Facebook and Microsoft’s big undersea cable is finally finished

More than 17,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, there now lies the “most technologically advanced subsea cable,” providing up to 160 terabits (Tbps) of data per second — beating Google’s alternative, now poorly named, “Faster.” The cable is the handiwork of Facebook, Microsoft, and Spanish telecommunication company Telxius. 

Construction on the cable, which stretches 4,000 miles from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, began in August 2016. Microsoft announced its completion on Thursday, but it won’t be operational until early 2018. 

Facebook, Microsoft, and Telxius will jointly own the cable, which weighs almost 10.25 million pounds — as much as 34 blue whales. Telxius will serve as the cable’s operator and will sell and lease its capacity to outside service providers. Microsoft and Facebook will use the cable to serve their own capacity needs. 

Marea coiled on a ship

Marea coiled on a ship

Image: microsoft

Most transatlantic communication cables connect to the U.S. in either New York and New Jersey, but having the Marea as its called (meaning “tide” in Spanish) connect in Virginia diversifies connectivity between the U.S. and Europe. Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York and New Jersey in 2012, disconnected North America from Europe for several days.

“The superstorm sparked the realization that another major event could disrupt the vital connectivity lifeline across the Atlantic,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “As part of its ongoing efforts to drive innovation and expand capacity of its global network, Microsoft sought options for making transatlantic connections more resilient.” 

Microsoft will not disclose the amount of its investment, or how much its partners have paid. 

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Sportscaster Dale Hansen’s take on the #TakeAKnee protests is an absolute must-watch

Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen is a fixture of the sports media scene, and his “Unplugged” segment on ABC affiliate WFAA has never shied away from the sometimes-insidious politics of the sports world. 

On Monday, Hansen nailed it again, defending the #TakeAKnee protests that swept the NFL last weekend in a clip that’s quickly becoming required viewing on Twitter. 

Most notably, he refuted the notion that a protest during the national anthem is inherently disrespectful to veterans. (Hansen served in Vietnam.)

“My best friend in high school was killed in Vietnam,” Hansen said. “Carroll Meir will be 18 years old forever. And he did not die so that you can decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.”

Hansen also took several shots at Trump, including at the president’s decision to call players who protest “sons of bitches” despite “[saying] nothing for days” about the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.

“If you don’t think white privilege is a fact, then you don’t understand America,” he said.

You can watch the full video below.

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Obama, Bush, and Clinton enjoy a nice, relaxing game of golf without Trump

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all got together on Thursday to watch a nice, relaxing game of golf. 

The three were all smiles and sat together during the Presidents Cup golf tournament in Jersey City, New Jersey, snapping selfies and hamming it up with the crowd. 


Missing from the event was current President Donald Trump, who is expected to attend the tournament on Sunday. We’d expect nothing less from a man who criticized Obama for playing golf during his time in office, but has since visited golf courses 60 times as president, playing at least 24 times. 

Regardless, these dudes had a great time! 

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

While the lack of Trump at the competition isn’t necessarily a dig at the current president, the former presidents have previously banded together to raise funding for relief efforts after Harvey, without Trump.


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‘America’s Team’ kneeled before the national anthem on Monday Night Football



The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem played before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem played before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

The Dallas Cowboys are about as American as American football gets, and even they kneeled before their game Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals. 

To be clear, “America’s Team” — along with its famous billionaire owner Jerry Jones — kneeled before the national anthem on Monday Night Football. 

That’s not quite the same as kneeling during the anthem. Still, some fans booed the team after the gesture was over. 

The move comes after a weekend in which more than 200 players kneeled, sat, or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem before NFL games across the country in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. 

President Donald Trump ranted Friday about protesting NFL players at a rally in Alabama. 

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!’”

That unleashed an avalanche of criticism from pro athletes, including NBA superstar LeBron James. 

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Philips and ICRC want to change the world

Another year, another chance to improve lives around the world. 

This year’s Social Good Summit, held at the historic 92nd Street Y in New York, was a whirlwind of inspiration. A full roster of panelists included changemakers, global citizens, and progressive thought leaders from around the world. Collectively, they inspired a packed audience with ideas on some of the tangible changes we can make to the world around us in our lifetime. 

Held during the United Nations General Assembly week, Social Good Summit attendees met to discuss the state of the world today and how it could look by the year 2030. 

Among the many companies in attendance was health technology company Philips, who discussed the work it does with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). While there, Philips also unveiled a new consumer initiative called Better Me, Better World.

