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9 Ways the World Is Supporting Ahmed Mohamed

When 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas took a clock he had made himself to school, he didn’t expect to be led away in handcuffs. The young engineering and robotics enthusiast had his homemade tech confiscated by an English teacher. School officials and police officers, convinced it was a bomb, or at least a hoax bomb—despite the Muslim student’s protests that it was just a clock—led him away in handcuffs to a juvenile detention facility, where he was fingerprinted. Even after he had been released to his parents, he was suspended from school for three days. 

While the police have dropped charges against him, many people were outraged by the fact that a talented, dedicated student was unduly punished for trying to show his teachers a piece of technology he had created outside of the classroom. 

Scientists, politicians, and other STEM advocates have taken to Twitter to express their support and encouragement for his ingenuity. Here are nine ways the world is trying to let Ahmed know that his inventions are awesome, not criminal: 

1. HE GOT INVITED TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

President Obama, who hosted the first White House Maker Faire last year, invited the 9th grader to come to the capital for Astronomy Night on October 19:

2. THE INTERNET’S FAVORITE ASTRONAUT INVITED HIM TO HIS SCIENCE SHOW.

Chris Hadfield, former International Space Station Commander, invited him to Toronto to see his science show, Generator. The local Four Seasons tweeted that he’ll have a free room if he goes. 

He also got some online encouragement from other astronauts, like Scott Parazynski

3. HE GOT A SWEET NEW LOGO.

One Twitter user made him this:

4. HE GOT INVITED TO FACEBOOK HQ. 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted that the young inventor could stop by the tech company any time. 

5. NASA SCIENTISTS INVITED HIM TO VISIT.

The official @NASA Twitter account hasn't extended an invitation (though NASA HQ did mention him in a tweet), but individual NASA scientists working at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have let him know that he can come by for a tour:

Others have assured him that they'll want to interview him when he's on the job market in a few years:

6. HE GOT A SEAT AT THE GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR.

This one's probably the most exciting shoutout for a young inventor—a seat at the Google Science Fair!

7. HE GOT INVITED TO VISIT BOX. 

He got an offer to visit the $1.7 billion cloud storage company's headquarters in Silicon Valley from the CEO:

8. HE GOT SOME ENCOURAGEMENT FROM HILLARY.

Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for the young maker:

9. AND A SHOUTOUT FROM QUESTLOVE.

The Roots drummer tweeted his support for the teen:

Plenty of other people have tweeted their support for Ahmed, including MIT scientists, actresses, business moguls, and more. You can follow Ahmed's story at @IStandWithAhmed.  Listen to him talk about his experiences in the video below:

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Tulane University Offers Free Semester to Students Affected by Hurricane Maria
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As Puerto Rico continues to assess the damage left by Hurricane Maria last month, one American institution is offering displaced residents some long-term hope. Tulane University in New Orleans is waiving next semester’s tuition fees for students enrolled at Puerto Rican colleges prior to the storm, Forbes reports.

From now until November 1, students whose studies were disrupted by Maria can apply for one of the limited spots still open for Tulane’s spring semester. And while guests won’t be required to pay Tulane's fees, they will still be asked to pay tuition to their home universities as Puerto Rico rebuilds. Students from other islands recovering from this year’s hurricane season, like St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are also welcome to submit applications.

Tulane knows all too well the importance of community support in the wake of disaster. The campus was closed for all of the 2005 fall semester as New Orleans dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During that time, schools around the world opened their doors to Tulane students who were displaced. The university wrote in a blog post, “It’s now our turn to pay it forward and assist students in need.”

Students looking to study as guests at Tulane this spring can fill out this form to apply.

[h/t Forbes]

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Pablo, a Groundbreaking New BBC Series, Teaches Kids About Autism
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BBC

Autism spectrum disorder affects one in 68 kids in the U.S., but there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the nature of the condition and what it feels like to have it. As BuzzFeed reports, a new British children’s program aims to teach viewers about autism while showing kids on the spectrum characters and stories to which they can relate.

Pablo, which premiered on the BBC’s kids’ network CBeebies earlier this month, follows a 5-year-old boy as he navigates life with autism. The show uses two mediums: At the start of an episode, Pablo is played by a live actor and faces everyday scenarios, like feeling overstimulated by a noisy birthday party. When he’s working out the conflict in his head, Pablo is depicted as an animated doodle accompanied by animal friends like Noa the dinosaur and Llama the llama.

Each character illustrates a different facet of autism spectrum disorder: Noa loves problem-solving but has trouble reading facial expression, while Llama notices small details and likes repeating words she hears. On top of demonstrating the diversity of autism onscreen, the show depends on individuals with autism behind the scenes as well. Writers with autism contribute to the scripts and all of the characters are voiced by people with autism.

“It’s more than television,” the show’s creator Gráinne McGuinness said in a short documentary about the series. “It’s a movement that seeks to build awareness internationally about what it might be like to see the world from the perspective of someone with autism.”

Pablo can be watched in the UK on CBeebies or globally on the network's website.

[h/t BuzzFeed]

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