If true, this could be one of the greatest discoveries in human history
Whether or not he's right about this being a solar sail, what a wonderful interview with an incredible mind. His attitude about uncertainty in science is tremendously refreshing.
Head of astronomy at Harvard ruminating that Oumuamua could be a solar sail from somewhere far away. I like his take on science - sometimes the evidence leads you somewhere unpopular, but it’s your job to keep following it.
His take on the Fermi Paradox. Where are all the aliens? Dead.
Great to see this combination of confidence and intellectual humility. It’s always exciting when a great scientist with all the credentials can admit we don’t know what’s going on out there in the vast universe and that dismissing evidence because it’s difficult to explain is not the right answer.
TIL about #BreakthroughStarshot #SolarSails
We can argue all we want about being alone in universe but, looking at where the top 1% are investing, there's very little doubt in my mind that future generations are going to be space explorers/ adventurers #SpaceExploration
Can’t wait for update!
The WHO meets to discuss China's coronavirus crisis. A panel of experts in Geneva are to decide if the outbreak, which has killed nine people, is a global health emergency, meaning a "serious, sudden, and unusual" public health crisis, like last year's Ebola outbreak in the Congo.CNBC
Harvey Weinstein's trial begins in New York. Although the Hollywood producer has been accused of assaulting at least 100 women, the trial centers on the specific cases of two alleged victims. The defense's strategy will reportedly be to undermine the credibility of the accusers.The New York Times
Davos continues, while Donald Trump heads home to face the music. The US president is having breakfast with Apple CEO Tim Cook before flying back to Washington, where his trial resumes today at 1pm ET. On the Davos agenda are Sundar Pichai on AI, Steven Mnuchin on the future of finance, and Prince Charles, who may or may not address Megxit.Quartz
The next level of gaming
“When you play a game you are taking on a problem that doesn’t exist, and trying to solve it.” Game designer Ian Bogost shares his thoughts on the problems gaming can help solve, and the challenges the gaming industry itself faces. ⬥Quartz
I don't do much computer game playing but what I have done ('Pony Island' and 'Paradigm') has caused me to have a quite different emotional approach to problem solving. Complex real world problems now elicit a sense of fun and curiosity whereas they previously tended to bring on waves of anxiety. When
I don't do much computer game playing but what I have done ('Pony Island' and 'Paradigm') has caused me to have a quite different emotional approach to problem solving. Complex real world problems now elicit a sense of fun and curiosity whereas they previously tended to bring on waves of anxiety. When in the midst of tangling with a problem, I can now distinctly hear my mind say 'Oh! this is just like that weird game, cool!'.
A third of the world plays video games. As the global gaming industry grows, it’s influencing much more than how we spend our free time. This week’s membership field guide takes a look at the state of gaming and its impact on our lives from entertainment to government and health care. ✦Quartz
This article is an excellent walk-through of the evolution of the gaming industry and a future look-ahead.
Myself, I am a chess player-turned-a gamer, a gamer-turned-a game entrepreneur, and then became 1 of the very few female CEOs in this industry. The journey is so far the most rewarding, as well
This article is an excellent walk-through of the evolution of the gaming industry and a future look-ahead.
Myself, I am a chess player-turned-a gamer, a gamer-turned-a game entrepreneur, and then became 1 of the very few female CEOs in this industry. The journey is so far the most rewarding, as well as the most challenging among my 3 startup experiences. Besides the fact that gaming is the largest online economy (1/3 of all mobile app downloads and 74% of mobile consumer spending as the article states), I want to share that what games are to me and attempt to provide a peephole to a bigger picture.
- What turns a gamer?
It probably has lots to do with being an extreme introvert and my unusual childhood growing up in China as a migrant kid. My family's unexpected loss of hukou, a residence permit issued by the Chinese government forbade me from attending a school. Instead of me discovering chess, it was more of chess stumbling upon me during those years of absence from school. Chess became my only toy, game, and friend since 8. Becoming the youngest national champion didn't only offer me a path to receive school education later bypassing the residence permit requirement, but more importantly, the foundation to build upon my self-esteem, characters, disciplines, and social skills. It is much bigger than just a game.
As time passed by, I started my 1st year in school at 13 after competing internationally for our national team. 4 years later, I went to Columbia University to pursue my undergraduate study, and the only problem was I learned very little English. Keeping up with the intensity of Columbia's curriculums, making friends, or even having simple social interactions seemed extremely difficult to me.
The difficulties in life don't destroy people. The sense of loneliness, failure, and self-unworthiness do. I started to skip classes, shut myself in the doom and grew depressed. My parents had no idea of what happened across the Pacific Ocean. The pride and the fear of being judged kept me from opening up to anyone.
