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Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers — but not for the reason you think

  • Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers, who receive up to 50% more calls than they do on a normal Friday.
  • Clogged sinks are the most common problem, since people try to improperly dispose of food scraps.

Plumbers like buying discount TVs as much as anyone, but don’t expect them to join you in much Black Friday shopping.

For plumbers, the day after Thanksgiving is “Brown Friday.”

Roto-Rooter, the largest supplier of plumbing, sewer, and drain services, says Black Friday is busiest day of the year for plumbers. Calls for services increase by up to 50% compared to a normal Friday, and up to 27% over a regular Friday-to-Sunday period.

But don’t blame the human waste that follows a hearty Thanksgiving meal.

“It’s not even close,” Paul Abrams, director of public relations for Roto-Rooter, told ABC. “The number one reason for calls is kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals.”

When in the throes of cooking a Thanksgiving feast, it may seem okay to wash wads of potato skins, bits of turkey, or oily drippings down the drain. But Roto-Rooter advises people to throw all solids and oils away, and never to use the toilet to dispose of scraps that don’t fit down the sink.

“This time of year, homes have extra occupants in the form of holiday guests who are taking extra showers and flushing more toilets,” Abrams said in a statement. “That alone puts additional stress on many residential drain systems.”

Adding in other bulky objects only raises the chance that your Black Friday will turn brown.

Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before they’re reported

This is software to save lives. Facebook’s new “proactive detection” artificial intelligence technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, and when necessary send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders. By using AI to flag worrisome posts to human moderators instead of waiting for user reports, Facebook can decrease how long it takes to send help.

Facebook previously tested using AI to detect troubling posts and more prominently surface suicide reporting options to friends in the U.S. Now Facebook is will scour all types of content around the world with this AI, except in the European Union, where General Data Protection Regulation privacy laws on profiling users based on sensitive information complicate the use of this tech.

Facebook also will use AI to prioritize particularly risky or urgent user reports so they’re more quickly addressed by moderators, and tools to instantly surface local language resources and first-responder contact info. It’s also dedicating more moderators to suicide prevention, training them to deal with the cases 24/7, and now has 80 local partners like Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Forefront from which to provide resources to at-risk users and their networks.

“This is about shaving off minutes at every single step of the process, especially in Facebook Live,” says VP of product management Guy Rosen. Over the past month of testing, Facebook has initiated more than 100 “wellness checks” with first-responders visiting affected users. “There have been cases where the first-responder has arrived and the person is still broadcasting.”

The idea of Facebook proactively scanning the content of people’s posts could trigger some dystopian fears about how else the technology could be applied. Facebook didn’t have answers about how it would avoid scanning for political dissent or petty crime, with Rosen merely saying “we have an opportunity to help here so we’re going to invest in that.” There are certainly massive beneficial aspects about the technology, but it’s another space where we have little choice but to hope Facebook doesn’t go too far.

[Update: Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos responded to these concerns with a heartening tweet signaling that Facebook does take seriously responsible use of AI.

The creepy/scary/malicious use of AI will be a risk forever, which is why it’s important to set good norms today around weighing data use versus utility and be thoughtful about bias creeping in. Also, Guy Rosen and team are amazing, great opportunity for ML engs to have impact.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the product update in a post today, writing that “In the future, AI will be able to understand more of the subtle nuances of language, and will be able to identify different issues beyond suicide as well, including quickly spotting more kinds of bullying and hate.”

Unfortunately, after TechCrunch asked if there was a way for users to opt out, of having their posts a Facebook spokesperson responded that users cannot opt out. They noted that the feature is designed to enhance user safety, and that support resources offered by Facebook can be quickly dismissed if a user doesn’t want to see them.]

Facebook trained the AI by finding patterns in the words and imagery used in posts that have been manually reported for suicide risk in the past. It also looks for comments like “are you OK?” and “Do you need help?”

“We’ve talked to mental health experts, and one of the best ways to help prevent suicide is for people in need to hear from friends or family that care about them,” Rosen says. “This puts Facebook in a really unique position. We can help connect people who are in distress connect to friends and to organizations that can help them.”

