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Spreading the wealth

It started as a simple promotion for a small credit union. The plan: Hand out crisp $100 bills to random strangers.

Cold, hard cash. Who in Michigan couldn't use a little of that right now?

The idea -- created by Co-op Services Credit Union in Livonia -- was to hand out $100 to 100 people in 100 days. There were no requirements and no strings attached. Each recipient was asked one thing: Do something to back in any way they can, to make the community a better place.

Over the past three months, Project 100 has become a lot more than promotion. It is a sign of just how generous Michigan residents are –despite everything this state is going through.

Go ahead. Start the ugly rants now: Why is this news? Who cares? It's just a shameless plug for a financial institution. The Detroit blog should be writing about more important issues.

Here's what matters: People who really needed that money turned around and gave it to someone else.

Diane W. of Livonia spent her money on coffee. Not Starbucks. Ground coffee. She donated to the community center outreach program for the homeless at St. Aloysius in Detroit.

Shemetria S. of Detroit bought 26 pounds of canned goods for Gleaners Community Food Bank.

Melanie R. of Southgate gave it to her sister, who is going through a hard time.

Fred Haas of Wyandotte had lost his job at U.S. Steel when he got his $100. He used the money to buy his daughter some shoes.

Project 100 gained traction because it was the ideal mix of spontaneity and generosity, said Project Coordinator Greg Wohler.

“At the time we started, everything in Michigan felt very negative. We wanted to move the bar,” Wohler said. “The beginning of any change is a move to the positive.”

Everyone who received the money got a pile of business cars with the Project's web site on it. There, you can find the names of area charities looking for donations, volunteer opportunities and saving tips. The Facebook page has links to coupon sites, money-saving ideas and more. One “fan” wrote, “It's like a grass-roots stimulus package!”

So what's next? The credit union is now encouraging those who receive $100 for opening a new account to donate a portion to charity. Credit union members can vote online for one of eight area charities to see which will receive the total donations.

As far as Project 100 goes, the final Ben Franklin will be awarded this week. We'll see what happens to it.

“Giving someone $100 probably isn't going to solve all their problems or change their life. But we could create an environment where our $100 could turn into much more,” Wohler said.

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 Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon



The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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 MIT Student Creates Connect Four Playing Robot for Course Final - TIME
TIME technology

This Robot Would Very Much Like to Play a Game of Connect Four With You

Game on


When the singularity finally hits and artificial intelligence takes over everything, at least we know some of the robots will know how to have a good time — like this Connect Four-playing bot, programmed by MIT student Patrick McCabe.

Users can choose between four levels of difficulty and can even ask for a hint if needed. Head over to McCabe’s website for a detailed breakdown of how the machine works. In the meantime, watch here as the bot beats McCabe in the first round — and even taunts him a little bit before clinching the game.

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