Instagram will soon start cracking down on accounts that use third-party apps to dole out fake likes and followers (FB)

Instagram fighting fake activityInstagram

  • Instagram is cracking down on accounts that use third-party apps to dole out fake likes and follows, the company announced Monday.
  • Using machine learning tools, the photo-sharing platform will remove “inauthentic” likes, which are generated by third-party platforms designed to boost audience growth for users.
  • Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has also worked to take down accounts and pages that have been linked to “inauthentic behavior.”

Influencers and brands who use bot apps to boost their popularity and increase audience growth may be in trouble, thanks to a new initiative Instagram announced Monday.

In a blog post, Instagram said it would start removing fake likes, follows, and comments using “machine learning tools” it had built. The initiative is targeting “inauthentic activity” from third-party apps designed to boost popularity and audience on the platform, Instagram says.

“This type of behavior is bad for the community, and third-party apps that generate inauthentic likes, follows and comments violate our Community Guidelines and Terms of Use,” the blog post says. “Today’s update is just another step in keeping Instagram a vibrant community where people connect and share in authentic ways.”

Third-party apps are often used by influencers and brands who are trying to get more followers and boost their popularity. Users can pay for these apps to generate an abundance of activity for their accounts and hopefully increase their audience.

Accounts that have been identified as users of such third-party apps will receive messages from Instagram that notify them their fake activity has been removed, Instagram said. Instagram will also require such accounts to change their passwords, since third-party apps are given access to users’ passwords and sensitive account info when they pay for these services.

Instagram has attempted to fight such actions of third-party services in the past. Back in August, Instagram rolled out an “About This Account” feature in an effort to let users themselves evaluate the authenticity of other accounts. Instagram shut down a popular third-party app last year called Instagress, however, numerous audience-boosting providers still exist, including Archie, InstarocketProX, and Boostio.

Read more: Here are some of the posts that Facebook says were part of a coordinated misinformation campaign ahead of American elections

While this initiative targeting “inauthentic activity” is Instagram-specific, the platform’s parent company, Facebook, has led several efforts to target “inauthentic behavior,”  including a misinformation “war room” ahead of midterm elections. This has included taking down accounts and profiles from both Facebook and Instagram stemming from Iran and Russia for disseminating fake political news.

Instagram also said Monday that this wasn’t the only action it was taking to fight inauthenticity on the platform, and that it would reveal “additional measures” in the coming weeks.

The blog post warns that users who continue to use third-party apps “may see their Instagram experience impacted.” 

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A dedicated group of 'Fallout 76' players crashed the game's server with a trio of nuclear explosions

Fallout 76 Nukes“Fallout 76” players set off three nuclear bombs at once, resulting in a server crash.“Fallout 76″/Bethesda

  • Released on November 14th, “Fallout 76” is the latest game in the series of post-apocalyptic first-person shooters.
  • The world of “Fallout” has been devastated by nuclear war, and players can acquire their own nuclear weapons at the end of the game with similarly disastrous effects.
  • Nukes are supposed to be hard to get, requiring players to find randomly generated nuclear codes and decipher them individually. But a small group of players has already found a way to streamline the process.
  • YouTuber Nickaroo93 and his friends were able to set off three nukes in the game at the same moment, causing their entire server to crash.

The “Fallout” franchise has always let players wreak havoc in the game’s dystopian world, but with the newest title, “Fallout 76,” which incorporates online multiplayer, the possibilities for chaos have been multiplied many times over.

Though “Fallout 76” is less than a week old, a group of dedicated players have already found a way to crash their game server by detonating multiple nuclear devices at once.

“Fallout 76” takes place in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse and nuclear devices are some of the last available weapons that players can find at the end of the game. Triggering a nuclear explosion has a devastating effect on the game world, clearing out entire towns and spawning powerful mutant enemies that attack players in the area. Nukes are difficult to obtain under normal circumstances, requiring players to find randomly generated nuclear codes and decipher them individually.

Read more: The latest ‘Fallout 76’ game is going to be completely different than any previous ‘Fallout’ game

YouTuber Nickaroo93 and several other players were able to decrypt the game’s nuclear codes with a separate program and decided to launch three of the bombs at the same time. The impact was massive, both in scope and effect.

