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Airbnb Reportedly Closes New Round Of Funding Valuing It At $10 Billion

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 20:03

However, it's still unclear what the total amount raised is. Reports suggest it's between $450 million and $500 million.

As widely speculated, Airbnb has reportedly closed a new round of fundraising that values the company at $10 billion.

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Criminals Are Using Drones To Find And Rob Marijuana Farms

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 19:19

The drones are equipped with infrared cameras to spot the lights used in grow operations.

Borrowing a tactic from the police, some criminals in the U.K. are using drones equipped with infrared cameras to steal or extort from marijuana grow operations.

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New Laser Communication System Could Speed Up Communication Between Astronauts And Earthlings, Thanks To SpaceX and NASA

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 18:59

If a new SpaceX and NASA pilot program succeeds, astronauts will communicate with Mission Control via lasers... and the results could change how the Internet works.

This afternoon, beneath a cloudy sky in Cape Canaveral, a rocket is scheduled to launch with some unusual cargo: a laser communications system for astronauts, the space equivalent of upgrading from dial-up to DSL. NASA's optical laser communications (known as opticom) technology could make it much easier for the International Space Station to share data with Mission Control-and it could change the way our own earthly Internet works as well.

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Nest Expects To Make More From Its Data Than Selling Thermostats

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 18:21

A thermostat is a one-time purchase for consumers, but Nest can continue to make money off partnerships with utility companies.

Google acquired smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion earlier this year, but it turns out the company's most valuable asset isn't its hardware, but rather its data.

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Food Delivery App Eat24 Sponsors Its Own Strains Of Weed

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 18:08

The food delivery app partners with San Francisco dispensary the Vapor Room to name 10 flavors of pot in honor of 4/20.

As weed legalization spreads, there's a new story almost every day on the evolution of the business of marijuana. Now, enterprising brands are getting in the pot partnership game--in honor of 4/20, food delivery app Eat24 now has 10 branded strains at the Vapor Room, a San Francisco delivery-based medical marijuana dispensary. The flavors on the Vapor Room's menu range from Eat24 Silver Sour Chicken to Eat24 Blackberry Ice Cream Kush.

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Here's What Pharrell's "Happy" Sounds Like Without Music

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:10

Spoiler: It's not very happy.

It's amazing that Pharrell's "Happy" still has traction, especially since it was released in November. The music video in particular has inspired more than its fair share of fan tributes, at one point causing the 41-year-old superstar to cry happy tears on Oprah. (Said Pharrell, reflectively, "Why am I crying on Oprah?")

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The Top 5 Leadership Stories, April 14-18

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:00

Some of this week's top stories sounded like we've had our head in the clouds--but really, working less, following your passions, and being more courageous are possible.

Be less annoying on Twitter, more brave in the board room, and smarter about your search engine tactics: Here are the stories you loved in Leadership, for the week of April 14.

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This Is How Much It Costs To Legally Watch A New Game of Thrones Episode

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:34

Assuming you're not watching anything else. Australians, for example, would have to pay $49 minimum per episode. And in the U.S.?

The Game of Thrones premiere two weeks ago notched a record 8.2 million viewers. And you can bet that minutes after the show aired, several million more typed "Game of Thrones s04e01" into BitTorrent.

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Maze-Like Sauna Is A Steamy Winter Retreat

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:00

In Matter Design's Spruce sauna, rooms are nested vertically and ceilings are curved to circulate steam.

Boston-based Matter Design has come up with a sauna that's certain to both relax and intrigue. In this narrow structure, built for a New England farm, you get to your steam room by climbing a series of picturesque, enclosed wooden stairways.

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It Takes A City To Map Blight In Detroit

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:32

Empowered by technology and the dedication of the community to revitalize their city, the Motor City Mapping Project surveyed every piece of land in Detroit in a mere five weeks.

In Detroit, this winter was the worst ever. Not only was the weather brutal, with more than six feet of snow and the harshest conditions of any city in the country, but the city was also grappling with the psychological and economic toll of the massive municipal bankruptcy filed last June.

