Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How do you capture a market like the African VoD market?

Study shows that there’s a lot of potential in the African VoD. But in spite of that VoD players are struggling to gain a foothold of the market. Could they be focusing on the wrong indices?
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Blockchain Meetups in Nairobi, Abuja and Lagos by ConsenSys

ConsenSys, the leading blockchain venture production studio building the infrastructure, applications, and practices that enable a decentralized world is organising a series of Ethereum blockchain meetups across Africa this month. This commenced with two meetups in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa and would be heading to Kenya (Nairobi) and then Nigeria (Abuja and Lagos) […]
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GDPR: 7 types of Nigerian companies that should comply

This piece aims to provide a quick guide for Nigerian companies who may be caught by the GDPR but do not know
Read more on Techpoint.

Tech: Mountain climbers experience mysterious hallucinations that doctors are calling a new condition

Many climbers who reach high altitudes report hallucinations that cannot be fully explained as a side effect of altitude sickness or brain swelling.
Many climbers who reach high altitudes, especially higher than 7,000-8,000 meters, report hallucinations.
Since not all of these visions occur in combination with altitude sickness, the authors of a recent study say episodes of high-altitude psychosis should be considered a new sort of condition.
Many climbers report that their hallucinations were people who helped them find their way. But the study authors wrote that people could be encouraged to do more dangerous, risky things because of the visions.
Strange things happen on top of the mountains.
Jeremy Windsor met Jimmy while climbing Mount Everest. Jimmy said hello to Windsor and encouraged him to keep going: “Come on, change your [oxygen] cylinder and get moving,” Windsor recalled Jimmy saying.
Windsor first saw Jimmy on “the Balcony” of Everest, a place Windsor described as a “cold windswept snow shelf high up on the southeast ridge” of the mountain. The Balcony is 8,200 meters (more than 26,900 feet) up, well into the death zone — above 8,000 meters, there’s not enough oxygen for people to breathe. That high up, most people rely on supplemental oxygen to survive.
Windsor and Jimmy climbed together for the next 10 hours. Windsor remembers hearing Jimmy’s crampons scraping along the ice, hearing oxygen flow into his facemask, and feeling his weight tug the safety line they shared. They talked as they took rests to gather energy for the next push.
When they reached the Hillary Step, the now-collapsed final ridge to climb before the summit, Jimmy said “cheerio” and was gone.
Jimmy wasn’t real.
“I was warmed by the thought of human company and too breathless to question what seemed so real,” Windsor later wrote.
Such tales of mysterious companions — voices on the mountain — are common.
A new study reveals that these sorts of hallucinations — sometimes called “third man syndrome” — are more mysterious than scientists previously thought, since the visions cannot be fully explained as a side effect of altitude sickness or the brain swelling that frequently accompanies it.
“In our study we found that there was a group of symptoms which are purely psychotic; that is to say, that although they are indeed linked to altitude, they cannot be ascribed to a high-altitude cerebral oedema, nor to other organic factors such as fluid loss, infections or organic diseases,” Hermann Brugger, head of the Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine at Eurac Research and an author of the study, said in a news release.
Madness on the mountains
For the new study, researchers analyzed records from 83 climbers that suggested potential episodes of psychosis, according to diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s manual that defines mental health disorders.
The team concluded that the symptoms from about half the climbers weren’t sufficient to qualify as psychotic episodes. Another 18 climbers (22%) had psychotic episodes on the mountain along with signs of mountain sickness. But the other 23 climbers (28%) had episodes of psychosis in isolation — they occurred at high altitudes but without any other symptoms of mountain-related illness.
The researchers wrote that these isolated episodes “should thus be considered a separate [high altitude]-related disease.” That would make it a new condition, though one that might inform the way experts understand other psychosis episodes people endure due to schizophrenia or other conditions.
Mysteries of high-altitude hallucinations
The lingering question is why this happens. The lack of oxygen at higher altitudes is likely a main factor. Other researchers have found that when looking at groups of climbers, 32% of those who have gone higher than 7,500 meters had hallucinations. In this study, the mean altitude for hallucinations was 7,280 meters. Some of the cases occurred in conjunction with brain swelling (known as cerebral edema), but many occurred without it.
The effect of these episodes is another thing to consider. In cases like Windsor’s, climbers have reported that their hallucinated companion helped them along. But it’s possible that hallucinations also encourage dangerous behavior. The study authors noted that it’s possible many dangerous cases of psychosis were never reported, since reports only come from people who survived their climb.
Among climbers studied, the symptoms of psychosis usually disappeared after several hours or days. But climbers should be informed about the possibility of psychosis before trying to reach high altitudes, the authors wrote.
They also said that they hope to collaborate with Nepalese doctors in the Himalayas to learn more about how common these episodes are and see if such cases can inform scientists’ understanding of hallucinations that other people experience.
Although these high-altitude visions remain mysterious, oxygen deprivation is certainly a more reassuring explanation than that given by Peter Habeler, one of the first two people to climb Everest without supplemental oxygen.
“There is a saying that whoever is killed up on the mountain wanders forever after his death,” Habeler wrote in his 1979 book “Everest: Impossible Victory,” “and guides the living mountaineers during their last meters to the summit.

