Tesla restored autopilot feature to used car, saying the whole thing was a "miscommunication"

Last week I posted the sad tale of Alec, a man who bought a used Tesla at auction and was saddened when Tesla later remotely disabled the car's autodrive feature.

Tesla justified the action by telling Alec that autodrive was "not a feature that you had paid for."

The story of Tesla's mean-spiritedness spread quickly, and as you might guess, Tesla jumped into damage control mode. It restored autodrive to the car and told Alec, "if it wasn't for that meddlesome miscommunication, you would never have lost autopilot in the first place!" Let's hope Tesla had a stern word with miscommunication for causing such trouble.

From The Verge:

Tesla has removed features from used cars in the past, but typically does so before the car is sold off to a third-party dealer or a new owner. Since Tesla pulled these features both after it sold the car to the dealer, and after that dealer sold it to Alec, it caused some fear that the company was setting a precedent for yanking features on a whim.

That now seems less likely to be true, although owners and potential customers should always be prepared to deal with changes. Tesla is pushing the boundaries when it comes to adding new features and generally making cars upgradeable via over-the-air software updates, and other automakers are (slowly) following suit. But the easier it gets for automakers to remotely update or change the features of a car, the easier it gets to take those features away, too.

Read the rest

Barnes and Noble canceled its plan to put black characters on classic novels written by white authors featuring white characters

Barnes & Noble thought it would be a good idea to celebrate Black History Month by reissuing classic novels (including Moby Dick, Emma, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, Treasure Island, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Three Musketeers) with new covers depicting the lead characters as black, reports CNN. After many people on social media pointed out the problems with this campaign, the bookseller scrapped it.

From CNN:

Alexandre Dumas, who wrote "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Three Musketeers," is the only black author on the list.

The new covers were called "literary blackface" by African American writer Rod Faulkner in an essay on Medium, and others have said the energy spent making the "Diverse Editions" would have been better spent promoting books written by people of color.

"What?!? No! Is it really this hard? People sat down & had meetings & put a lot of energy & money into creating covers f/black people on books w/ the same old stories INSTEAD of promoting books written by black authors & featuring black characters?WTF?!," author Tracey Livesay tweeted.

Image: TBWA Chiat Day Read the rest

Colorado radio host fired after wishing for a "nice school shooting" to interrupt impeachment coverage

Denver's 710 KNUS radio host Chuck Bonniwell is out of a job after he announced that he wished for a "nice school shooting" to provide respite from "never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump," reports USA Today.

Unsurprisingly, Bonniwell issued a classic fauxpology:

On the show's Twitter page, Bonniwell issued a statement before deleting it Wednesday night.

“I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke," he said. "I’m sorry it was not received that way.”

Image: 710 KNUS Read the rest

Runner who slapped journalist on butt is Tommy Callaway, a youth minister and boy scout leader in Statesboro, Georgia

The runner who slapped WSAV-TV reporter Alex Bozarjian's butt on TV has been identified as Tommy Callaway (43) of Statesboro, Georgia. Callaway, a youth minister and boy scout leader, did not come forward until his identity was revealed by social media users who used his numbered race bib to figure out who he is. Callaway has locked his social media accounts and is communicating through his attorney, who issued the following statement:

“While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions. Tommy is a loving husband and father who is very active in his community. We have been in touch with WSAV and representatives for Ms. Alex Bozarjian, as well as members of Savannah law enforcement. We do not expect any criminal charges to arise from this incident, and we are working with those involved to correct the situation.”

From The New York Post:

Speaking on CBS TV’s “This Morning” on Tuesday, Bozarjian confirmed that Callaway “did try to make contact ” with her to say that “his intentions were not to hurt me, he didn’t intend to do it.

“I’m not going to really debate that — because he did hurt me,” she insisted of the slap that she said had a “heavy impact.”

“He separates himself from the runners, and he kind of winds up.

Read the rest

And we've come full circle: Carrying straps for wireless AirPods

Seems people are afraid of losing their AirPods, which you may remember are wireless. Well, a company named Tapper is tapping into their fears by offering $60 AirPod carrying straps. Available at Nordstrom.

Previously: Prankster puts fake AirPod stickers on city streets

(BI) Read the rest

Woman asks for Mariah Carey on her birthday cake, gets Marie Curie instead

A woman in England named Siobhan asked her colleagues to put pop star Mariah Carey's image on her birthday cake. Instead, she got French physicist Marie Curie on it.

Lye writes, "They misunderstood, and [this] is the cake they made her instead. It’s Marie Curie, looking very festive."

Mariah Carey, Marie Curie. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Siobhan's cousin, author Harriet Alida Lye of Toronto, shared the funny mix-up on Twitter:

To which Mariah Carey, not Marie Curie (who's been dead for nearly 85 years), replied:

Can we all just agree that female Nobel Prize winners should be the new normal for birthday cake decorations?

(Mashable) Read the rest

Ariana Grande's amended tattoo now reads "BBQ finger"

Ariana Grande got a kanji tattoo on her palm she thought meant "seven rings," but actually means "small charcoal grill." In an effort to correct the tattoo, she added the kanji character for "finger." Now the tattoo reads "BBQ finger."

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Workout app accidentally reveals secret military bases

Strava is a GPS-enabled mobile app for runners interested in seeing where and how far they ran. It also has a publically-accessible global map, which accidentally disclosed the whereabouts of secret military bases, and even the exercise activity and identities of individual soldiers.

From The Guardian:

While the heatmap only shows information in aggregate, Strava’s own website allows users to drill down into the tracked runs to find the names of individuals, as well as the dates they set their personal best times on particular runs.