Better Me, Better World provides consumers with personal benefits while giving them the opportunity to help prioritize the causes that Philips will support through the Philips Foundation in 2018. Addressing health topics that range from community access to healthcare and first aid training, to ensuring healthy lifestyles for children, are at the heart of the Philips Foundation’s mission to reduce health inequality through meaningful innovation. It does this by deploying the expertise, knowledge, and innovative skills of Philips in collaborative projects with humanitarian organizations — such as the ICRC — to design, adopt, and deploy solutions that are sustainable and inclusive.

The Chairman of The Philips Foundation, Ronald de Jong, and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, took the stage at SGS to talk about their partnership and share a very practical example of how they were working together to improve the lives of women and children in Africa. 

“The world is becoming a more complex place every day,” said de Jong. “We need to work together with parties who have a common understanding of what it takes to make a meaningful difference to people by 2030.” 

The duo premiered a video on stage that focused on how Philips delivered low-tech, high impact healthcare innovation for pregnant women in Africa and Southeast Asia, known as The High Risk Pregnancy Toolkit. 

The stats in the video weren’t easy to swallow: 160,000 African women die in childbirth each year, and 300,000 babies die during labor. Composed of instructional cards and a double-headed, battery free, fetoscope (fetal stethoscope), the High Risk Pregnancy Toolkit will assist healthcare workers in detecting the signs of at-risk pregnancies in women living in remote and fragile environments. The toolkit is being deployed by the ICRC to 75,000 women in up to eight African countries.

In 2014, Philips pledged to support the United Nation’s Every Woman Every Child initiative, committing to improve the lives of at least 100 million women and children in Africa and South East Asia by 2025. This year, Philips is increasing that commitment to 300 million people in underserved markets, thereby recognizing the often critical needs of women and children in many communities. Compounding this need is the added burden that arises from the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in communities already struggling without adequate access to healthcare.

SGS was a day packed with impressive and important goals — and actionable solutions for helping citizens around the world. Want to become part of those solutions? Choose the causes that The Philips Foundation should focus on in 2018 and become part of a better tomorrow.

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576 border collies gathered together for a borking good time

A magical thing happened on Sunday: 576 border collies with smiling faces gathered together, apparently breaking the unofficial record for the most border collies in one place at one time.

The event, which was put on by the Border Collie Owners of South Australia, was held in Willaston Oval. The group confirmed on its Facebook page that 576 collies attended the event (though we have to admit, we see some Australian shepherds in there, but we’re not judging because they’re all good dogs).

According to the Australia outlet News.com, the pups raised over $6,000 for charity, and broke the previous unofficial record of 503 dogs, which TV veterinarian Dr. Katrina Warren organized in 2013. 

The Guinness Book of World Records does not recognize breed-specific accomplishments, so sadly, the record will remain unofficial. 

Whatever, just look at these dogs. 

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#TakeAKnee protests are about police violence, not the military or the Constitution



Thirty-two Denver Broncos players took the knee on Sunday.
Thirty-two Denver Broncos players took the knee on Sunday.

Image: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

An unprecedented number of NFL players kneeled or otherwise protested during pre-game national anthems this Sunday after Donald Trump spent his weekend feuding with the league over the peaceful act.

The hashtag #TakeAKnee (and a variant, #TakeTheKnee) trended on Twitter all day Saturday and Sunday as players and some team owners and front offices defied the president’s repeated attacks with public statements and on-field shows of solidarity.

And despite players’ repeated explanations of the intention behind their decision to kneel or raise a fist, it seems there’s still a lot of (sometimes willful) misunderstanding about why they’re doing so.

Ever since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick started his protest last September, he’s been clear about the fact that there’s no intent to disrespect the military, the country’s bedrock values, or any of the other patriotic ideals commonly raised by his critics. 

Rather, the protest is simply to call attention to the ongoing problem of disproportionate police violence against non-white people in America and the lack of consequences for its perpetrators, Kaepernick has said. 

In fact, he actually opted to kneel rather than sit last year after former NFL player and Army Green Beret Nate Boyer suggested it might show more reverence to soldiers and veterans.   

“Once again, I’m not anti-American,” Kaepernick said at the time. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”

Kaepernick is now a free agent, but the movement he started as a 49ers is now stronger than ever. The dozens of players who’ve joined have been similarly explicit about their reasoning. 

For instance, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, who became the first MLB player to take a knee during the anthem on Saturday, said his gesture was not meant to detract from the significance of his own father’s army service. 

