Things That Matter

A Latino Man Crashed Into A Freezing River In Iowa And Could Reach His Phone. That’s When He Called On Siri To Help

“Siri, call 911!” an Iowa teenager shouted as his Jeep started to sink in a freezing river. Gael Salcedo, 18, hit a patch of black ice while on his way to his college classes at North Iowa Area Community College. Given the option to collide with other drivers or to plummet into the freezing Winnebago river, Salcedo swerved toward the river. While Salcedo doesn’t remember what happened after that split-second decision, he does remember getting very, very clear once he was in the river. “I turned to the right and from there, everything just went blurry,” Salcedo told KIMT3 News. “I didn’t know where I was going and then I just didn’t know what to do,” he confessed to the outlet. We can’t even imagine what it would be like to go from a normal commute to being trapped in a sinking car in a freezing river. “I was just thinking in my head. I think I’m going to die,” Salcedo told the outlet. Then, adrenaline and action took over. Salcedo rolled down his windows, for fear that his Jeep would sink, and started searching for his phone to call 911. He couldn’t find it.

When Salcedo couldn’t find his phone, he resorted to the second-best option. “Hey Siri, call 911,” Salcedo asked. Siri aims to please and complied immediately. Shortly after he was on the line with local authorities, he found his phone.

Firefighters guided Salcedo on how to safely walk through the freezing river current to the river banks.

CREDIT: @LUIS_VAZQUEZ_C / TWITTER

Salcedo told KIMT3 News, “I lost my phone and since I couldn’t find it, I was like ‘Hey Siri, call 911.’  And once Siri called, that’s when I found my phone finally.” So while Siri may have allowed the Mason City firefighters to respond more quickly, the firefighters and Salcedo did all the heavy lifting from thereon. Mason City Fire Department Lieutenant Craig Warner waded toward the nearly submerged Jeep and assessed the situation. The current was so strong that Salcedo couldn’t open the driver’s side door, so they waded to the passenger side, and were able to free the door. “[I] basically explained to him that there’s no other way.  You’re going to have to walk out.  I’ll be right there with you holding on every step of the way,” Lt. Warner told Salcedo, according to KIMT3.

“My hands were freezing.  I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, so I was struggling a lot and the water was just so strong, so I kept tripping,” Salcedo told the outlet, crediting Lt. Warner for helping him up “a bunch of times.” This was no walk in the park. Freezing water can cause muscles to become stiff and weak at the minimum and cause hypothermia at worst. “I used all my strength to get out of the water,” he said.

Salcedo was brought to the hospital and treated for shock.

CREDIT: GAEL SALCEDO / FACEBOOK

Salcedo had been sitting in freezing water for enough time to warrant a hospital visit. Salcedo’s coordination and muscle stiffness was so bad, he had trouble walking even after he hit solid ground. With a first responder on each side, they were able to safely help Salcedo to the ambulance and help him get in. Salcedo was treated at MercyOne North Iowa hospital for shock. He was released just three hours later.

Salcedo originally hails from Weslaco, Texas, a place without any snow or ice. Today, he’s back to Twitter to shame President Trump for bullying 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. A few days before, he retweeted news that Brazil’s President Bolsonaro called Greta Thunberg a “brat” after she condemned rising violence against indigenous people living in the Amazon. You go, Gael Salcedo.

Share this story to anyone you love who loves to hate on technology.

CREDIT: @GAELSALCEDO2 / TWITTER

Back in 2011, Cult of Mac reported the first suggestion that Siri may save your life one day. At the time Siri was in her infancy and the concept still seemed fantastical to consumers. “Sure, Siri can act silly and it can find the perfect retailer, but it has some very practical and important uses as well,” the outlet pondered. Nearly a decade later, Gael Salcedo seems to be the first reported person to have relied on Siri to make an emergency call and was saved because of it.

