With the two largest smartphone makers in the world getting behind the idea of biometric scanning, credit card companies may start to take it seriously as well.
And yet they have extremely low rates of cycling related head injuries. Meanwhile, the US is among those countries that lead in both wearing helmets and head injuries. One of the main differences? Serious investments in cycling infrastructure, much of which is segregated or protected from auto traffic.
21 million taxi rides have been booked on WeChat in the past month
WeChat, the hugely popular messaging app in China, added the function to hail and pay for a taxi on January 6. Now, after more than a month in action, the taxi-finder app that WeChat works with has revealed some interesting figures.
According to Didi Dache, which is one of China’s top taxi apps, the integration with WeChat boosted the service to 40 million registered users (from about 20 million last year). So far, a total of 21 million cab rides have been booked in the WeChat app. Courtesy of a story on 36Kr, here are more stats from the startup:
- Didi Dache gets an average of 700,000 bookings per day via WeChat.
- Didi Dache and WeChat’s maker, Tencent (HKG:0700), jointly dished out RMB 400 million (US$65.6 million) in ‘bonuses’ to both cabbies and riders who paid for the fare via WeChat Payments. Note that all drivers are capped at RMB 50 in bonuses per day, while each passenger is capped at RMB 30 each day.
- February 7, a day when many people were returning home after trips to see relatives for Chinese New Year, saw a daily peak of 2.62 million taxi rides via WeChat, of which about two million were paid for via mobile on WeChat Payments.
- 100,000 taxi rides were taken via WeChat in the first nine days
Full Story: TechninAsia
MIT scientists are writing computer programs that can control large teams of robots or networks of devices with different functions.
Netflix Is Building an Artificial Brain Using Amazon’s Cloud
Nothing beats a movie recommendation from a friend who knows your tastes. At least not yet. Netflix wants to change that, aiming to build an online recommendation engine that outperforms even your closest friends.
The online movie and TV outfit once sponsored what it called the Netflix Prize, asking the world’s data scientists to build new algorithms that could better predict what movies and shows you want to see. And though this certainly advanced the state of the art, Netflix is now exploring yet another leap forward. In an effort to further hone its recommendation engine, the company is delving into “deep learning,” a branch of artificial intelligence that seeks to solve particularly hard problems using computer systems that mimic the structure and behavior of the human brain. The company details these efforts in a recent blog post.
Full Story: Wired
The healthcare industry is already making use of 3D printing technologies to print casts, tracheal splints, ears, prostheses, and even cells. Now, a New York-based company wants to print the insoles in your shoes to reduce foot pain and improve posture. Sols Systems has raised US$1.75 million of seed financing from Lux Capita to bring its custom orthotics to market. (via Sols scans your feet and creates 3D-printed custom insoles)
Nigerian musician Seun Kuti speaks out on Nigeria’s anti-gay law.
I’m writing to condemn the recent anti-gay bill signed into law by our President Jonathan Goodluck. This law – which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison for anyone in a same-sex marriage or civil union, 10 years for anyone who attends a same-sex wedding, 10 years for anyone involved with an LGBT organization, and even 10 years for anyone who shows affection for someone of the same sex – should be cast out. Since the law was passed, police across Nigeria have begun arresting and torturing dozens of our fellow citizens suspected of being gay. Don’t forget that in some of our states, if you are found guilty of being gay, you could be stoned to death.
First of all, this law was unnecessary. There is not space in the existing constitution for gay marriage. Our constitution is very definitive of marriage as a union between man and woman. I see the signing in of this law for what it was: a cheap shot by an under-achieving government to discriminate against people because they are different.
The president of Nigeria has a PhD, so he should understand better than most the implications of the law. Even if he couldn’t stop the senate from passing the bill, he had the power to delay signing it as a way of protecting the gay community. The President has had the Petroleum Industry Bill in front of him for years, and he and our senators have stalled on the bill calling for harsher punishment for corruption. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s senate has just sanctioned pedophilia in our constitution (girls that are as young as 9 years old can continue to be married in if they are “physically developed enough” according to their parents or prospective husbands) – so this the ban on homosexuality can hardly be a so-called “moral” issue. This is simply a move for cheap political points. Meanwhile, people’s lives hang in the balance.
Today I am writing this not as a fight for “gay rights”, I am fighting for all rights. People should be allowed to express themselves freely and this includes their sexuality. I believe all gay people should come out and organize openly. I expect that society should allow them live their lives as they please.
It’s not a cultural thing – it’s a sexual thing. I have even heard people say it’s Western culture imposed on us and if the West doesn’t recognize polygamy we should not accept homosexuality. This is the kind of scary ignorance that this kind of law will foster. (I can say for a fact that the constitution of Nigeria does not recognize polygamy. We have customary laws that are non-binding, but our secular courts and national constitution does not allow polygamy even though it’s “our culture.”)
I believe in education as the answer to any problem and I know this law does not educate positively. It just criminalizes and institutionalizes hate towards the gay community.
Here’s a call to action: I believe the gay community should come out! They need to put love above fear. I also believe that gay people in Africa not just Nigeria who are being targeted like this should put pressure on the West by claiming asylum in their countries. I think we are about to see a new wave of sexual refugees!
Love over fear should be the way forward.