How bad is Erdogan for Turkey?

The heading is simple, and sensible. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, or Rotten Tyrant Erdogan as I would like to call him, is a controversial Turkish politician and incumbent President of Turkey, a full blown Islamist, an idiot and a turncoat who has now been blocked by both The Netherlands and Germany for his impractical political views and his so called Islamization of a great country like Turkey is putting Turkey in harm’s way.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s incumbent president and a rotten cum authoritarian ruler

It is pretty evident that he is NOT the architect of Turkey’s economic miracle, and the Islamist rooted AKP Party, to which Erdogan belongs to, has launched scathing attacks on Turkey’s secular constitution and values, which can compromise the safety and sanity of Turkey.

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A graphical depiction of Erdoganism, a threat to Turkey’s character.

Erdogan rose from Councillor to Prime Minister through a controversial decision of the Turkish Supreme Court which allowed Abdullah Gul to become President. With Turkey reeling from 1.6 million Liras per 1 U.S Dollar, his finance minister Kemal Unatikan (late) took an I.M.F bailout package that helped eliminate 6 zeros from the Turkish Lira meaning 1.6 Lira per U.S Dollar for three years upto 2008. In the year 2010, the Turkish Lira was 1.3 Lira per U.S Dollar, and the conversion of Gecekondus (Slums) into decent Apartment complexes as well as new investments across an array of industries rose his popularity. Due to new found economic wealth, Turks were in the mood for compromising secularism but now its turned worse.

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Erdogan went to maximum lengths to ban social media in Turkey, especially Twitter.

The Turkish people are now divided and the recent coup attempt sparked fears over the loss of power of the Turkish Army. Many analysts accused Erdogan of fooling the Turkish nation using false coup attempts, falsehood and bribing army officers. Last year, 11 terrorist attacks took place in Turkey, a bomb blast at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, A blast in Izmir and two blasts in Ankara perpetrated by the ISIS raised concerns over Turkey’s security. With the army unable to do much in Syria and tensions with Russia, Syria, Iran, The Netherlands and Germany rising where Erdogan was taking out rallies in his favor causing the European Union to ban him, Turkey is now in increased isolation.

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Another Graphical Depiction of Erdoganism. Erdogan must fall

#ErdoganMustFall at all costs. With rising number of terrorist attacks, with the Turkish army being attacked by Erdogan and his Islamist goons (especially incumbent Prime Minister Binali Yildrim, who literally has no clue about his position), Erdogan is increasingly becoming authoritarian and the Turkish people are behaving like sheep. Moreover, the business climate in Turkey has taken an uncertain turn with the Turkish Lira falling against Euro, U.S Dollar, Pound Sterling and Swiss Franc. Moreover, with Turks concerned about personal safety, internet censorship has taken an authoritarian stand as well Thanks to Erdogan, Turkey’s most rotten ruler in its modern day history.

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The failed coup attempt of 2016 was a hoax, a lie and a drama orchestrated by Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself

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May God Almighty save Turkey

Erdogan made matters even worse by shutting down family planning centers, saying it was the order of our Prophet to raise more descendants. Na’uzu billah, this is actually blasphemy and Erdogan himself is a fundamentalist who is actually turning Turkey into an Islamist garbage dump. Moreover, rights of women and children are at stake in Turkey whereas number of tourists visiting Turkey have fallen down and now, more Turks are thinking of leaving rather than returning.

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Erdogan’s increasing lust for power and authority will move Turkey towards oblivion and isolation.

Erdogan must fall, his Islamist ideas are ruining the society and economy of Turkey and furthermore, he is NOT a saint. he is an alleged blasphemer and is not even a proper Muslim. His idea of reconciling Islam and Democracy is resulting in authoritarian power and if he tries to compromise the secular ideology of Turkey then I will shoot him.

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Demonstrators shout anti-government slogans as one of them carry a placard with a picture of Turkey's PM Erdogan during a protest against internet censorship in Istanbul

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I hope the Turkish army rises up and overthrows him. I hope he and the entire AKP party are executed for what they have done to Turkey.

