TIME Innovation

Hitchhiking Robot That Crossed Nations Fails to Last 2 Weeks in U.S.

anthropomorphic robot hitchBOT
Paul Darrow—Reuters The anthropomorphic robot named hitchBOT, seen here during its cross-Canada trek in 2014, was destroyed on Aug. 1, 2015 two weeks into its attempted trip across the U.S., according to its creators

Vandals in Philadelphia bring Hitchbot's adventure to an untimely end

A hitchhiking robot eager to explore America has met its demise just two weeks into its cross-country journey.

HitchBOT was vandalized in Philadelphia overnight on Saturday after exploring parts of Massachusetts and New York, Canadian researchers David Smith and Frauke Zeller shared on the project’s website. The friendly robot, who sports yellow polka dot boots and a smiley-face LED screen, had hoped American humans would shuttle it around the country to see Times Square, pose with the Lincoln Statue and tour Walt Disney World, among other destinations on its bucket list.

“Sometimes bad things happen to good robots,” HitchBot’s creators wrote. “We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question ‘what can be learned from this?’ and explore future adventures for robots and humans.”

The hitchhiking robot is an experiment to see how humans interact with robots. HitchBOT previously journeyed across Canada and Germany without incident, in addition to enjoying a three-week vacation in the Netherlands.

 

TIME Bizarre

Man’s iPhone Miraculously Still Works After Falling From a Plane Over Texas

He found it under a mesquite tree

A Texas man used an app to find his iPhone in a rural pasture after it fell 9,300 ft. (2,834 m) from a Beechcraft Bonanza airplane on a flight from Houston.

The phone fell out of the aircraft during a Monday flight, when a pressure change caused the door to open slightly. The owner of the phone, Ben Wilson, a Texas businessman, used the Find My iPhone app to locate the phone. They found it with a map and a satellite image.

“It was by the side of the road south of Jacksboro, under a mesquite tree,” Wilson told the Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas. “It was in one piece, scratched a bit on the corners but it still worked,” he said.

TIME enivronment

This App Shows How Climate Change Is Affecting the World Around You

You may live closer to a earthquake zone than you think

You’ve heard about what climate change is doing the arctic and to the sea levels around the world. But sometimes it can be hard to understand what’s happening in your own backyard. A new app called Field Notes shows you just that.

The free app, manufactured by tech mapping company Esri, is part of a broader effort by the company to put data about people, climate and geography at your fingertips.

Take data on the location of TIME’s office in New York City. The app tells me that our office is located in a warm zone and, by 2050, it’s expected to get much warmer. The nearest earthquake zone is 240 miles (386 km) away and the nearest volcano more than 1,100 miles (1,770 km) away. Unsurprisingly, the app tell me, the soil isn’t great for growing crops. You can get the same data, and more, for any location on the globe.

“If you’re interested in engaging and understanding, this gives you a very quick basis to do that,” said Charlie Frye, chief cartographer.

The app, available for both iPhones and Androids, builds on the desktop version of the mapping technology, called the Eco Tapestry Map, which offers an even more in-depth view of world ecosystems. And while it’s fun to get a sense of what’s going on in your backyard, the map also sheds light on the impact of climate change where its effects have been most damaging.

Read More: Why Some California Cities Are Bracing for a Bear Invasion

Take the drought in California, for instance. Esri’s map shows how diverse climates co-exist in the state—from desert areas like Death Valley to temperate rainforests. And, while California is a large state, each climate exists side by side with other drastically different climates, making it difficult for endemic species to move in search of water without leaving their natural habitat.

The project originated from a partnership between Esri and a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who hoped to show how different layers like bioclimate, landforms and land cover combine to form the world’s “ecological tapestry.” Esri, which provides mapping technology for a variety of uses, helped utilize the technology to describe the whole world in quantitative terms.

“One of the things that’s been lacking before this map came out is this sort of common language way of talking about the eco-system at a higher level,” said Sean Breyer, content program manager at Esri.

Esri scientists have directed their work with Field Notes to help consumers understand the world around them, but the company’s environmental work also has implications for governments, academics and policymakers. The White House, for instance, has partnered with the company to provide tools that will allow local communities to prepare for the worst of climate change.

TIME Uber

Uber Just Beat Facebook’s $50 Billion Record

uber
Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg/Getty Images The Uber Technologies Inc. car service app is demonstrated on an iPhone in New York City on Aug. 6, 2014.