“Thanks to technology he will have a happy Christmas,” one person tweeted in Spanish. Meanwhile, some trolls continue to discredit the usefulness of the technology. One troll commented, “probably staged – making some incentives for advertising.” Others are sharing the story with a simple statement: “Siri saves lives.”

Watch the full news report below!

READ: A California Woman Is Considering Charges Against An Apple Employee After He Sent Photo From Her Phone To Himself

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

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Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

@mr_nobody / Twitter

A Brazilian cancer survivor has been fitted with a prosthetic eye and face to cover the hole that a devastating bout of skin cancer left. Denise Vicentin, 52, beat her cancer a decade ago and has since been living without a part of her jaw and her right eye ever since. Vicentin was so self-conscious about her battle scars, she became afraid to go out in public. People would stare at her everywhere she went and, soon, her social life and marriage fell apart. “[Before] when I was on the metro or train, I tried not to pay attention to the stares. At places like the bowling alley, I felt them looking, and the person would even leave when they saw me,” she told the Daily Mail.

Ten years later, researchers were able to create a custom prosthetic using just a smartphone camera and a 3D printer. Now, she feels like she has her ‘missing piece’ and says she is so happy that she even sleeps with it on.

Years ago, she was offered a hand-made prosthetic, but it would have cost her half a million dollars.

CREDIT: @MR_NODOBY / TWITTER

A portion of her right jaw was removed, making it difficult for her to eat and slurring her speech. One of Vicentin’s most painful wounds left behind by the cancer was her inability to navigate throughout society without being ostracized or made to feel different. When doctors offered her the opportunity to have a prosthetic made for her, she had no choice but to turn it down. It would have cost over half a million U.S. dollars. 

Waiting for the right moment may have paid off for Vicentin. As technology has advanced, the capabilities of 3-D printing are only just now being realized. Vicentin sought out an alternative treatment at São Paulo’s Paulista University just last year and is already walking into 2020 with a new lease on self-confidence.

The final prosthesis just took 12 hours to create and a fraction of the cost thanks to 3-D printing technology.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

The research team at Paulista University formulated a plan to give Vicentin her ‘missing piece.’ Vicentin would have to undergo several surgeries over the next year in order to fit the prosthesis. Then, the doctors took 15 photos of Vicentin’s right eye socket from a simple smartphone. From there, they were able to use all the images to digitize a 3-D model that would eventually become the blueprint for the 3-D printer. 

The final model was printed and refined in just 12 hours, from a mixture of silicone, resin, and synthetic fibers. After the 3-D printer created the technical piece that would sit flush on Vicentin’s face, a bit of human artistry was applied to make the prosthetic as realistic as possible. The researchers painted the prosthetic to match Vicentin’s exact eye hue and skin color. They even individually secured lashes to resemble that of her other eyelid.

The research team has been perfecting 3-D prosthetics since 2016, offering new levels of confidence to over 50 patients so far.

CREDIT: @CANAL_44 / TWITTER

Dr. Rodrigo Salazar has specialized in maxillofacial prosthetics for the last few years and has married technology with medicine to create lasting change for his patients. In order to get a proper model for a prosthetic, he used to have to create a mold of the patient’s face, on the patient’s face. Today, he needs only a smartphone camera to capture the necessary data to create a model prosthetic. 

Vicentin never expected skin cancer to become a defining chapter of her life.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

When Vicentin was in her early 20s, she found a strange growth on her face and went to the doctor. It was a tumor, but it was benign, non-cancerous. She had it surgically removed and thought that was the end of it. It returned again, once again, benign. She had it removed a second time and enjoyed nearly 20 more years tumor-free. Ten years ago, the tumor came back, but it was malignant, slowly ravaging the right side of her face.