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Play This Fun Trivia Game To Help Support Sesame Street

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:13

Play Along asks lighthearted true-or-false questions while Cookie Monster watches from the screen. Each correct answer sends a penny his way.

If you're looking for a virtuous way to procrastinate today, check out PlayAlong, a simple trivia game that donates money to children's education every time you get an answer right.

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Don't Be Surprised When You See A "Safe Rides Fee" On Your Next UberX Receipt

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:10

Uber wants its riders and drivers to be safe, but it'll cost an extra buck per ride.

The next time you get scooped up by an UberX driver, don't be surprised when you're charged an extra dollar. On Friday, the service announced it is adding a "safe rides fee" in U.S. cities where UberX ride shares are available. What does that $1 pay for?

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MIT Creates A New Map A Day To Inspire Social Change

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:04

Mapping everything from urban greenery to independent coffee shops, the "You Are Here" project aims to build a whopping 10,000 city maps in total.

Mapping a city used to take an incredibly long time; one 18th century map of London took more than a decade to survey and draw by hand. Now, thanks to easy access to data online, a group of designers, computer scientists, artists, and educators at MIT is able to make at least one new map of a city each day. Eventually, the Social Computing Group hopes to make 100 maps for each of 100 cities, or 10,000 maps in total.

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Samsung's Design Statement Proves It Is A Company Of Robots Bent On Enslaving Man

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:00

To Samsung, good design is "inspired by humans." All the better to enslave them.

When Apple released a statement on its design process last year, the company said, rather poetically, that every great design starts by trying to evoke an emotion in a person's heart.

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A Prettier Wikipedia Design That Could Never Work

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

Even so, you can admire the effort.

Wikipedia's designers are working hard to bring the site's aesthetic into the 21st century. But they need the consensus of the entire (and often wrong) Wikipedia community to make changes to Wikipedia's 32 million+ pages.

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This Barn Looks Like It's Wearing An Invisibility Cloak

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

The architectural folly of a barn in stealth mode, shaped like a parallelogram and wrapped in Mylar.

Wrap a barn in Mylar (formerly of space blankets and birthday balloons) and what do you get? A quasi-invisible barn.

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Can A Cup Of Coffee Make Workers Less Likely To Lie?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

Researchers think so. Sleepy but caffeinated workers are better at resisting social pressure to act unethically.

Go ahead and have another cup of coffee. A new study from the Journal of Applied Psychology says that coffee helps sleep-deprived workers resist social pressure to act unethically.

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The Worst Infographic Of 2014 (So Far)

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

In a baffling move, NBC has turned data on U.S. demographics into a map showing that all Asians live in Maine.

Earlier this week, the NBC Nightly News decided to recreate an infographic originally published by the Pew Research Center, showing the distribution of race and ethnicity in the U.S. from 1960 to 2060. The result is so hilariously thick-headed, it might have already won the title of worst infographic of 2014.

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Fabergé's Big Egg Hunt

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

Fabergé is hosting a very big hunt of very big eggs.

If you've walked around New York City in the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, you may have come across a two-and-a-half-foot-tall egg. It happened to me the other day. There's a large egg with a beige and brown shell perched in the small park outside Fast Company's offices in downtown Manhattan, like a statue dedicated to a fallen hero or a political figure. In truth, it's a temporary art installation: Egg Number 253.

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How Cutting Down On Clutter Can Increase Your Productivity

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

Armed with a label maker and a degree in psychology, Natalie Schrier creates calm out of chaos.

As anyone who has watched an episode of Hoarders knows, holding on to things (especially fossilized cat skeletons) is almost never about the actual thing. There is usually a strong emotional or psychological undercurrent to all that disorder. So it makes sense that when Natalie Schrier, president of New York City-based organization company Cut the Clutter, enters a space, she's doing way more than just finding a place for her clients' stuff.

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