Didi Chuxing, the Uber of China, confirms $5.5B raise for global and AI push

 After weeks of reports that Didi Chuxing, the Uber of China, was raising another monster round of funding, today the company confirmed the close: it has raised a fresh $5.5 billion, it said in a statement today, to continue global expansion and to invest deeper into emerging areas like artificial intelligence to bring more advanced systems to its transportation service. The company… Read More

Netflix is playing down the significance of its first major distribution deal in China

 Netflix has played down the significance of its first major licensing deal in China, news of which was announced this week. The company’s share price surged nearly six percent after it announced that it had agreed to a distribution deal with iQiyi, one of China’s largest video portals which was started by internet giant Baidu. The news was first revealed at the APOS 2017 event… Read More

NASA Delays First Flight of New SLS Rocket Until 2019

schwit1 writes: Despite spending almost $19 billion and more than thirteen years of development, NASA today admitted that it will have to delay the first test flight of the SLS rocket from late 2018 to sometime in 2019. "We agree with the GAO that maintaining a November 2018 launch readiness date is not in the best interest of the program, and we are in the process of establishing a new target in 2019," wrote William Gerstenmaier, chief of NASA's human spaceflight program. "Caution should be used in referencing the report on the specific technical issues, but the overall conclusions are valid." The competition between the big government SLS/Orion program and private commercial space is downright embarrassing to the government. While SLS continues to be delayed, even after more than a decade of work and billions of wasted dollars, SpaceX is gearing up for the first flight of Falcon Heavy this year. And they will be doing it despite the fact that Congress took money from the commercial private space effort, delaying its progress, in order to throw more money at SLS/Orion.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Investors are betting 3DR can find life after Solo as a drone data platform

 An early player in drone-tech, 3D Robotics Inc., announced that it has raised $53 million in a Series D round of funding on Thursday, including new equity funding and conversion of debt equity. Atlantic Bridge led the round joined by Autodesk Forge Fund, True Ventures, Foundry Group, Mayfield and other undisclosed investors, according to the company statement. The company didn’t break… Read More

Cloudera and Carvana, tech’s next two IPOs, both price at $15 per share

 Another day another IPO(s). Due to the recent success of public offerings from companies like Yext, Okta and Snap it seems the time is now for startups to go public. And tomorrow we have two IPOs that are weirdly similar when you look at the numbers. Both will offer the same amount of shares for the same price on the same exchange, and even sound alike – Carvana and Cloudera. I… Read More

Kill Net Neutrality and You’ll Kill Us, Say 800 US Startups

A group of more than 800 startups has sent a letter to the FCC chairman Ajit Pai saying they are "deeply concerned" about his decision to kill net neutrality -- reversing the Title II classification of internet service providers. The group, which includes Y Combinator, Etsy, Foursquare, GitHub, Imgur, Nextdoor, and Warby Parker, added that the decision could end up shutting their businesses. They add, via an article on The Verge: "The success of America's startup ecosystem depends on more than improved broadband speeds. We also depend on an open Internet -- including enforceable net neutrality rules that ensure big cable companies can't discriminate against people like us. We're deeply concerned with your intention to undo the existing legal framework. Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the Internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market. They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice. [...] Our companies should be able to compete with incumbents on the quality of our products and services, not our capacity to pay tolls to Internet access providers."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Meet Nintendo’s new $150 2DS XL console, launching July 28

 Nintendo has a new handheld video game system it released pretty much out of the blue on Thursday. The 2DS XL is basically a 3DS XL without the 3D, with a smaller physical footprint for more portability, but with the same size large, dual displays you’ll find on the 3DS XL. The new console hits store shelves July 28, so we’ll still have to wait a while to get our hands on one, but… Read More

DNA-Based Test Can Spot Cancer Recurrence a Year Before Conventional Scans

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A revolutionary blood test has been shown to diagnose the recurrence of cancer up to a year in advance of conventional scans in a major lung cancer trial. The test, known as a liquid biopsy, could buy crucial time for doctors by indicating that cancer is growing in the body when tumors are not yet detectable on CT scans and long before the patient becomes aware of physical symptoms. It works by detecting free-floating mutated DNA, released into the bloodstream by dying cancer cells. In the trial of 100 lung cancer patients, scientists saw precipitous rises in tumor DNA in the blood of patients who would go on to relapse months, or even a year, later. In the latest trial, reported in the journal Nature, 100 patients with non-small cell lung cancer were followed from diagnosis through surgery and chemotherapy, having blood tests every six to eight weeks. By analyzing the patchwork of genetic faults in cells across each tumor, scientists created personalized genomic templates for each patient. This was then compared to the DNA floating in their blood, to assess whether a fraction of it matched that seen in their tumor.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Aliens destroyed life on Mars, now Trump’s poised to do the same to Earth, in this week’s tabloids

It's good to see this week's tabloids getting back to the really important news.