Tech: This near-full-display smartphone takes out the bezel and notch in a very 2010...

Doogee, a chines smartphone manufacturer, made a slider phone that’s 3% bezel and 0% notch. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Doogee created a smartphone that’s almost all display by putting the camera on the back layer of a slider phone that moves vertically — a retro-move reminiscent of the Palm Pre.
Doogee is a relatively unknown company in the US, but those who have heard of it, know its phones for their affordability and minimal bezels. And the forthcoming Mix 4 model is no exception. Although the phone is not available yet, UK tech YouTuber Arun Maini (known as Mrwhosetheboss) got hold of a non-functional prototype.
While we still don’t know anything about how the phone’s software works, the dummy prototype provides the first up-close look at its industrial design and durability.
Here’s what we know based on his review:
This is the prototype for the Doogee Mix 4, and from the front it looks pretty minimalistic, sleek, and has plenty of display.
Doogee has four lines of smartphones, but this one is part of the Mix series — or the “bezel-less Smartphone.” The first one came out in June 2017.
When the back of the phone slides up, it exposes everything that would be included on a notch, including the camera lenses.
The additional layer makes the phone a little thicker than other leading smartphones on the market.
It’s worth noting that a few manufacturers — including Apple and Samsung — are reportedly working on foldable phones that are also expected to be thicker than their predecessors. Reactions to the Mix 4 could tell us whether consumers are ready for a thicker phone, now that product designers have done everything they can to make them slimmer.
But that extra layer of thickness allows the Mix 4 to have its seemingly non-existent bezel.
Maini says that the display — which will use AMOLED technology like the glass on a lot of Samsung phones and on the iPhone X — takes up 97% of the screen.
The Samsung S9 Plus has done fairly good job of minimizing its bottom bezel, and yet the Mix 4 bezel (or lack thereof) puts it to shame.
It has dual rear-facing sensors and a flash.
There aren’t any specs available about the phone just yet, so all we have to rely on is the layout.
The prototype didn’t have a real screen, but a fingerprint indicates that it might have a fingerprint sensor on it.
The unique design does bring some concerns to mind.
Maini said that he felt better about the durability of the slider after giving it a try, but I’m concerned that it could loosen up over time. I’m also curious to know what other functions require you to slide the phone open. If it’s just to access the camera, I would hope it automatically goes into camera mode. However, it looks like the speaker and microphone on there too, meaning you might have to open it for calls. Maini also points out that the ambient light sensor is also on there, which could mess with the automatic screen brightness. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure either way, since the screen of this prototype was a sticker.
We don’t know if the phone works well yet, but in terms of design: it comes down to whether you’d be okay with a slightly thicker phone for the advantage of end-to-end displays.
Price and release date haven’t been announced, but based on his understanding of the other phones in the Mix series, Maini speculates that it will come out in December 2018 and cost around $300.

Tech: These photos show how Southern California has been devastated by mudslides that killed...

A powerful storm unleashed destruction in Montecito, Santa Barbara, on Tuesday.
At least 13 people have died from massive mudslides in a wealthy Southern California region early Tuesday morning.
A heavy storm triggered flash floods and unleashed debris in Montecito, Santa Barbara, around 2.30 a.m. local time (PST), the LA Times reported.
As Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters on Tuesday night: “The best way I can describe it is it looked like a World War One battlefield.”
Take a look at the harrowing scenes below.
A heavy storm in the region triggered flash floods and unleashed debris. The region was especially vulnerable after a series of wildfires. This smashed car on Montecito’s Hot Springs Road, is a small part of of the destruction in the area.
Trees were torn from their roots, houses and cars were destroyed, and people were covered in mud as debris surged down empty streets. This woman was caught up in the chaos, and had to be rescued from a collapsed house.
As of Tuesday night, at least 25 people were injured, and some 300 others trapped in their homes because of the storm.
Here, a search dog looks for victims inside a damaged house.
People’s cars got smashed in by fallen trees, which were knocked in the wind and mud flows.
Debris flowed into car parks. The car on the left, covered in debris, is floating on a mixture of mud and water.
Some cars were left floating along flooded freeways, while emergency services did their best to get to affected areas.
This sunken area of road was totally filled with mud and, making it impossible to pass..
The Union Pacific Railroad — which operates routes from Chicago to New Orleans — was also blocked by mud.
Train tracks between Santa Barbara and Oxnard, a city west of Los Angeles, were closed, Amtrak’s Southern California service tweeted on Tuesday night.
Locals did their best to get around despite all the obstacles.
Oprah Winfrey, who owns a house in Montecito, shared footage of the mud and helicopter rescuers.
Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Lowe and Patrick Stewart also live in the wealthy Santa Barbara area.
These aerial images show how bad the scene looked from above.
The Ventura County Aviation Unit shared this video of a rescue mission, where one of its air squads located a victim who was swept away in their car.
Search and rescue operations continued through the night. Some agencies are planning more aerial operations, like the one below, in the morning to get more trapped people out of their homes.