Just like chess stumbled upon me accidentally, this time, Starcraft did. During days of skipping classes. I started to spend 8-10 hours in the game. At a glimpse, yes, I looked like a teenager addicted to the game, and it greatly affected my school. In the root, my problem was not the addiction, but the deep unhappiness and depression in real life. The lack of friends, the sense of not being accepted, and accomplishing nothing were feelings I was trying to escape.
However, by playing Starcraft, for the 1st time since I arrived in the U.S, I made friends, friends from my game alliance, friends whom I coordinated and strategized together, friends whom I fought and achieved victories in battles together. Those game friends became my Facebook friends and later my real friends in life. After 16 years, some of them I still keep in touch until today.
- Gaming business from the perspective of a startup
In 2017, I sold my last startup, ai.Law and co-founded WafaGames with Joe, whom I met by playing Red Alert. It is extremely tough to raise funding as an early-stage studio due to the creative nature of game makings, therefore the highly risky and unsustainable side of a gaming startup. In fact, over 90% of the investments in the gaming industry flow to game publishers than game makers, to follow-up rounds and acquisitions of mature companies than startups. Gaming is possibly the most polarized industry.
It is also getting extremely expensive to make a game that stands a chance to compete with big boys like EA or Tencent. For instance, it cost us so far, almost 3 years and more than 3-million USD. The low cap of a budget to make a similar-genre game in big companies is likely to be around 10+ million USD per game. Publishing is even more expensive, averagely $5 to bring 1 android download and $10 for iOS for a mobile MMO game. It requires a minimum of 2000 daily downloads to break even.
Gaming is a highly competitive, risky, and polarized industry with a massive amount of money at stake.
- Besides money, what games are really about?
Games evolved from a nerds' 'sport' in the '80s to today's 'glorified' field in which world-class gamers are viewed as celebrities, top game companies the richest companies among all, and 'gamification' suddenly the most popular design term across all industries. But what games are really about? What makes them so charming?
It is about fairness and equality that we could hardly find in the real world. In a good-designed game, one's smartness, hardworking, and practices will be rewarded. As on a chessboard, if I am better, I will win. If I lose, I lose fair and square and will go back practicing more before coming back. One's genders, skin colors, or birthright privileges matter very little here.
It is about simplicity and transparency. When the rules are set, they are set for all. The path for growth and accomplishment can then be defined. There is little room for back-door tricks or under-table deals.
It is about sincerity and authenticity in building friendships. Many would disagree that the friends we make in games are sometimes far more real. It's intuitive and effortless to conclude that everything about a game is fake. How could it not be? But gamers are real, game makers are real, and our interactions can't be more authentic, and they cross nationalities, genders, and cultural differences. The things that are missing out in games are often prejudices, judgments, discriminations, and masks that we are forced to put on under social pressures. Sometimes, we can only be ourselves in a virtual world. Isn't that ironic?
I have a very personal story, the one I have never really shared with anyone. Last year my grandpa passed away from a sudden heart attack. I was thousands of miles from home, and my mom called me. I lost someone I care about deeply and close to my heart since I was a kid, and yet there was nothing I could do. At that moment, I remember sitting on the floor in the dark. Tears broke down and turned into sharp heart pains; I felt hopeless and numb. After many hours when the dawn was breaking, I reached out to my phone and started to play our game and chat with my alliance friends. Of course, they had no idea who I was and what I was going through. But I felt alive, better as if the real human connections in the visual game world provided me with an outlet, a safe escape.
We often criticize those who find their emotional comfort in the virtual world, don't we? We call them weak for avoiding real problems. But aren't we all sometimes need a little escape from a cruel moment, a desperate situation in this often too cold, too unfair world to cure our vulnerability, so we can continue to believe in dreams, beauty, and magic? Aren't we all wish to stay childlike and unpretending in our hearts?
- Excessive screen time as a social concern
I think this concern should first be addressed to game makers. It is first our responsibility to take pride in making games as a start-of-art intellectual quest and a meaningful interaction with players with respect, rather than a money-making tool to trick addiction, scheme human nature.
Chess is a beautiful game and very educational for both adults and children to train their thinking capacity and strategic minds. No one doubts that.
Good games ought to be the practice of thought discipline, the training of problem-solving skills, and fun. Games are not harmful. Bad games are.
