ArchiWorld: World's longest glass bridge opens in Hebei, China

ArchiWorld: World's longest glass bridge opens in Hebei, China


Because walking across a glass-bottomed suspension bridge just isn't scary enough, China is finding new ways to bring the fear.
The country's latest -- billed as the world's longest -- opened at the end of 2017 in Hebei Province's Hongyagu Scenic Area.
And just in case the 488 meter span (1,600 feet) over a vertical drop of 218 meters (715 feet) doesn't bring visitors to their trembling knees, there's an added sway to test the nerves at this destination.
"Hongyagu glass suspension bridge marks the 2.0 era for China's glass-bottomed bridge," says Yang Minghua, the chairman of Hebei's Bailu Group, which created the span linking two peaks in the mountainous region of northeastern China.
The three-year construction project has given birth to several record-breaking claims -- some more objective than others.
These, Yang told local media, include the largest span, the greatest transparency and "the most spectacular pedestrian glass suspension bridge."
The bridge is 4 meters wide (13 feet) and made of 1,077 glass panels that are four centimeters thick (almost 1.6 inches).
Glass Bridge China 1

Opened to the public on December 24, 2017, the bridge can accommodate up to 2,000 people, but only 500 to 600 visitors will be allowed to walk on it at the same time.
Staff will be stationed along the bridge to help the fainthearted get back on their feet.
Visitors must wear special provided "shoe gloves" to protect the glass surface -- a necessary precaution given other bridges suffered broken glass panels not long after opening.
Hongyagu's swaying suspension bridge isn't the first glass walkway with a nerve-jangling extra.
The 266-meter aerial path in East Taihang Scenic Area, also in Hebei, looks and sounds like it's about to shatter when visitors walk on it.
While Hongyagu's glass bridge might have stolen the "longest" crown from another Chinese structure, it's predecessor -- which spans the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon -- can still claim to be the highest, at 300 meters.See more photos below....

05 Hongyagu glass bridge RESTRICTED

03 Hongyagu glass bridge RESTRICTED

02 Hongyagu glass bridge RESTRICTED

Credits: CNN

Science: NASA uses Google AI to discover eighth planet in distant solar system

Science: NASA uses Google AI to discover eighth planet in distant solar system
Kepler solar system picture (picture alliance/dpa/AP Photo/NASA/W. Stenzel)
US Space Agency NASA announced on Thursday that applying artificial intelligence to Kepler telescope star data uncovered a new planet in a distant solar system, bringing the system's total planet count to eight and making it the largest known such system outside of our own.
"Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star," NASA said in a statement. Previously, earth's solar system had the largest known number of planets.
The newly discovered planet, which has been named Kepler-90i, circles the Kepler-90 star, which is some 2,545 light-years away from Earth. One light-year equals about 9.5 trillion kilometers (5.8 trillion miles.) The rocky planet is much close to the Kepler-90 star than earth is to our sun and orbits it once every 14.4 days.
"The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our solar system," said Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomic researcher at the University of Texas at Austin who worked on the discovery.
"You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer."
NASA estimated the planet's surface temperature to be around 426 degrees Celsius (800 Fahrenheit) and said it likely was inhospitable to life.
Google AI teams up with NASA
Kepler-90i was discovered by training a computer to scan massive amounts of star data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, which has scanned more than 150,000 stars since its launch in 2009.
Vanderburg and Google AI software engineer Christopher Shallue taught a computer to review some 35,000 planetary signals that the Kepler telescope had collected and identify when the transmitted signals had dimmed. This indicates when a planet passes, or "transits," in front of a star. The computer then found weak transit signals that had previously been missed and that pointed to the existence of the eighth planet, Kepler-90i.
Source: DW