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#DownWithErdogan #ErdoganMustFall #DownWithErdogan #SaveTurkey #ShootErdogan #ErdoganOut #ByeByeErdogan

Via TechCrunch: Uber rival Grab expands its engineering team with new offices in India and Vietnam

Grab, the main rival to Uber in Southeast Asia, is expanding its engineering footprint after announcing new development centers in India and Vietnam.

The company last month announced plans to open an engineering center in Jakarta, Indonesia, so the addition of bases in Bangalore, India and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, will take it to six R&D locations worldwide. The others are Singapore, Grab’s HQ, Beijing and an office in Seattle which was opened last year.

Despite the new office plans, Grab said it will not expand into India. The move is a bid to suck up new talent to fuel its rivalry with Uber in Southeast Asia, a region of over 600 million consumers where the market for on-demand rides is tipped to grow from $2.5 billion in 2015 to $13.1 billion in 2025, according to a report co-authored by Google.

“These two [new] locations are growing in terms of local talent and they understand what it is like to live in these parts of the world,” Grab co-founder Hooi Ling Tan told TechCrunch in an interview. “There are a tonne of parallels between India and Southeast Asia, especially around payments.”

Tan said Grab is looking to hire around 200 staff in Bangalore, where it will focus on developing its payments service, over the next two years. The other two offices will be focused on more local innovation. In Jakarta, Grab wants to hire 150 people while in Vietnam it will initially start with a team of 25.

Grab has a total of 2,000 staff, Tan said, but it plans to add 800 more developers to its six R&D offices. Currently there are around 20 in Seattle, where Grab just moved into a new office to house plans to expand to 60 people. The Beijing office, she added, has 40-50 employees, with the remainder of the rest mostly based in Singapore.

Grab isn’t the first from Southeast Asia to look to India for talent. Go-Jek, its $1.3 billion-valued rival in Indonesia, set up a development office in Bangalore last year via two acquisitions. It has since acquired another startup to grow its engineering chops in India. Uber, meanwhile, has an engineering team in India but it doesn’t have a dedicated team in Southeast Asia. Its Hyderabad-based facility, however, does develop technology for other emerging markets beyond India.

Today, Grab claims 710,000 drivers across 39 cities in six countries in Southeast Asia. It said it has seen 36 million downloads of its mobile apps. There’s precious little data to compare marketshare in Southeast Asia, but anecdotally Uber and Grab seem to be fairly well matched across the region. Indicators suggest that Go-Jek is ahead of both in Indonesia, however. That’s significant because Indonesia is the region’s largest economy and its top ride-sharing market, too, according to the Google report.

Read original article here: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/14/grab-india-vietnam-offices/?ncid=rss

Why is the Australian Economy heading for a recession

For most of the time, we all thought that Australia is going to be the new economic frontier. However, such is not so as the Australian economy is showing worrisome signs that it is going to face a tailspin which will put it in the direction of both a recession and an economic meltdown. The dependence on services and the removal of manufacturing, coupled with the massive outsourcing which the U.S.A once did in the mid 2000’s is now putting Australia in a precarious position, on which the Australians are in denial and are somewhat defiant that such is not so. Despite the fact that manufacturing has still maintained presence in New South Wales, The shutdowns of the Toyota, Ford and Holden automotive plants as well as Mitsubishi’s plant shutdown in 2008 has hurt the Australian economy far more than anyone can imagine. Also, relying on imports from Thailand, China, India, U.S.A and other nations is definitely going to strain Australia’s finances and also cause political instability in Australia.

The theories and concepts of business process outsourcing and engineering in the U.S.A have been quashed, with thanks to Donald Trump’s protectionist and nationalist policies that have not only rebounded and restored American manufacturing but have also taken suit in Europe as well as Africa and certain Asian nations. India is benefiting from a strong manufacturing base for both domestic and international consumption which has made its economic base stronger. Despite China having billions in its treasury, excessive mining has damaged its landscape and rivers, where carcinogenic metals have leaked into river waters thus producing polluted fish, sinkholes, cancers in villagers and cancers in agricultural produce. Moreover, with dozens of Chinese export goods like vegetables, meat, rice and other things banned and blacklisted by most O.E.C.D nations, China is officially in deep trouble.

