Five Things Friday: from self-driving cars to Facebook

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Photo by Radio BTV IBS Literty on July 10, 2010; Link to original work:, Link to license: , Vladimir Putin was elected for his final term this wek.

03/18/18: Uber’s self-driving car gets in an accident

A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a woman as she walked her bicycle across the street Sunday night. This accident, which took place in Tempe, Arizona, was a test-drive for Uber’s self-driving car. Arizona is the home for many test drives because of its moderate weather, but pedestrians and bicyclists still pose a challenge to this relatively new technology. While many companies, such as Google and Tesla, have developed technology to allow cars to drive themselves with a driver behind the wheel, Uber aims towards technology that will fully replace a human driver. According to investigations, the SUV was driving 40 mph in a 35 mph zone and it did not show any signs of slowing down when it struck 49-year old Elaine Herzberg. The Tempe police department is still investigating this accident.


03/19/18: Vladimir Putin wins Russia’s elections

On Monday, incumbent Vladimir Putin will serve Russia for another six years after the results of Sunday’s elections were polled. The results were no shock to all: out of the 99.8% of the votes that counted, Putin won an overwhelming 76.7% of them. However, Putin’s critics have called this elections unfair, after his fiercest opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race. Of those who continued to run, his closest opponent Pavel Grundinin won only 11.8% of the votes- with others earning less than 6%. Following his win, Putin declared victory in front of thousands of individuals at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow where he called for unity in the country for the next six years: “We are a single team, I am a member of this team, and all those who cast their ballots today are members of our large national team.” Under current Russian law, Putin will not be able to run for reelection next term.


03/20/18: Maryland school shooting

On Tuesday morning, a seventeen-year old male Austin Wyatt Rollins shot two other students at Great Mills High School in Maryland. The shooting started right before school started at approximately 7:55 A.M. According to authorities, the shooter shot a male and a female student. The female victim is in critical condition, while the male victim in injured but in stable condition. The school resource officer, Blaine Gaskill, responded to the scene in less than a minute and fired a round at Rollins. Although it is unclear whether Officer Gaskill’s bullet hit the shooter, Rollins was later declared dead. “He responded exactly as we train our personnel to respond,” stated St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron. Great Mills High School is the 17th school shooting of 2018.


03/21/18: Austin bomber dead

The serial bomber who terrorized Austin the last three weeks was declared dead. The mysterious bombs were left in front of people’s homes, killing two and injuring four. These bombings were believed to be targeting minorities’ homes. Following nineteen days of unrest, the police followed who they described as the suspect, a 23-year old Anthony Conditt disguising himself with a wig and pink gloves. Once the suspect was cornered, he denoted another bomb that was in his car- killing himself in the process. This explosion injured one officer. Upon investigation, police found a 25-minute video confession on Conditt’s phone, explaining the different types of bombs he utilized and how he was able to make them. The video, however, did not explain a motive for these bombings; “It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his life that led him to this point… I know everybody is interested in a motive and understanding why. And we’re never going to be able to put a (rationale) behind these acts,” stated Police Chief Brian Manley.


03/22/18: Facebook comes under fire

After news broke that Cambridge Atlantica, a data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, accessed information for over 50 million Facebook users without their permission throughout the week, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg apologized for his mistakes publicly. “I’m really sorry that this happened,” stated the founder in a public Facebook post, “That … is probably the biggest mistake that we made here.” Further concerns were raised when the public found out that Cambridge Atlantica may have failed to erase the data, even after Facebook told them to erase it. Zuckerberg plans to alert anyone who has been exposed to Cambridge Atlantica’s and wished his company hadn’t waited so long before telling individuals affected. Zuckerberg states that he would be happy to testify before Congress because he believes it is the right thing to do.