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Adam Berry/Getty
Adam Berry/Getty

Uber Drivers in China Are Using Ghoulish Pictures to Scare Away Passengers

Adam Berry/Getty
Adam Berry/Getty

The latest complaint Uber users have with the ride-sharing app sounds like the set-up to a horror movie: After a ride request is accepted, some passengers in China have been greeted with the profile of a “ghost driver” en route to pick them up. According to The Guardian, the spooky images are part of a new scheme used by drivers in China to score cancellation fees.

Drivers taking part in the deception will upload a picture manipulated to look like a ghost, zombie, or vampire to an otherwise normal profile. The intention is to frighten passengers into canceling their ride for a small fee the drivers then get to keep. Each cancellation amounts to 4.20 yuan, or about $.60.

That’s small enough that many would-be passengers won’t bother reporting the incident: Meanwhile, ghost drivers can spend the day scaring away customers and watch the fees add up. When brave passengers do decide to wait around for the ride, some ghost drivers will take the scam even further and accept a rider on the app as if they’ve entered the car without picking them up. The stood-up customer will eventually cancel and the driver still gets the fee.

Uber employees have plagued the ride-sharing service with scams in the past, from following unnecessary routes to charging customers for vomiting in the car when they never did. The company says they're refunding any customers who were involved in the latest scam and introducing facial-recognition technology to crack down on further driver fraud.

[h/t The Guardian]

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NSW Transport
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This Just In
Australians Vote to Name New Sydney Harbor Boat 'Ferry McFerryface'
NSW Transport
NSW Transport

Proving that some jokes never die (or at least take a little longer to reach the Land Down Under), Sydney has a new ferry named Ferry McFerryface, according to BBC News.

For the uninitiated, the name Ferry McFerryface pays homage to an English practical joke from 2016. It all started when the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) made global headlines after launching an online poll to name a nearly $300 million polar research ship. Leading the vote by a significant margin was the moniker “Boaty McBoatface.”

For a short period, it seemed as though jokesters would pull off their naming coup. But once the competition reached its end, government officials ultimately decided to override the poll. They named the research ship RSS Sir David Attenborough instead, although they did agree to give the name Boaty McBoatface to one of its submarines.

Sydney recently held a similar competition to name a fleet of six new harbor ferries, and the results were announced in mid-November. Locals submitted more than 15,000 names, and winning submissions included the names of esteemed Australian doctors, prominent Aboriginal Australians, and—yes—Ferry McFerryface, according to the Associated Press. Boaty McBoatface also came out on top, but it was struck down.

“Given ‘Boaty’ was already taken by another vessel, we’ve gone with the next most popular name nominated by Sydneysiders,” said Andrew Constance, the New South Wales minister for transport and infrastructure, in a statement. “Ferry McFerryface will be the harbor’s newest icon and I hope it brings a smile to the faces of visitors and locals alike.”

[h/t BBC News]

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iStock
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Animals
The Queen's Racing Pigeons Are in Danger, Due to an Increase in Peregrine Falcons
iStock
iStock

Queen Elizabeth is famous for her love of corgis and horses, but her pet pigeons don't get as much press. The monarch owns nearly 200 racing pigeons, which she houses in a luxury loft at her country estate, Sandringham House, in Norfolk, England. But thanks to a recent boom in the region’s peregrine falcon population, the Queen’s swift birds may no longer be able to safely soar around the countryside, according to The Telegraph.

Once endangered, recent conservation efforts have boosted the peregrine falcon’s numbers. In certain parts of England, like Norfolk and the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, the creatures can even find shelter inside boxes installed at local churches and cathedrals, which are designed to protect potential eggs.

There’s just one problem: Peregrine falcons are birds of prey, and local pigeon racers claim these nesting nooks are located along racing routes. Due to this unfortunate coincidence, some pigeons are failing to return to their owners.

Pigeon racing enthusiasts are upset, but Richard Salt of Salisbury Cathedral says it's simply a case of nature taking its course. "It's all just part of the natural process,” Salt told The Telegraph. "The peregrines came here on their own account—we didn't put a sign out saying 'room for peregrines to let.' Obviously we feel quite sorry for the pigeons, but the peregrines would be there anyway."

In the meantime, the Queen might want to keep a close eye on her birds (or hire someone who will), or consider taking advantage of Sandringham House's vast open spaces for a little indoor fly-time.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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