Tech: BUA, Orange, Bharti Airtel In The Race For 9mobile

The race for 9mobile
In a matter of days, a new owner will be announced for the country’s fourth largest telecom network, 9mobile. The company, which was hitherto known as Etisalat, ran into troubled waters when it could not meet its obligations of $1.2billion to a consortium of 13 banks that were asking for the loan repayment with accrued interests. This forced its United Arab Emirate-based major shareholders to pull out of the company, giving up 45 per cent stake to a trustee after the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This left the local company with no option but to go for a name change. That was followed with the constitution of a new board. But the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), determined to protect the interest of the company’s millions of customers, decided to get a new owner for it so that it can operate optimally. Thus began the process of getting a new investor for the company.
At the initial stage, the process, supervised by Barclays Bank, the financial adviser to the creditor banks, had as many as 16 companies expressing interest in the takeover. The companies include, Globacom Limited, Virgin Mobile, Helios Investment Partners LLP, MTN, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Blackstone Private Equity, Ntel, Vodacom, Teleology Holdings Limited, Obot Etiebet & Co, Bharti Airtel, BUA Group, Morning Side Capital Partners, and Hamilton and George International Limited but a number of them baulked when it was time to back the expression of interest with a bank guarantee of $100m.
The number was further pruned down to five by Barclays Bank. Those who made the last five are Globacom Limited, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Bharti Airtel, Helios Investment Partners LLP and Teleology Holdings Limited.
Speaking recently about the takeover of the company, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, emphasized that the takeover would not be a hostile one, adding that whichever of the shortlisted bidders is eventually picked must be able to grow the business and deliver value to the subscribers.
His words, “In the final analysis, we will like to see a 9mobile taken over by a bidder who has the financial and technical capacity to improve on the operations of the telecom and add value in delivery of qualitative telecoms services in the country.”
Going by the submission of the NCC boss, the regulator is looking at picking a company that is financially strong, technically competent and sufficiently innovative to keep pace with other service providers. The question is which of the bidding companies fits the bill the most?

How the bidders stand
Here is how each of the bidding companies stands.

Teleology Holdings Limited
Teleology Holdings Limited was established for the purpose of taking over 9mobile. It is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by a former CEO of MTN, Adrian Wood, some wealthy Nigerians and a few foreign stakeholders in collaboration with Ericsson. So, for this SPV, funding may not pose a serious challenge given the names being bandied as backers of the company. The challenge that may arise with this company is about technical competence because telecommunications service such as the one being rendered by 9mobile is beyond accessories vending or fund mobilization. When push comes to shove will the company be able to meet the expectations of NCC with respect to “adding value in delivery of qualitative telecoms services in the country”? Does the company possess the capacity to improve the company’s service delivery? Can it hold on to the current subscribers by unleashing innovative products and services? These are questions to which answers must be provided in determining the suitability or otherwise of Teleology as the preferred bidder for 9mobile.

Smile Telecoms Holdings
Smile is a multinational telecommunications company operating in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa with strength in the area of broadband services, though it also offers voice services. Smile provides 4G LTE mobile broadband services, with data speeds of up to 21Mbps. The company runs with the vision of facilitating the deployment of reliable broadband services to accelerate development and wealth creation. Its intention to acquire 9mobile is in furtherance of its transitioning “from a spectrum rich start-up to the most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa.”
Although raising the funds to turn 9mobile around may not be a serious challenge given Smiles ties with the Saudi Arabia-based Al Nahla Group, the issue is with its spread and capacity. Currently, its spread in the country is limited. Therefore, taking up a network with over 17million subscribers may be biting more than it can chew because it may not be able to satisfy customers’ yearnings. This may worsen the situation of the telecoms company which has witnessed migration from its network since the issue it had with the consortium of banks reared its head.

Helios Investment Partners LLP
Helios is a multidimensional investment company with tentacles in various African countries. It is a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in buyouts of going concerns. It has investments in oil and gas, telecommunications, financial services, horticulture and online retail. It currently operates a range of funds valued at more than $3 billion in capital commitments. Helios has interest in Africatel, a telecommunications company based in Lisbon, Portugal as well as Helios Towers, which provides support services for telecommunications companies. Helios had run cell towers operations in the country before selling same to HIS Nigeria.
Although, Helios has worked closely with operators in the telecommunications industry and may not find raising the required funds a problem, it is likely to have issues with technical competence. Managing ancillary telecoms operations is not the same as running a full-fledged telecommunications company. Since Helios does not have proven competence in the area of network management, getting the nod to run 9mobile may be a difficult one.

Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel is a strong telecommunications company with its base in India. The company offers GSM, 3G and 4G LTE mobile services, fixed line broadband and voice services. With a total asset of $36 billion, total equity of $12 billion and operation base which spreads across 17 countries in South Asia and Africa, Airtel is in a good stead to take over 9mobile and turn it into a profitable and value-adding business.
The downside, however, is the statement by Bharti Airtel Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, that the Group was considering shutting down about 15 of its African operations in order to cut debt and make its biggest overseas acquisition profitable. Although Airtel Africa CEO, Raghunath Mandava, later played this down and said that the company had no plan to scale down its African operations, what the statement by the Group CEO did was to sow a seed of instability among its African networks. If there is anything that 9mobile requires at the moment, it is stability.
The network being currently managed by Airtel has undergone a series of takeover which nearly grounded it. The telecommunications company started as Econet, then was transformed to Vodacom and later Vmobile. When ownership changed, it became Celtel and Zain before eventually being re-christened Airtel. This negatively impacted the fortune of the company and for a long time was an industry laggard. 9mobile should not be subjected to the same fate.
Given that background, approving Airtel’s bid to take over 9mobile may turn out as a recipe for further destabilization of the already challenged network.

Globacom is a Nigerian company with operations in a number of West African countries. The company has always made a statement right from its inception.  Its entry into the telecoms industry was the game changer Nigerians had long awaited as tariffs came tumbling following the introduction of per second billing system. Since then, there has not been any looking back. It has championed innovative interventions in the country, which despite being a late entrant into the industry, have propelled it to the industry front row.
Glo has an edge over other networks with its 4G network covering major cities in 700 Mhz band unlike any other operator in Nigeria. Its operation is boosted by its submarine cable from Europe which is laid across the length and breadth of Nigeria. This is buoyed by cutting-edge infrastructure, including towers, generators, MSC and datacenter buildings. The company is built on the bedrock of sound financial strength. It is the only private operator in Nigeria that fully owns submarine cable connecting Nigeria to Europe and the Americas and from there to the rest of the world.
Led by the indefatigable business icon, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr, who is never tired of pushing for improvement, Globacom boasts of arguably the most inspired and most passionate workforce in the industry. This has been responsible for the endless innovative and life-enhancing products and services the company dazzles its customers with.

9mobile is not a startup; it is a well established company with over 11 million subscribers who are expectant of world class services. Therefore, the company that will take over its operations must be a proven authority in the industry. Everything considered Glo has an edge and should win the bid but it will have to increase its capacity so as to be able to cope with the upsurge in the number of subscribers and the attendant issues

Introducing The Zanco tiny t1 - The World's Smallest Phone

Introducing The Zanco tiny t1 - The World's Smallest Phone
The Zanco tiny t1 in comparison to a coin and pencil
Introducing the tiny t1 from Zanco - Officially The World’s Smallest Mobile Phone! This fully functional, talk & text mobile phone is unbelievably tiny!
The Zanco tiny t1 mobile phone is smaller than your thumb, lighter than a coin and is ridiculously cute. The first time you see it you can’t believe it exists. Your second thought is why does it exist? When you look a third time you realize how much you want it. 
few reasons why you need the Zanco tiny t1: 
·         It's the ‘must have’ gadget of 2018 – If you're a gadget geek, you have got to have this! 
·         It's an ideal backup or emergency phone! - It's so small you can keep in your bag, pocket or glove compartment as a secondary phone.
·         It's so damn cute! 
·         The perfect novelty gift – What do you buy someone who's got everything? 
·         Use it when you need to travel light - The tiny t1 is perfect for joggers, runners, walkers, cyclists and those who take part in extreme sports because it's so compact it can go in any size pocket.
·         It's great as a backup on a night out and any occasion where you don't want to carry a bulky phone but still want the reassurance of staying connected. 
·         It's a great conversation starter, as soon as you take the tiny t1 out, you'll be the talk of the pub, office or classroom. 
·         Overseas travel - The Zanco tiny t1 is so small it can go wherever you go.
The Zanco tiny t1 fits in any size pocket
The Zanco tiny t1 fits in any size pocket
It’s so small, it fits neatly in the palm of your hand!
It’s so small, it fits neatly in the palm of your hand!
 ·             The Zanco tiny t1 will work with any mobile phone network. You can change the nano-SIM at any time if you want to change your network too.
  • ·         The tiny phone operates on the 2G network. The battery has 3 days standby and 180 minutes talk time.  