Fallout 76 NukesMoments after the nukes hit, the mushroom clouds are still floating in the background.“Fallout 76″/Bethesda

Less than a minute after the three nukes hit, the game’s server came to a halt and kicked Nickaroo and the other players on the server back to the game’s main menu. For the time being, the concurrent launch of multiple nukes seems to be more than “Fallout 76” can handle, though future patches to the game could change how nuclear detonations impact the game.

You can see all three nukes in action below:

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What it's like to use the Anova Nano, a $75 sous vide machine that's designed to cook restaurant-quality meals at home

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

61hAy5CbuQL._SL1000_If you’re looking to introduce some sous vide into your supper, the Anova Nano is certainly a good place to start.Amazon

  • You don’t have to tell anyone that you didn’t, in fact, graduate culinary school if you can keep your dinner guests impressed with all the sous vide cooking you’re doing.
  • The Anova Nano, the long-awaited sub-$100 sous vide machine, will help you create meals that taste like they ought to cost $100 (per serving).
  • It’s smaller and actually sleeker than the previous Anova precision cooker offerings, making this one of the most appealing sous vide devices on the market today.
  • Right now, the Anova Nano is $25 off as a Black Friday deal on Amazon. 

If you don’t spill the beans, we won’t either. You didn’t slave over dinner for hours on end, carefully overseeing each component of the meal to ensure that it didn’t go over or wasn’t underdone, nor did you poke and prod your proteins with a thermometer (at the risk of losing all those precious juices) to ensure the proper finish. No, you sly dog — you discovered sous vide cooking, and if you’re the slyest of them all, you probably discovered the Anova Nano.

While equipping your kitchen with the tools to make a five-star meal may have once been outside your budget, that’s no longer the case thanks to the Anova and its newest product, the Anova Nano.

This highly anticipated device was first announced last June, when it was made available for pre-order for home chefs looking to add a bit of French technique into their repertoire. But now, the Anova has been made widely available, and for less than $100, widely accessible, too. In all seriousness, that’s probably less than half the amount you’d need to pay for a meal at a restaurant utilizing sous vide techniques.

61JHRk0nk7L._SL1000_Anova app includes an ever-growing database of recipes and cooking tips, as well as the ability to control your Nano from afar.Amazon

As its name suggests, the Nano is smaller than its siblings, weighing in at a diminutive 1.6 pounds.

That’s still not quite as light as the ChefSteps Joule sous vide stick, but still, it’s nearly a pound lighter than the Anova Precision Cooker 4.0. Plus, it’s just over a foot tall, which is again, much more manageable than the nearly 15-inch original Anova. This new size not only makes it a bit easier to handle once it’s in the pot, but also makes for easier storage. After all, if you’re at the point in your cooking career that you’re adding not just spatulas and whisks but sous vide machines, you probably already have drawers full of culinary tools and appliances.

Unlike the other Anova units, the Nano is entirely made of plastic, which frankly, doesn’t really bother me. It allows for a more streamlined aesthetic (a la the Joule), and of course, cuts down on the weight. Moreover, the Nano features a built-in clamp, which makes it a bit easier to attach to pots and water containers.

81u2u5XGa5L._SL1500_If you’d rather cook without your smartphone, you can control everything on the Nano with its slightly shrunken display.Amazon

The Nano doesn’t have the same Wi-Fi capabilities as the most expensive option in the Anova lineup, but honestly, you won’t miss it.

You still have access to the Anova app, which includes the same, ever-growing database of recipes and cooking tips, as well as the ability to control your Nano from afar. It’s also a very quiet machine — of course, it’s not as though other sous vide sticks sound like blenders, but it is worth noting that with the decrease in size, it seems that Anova has also managed to make the Nano even more whisper quiet than before.

If you’d rather cook without your smartphone (rather than risk dropping it into a precisely controlled pot of water), you can control everything on the Nano with its slightly shrunken display. The LED indicators are still just as useful, and you can still increase times and temperatures from the device itself, but because it’s gotten a bit smaller, you may find yourself wishing you had slightly more delicate fingers. Or, maybe it’s just a good way to get the kids involved in the actual dinner preparation process, rather than just inviting them in for the finished product.

71P5MSSzUOL._SL1000_This new size not only makes it a bit easier to handle once it’s in the pot, but also makes for easier storage.Amazon

Otherwise, you can use the new and improved Anova Culinary App, which will come with MultiStep and MultiCook features in a future software update. The former allows you to tell the Nano to raise or lower the cooking time and temperature for different parts of your meal, whereas the latter allows you to keep tabs on multiple Anova Precision Cookers at the same time.