When it comes to Thailand, they have benefited from a previously strong base and are benefiting from a rising auto industry that earns billions and even trillions! Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota were given entries but on the basis of joint ventures, with shared research and development and controlled industrial expansion which will now give Thailand an even improved base for starting its own companies in automotive industry (Vehicles, Parts, Equipment) as well as shipbuilding and other manufacturing sectors, and that too with less pollution. Being environmentally and economically responsible, Thailand has invested in all sectors of the economy, from education and healthcare to tourism. With the Australian Dollar falling, its time for Australia to realize its mistake and fix its struggling economy.

The following graphs will help indicate Australia’s so called economic miracle and how it is tumbling down

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Number of quarters the aforementioned economies endured without a recession since 1991

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Australia’s commodity exports (Mineral and Fuel) as well as prices of Iron Ore and Coal per metric ton

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The Australian Net Disposable Income has risen

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So did the wage rates til some time but the hourly pay has fallen, and is further decreasing to concerning extent

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Taking housing prices as a multiple of Annual Income, Australia has the most expensive housing market in the Anglosphere, the Southern Hemisphere and in the world as well as O.E.C.D nations

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Whats even more concerning is that the Australian household debt levels are rising each passing day, and are not stopping! They are continuously rising which indicate Australia will default on its debt in the future

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Australia is now relying on exporting services to save the balance of payments, which is certainly not possible. For that, Australia must restore manufacturing and export manufactured goods.

The problem lies in the policies of the Australian Government. The ambigious statuses of Rio Tinto mining corporation and BHP Billiton should raise alarms. They label themselves as multinationals, but with 2 headquarters (i.e. Melbourne and London for both) they both should be paying taxes in Australia and the United Kingdom but sadly, they just evaded Australian taxes whilst earning millions and billions off commodity exploration, mining, refining and export of minerals and even petroleum. Even if they are paying taxes in Australia, how come the British economy is ahead of the Australian economy? even after Brexit?

In 1991, Australia emerged from a recession, unemployment peaking at 11.1% and price of Iron Ore languishing at USD$15 per metric ton. John Howard, the leader of the consecutive party becomes Prime Minister in 1996 and decides to privatize state companies and reduce government spending resulting in strong export growth, stable Australian Dollar, good value of earnings coming from exports of both minerals and goods and manufacturing sector receiving good strength and investment. In the year 2001, Billiton plc of the United Kingdom agreed to merge with BHP of Australia, resulting in merger of two of the world’s largest iron ore producers. Two years later, China’s economy grows at an annual rate of 10 percent, giving a golden opportunity for BHP Billiton to earn billions from the export and sale of Iron Ore to China and Chinese businesses & Corporations, thereby making Australia a commodity strongman. 4 years later, in 2007, Kevin Rudd, a former Mandarin speaking diplomat who spent his formative years in poverty apologized to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders for the way they were treated and promised closer relations with People’s Republic of China, which then give Australian businesses and corporations, leverages for outsourcing business processes to China and other nations in Asia.

However, a year later, the Global Financial Crisis appears, risking thousands of jobs and businesses, sending commodity prices spiraling downwards and BHP Billiton deciding not to acquire Rio Tinto thus ending BHP Billiton’s 18 month pursuit. Commodity prices rebounded in the year 2009, with Chevron approving the USD$ 37 billion Gorgon offshore natural gas project resulting in the Australian Dollar achieving parity with the U.S Dollar. In 2011, Iron Ore was priced at USD$190 per metric ton, and mining workers earning more than AUD$ 175,000 annually just for digging, excavating, running drills and transporting the ore. Laid off workers from the manufacturing sector eventually found work as miners in Australia’s booming mining sector. The strong value of the Australian Dollar at that time did not place much emphasis on investing in manufacturing, rather mining giants were enjoying billion dollar earnings from export of Iron Ore, Gold and other commodities to China and other industrial powerhouses of that time. However, in 2012, this scene took an unprecedented U-Turn when Fortescue Metals Group announced cost cuts, lay offs, roll over of company funded barbecues as well as reduction in mining operations which spell the end of the mining boom and the start of the devaluation of the Australian Dollar.