How suicide reporting works on Facebook now

Through the combination of AI, human moderators and crowdsourced reports, Facebook could try to prevent tragedies like when a father killed himself on Facebook Live last month. Live broadcasts in particular have the power to wrongly glorify suicide, hence the necessary new precautions, and also to affect a large audience, as everyone sees the content simultaneously unlike recorded Facebook videos that can be flagged and brought down before they’re viewed by many people.

Now, if someone is expressing thoughts of suicide in any type of Facebook post, Facebook’s AI will both proactively detect it and flag it to prevention-trained human moderators, and make reporting options for viewers more accessible.

When a report comes in, Facebook’s tech can highlight the part of the post or video that matches suicide-risk patterns or that’s receiving concerned comments. That avoids moderators having to skim through a whole video themselves. AI prioritizes users reports as more urgent than other types of content-policy violations, like depicting violence or nudity. Facebook says that these accelerated reports get escalated to local authorities twice as fast as unaccelerated reports.

Mark Zuckerberg gets teary-eyed discussing inequality during his Harvard commencement speech in May

Facebook’s tools then bring up local language resources from its partners, including telephone hotlines for suicide prevention and nearby authorities. The moderator can then contact the responders and try to send them to the at-risk user’s location, surface the mental health resources to the at-risk user themselves or send them to friends who can talk to the user. “One of our goals is to ensure that our team can respond worldwide in any language we support,” says Rosen.

Back in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “There have been terribly tragic events — like suicides, some live streamed — that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner . . .  Artificial intelligence can help provide a better approach.”

With more than 2 billion users, it’s good to see Facebook stepping up here. Not only has Facebook created a way for users to get in touch with and care for each other. It’s also unfortunately created an unmediated real-time distribution channel in Facebook Live that can appeal to people who want an audience for violence they inflict on themselves or others.

Creating a ubiquitous global communication utility comes with responsibilities beyond those of most tech companies, which Facebook seems to be coming to terms with.

FEATURED IMAGE: THREE IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

12 Technology Products Going Viral in 2017

 

This is a compilation of 12 of the coolest, most innovative and most awesome products of 2017. Many of them are products you’d never even expect to go viral, but they sold millions worldwide!

1. TrackR Bravo – Track Anything

When you attach this coin-size tracking device to an item and lose the item, you have a 20,000-times chance of getting it back. The accompanying app enlists the network of 20,000 TrackR users to locate your lost bag, bike or dog. You can also track your lost wallet (or whatever) yourself. The TrackR app displays how far you are from your keys or purse you dropped, and it will sound the alarm to help you pinpoint its exact location.

If you realize you left your bag in another location, all other TrackR users in the network are notified, and when one passes your missing article, you’ll get an update sent to your phone. What if you can’t find your phone? Use TrackR to ring it, even if it’s on silent mode, and you’ll find your phone fast. TrackR helps you keep your stuff…especially if you’re a chronic (keys/wallet/bike/car/bag) misplacer.

Learn More About Trackr »

2. Siren Song – Personal Protection Alarm

Inspired by the Military, the Siren Song uses ear piercing sound (over 130 decibels) to deter bad guys and is quickly becoming one of the most sought after safety devices

in America. It will most likely be on every kid’s keychains or backpacks by the end of the year, but it should also be carried by every woman in America. With over 100,000 units sold in 2017 alone, this product makes our 2017 viral gadgets list!

But the Siren Song isn’t just to help protect you, your kids and your grandkids from an attack. It can also be used as a life saving device to call for help if you’re having a heart attack or have some other health condition that can prevent you from yelling for help.

Don’t let your worst nightmare become your reality. Safety doesn’t happen by accident. Purchase a personal alarm for yourself, for your child, or for a loved one. The Siren Song is particularly suitable for teenagers, parents, night owls, delivery route employees, business owners, and college students, or the elderly who may need to call for help. The keychain design is perfect for use with house keys or car keys. It can also be attached to a backpack or a purse.

