China’s Didi Has Its #DeleteUber Moment After Passenger Deaths

China's Didi Has Its #DeleteUber Moment After Passenger Deaths

Thousands of Chinese users have pledged to delete the country’s most popular ride-hailing app after another woman was allegedly murdered while using its Hitch car-pooling service.

Didi Chuxing came under fire from netizens, state media and regulators alike over the weekend after the customer was allegedly killed despite an earlier passenger complaining about the driver’s behaviour. In two statements on the matter, the Beijing-based startup has deeply apologized, pledged to overhaul its services and suspended two senior executives at the company.

But the latest death – the second in three months after a flight attendant was allegedly murdered in May – has spawned fury among China’s web users, with many taking to social media and saying they will delete the app. It comes at a critical time for the country’s most valuable startup as it faces rising competition from fellow tech giants and attempts to become a global ride-hailing giant capable of taking on Uber on the world stage.

Chinese actress Wang Xiaochen posted screenshots of her phone to her 9 million followers on Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, as she deleted the Didi app with a caption saying “goodbye!” The viral update received 285,000 ‘likes’ and generated over 40,000 comments – many of which were followers showing proof they’d done the same.

Others took their complaints about Didi’s safety directly to the startup’s own Weibo account, where they commented on the company’s statements. One popular reply that garnered 63,000 ‘likes’ said that while they couldn’t stop Didi from making a fortune, they could uninstall the app.

The push to get rid of Didi has echoes of the #DeleteUber campaign that hit Uber Technologies. in 2017 amid a series of scandals and missteps at the US ride-hailing giant.

Didi declined to comment beyond its earlier statements.

The wave of high-profile deletions are unlikely to remove Didi from the top of China’s ride-hailing market. Didi said it has more than 30 million daily active users while data from research firm QuestMobile estimates that its nearest rival Dida Chuxing has 982,000.

The world’s fourth-most valuable tech startup Meituan Dianping, which is preparing to list in Hong Kong later this year, is also ramping up its campaign to provide ride-hailing services in key markets such as Shanghai.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Global insights consultancy Kantar locates its first advanced analytics hub in region in Singapore

EDB & Kantar - LR, Hernan Sanchez, Tim Kelsall, Kelvin Wong.png

WPP-OWNED global insights consultancy, Kantar, is partnering the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to launch its first research and development hub in Asia.

The Brand Growth Lab will focus on advanced analytics and use Big Data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to help companies grow their brands. It will have a strong innovation mandate and aims to transform unstructured data into insights that drive customer-centric decision-making and sustainable growth for companies.

In addition to the lab’s innovation mandate, the three-year collaboration between Kantar and the EDB also includes the hiring of data scientists and business designers, thus developing a strong pipeline of Singapore-based talent and expertise in this area.

The creation of the lab follows the establishment of similar analytics labs in London and Frankfurt, and this year’s launch of the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM), a roadmap that seeks to to develop Singapore into a global leader in the professional services industry.

Said Hernan Sanchez, Kantar Brand Growth Lab’s managing director: “Brands no longer have to rely on hunches, but can instead substantiate their decisions based on intelligent analytics.”

Kelvin Wong, EDB’s assistant managing director, said: “We are delighted that Kantar has chosen Singapore to locate its first advanced analytics hub in Asia. Singapore’s professional services sector is growing, and Kantar’s decision is testament to this.”

[“Source-businesstimes”]

New Gears Of War Game Announced, And It’s Funko

Image result for New Gears Of War Game Announced, And It's Funko

Now Playing: New Gears Of War Game Announcements At Xbox E3 2018

Microsoft unveiled a trio of new Gears of War titles during its E3 2018 press conference, including the next proper installment in the series–Gears 5–and a strategy spin-off titled Gears Tactics. In addition to those, the company announced a Gears game for mobile devices, but it’s radically different from anything else in the series.

Dubbed Gears Pop, the game is described as a “mobile Gears experience with an official Funko Pop twist.” Few details about the title were revealed, but it’s slated to launch on iOS and Android in 2019 and features Gears of War characters who resemble Funko Pop figures. You can take a look at an image of them below.

No Caption Provided

While Gears Pop may not be the direction fans were hoping to see the franchise take, the next mainline entry, Gears 5, is also slated to launch in 2019 and features the series’ trademark brutal action. Gears Tactics, meanwhile, is described as a “true PC strategy game where brutal action meets turn-based tactics.”

