People are making fun of Airbnb's new Chinese name

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:47:18 +0000

The ink has barely dried on Airbnb's new Chinese name, but the jokes have come fast.

To launch Trips in China, U.S. home-rental company showed off a new name to match, Aibiying.

It says Aibiying (爱彼迎) means to "welcome each other with love."

But the Chinese think it sounds awkward, and isn't easily understood.

One Weibo user griped that it's hard to pronounce two similar-sounding syllables one after the other.

He also added that Aibiying sounds more like "to love to fulfill requests" or worse, "to love Bing" — Microsoft's search engine's Chinese name is "Biying." Read more...

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India says no to most of Apple's demands

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:50:31 +0000

Apple is not getting any special treatment from the Indian government. 

Despite the company’s imminent plans to begin manufacturing iPhones in the country, the Indian government remains committed to not folding to the Cupertino giant’s demands. 

When asked if the government has accepted the iPhone maker’s demands, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Rajya Sabha (Council of States) that the ministry has said "no" to "most" of them.

Apple has put up an "unprecedented" list of demands before the government. "Apple India has sought concessions, including duty exemptions on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment including parts and consumables for smartphone manufacturing and service/repair for a period of 15 years," Sitharaman added. Read more...

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Geez, this forearm-sized shrimp will take up most of your barbie

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:43:55 +0000

Here's a shrimp that'll require a pretty big barbie on which to throw it.

More accurately, it's a giant leader prawn. And it just so happens to be as large as a human forearm and weighs 300 grams (10 oz). 

The crustacean was captured in Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria, where it was photographed by Kai Thomas and sent to ABC News. Just look at the damn thing.

"That's a pretty significant prawn," Austral Fisheries northern division manager, Andrew Prendergast, told the news outlet, adding that it was rare to catch prawns larger than 300 grams.  Read more...

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A whole state in India is giving all college students free internet access

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:32:40 +0000

Indian state governments are joining technology giants and central government in pushing internet connectivity to more people. 

The latest instance of this comes from the eastern Indian state of Bihar, where the government has announced free Wi-Fi access to college and university students. 

The chief minister of the state, Nitish Kumar urged the students to make good use of the free internet. "The objective is to provide free Wi-Fi facility to help youths to move ahead in life and to become digital smart," he told Hindustan Times. Read more...

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People are heartbroken over Alaska Airlines' decision to retire Virgin America

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:00:04 +0000

It might be time to book yourself onto a Virgin America flight before the brand goes away forever.

Late on Wednesday, Alaska Airlines announced that Virgin America's will disappear in 2019.

After buying Virgin last year in a $2.6 billion merger, Alaska has promised to retain the "flair" that fans associate with Virgin, such as free in-flight entertainment, colourful mood lighting and upbeat music while boarding.

But apart from the frills, other aspects of Virgin will fade away. Of most material worth to travellers is Virgin's frequent flyer plan, which will soon go. Read more...

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Ryan Gosling finally explains why he giggled his way through the Oscars mix-up

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:33:38 +0000

Many of the questions surrounding that Oscars "Best Picture" blunder have been answered, except this one: Why was Ryan Gosling giggling to himself during the fracas?

While those watching were aghast, and the cast and crew of La La Land looked shocked, there was Gosling — ever-so-slightly amused by the moment. Well, we finally have some answers from the man himself.

It turns out he was just relieved. The 36-year-old actor recounted the moment in front of marketing types at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Read more...

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Adele fans are bidding on a bag of air from her concert

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:31:38 +0000

We love Adele. Everyone loves Adele, it's a given. But even the world's most adorable Brit herself would call this loving yet entrepreneurial gesture a bit, you know, much. 

After infiltrating every aspect of Australian media with her whirlwind presence recently, Adele has also distributed her fair share of carbon dioxide to the land Down Under, via breathing.

And so it is that one enterprising, evil genius has grabbed an empty ziplock bag and thrown it on eBay with a label that reads: "Legit bag of air. Content: Adele. 13/3/2017 Adelaide Oval." 

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This formula explains why NYC is great for ride-sharing and Sydney is terrible

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:24:08 +0000

The ebb and flow of a city may feel entirely unique, but it turns out there are universal laws that may govern the chaos of your commute.

A team from the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created what they call a law of "shareability." Using inputs like traffic speed and urban density, they think they can predict the potential for ride-sharing in any city.

And no, not Uber's version of ride-sharing — basically a glorified taxi service — but actual car trips shared between strangers.