2013 was a worrisome year as Holden’s parent company General Motors announced the ceasing of production in Australia within a few years. Conservative Politician Tony Abbott became Prime Minister while Governor of the Australian Central Bank Glenn Stevens warned against relying too much on mining again and called for restoring manufacturing, citing reasons such as an unprecedented massive economic downturn and default. in 2015, the price of Iron Ore fell down to USD$ 37 per metric ton, which then plummets salaries in mining, leading to Liberal politician Malcolm Turnbull ousting Tony Abbott, with Turnbull promising to diversify the Australian economy. in 2016, economic indicators show Australia entering deflation and Malcolm Turnbull surviving the 2016 elections by a narrow margin, leaving his Government in a fragile position.

Apart from that, with Uber threatening to take over the Australian taxi sector, various municipalities planned on giving AUD$ 125,000 per taxi driver as golden handshake term deposits but that was overturned with massive protests from municipal taxi drivers and economists as well as the general public alike, who argued that not only will this further raise debt levels but also leave thousands unemployed. Furthermore, Uber’s cost mechanisms were revealed to be shady and Uber has been banned in many countries across the globe.

Australia is now earning from Higher education, seeing an influx of many foreign students, Tourism; generating millions from Chinese and other western tourists as well as high end defense and biotech manufacturing; which is facing challenges from high wages and low competitiveness. Furthermore, with the Chinese economy falling into recession, Australia looks more likely to fall into recession, political instability becoming visible and the housing bubble is also more likely to blow, sending housing prices even lower than that of the U.S.A, Canada and Hong Kong.

With Holden now taken over by PSA of France and more likely to be produced outside of Australia, coupled with the shutdown of Ford Australia’s and Toyota’s manufacturing plants in the state of Victoria, the Australian is officially in trouble. Though Aircraft parts are being manufactured in South Australia, the Australian economy is in trouble and now it needs to reorganize itself and bring manufacturing back or else, it will go down as among the worst affected economies ever.

Via TechCrunch: Microsoft calls for establishment of a digital Geneva Convention

As the public grows more concerned with state-sponsored hacking, Microsoft is calling on tech companies to form a so-called “Digital Geneva Convention” by promising to protect users from nation-state attacks and vowing to never mount offensive cyber attacks. Microsoft is also pushing governments around the world to establish norms for engagement in digital warfare.

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith announced the initiative today at the RSA Conference. “We suddenly find ourselves living in a world where nothing seems off limits to nation-state attacks,” Smith wrote in a blog post accompanying the announcement. “Conflicts between nations are no longer confined to the ground, sea and air, as cyberspace has become a potential new and global battleground.”

Smith pointed to the 2014 Sony hack, attributed to North Korea, and the 2016 election hacks, attributed to Russia, as examples of attacks that occurred without any meaningful international norms. He nodded to the 2015 agreement between the United States and China that banned the cyber-theft of corporate intellectual property, but said that international governments need to do more to establish rules of engagement online.

Smith said the U.S.-China agreement should serve as a model for the U.S. as it responds to Russian hacking, calling it an opportunity for President Trump to “sit across the table” from Russian President Vladimir Putin and address the hacks.

“Just as the United States and China overcame mutual challenges and made important progress in 2015 to ban intellectual property cyber-theft, the United States and Russia can hammer out a future agreement to ban the nation-state hacking of all the civilian aspects of our economic and political infrastructures,” Smith said.

Smith said the technology industry needs a treaty similar to the Geneva Convention to protect civilians from harm as governments begin to fight their wars online. This process has been underway in the United Nations and the U.S. government, but it’s unclear how U.S. efforts will progress under the new presidential administration.

If government’s don’t take action, Smith said, companies need to make sure they are protecting users. Although he framed the rise of nation state attacks as an opportunity for a U.S. president to create norms, Smith didn’t mention Trump by name and condemned the kind of nationalism that was a driving force during his campaign.

“In age of nationalism, we need to be a trusted and neutral digital Switzerland,” Smith told the RSA audience. “We need to make clear that there are certain principles for which we stand. We will assist and protect customers everywhere — that is what we do. We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere, regardless of what government asks us to do so.”

