Airbnb is going all-in on the war against cities

Airbnb is going all-in on the war against cities

“Read my lips, we want to pay taxes,” said Chris Lehane to the US Conference of Mayors in 2016 on behalf of Airbnb. The home-sharing service has since shouted the declaration from everywhere it can — press releases, emails and billboards, begging mayors to let the company collect millions in unpaid hotel taxes on behalf of cities.

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Where the boeing 737 MAX 8 is grounded and what airlines use it most

Where the boeing 737 MAX 8 is grounded and what airlines use it most

The world is on the edge following the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on Sunday — a flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya, in which all 157 people onboard were killed, including seven crew members, a security official and 19 UN staff members. The pilot requested to return to the airport when the plane started experiencing technical issues and the control tower lost contact with the plane at 8:44 am, with wreckage discovered near Bishoftu later, 62 kilometres from where the plane took off from, The Guardian explains. On Twitter, flight tracking website Flight Radar tweeted “that vertical speed was unstable after take off”.

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Some of these portraits are real, but good luck trying to figure out which actually are

Some of these portraits are real, but good luck trying to figure out which actually are

Researchers at the University of Washington have created the website, Which Face is Real, in an effort to quiz and bring attention to the fact that AI is now able to create “photographs” of people who don’t actually exist. The duo behind the website, Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom, point out that while we’ve been conditioned to tell the difference between reputable and spam accounts online based on their username — you probably would ignore a Twitter user who still has the egg image as their picture, after all — pictures are a bit different and are more difficult to analyze.

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This is what is happening when the TTC is experiencing "signal delays"

This is what is happening when the TTC is experiencing "signal delays"

It's an occurrence that happens regularly on the Toronto Transit Commission, happening at any time — the dreaded “Line 1 is delayed due to signal issues” message over the PA system. The TTC runs mainly on an outdated backend system and because it cost so much to replace it, it could be decades before the whole system has it installed. In a nutshell, the important thing to remember is delays generally happen because of all the moving parts that make up the traditional signalling systems — once ATC is implemented systemwide and computers are controlling the signals, this should cease to be an issue.

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Crossing the border with Global Entry, Nexus and PreCheck, explained

Crossing the border with Global Entry, Nexus and PreCheck, explained

Frequent travellers will know the joy of belonging to an expedited screening program — but they also know that between Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, Nexus and Sentri, the options are confusing. But once you’ve figured out which program is the best fit for you (for which the Department of Homeland Security has a handy quiz), paid the membership fee and, in some cases, gone in for an interview, it’s easy sailing.

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The EU is introducing tech that will limit speeding and, hopefully, save lives

The EU is introducing tech that will limit speeding and, hopefully, save lives

Technology to limit the speed of vehicles has been around for decades and though the EU consulted with its member countries on the option of introducing the technology in vehicles — with an overwhelming 82 percent vote in favour — only commercial vehicles were considered at the time. This will soon change, however, with the commission proposing the life-saving speed control system to be installed in all new cars in an effort to cut down on the number of speeding-related deaths and incidents throughout the continent.

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Many of the Netflix 'Original' series aren't actually made by the company

Many of the Netflix 'Original' series aren't actually made by the company

Netflix spends a lot of money on producing its ‘“Original” programming and as of 2018, is using 85 percent of new spending for original projects, including TV shows, films and other productions. The company has seen massive success with its large slate of programming, ranging from House of Cards to The Good Place and Black Mirror.

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Facebook's third-party content moderators end up developing PTSD from their job

Earlier this week The Verge released an incredibly in-depth report on the workplace conditions of the content moderators Facebook employs — though they are technically employed by Cognizant, a third-party company — and detailed how they end up being around conspiracy theories that they begin to believe them, going as far as to develop PTSD-like symptoms.

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Toronto's Quayside neighborhood, being built "from the internet up", is facing a lot of resistance

Toronto's Quayside neighborhood, being built "from the internet up", is facing a lot of resistance

The world’s latest smart city, a proposed neighbourhood in Toronto located near the Port Lands, is facing fierce criticism after it was revealed by the Toronto Star last week that the company is aiming to develop more than the 12 acres of waterfront land it had told the public it was interested in. In fact, representatives from Waterfront Toronto were in Ottawa on Thursday to answer questions over the Sidewalk Labs smart city project and whether it will really benefit the city. Waterfront Toronto is an agency — a partnership between all three levels of government that is responsible for redeveloping and enhancing the waterfront, including the public transit and housing in the area.

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Tourist hotspots are charging new fees in an attempt at solving overtourism

Tourist hotspots are charging new fees in an attempt at solving overtourism

There’s thousands of places throughout the world that act as tourism hotspots — the Faubourg Saint-Germain district of Paris, the pyramid region in Giza and the massive sandstone hills in Uluru, Australia, to name a few — which cause an influx of temporary visitors and boost the local economy. But when a place becomes too much of a popular destination, it can become overrun with tourists and in turn, harm the way of life for the locals, negatively impact the environment and cause more strain on the infrastructure than normal.