Learn More About Siren Song »

3. KeySmart – The Future of Keychains

You might be thinking that you already have a keychain. But it probably doesn’t compare to this new futuristic keychain. Here’s a fact everyone can agree upon: bulky keychains are both unsightly and cumbersome to handle. Not to mention, they won’t protect your pockets from getting shredded to bits by your expansive key collection.

That’s where the KeySmart comes in. This handy key organizer offers a simple, elegant solution for organizing your keys – allowing you to eliminate your keychain for good.

Let’s start with the basics: this durable key holder can hold up to 14 keys in a compact fashion, and is durable to boot. It consists of two 3mm thick plates made of aircraft grade aluminum, meaning you won’t have to worry about handling it with kid gloves.

No surprise, then, that we also guarantee that the KeySmart will take anything life throws at it. Take it anywhere – from work, to the beach, and much more – knowing it won’t get dented or scratch easily.

You won’t have to worry about the contents of your pockets getting scratched, either! For instance, you can rest assured your keys won’t scratch your phone. And as an added bonus, you’ll be able to walk around without being heard a mile away due to your keys jingling and jangling about – as they would on a conventional keychain.

And how’s this for ultimate convenience? The KeySmart boasts a built-in clip that allows you to attach it to any pocket, belt, or bag. (If you’d prefer to go without the clip, you can easily remove it.) You can even customize your KeySmart by adding accessories like USB drives and bottle openers to it, all available separately on the KeySmart website.

Learn More About KeySmart »

4. FIXD

Have you ever gone to an auto repair shop for an oil change, only to have the mechanic say you need a new transmission? Or has the mysterious “check engine” light come on, and next thing you know the mechanic has a list of expensive engine parts that need replacing?

That’s where the KeySmart comes in. This handy key organizer offers a simple, elegant solution for organizing your keys – allowing you to eliminate your keychain for good.

Unfortunately, mechanics know taking advantage of people is easy, given their lack of knowledge about car maintenance needs. But there’s a new device you can carry with you in your car to tell you exactly what’s wrong with it. If you own a car built after 1996 then you can use this brilliant new device called Fixd to instantly diagnose any car problems.

This means the next time your “Check Engine Light” happens to come on, you’ll know exactly what the issue is and the Mechanics won’t be able to lie to you! In the United States alone, this product has done over $50,000,000 in sales in 2017, so it definitely qualifies for our viral products list.

Learn More About FIXD »

5. Peeps Carbon Technology

This is a relatively new product that is picking up steam fast and is quickly going viral among people who own glasses. The Peeps eyeglass cleaner is designed specifically for cleaning eyeglasses, sunglasses, and reading glasses. Peeps uses a unique invisible carbon cleaning compound to safely and easily clean your glasses from oily fingerprint smudges to dust and facial oils. The Peeps glasses cleaner is the safest and most tested lens cleaning technology in the world.

In fact, the technology is literally out of this world – being the only cleaners on the Space Station used for lens cleaning by NASA. It’s easy to use, compact and never expires! Their technology will clean your lenses 500 times!

The perfect size eye wear cleaner to take with you – it measures approximately 4x1x1 inches and is available in 7 different colors. They are now shipping worldwide.

Learn More About Peeps »

6. Snap Smart Cam

This high quality full HD 1080p USB security camera also doubles as a smartphone charger and it’s getting a lot of attention on the web right now. It’s the perfect gift idea for someone with young kids or pets who needs to keep an eye on them while they’re out of the house. Think of it as a nanny cam that you can also use to charge your phone! In fact, this disguised HD video camera has been used to apprehend criminals in several home invasion cases.

The Snap Smart Cam will automatically start recording and when it reaches full memory capacity, it will automatically overwrite the earliest videos recorded. Also, with cell phone wall chargers being everywhere these days, this item is sure to blend into any environment. Think it needs batteries? Nope, not at all, no batteries required, so you can be sure that you’re recording at all times as long as it’s plugged in. Perhaps we should be worried about this viral product though as we really don’t want to be spied on wherever we are!