Smith said the industry has the opportunity to come together and push for digital attack norms, as the industry united in support of Apple during its encryption case and and in support of immigration under Trump’s recent executive order. Smith said the stories of immigrant founders and employees in Silicon Valley should serve as inspiration for designing rules for digital engagement. “As we think about addressing nation state attacks, that is a powerful force that should inspire us and upon which we can build,” Smith said of immigration.

“The tech sector plays a unique role as the internet’s first responders, and we therefore should commit ourselves to collective action that will make the internet a safer place,” Smith wrote. “Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention recognized that the protection of civilians required the active involvement of the Red Cross, protection against nation-state cyberattacks requires the active assistance of technology companies.”

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FEATURED IMAGE: JASON REDMOND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Original link: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/14/microsoft-calls-for-establishment-of-a-digital-geneva-convention/?ncid=rss

Via TechCrunch: Food startup Deliveroo raises $275M as Uber eats into its European market

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Deliveroo, a popular on-demand restaurant food delivery startup in Europe, has raised another $275 million in funding, a Series E investment that we have heard from sources values the company at around $1 billion. This latest round is led by new investor, Bridgepoint, previous investors DST Global and General Catalyst, and also had participation from existing investor Greenoaks Capital.

Deliveroo says the investment will go into growing its service in both new and existing markets, where it’s now live in 84 cities. It’s also going to keep investing in its new initiatives. These include a new B2B remote kitchen service, RooBox, which gives restaurants access to delivery-only kitchens in key locations. Other new services have included an expansion into alcohol delivery.

Deliveroo, who is not confirming its valuation, has now raised $475 million to date.

This latest funding comes at a time when the startup is facing a lot of heat from others who are also targeting the higher, foodie end of the prepared food market (typical Deliveroo restaurants include artisanal pizza and burger joints, trendy Middle Eastern delis, and hipster donut bakeries).

Rivals include Uber, which has stormed into Europe with Uber Eats; as well as others like Delivery Hero and Just Eat, and now, it seems, Amazon too (whose own food delivery project in Europe is currently codenamed “Hot Wheels”).

The intense competition in the market has led to a distinctly sink-or-swim climate, with other hopefuls like Take It Easy closing down last week after failing to raise money.

Sky News reported news of Deliveroo’s round earlier today, and we have confirmed the details with Deliveroo directly.

“After seeing strong growth in the markets we launched in November, our new focus is to drive further innovation in food delivery,” founder and CEO Will Shu said in a statement. “In particular, I’m excited about exploring completely new ways to solve the hardest problems restaurants face when offering delivery. RooBox is the first illustration of this approach, and innovations like these are at the heart of our mission. We’re proud and honoured to have the support of Bridgepoint, DST Global and General Catalyst in this endeavour.”

We had been hearing about Deliveroo’s attempts to raise this round for months now, and it came with several other interesting details.

For one, this round has been taking some time to close –nine months, by one person’s estimate — as the size and terms have fluctuated. We also understand from multiple sources that the company had hired Morgan Stanley either to help arrange financing for this deal, or potentially to find a buyer for the company. Among those that were approached as potential buyers or partners: Uber, Delivery Hero, Amazon, Just Eat and Takeaway.com. Those talks have not come to anything at this point.

Deliveroo, however, has been growing. It says that since its last round of funding ($100 million in November 2015), it has grown 400 percent and “reached profitability in a number of its established markets,” which would include London. It has also added 29 new cities and 9,000 new restaurant partners to its footprint in the last eight months.

And if we’re in a sink-or-swim climate at the moment, for now competitors are just happy to see Deliveroo seal the deal, since rising tides will help lift all (remaining) boats. “It’s good news that they managed to finally close,” another food delivery founder told me. “I think everyone was nervous it would be one of Europe’s largest failures… It would have effected the whole industry.”

Notably, Uber opted to partner up and sell off its operation in China to arch rival Didi Chuxing after it proved too costly to compete against it. Whether that might be a precedent for other geographies and categories beyond basic transport remains to be seen.