“I know I was on the fence for a long time because I know no one in baseball has ever done it,” Maxwell said in a post-game press conference. “I finally got to the point where I thought the inequality of man is being discussed, and it’s being practiced from our president.”

The severity of the real problem driving the protests was underscored earlier this season when Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett was seemingly arbitrarily arrested in what he claimed was an instance of racial profiling and excessive use of force. 

“The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Charleena Lyles felt,” he wrote in a statement on the incident.

Despite appeals like that, Trump has never mentioned the issue at the center of the movement, and he continues to openly call it a protest against America itself.

Yet the newfound willingness of NFL owners to make at least conciliatory statements in defense of their players’ right to free expression signals there may finally be more acknowledgment of the substance of the protests rather than the method.

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Mark Zuckerberg, you dress like crap



Zuckerberg in his classic uniform. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
Zuckerberg in his classic uniform. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Image: Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Let’s just say it: Mark Zuckerberg dresses horribly, and he should be ashamed every time he appears in public.

Here is a man in charge of the world’s most important social network — one that probably ended American democracy as we knew it! — and thanks to a general acceptance of his limp-ass techno-bro privilege, he gets away with wearing the same ugly T-shirt and jeans whenever he steps outside. It’s a uniform that says “I’m better than you,” an astonishing hubris in 2017 after his company has done so much to divide people. He should be prostrating himself, or at the very least conducting himself with a bit of humility — sartorially and in general.

But he’s not. On Monday, Zuckerberg met with civil servants, including Governor John Carney, in Delaware. He looked like an asshole:

The T-shirt, we’d argue, communicates a lack of respect for the officials in the room. And of course, Zuck doesn’t respect them. His position is invariably that Facebook is a solution to any of the world’s greatest problems despite so much evidence otherwise.

Obvious example: The “Safety Check” feature he touts in this post as a way “to help keep our community safe” is perhaps more immediately recognizable as a malfunctioning panic-stoker. Another: The News Feed he champions for its “free flow of information” was harnessed by bad actors to influence the American election, which he refused to acknowledge until far too late.

Zuckerberg’s T-shirt and jeans are meant to say, “I have no one to impress.” A critical thinker knows they mean otherwise: This is a kid from Silicon Valley’s Neverland who doesn’t understand the grown people in collared shirts, or their constituents.  

And his wardrobe is, as others have pointed out, worse than just immature or stupid: It’s emblematic of a system that lets men get away with whatever while women are held to a different standard. Consider this 2016 piece in which HuffPost‘s Emily Peck explains how Zuck’s awful clothes contrast with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s high-end wardrobe and styling:

Perhaps no two people better exemplify the double standard than the most well-known executives working at Facebook: cofounder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, known for wearing the same grey T-shirt and jeans every day, and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who is typically seen perched atop towering high heels.

… their case highlights the fact that even in the tech world, where the concept of dressing down was invented, and even at Facebook, a progressive company run by a guy in jeans, women and men don’t quite play by the same rules.

So, we won’t belabor the point, but we will remind you that women continue to be dreadfully underrepresented in tech and underpaid overall. 

Meanwhile, the ideals of a T-shirt clad bro, who doesn’t even seem to understand what his product is doing to the world, are given disproportionate weight. If he should ever run for office — a possibility, though we doubt it — remember, at least, all the times he was the arrogant kid in the room getting things wrong during this weird tour of the United States.

Not a good look.

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Jon Snow and Ygritte announce their engagement the old-fashioned way

It’s official, guys. 

After months of speculation, rumours, and reports, we have confirmation that Game of Thrones lovebirds Kit Harington (a.k.a. Jon Snow) and Rose Leslie (a.k.a. Ygritte) are tying the knot. 

While People reported the news on Tuesday, everybody took it with a pinch of salt as several lifestyle and entertainment sites — including Life & Style and Bustlehad already reported it earlier this year. 

But now The Times of London newspaper published an official announcement which reads: “Mr K.C. Harington and Miss R.E. Leslie. The engagement is announced between Kit, younger son of David and Deborah Harington of Worcestershire, and Rose, middle daughter of Sebastian and Candy Leslie of Aberdeenshire.” 

Harington and Leslie have been pretty secretive about their relationship — they were photographed together in 2012, triggering speculation they’ve been dating since. Their first public appearance was in 2016. 

As many Game of Thrones fans remember — it’s impossible to forget — Jon Snow and Ygritte’s on-screen romance in the popular TV series ended when Ygritte was mortally wounded by an arrow at the end of Season 5. 

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