学习啦【英语文摘】 编辑：韦彦 发布时间：2016-08-30
Uber’s costly battle for the Chinese ride-sharing market helped drive losses of $1.3bn duringthe first half of 2016, making the San Francisco-based company one of the most deeplylossmaking in Silicon Valley.
The company, which offers transportation through its smartphone app in more than 60countries, had been spending heavily in markets such as China and India, where it was locked incompetition with local rivals.
However, the losses may decline later this year after Uber sold its China unit to local rival DidiChuxing earlier this month, in effect ending its costly subsidy war there.
Uber is one of Silicon Valley’s best-funded companies, raising more than $15bn in equity anddebt from investors, and recently achieving a $68bn valuation.
The losses, which were first reported by Bloomberg, came to $520m during the first quarterand more than $750m during the second quarter, on a measure before interest, tax,depreciation and amortisation.
Travis Kalanick, chief executive, has previously told the Financial Times that Uber wasprofitable during the first quarter in the US, Australia and the region of Europe, the MiddleEast and Africa.
The company spent heavily in China and India during that time, as well as expanding to newmarkets.
However, the US turned unprofitable during the second quarter of this year, with losses of$100m according to Bloomberg, as Uber boosted subsidies to compete with its rival Lyft.
Uber was responding to Lyft’s rising market share, which had reached 40 per cent in keymarkets such as San Francisco.
Uber aims to maintain a market share of about 80 per cent in each US city where it operates,according to a person close to the company.
With the battle for China now out of the way, Uber has been increasing its focus on newprojects that will require heavy investment, including mapping, driverless cars and car fleets thatcan be leased to drivers.
The company will be piloting its first driverless car taxi service in Pittsburgh in a few weeks’ time,and has inked a deal with Volvo to jointly develop autonomous vehicles.
Underscoring this shift in focus, Uber also made its largest ever acquisition in July, when itbought Otto, a driverless truck start-up founded by several key members of Alphabet’sdriverless programme.
Otto’s backers received a stake in Uber worth about $680m as well as a guarantee of 20 percent of future profits from any trucking business.
As part of that acquisition Uber will open driverless research centres in Palo Alto and in SanFrancisco, in addition to its research centre in Pittsburgh.
The company is also preparing to spend half a billion dollars on its mapping efforts as it seeksto build more accurate maps and reduce its dependence on Google Maps.
It already has mapping cars on the road in the US and Mexico.
Uber’s investors include Goldman Sachs, Benchmark, and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
A group of senior students from Zhejiang University have successfully developed an "air hand-washing device."
The device utilizes an infrared ray induction system, which detects the presence of hands. Atap then sprays a light water mist along with a strong gust of air, which the students haveproven to be nearly as effective as traditional hand-washing.
However, the device uses only 10 percent of the water that regular hand-washing does.
Li Qizhang, a member of the team that developed the device, told a reporter from thepaper.cnthat a model of their device has already been installed in a classroom building at the university,and that the results have been satisfactory.
The students have set up a company to further promote their product.
In 2014, a student named Chen Puyang first came up with the idea while washing his hands inthe school cafeteria. Washing one's hands uses a lot of water, Chen thought. Would it bepossible to replace the water with air?
Others may not have given the question a second thought. However, for Chen and Li, who werestudying fluid mechanics, this constituted a brilliant idea.
Soon, Chen, Li and several classmates embarked on the project. The design of the devicerequired knowledge from a variety of different majors, so the team eventually came to becomposed of seven students from various majors.
"We put different kinds of dirt on our hands and washed them with water. It turned out that 95percent of water is used to flush away the dirt; only 5 percent is used to dissolve it.
If we washed with only air, then the dirt on our hands would not dissolve. So we decided touse a fine water spray to complement the air. That way, the dirt is carried away by air anddissolved by water," explained Li.
After a year of research and experimentation, the team came up with a gravity-driven hand-washing device whose reliance on water was minimal.
The user stands on a platform in front of the device, which sinks because of the weight of theuser.
The gravity exerted by the user pulls the piston through a pulley block, and a gust of air isgenerated through air extrusion. The tap then releases a water mist coupled with the gust.
The team tested the device by conducting chromogenic reaction and residual bacteriaexperiments, which proved that the results of hand-washing with air can be similar to those ofwashing with water.
In September 2015, the team took its invention to the Global Grand Challenges Summit. Theytook home the top award, beating teams from 14 universities including MIT and Cambridge.
Do you notice anything out of place in this movie poster for the upcoming Sci-Fi flick, “Arrival”?
Hint: The answer is not the massive alien spaceship hovering over Hong Kong’s VictoriaHarbour -- though, admittedly, it’s not every day you’d see one of those. Rather, the problemlies in the tallest building pictured, at the very right of the poster.
That distinctive landmark is known as the Oriental Pearl tower. It’s very famous. It’s veryiconic. And it stands tall in the Chinese city of Shanghai, not Hong Kong.
So, how did the structure end up in a poster of Hong Kong?
“Arrival,” like countless other big movie blockbusters, is about an alien invasion of Earth.However, it’s unique in that it centers around a female linguist -- played by Amy Adams --who is sent into the mysterious alien spacecrafts which have touched down in cities aroundthe globe, in an attempt to decipher the aliens’ language and, thus, communicate with them.
Paramount Pictures began marketing the sci-fi drama this summer by releasing 12 posters,showing the alien ships hovering over different, recognizable locations around the world, withthe slogan, “Why are they here?”
Angry Facebook and Twitter users who spotted the out-of-place skyscraper immediately tookto social media, using the evergreen geopolitical hashtag #HongKongIsNotChina, to accuse theposter’s creator of pushing its own political agenda.
Now, the studio is blaming the error in this particular poster on the third-party vendor whomade it.
The movie studio, for its part, has now deleted the controversial image from the film’s officialFacebook page, hoping the social media storm will simply blow over. In the meantime, they’vepinned the “Arrival” trailer to the top of their page with the caption, “Language is the firstweapon drawn in a conflict.“
On the contrary, in this conflict at least, imagery was the first weapon drawn.