Dimensions of the Zanco tiny t1
Credit: Kickstarter 

Energy: Europe’s largest coal-fired power unit opens in Poland

Energy: Europe’s largest coal-fired power unit opens in Poland
Polish state-controlled energy company Enea on Tuesday inaugurated Europe’s largest coal-fired power unit, at a time when other nations want to shift away from greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels.
Enea opened a 1,075 MW capacity unit built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems at its Kozienice plant to join a dozen other units in the 250-300 MW range at the site.
“The B11 section is the largest and most modern in Europe,” said the firm’s head of production Krzysztof Figat during a ceremony carried live over the internet to mark the 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 billion) project.
Total capacity at the plant, which uses some three million tons of coal annually, mainly from the Bogdanka mine in southern Poland, is now nearly 4,000 MW.
As well as the major plant at Kozienice, Poland is home to Europe’s largest plant at Belchatow near the city of Lodz, one of the largest coal-fired plants in the world.
Coal remains a sector of primary importance in Poland, employing some 100,000 people.
Coal and lignite account for around 90 percent of Polish energy production.
“The new unit will increase energy security of Poland and the Polish people, which is an economic and political priority for our country,” said new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Warsaw has recently slowed development of wind power and is still to decide on whether or not to build a first nuclear plant in a country suffering some of the worst air pollution in Europe.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017

SpaceX caps a record year with 18th successful launch of 2017

SpaceX caps a record year with 18th successful launch of 2017

SpaceX has completed its 18th launch in 2017, marking a record year for the private space company. It’s the most rockets SpaceX has launched in a single year, beating its previous best by ten missions.
The launch today was for client Iridium, delivering 10 satellites to low Earth orbit for its Iridium NEXT communications constellation. This is the fourth such mission that SpaceX has flown for the company, and the rocket used for this mission was a flight proven Falcon 9 that previously flew in June for the second Iridium mission. Iridium was also the client for SpaceX’s first mission of 2017 back in January – its first flight following a pre-launch accident last September that cost it its rocket and the payload, a Facebook internet satellite.
SpaceX launched its rocket from its launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and the mission parameters didn’t include attempting a rocket recovery of the first stage. The first stage underwent a landing sequence as it does when a recovery is attempted, but there was no drone landing ship in the Pacific Ocean to catch it when it touched down.
The launch resulted in some amazing visuals for residents of L.A. and the surrounding area, many of whom took to Twitter to share footage and pictures:
Iridium’s goal with its NEXT satellite constellation is to provide 100 percent coverage of the globe for tracking all flights in progress in real-time, and it will also be able to monitor every single ship traversing Earth via the same technology, making that info available for its commercial customers.

The next big milestone for SpaceX is coming up quickly: The company is hoping to launch its very first Falcon Heavy rocket in January, 2018. The rocket, which has a tremendous heavy load capacity, is already undergoing preparations for launch at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force base – preparations which include loading its payload, an original cherry red Tesla Roadster.

