Day: October 19, 2018

This city is letting people try out self-driving cars for free

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If you’re visiting Arlington, Texas, and have been itching to try out an autonomous vehicle, you’re in luck. 

Starting Friday, three Drive.ai self-driving cars (and eventually five) will be available to ride — for anyone, not just office workers, city officials, or a select group of “early riders.” Back in July, Drive.ai piloted the autonomous Nissan NV200 vans in Frisco, Texas. The Arlington deployment will be around for the next year.

“This is a not a quick demonstration,” CEO Bijit Halder said in a phone call this week.

If you’re interested, you can download the Drive.ai app or order a car from a kiosk at five pickup points. The cars are taking passengers along three routes that hit the Dallas Cowboys stadium, the Texas Rangers ballpark, the Arlington Convention Center, restaurant districts, and other venues.  Read more…

More about Texas, Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, Drive.Ai, and Tech

New ‘Dark Ads’ pro-Brexit Facebook campaign may have reached over 10M people, say researchers

A major new campaign of disinformation around Brexit, designed to stir up U.K. ‘Leave’ voters, and distributed via Facebook, may have reached over 10 million people in the U.K., according to new research. The source of the campaign is so far unknown, and will be embarrassing to Facebook, which only this week claimed it was clamping down on “dark” political advertising on its platform.

Researchers for the U.K.-based digital agency 89up allege that Mainstream Network — which looks and reads like a “mainstream” news site but which has no contact details or reporter bylines — is serving hyper-targeted Facebook advertisements aimed at exhorting people in Leave-voting U.K. constituencies to tell their MP to “chuck Chequers.” Chequers is the name given to the U.K. Prime Ministers’s proposed deal with the EU regarding the U.K.’s departure from the EU next year.

89up says it estimates that Mainstream Network, which routinely puts out pro-Brexit “news,” could have spent more than £250,000 on pro-Brexit or anti-Chequers advertising on Facebook in less than a year. The agency calculates that with that level of advertising, the messaging would have been seen by 11 million people. TechCrunch has independently confirmed that Mainstream Network’s domain name was registered in November last year, and began publishing in February of this year.

In evidence given to Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee today, 89up says the website was running dozens of adverts targeted at Facebook users in specific constituencies, suggesting users “Click to tell your local MP to bin Chequers,” along with an image from the constituency, and an email function to drive people to send their MP an anti-Chequers message. This email function carbon-copied an info@mainstreamnetwork.co.uk email address. This would be a breach of the U.K.’s data protection rules, as the website is not listed as a data controller, says 89up.

The news comes a day after Facebook announced a new clampdown on political advertisement on its platform, and will put further pressure on the social media giant to look again at how it deals with the so-called “dark advertising” its Custom Audiences campaign tools are often accused of spreading.

89up claims Mainstream Network website could be in breach of new GDPR rules because, while collecting users’ data, it does not have a published privacy policy, or contain any contact information whatsoever on the site or the campaigns it runs on Facebook.

The agency says that once users are taken to the respective localized landing pages from ads, they are asked to email their MP. When a user does this, its default email client opens up an email and puts its own email in the BCC field (see below). It is possible, therefore, that the user’s email address is being stored and later used for marketing purposes by Mainstream Network.

TechCrunch has reached out to Mainstream Network for comment on Twitter and email. A WhoIs look-up revealed no information about the owner of the site.

TechCrunch’s own research into the domain reveals that the domain owner has made every possible attempt to remain anonymous. Even before GDPR came in, the domain owners had paid to hide its ownership on GoDaddy, where it is registered. The site is using standard GoDaddy shared hosting to blend in with 400+ websites using the same IP address.

Commenting, Damian Collins MP, the Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the U.K. House of Commons, said: “We do not know who is funding the Mainstream Network, or who is behind its operations, but we can see that they are directing a large scale advertising campaign on Facebook designed to get people to lobby their MP to oppose the Prime Ministers’s Brexit strategy. I have been sent a series of emails from constituents as a result of these adverts, in a deliberate attempt to alter the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.”

“The issue for parliamentarians is we have no idea who is targeting whom via political advertising on Facebook, who is paying for it, and what the purpose of that communication is. Facebook claimed this week that it was working to make political advertising on their platform more transparent, but once again we see potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent to influence the political process and no one knows who is behind this.”

Mike Harris, CEO of 89up said: “A day after Facebook announced it will no longer be taking ‘dark ads’, we see once again evidence of the huge problem the platform is yet to face up to. Facebook has known since the EU referendum that highly targeted political advertising was being placed on its platform by anonymous groups, yet has failed to do anything about it. We have found evidence of yet another anonymous pro-Brexit campaign placing potentially a quarter of a million pounds worth of advertising, without anyone knowing or being able to find out who they are.”

Josh Feldberg, 89up researcher, said: “We have no idea who is funding this campaign. Only Facebook do. For all we know this could be funded by thousands of pounds of foreign money. This case just goes to show that despite Facebook’s claims they’re fighting fake news, anonymous groups are still out there trying to manipulate MPs and public opinion using the platform. It is possible there has been unlawful data collection. Facebook must tell the public who is behind this group.”

TechCrunch has reached out to both Facebook and Mainstream Network for comment prior to publication and will update this post if either respond to the allegations.

4 Ways Men Can (Accidentally) Mess Up Their Relationship

Men are from Mars and women from Venus, right? That was the big a-ha moment back in the 90s when Dr. John Gray wrote his book. When that book came out, men and women everywhere stopped, took notice, and said: “Okay that makes sense. Men and women handle relationships (and many other things) differently!”

Not that it was that big of a secret. The emotional differences between men and women have long been noted. Those differences, however, can also be one of the reasons why many relationships fail.

In particular, men are too often at fault on this score. Because many of us haven’t developed emotional intelligence, we often look past the emotional needs of our partners. We may not experience the same feelings, so it doesn’t occur to us that they would. As a result, we get ourselves in trouble and can, without even realizing it, mess up our relationships.

Before we take a look at some of the areas men routinely overlook, let’s talk about the #1 way that men kill their relationships.

The biggest man-made problem is thinking that those differences don’t matter and that we don’t need to worry about them. Of course, if you are one of those men, you are probably not reading this. Good for you as you’ve dodged the biggest bullet.

Just because a woman views things differently than you or measures the impact of things differently, it doesn’t mean you can dismiss those things and keep going. Actually, the fact that you don’t get it probably means you need to stop and take notice.

So, assuming you are trying to avoid accidentally ruining your relationship with your partner, what are those things you should pay attention to?

Below are four of the biggest relationship mistakes guys make.

Letting your appreciation go silent

When you started dating, you likely told her pretty routinely how much you appreciated her presence in your life. You probably said things like “you’re beautiful”, “I am lucky to have you” and “thank you”.

Once your relationship is firmly established, those often stop. There’s no need, right? You told her over and over before and now you guys are committed and she should know.

Nope.

When the expression of appreciation stops, women take notice and not in a good way. For many women, no longer hearing those things means you have stopped feeling and thinking them. That translates into feeling taken for granted and undervalued.

I know you are saying to yourself, “Why is she so insecure?”

Guys, this is usually not an insecurity thing. It’s more of reinforcing your connection and not taking her for granted. It doesn’t need to be done excessively. You don’t necessarily have to do daily flower deliveries and love songs, but routinely letting her know that she’s important to you will go a long way.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities

Thinking that sex no longer requires romance

romance tips

When you’re in a steady relationship, you might think that you can just roll over any morning and let her know you’re ready and it’s game on. Well, not so fast.

While that may work on certain occasions, a woman really never stops wanting to feel pursued. Taking the time to do things right will maintain the intimacy in your relationship and reinforce that feeling that you want her and she’s worth the time and effort. You may be pleasantly surprised at her reaction.

Ignoring what she tells you

relationship tip

One thing that women tend to do far better than men is express their feelings. The problem is that not only do men not DO this well, they also don’t LISTEN to it well.

I have a friend whose wife told him for years what she wanted from their relationship – more time together, sex, and romance. She said she felt secondary in his life to work, friends, football – you get the picture.

I was actually around to hear some of these things said. He seemed caught completely off guard when she decided she was done talking and never being heard. She decided to file for divorce.

The point is, listen to what she tells you. Many women will almost give you a blueprint for the relationship if you just pay attention.