"Aliens Nuked All Life Off Of Mars!" proclaims the 'National Examiner,' which also brings us the more earth-bound revelation that disgraced President Richard Nixon, while happy to meet with Elvis Presley, "ordered hits on Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison."

It's important news like this that distracts us from the 'National Enquirer' cover this week, which with characteristic restraint screams: "World War 3 Is Coming!" But fear not - the 'Enquirer' brings us a "step-by-step" guide to "How Trump will crush our eight enemies!" Eight, indeed. No slouch, our Commander in Chief will "launch a coordinated campaign across five continents that will wipe out America's enemies in one fell swoop!" And those are the best kind of swoops.

It's the sort of bombast we've come to expect from North Korea, but it's troubling to find such bellicosity (yet again) in the pages of a publication that boasts better connections to the White House than 'The New York Times.' Our enemies? North Korea and ISIS, naturally. Syria will be nuked - that'll put Trump in the history books, if there are any that survive the ensuing global conflagration.

But then the 'Enquirer' battle plans get a little hazy. Iran will be hit by severe sanctions. U.S. troops will maneuver along the border with Russia to prevent their intervention. Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in Somalia will be targeted. ISIS and al-Qaeda cells in Spain, France, Germany and Italy will be hit. (By this point, we might be wondering if any nation's sovereignty is to be respected.) And while they're at it, U.S. forces will destroy the drug cartels' narcotics operations "throughout Mexico and South America." I can't wait to hear Donald Trump announce that he'll achieve all that within his second 100 days in office.

The 'Enquirer' seems to be having a special homophobia edition this week, with three major gay-shock-horror stories in its first seven pages. 'Gay Travolta New Squeeze' yells the grammatically-challenged headline above a story that amounts to John Travolta being photographed giving a thumbs-up sitting next to another man, in what looks like every fan photo ever taken with a celebrity, and nothing more. Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and Drew Barrymore's 'Love Triangle Exposed!' declares the 'Enquirer,' which claims that the former 'E.T. - The Extraterrestrial' cutie has come between Ellen and her gal. Oh sure, Ellen and Drew are partners working together on a new TV series - but that can only be a front for lesbian sex, right? The 'Enquirer' team of trained psychics know these things. And then there's "Oprah & Gayle's Gaycation With The Obamas!' Because being on a yacht with the former President and First Lady, along with Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks, screams lesbian, because two women couldn't possibly just be friends, could they?

'Dying Queen Collapses!" yells the 'Globe' cover, with a series of photographs that appear to show her fall, helpfully captioned "Going . . . Going . . . Gone!" You have to credit the 'Globe' for its extraordinary photojournalism, capturing images of a Royal collapse that was missed by the entirety of the British media. Of course, 'Globe' editors probably don't expect their readers to do the research to find that these photos of the Queen were actually taken in July 2015 at the christening of Her Majesty's great-granddaughter Charlotte, at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, England. Nor do they expect readers to find that the photo of the Queen bent double as she apparently collapses is actually Her Majesty bending down to greet great-grandson Prince George outside the church. Look closely and you can see Royal nanny Teresa Borallo standing right next to the Queen. And the photo of a handful of soldiers standing around looking down at the ground - supposedly at an unconscious monarch, though we'll never know because she's not in the camera frame - could easily be looking at one of the Royal Guardsmen who routinely faint after standing to attention for hours during major public ceremonies. But not that day, when nobody collapsed, least of all the Queen.

Fortunately we have the intrepid investigative team at 'Us' magazine to tell us that Kourtney Kardashian wore it best (which I suspect has something to do with the fact that she was naked and bra-less under her Saint Lauren dinner jacket, while Emma Watson opted for an elegant shirt), that NBC anchor Lester Holt "could eat Mexican food every day," that 'American Housewife' actress Katy Mixon carries a teasing comb and hair spray in her Gucci bag, and that the stars are just like us: they spray on sunscreen, walk their dogs, and play golf. Extraordinary. The magazine devotes its cover to "20 Slimdown Diet Tips Stars Are Using,' featuring a slew of stars who barely have a spare ounce of body fat between them, so their diets must clearly be working.

'People' magazine devotes its cover to TV's ever-popular 'Bachelorette' series, under the headline: "Life After Bachelorette." But the headline seems to be missing the question mark I would have added at the end of that sentence. The feature story tells how six former Bachelorettes found love, and are raising new babies (no doubt because it's just no fun raising old babies). Admittedly, only two of these six have married men they actually met on the show, so that doesn't speak well for the program's ability to bring loving couples together. And fulfilling their dream of finding a husband seems to have had an unexpected dark side. "We used to stay up late and party," says former Bachelorette Ashley Rosenbaum. "Now we all have bags under our eyes, pushing strollers!" Who could have guessed?

Onwards and downwards . . .