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We should've known Mars One was a scam from the beginning

We should've known Mars One was a scam from the beginning

Mars One was a controversial startup with a simple mission of sending humans to the big read planet on a one-way trip. Most of the technology that they had planned to use has yet to be invented and the majority of the funding was to be made through a giant worldwide reality television show, assuming a company would actually be interested in broadcasting such a thing. The company, promising to send four astronauts to space in 2023, pegged the cost at a measly $6 billion — much less than many other estimates thrown around.

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Why does it cost so much to fly in Canada?

Why does it cost so much to fly in Canada?

There always seems to be deals on flights on sale within Canada — WestJet and Air Canada send out emails for new promotions on the weekly — but it’s actually quite expensive to fly either in or to/from Canada to another destination. Frequent fliers will know as much, so it probably won’t surprise them to know that in a 2015 study, Canada ranked 130 out of 138 in terms of cost. One of the biggest reason for high fees is the way that the airport system is typically run in Canada — the actual land that the airport is based on is federally owned land, but then the land is leased to non-profit companies. This means that the organizations have to pay back money for ground leases and rent, which added up to approximately $305 million — adding up to $7 of each ticket sale in 2005, according to a document from the Calgary Airport Authority.

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Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

In 2018 Toronto’s subway system had 153 delays caused by door issues, 532 because of speed control equipment and a staggering 3,216 caused by ill passengers. The city dealt with more than 47,682 minutes of delays in total — which equates to approximately 33.11 days — due to 182 different reasons. It’s important to note that many of these delays aren’t the actual fault of the TTC, but are caused by customers who are unruly and disruptive, ill, or those who pull the passenger assistance alarm for no reason. These precise numbers come from Toronto’s Open Data catalogue, which is a regularly updated online resource to track things like TTC delays, bikeshare usage and more.

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Facebook makes more money off users in the US and Canada than Europeans

Facebook makes more money off users in the US and Canada than Europeans

According to Facebook’s Q4 earnings report, a user in the United States or Canada is much more valuable than one in Europe, Asia-Pacific or a user from anywhere else in the world. It’s no surprise that the company is able to make so much money off users — during this quarter, it made nearly $35 per North American user, but only $11 for European users and $3 for users in Asia and the Pacific region. But that should be no surprise, given the large amount of data that the company collects on you, including location, age, school, lines of credit and TV show preference.

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The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The rollout of PRESTO has inarguably been a bumpy ride — with consistently unreliable machines leading to an estimated million free rides to calls from the transit union and mayor for the issues to be fixed, a website dedicated to hating it and even a 1.5 star review on Yelp — things certainly haven’t gone to plan. But with one payment device working in each vehicle 99.5 percent of the time, things are certainly getting better for the technology, which is laying the groundwork for an improved system that could allow for a regionally integrated fare system.

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Sports stadiums should be funded by leagues, not cities

Sports stadiums should be funded by leagues, not cities

Cities in the United States have spent more than $4.091 billion on sports stadiums since 1997, often finding themselves paying for the majority of the construction cost — including $300 million for CenturyLink Field in Seattle, $619.6 million for the Lucas Oil Stadium and $455 for the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The public has footed more than half the bill for 11 of the 17 stadiums to open in the time period, according to a CBS Minnesota document, which details the cost of the venues and the cost to both the public and private sector.

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How to ensure your recycling actually gets recycled

How to ensure your recycling actually gets recycled

We’ve all had that experience before — being unsure of whether something goes in the recycling bin, to an electronics recycling facility or to the dump, we throw it into one bin, hoping it is the correct one. While this might seem simple enough, single-stream recycling is to blame for a big increase in contamination of recycling, forcing facilities to have to toss the batch in the trash instead of being able to properly break it down.

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There are over 30 "sponge cities" in China that are helping to clean up the environment

There are over 30 "sponge cities" in China that are helping to clean up the environment

Throughout the world, cities are struggling to deal with urban migration and development in flood-ridden areas — China faced this issue most prominently during the devastating floods in Guangzhou in 2010 and Beijing in 2012 and Chongqing, while India is dealing with the influx of unregulated development in the wetlands. Urban flooding and issues with groundwater collection are becoming major issues not only in Asia, but in cities everywhere as they struggle to come with worsening flood impacts.

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Mark Zuckerberg's 2019 New Year's challenge is to talk to the public more

Mark Zuckerberg's 2019 New Year's challenge is to talk to the public more

In 2018 he pledged to “fix” Facebook and now for Mark Zuckerberg’s 2019 resolution, he’s aiming to host public talks about the future of technology, Zuck, who isn’t traditionally one to be in the spotlight or to make public appearances, will meet each few weeks with leaders, experts and community members from Facebook to talk about the “opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties” that impact the work his company does, he explained in a Facebook post on January 8.

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San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

Throughout the United States, cities are built with parking and automobiles in mind — but with public transportation being better for the environment and for cities, they’re slowly correcting this mistake. On January 20, a new bylaw will go into effect in San Francisco eliminating the minimum parking requirements citywide, which was unanimously recommended after a review of the city’s transit, walking and cycling corridors. It will become the first city to remove minimum parking requirements for new housing and will greatly help with the new “transit first” policy.

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