Tech: The 33 safest American cities to live in

A new report looks at the cities with the lowest violent and property crime rates in the US.
Crime levels have declined sharply in the US over the past two decades. According to FBI statistics, the rate of violent crime fell 50% between 1993 and 2015, the most recent full year available.
However, public perceptions about crime don’t always align with the data. In 21 Gallup surveys since 1989, the majority of Americans said there was more crime compared to the year before, despite the downward trend in both violent and property crime rates in the US during that period.
Niche, a company that researches and collects reviews on cities, recently pinpointed the safest cities in the country in a 2018 ranking.
The researchers analyzed public crime data — including larceny, vehicular theft, and homicide rates — from sources like the US Census and the FBI. They also considered over 100 million reviews from users, who rated how safe they feel in their cities. The ranking suggests that California, with 12 of the top 33 cities, is one of the safest states in the nation.
One caveat: the cities below have relatively low population numbers. As The Atlantic notes, cities with higher densities tend to have more crime. But within a city, high traffic areas are generally safer than low-traffic areas.
Check out the 33 safest cities in America, according to Niche:
33. Boise, Idaho
Population: 218,677 Annual violent crimes (e.g. assault, homicide) per 100,000: 302 Annual property crimes (e.g. burglary, motor vehicle theft) per 100,000: 2,326
32. Alexandria, Virginia
Population: 151,473 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 183 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,801
31. Elgin, Illinois
Population: 111,919 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 212 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,386
30. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Population: 449,733 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 150 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,176
29. Scottsdale, Arizona
Population: 234,495 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 161 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,365
28. Sandy Springs, Georgia
Population: 102,212 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 132 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,635
27. Fort Collins, Colorado
Population: 157,251 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 204 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,451
26. College Station, Texas
Population: 104,684 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 233 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,067
25. Orange, California
Population: 139,919 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 151 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,839
24. Torrance, California
Population: 147,307 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 178 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,160
23. Corona, California
Population: 161,614 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 105 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,218
22. Boulder, Colorado
Population: 105,420 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 232 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 3,000
21. Richardson, Texas
Population: 108,350 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 144 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,184
20. McAllen, Texas
Population: 138,475 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 134 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 3,143
19. Santa Clara, California
Population: 122,725 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 126 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,195
18. Roseville, California
Population: 128,276 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 153 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,501
17. Cape Coral, Florida
Population: 170,063 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 123 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,716
16. Bellevue, Washington
Population: 136,718 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 102 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 3,259
15. Temecula, California
Population: 108,965 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 130 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,262
14. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Population: 118,087 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 193 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,743
13. Burbank, California
Population: 104,583 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 185 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,769
12. Rochester, Minnesota
Population: 111,396 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 188 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,187
11. Port St. Lucie, Florida
Population: 175,652 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 146 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,327
10. Overland Park, Kansas
Population: 183,775 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 231 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,482
9. Plano, Texas
Population: 279,088 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 144 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,901
8. Glendale, California
Population: 197,895 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 100 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,701
7. Sunnyvale, California
Population: 149,596 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 108 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,388
6. Carlsbad, California
Population: 112,008 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 179 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,902
5. Round Rock, Texas
Population: 112,767 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 153 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,224
4. Provo, Utah
Population: 115,718 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 131 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 2,344
3. Thousand Oaks, California
Population: 128,623 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 123 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,298
2. Irvine, California
Population: 246,992 Annual violent crimes per 100,000: 52 Annual property crimes per 100,000: 1,401

Tech: NASA sent one identical twin brother to space for a year — and...