In short, if you’re looking to introduce some sous vide into your supper, the Anova Nano is certainly a good place to start.  

Buy the Anova Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker at Amazon for $75 (normally $99) [You save $24] 

Looking for more deals? We’ve rounded up the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on the internet.

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Elon Musk says he's open to working with Mercedes-Benz on an electric van (TSLA)

elon muskTesla CEO Elon Musk.Francois Mori / Associated Press
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Monday via Twitter that the automaker might make an electric van and will reach out to Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, about a potential collaboration.
  • When asked if a photo he had posted of a Tesla repair van was made by the automaker, Musk replied, “No, but perhaps in a few years.”
  • “Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van. We will inquire,” Musk later said.
  • Tesla declined a request for comment, and Daimler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Monday via Twitter that the automaker might make an electric van and will reach out to Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, about a potential collaboration.

When asked if a photo he had posted of a Tesla repair van was made by the automaker, Musk replied, “No, but perhaps in a few years.”

Musk later said he would reach out to Daimler to discuss a possible collaboration on an electric version of its Sprinter van.

“Maybe interesting to work with Daimler/Mercedes on an electric Sprinter. That’s a great van. We will inquire,” Musk said.

Tesla declined a request for comment, and Daimler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: We visited a Tesla store and a Mercedes-Benz dealership — here are the biggest differences between the two

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in October that the automaker would not rule out working with Tesla in the future, though he said he did not regret selling Daimler’s 4% stake in Tesla in 2014.

Daimler will release an electric version of its Sprinter van in 2019. Daimler has said the van will have a range of up to around 93 miles.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at

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Apple charges a ton of money for built-in storage — here's how to get around it (AAPL)

  • Having more built-in storage certainly has its benefits, but there are ways to get more storage for your various computers without paying the so-called Apple Tax.

Apple is known for making expensive products, like iPhones and iPads.

The products themselves don’t always start out costly, but one of the ways Apple makes more money from its products is by charging more money for added built-in storage.

Take the new iPad Pro: The 11-inch tablet starts at $799 for 64 GB of storage. But if you want the maximum storage option for the new iPad — 1 terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes — you’ll have to pay $750 on top of that base cost of $799. You’re basically paying for a second iPad, even though you’re only getting more storage, not a second device.

The original iPad from eight years ago, by comparison, started at $499 for 16 GB of storage, and could cost as much as $699 for 64 GB. These days, you’re getting more storage than ever before, but it will cost you.

Apple’s storage strategy isn’t limited to iPads

Here are the storage and pricing options for the iPhone XS. You have to pay $350, or one-third the price of the phone itself, to get a half-terabyte of storage:


And here’s the storage and pricing for the new MacBook Air. You have to pay $1,200 more for max storage, but the computer itself costs $1,200 to begin with!


And here’s the storage and pricing for the new 2018 Mac Mini. You’re paying $1,600 — double the price of the Mac Mini, which starts at $800 — to reach max storage:


Yes, Apple’s storage tiers have changed considerably over the years: 64 gigabytes, the maximum storage option for iPads in 2010, is now the starting storage option for the iPad Pro in 2018, for example.

The math even sounds like it favors Apple: Back in 2010, $200 only gave your iPad an extra 48 GB of storage. These days, you can spend just $150 and get an extra 192 GB of built-in storage. That sounds pretty good!

But the historical context of Apple’s storage pricing matters little in the end — customers will only care that Apple’s built-in storage costs significantly more than what you’d find on the market in terms of external storage. Whereas Apple charges customers $750 to get a full terabyte of storage on their new iPad Pro, sites like Amazon and Best Buy list 2-terabyte external hard drives for as little as $80.

There are benefits to choosing Apple’s built-in storage over external storage, of course. Built-in storage works faster and is generally safer to use, since improperly unplugging external storage drives can result in data loss or damage. But you’ll find that many people are willing to sacrifice a little risk, and a little efficiency, if it means saving hundreds of dollars, especially when you’re getting the same amount of storage at the end of the day for a fraction of the price. My recommendation: As long as you’re careful and patient, getting storage elsewhere can lead to some big cost savings.

How to get around Apple’s limited storage

If you don’t want to buy Apple’s built-in storage, you can buy an external device, like a hard drive or a flash drive, that plugs into the USB port to give you more room for your files and documents. You can find tons of external storage options from Seagate, Toshiba, and SanDisk on Amazon, for instance.