[“Source-gamespot”]

With the launch of TESS, NASA will boost its search for exoplanets

illustration of TESS telescpope

NASA is stepping up its search for planets outside our solar system. Its next exoplanet hunting telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is due to launch from Cape Canaveral on the evening of April 16.

Following the Kepler space telescope’s discovery of more than 5,000 possible exoplanets since 2009, TESS will continue the galactic census — flagging more planetary candidates for further study.

Astronomers expect TESS to find about 20,000 planets in its first two years in operation, focusing on nearby, bright stars that will be easy for other telescopes to investigate later. About 500 of those expected exoplanets would be less than twice the size of Earth — and therefore may be good places to look for life.

NASA’s next exoplanet hunting telescope, TESS

SMALL BUT MIGHTY NASA’s next exoplanet hunting telescope, TESS, is only 1.5 meters tall (shown here with engineers). Its size is partly due to the fact that it was designed to launch on NASA’s small Taurus rocket, but will instead launch on a larger SpaceX Falcon 9 on April 16.

ORBITAL ATK

The TESS mission is “a whole new opening for exoplanet studies,” MIT astronomer Sara Seager, TESS’ deputy science director, said during a news conference describing the upcoming launch.

TESS will be the first NASA science mission launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Once in orbit, the spacecraft will trace an unusual, elliptical path between Earth and the moon that will enable it to observe at least 85 percent of the sky — 350 times as much sky as Kepler saw.

Most of the planets found by Kepler orbit stars 1,000 light-years away or farther. TESS will focus on 200,000 stars that are a few hundred light-years away at most, and shine between 30 to 100 times brighter on average than Kepler’s.

The brighter the star, the easier it is to determine its planet’s characteristics, such as its mass and whether it has an atmosphere, Seager says. “Photons are our currency — the more, the better,” she says.

That follow-up will help TESS avoid some of Kepler’s pitfalls. Because Kepler’s stars were so far and so dim, some of its planet candidates were confirmed as actual planets only by statistics rather than by other telescopes. And not all those confirmations may stick. A recent paper posted at arXiv.org showed that Kepler 452b, an Earth-sized planet that orbits a sunlike star at the same distance Earth orbits the sun, may be a mirage (SN: 8/22/15, p. 16). Many of TESS’ planets won’t face the same uncertainty.

the TESS sattelite

COASTING IN SPACE The TESS satellite’s unusual 13.7-day orbit uses the moon’s gravity to stabilize it, so it needs little fuel. During the part of the orbit colored blue, TESS will observe the sky. During the part marked in orange, it will transmit data back to Earth. The gray ring marks the moon’s orbit.

NASA

But the way TESS will search for exoplanets is the same as Kepler: The satellite will watch stars for signs of dimming, which can indicate that a planet is transiting, or crossing in front of, the star. Measuring how much starlight is blocked can tell astronomers the size of the planet.

Once TESS finds a planet, astronomers will need more information to understand its qualities, such as whether it’s rocky or gassy (SN Online: 6/19/17). For that, other telescopes will follow up. Ground-based telescopes will measure the gravitational tug of a planet on its host star to learn the planet’s density, which is a clue to its composition. Astronomers plan to measure masses for at least 50 TESS planets that are smaller than Neptune in the hopes that many of them will have rocky, and therefore potentially habitable, surfaces.

Undiscovered country

Before TESS, most known planets were more than 1,000 light-years away, with a few closer than 30 light-years (a parsec is 3.26 light-years). TESS (orange circles) will fill in the gap. The size of the circles represents how easy the planets are to find.

graph showing where TESS will be able to detect planets
ZACH BERTA-THOMPSON

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, now scheduled to launch in 2020, will then check some of those planets for signs of life (SN: 4/30/16, p. 32).

“This is one of the major questions that TESS is intended to answer: Where will we be pointing Webb?” said the mission’s principal investigator, MIT astronomer George Ricker, at the press conference. Webb will peer at the starlight filtering through planetary atmospheres to try to detect molecules that could be produced by something living on the surface.

It will take a few months for TESS to swing into its regular orbit before it begins collecting data. At that point, it will be able to use the moon’s gravity to stabilize itself for decades in orbit without using extra fuel. The mission is set to last two years, but could continue taking data almost indefinitely.

“TESS is not going to be limited by any expendable or other aspects,” Ricker said. “It will be basically limited by how long NASA has the patience to fund the mission.”

[“Source-sciencenews”]