Now Make Cashless Payments by Simply Waving your Smart Phone

Contactless payment is such a relief in countries such as India where strategic government moves such as demonetization are in the run. And for developed nations, this not-so-new but hot payments concept is an escalation in the world of commerce that tellingly widens up the customer service portfolio. Falling on similar lines, Samsung Pay is currently making the news columns with its “revolutionary way to pay” mobile payment setup. However, tech newbies might find it surprising to know that contactless payment has always been around, since two to three years.

Contactless payment is just what it reads, meaning you can complete cashless payments without even swiping or inserting your card into a point of sales (PoS) device. All you need to do is wave your smartphone at a PoS machine.

Contactless Payment Works on Three Types of Technology Platforms

Magnetic secure transmission (MST) is a cost-effective technology that allows merchants to process contactless payments without the need to make a new hardware investment. It simply emits a magnetic signal from customer’s smartphone which can be read by a conventional PoS terminal magnetic strip card reader.

Contactless payment on ICICI’s Pockets app is a perfect instance of the host card emulation (HCE) technology. You need an Android operating system on your mobile phone to use HCE at any near-field communication (NFC)-enabled terminal. It converts physical debit or credit cards into virtual cards.

The NFC technology is the most average of all as it mandates both merchant’s PoS terminal and customer’s card to be NFC compliant. However, transactions can be completed even using stickers and tags besides cards. The Tap & Go Debit Card of the State Bank of India is a practical example of the NFC technology.

Will Uber Review its Tipping Policy after Revised NYC Proposal?

When it comes to tipping, Uber has pretty much been the lone wolf, refusing to let users to do justice to its drivers. And for better or worse, this might soon change.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering bringing out a rule that would require companies such as Uber to find a way to incorporate a tipping method. And considering Uber prides itself for offering a cashless experience, it will need to integrate this feature within the app itself. And if New York decides to make this change, it is likely that other cities in the U.S. will follow suit. So for Uber, it makes sense to design and develop a standardized method for in-app tipping rather than waste time and resource is making different versions for different cities.

Better Late than Never?

Last year this month, Uber apparently did have the chance to do what’s right for its drivers and include an option to tip them. As part of a massive US$100 mn settlement, Uber was, for a brief time, required to inform its riders that the fare did not include tips. But after a judge rejected the settlement, Uber stuck to its guns and refused to reverse its stand on tipping. This brought on the company an onslaught of sore drivers. NYC general manager for Uber, Josh Mohrer clarified that the car services company stood by its mantra of not tipping because it was a point of dissatisfaction for consumers, aka the riders. The policy forces costumers to make the decision on what is the appropriate amount to tip.

Many others, however, feel like this is the least the firm could do for its drivers.

Renewable Energy Production Gaining Strength in Germany

Renewable energy production surged to over 41% of the country’s power supply in March, 2017, with the production touching a record figure of 19.5 TWh. The last month has been spectacular in terms of renewable energy production for Germany with a soaring monthly generation of electricity from wind and solar energy.

Power Production from Renewable Indicate Encouraging Trends

Last month, the nuclear power production touched the nadir since the 1970s. With the marked phase out of nuclear reactors continuing since 2000, the country has planned to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022. Last month also registered a record reduction in nuclear energy for France. On March 18, Germany registered another wind power record in production and reached a figure of 38.5 GW. In March, the combined electricity production from wind and solar energy in Germany totaled 12.5 TWh. Power production from biomass also witnessed a robust growth at 4.5 TWh.

Wide Scale Disclosure of Nuclear Power Plants in Germany and France

These developments were significant in the backdrop of rapidly declining nuclear power production in Germany. Reduction in nuclear energy production in the nation can be partly attributed to the phase out of the reactors since they were built in the mid-1970s and 1980s; the reason being eight reactors of the 19 continue to be in service. However, currently almost half of them are down having gone for an overhaul of some kind and are expected to resume operation soon. Neckarwestheim II, Grohnde, and Brokdorf are the reactors that have gone offline in the recent months. While all of the reactors are scheduled to be shut down tentatively by 2022, Gundremmingen B, will be the first to be closed down. The reactor was reportedly affected with a computer virus and was supposed to go offline in 2016.

A lot of reactors are also poised to go offline in France with the official closure declared for the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant. The country has aimed to reduce its reliance on nuclear power generation from 75% of its demand to a remarkable 50% by the end of 2025.

Zika Virus Also Carried by Asian Tiger Mosquito, Research Suggests

In a recent research finding, traces of genetic material of Zika virus have been found in another mosquito species. Primarily carried by the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, RNA fragments of Zika have been found in Asian tiger mosquitoes during their genetic testing, researchers report.

However, the finding does not prove that Asian tiger mosquito can transmit Zika to individuals. But it certainly necessitates further research for the possibility of other carriers of Zika, as per the author of the study who is an associate professor at Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at University of Florida. Further commenting via a new release from the Entomological Society of America, the author said that Aedes albopictus may be involved in transmission of Zika virus and is a concern for public health.

Further Research Needed to Ascertain New Carriers for Zika

Aedes albopictus is found across the world with a large number of hosts and has adapted to cold climates. However, the role of this mosquito in transmission of Zika virus is yet to be understood.

For the study part, Asian tiger mosquitoes were collected in Brazil and their eggs were hatched. The scientists found Asian tiger males to test positive for Zika RNA but not live Zika virus. These findings necessitate further research if Aedes albopictus can transmit Zika. These findings also underline the reason why insect scientists and medical researchers need to be extremely cautious while carrying out studies on mosquitoes.

The findings of the study further suggest that mosquitoes collected from areas with high number of Zika cases need to be tested for Zika RNA. In the event if these mosquitoes test positive for Zika RNA, they need to be tested for Zika virus before they are transported to be used in research.