For now, there has been a lot of competition between Deliveroo and Uber Eats in markets like London, not just to secure restaurants for delivery and to find loyal customers, but to pick up drivers to complete orders.

Anecdotally, drivers who we have interviewed who have made the leap to Uber from Deliveroo tell us the pay is better — meaning Uber’s competing by sacrificing margin to gain market share.

Confusingly (or serendipitously?), the green-lettered black delivery boxes for Uber Eats and Deliveroo look nearly identical.

Deliveroo says that since its Series D, it has added 6,500 new riders to its network.

Via TechCrunch: How VR could have you walking in circles in future without knowing it

 

VR’s promise of boundless virtual worlds to explore is, in practice, rather more tethered to reality, given physical limits on play spaces meaning you can only walk so far in the corresponding virtual world before you’re out of sensor range and/or about to bump into a (real) wall. So how to square the circle of infinite virtual worlds vs finite play space?

One technique involves the player reorienting their visual perception by turning on the spot and stopping after a few turns facing in a new direction, allowing them to carry on walking straight again. However spinning around can make people dizzy so isn’t exactly an ideal solution given VR’s extant nausea problem. This method also inevitably breaks up play.

A team of Japanese researchers reckon they have come up with a better idea — which they’ve named Unlimited Corridor. The technique uses visual and haptic feedback to trick gamers into perceiving they are walking in a straight line, when in fact they are walking in circles. Which in turn allows for VR game worlds to appear to have infinitely long passageways. The gamer merely has to tap their way along one side of a (real) wall in the play space, an action which naturally orientates their walk alongside it, to perceive they are walking straight within the game. But in fact the wall is a circle. The team’s test world was developed on the Unity platform.

The project, which has been led by Dr Takuji Narumi of the University of Tokyo along with Unity Researcher Yohei Yanase, does still require a rather large real-world installation (of said circular wall unit) in the VR play space — and works best with mobile or portable VR (they used a high performance gaming laptop in a backpack on their testers) — so it’s not without its own real-world limits. But the team say they’ve now managed to shrink the wall to a radius of 2.5m, and reckon they could squeeze it further by increasing the strength of the visuo-haptic interaction — the other key component of the technique.

So what exactly is visuo-haptic interaction? Narumi describes it as “a kind of illusory effect in our brain” — which allows for a particular perception/sensation to be generated by combining sensory inputs in different ways.

“It alters our proprioceptive sensations corresponding to visual sensations by the combination of visual and haptic stimuli,” he tells TechCrunch. “It has long been thought that different sensory modalities operate independently of each other. However, recent behavioral and brain imaging studies are changing this view, now suggesting that cross-modal interactions have an important role in our perception. In cross-modal effects, the perception of a sensation through one sense is changed by other stimuli that are simultaneously received through other senses.”

The team has also developed what Narumi describes as a “flavor display”, also using cross-modal interaction, that alters the perceived taste of food — allowing for people in VR to virtually select a choice of cookie flavoring and taste that when they eat the real world (plain) cookie in their hand. (Although ‘augmented gustation‘, as they dub this, also requires the VR player to have an olfactory cap on their head which puffs flavored air into their nostrils at the moment of mastication, corresponding with their taste choice, in order for them to experience the sensation of a eating a chocolate cookie, for example. So it’s getting pretty out there, even by VR standards…)

“In case of ‘Unlimited Corridor’, we can reduce the required space for forever walking with a cross-modal (visual and haptic) VR. Therefore we believe the utilization of cross-modal effects becomes a key technology for next generation of VR,” adds Narumi, who has also conducted research into the perceived metamorphosis of shape, again using cross-modal interactions.

The team used a split circle design for their Unlimited Corridor wall which allows the player to make turns within a game, and also enables the installation to accommodate multiple players at a time without them bumping into each other. (Watching that part of the video it’s almost impossible not to be reminded of Pacman ghost-avoidance tactics.)

The core tech on the visuo-haptic side is a method for simultaneously matching the visual and haptic stimuli being presented to the player. The timing between visual and haptic presentation has to be within 200ms, according to Narumi, who notes the team investigated the acceptable gap between the visual and haptic curvatures via “various experiments”.