But that’s for Mac computers. Unfortunately, iOS devices like iPhones and iPads are incompatible with external storage. Even the new iPad Pro that launched this month doesn’t work with external hard drives, despite the move to replace Lightning charging with USB-C.

If you want external storage that will work across your Mac computers and iOS devices, the best solution is cloud storage, which is pretty affordable.

Read more: We compared Google Drive with Apple’s iCloud and Dropbox to find the best cloud storage solution — and the winner is clear

Apple’s iCloud, and even services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive are relatively inexpensive or free, even if you need a ton of storage. iCloud, in particular, is baked into iOS and makes it pretty easy to find and access your computer files — plus it’s relatively cheap, as you can get 50GB of storage for just $0.99 a month. You can learn more about the best cloud storage options here, and iCloud’s pricing options here.

In general, just consider how much storage you’ll actually need before buying a new Apple device with a ton of built-in storage.

You may not need much: If you have an Apple device already, you can see how much storage you’re currently using by visiting your System Preferences in iOS, or the “About this Mac” page on your Mac computer. Then, figure out how much more storage you need.

Sometimes, the best solution is buying a big external hard drive with way more storage than you’ll ever need and calling it a day. But you might also want to consider cloud storage, which costs a little bit each month but gives you access your files from more hardware, whether it’s Apple-made or not.

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Pilots working for airlines that transport packages for Amazon are not happy — and many are considering quitting, a survey found (AMZN)

Prime Air planeSome pilots feel “disenfranchised,” according to one captain.Stephen Brashear / Stringer / Getty Images

  • Amazon Air relies upon cargo airliners like Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air to transport its packages.
  • But pilots from those airlines say they’re getting fed up with pay and benefits that they say are below industry standards.
  • A survey of pilots at those carriers, conducted by the Teamsters Local 1224 union of the Airline Professionals Association, found that 60% of respondents said they plan to leave their current airline.

Pilots working for the group of airlines responsible for making Amazon Air deliveries aren’t happy, a recent union survey found.

And a lot of them are considering leaving the airlines that Amazon Air relies upon, according to a recent survey from the Teamsters Local 1224 union of the Airline Professionals Association.

The survey, which wrapped up on Monday and featured responses from more than 1,200 pilots, found that 60% said they plan to leave their current airline. The survey was sent out to all 2,170 crew members at Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air, via email.

These pilots don’t work for Amazon directly.

Amazon Air is a brand that operates through cargo airline subsidiaries of Atlas Air Worldwide and the Air Transport Services Group, including Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air. As part of the arrangement between these companies and the tech giant, pilots from these airlines operate Amazon Air’s branded aircraft in order to make deliveries. Those airlines also cater to DHL, a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL.

prime air“They have to start all over again at the carrier they go to,” Captain Robert Kirchner told Business Insider.Ted S. Warren / AP Images

Switching airlines can set back a pilot’s career

This isn’t the first rumble from the pilots, though. There have been a number of strikes and protests. But the fact that so many pilots are considering quitting is still striking, according to Captain Robert Kirchner, Atlas pilot and executive council chairman of Teamsters Local 1224.

That’s because the airline industry operates on a seniority-based system, he said.

“When a captain leaves here after 10 or 15 years, he or she is leaving 15 years behind,” Kirchner told Business Insider. “They have to start all over again at the carrier they go to.”

Kirchner said that even though a captain “may be the most experienced person at the airline,” they must start from the bottom when they join a new carrier. Moving around can therefore be detrimental to a pilot’s career.

Kirchner said that quitting an airline could amount to a “big sacrifice” and that he’s seen captains with 18 years of experience walk away from Atlas.

“If you’re a doctor or a business person, then you can go to another company and get your current job or higher,” he said. “In the airline industry, you can’t do that. There’s less pay, you don’t get the schedules you want, you don’t get the vacation you want, until you start getting higher up.”

atlas airThe survey indicated that morale is low among pilots at ABX Air, Atlas Air, and Southern Air.Michael Sohn / AP Images

Pilots are feeling ‘disenfranchised’

He said that Atlas’ partnership with Amazon brought about an expansion that the airline couldn’t keep up with. Amazon, which owns a 20% stake in Atlas and is one of its most important clients, could fix the problem by telling the airline to up its standards, according to Kirchner.