Learn More About Snap Smart Cam »

7. Glowbowl Fresh — Light & Air Freshener

If you have kids, or if you’re going to throw a party, or if you just want the coolest toilet bowl on your block, you will love Glowbowl. Let’s face it: kids can make a mess around the toilet, especially if it’s dark! If your little one makes a midnight bathroom run, the Glowbowl will help him see. No more leaving on the light all night and wasting energy or blinding whoever enters. At parties, the motion-activated Glowbowl with colorful lighting will be fun for friends to see. You can lock in one of the seven colors or let it rotate. Millions of these are now lighting up toilet bowls and freshening the air in bathrooms nationwide. Get yours now and make your bathroom exciting.

Learn More About Glowbowl Fresh »

8. Hydra Smart Bottle – The Ultimate Smart Water Bottle

This next product that made our 2017 list is absolutely incredible. Meet the HYDRA SmartBottle. With HYDRA you can light your way with the built-in LED lantern, ride your bike safely while listening to music through the built-in crisp Bluetooth speaker, or use it in case of an emergency to stay visible and safe while on the side of the road. Oh, you can also drink from its BPA-free bottle if you grow thirsty from all the action this bottle packs.

Learn More About Hydra Smart Bottle »

9. Smart Back Pack – Stops Thieves Dead in Their Tracks

Here is a product thats created a lot of buzz recently. A backpack with a brain! Designed to carry all your tech, and also to charge it and track it as well. This back pack is a charging station with its own internal tracker! Whether you are a traveller or a student or a busy work commuter this Back Pack is for you. There are compartments for each of your devices, even laptops with up to 15.6” screens, and charging ports for each of them.

If you leave your bag behind, it can alert your phone! (This is available on the higher priced models.) They’re water-resistant, include anti-theft features, and are intelligently padded to protect your devices. Not only do you have style options, you can get a great discount because these bags are new and the producers are trying to gain a big market share fast.

Learn More About Smart Back Pack »

10. Selfie Drone – Take Selfies With This Cool Mini Drone!

We couldn’t leave the amazing Yeemba drone off our list. You’ve probably seen ads for it all over the Internet, and for good reason.

The 7s Selfie Drone uses WIFI to connect to your phone so you can have a real-time view of what your drone sees, making it easy to take photos and record videos.The drone camera is also adjustable so you can take great shots of different heights.

It flies, takes photos, records videos and even lets you explore the environment around you. It has a refined appearance and fits in the palm of your hand. There is also no need for an extra memory card as the SelfieDrone7s saves all photos and videos directly to your phone!

Learn More About Selfie Drone »

11. Huddy – Transform Your Smartphone Into A Driving Display

We couldn’t have our viral product list end without including something that more and more drivers have been purchasing in the past month. This brilliant new device turns your smartphone into a heads up display for your car. It’s called Huddy – and although it was only just released, it’s taken the Internet by storm. All you have to do is take it out of the box and place it on your dash, place your smartphone on top of it and let it do all the navigating while you drive. It’s a transparent display that works in any weather, day or night.

It also fits any smartphone no matter the size, and it’s slip resistant. Best of all, there are tons of apps available that you can use to see traffic conditions, a speedometer, street maps & much more. You can use it in any car – it has an ultra-grip mat that leaves no messy residue on the dash. We can see this being one of the most purchased gifts for the upcoming Holidays, so check it out while it’s still available.

Learn More About Huddy »

Bonus #1: HD Zoom – Transform Smartphone into DSLR

What’s that in the sky? Could it be Santa and his reindeer? The only way to tell is with an HDZoom360! Get sharp, clear, precise images on your phone and see up to MILES AWAY! Capture breathtaking photos in any weather with this must have smartphone accessory. It’s waterproof, fog proof and scratch resistant with an anti-skid frosted grip so you can catch Santa in the action! Perfect for watching sporting events, concerts, or plays, with this zoom lens you won’t miss a thing! It’s small enough to fit in your pocket (or Christmas stocking), but powerful enough to compete with a $6,000 DLSR. This gadget is perfect for the photography nut on your shopping list.

Learn More About HD Zoom »