While the researchers assert the illusion of their Unlimited Corridor is “very strong”, they concede a few people will still sense the wall is round based on touch. So the technique won’t work for everybody. There’s also no absolute guarantee against warding off VR sickness, although the team claims this occurred “much less often” with their system than with normal VR or redirected walking (RDW), i.e. turning around on the spot, experiences.

While Unlimited Corridor is primarily a research project to explore how the boundary between reality and the brain’s perception of it can be manipulated, the team envisage their technique having potential outside the lab, for entertainment, education and simulation use-cases — noting that entertainment companies have expressed interest, including one that has started experimenting.

Via 9t05 Mac: Disney launches child-focused messaging app w. built-in games & safety features

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Just when you think there can’t possibly be room for yet another messaging app, along comes Disney with what looks like a decent attempt to prove us wrong. Disney Mix is a new messaging app designed for use by kids as young as four, using the tagline ‘chat, share, play.’

The free app offers stickers from just about every Disney movie you could name, customized cartoon avatars, built-in games and safety features designed to keep things family-friendly …

 

Disney Mix is a social messaging app where friends can chat, share, and play in a whole new way! Get creative and express yourself using some favorite Disney and Pixar characters like Flash from Zootopia, Hank from Finding Dory, Jenny from Adventures in Babysitting, Danny from Future-Worm!, and more! Add Disney Channel, Disney😄, and Disney Movies to your Friends List and receive the latest videos and photos directly from them. Personalize an avatar, chat with friends, play games, make memes, and send funny stickers and sounds… do it all in one place with Disney Mix.

On the safety side, Engadget notes that chat threads have a whistle icon at the top that kids can press if anything concerns them. An adult moderator will then step in to check things out. Disney has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and harassment, and users are reminded to be respectful and keep it clean.

Disney Mix is a free download on the App Store, with an Android version available too.

Via Techcrunch: Amazon launches Prime Air, its own dedicated cargo planes to speed delivery

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A Boein 767 of Prime Air in the hangar of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

 

Drone delivery or self-driving trucks may not be here any time soon for Amazon.com.

But the e-commerce juggernaut plans to launch its first ever branded cargo plane, the Amazon One, at Seattle’s SeaFair Air Show on Friday.

The plane is a a Boeing 767-300 operated by Atlas Air, an existing provider of air cargo services for Amazon.com.

In a press statement ahead of the event, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, Dave Clarke, outlined plans for a more expansive “air transportation network.” The company will lease 40 planes in total from Atlas Air and another partner, ATSG, for its Prime Air cargo operations in the next two years, he revealed.

The move is part of a broad effort to speed delivery for ever-demanding customers.

A time lapse video of the plane being painted is up for Amazon superfans who want to catch a glimpse before it flies in the airshow in Seattle.

On the ground, Amazon.com has also launched initiatives aimed at making delivery times as fast as possible for its Prime and other customers.

Among other things, these efforts include the addition of 4,000 trailers to its fleet of delivery trucks; the launch of Flex, a mobile app to let vetted freelance drivers start using their own vehicles to make Amazon.com deliveries; and the use of robotics and other technology to speed packing and sorting at its facilities.

How to Watch Rio Olympics 2016 Live Online

The biggest and the most exciting multi-sport extravaganza, Rio Olympics 2016, will start on 5th August 2016. Like me, you too must be excited to watch your favorite sports. Keeping that in mind, I took the liberty of preparing an instant guide for you to assist you in how to watch Rio Olympics Live Online.

The opening ceremony of the games will be held in Rio de Janeiro on 5th August, 2016 where athletes from the 205 participating nations will appear. Millions of fans globally are anxiously waiting for the opening ceremony and most of them will turn towards online routes to watch the action packed gala. You can watch Olympics opening ceremony on any device of your choice from anywhere you want using a fast and secure VPN.

Olympic is not just a multi-sport event but a gathering that unites the world providing them a platform to compete and excel, along with spreading a positive message around the world. Athletes from every part of the world take part in these games to prove their worth. That’s not it! Fans also love to see their favorite players compete in thrilling and exciting battles in various disciplines.

