Ahmed Mohamed is a maker in the making. A young genius if you ask his cousin. Mohamed builds his own radios and Bluetooth speakers and likes to tinker on his go-kart because he wants to be an inventor when he grows up. So, the 9th-grader brought a clock he made to his new Texas school with the hope of impressing his teachers. Instead, the Muslim boy was arrested by Texas police after teachers worried that his clock was actually a bomb.
The arrest came 14 years and four days after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. This is the America in which the 14-year-old Mohamed lives. Where the most common images of Muslims on television depict them wearing orange jumpsuits when not being viewed through the targeting sight of a drone. A country where young men with brown skin and odd-sounding names are potential terrorists lest "real Americans" be diligent.
Mohamed's America is the same country that’s struggling with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The most recent PISA results, which measure the competencies of 15-year-olds, ranked the US a sad 35th out of 64 countries in math, and 27th in science. A Pew study published in February with a focus on K-12 STEM education showed little progress.
Mohamed's America is the same country that educates some of the world’s best minds at its universities only to lose them because it doesn’t have enough H-1B visas to go around. "We take very, very smart people, bring them into the country, give them a diploma and kick them out," said Google’s Eric Schmidt, "where they go on to create companies that compete with us."
Mohamed's America is also the country that’s rallying to his defense on Twitter under the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag. One of his earliest and most vocal supporters is Anil Dash, entrepreneur, writer and self-professed geek.
If any of our early geek experiments had gotten the most terrifying response possible from teachers & police, would we have kept doing it?— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
Anytime you wanna see Mars rovers Ahmed, let me know. #IStandWithAhmed— Imperator MARSiosa (@cirquelar) September 16, 2015
This is absolutely outrageous. My son tinkers with electronics the same way and he would never get treated this way http://t.co/HhrN9cPI2e— Trei Brundrett (@clockwerks) September 16, 2015
Five stories to start your day
NASA confirms there's a global subsurface ocean on Enceladus
We've known there is water on Enceladus for a while now, but NASA has just confirmed a more recent theory about the icy moon of Saturn: it has a subsurface ocean that spans the entire globe. The news comes just a handful of months after the agency discovered evidence of hydrothermal vents, which are believed to be integral to the formation of life here on Earth.
Elton John says Vladimir Putin called him to discuss gay rights
This week, Elton John took to social media to announce that he had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin about gay rights. The singer thanked Putin "for reaching out" to him, adding that he looked forward to further discussions, though according to the Kremlin, the call never happened.
Sharp is selling the world's first 8K TV next month for $133,000
If you think 4K still has a content problem, you'll probably want to give Sharp's latest display a miss. That also applies to anyone without ¥16 million ($133,000) to blow, because that's how much you'll need for what is technically the world's first production 8K TV, the LV-85001. Technically, because although this 85-inch monitor does have a TV tuner inside, it won't pick up any 8K content yet — though it may be used to help with broadcast tests next year.
Microsoft updates Office for iOS apps to support iPad multitasking
Apple is planning to release iOS 9 to the masses today, opening the door to a key new iPad feature: multitasking. While Apple is restricting iOS 9's key multitasking feature to just the iPad Air 2 and new iPad Pro, Microsoft is ready to support it with all of the company's Office apps for iOS 9. Microsoft promised support on stage at Apple's event last week, and now the software giant is rolling out updates to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and even Outlook today.
What should Facebook's 'Dislike' button really be called?
Facebook is at last listening to users and considering the addition of a "Dislike" button to the social networking site. For the nearly 1.5 billion Facebook users who have been forced to "Like" everything up until now no matter how negative — funerals, a lost job, missing the cutoff for McDonald's breakfast — CEO Mark Zuckerberg is offering respite. The company is even close to shipping a test version, Zuckerberg announced during a public Q&A session today.