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UberEATS is delivering alcohol now, but probably not in the way you were hoping

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:12:17 +0000

UberEATS is finally doing what many of us have been thinking: They're beginning to bring booze straight to our door. But only if you live in this city.

Uber's food delivery service will now ply you with alcohol in Melbourne, Australia, from this Friday. 

Alcohol orders are available from 30 participating restaurants around the city, and yes, you'll have to be 18 or over to buy it. They'll be checking IDs. And just like a regular bar, you can be refused service if you show signs of intoxication. 

There's also a limit to six beers or one bottle of wine per order, which might be a splinter to those gnarly party plans of yours. Moderation, people! Read more...

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3 reasons to worry about the FBI's facial recognition program

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 02:15:45 +0000

The FBI quietly developed a facial recognition network that allows law enforcement to identify people in the United States without their knowledge.

Now lawmakers want to know why the agency didn't tell people about it. 

"Why did the FBI not fulfill the requirement of the law?" asked House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz at a hearing on Wednesday. 

The FBI didn't let citizens know the agency was collecting photos from motor vehicle departments, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. And a lot of people can be found on law enforcement facial recognition networks — around half of American adults, according to a study from Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology. Read more...

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Facebook struggles to prevent violence on Facebook Live

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:46:18 +0000

Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that live video is the future of Facebook, but what if that future is terrifying and full of violence?

What happens when one of the largest proponents of live video struggles to manage its darker side?

Reports that the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl was broadcast on Facebook Live and watched by upwards of 40 people earlier this week have rightfully shocked many, and brought to mind a similarly disturbing incident from earlier in the year. 

Individuals posting about acts of violence on the social media platform is nothing new, but since the launch of Facebook Live, the company has faced a particularly difficult challenge: How to best respond to violence on the site when it's happening in real time.  Read more...

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This startup wants to send electric planes from London to Paris within 10 years

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:42:22 +0000

One ambitious startup is aiming to put passenger planes powered by electricity in the air within the next decade. Or, perhaps more realistically, in the next 20 years — depending on battery technology advancements.

Wright Electric, an aircraft manufacturer startup based out of Massachusetts, debuted its idea for a no gas 150-seat plane at Tuesday's Y Combinator Demo Day in Silicon Valley as part of the incubator's bi-annual showcase of new startups.  

The barely one-year-old company hopes to corner the market in short-haul flights, like London to Paris or Boston to New York City, and announced a potential partnership with budget airline EasyJet out of the UK.  Read more...

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Koalas don't like water but they're being 'driven to drink' by climate change

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:30:52 +0000

Koalas have what some would consider the dream life: Eating and sleeping all day.

When they're awake they eat leaves, which is their complete source of nourishment. But fun fact: Koalas don't drink water. At least, they didn't used to, except in extreme cases.

But thanks to climate change, our marsupial friends are being driven to drink more water than ever before. Their leaves are simply drying up.

That's a phenomenon that's led researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia to conduct a long-term study on the impact of water on koala populations, and its potential benefits. It's even seen them set up special "drinking stations" just for koalas. Read more...

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What's Apple's tax bill in New Zealand? Why it's zero, niet, nada.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:23:15 +0000

Why is Silicon Valley so cruel to New Zealand? First we discover PayPal founder and Trump acolyte Peter Thiel is a secret citizen, now it's emerged Apple pays the country absolutely nothing in taxes. 

Apparently the tech giant paid no income tax on local profits to Inland Revenue over the past 10 years, because its local operations are owned and run out of Australia.

According to financial documents examined by the New Zealand Herald, this was despite Apple Sales New Zealand making sales of NZ$4.2 billion ($2.96 billion) since 2007.

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That 'secret' female superhero film at Sony has finally been revealed

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:18:50 +0000

The female superhero movie that Sony hinted at way back in 2014 — where does all that time go? — turns out to be centered on Silver Sable and Black Cat, a pair of Marvel characters in the Spider-Man universe, Mashable has confirmed. 

And according to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news Wednesday, the latest treatment (based on a previous draft written by Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy) is being written by Chris Yost, who recently wrapped Thor: Ragnarok

Translation: They're finally getting sorta serious about this project.

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NBA road teams are winning more because of dating apps. No, really.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:09:23 +0000

Back in the late 80s, the home team in a given NBA game beat its visiting opponent 68 percent of the time, according to ESPN. That number has declined since, and this season it's at an all-time low: Despite the controversy of star players sometimes resting during road games, home NBA teams now beat their visiting opponents just 57 percent of the time.

