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Causes of the global water crisis and 12 companies trying to solve it

 It’s World Water Day. Time to wake up and take shorter showers. That is, if we’re fortunate enough to have them. Water scarcity and pollution are persistent global problems. According to End Water Poverty, some 663 million people around the world have absolutely no reliable access to clean, safe water year-round. And two-thirds of the world population faces water scarcity for… Read More
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Ryan Gosling finally explains why he giggled his way through the Oscars mix-up

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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...

More about Cereal, Vine, Oscars, Oscars 2017, and Ryan Gosling
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The News Lens raises Series B to challenge Asia’s traditional media companies

 The News Lens, an online journalism startup that aims to be the voice of reason in Asia’s raucous media landscape, will focus on creating more original video content after landing a Series B round. The startup hasn’t disclosed the exact amount, but says it is in the range of $2 million to $3 million. Read More

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

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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." 

More about Bag Of Air, Ebay, Australia, Adele, and Watercooler
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This formula explains why NYC is great for ride-sharing and Sydney is terrible

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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.

More about Ride Sharing, Uberpool, Uber, Carlo Ratti, and Australia

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

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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 chceking 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...

More about Alcohol Delivery, Alcoholic Beverage, Alcohol, Australia, and Ubereats
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Crunch Report | Google Maps Launches Location Sharing with Others

Google Maps launches a location-sharing feature, Coffee Meets Bagel has a new paid membership tier and AI expert Andrew Ng leaves Baidu. All this on Crunch Report. Read More
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Amazon delays its entry into Southeast Asia

 Amazon has postponed its much-anticipated entry into Southeast Asia. The company initially planned to launch local e-commerce services in Singapore during the first quarter of this year, as we reported in November, but two sources with knowledge of the plans told TechCrunch that the schedule has slipped to “later this year”. Amazon did not respond to multiple requests for… Read More

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

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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...

More about Elijah Cummings, Data, Privacy, Surveillance, and Facial Recognition

Facebook struggles to prevent violence on Facebook Live

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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...

More about Mark Zuckerberg, Violence Against Women, Violence, Streaming Video, and Facebook Live
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This startup wants to send electric planes from London to Paris within 10 years

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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...

More about Startups, Y Combinator, Aviation, Battery, and Electric Plane
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Koalas don't like water but they're being 'driven to drink' by climate change

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

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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

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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.

More about Sony, Marvel, Spider Man Homecoming, Spider Man, and Black Cat
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NBA road teams are winning more because of dating apps. No, really.

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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'

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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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Senate debates permanent rollback of FCC’s broadband privacy rules

 Republican Senators led by Arizona’s Jeff Flake proposed a resolution earlier this month that would roll back privacy rules adopted by the FCC last year that prevented ISPs from collecting personal data without asking permission first. Today the Senate was alive with oratory as people spoke for and against the proposal. Read More
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YouTube really wants you to watch this stop-motion film featuring a stranger's butt

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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 → https://t.co/q3GBBNXF21 pic.twitter.com/sPu006xBGj

— YouTube (@YouTube) March 22, 2017

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

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Apple has acquired Workflow, a powerful automation tool for iPad and iPhone

 Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow today — a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks. We’ve been tracking this one for a while but were able to confirm just now that the ink on the deal is drying as we speak. I haven’t been able to get financial details for the deal, but if I come up with them… Read More
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Three years later, 'Diablo III' Seasons mode heads to consoles

It might be time to rekindle your love for the loot-fest of Diablo III. A big new patch with a ton of tweaks for the hack and slash dungeon crawler will land on March 31st. The update finally brings the popular Seasons mode to Xbox One and Pla...