A spokesperson for Amazon Air told Business Insider referred questions about the working environment at Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air to the airlines themselves, and said that the company was pleased with the carriers’ performance and ability to scale.

But Kirchner described an atmosphere of frustration and apathy among pilots.

“A lot of the pilots coming in here, because of that, feel disenfranchised and aren’t committed to the business or to the company,” Kirchner told Business Insider. “They say, ‘I’m only going to stay for a couple of years until I get my qualifications up. And then I’m going on to FedEx, UPS, United.'”

He said that Atlas currently has a “tremendous turnover rate” because the airline offers salaries and benefits that pilots say are beneath the industry standard. He said that 72% of Atlas pilots have been with the carrier for less than five years.

When asked in the survey if they felt that morale was high among their fellow pilots, 86% of ABX pilots, 76% of Atlas pilots, and 51% of Southern pilots said they “strongly disagreed.”

“I’ve had crew members on my flights, and they’ll just come out and tell me that they really don’t care,” Kirchner said. “‘I don’t care about this company. I don’t care if it survives. I don’t care if Amazon’s packages get to where they’re supposed to go. I just don’t care.’ And that’s a sad situation.”

A spokesperson at Atlas Air Worldwide said that the company valued its pilots right to express their opinions.

“The commentary from the pilot union, however, is part of an overall campaign to put public pressure on the company with respect to our next labor contract,” the spokesperson said. “The union’s campaign has included the dissemination of false and/or misleading statements.”

A spokesperson for Air Transport Services did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment. 

amazon air“There’s nothing like experienced employees,” Kirchner said.Ted S. Warren / AP Images

Pilots worry about their airlines’ ability to recruit and retain talent

The survey also found that 80% of the pilots strongly disagreed when asked if they were happy with their pay and benefits, while 91% said they felt their airline’s pay and benefits didn’t meet industry standards.

Kirchner said that in 2015, about 100 pilots quit Atlas. That number jumped to 198 in 2017. This year, Kirchner estimated that the number would approach 300.

“They tried to hire 379 pilots in 2018,” he said. “They only got 285 to show up to class, which is unheard of in the industry.”

At ABX, Atlas, and Southern, 81% to 87% of pilots reported that they strongly agreed that they were worried about their carrier “being able to recruit and retain experienced pilots.”

In the survey, 65% of respondents said they’d been asked to fly on their off-days in the past year. And Kirchner said that Atlas pilots receive fewer vacations than pilots at their competitors to start with.

“We’ve never seen this much flying on days off at the airline, which is further proof of how short they are in the pilot ranks,” Kirchner said.

Kirchner said that he didn’t believe that the situation at Atlas Air or Air Transport Services would erode industry standards across the board. He singled out UPS and FedEx for providing their pilots with appropriate compensation and time off. And in the survey, 83% to 74% of respondents said they’d like to fly for FedEx or UPS.

“There’s nothing like experienced employees,” Kirchner said. “Companies like Amazon and DHL need on-time, reliable service — and we’re already seeing that deteriorate. As long as they keep turning a blind eye to this, the problem is going to get worse and worse and worse.”

Here’s the full statement from Atlas Air Worldwide:

“We value the service of our pilots and appreciate their right to express their opinions. The commentary from the pilot union, however, is part of an overall campaign to put public pressure on the company with respect to our next labor contract.

The union’s campaign has included the dissemination of false and/or misleading statements. It also included an illegal slowdown that the union was ordered to stop a year ago by the U.S. federal court in Washington, D.C. That injunction remains in place today.

As background, our business has grown substantially over the past several years, during which we have not only created hundreds of new pilot jobs but have also met our customer demands with highly reliable service. As our business continues to grow and develop, with opportunities to expand in existing and new markets, we continue to provide pilots opportunities for ongoing career growth and advancement.

We will continue to address work rules, pay and time off with our pilots as we work through our contract negotiations. We remain committed to negotiating one competitive collective-bargaining agreement for all of our pilots in accordance with the terms of our existing labor agreements, which recognizes our pilots’ valued contributions.”

Are you a pilot working at Atlas Air, Southern, Air, ABX Air, or another airline that counts Amazon as a client? Email

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The Echo Spot is one of Amazon's most innovative Alexa devices — and it's on sale for $90 for Black Friday (AMZN)

Echo SpotElaine Thompson/AP

Amazon’s Echo Spot is in an unusual position in the Echo family. 