Scott and Mark Kelly are helping NASA see the effects of long-term spaceflight on the human body. Some 7% of Scott’s DNA may have permanently changed in space.
Scott and Mark Kelly are identical twins with two sets of the same DNA.
While Scott spent a year in space, his brother Mark stayed on Earth, giving NASA a unique opportunity to see how space flight changes the human body and brain.
They’re uncovering some fascinating results: about 7% of Scott Kelly’s DNA may have permanently changed in space.
When NASA astronaut Scott Kelly stood up last March after spending a year in space, he was two inches taller.
The engineer and veteran of four space flights is part of a long-term NASA study that aims to figure out how being in space changes our bodies and brains.
Scott Kelly is uniquely positioned to give NASA key insight into these changes because he is both an astronaut and a twin. For its research, NASA is comparing Scott Kelly’s DNA with the identical DNA of his twin brother, Mark Kelly. Mark stayed on Earth for Scott’s 340-day stint aboard the International Space Station, giving NASA the rare opportunity to compare how being space affected his genes.
Although each Kelly brother was born with the same set of DNA, life has exposed each set of genes to a range of divergent experiences — space being one of them. Those experiences affect the way the Kellys’ genes are expressed (also known as being “turned on” or “turned off”).
Scott’s newfound height turned out to be only a temporary result of his spine being physically stretched in a gravity-free environment, and not a tweak to his genes. But it’s just one of the many alterations the researchers have documented so far. Deep within Scott’s DNA, they are finding a range of tweaks that are not present in his brother Mark. While some were temporary and seemed to occur only while he was in space, others were long-lasting.
“When he went up into space it was like fireworks of gene expression,” Christopher Mason, a principal investigator on the NASA twins study and an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, told Business Insider. “But the changes that seem to have stuck around include changes in immune system function and retinal function related to his eye health.”
Roughly 7% of Scott Kelly’s genes may have permanently changed as a result of his time in space
According to Mason, some 7% of Scott’s genes have not returned to normal since he landed back on Earth more than two years ago. Kelly said he was surprised by that change in a Marketplace interview on Thursday.
“I did read in the newspaper the other day … that 7% of my DNA had changed permanently,” Kelly said. “And I’m reading that, I’m like, ‘Huh, well that’s weird.’”
Those changes appear to have occurred in genes that control functions related to Kelly’s immune system, bone formation, and DNA repair, as well as in those involved in responding to an oxygen-depleted or carbon-dioxide rich environment.
“With a lot of these changes, it’s as if the body is trying to understand this, quite literally, alien environment and respond to that,” Mason said.
In many respects, Kelly’s genes display the hallmarks of a body reacting to what it perceives as a threat, he added.
“Oftentimes when the body encounters something foreign, an immune response is activated. The body thinks there’s a reason to defend itself. We know there are aspects of being in space that are not a pleasant experience and this is the molecular manifestation of the body responding to that stress.”
The full results of NASA’s twin study aren’t public yet — but here are some interesting findings
The full results of NASA’s twin study haven’t been released yet, but the preliminary data is already giving scientists a lot to ponder.
Some of those findings build on what we already knew, like the fact that being in space stretches your spine, shrinks your muscles, and messes up your sleep cycle.
But the long-term effects of taking our bodies for a jaunt outside Earth’s protective atmosphere are much less understood. Here’s a quick look at what the researchers have uncovered so far:
Scott’s telomeres got longer, then shrunk back to normal. Scott’s telomeres, or the caps at the end of chromosomes, became longer than his brother’s while he was in space, but quickly returned to their normal length once he returned home. “That is exactly the opposite of what we thought,” Susan Bailey, a radiation biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, told Nature last year. That’s because shorter telomeres are generally associated with getting older. Scientists are still studying what this means, but it could be linked to getting more exercise and eating fewer calories while in space, according to NASA.
Scott’s genetic expression changed in a variety of ways. Scott’s genes showed both increased and decreased levels of methylation, a process that results in genes getting turned on and off. “Some of the most exciting things that we’ve seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like fireworks taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space,” Mason said in a statement last year. According to NASA, this could “indicate genes that are more sensitive to a changing environment whether on Earth or in space.”
The twins hosted different gut bacteria. Researchers noted differences between Scott’s and Mark’s gut bacteria (essentially the microbes that aid in digestion) throughout the year-long study. This was probably a result of their different diets and environments, NASA said.
Scientists are looking for what they’re calling a “space gene.” By sequencing the RNA in the twins’ white blood cells, researchers found more than 200,000 RNA molecules that were expressed differently between the brothers. It is normal for twins to have unique mutations in their genome, but scientists are “looking closer to see if a ‘space gene’ could have been activated while Scott was in space,” NASA said.
NASA is still combing through the results of the study and expects to release the full set later this year. That research will inform space missions — including potential trips to Mars — for years to come.
Dina Spector contributed to an earlier version of this story.

NITDA’s e-Governance crusade shouldn’t end with heads of MDAs

The Nigerian government is still not close to full exploitation of the potentials of e-governance to deliver its activities and programmes. Recently, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) organised a workshop for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of government Ministries, Department, and Agencies. According to TechEconomy, the workshop is meant to boost the capacity of […]
Read more on Techpoint.

Tech: A startup founder says too many job candidates focus on the wrong thing...

