’t need to have the Uber app. Ride notifications will be sent via text message to a mobile phone. Although the company says it’s also planning to set up alternative options such as landline calls.

It’s not clear who will pay for the rides. More than 100 healthcare organizations — among them hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, senior care facilities, home care centers, and physical therapy centers — are already conducting trials with Uber Health, and the dashboard is available to all such facilities from this week.



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