It has a screen, but not one big enough for serious video-watching. It’s small, but not as small as the Echo Dot. It can play music, but it doesn’t sound as good as the Echo or Echo Show. 

So, what is it for?

After I tested the Spot for several weeks, I’m still not really sure. At launch, the Echo Spot’s primary purpose seemed to be acting as a smart alarm clock for your bedside table or nightstand. It can certainly do that, but it also seems a bit overqualified for the position. 

The Echo Spot has Alexa. It can make video calls, play music videos, make visual lists and reminders, and play music. And — of course — it can display the time. 

It does all the things a regular Echo can do, but it does them with a 2.5-inch touchscreen. 

Here’s what it’s like to use the Echo Spot. 

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Thanksgiving travel can be a nightmare — here's what time you should leave for the holiday to avoid traffic, according to Google data

Los Angeles TrafficKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

  • Thanksgiving travel can be a headache — but the earlier you get on the road, the better, according to Google data. 
  • Using Maps data from last year, Google engineers deciphered the optimum time to leave in dozens of major US cities.
  • The downside: most of the optimum times are very, very early in the morning. 

More than 54 million Americans will hit the road this week to celebrate the Thanksgiving with friends and family this year, according to AAA.

And as anyone who’s traveled in the days surrounding the holiday knows, all those cars on the road will only lead to one thing: traffic.

Engineers at Google took baseline data from Google Maps to find out the best times to leave in order to avoid bottlenecks  — but some of the options might be even less appealing than sitting in a freeway-turned-parking lot.

In New York, for example, the best time to leave is 4 a.m. on Wednesday. The best time to return is even worse: Friday at 4 a.m.

Google traffic thanksgiving dataGoogle

Traffic tends to peak at about the same time on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, in the late afternoon. There’s also a slight bump near 7 a.m. as the early birds hit the road.

Read more: This image of gridlock traffic in LA makes Uber’s plans for flying cars seem like a great idea

“For determining traffic conditions, we considered the ‘Thanksgiving Holiday Period’ to start the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and end the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” the team writes. “We analyzed the total number of cars on the road at a given time, as determined by the speed and location of Android phones that have location services enabled. All traffic information is anonymous and taken in aggregate for 25 US cities and nationally.”

You can use Google’s interactive tool to see the best times for your city. But be warned, most of the best times are extremely early in the morning, just like New York.

Luckily, there’s an option for daytime-only travel. But even then, your best off departing right at 6 a.m.

Check out the handy interactive tool here. 

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The Tesla of China spikes as short seller Andrew Left sees 'little resistance' for Nio to surge 60% (NIO)

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TeslaofChina NioHouse (5 of 25)

  • Shares of Nio, seen as the Tesla of China, will rally to $12, Andrew Left’s Citron Research said in a note on Monday.
  • Left recently turned bullish on Tesla, and Monday’s note shows that his optimism about the electric-car industry also applies to Nio. 
  • Nio is “not just a car company,” but “a lifestyle and a brand that is ready to disrupt,” the note said.
  • Watch Nio trade in real time here.

Shares of Nio, widely seen as the Tesla of China, soared as much as 12% — touching an intraday high of $8.21 — after short seller Andrew Left said he sees a 60% upside for the stock.

The “path to $12 should have little resistance,” Citron Research, Left’s firm, said in a note published Monday. 

“Just like Tesla was not a simple US electric car story, Nio is so much more than just a Chinese electric car story. Nio’s visionary management is revolutionizing the high-end auto industry in China.”

Left turned bullish on Tesla in October, saying the company is “destroying the competition.” His support for Tesla came as a surprise for some because he had filed a lawsuit against the company in September, alleging CEO Elon Musk was trying to burn short sellers like himself.

Monday’s note shows that Left’s bullish views on the electric-car industry also apply to Nio, a Tesla  competitor. According to Citron, the Chinese EV automaker is “not just a car company,” but “a lifestyle and a brand that is ready to disrupt.”

“Nio is a brand that is connecting with a new generation of Chinese consumers by creating a moat of which even Tesla would be envious. The dealerships — called Nio Houses — are not just places to buy cars. They are ‘trendy club’ style spaces where Nio customers and prospects socialize and can utilize a variety of features dedicated to members (e.g., living room, lounge area, library, meeting space, work lab, open kitchen, and discovery area for children).”