From despair to optimism
The UK civil service’s staffing levels are rising again... The number of government workers hit a post-war record low in June 2016, when Brits narrowly voted to depart the EU. Recruitment has steadily risen since—helped by the 25,000 people brought in to work on Brexit.Quartz
YouTube's two sets of rules
The video platform treats viewers and advertisers differently. The company has rigorous standards to protect businesses from harmful content, and the algorithmic ability to enforce them. That’s not the case for viewers, despite the flourishing of alt-right material, Quartz’s Olivia Goldhill reports.Quartz
Clean air is an increasingly valuable commodity
Bosnia has a major pollution issue, thanks to coal. 16 Communist-era plants across the Balkans emit more pollution than the EU’s 250 combined. Sarajevo’s recent embrace of Chinese infrastructure projects, including coal-fired plants, has not helped.Quartz
Residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina are choking on unsafe, polluted air this winter. That's not uncommon for one of the most polluted countries in Europe — but this time, people are protesting. They claim the government isn't doing enough to prevent air pollution (an accusation backed up by a wealth
Residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina are choking on unsafe, polluted air this winter. That's not uncommon for one of the most polluted countries in Europe — but this time, people are protesting. They claim the government isn't doing enough to prevent air pollution (an accusation backed up by a wealth of research done by the European Union). And there's another problem: As the air gets more and more toxic, Bosnia's government is inviting Chinese investors to fund expansions or construction projects of coal power plants.
The nature of work has changed since 2000…
Big names in Indian business step up their game
H&M collaborates with Bollywood. India is the fast-fashion chain’s fastest-growing market and the company just announced a partnership with Sabyasachi, the fashion and jewellery company founded by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, to propel its ambitions in the country.Quartz
Ola remains on a firm footing in India’s food-tech space, thanks to a smart move it made last year: Moving away from Foodpanda’s pure food-delivery model to build its own brands and curated food offerings, writes Quartz's Ananya Bhattacharya.Quartz India
In telecoms, Airtel is holding up, while Vodafone Idea slips. Bharti Airtel, facing a $4.9 billion liability in adjusted gross revenues, is preparing to raise more funds after receiving permission from the government for foreign investment. Vodafone Idea, facing a liability of $6.2 billion, hasn't come up with a solution yet.Quartz
No end in sight for Boeing's 737 crisis
Regulators say there is "no timeframe" for the 737 Max to return to the skies. Boeing shares cratered between four and five percent after news that the Federal Aviation Administration is still nowhere near giving Boeing's beleaguered jet the all-clear.CNBC
The flip side of the 737 Max issue is that airliners who didn’t buy the Max - JetBlue and Delta among them - are doing well as the supply constraint has boosted their revenue. And as travel is one of the first items to be cut in a recession, they could come out on top of any downturn consolidations down the road as a result.
Should Boeing rename the 737 Max? If not, Boeing could scrap the troubled jet altogether and develop an all-new replacement—leaving the door open to calling it whatever it chooses.Quartz
The 737 is forever linked to corporate failure. Despite its success Boeing trying to upgrade an old design is a repeat of Henry Ford trying to keep the Model T in production. Boeing should already have a new design in development . If it doesn't then Boeing will be in an abyss of its own making.
Boeing failed to go back to the drawing board when they discovered that it had huge design problems. Alternatively, they came up with a quick and flawed fix with the lame MCAS system. In the Boeing Exec Suite and Board Room, profit trumped basic safety and customer considerations. What a TOTAL disaster
Boeing failed to go back to the drawing board when they discovered that it had huge design problems. Alternatively, they came up with a quick and flawed fix with the lame MCAS system. In the Boeing Exec Suite and Board Room, profit trumped basic safety and customer considerations. What a TOTAL disaster on all fronts. It is embarrassing! It may be criminal! This will drag on and on. The FAA has egg on their face too and they will respond with a scorched earth system for re-certification for the MAX. And now, AND NOW, Boeing is planning to pay stock "dividends" to shareholders even while they are having to borrow an initial $10 billion to bolster the stock price and stay afloat. Greedy bastards!
Who's who at the World Economic Forum
There are nearly 2,800 attendees this year... Representing 117 different countries, the group includes world leaders, finance heavyweights, a smattering of women, and your perennial conference regulars. Don't take our word for it—here are some tables and maps instead.Quartz
The world's most expensive business trip
Car rentals help push the administration's travel costs past $4 million. Car services alone for president Trump’s daughter and senior advisor over two days in Davos will cost US taxpayers $34,000, tacking onto the bill of Trump’s most-expensive trip to WEF.Quartz
Check back soon
A startup says it’s building the first US pilot plant for cell-based meatQuartz
Doomsday app games about plague and disaster are going viral in ChinaQuartz
Keeping up with impeachment and SCOTUS chief John RobertsQuartz
China’s coronavirus outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time: Lunar New YearQuartz
The world of work is changing, but the career aspirations of teenagers are notQuartz
How YouTube shields advertisers (not viewers) from harmful videosQuartz
India drops 10 places in The Economist’s democracy rankings over Kashmir and citizenship lawQuartz India
Brexit has reversed a decades-long drop in the size of the UK’s civil serviceQuartz
India’s organised retailers and e-tailers hold up, while kirana stores face the brunt of slowdownQuartz India
Ola proved itself smarter than Uber in India’s food-tech spaceQuartz India