What gives? To be sure, travel is more streamlined and players take better care of their bodies nowadays. But basketball insiders point to another helpful development as well: Technology has made it easier for NBA players to get laid. 

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LinkedIn tries to make a smarter news feed with 'trending storylines'

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:05:35 +0000

LinkedIn is trying to make its home feed more useful.

The professional network introduced a new feature Wednesday called "trending storylines," which surfaces a personalized feed of news stories based on topics you're likely to be interested in. 

Rolling out across LinkedIn's apps and website in the U.S now, the feature uses a combination of human editors and algorithms to curate feeds based on topics that are trending in the news and among different groups. These feeds are then personalized to each users' tastes so an engineer, for instance, may see stories about new research in their field while someone in finance may see news about the markets.  Read more...

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YouTube really wants you to watch this stop-motion film featuring a stranger's butt

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:42:00 -0400

YouTube has 67.3 million followers on Twitter — and I'm one of them.

For years, I've followed the account to get updates on featured videos, YouTube Red originals and news items.

But on Wednesday, I was shocked to find YouTube's Twitter account promoting the butt of a "perfect stranger."

Pale and weird, but oddly … comforting?

Meet a perfect stranger →

— YouTube (@YouTube) March 22, 2017

On social media, YouTube described the animated figure as "pale and weird, but oddly ... comforting?"

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'Handmaid's Tale' protest calls out Texas' attempts to roll back reproductive rights

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:07:28 +0000

A dystopian novel that has seen newfound attention since Trump's election came to life this week at a Texas protest over legislation limiting reproductive rights.

A group of women dressed as the women from Margaret Atwood's 1984 novel The Handmaid's Tale showed up in Austin, Texas, for Monday's vote on a bill that would ban an abortion procedure used in the second trimester.

Dressed in the robes and bonnets described in the book (and seen in movie adaptions and soon-to-be-released Hulu series), the women filed into the senate chamber with signs depicting the ongoing rollback of reproductive rights and silently made their statement. Read more...

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It's time to start thinking about cybersecurity for sharks. Yes, the fish.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:57:25 +0000

In 2015, three scientists sent an anguished note to the journal Conservation Letters

Anti-shark paranoia was settling over Western Australia, and the state government had issued a controversial kill order. Scientists said the cull's safety benefits were unproven and could potentially hurt recovering populations of white sharks. Worse, they claimed at least one shark marked for death was located only because it had been acoustically tagged by researchers.

The policy was eventually abandoned, but it highlighted an important point: Fitting animals with transmitters so scientists can track their every movement may also leave them vulnerable. Technology that's ostensibly there to help these species thrive can actually be used against them. Read more...

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Why Apple won't mention (Product) RED or HIV/AIDS in China

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:56:36 +0000

Apple's ruby red iPhone 7 will soon be available around the world. Each Special Edition (Product) RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus shows with its color that the purchase of the phone helps generate funds for the fight against HIV/AIDs.

But in China, the picture is fuzzier.

There, where a red iPhone could a big seller for Apple (see China's flag, culture), the company's online retail web site has no mention of (Product) RED or that proceeds from the sale of the red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in China will help fund the fight against HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa via the Global Fund. (Apple has not disclosed what percentage of each phone's cost is donated to charity.) Read more...

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Mermaid, vampire and zombie emoji are coming to your iPhone in 2017

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:51:36 +0000

Though new emoji won't hit iPhones until June, Emojipedia has the mock-ups to tide us over. Weirdly, there are elves.

New for 2017, this year's fresh crop of icons will expand its people offerings to include a woman wearing a headscarf, a man with a beard and three gender-inclusive emojis

Image: 2017 emojipedia

Wellness is also a theme in this year's additions, with emoji dedicated to yoga, rock-climbing and even saunas. Come fall, you'll have an emoji to accompany all those steam-room selfies you've been hoarding. Read more...

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If Obamacare dies, a Facebook post could cause you to lose your health insurance

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:39:56 +0000

It's a scary thing, to hear something that’s been lurking over you for decades get a name.

My therapist used words like "depression" and "anxiety." Maybe some people take comfort in it. I didn't. I met those labels face-to-face, for the first time, and no weight lifted from my shoulders. But it was a start.

It's also evidence of a pre-existing condition. And if Obamacare's repealed, it's possible that people could be denied coverage for something like what I'm doing right now: Writing about their mental illness on websites and social media. That could include me, and millions of other Americans who've taken to the internet to give and take solace in the sharing of these intensely personal experiences. Read more...

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Does AppleCare care about the electronics travel ban? Maybe!