It's now worth more than Facebook was pre-IPO

Uber recently closed a new funding round that values the car-hailing startup close to $51 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

That’s the highest valuation ever for a venture-backed company, topping the $50 billion Facebook was valued at in 2011 when it completed its last round of fundraising before going public. Uber also crossed the $50 billion mark in five years, a feat Facebook took seven years to accomplish. Uber’s new valuation is also $5 billion more than Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which at $46 billion is believed to be the second highest-valued venture-backed private company.

Uber raised close to $1 billion in the new deal, which was reported to be in the works earlier this year. At the time, Fortune said Uber might have trouble living up to the hype. Since then, the company has hit some bumps, including a face-off with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. A leaked financial report suggested Uber’s fast growth was coming along with big losses. A prospectus for a convertible bond offering reported by Bloomberg said that Uber had lost $470 million on $415 million in revenue. An Uber spokesperson said that number was out of date.

Despite the enormous valuation for the five-year-old Uber, the fresh fundraising round might suggest investors are growing nervous about the company and its high expectations. Earlier this year, it was reported that Uber was looking to raise between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. Instead, Uber pulled in just half of the high end of that range. And given how much money the company may be losing, hailing more investors at a valuation that might make the company worth significantly more than Facebook could become increasingly difficult.

TIME BMW

Why BMW Is Paying Some Car Owners $1,000

BMW Launch Their First All- Electric Car
Dan Kitwood—Getty Images

It's trying to get people to change their behavior

Last year, Los Angeles carved out a plan to become a national electric vehicle leader by 2017. The city has since hit a roadblock. The environment would benefit radically if everyone had an electric car, but as the electric cars become more popular, utility companies have to figure out ways to support them.

BMW and PG&E, a California utility company, have joined forces in a trial that they’re calling the “BMW iCharge Forward” program, which they hope will solve the issue. They announced the 18-month trial in January and are finally starting it this month.

PG&E will alert BMW during peak hours when it wants to limit energy consumption. The car company will then alert drivers not to charge their cars for the next hour. The drivers can select their preferred driving hours, which BMW will keep in mind when choosing which customers they’ll request to refrain from charging. The drivers can also opt out if they can’t commit to a delay.

100 BMW i3 drivers have agreed to participate. Each participant receives a $1,000 gift card at the beginning of the program, and at the end of the 18 months they’ll get a second one worth up to $540, depending on how many times they’ve complied with the delay.

TIME facebook

Facebook Could Make Billions From Something It’s Not Doing Yet

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on February 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos—2014 Getty Images Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on February 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.

It's not monetizing something that happens 1.5 billion times a day

Facebook is slowly but surely taking over the Internet. In a post after its Q2 earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “1.49 billion people are now part of our community. In 1876, the year the first telephone call was made, around 1.49 billion people were alive.”

Those 1.49 billion people use Facebook to plan events, talk to each other, share pictures, and keep up with the latest news. But there’s something else we’re using it for that we barely even notice: search. People now make 1.5 billion search queries on Facebook per day, according to opening remarks during Facebook’s earnings call.

At the moment, most of those searches are for people or posts. But analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have suggested in a note that Facebook could move to include the kind of commercial searches that made Google $15.5 billion in ad revenue in Q1 2015. Those analysts pin the value of Facebook’s opportunity in commercial search at $5 billion, greater than the bank’s estimate for Instagram’s future value.

Still, Facebook views search differently than Google. Instead of focusing on commercially relevant content, Facebook plans to use search as a way to keep people on the social network for longer stretches of time. More time spent on the site means more ad revenue, after all.

TIME Earnings

Here’s Why LinkedIn Shares Are Tanking Today

LinkedIn Corp. To File For IPO
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images In this photo illustration, the LinkedIn logo is displayed on the screen of a laptop computer on January 27, 2011 in San Anselmo, California.

LinkedIn may need to do some better networking with Wall Street

LinkedIn announced Thursday that its sales and earnings in the second quarter had beaten analysts expectations. How did investors react? They sold big-time.

Shares of LinkedIn fell $21, or just over 10%, on Friday to just over $205. That’s the company’s biggest one day stock dive since the end of April, when the shares fell nearly $50 in one day.

What happened? Like many résumé writers, LinkedIn seems to have taken some liberties to make its earnings seem more impressive than they actually were.