Meet SnowBaby Emma - She Was Frozen For 24 Years as an Embryo

A "snowbaby" is a term used to describe an embryo that is frozen in storage and preserved for potential future birth. In November 2017, the longest frozen embryo ever held in storage was successfully born in Tennessee.
The embryo, created from anonymous donors, was frozen on October 14, 1992, just one year after mother Tina Gibson's own birth.
The 24-year-old frozen embryo was initially a bit of a surprise, even to parents Tina and Benjamin Gibson.
Tina first remarked: "Do you realise I'm only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends." But, now 26, Tina told CNN,
"I just wanted a baby. I don't care if it's a world record or not."
Baby Emma Wren Gibson.
She got her wish: Emma Wren Gibson was born on November 25, 2017.
Before the birth of baby Emma, the longest-known successful snowbaby birth was from a 20-year-old frozen embryo. While the Gibsons are mostly excited about parenthood, from a medical and scientific perspective, this is a remarkable success.
This shows that embryos, like the one that became Emma, can safely be donated and left frozen in storage for potential parents struggling with fertility, like Benjamin Gibson, who has cystic fibrosis.
It could also mean that those with cancer who anticipate losing fertility after chemotherapy treatments could store a healthy embryo until they are ready to be a parent.
As shown in the case of the Gibsons, fertility and birth look a lot different now than they did even a few years ago. An embryo created 24 years before the baby is born is only the tip of the futuristic fertility iceberg.
This past year, premature lambs were developed inside of artificial wombs. Just 105 days into development, lambs were placed into the uterus-like, fluid-filled "biobag" to continue growing.
While at that stage in development, equivalent to 22 weeks in humans, neither human nor lamb is able to survive alone outside of the womb.
But after four weeks in the biobags, the lambs developed lungs and hair and, most importantly, were able to survive on their own in the outside world.
This technique could one day save the lives of human children born dangerously premature, and prevent the long-lasting medical problems that can come from premature birth.
Also this year, a woman in the US successfully gave birth after receiving a uterus transplant. This promising development shows that women with severe medical complications, who are born without a uterus, or who are transgender could still potentially give birth.
In another fertility marvel, a woman successfully gave birth thanks to an ovary that was removed pre-puberty. There is even the promise of 3D-printed ovaries, which successfully allowed infertile mice to give birth.
While these developments might just seem like futuristic medical advances, they are irreplaceable opportunities for many who have dreamed of starting families.
Not every woman is born with a uterus, and a remarkably large percentage of people struggle with fertility, sometimes for many years.
These advances in the journey from conception to birth are building the foundations of a future in which starting a family is something that everyone can choose, giving a new option to people who never before had it.

Aviation: Boeing unveils autonomous plane for refueling fighter jets in midair

Aviation: Boeing unveils autonomous plane for refueling fighter jets in midair
Boeing pulled back the curtain on an autonomous refueling plane designed to refuel U.S. Navy fighter jets in midair to extend their range.
In October, the Navy issued a request for proposals seeking unmanned refueling capabilities for a variety of combat planes, such as the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Responses to this request, known as the MQ-25 competition, are due Jan. 3.
Boeing’s entry is in the midst of completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for “deck handling demonstrations” early next year.
The winning entry will launch and land on aircraft carriers, so it will have to integrate with catapult and launch and recovery systems.
“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Boeing’s Phantom Works technology organization, said in a statement. “Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”
The MQ-25 Stringray aerial tanker will be able to deliver about 15,000 pounds of fuel 500 nautical miles out from an aircraft carrier. That should give fighters an additional 300 to 400 miles of flight range over what they have now.
Boeing is competing with Lockheed Martin and General Atomics. Northrop Grumman was invited to submit a bid but dropped out of the competition in October. The Navy is expected to select the winning design by next September.

