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

Congressman Steve King Of Iowa, Known For Racist Comments, Loses To Republican Challenger In Primary

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Congressman Steve King Of Iowa, Known For Racist Comments, Loses To Republican Challenger In Primary

Alex Wong / Getty Images

You might remember Representative Steve King of Iowa as the person who’s campaign attacked Parkland shooting survivor Emma González. The Republican politician is officially out of Congress after losing to Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra.

Iowa Senator Randy Feenstra defeated Representative Steve King in the Republican primary in Iowa.

Sen. Feenstra defeated Rep. King by 9.7 points ending the incumbent’s career after 18 years. Rep. King will still be a member of Congress during the remainder of the election as Republican Sen. Feenstra goes against Democrat J.D. Scholten. Scholten almost defeated Rep. King in 2018.

Rep. King’s controversial and offensive attitude led to his colleagues stripping him of his committee roles.

Rep. King was shunned by the Republican Party in 2019. The Congressman asked in an interview with The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The language was enough to draw harsh criticism from members of his party. He was stripped of all of his committee assignments because of the comments.

Rep. King has a long history of racist comments.

In 2016, Rep. King was on tv when he asked if nonwhite groups have contributed to society. The comments were met with instant criticism from people denouncing the racist comments.

“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” Rep. King said on a panel. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

People are happy to see Rep. King lose his primary race.

There has been a movement to change politicians. It was clear in the 2018 elections that Americans wanted different representation when Democrats flipped enough seats in the House of Representatives to hold a majority over the Republicans. Rep. King is the latest in controversial Republican politicians to be voted out by upset constituents.

READ: AOC Called Out Rep. Steve King For Willfully Risking Pink Eye Instead Of Admitting Migrants Deserve Better Treatment

These Latinas Are Changing The World With Their Groundbreaking Inventions In Science, Technology, And Engineering

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These Latinas Are Changing The World With Their Groundbreaking Inventions In Science, Technology, And Engineering

@techreview_es / Twitter

Women are under-represented in the tech sector. Not only that, but they’re underpaid, often passed for promotions and faced with everyday sexism. It’s no wonder women are more likely to leave the industry within a year compared to their male counterparts. But there’s hope. Last week, the MIT Technology Review published a list of the leading Latin American innovators of 2019, and we wanted to highlight the women, who have pushed through in a male-dominated industry and are creating solutions for issues like climate change, terminal illnesses, and other threats. 

In a field that requires women to work alongside men who don’t believe women have the intelligence and inclination to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), these Latina innovators are proving otherwise.

Renee Wittemyer, director of program strategy and investment at Pivotal Ventures —Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company— says that women, and particularly women of color, “are being systemically left behind.” And, she adds, “these stats are moving at a glacial pace.” According to Wittemeyer, African American women and Hispanic women represent 3% and 1% of tech workers respectively.

There is an extensive underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. 

Women make up only 24 percent of the STEM workforce. To make matters worse, only 3 percent of Latina women are working in STEM fields. So these Latina innovators are worth celebrating. 

These scientists, biologists and engineers are making a social impact by solving many of the world’s most complex questions and threatening issues—from climate change to terminal illnesses to social problems.

Here are five Latina innovators shaking up the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) sphere and using technology to create a greater impact for the world:

Lucía Gallardo

technologyreview.es

Lucía Gallardo is the brain behind “Emerge,” a start-up that aims to solve social problems with emerging technologies, such as blockchain, Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). “Through her company, Gallardo tries to bring these tools to people who work on social impact projects, especially in impoverished countries such as her native Honduras. One of Emerge’s main sources of support is women and marginalized communities, who are driven by both technology and advice,” MIT Technology Review writes.

María Alexandra Tamayo

technologyreview.es

This Colombian innovator, is purifying water in a country that has the second-most water resources but where only 8% of households have access to drinking water. This way, the biomedical engineer hopes to avoid diseases and death caused by water.

“This is how NanoPro was born, a device ‘capable of eliminating fungi, viruses and bacteria from water without affecting its taste, smell and color,’ the engineer explains. “The filter can be applied in both rural and urban populations, since it is incorporated both in faucets and in thermoses for those areas whose supply network does not reach homes.” With her invention, Tamayo hopes to democratize the access to drinkable water.

Marcela Torres

technologyreview.es

Marcela Torres wants to help refugees and immigrants in Mexico through “Holacode,” a software she developed to provide immigrants with access to employment and better integrate themselves into society. “Marcela Torres realized that in Mexico there were not enough people with the qualifications needed for the software developer positions that were open in the country, so she decided to use technology to solve the problem,” the MIT magazine wrote. “This is how ‘Holacode’ was born, a start-up that offers software development courses for the migrant community in Mexico.” Holacode offers coding and software courses for migrants in Mexico. The courses lasts five months, and with this start-up, Torres hopes that technology education can become more democratic and accessible. “The start-up allows these jobs to be filled by especially vulnerable people such as migrants.”

María Isabel Amorín

technologyreview.es

Amorín, 28-year-old Guatemalan chemist discovered an innovative way to clean sewage. On top of emissions and the excessive rate at which we are consuming resources, another great impact that global industrial activities have on the planet, is water pollution. In short, textile industries use a lot of chemical dyes for the production of clothing, which not only results in massive water waste but these chemicals can pollute rivers and other bodies of water. 

The Guatemalan chemist, Maria Isabel Amorin, “synthesized a polymer from shrimp shells that’s capable of retaining the dyes used in the textile industry.” According to the MIT Technology Review, “The filter works by recirculating and retaining the dye used to dye clothes. This project is particularly focused on artisanal textile production, since the technologies available to treat the waters are very expensive. Now, the young chemist is in the process of patenting her ecological method of filtration and hopes to scale production.”

Mariel Pérez Carrillo

technologyreview.es

This Mexican biochemical engineer and entrepreneur, helps farmers increase their crop production through Innus Technologies. Carillo recalled, “I went to the countryside to learn from the farmers and I realized that they don’t know how their crop is. They also don’t know what state their soil is in.” She invented Enviro, a device that identifies soil conditions and climate in real time and, from them, offers recommendations to improve crop yields.

Thanks to its sensors, Enviro can measure temperature, humidity, conductivity, pH and salinity. The device can help farmers reduce crop losses. Pérez affirms that Enviro also reduces the need of agricultural supplies, “which reduces the contamination of soil and aquifers caused by to excessive use of agricultural chemicals.”