42 disciplines, 306 events and 205 nations; what else is needed! Use the following list of official broadcasters of Rio Olympics 2016 to see who is airing which sport in your region:

BBC iPlayer (UK)
NBC (USA)
Seven Network (AUS)
Fox (BRA)
CBC (CAN)
Canal+ (FRA)
ZDF (GER)
RTE (IRE)
Sky Italia (ITA)
Star Sports (IND)
RTVE (ESP)
Sky TV (NZ)

The stats show that not everyone will be using TV to watch Olympic Games as majority will be live streaming Rio Olympics online. I have prepared this Rio Olympics live streaming guide so you can avoid the hassle of searching the right online channels for Rio Olympics.

Feel Free to know more about Rio Olympics 2016 click here.

Via The History Channel: The Black Tom Explosion

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Black Tom explosion. (Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

In the early hours of Sunday, July 30, 1916, an explosion, with the force of a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that could reportedly be felt as far away as Maryland, rocked Jersey City, New Jersey. Plate glass windows in buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn were blown out, the Brooklyn Bridge shook and the nearby Statue of Liberty was pummeled with shrapnel. At first, investigators believed the catastrophe was an accident, but later investigations would show the disaster an act of sabotage by the Germans, who wanted to stop deliveries of ammunition to Allied forces in World War I.

Two years after the start of World War I, the greater New York region was a major hub of the American munitions industry, with “75 percent of all ammunition and armaments shipped from the United States to Europe went out within a radius of five miles of City Hall in Lower Manhattan,” according to “Sabotage at Black Tom” by Jules Witcover. It was Black Tom, once a small island, that was “the single most important assembly and shipping center in America for munitions and gunpowder being sent to the Allies,” Witcover notes, and “probably housed the most extensive arsenal anywhere outside the war zone itself.”

While the United States had not yet entered World War I and was officially neutral, American munitions dealers could legally sell to any of the warring nations. Most of the arms, however, were going to the Allies—Britain, France and Russia—because the British navy had blockaded Germany.

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Store windows broken in Black Tom Explosion. (Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

The first of the Black Tom explosions was felt at 2:08 a.m. followed half an hour later by a second blast. At least five people were killed, including a baby in Jersey City who was thrown from his crib, and there was an estimated $20 million—the equivalent of some $500 million today—in property damage.

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Wrecked warehouses and scattered debris attest to power of an explosion. (Credit: US Army Signal Corps / Getty Images)

The blasts also wreaked havoc at the site. As described by Witcover: “The Black Tom promontory was a charred ruin; 13 huge warehouses were leveled and six piers destroyed, and fires continued to eat their way through the remains and consume hundreds of railroads cars and barges tied to the docks. At one point, a huge cavern was hewed out of the earth by the explosions of some 87 dynamite-laden railroad cars. The blast excavated a hole so deep that it extended below sea level; water seeped in until a vast pond was created, strewn with the wreckage.”

In the aftermath of the explosions, law-enforcement agents quickly arrested officials from the railroad, storage company and barge business who operated from the Black Tom site. However, investigators were unable to determine whether the disaster was the result of safety violations by any of these officials. One thing the authorities initially seemed to agree on was that the explosions weren’t the work of foreign saboteurs. It would take years for a persistent team of American lawyers to find sufficient evidence that showed that in fact the disaster had been plotted by the Germans. The lawyers sued Germany in the Mixed Claims Commission at The Hague, and in 1939 won the case. Germany, under the rule of Hitler, failed to pay up and the settlement was renegotiated in the early 1950s. The last payment was made to Black Tom claimants in 1979.

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Fire raging at National Storage House, one of plants blown up by the explosion and spreading of fire. (Credit: Bettmann /Getty Images)

Today, the Black Tom site is part of New Jersey’s Liberty State Park. Nearby at the Statue of Liberty, a legacy of the disaster remains: Due to the damage the statue sustained on July 30, 1916, its torch has been closed to the public for the last century. Many have hopelessly and falsely associated this blast with conspiracy theories of the new world order but the fact of the matter is that this was a deliberate act of sabotage by the German empire eventually turning into Germany’s loss in the First World War.