Getting a job offer at a startup is exciting. But making sense of the pay package startups offer can be daunting and confusing. Henry Ward, cofounder and CEO of Carta, shares his best advice for how to value an equity grant, or stock options, at a startup.
Getting a job offer at a startup is exciting. But making sense of the pay package startups offer can be daunting.
Those offers are often heavily weighted toward equity grants, or stock options, rather than cash salaries.
Henry Ward, CEO of Carta, says job candidates tend to focus too much on how much those grants are worth in the near term and not enough on what they could be worth in the future.
Henry Ward, a startup founder in San Francisco, said he spends half of his time meeting with potential hires for his company Carta.
Even at Carta, whose service helps companies manage their equity awards (also known as stock option grants) to employees, Ward meets plenty of candidates who say they don’t fully understand how to make sense of a startup pay package. Ward can’t blame them.
In lieu of paying high salaries, startups typically offer candidates equity in the company in the form of stock options, or other forms of equity stakes such as restricted stock units.
Options give employees the right to buy stock in a company at a set price at some point in the future. If the company grows and becomes more valuable, the value of the options increases.
Understanding how much an offer of options or other equity is worth starts with asking the right questions, according to Ward.
The importance of looking ahead
Workers considering an offer letter from a startup often make the mistake of calculating what their stock options or equity grant is worth today, Ward said. But that math really doesn’t tell you much.
“What matters far more than this math is what do you think this is going to be worth in the future,” Ward told Business Insider.
Let’s say you get a job offer at a Silicon Valley startup.
You fire up the calculator and discover the equity grant you’ve been offered is worth a specific amount, based on the company’s valuation. But as investors continue to pour money into the startup, raising its valuation higher and higher, the value of your stock options could reach many multiples of that figure in the future.
If a company really wants to hire you, it’s the startup’s task to convince you to accept the position because the team believes they’re building the next $1 billion “unicorn.” You stand to make a lot of money if you get in at the company early, they say.
Read more: Learn the math of how to value a stock options grant
Of course, most startups fail. In an analysis of 1,098 tech companies from CB Insights, more than 70% of startups that raised their initial seed funding between 2008 and 2010 fizzled out because they didn’t raise any additional funds and weren’t acquired. The chances of any startup becoming a so-called “unicorn” with a valuation of $1 billion or more is less than one in 100, CB Insights reported.
“When you pick the wrong startup, your stock is worthless,” Ward said.
So, why should you believe the CEO’s optimistic forecast?
Ward estimates that 90% of the time he spends recruiting is dedicated to “helping [job candidates] understand what the value of stock could be and what it could mean to them financially.”
He typically gives them the same presentation he shows Carta’s investors. Ward runs them through the company’s metrics, the investment thesis of the venture capitalists that back Carta, and his justification for the company’s next round of financing.
He explains why he thinks Carta will be assigned a particular — generally much higher — valuation when it next raises funds.
Read more: A founder-turned-venture capitalist reveals the questions you should ask before joining a ‘unicorn’ startup
Ward encourages anyone considering an offer letter from a startup to ask for the company’s last preferred stock price, the employee strike price, and the trajectory of the business. He says job candidates should do their own independent research, too.
“Not all stock is created equal,” Ward said. “What matters far more than how much you get is the quality of that stock.”
See also:
A 35-year-old recently quit Google to start a robotics company. Now he has raised $16 million.

Tech: YouTube is the most lucrative platform for creators — with Etsy and Instagram...

In 2016, content creators made a collective $3.2 billion from YouTube. The internet has sparked a new kind of economy, as creators find new ways to directly reach their audiences and customers. Services like Etsy, WordPress, and Amazon’s Twitch don’t have a lot in common, except for the fact that they give creative people ways to make a living doing what they love.
And while Google’s YouTube may be in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, it’s still likely to be the very biggest platform for creatives of them all. As this chart from Statista shows, in 2016, YouTube creators earned total revenues equal to those earned by creators on every other major service, combined.

Tech: The 7 biggest questions we had after watching Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ and hope...