Nio went public on the New York Stock Exchange on September 12. The stock gained huge media attention when it nearly doubled on the second day of its initial public offering. Shares fell below the IPO price in October and recovered a bit but are still 30% below their record high set on September 13. 

The four-year-old Chinese EV startup backed by tech giant Tencent has many big-name shareholders. Baillie Gifford & Co, Tesla’s largest investor after Elon Musk, disclosed in October that they owned 85.3 million NIO shares, or an 11% stake in the Chinese car maker. And Vanguard and Morgan Stanley disclosed last week that they purchased 19 million and 12 million shares respectively during the most recent quarter, according to Citron Research.

Nio shares have gained 26% since going public in September.

Read more stories on the Tesla of China:


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This team of 17-year-old high-school seniors in California created a device that could help prevent future wildfires

Smart Wildfire SensorSanjana Shah and Aditya ShahAditya Shah

  • Sanjana Shah and Aditya Shah are seniors at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California who have created a device for helping predict and prevent wildfires. 
  • Their device, dubbed the “Smart Wildfire Sensor,” captures photos of nearby fallen branches and leaves (known as “fuel”) and uses machine learning to categorize and determine wildfire threat levels. 
  • Today, forest crews do not have real-time fuel conditions because they have to send out teams to physically record this information. 
  • Sanjana and Aditya have entered their Smart Wildfire Sensor into Google‘s AI for Social Good program, which will provide $25 million in grant funding to winning teams. 

Sanjana Shah was interning at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the summer of 2017 when a wildfire caught in the nearby hills.

She and her co-workers were told to immediately leave the lab, evacuating with the red flames and black smoke at their backs. Sanjana made it to the nearest library on Berkeley’s campus and texted her parents, letting them know she needed a ride home early that day.

“It was just a really traumatic experience,” Sanjana remembers. She was 15 years old.

Two years later, Sanjana and her Monta Vista High School classmate Aditya Shah (the two aren’t related though they share the same last name) teamed up to try and fight an issue close to their hearts — wildfires. The 17-year-old Cupertino, California natives have both witnessed the destruction wildfires can cause (most recently with the Camp Fire, around 150 miles from the Bay Area) and are putting their bright, engineering minds together to find a better solution.

“The current problem with wildfire prediction is that forest crews do not have up-to-date fuel conditions in real-time because they physically have to go to each and every single forest site and classify fuels manually,” Sanjana told Business Insider. “We’re trying to prevent all of this manual labor from happening by predicting where a wildfire could occur in the first place.”

The two are creating what they call a “Smart Wildfire Sensor” to help predict areas of a forest that are highly susceptible to wildfires and provide alerts to local fire departments.

Smart Wildfire SensorAditya Shah

Their device, which is still in its beta phase, works by being afixed to trees every square mile or so in a forest, capturing images of nearby, fallen branches, and leaves. Those photos are then classified using machine learning into 13 different categories of varying threat. Sanjana and Aditya are using an open-source machine-learning tool by Google called TensorFlow to process and categorize the photos.

When implemented, alerts will be sent to nearby fire crews when the forest fuel density and dryness reach a certain threat level.

“Especially in the last month with the Camp Fire taking around 60 lives, knowing that our device is actually able to prevent wildfires from occurring in the first place and knowing that we’ve been able to hone the technology in our generation to solve problems that have been existing for millions and millions of years,” Sanjana explains, “That’s the satisfaction we’ll receive after we’re done with the prototype to prove that it actually works.”

Sanjana and Aditya are already in talks with Cal Fire to begin testing their Smart Wildfire Sensor, though discussions have been halted due to the recent fires.

Read more: Authorities are still searching for the remaining 993 missing people after the Camp Fire roared through Paradise

The high school senior duo are also entering their device to compete in Google’s AI for Social Good program, which will provide $25 million in grant funding to teams who are “[using] AI to help address some of the world’s greatest social, humanitarian and environmental problems,” according to the company’s website. 

If they were to receive funding from Google, Aditya says, “that would be really amazing. We would definitely use that money to benefit the social good by combating wildfires using our Smart Wildfire Sensor and developing it further.”

As for skipping college if they were awarded, say, $5 million from Google’s program, Sanjana and Aditya both said that idea wasn’t on their minds.

“We both think education is really important to us,” Sanjana says. “We’re both interested in engineering, whether it’s biology or computer software. We’re really interested to further our education. So we’d definitely be continuing our education even if we were to win $5 million.”

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