Assuming she cares about your underwear and socks

Here’s the thing – she doesn’t.

Don’t assume she’s going to take care of all your incidentals. Your laundry, dinner dishes, putting your shoes away, ensuring that you always have deodorant — those things are your responsibility. That doesn’t mean she may not do those things, it depends on how you have your division of responsibilities arranged.

But when you get angry because your sock drawer is empty and that becomes a regular complaint, it’s time to read the signs and take care of things on your own. Women want to be seen as equals, partners, and intelligent human beings – not your mom.

When you take that for granted, she will handle all those little things. She may end up pushing back or spending time with someone who doesn’t expect her to do them.

Men often assume that once the relationship is established, we are good and all the work is done. That’s simply not true. And although women can be just as guilty of all of the points above, we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to these things. Try appreciating and respecting the natural differences between you and your partner. Doing this will help keep you from accidentally messing up a good thing.

See Also: 7 Best Secrets To Building Lasting Relationships

The post 4 Ways Men Can (Accidentally) Mess Up Their Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Enterprising Girl Guide sells cookies to Canadians waiting in line at cannabis store

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Canada’s recent marijuana legalization is set to bring a wave of economic benefits.

While the country’s government is set to benefit from taxes, and the cannabis industry is sure to grow, the policy has already done wonders for a Girl Guide in Edmonton.

Elina Childs, 9, sold C$120 worth of sandwich cookies and mint thins to a line of people waiting to buy legal marijuana at Nova Cannabis on Wednesday, as reported by CBC. 

It took her less than 45 minutes to sell all 30 boxes, compared to how slow it was selling cookies to people in her neighborhood. Read more…

More about Canada, Marijuana, Cannabis, Culture, and Drugs

Jane.VC, a new fund for female entrepreneurs, wants founders to cold email them

Want to pitch a venture capitalist? You’ll need a “warm introduction” first. At least that’s what most in the business will advise.

Find a person, typically a man, who made the VC you’re interested in pitching a whole bunch of money at some point and have them introduce you. Why? Because VCs love people who’ve made them money; naturally, they’ll be willing to hear you out if you’ve got at least one money maker on your side.

There’s a big problem with that cycle. Not all entrepreneurs are friendly with millionaires and not all entrepreneurs, especially those based outside Silicon Valley or from underrepresented backgrounds, have anyone in their network to provide them that coveted intro.

Jane.VC, a new venture fund based out of Cleveland and London wants entrepreneurs to cold email them. Send them your pitch, no wealthy or successful intermediary necessary. The fund, which has so far raised $2 million to invest between $25,000 and $150,000 in early-stage female-founded companies across industries, is scrapping the opaque, inaccessible model of VC that’s been less than favorable toward women.

“We like to say that Jane.VC is venture for every woman,” the firm’s co-founder Jennifer Neundorfer told TechCrunch.

Neundorfer, who previously founded and led an accelerator for Midwest startups called Flashstarts after stints at 21st Century Fox and YouTube, partnered with her former Stanford business school classmate Maren Bannon, the former chief executive officer and co-founder of LittleLane. So far, they’ve backed insurtech company Proformex and Hatch Apps, an enterprise software startup that makes it easier for companies to create and distribute mobile and web apps.

“We are going to shoot them straight”

Jane.VC, like many members of the next generation of venture capital funds, is bucking the idea that the best founders can only be found in Silicon Valley. Instead, the firm is going global and operating under the philosophy that a system of radical transparency and honesty will pay off.

“Let’s be efficient with an entrepreneur’s time and say no if it’s not a hit,” Neundorfer said. “I’ve been on the opposite end of that coaching. So many entrepreneurs think a VC is interested and they aren’t. An entrepreneur’s time is so valuable and we want to protect that. We are going to shoot them straight.”

Though Jane.VC plans to invest across the globe, the firm isn’t turning its back on Bay Area founders. Neundorfer and Bannon will leverage their Silicon Valley network and work with an investment committee of nine women based throughout the U.S. to source deals. 

“We are women that have raised money and have been through the ups and downs of raising money in what is a very male-dominated world,” Neundorfer added. “We believe that investing in women is not only the right thing to do but that you can make a lot of money doing it.”