Marvel obviously has a sequel planned for the massive hit “Black Panther.” We have 7 questions we want answered.
Marvel Studios is always planning ahead, so it’s no surprise that after the massive success of “Black Panther,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says there will “absolutely” be a sequel.
Marvel has release dates reserved for yet unannounced projects through 2022, and we can only assume that a “Black Panther” sequel will fill one of those slots.
Whenever “Black Panther 2” may come to theaters, we have plenty of questions in the meantime, and things we want addressed. “Black Panther” is only the beginning of the world of Wakanda, and we want more.
(WARNING: big spoilers for “Black Panther” lie ahead)
By the end of the film, T’Challa/Black Panther decides to bring Wakanda out of isolation and share the nation’s resources with the rest of the world, including opening outreach centers in Oakland. As misguided as Killmonger’s execution was, he’s such a compelling villain that his ultimate goal sticks with T’Challa. This raises important questions for the sequel, as the world has its eyes on Wakanda.
Black Panther will appear next in “Avengers: Infinity War” next month and we can assume the fourth “Avengers” movie next year. But Black Panther is one of over 20 main characters in these movies, so we doubt the questions we have will be fully addressed.
Below are 7 questions we hope are answered in a “Black Panther” sequel:
What’s up with the other Wakandan spies, known as War Dogs?
Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger is one of the most compelling villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or any superhero film for that matter, because of the political and cultural questions he raises. The central conflict in “Black Panther” comes down to whether the fictional African nation of Wakanda, which Black Panther a.k.a. T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) is king of, should share its resources and scientific knowledge with the rest of the world. Killmonger raises the stakes even more by wanting to use the nation’s resources to liberate those persecuted across the world, but with violence rather than peace. A central part of his plan comes down to whether Wakanda’s spies, known War Dogs, which they have in countries throughout the world, are willing to cooperate. The War Dogs are responsible for spying on other nations and reporting back to Wakanda. In the film, Killmonger plans to begin his conquest in the places where War Dogs are on board with his plans. Killmonger’s own father, played by Sterling K. Brown, was a War Dog and was killed by T’Challa’s father (and his uncle) for betraying Wakanda. These War Dogs seem pretty important, so where do their loyalties lie? Some of these War Dogs were obviously all for Killmonger’s plans, which raises the question of whether they could mean trouble for Wakanda in the future now that Killmonger is dead. Will that play a role in the sequel’s conflict?
Wakanda is no longer in isolation. What impact will that have on it?
By the end of “Black Panther,” T’Challa has changed his tune about the direction of Wakanda. Killmonger’s methods may have been extreme, but his overall goal — to expand Wakanda’s resources to help those in need — leaves an impression on T’Challa. Wakanda has always been isolated from the rest of the world, but he decides to expand their knowledge and share their secrets by the film’s end. How will that impact the country and its people? We don’t really have an idea of how Wakanda’s people feel about T’Challa’s decision. Were they fine with being isolated, and if so, will they voice their concerns in the sequel? Will it cause a bigger conflict than the one we saw in “Black Panther?” Now that the world knows about Wakanda and its wealth of technology, it could put the country in danger. From what we know of “Avengers: Infinity War,” a portion of the film takes place in Wakanda against the villain Thanos’ army. These questions may be raised then, but with the central conflict being between the Avengers and Thanos, they probably won’t be fully answered.
How will vibranium change the rest of the world?
Not only are we curious about how the rest of the world will change Wakanda, but how will Wakanda change the world? Vibranium is a metal that essentially powers every aspect of Wakanda, from its transportation to its weapons — it’s why Wakanda has such advanced tech. With Wakanda out of isolation, the world will most likely know about vibranium’s existence, outside of just Captain America’s shield. If T’Challa wants to spread Wakanda’s knowledge, that must mean that other nations will benefit from the metal. How will that impact the world? By the end of “Black Panther,” T’Challa has promised to build outreach and science centers in Oakland, but that is only the beginning. Will we see other countries use vibranium in similar ways as Wakanda, or will its power corrupt? Will Wakanda be responsible for implementing advanced travel or weaponry for other countries? We don’t know the extent of T’Challa’s plans, and perhaps that will cause major conflicts with other nations.
How much will race in America be addressed?
Racism and racial divisions were explored in “Black Panther” — as a black man who grew up in America, Killmonger had an entirely different perspective on race and it’s part of what drove his rage. But the film didn’t exactly tackle the issue head-on since the majority of the film takes place in Wakanda. Now that T’Challa is setting up outreach centers in Oakland, we know Wakanda will have more of a presence in America. This will set up themes and conflicts, but we don’t yet know exactly how far the sequel will go.
Killmonger burned the source of Black Panther’s powers. Will that be a problem in the sequel?
After Killmonger seemingly kills T’Challa to take his place as king of Wakanda, he orders that the source of Black Panther’s power, the heart-shaped herb, be destroyed. He does this so that only he can be the king of Wakanda. The herb is a Wakandan plant that gives the Black Panther superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes. T’Challa drank from the last of it before the film’s climactic battle, but with the rest destroyed, could that be a problem in the future? Maybe there is more of it somewhere in Wakanda, but the film definitely makes it seem as if the last of it is destroyed. The Black Panther is only stripped of his powers in ritual combat for the king’s throne, and that probably wouldn’t happen in a sequel (since it happened twice in the first film). But if T’Challa is suddenly stripped of his powers again somehow, he won’t have the herb to regain them. And it’s not as if T’Challa will be the last Black Panther: Someone will eventually take his place when he dies. Will the lack of the heart-shaped herb be addressed in the sequel?
Will T’Challa and Nakia get married?
A king needs a queen, and T’Challa isn’t secretive about the fact that he wants Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, to be his. By the end of “Black Panther,” love is in the air between them, so will that play a role in the sequel? Will we see a royal wedding? Part of what made “Black Panther” so great is that the women weren’t contained to typical romantic roles like in past Marvel films. We hope that if this relationship evolves, Nakia’s character will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
Who will the sequel’s villain be?
It will be hard to top Killmonger, but it wouldn’t be a Marvel film without a villain. Black Panther doesn’t have a large cast of villains to choose from in the comic books, but the first film manged to turn Killmonger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best villain. Hopefully a sequel could pull off similar magic. In the comics, M’Baku a.k.a. Man-Ape is a central Black Panther enemy. In the film, M’Baku is played by Winston Duke. A conflict is set up between T’Challa and M’Baku, but very different from the comic books, so it’s hard to say whether M’Baku could pose more problems in a sequel. Our guess is “no” based on how M’Baku is depicted in “Black Panther,” as he provides the film some comic relief and ends up helping T’Challa against Killmonger. One interesting option would be to pit Black Panther against Namor, who, in the comic books, is the king of Atlantis. The character is largely a Fantastic Four character (owned by 20th Century Fox) and details of Disney’s acquisition of Fox are still developing in terms of whether the Fantastic Four and X-Men will play a part in the future of the MCU. But if Namor were to appear in this universe, he would be a formidable adversary for Black Panther. With Wakanda showing itself to the world, it might pave the way for other secret empires (like Atlantis) to reveal themselves, and could spark an interesting conflict.

Tech: SpaceX’s biggest rival has a ‘genius’ plan to cut its rocket launch costs...