Chrome will start blocking ads on February 15, 2018

Chrome will start blocking ads on February 15, 2018
In June, Google revealed that Chrome will stop showing all ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that display non-compliant ads “starting in early 2018.” Now the company has committed to a date: Chrome’s built-in ad-blocker will start working on February 15, 2018.
Interestingly, this date does not appear to be tied to a specific Chrome version. Chrome 64 is currently scheduled to arrive on January 23 and Chrome 65 is slated to launch on March 6, suggesting Google will be turning on its browser’s ad blocker remotely, and possibly gradually for select users.
Google this year joined the Coalition for Better Ads, a group that offers specific standards for how the industry should improve ads for consumers — full-page ad interstitials, ads that unexpectedly play sound, and flashing ads are all banned. Yesterday, the coalition announced the Better Ads Experience Program, which provides guidelines for companies using the Better Ads Standards to improve users’ experience with online ads.
In addition to the date, Google today also shared how sites affected by Chrome’s ad blocker will be able to get back into the browser’s good graces:
Violations of the Standards are reported to sites via the Ad Experience Report, and site owners can submit their site for re-review once the violations have been fixed. Starting on February 15, in line with the Coalition’s guidelines, Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a “failing” status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days. All of this information can be found in the Ad Experience Report Help Center, and our product forums are available to help address any questions or feedback.
credit: VentureBeat 

Scientists Says That Japanese Monkeys (macaques) Are Having 'Sexual Interactions' With Deer

Adolescent female monkeys in Japan have repeatedly engaged in sexual behaviors with sika deer, for reasons that are not yet clear, according to researchers who study macaque behavior.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behavior, follows up on a single report from earlier this year of a male macaque mounting a female sika deer on Yakushima Island.
That report was intriguing, but a co-author of the new study told The Guardian it was essentially anecdotal. "Even the sexual nature of this interaction was not clearly demonstrated," said Noëlle Gunst, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. So she and her colleagues sought to nail down the nature of the mounting.
Looking at a different set of relationships — adolescent female monkeys and deer, particularly male deer, in Minoo, Japan — the researchers found interactions that definitely seemed to be sexual in nature. (The female monkeys were climbing onto the deer and grinding their genitals against the deer's backs. Yes, there's video.)

Japanese macaques are known to ride deer like humans ride horses, for fun or transportation — behavior the deer seem to tolerate in exchange for grooming and discarded food. But these monkeys were up to something different.
The researchers compared the monkey-deer interactions, which happened during mating season, with homosexual monkey-monkey interactions, where female macaques mount each other. They paid close attention to the "mounting postures" the monkeys assumed on the deer, and the vocalizations they made, to determine that the interactions were, in fact, sexual ... at least for the monkeys.
Some of the deer shook the monkeys off and fled the situation. But adult male deer, in particular, were likely to just stand calmly as the female monkeys thrusted. In some cases, the male deer kept eating.
Five of the female monkeys had "successful heterospecific consortships" with deer. That is, they had "a temporary, but exclusive, sexual association" with an individual from another species, with "three or more mounts within a 10-minute period."
All told there were 13 successful pairings — and 258 separate mounts.
There were eight failed attempts as well. In some of those cases, the monkey-deer interaction was interrupted because another young female macaque came along, "successfully displaced the original adolescent female mounters and took over the deer to start their own heterospecific consortships," the researchers noted. That was not a plot twist they had anticipated.
And the interactions went beyond the mere moment of thrusting. The "monkey-to-deer solicitations ... were persistent and conspicuous," the researchers write. Young female monkeys would identify a "particular target" and make calls that sound identical to the ones in monkey-on-monkey courtship.
If the deer avoided the interaction, "the female monkeys often displayed sexually motivated tantrums which consisted of crouching on the ground, body spasms and screaming, while gazing at the deer," the study found.
So. What does this all mean?
Sexual interactions between animals of different species are not unheard of (even when you take human behavior out of the equation). But most of them don't look like these monkey-deer consortships.
Often the animals are of very similar, related species, and the mating might just be a case of mistaken identity. Clearly, that's not the case here. Writing with significant understatement, the researchers note that "this interpretation is implausible in our case because the anatomical differences between Japanese macaques and sika deer are profound."
Scientists have five theories about why the young monkeys might seek out sexual relationships with deer.
First, it might be a way for a less-mature monkey to practice for future sex with other monkeys.
Second, it might be a less dangerous way for a young female macaque — physically smaller than male macaques — to have a sexual interaction. That's the "safe sex" hypothesis, as the scientists put it. It's similar to one explanation for why young female macaques have sex with each other.
Third, they might be an option for young macaques with no available sexual partners of their own species. Apparently adolescent female macaques are not the "preferred" partner for male macaques and are "routinely rejected." This is what the researchers call the "best of a bad job" hypothesis.
Fourth, it might be the result of nonsexual interactions, with macaques riding deer either for fun or for transport and discovering it's a source of genital stimulation that they then seek out on purpose.
Finally, the researchers say, this might be a kind of cultural practice. Japanese macaques display different behaviors in different locations — some wash their food, or take hot-spring baths, or play with snowballs.
Adolescent females grinding on the backs of deer might similarly be a cultural phenomenon. But it has only been observed at Minoo within the past few years.
"The monkey-deer sexual interactions reported in our paper may reflect the early stage development of a new behavioural tradition at Minoo," Gunst-Leca told The Guardian.
Alternatively, the paper notes, it could be a "short-lived fad." Time will tell.