First of all, the company’s earnings beat was manufactured — LinkedIn told analysts to lower their expectations at the end of April, so when the earnings came out, they were actually better than the most recent expectations, but lower than what people thought the company would earn a few months ago.

Second, the company said by its metrics it earned $71 million in the second three months of the year. In fact, LinkedIn didn’t actually turn a profit in the second quarter. By generally accepted accounting principals, it lost $68 million. (Companies are allowed to report results using their own adjusted accounting as long as they report GAAP results as well, which is what LinkedIn did.) Still, that loss was less than analysts were expecting.

Third, LinkedIn upped what it may earn in the next year. But a good portion of that profit increase is coming from Lynda.com, an online learning platform that LinkedIn bought earlier this year, and not an improvement in LinkedIn’s core business. And Lynda will be adding more profits than expected not because that business is doing better, but because LinkedIn is completing the acquisition sooner. Take out earnings from Lynda, and projections for LinkedIn’s core business appears to be dropping.

But the biggest problem for the company is the rates it can charge for display ads is dropping. Linkedin said revenue from display ads was down 30% in the quarter. Most of the revenue boost that LinkedIn has gotten recently has come from selling premium services to recruiters and others. But many analysts think that market is basically tapped out for LinkedIn. So that avenue for growth might be over, or at least slowing.

Like many people on its website, LinkedIn seems to be in need of a transition, but it’s still just making connections.

TIME facebook

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Are Expecting a Baby Girl

Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony Hosted By Seth MacFarlane
Steve Jennings—2014 Getty Images Breakthrough Prize Founders Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (R) attend the Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony Hosted By Seth MacFarlane at NASA Ames Research Center on November 9, 2014 in Mountain View, California.

The Facebook CEO also revealed they experienced three miscarriages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are expecting a baby girl, the couple announced — where else — on Facebook Friday.

“This will be a new chapter in our lives. We’ve already been so fortunate for the opportunity to touch people’s lives around the world — Cilla as a doctor and educator, and me through this community and philanthropy. Now we’ll focus on making the world a better place for our child and the next generation,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Zuckerberg’s post also revealed that Chan, a medical school graduate, has had three miscarriages over the couple’s two-year quest to have a child.

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child,” Zuckerberg wrote. “You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.”

But Zuckerberg said that Chan is “now far enough along that the risk of loss is very low and we are very hopeful.”

“Cilla and our child are both healthy, I’m extremely excited to meet her and our dog Beast has no idea what’s coming,” said Zuckerberg. “In our ultrasound, she even gave me a thumbs up ‘like’ with her hand, so I’m already convinced she takes after me.”

Read next: Someone I Loved Was Never Born

TIME Gadgets

These Tablets Are Being Recalled Due to a Fire Hazard

Nvidia Shield Tablet
Nvidia Nvidia Shield Tablet

Find out if you're affected

Nvidia is recalling Shield tablets over a potential fire hazard caused by overheating batteries, the graphics company announced Friday.

Nvidia has asked that customers stop using affected Shield tablets immediately, “except as needed to participate in the recall and back up data.”

The recall affects 8-inch Shield tablets sold between July 2014 and July 2015. To see if the recall affects your Shield tablet, visit Nvidia’s website. There, you’ll find instructions to tell which type of battery your device has. You can also submit a claim through that website; Nvidia is replacing affected devices free of charge.

The Shield tablet is a $299-and-up device aimed primarily at gamers.

TIME Huawei

This Chinese Giant Just Surpassed Microsoft

Latest Electronics Products On Display At The CEATEC Exhibition
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A Huawei phone.

The U.S. company is no longer the third-largest phone maker

Huawei is now the third-largest mobile phone maker in the world, beating out Microsoft for the number of items shipped in the second quarter of 2015, according to Strategy Analytics.

Engadget reported Friday that Huawei shipped over 30 million phones during the year’s second quarter, which is roughly a 50% increase from the same period in 2014. Microsoft, meanwhile, sold 27.8 million phones worldwide in the quarter.

According to the publication, Huawei now has a 7% global market share, which trails Apple’s 10%, and Samsung’s 20%.

“Huawei is rising fast in all regions of the world, particularly China where its 4G models, such as the Mate7, are proving wildly popular,” Ken Hyers, director at Strategy Analytics, told Engadget.

Neil Mawston, the executive director at Strategy Analytics, added that “Microsoft’s 6 percent global mobile phone marketshare is sitting near an all-time low.”

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