United Launch Alliance’s upcoming Vulcan rocket will parachute its giant engines back to Earth for reuse, lowering launch costs to $100 million per mission.
SpaceX turned heads around the world on February 6 with the first-ever launch of Falcon Heavy.
The 230-foot-tall rocket’s three boosters helped push Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space, peeled off after running low on fuel, and then careened toward Earth.
Two of the 16-story boosters rocketed to a safe landing (the third fell into the ocean), and the flight was hailed as a huge success. It proved SpaceX could lift twice as much payload to space for about 25% of the cost of its closest competitor while recycling rocket parts worth tens of millions of dollars.
That primary rival is United Launch Alliance, a company that aerospace industry titans Boeing and Lockheed Martin formed in 2005.
ULA’s largest rocket, the Delta IV Heavy, costs $350 million per launch, according to company CEO Tory Bruno. Delta IV Heavy is far more expensive that SpaceX’s $90-million Falcon Heavy in part because it isn’t reusable.
ULA plans to retire that launcher after a few more missions, but the company is currently developing its own reusable rocket, dubbed Vulcan, to compete with innovative companies like Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
“Vulcan will first fly in mid-2020,” Bruno told Business Insider, adding that the rocket “will start at sub-$100-million” — a 70% discount compared to the company’s Delta IV Heavy.
Here’s what Vulcan will be capable of, why one ULA engineer described its recovery system as “genius,” and how the rocket may earn its keep in an increasingly crowded and challenging industry.
Delta IV Heavy used to be the world’s most powerful operational rocket. It can send nearly 32 tons of payload into low-Earth orbit — more than two standard school buses’ worth of weight.
Sources: CNN, SCAPT
Since Bruno took the helm of ULA in 2014, the company has been developing its more powerful and partly reusable Vulcan rocket system. That’s supposed to launch for the first time in mid-2020.
“Sometimes it’s more than just, ‘Hey my rocket’s really big,’” Bruno said. “Sometimes you need the rocket to do some rather unique and exotic things after they’re up in orbit.”
Vulcan should lift 40 tons (nearly three school buses) into low-Earth orbit.
“Vulcan is modular, so you can add solid rocket boosters to kick up its size,” Bruno said.
That’s less than SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, which can lift more than 70 tons — nearly five school buses — for one-fourth the price. But Bruno said there are big differences between the two systems that will make Vulcan competitive.
Source: SpaceX
The key difference is the rocket’s upper stage. Falcon Heavy currently uses a rocket-grade RP-1 kerosene as fuel, but it can freeze in space after a few hours. Vulcan’s upper stage will use cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen, which are more resilient to the punishing temperatures of space.
ULA is also evolving its upper-stage system into what it calls ACES: the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage. After deploying a spacecraft, ACES can be left in orbit for months or years and be refueled instead of being discarded as “dead flying hulks in space,” Bruno said.
“That makes it practical to refuel them in space, and use them for other purposes, or simply use them as a shuttle to run down and grab a spacecraft that you might be so heavy you could only get it to [low-Earth orbit], and then take it literally anywhere else in the solar system,” Bruno added. “That is going to completely change how we go to space and what we do there.”
“It’s not just saving a little bit of money off the launch service cost,” Bruno said. “This could become a transportation system that enables economic activity between here and the moon, and between the asteroids.”
Vulcan will also lower ULA’s launch costs by having detachable first-stage booster engines, called SMART (sensible, modular, autonomous return technology). “We would recover about two-thirds the cost of that first-stage booster every single time we fly with no performance hit,” Bruno said.
Source: ULA/YouTube
This is different than SpaceX’s boosters, which return in one piece and conserve fuel to rocket to a landing. But payloads are sometimes too heavy and need every last drop of propellant to reach their destination in space — so some boosters inevitably get discarded despite being reusable.
“How might you, perhaps, not save the entire value of the booster, but get to save [most of] it every single time?” Bruno said. “The most expensive thing on the booster is the rocket engine. In fact, two-thirds of the cost of a booster is just that one part.”
Once the SMART engine package detaches, it will inflate an aeroshell to help orient it for a high-speed reentry. The shell will also insulate the engines from the intense heat generated by plowing through Earth’s atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour.
Source: ULA/YouTube
A slender parachute will then float SMART toward the ground. But it will get some help: Using a technique pioneered in the 1960s, it will be snagged from above by a large helicopter.
“When I first heard about it, it seemed like a very strange almost laughable concept, until you actually start to look into the history of mid-flight capture and realize that it’s actually a very genius way to do it, to reuse and capture the engines without exposing them to any sort of harsh environments like saltwater,” Jeremy Braunagel, a project engineer at ULA who works on Vulcan, said in a video.
ACES should be ready to debut in 2023 or 2024, Bruno said, with SMART following sometime after that.
Although small satellites are getting smaller, big satellites always seem to get bigger and need to go farther in space. ULA is banking primarily on those big satellites for its Vulcan business.
“We’ve never seen a time when the customer has asked for less lift. That’s kind of why we took this strategy,” Bruno said, adding that flying the entire booster back could become harder and harder.
According to Bruno, Delta IV Heavy will retire in “the early 2020s” after launching once or twice a year through that time. That leaves a huge opening for Falcon Heavy, especially since Musk said SpaceX is working on its own cryogenic upper-stage (which may compete with ACES).
Musk has said he’d eat his hat “with a side of mustard if [Vulcan] flies a national security spacecraft before 2023.”
SpaceX is also pouring an increasingly large share of its resources into developing a 348-foot-tall, interplanetary launch system called the “Big Falcon Rocket” or BFR.
Musk expects to debut the spaceship portion in 2020 and possibly launch toward Mars in 2022.
Meanwhile, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin, is quietly developing and building its own huge, reusable rocket system, called New Glenn.
Source: Business Insider
The future of rockets is looking increasingly exciting, innovative, and crowded. It remains to be seen if ULA and Blue Origin can keep up with the breakneck pace of SpaceX, or carve their own niche in what is indisputably a new space race.

