When Technology Helps Us Become More Human


It was Tuesday January 12, 2010, and the Haitian capital had just been hit with a massive earthquake.

Far away in Boston, Fletcher School PhD candidate Patrick Meier was faced with a wrenching problem: his wife, also a Fletcher student, was in Port-au-Prince, and he couldn’t get in touch with her. “The anxiety was nearly paralyzing,” he said at a recent event at New America. “I needed to focus, to do something – anything.”

A specialist in so-called “liberation technologies,” Meier realized there was one thing he could do: create a crisis map of the disaster, mapping everything from CNN reports to Tweets. The job of finding and geo-referencing news reports and social media postings soon became too big for him, and Meier reached out to friends at Fletcher and beyond to assist him.

By the following Saturday, Meier found himself commanding a nerve center of fellow volunteers—some there in…

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Watch Angelina Jolie’s Uplifting Speech at the Kids’ Choice Awards


Angelina Jolie gave the audience at the 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards on Saturday a few words of inspiration after winning « Favorite Villain » for her role in Maleficent.

Here’s what the actress told her fans:

I want to say when I was little, like Maleficent, I was told that I was different—and I felt out of place, and too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in. And then one day I realized something, something I hope you all realize. Different is good.

The 39-year-old’s uplifting speech was her first public appearance since announcing last week that she had recently undergone surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Wrapping up her remarks to the crowd, she advised to « cause a little trouble, it’s good for you. »

Read next: Why Angelina Jolie Chose to Have Her Ovaries Removed

[time-brightcove videoid=4131450682001]

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How Google, Facebook And Others Pay Their H-1B Employees


Editor’s note:Kiran Dhillon is a senior editor for FindTheBest, where she tackles big datasets to produce interesting insights.

Legislative debate regarding expanding the H-1B visa program is heating up in the U.S. Senate. H-1B visas allow foreign workers — specifically those in technical roles—to legally work in the United States. In lobbying for an expansion of the current H-1B visa program, Google executive Eric Schmidt said, “We take very, very smart people, bring them into the country, give them a diploma and kick them out where they go on to create companies that compete with us.”

Amid this discussion, jobs at Google, Facebook and other tech giants have grown increasingly lucrative for Americans and foreigners alike.

An analysis of records from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) reveals that the median salary offered to H-1B applicants by some of the biggest tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook…

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Pebble Time’s $20M Kickstarter Campaign By The Numbers


Pebble went back to crowdfunding site Kickstarter to help fund the Pebble Time, its second major hardware iteration. The company likely could’ve gone with a more traditional product launch, with a brief pre-order window or direct to market availability, but the campaign did break Kickstarter’s all-time records, netting over $20 million ($20,338,986 to be exact) from 78,741 backers, which is newsworthy over and above the actual product it’s selling.

In the end, though Pebble Time will have to stand on its own two feet post-campaign as a product, and thanks to Pebble’s use of Kickstarter, we have a unique opportunity to pin down exactly how the launch campaign fared in terms of hard pre-order numbers.

As mentioned, 78,741 backers supported the project, but that doesn’t translate to pre-order totals directly, thanks to the variation in reward tiers. Here’s exactly how many Pebble Time devices (including both Time and Time Steel)…

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The Most Powerful Force In The Universe


There was an incredible media glare this week on the Kleiner Perkins sex discrimination trial and its negative outcome for Ellen Pao, but all the news about equality in tech was not nearly as negative. One of the most significant victories for women in tech came this week from Google, where Ruth Porat, the current Chief Financial Officer of Morgan Stanley, accepted an offer to join the search giant as CFO.

It is also the clearest sign yet that Wall Street is no longer the place for top talent, supplanted in its role by the ascendancy of tech. Porat didn’t just choose Google because the company has a more interesting mission statement than Morgan Stanley, but because it also pays better. A lot better. Google is reportedly paying Porat more than $70 million in salary and stock options over her first two years (although the vesting period for…

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This Guy Remade Super Mario 64’s Most Iconic Level In HD And Playable In Your Browser


On Christmas morning of 1996, the first level of Super Mario 64 was blowing the minds of millions of kids around the world simultaneously.

It looks a bit rough around the edges nearly 20 years later — but it’s still truly excellent. And now it’s been remade in glorious HD.

Now, don’t go looking for Nintendo’s official stamp of approval, here: it’s a fan-project, of sorts. It was built by Unity developer Roystan Ross to show off his custom character controller — which, if you’re into Unity, you can check out here.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve replayed the original version of this level; even if I had an exact count, I’d probably be embarrassed to say. Let’s just estimate it at « hundreds ».

Here’s what it looks like in action:

The remake isn’t one-to-one, but it’s close. Close enough that navigating the level from that decades-old memory…

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This Glow-in-the-Dark Spray Could Make Cycling at Night Way Safer


Car giant Volvo is turning in a slightly different direction for its next project: cycling safety.

Last week, the automaker and its partners unveiled a reflective spray called LifePaint, which cyclists can spray on their clothes and bicycles to boost safety at night. The spray, which is reflective for up to 10 days, is invisible in daylight but becomes bright white at night when a car shines its lights on a treated surface.

LifePaint, created in partnership with design firm Grey London and Swedish startup Albedo100, is in trials at six cycle shops in London and Kent. If it proves popular with cyclists, Grey London said in a statement, the project will expand domestically and beyond the U.K.

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Facebook’s Timehop Clone « On This Day » Shows You Your Posts From Years Ago


Facebook’s experimented with ways to surface old Memories since 2010. But after seeing Timehop hit 6 million daily users on mobile, Facebook is officially launching a competing nostalgia feature called « On This Day. » It shows users their Facebook posts from the current date in past years, like photos from exactly one year ago, or status updates from four years ago.

Rolling out globally over the next few days, On This Day will be accessible from https://www.facebook.com/onthisday, Facebook’s bookmarks menu, search, News Feed stories, or opt-in notifications on iOS, Android, mobile web and desktop.

Facebook On THis Day

While Timehop can dredge up memories from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Flickr, Dropbox, iPhoto or your camera roll, On This Day just sifts through Facebook. The social giant’s product manager on the feature, Jonathan Gheller, refused to cite Timehop by name, claiming the feature was inspired because « we see behaviors from our community and we try to build…

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Reflections on TED2015: What people are saying around the web

TED Blog

David Rothkopf was a huge TED skeptic—until he attended TED2015. "I was wrong about TED,' he says. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED David Rothkopf was a huge TED skeptic—until he attended TED2015. « I was wrong about TED. In a big way, » he says. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

With TED2015 wrapped, attendees, speakers and journalists alike are sharing their reflections on the experience. Below, some highlights:

David Rothkopf was an open critic of TED, calling our talks “chicken nuggets for the brain.” But the experience of attending TED2015 and speaking during Session 1 changed his mind. The Washington icon now writes, “I was wrong about TED. In a big way. … Not only did I find TED to be an exceptional event attended by remarkable people  … on several occasions, listening to some of the scientists and technologists who were presenting talks about their work, I was actually moved to near tears. Actually it was more like an existential gut punch.” Read his full essay on Foreign Policy »

Over at Re/Code, journalist Ina…

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