When applied to military bases, that information can be extremely sensitive. The leaderboard for one 600m stretch outside an airbase in Afghanistan, for instance, reveals the full names of more than 50 service members who were stationed there, and the date they ran that stretch. One of the runners set his personal best on 20 January this year, meaning he is almost certainly still stationed there.

In Djibouti’s Chabelley Airport, used as a staging ground for US Air Force drones, three runners have completed a 7km loop of the runway – two in December 2014, and one two years later in August 2016. At least one of them is no longer based there: their running profile shows they were transferred to an air base in Germany in 2016.

The Pentagon said on Monday it was reviewing whether it needed to bolster its security protocols. “The Department of Defense takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required,” the Pentagon said in a statement, without directly confirming that U.S.

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Round up of Silicon Valley's worst apologies of 2017

The bros of Silicon Valley feel awful when they get caught doing something bad. It means they have to issue an apology hinting that they will consider looking into the possibility of conducting an internal audit of their policies. It's not easy to do that. How can they word in it such a way that won't enrage their major investors and shareholders at at the same time assuage the concerns of those they hurt?

Gizmodo presents "Silicon Valley’s Worst Apologies of 2017"

This nightmarish riddle of negation from Jack Dorsey

Last month, Donald Trump retweeted a disturbing and violent anti-Muslim video. Twitter kept the videos up, citing the company’s media policy, which still caused some confusion, so Dorsey tweeted from his personal account to help elucidate things. Only his tweet was barely comprehendible.

“We mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason we didn’t take action on the videos from earlier this week,” he starts, adding that the company is still investigating its policies on the matter. I read that sentence two, nay, three, NAY, four times, stripping it of its negative phrasing in an attempt to better wrap my head around it. “We were wrong” would have sufficed.

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McDonald's Black Friday oopsy tweet

McDonald's accidentally tweeted this late Thursday night:

While the internet was having a field day deciding if the tweet was intentional or not, McDonald's copped up to the boo-boo with this tweet nine hours later:

(Mashable)

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

Nabisco's X-rated toy scandal of 1971

Nabisco really screwed up in 1971 when they bought Aurora, makers of some really cool monster models. The problem was that Aurora also made a series of models called Monster Scenes that encouraged kids to torture a kidnapped "girl victim" by locking her in a cage, burning her with hot coals, and slicing her open with a pendulum.

From Mental Floss:

Unknown to Nabisco, Aurora had recently branched out and begun offering entire model kit dioramas. Instead of a single figure, consumers could buy detailed “sets” for their monsters to interact with. There was a guillotine, a razor-sharp pendulum, and a laboratory; a female protagonist, referred to in the copy as “the Victim,” was scantily-clad and ready to be dismembered, beheaded, or trapped in a spiked cage. Kids could also opt to have Vampirella, the top-heavy villain licensed from Warren Publishing, operate the winch and pulley while her plastic captive was shackled to a table.

Each kit also contained a comic, which instructed builders on how to assemble the torture scenes for maximum enjoyment. A narrator named Dr. Deadly seemed to opine on the appeal of the Victim once she was fully assembled. “Now that you’ve gotten her all together, I think I like the other way. In pieces … yesssss.”

In addition to Fig Newtons, Nabisco realized it had also been peddling tiny torture racks.

Images from the book, Aurora Monster Scenes - The Most Controversial Toys of a Generation, by Dennis L. Prince and Andrew P. Yanchus Read the rest

Woman kicked out of mall for wearing Finding Nemo tank top and shorts

Woodland Mall in Kentwood, Michigan made Hannah Pewee leave because they claimed her outfit was inappropriate. Meanwhile, the posts on Woodland Mall's Facebook page feature posts advertising tank tops. Read the rest

People at DC's Union Station enjoy free pornography streamed from kiosk

Washington DC's Union Station officials suspect hackers were involved in causing a pornographic video to play on an advertising kiosk in the station’s main hall on Monday evening.

From The Washington Post:

The incient was caught on camera by a bystander, who said it happened around 5:30 p.m. and lasted about three minutes.

In a video of the incident posted on social media and since removed, the large digital screen located in the Main Hall, outside the entrance to Chipotle, displayed videos that were apparently streamed from the website PornHub. The sexually explicit content was immediately noticeable to passersby. Some people stopped, stared and snickered, while others cautiously approached the screen, trying to figure out how to turn it off.

“What the hell is this?” proclaimed one man, pointing at the screen.

“Oh my God!” yelled a woman who watched from afar.

Gizmodo has censored and uncensored versions of the video. Read the rest

Photographer shoots wrong couple's marriage proposal

A perfect storm of factors led to photographer Jacob Peters shooting the wrong marriage proposal at a remote romantic overlook. Read the rest

Fyre festival organizers hit with $100 million fraud and breach of contract lawsuit

In the immediate aftermath of the Fyre festival debacle, co-founder Ja Rule tweeted, "I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT..." Read the rest

Lenin statue loses head in mishap

Every time the head of a Lenin statue breaks off, Steve Bannon sheds a tear. Read the rest

Thief robs GPS tracking manufacturer, gets caught

I doubt this thief knew he was robbing Noa Technologies, the manufacturer of tiny GPS trackers intended to be stashed on public bikeshares. Turns out near everything he stole had a tracker on-board! I bet the San Francisco police officers responding to this call were pretty entertained.

Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

A local thief must have figured he’d made a clean getaway last month. He broke into a house in Noe Valley in the middle of the night and began collecting loot. He grabbed three bicycles and a laptop, then apparently found car keys. He jumped into a 2015 Ford Explorer and roared out of the garage.

And ran smack into the future.

What he didn’t know was that he’d ripped off the work/live space of a company called Noa Technologies, which markets GPS tracking devices. Almost everything the suspect took was outfitted with a tracker. On the scale of bad ideas, this was right up there with attempting a strong-arm robbery of a martial arts academy.

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