Today, Vicentin has titanium hooks surgically placed around her eye socket in order to be able to securely wear the prosthesis and take it off when she pleases. So far, Vicentin has been wearing the prosthetic for just a month and she loves it. ‘It was a long time looking at a face which was missing a piece, so I am so happy. I only took it off to clean it – I even slept with it,” Vicentin told the Daily Mail

Travel Restrictions Limit Americans To Only Flying Into Havana But Sube Let’s Americans Explore The Island

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Travel Restrictions Limit Americans To Only Flying Into Havana But Sube Let’s Americans Explore The Island

subecuba / Instagram

The progression of Cuba’s modern world has been a slow one, but it’s also been eager to thrive thanks to the younger generation. The integration of the internet didn’t arrive on the island until the late aughts. Back then, when U.S. relations with Cuba became friendlier under the Obama Administration, it looked as if Cuba was ready to get online. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that Cuba decided to team up with Venezuela in order for the country to help them venture into the digital age. Now, under the Trump Administration, who is putting the breaks on the Cuba/U.S. relationship, the Cuban people have something more to aspire to. 

A Cuban startup has launched a cab service that will help tourists get around the island now that the Trump Administration has blocked airline travel to all areas of Cuba except Havana.

Credit: subecuba / Instagram

The company is called Sube (which translations to “get on” or “hop on”), and it’s basically a ride-share service like Uber and Lyft, although their intention is to seek out tourists who wish to visit the areas outside of Havana. 

Late last year, the Trump Administration issued a travel ban throughout the island, which meant that American airlines could only fly into Havana. All other airports in Cuba were forbidden. The announcement didn’t automatically erase flights that were already booked. U.S. travelers can only arrive in Havana, so if they have plans outside of the capital, getting there is trickier and expensive. The solution is Sube. 

Sube wants tourists to know that their service is safe and that they can provide an exciting and fun way to get around the island.

Credit: subecuba / Instagram

“Sube is a ridesharing app founded in Cuba,” their About section states. “Our drivers will help you move around safely and fast while sharing their knowledge of our customs and culture.”

One of the most popular attractions in Cuba is their vintage cars. So how can these old cars keep up with this new motive of transportation? Sube owners say all cars, vintage ones as well, are in perfect condition and can drive long distances. All drivers have verified licenses as well. 

The app launched in 2018, and since then, the app has been downloaded at least 10,000 times and so far has 6,000 registered users.

Credit: subecuba / Instagram

“We knew the trouble people go through in Cuba to get to work every day, to get home, or if they just want to go out,” Claudia Cuevas Alarcón told NBC News. Aside from Cuevas Alarcón, a 27-year-old, Sube’s creators include 26-year-old Damián Martín, 26, and 27-year-old Darién González. 

What makes this company even more fascinating is that these young entrepreneurs have found a way to work the system to their benefit. For example, U.S. credit cards are prohibited on the island, which means travelers can only use cash. 

Sube creators registered their company in the U.S., so this makes it possible for travelers to download the app before they leave their home country, upload their credit card information. Once they arrive on the island, they have already reserved their car service, and the exchange of payment is not needed. 

It’s not just tourists who use the app, locals are using Sube to get around the island as well.

Credit: subecuba / Instagram

“If you are visiting Cuba this December, move with SUBE and pay from abroad,” one of their beautiful Instagram posts says. “We have 70 registered and available taxis, which will make your trips more enjoyable and safe. You can book them before your arrival at the airport, until departure. Do not hesitate.”

Other ways to use Sube is pretty straightforward. You can use Whatsapp or Facebook to reserve a cab. Travel experts also suggest that if you’re traveling to Cuba, you should also download apps that will help not only with travel information but translation, money exchange, and texting capabilities. Here are some useful apps that extremely useful: Maps.me, XE currency, Google Translate, Pocket, Havanatrans, Zapya, AlaMesa, CubaMessenger, and ProtonVPN. And, of course, Whatsapp and Airbnb. 

It’s very exciting to see young Cubans not allowing connectivity or travel regulations (or any sort of limitation) stop them from progressing into a new frontier of digital capabilities.

READ: The Trump Administration Took Another Swipe At Cuba By Banning Almost All Flights To The Island