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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Space Photos of the Week: Morning Light Hits the Southern Lights

Unearthly celestial events, Martian craters, and Jovian storms.
Source: Wired

Smartphone Apps Know Too Much. We Need to Fix Permissions

The recent Facebook drama has shown that people need more explicit information before they give access to apps.
Source: Wired

Diamond and Silk Expose Facebook's Burden of Moderation

The social network’s battle with a pair of conservative bloggers show that for the ultimate amplifier, moderation is a necessary game it can’t win.
Source: Wired

At March for Science, Federal Researchers Weather Trump Storm

Many anti-Trump protesters have turned their attention toward recruiting scientists to run for office in local, state, and congressional offices.
Source: Wired

Singapore orders Grab to delay closing Uber app for an additional 3 weeks

Grab’s plan to shutter Uber’s app quickly following its merger deal in Southeast Asia has hit another snag in Singapore where the ride-hailing firm has been forced to delay closing its rival’s service until May 7.

This is the second time that Grab has pushed back the removal of Uber’s app in Singapore, which was initially scheduled for closure on April 8 but was given an additional week as part of an investigation from the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) which is assessing the merger deal. This new May 7 date is also down to the CCCS probe, with the commission issuing an ‘Interim Measures Directions’ (IMD) to Grab in order to “ensure that the market remains open and contestable.”

Those directives — which Grab said it has had a hand in formulating — include measures that prevent Grab from taking Uber’s operational data on customers and their trip history, prevent lock-in and exclusivity options for drivers that join Grab or move over from Uber’s Lion City Rental entity, and end any exclusive deals Grab has with Singapore taxi firms.

The CCCS has also ruled that Grab and the Uber service must maintain prices for passengers and drivers, and remind both that their migration to the Grab platform is optional.

The ruling impacts the Singapore market only, which is where Grab is registered. The Uber app has already been closed in six other markets where it operated in Southeast Asia, while the UberEats service will fold into GrabFood by the end of May. Elsewhere, Uber’s ride-hailing service is scheduled to be closed on April 16 in the Philippines where, like Singapore, the regulator had handed down a week-long extension while it looked into the merger deal.

In both extensions, Grab is the one footing the bill for the continued operation of Uber since the U.S. firm has already exited these markets, in terms of funding and staffing, Uber’s head of operations for Asia Pacific has said.

The CCCS previously said that it has “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the Grab-Uber deal may fall foul of section 54 of Singapore’s Competition Act. The Philippine Competition Commission is still looking into the and there’s no word on whether it will follow the CCCS’ lead and force Grab to keep the Uber app open for a longer period.

The Singapore ruling is a blow for Grab which set out an aggressive two-week timeframe for closing Uber in Southeast Asia, despite not contacting regulators in advance of the deal which sees it pick up a dominant slice of app-based taxi books across eight countries in Southeast Asia. The key question for regulators, however, appears to be whether app-based hailing is a market unto itself, or whether it is part of the wider taxi market.

If regulators chose the former option, then Uber-Grab almost certainly creates a monopoly, but since consumers can also hail apps in more traditional ways — e.g. on the street — or via taxi companies’ dedicated apps — as is the case in Singapore — then the deal hasn’t created a dominant player. It’s certainly a tricky one to assess.

Meanwhile, here is Grab’s statement on the Uber app extension and the IMD:

We appreciate that CCCS accepted our alternative interim measures. On CCCS’ request, we have agreed to extend the Uber app to 7 May to allow for a smoother transition time for riders and drivers. We trust that the CCCS’ review takes into account a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services. The interim measures should not have the unintended effect of hampering competition and restricting businesses that have already been investing in the country over the years.

Grab notes the CCCS’ objective of giving drivers choice, and is fully supportive of extending our platform to all taxi drivers, including ComfortDelGro drivers who are still constrained from picking up JustGrab jobs. Grab entered Singapore five years ago with minimal resources and the goal of enabling all taxi drivers to earn a better living using our platform. We recognise CCCS’ commitment to preserving competition; all companies – no matter big or small, digital or traditional – are capable of innovation in a free market.

We’re proud to headquarter in Singapore, where the country’s free market economy and policies enable businesses to compete and innovate vigorously to solve customer needs. We trust the government will continue to be pro-business in providing a path for startups to flourish and become sustainable businesses. We will work within the set constraints and continue to focus on building better products to compete, ensuring fairness for passengers and drivers, and cultivating the local tech talent pool through our regional R&D centre in Singapore.


Source: TechCrunch

Mini Sega Genesis is real: The Sega MegaDrive Mini – CNET

We don’t know much yet, but we know we want one.
Source: CNET

Waymo reportedly applies to put autonomous cars on California roads with no safety drivers

Waymo has become the second company to apply for the newly-available permit to deploy autonomous vehicles without safety drivers on some California roads, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It would be putting its cars — well, minivans — on streets around Mountain View, where it already has an abundance of data.

The company already has driverless driverless cars in play over in Phoenix, as it showed in a few promotional videos last month. So this isn’t the first public demonstration of its confidence.

California only just made it possible to grant permits allowing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers on April 2; one other company has applied for it in addition to Waymo, but it’s unclear which. The new permit type also allows for vehicles lacking any kind of traditional manual controls, but for now the company is sticking with its modified Chrysler Pacificas. Hey, they’re practical.

The recent fatal collision of an Uber self-driving car with a pedestrian, plus another fatality in a Tesla operating in semi-autonomous mode, make this something of an awkward time to introduce vehicles to the road minus safety drivers. Of course, it must be said that both of those cars had people behind the wheel at the time of their crashes.

Assuming the permit is granted, Waymo’s vehicles will be limited to the Mountain View area, which makes sense — the company has been operating there essentially since its genesis as a research project within Google. So there should be no shortage of detail in the data, and the local authorities will be familiar with the people necessary for handling any issues like accidents, permit problems, and so on.

No details yet on what exactly the cars will be doing, or whether you’ll be able to ride in one. Be patient.


Source: TechCrunch

Yahoo and AOL just gave themselves the right to read your emails (again) – CNET

Though Yahoo was already scanning its users’ emails to maximize ad opportunities, doubling-down on the policy could raise eyebrows in a post-Cambridge Analytica world.
Source: CNET

Elon Musk says ‘humans are underrated,’ calls Tesla’s ‘excessive automation’ a ‘mistake’

In a rare mea culpa for the mercurial billionaire, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that the company has been too reliant on robots for production.

“Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” Musk wrote, responding to a Wall Street Journal reporter’s tweet. “Humans are underrated.” He also talked about this with CBS News’ Gayle King, adding  “we had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts….And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

Tesla has faced mounting public pressure, amid a production slowdown for its Model 3, its lower-priced car. The company recently revealed that it missed its target to produce 2500 cars a week, disappointing investors.

The uncertainty has resulted in a volatile stock. A month ago shares were trading at $340 and then slid to $252. Things have started to recover now that Musk says the company will be profitable and cash flow positive in the third quarter.

This was also revealed in a tweet that Musk wrote to The Economist on Friday.

There’s “no need to raise money,” he added. Shares closed Friday at $300.34.

The company has a market cap of $50.7 billion. By comparison, Ford Motors has a market cap of $45 billion.


Source: TechCrunch

After Battlefront II mess, EA admits it has an image problem – CNET

“It’s clear to us that players see the company differently than we do,” an Electronic Arts executive says long after the Death Star-sized disaster.
Source: CNET

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