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Microsoft’s giant solar deal: Microsoft bought 315 megawatts from solar panels in Virginia. It’s part of a larger trend of major American companies turning to renewable energy. Microsoft’s power will come from 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 acres. At least half of Microsoft’s data centers are now powered by clean energy — including wind and hydropower energy. Microsoft has several sources of clean energy, including wind farms in the Netherlands and solar rooftops across Singapore. A representative for the company says Microsoft now has “enough power to light up 100 million LED bulbs or send Marty McFly back to the future.
Facebook fallout: The Facebook data breach scandal continues to be a hot topic. Over the weekend, The New York Times and several British news outlets reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm, illegitimately accessed data from 50 million Facebook users to help President Trump on the campaign trail. Cambridge Analytica has ties to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. The goal was to leverage strategies from Cambridge University that claimed to predict personality traits and behavior through a process called “psychographic mapping.” This mapping helps campaigns target specific groups.
Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on the scandal. He said Facebook has already demanded that Cambridge Analytica delete information taken from Facebook and that the data firm has been banned from using any of Facebook’s services. GeekWire spoke to Ryan Calo, a University of Washington professor and expert on cyberlaw and privacy, who suggested a different business model, where the business isn’t built on selling data to marketers and instead people can pay to use Facebook.
Waving at drones: Lastly, this is probably the wackiest patent picture you’ve seen in a while … The U.S. Patent Office released this image of a man flailing his arms at a drone. The patent is for an unmanned aerial vehicle that could understand and react to human movements. The picture also includes an empty speech bubble coming from the man, who appears to be yelling at the drone, and we’ll let you use your imagination to guess what he might be saying. Amazon often files patents for futuristic ideas, like a patent for a blended-reality mirror that puts the user in virtual outfits.