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:27:59 +0000

There's no nice way to say it: The new travel restrictions on electronics suck, and they're going to make flying more of a pain in the ass for passengers.

If you're flying to the U.S. from the affected Middle East and North African airports, you won't be able to bring any electronic devices larger than a smartphone on flights. This means tablets, laptops, etc. will need to be placed in checked luggage, which increases the chance of them getting damaged during transport.

For many Apple users, the big question is: Will AppleCare cover damage for iPads or MacBooks damaged in checked baggage?

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'Arrow' sneak peek: It'll take more than torture to break Oliver Queen

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:08:12 +0000

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is having a bad week — after learning that his murderous new nemesis, Prometheus, is secretly District Attorney Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra), the Green Arrow has been framed, beaten and seen his girlfriend kidnapped. And his troubles aren't over yet.

In Mashable's exclusive sneak peek from Arrow's March 22 episode, "Kapiushon," Oliver gets some face time with Adrian, who seems determined to break our hero by any means necessary, including torturing him with drowning.

Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your perspective), Oliver is no stranger to torture — especially the shirtless variety — and he's not too impressed by Adrian's attempts to intimidate him. It takes more than a villainous monologue to ruffle the Emerald Archer's feathers.  Read more...

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Americans are eating less beef. Here's why that matters for climate change

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:00:26 +0000

American diners are eating fewer burgers, steaks and meatballs, and that's making a noticeable dent in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, a new study found.

U.S. beef consumption fell by nearly one-fifth — or 19 percent — on a per capita basis from 2005 to 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said Wednesday in a report. Eating less beef resulted in pollution reductions equal to removing 39 million cars from U.S. roads.

"I'm used to bad news on climate, but this is a rare bright spot," said Sujatha Bergen, the study's lead author and a policy specialist in NRDC's food and agriculture program. Read more...

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Medium's next big idea to 'fix' the internet: $5 subscriptions

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:58:02 +0000

Ev Williams wrote at the start of this year that he was taking Medium in a new direction because ad-driven media on the internet was "broken."

The future? Subscriptions.

"Medium will remain the best place to share ideas that matter and to find independent voices and fresh perspectives  —  for free. For members, it will get better. For $5 per month (introductory price), you’ll get two upgraded aspects..." he wrote in a blog post published Wednesday. 

Those aspects are a new reading experience that Medium has yet to roll out (and will feature a select list of curated stories), along with better content thanks to a pledge to give all subscriber money, for the first few months, to writers and publishers on its platform. After that, the subscriptions revenue will split between content creators and Medium in an undisclosed way. Read more...

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Disney, Nickelodeon ... Pocketwatch? New kids media brand starts ticking

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:57:42 +0000

It sounds like the setup for a Hollywood insider joke: Two former executives, one from Disney and one from Nickelodeon, walk into a pitch meeting.

Will it be a punchline, or the next big kid brand?

The truth of it is that Chris Williams, a former Disney and Maker Studios exec, and Albie Hecht, former head  Nickelodeon, are not joking around. On Wednesday, Williams announced plans to launch Pocketwatch, a new kids media brand that will exist across platforms ranging from to YouTube.

The goal is to be "the ultimate headquarters for kids in their vast entertainment universe," Williams said. Read more...

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Google is (slowly) fixing the biggest problem with Android

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:52:37 +0000

Google's biggest Android problem remains a huge issue but it's slowly improving.

At least that's the takeaway from Google's Android Security Year in Review, the latest update on the company's ongoing plan to get phone makers to adopt security updates more quickly. 

While Android fans often cite the amount of choice in Android devices as one of the main draws of the platform, the fact remains that this continues to be its biggest weakness as well. That's because so many device makers are extraordinarily slow to adopt software updates and critical security patches.  Read more...

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Critics who called out Chelsea Clinton for 'Lifetime Impact Award' made one large error

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:47:31 +0000

On April 21, Chelsea Clinton will receive an award from Variety honoring her work with Alliance for the Healthier Generation, which works to empower kids to adopt healthy eating habits. The award, announced on Wednesday, is called the Lifetime Impact Award. This is because it is presented in partnership with the TV network Lifetime.

Unfortunately, some too-eager Twitter users, then journalists, then whole outletsThe Hill, Heat Street and Death and Taxes, to name a few — did not make this connection. 

Instead, they pushed the idea that Clinton was winning a (lowercase) "lifetime achievement award" at the age of 37. This instantly incurred the wrath of critics, particularly — surprise! — those who do not like her anyway. Read more...

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