Tech: Africa’s largest mobile phone firm, MTN, is planning to scrap its Nigerian IPO

MTN CFO said the company may consider listing by introduction instead of the initial public offering due to current market conditions in Nigeria. Africa’s largest mobile-phone company, MTN Group Ltd, is considering scrapping its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange for other options.Ralph Mupita, MTN Chief Financial Officer, in an interview in South Africa, said the firm is looking at other options of trading its shares on the Lagos bourse, Nigerian Stock Market, MyBroadband reports.The company’s CFO said it may list by introduction instead of the initial public offering due to current market conditions.“The IPO type of listing has become challenging under current market conditions.“We are exploring other options. The Nigerian business would not get a fair value under current market conditions. The simplest way to go forward would be an introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” MyBroadBand quoted Mupita as saying.Mupita said the board of directors will make a final decision by the end of this year or first quarter of next year.What is listing by introduction?Listing by introduction is a way of listing shares of a company already in issue on another exchange.The listing approval procedures for a new listing by introduction are the same as those for initial public offerings (IPO).ALSO READ: All you need to know as Nigeria’s central bank and MTN go head-to-head in new forex sagaMTN is facing forex and tax tussles with Nigerian authoritiesThe South African company is currently battling sanctions from Nigeria’s central bank and the Attorney General office over improper repatriation of forex and tax bills, amounting to $10.1 billion.The sanctions plunged the firm’s stock to its lowest although the Central Bank of Nigeria is now seeking equitable resolution.MTN has filed a legal suit against the Nigerian authorities and it is expecting a legal protection for its Nigerian asset.Also from Business Insider Sub-Sahara Africa:Nigerian banks illegally charged customers over N65 billion in 6 yearsNigeria continues to hold interest rate at record-high of 14%These are the 5 most indebted states in Nigeria right nowNigeria’s central bank says it is engaging with MTN and 4 banks over $8.

Tech: Next-generation Apple Maps cars have been spotted in Los Angeles (AAPL)

Now it appears that Apple has developed a second-generation version of its mapping vehicles — and this time, they’re not vans. Two different people in the Los Angeles area in recent weeks have sent Business Insider pictures of a new model of Apple Maps car.
A new kind of Apple mapping vehicle has been spotted around Los Angeles.
They are white Subaru Impreza wagons with a tower of gear sprouting from the roof and quite different-looking than the previously known Apple Maps vehicles, which were minivans.
These mapping vehicles are also different than the self-driving Lexus SUVs that are in testing in California.
Apple wants to collect all the data needed to operate Apple Maps, instead of licensing it from partners.
Since 2015, Apple has operated a fleet of vans driving streets around the world. Apple publishes a list of where you can spot these vehicles.
These vans are equipped with special sensors and cameras on their roofs, and collect data and images to improve Apple Maps.
Now it appears that Apple has developed a second-generation version of its mapping vehicles — and this time, they’re not vans.
Two different people in the Los Angeles area in recent weeks have sent Business Insider pictures of a new model of Apple Maps car.
The white Subaru Impreza wagons can be identified by two main characteristics: The ones spotted in the LA area are clearly marked as Apple vehicles. And they’ve got a tall beehive-like protrusion extending from the roof covered in Apple’s iconic white plastic.
The cars appear to be equipped with laser-based LIDAR sensors as well, which collect depth data that’s useful for autonomous vehicles and augmented reality applications.
Take a look:
Here’s another Apple-operated Subaru that’s been spotted in LA:
Here’s a close-up of the white housing:
What’s under that plastic shell? We don’t know, but the Subarus spotted in Los Angeles look a lot like this unmarked rigged up Subaru Impreza spotted by Business Insider in San Francisco a few months ago. The triple-stack of lidars sprouting from the roof look the same as the Apple car, and the cluster at the top of the tower looks familiar — just without the plastic covering.
Here’s an example of one of Apple’s vans:
These cars are separate from the fleet of autonomous Lexus SUVs that Apple is testing around California.
According to TechCrunch, the latest version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS, is the first to use Apple’s own data from its cars in Apple Maps.
Apple’s goal for its maps software is to own all the data that goes into making a map, as opposed to licensing it from groups like OpenStreetMap and TomTom.
“We decided to do this just over four years ago. We said, ‘Where do we want to take Maps? What are the things that we want to do in Maps?’ We realized that, given what we wanted to do and where we wanted to take it, we needed to do this ourselves,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of online services, told TechCrunch.
Here’s how TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino described the sensors on Apple’s vans:
“In addition to a beefed-up GPS rig on the roof, four LIDAR arrays mounted at the corners and eight cameras shooting overlapping high-resolution images, there’s also the standard physical measuring tool attached to a rear wheel that allows for precise tracking of distance and image capture. In the rear there is a surprising lack of bulky equipment. Instead, it’s a straightforward Mac Pro bolted to the floor, attached to an array of solid state drives for storage. A single USB cable routes up to the dashboard where the actual mapping-capture software runs on an iPad.”
An Apple spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment.