Headlines 

Amazon Alexa spouted conspiracy theory when asked about chemtrails

Ask Alexa about chemtrails, and she’ll tell you it’s a government conspiracy. Seriously. “Chemtrails: Trails left by aircraft are actually chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for a purpose undisclosed to the general public in clandestine programs directed by government officials,” my Amazon Echo responds when asked “What’s a chemtrail.” SEE ALSO: Alexa now understands casual time-based music requests — but there’s a catch Image: Mashable Screenshot Let’s be clear, here. Chemtrails are not “biological agents deliberately sprayed” by “government officials,” despite what the popular conspiracy theory…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Alexa has literally lost her voice as users report outages and unresponsiveness

Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant seems to be down this morning. We’ve been hearing reports over the last hour of either delayed responses or just total loss of connection. While Amazon doesn’t have a status page for its consumer products, Down Detector is reporting a huge spike in Alexa-related complaints over the last hour. For example, Alexa is giving me replies like “I’m not sure what went wrong”, “sorry, something went wrong”, or a loud chime followed by “sorry, your echo dot lost its connection” and the red ring of sadness. The problem…

Read More
Headlines 

Would Delivery Drones Be All That Efficient? Depends Where You Live

If the idea of swarms of delivery drones dropping packages all over our cities started out as a joke, for some reason the punchline hasn’t landed yet. Amazon applied for a patent in 2015 for a command center, like a beehive, plopped into your city, which isn’t a worrying metaphor at all. Google has its own program in the works, which at least for the moment involves delivering burritos. Again, if this is a joke, it’s got a very long fuse. Forget about the insane logistics of such a system…

Read More
Headlines 

Amazon is stepping into healthcare

Jeff BezosImage: ROB LATOUR/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK Alexa, make healthcare better.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is finally publicly stepping into the healthcare industry. Amazon has teamed up with banking giant JPMorgan and holding company Berkshire Hathaway to start a healthcare business, the companies announced on Tuesday.  SEE ALSO: Amazon Music Unlimited is getting even more unlimited Per typical tech company fashion, the initiative’s goal is to disrupt an old industry by providing technological solutions and, in turn, simplify and decrease the expenses of the process for consumers. The new initiative does not have…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Jeff Bezos donates $33 million to fund college scholarships for Dreamers

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are donating $33 million in the form of a scholarship grant to help 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school graduates with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status attend college. The Bezos grant comes through TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for Dreamers. The organization, which is less than four years old, says this is the largest grant it has ever received. In partnership with more than 70 low-cost colleges in 15 states, TheDream.US offers individual students $33,000 in scholarship aid over four years to help…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

How to Hijack Amazons Prime Now for Good

There are services that are now capable of delivering products in a matter of hours instead of days. YouTuber Rob Bliss decided to try to use the service to deliver helpful products to those in need. When he asked people what they needed, Rob said the most requested items were: socks, backpacks, sleeping bags, underwear, water, and hygiene kits. But what if you don’t have time to go get those things? People want to help but may be in a rush themselves somewhere. His hope is that Amazon and/or other…

Read More
Headlines 

People Cant Stop Trolling This $9000 Swiss Army Knife On Amazon, And Here Are 46 Of The Funniest Reviews

With over 87 implements, the sleek and subtle device is able to perform over 141 functions, from apple coring to fish scaling. It’s a steal at just $9000 plus shipping, meaning you won’t feel so bad about the second mortgage you’ll need to take out to pay for it. According to users, if you leave the knife in your car overnight, it’ll even fix it up, drive it into town, and return with 2 hookers and a cooler full of beer. Now that’s value! Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-wenger-swiss-army-knife-amazon-reviews/

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Amazon is officially making a Lord of the Rings TV series

The Lord of the RingsWith reports earlier this month, Amazon revealed that it’s creating a series that’s set in Middle-earth and “explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s ” and with the possibility of spinoff series. The Lord of the RingsThe Lord of the RingsThe announcement comes several months after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told to basically Game of ThronesLord of the Ringsreportedly cost $250 millionGame of Thrones“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for ,” said Matt…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Jeff Bezos Just Tossed A Nail-Studded Baseball Bat On The Floor Between The Mayors Of Pittsburgh And Kansas City And Asked Who Really Wants The Second Amazon HQ

As Amazon executives review bids placed by cities who want to house the company’s second headquarters, it’s anyone’s guess who will win out. But we may now have a clue who the early frontrunners are: Tech insiders are reporting that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just tossed a nail-studded baseball bat on the floor during a meeting with the mayors of Pittsburgh and Kansas City and asked them to prove how much they want the second Amazon headquarters. Industry experts say the civic leaders initially laughed off Bezos’ suggestion, but are…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

A bunch of Amazon customers were told about a purchase on their non-existent baby registries

Something weird is going on over at Amazon. It seems the online retail giant is randomly telling some customers about purchases on their baby registry. The problem is these customers say they don’t have a baby registry — and some don’t even have a baby. Retailers regularly keep tabs on our purchases so they can retarget us with ads and notifications based on that data in hopes we come back and buy again. You might remember the story about Target’s ability to predict a teenage girl was pregnant back in 2012…

Read More
Headlines 

Amazon customers now have even more options for in-store returns

Image: Getty Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Amazon customers now have a growing list of options when it comes to returning their online purchases in person. In addition to any of the hundreds of Whole Foods supermarkets across the country, certain Kohl’s stores will now accept returns of “eligible items” as part of a retail partnership between the two companies that began earlier this summer. SEE ALSO: Amazon’s out of the original Amazon Echo right now, and they won’t say why The hassle of sending back unwanted products can be one of…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Nestl acquires a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee at a valuation north of $700M

Blue Bottle Coffee, one of Silicon Valley’s favorite coffee projects, is selling a majority stake to Nestlé in a big semi-acquisition this morning that’s no doubt going to validate a lot of interest in the potential of coffee markets. Nestlé is acquiring a 68% stake in the company, and it t looks like the leadership of the company isn’t changing as part of this deal. The Financial Times is reporting that Nestle is paying up to $500 million at a valuation north of $700 million, which we understand is in…

Read More
Headlines 

Walmart is gobbling up trendy e-commerce brands in its war against Amazon

ModCloth employees model swimwear to promote body positivity in 2015. The company is now owned by Walmart.Image: ModCloth/REX/Shutterstock ModCloth knit tops and vibrant Bonobos pants aren’t the sort of items you’d expect to find in the sales racks of a Walmart Supercenter. Both brands cater to urban millennials with hip fashion sensibilities and steep price tags that suggest a style tier above your average big-box store. Yet their loyal customers must now begrudgingly count themselves as Walmart shoppers, thanks to the retail giant’s acquisitive appetite. SEE ALSO: Google and Walmart…

Read More