Business: FarmCrowdy raises $1M round to bring Nigerian farmers online and to market

Business: FarmCrowdy raises $1M round to bring Nigerian farmers online and to market
Bringing small scale Nigerian farmers to a broader market has netted the new startup Farmcrowdy $1 million from investors including Techstars, Cox Ventures and Social Capital.
Farmcrowdy’s digital platform connects investors to farmers through sponsorship packages to fund higher yields for a share of the returns.
The app allows the sponsors to “Farm Shop” screened agricultural opportunities by produce type, funding amount, contract duration, and expected returns on an investment. The profiles include details on what the sponsorship funds―farm inputs, technical advice, or logistical support―to achieve yields. Common crops are cassava, soya beans, and rice. Investors can also use Farmcrowdy’s platform to track the performance of their sponsorships.
“What makes Farmcrowdy different from other platforms is it turns a complex problem into a digital marketplace,” Farmcrowdy CEO Onyeka Akumah told TechCrunch. “We’re taking care of funding for farmers, training for farmers, providing the market for the farmers to sell. We’re taking care of the logistics to move farm harvests to the market and making sure farmers earn a decent return at the end of their cycle,” he said.
Farmcrowdy screens small scale farms throughout Nigeria and works with partners such as Syngenta and Africa’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to shape sponsorship packages to provide them expertise. A big problem, according to Akumah, is many of the farms do not have the inputs to reach the full harvest potential of their land plots.
Farmcrowdy’s revenue model operates on a split system for sponshorships: principal plus 40 percent for sponsors, 40 percent for farmers, and 20 percent for Farmcrowdy. For example, if an investor sponsored a maize farm for 6 months at $1000 and at harvest the produce sold for $1500, the sponsor would regain their investment ($1000) plus 40 percent of profits ($600), the farmer $600 (40 percent), and Farmcrowdy $300 (20 percent).
Farmcrowdy will use its fresh funding to scale operations, expand into 20 Nigerian states, and bring more small-scale farmers and sponsors into its program.
The startup participated in the accelerator class of one its investors, Techstars, in summer 2017. Techstars vetted Farmcrowdy’s model during a trip to Nigeria earlier in early 2017, Techstars mentor Cody Simms confirmed in an email.
Agriculture is yet another African sector in which tech companies are attempting to scale startups, apps, and solutions. MasterCard launched its 2KUZE agtech platform for smallplot farmers in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in January. AgroCenta has developed digital logistics solutions for smallholder farmers in Ghana.
Farmcrowdy CEO Onyeka Akumah sees the revenue potential for agriculture in Nigeria “as massive”, noting the country’s size and growth. “Nigeria has 186 million people and is projected to become the world’s third largest country in the next 30 years. All of these people are going to need food to eat,” he said.
Credit: TechCrunch