Daily Archives: June 20, 2017

For Whole Foods workers, fears of robots, drones and culture clash 

The merger that shook food and retail stocks on Friday – Amazon.com Inc’s proposed deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc – rattled some employees of the upscale grocery chain who expressed fears ranging from layoffs to the loss of their laid-back corporate culture.The online retailer hopes the $13.7 billion acquisition helps it disrupt the grocery business and expand its real-world store footprint.Carmen Clark, 37, a six-year employee at a store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, said some workers worry that Amazon-led automation could lead to job cuts. “Everybody’s been kind of joking that it’s going to be robots and drones,” Clark said of potential changes from Amazon, which uses robots in its warehouses and is testing drones for delivery.But she is giving Amazon the benefit of the doubt. “I have purchased from Amazon for five years. It’s a good company,” she said.Reuters approached a dozen employees in California, New York, Illinois, South Carolina and Rhode Island. Many said they had been told by managers not to speak to reporters.

Source: For Whole Foods workers, fears of robots, drones and culture clash | Reuters

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Your new house could have built in Wi-Fi and Alexa in your walls

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization that certifies Wi-Fi enabled products, is ready to usher in a new era of the smart homes. Traditionally, there have been no set standards for integrating a wireless network directly into home blueprints, unlike other essential utilities, such as plumbing and electricity. But as our houses continue to be filled with IoT appliances that depend on the internet, a strong network signal is becoming increasingly important.The org has issued a new set of guidelines for homebuilders to follow to include wireless networks in their designs, which were drafted with an eye to the needs of a connected future, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance announcement: The requirements consider the increasing number of smart home devices expected in homes over the next decade, and the growing demand for data-intensive usages such as virtual reality and simultaneous 4K video streams. Wi-Fi Home Design will scale to accommodate both the growth in Wi-Fi devices and high-bandwidth applications. The first homebuilding company to use the certification, South Florida-based Lennar, is bringing Amazon’s Alexa as part of the project.

Source: Your new house could have built in Wi-Fi and Alexa in your walls

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Google Maps: How to Track Your Friends in Real-Time

Soon after announcing refreshed rewards and levels for its Local Guides programme on Google Maps, the company has updated its beloved Maps app with another feature which lets users share their location in real-time with their friends.This feature can be put to use either when one of your loved ones or friends are in a secluded spot during late hours and you need to keep a track of their location in order to ascertain their security or just keep a tab on a friend’s ETA during a get-together.The location sharing feature is a useful one as it gives the owner of the device full control over for how long their location will be shared and with whom.

Source: Google Maps: How to Track Your Friends in Real-Time

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NJ Democratic Strategist Launches #HuntRepublicans and #HuntRepublicanCongressmen 

After a shooter in Alexandria left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition and wounded four other people, a longtime New Jersey Democratic political strategist responded by introducing the hashtags #HuntRepublicans and #HuntRepublicanCongressmen.

“We are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people,” wrote James Devine on Twitter. “Why is it a shock when things turn violent? #HuntRepublicanCongressmen.”

Devine has run for office, consulted for numerous New Jersey campaigns, and worked in the offices of state lawmakers. He’s also a blogger.

In an interview with MyCentralNewJersey.com, Devine said, “If you want to invite a class war, then you have to expect people to fight back at some point.” The Democratic strategist also wrote on Facebook that he had “little sympathy” for Scalise because of his lack of support for gun control.

Source: NJ Democratic Strategist Launches #HuntRepublicans and #HuntRepublicanCongressmen | Heat Street

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U.S. Mining Industry Sees a Resurgence, Citing First Profitable Quarter in Two Years

The U.S. mining industry is starting to see a resurgence.According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau published last week, the mining industry made a profit for the first time in two years in the first quarter of 2017.U.S. mining corporations with $50 million or more in assets reported $1.957 billion in combined profits after taxes from January to March 2017, according to a collection of quarterly financial reports about the mining industry from the Census Bureau.The Census Bureau has been posting these quarterly reports about the mining industry in the U.S., including data about profits and losses after taxes, since the fourth quarter of 2000.In the first quarter of 2016, U.S. mining corporations with $50 million or more in assets cited a collective $27.075 billion in losses.The U.S. mining industry had not reported profits since the third quarter of 2014 when it cited profits of  $10.258 billion.

Source: U.S. Mining Industry Sees a Resurgence, Citing First Profitable Quarter in Two Years

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Fungal disease ravages American rattlesnakes

Scientists still haven’t found a cure or a solution for the disease, with cases being confirmed in at least fifteen US states and several countries in Europe.Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) with crusty and thickened scales overlaying raised blisters as a result of a fungal skin infection, captured from an island in western Lake Erie, Ohio, in August 2009 (case 22747). Photograph by D.E. Green, USGS National Wildlife Health Center.According to National Geographic, fungal diseases have run rampant in the past few decades, attacking populations of frogs, bats, and salamanders. Snakes are the latest to fall victim to such a disease. Although it’s hard to gauge its damage due to the cryptic nature of snakes, researchers fear consequences can be devastating, especially if action is delayed.Snake fungal disease is caused by a pathogen called Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, with the most common symptoms including skin swelling, crusts, and nodules of the skin. However, lab studies have also revealed other fungi associated with Snake Fungal Disease (SFD), so it’s hard to say that there’s only one pathogen responsible. Skin lesions often occur, which can develop into full-grown blisters that disfigure snakes, potentially leaving them unable to feed themselves.

Source: Fungal disease ravages American rattlesnakes

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Google Faces Record EU Antitrust Fine – WSJ

BRUSSELS—The European Union’s antitrust watchdog in the coming weeks is set to hit Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -0.80% Google with a record fine for manipulating its search results to favor its own comparison-shopping service, according to people familiar with the matter.The penalty against Google is expected to top the EU’s previous record fine levied on a company allegedly abusing its dominance: €1.06 billion (about $1.18 billion) against Intel Corp. INTC -0.62% in 2009. The fine could reach as high as 10% of the company’s yearly revenue, which stood at $90.27 billion last year.

Source: Google Faces Record EU Antitrust Fine – WSJ

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Italian court says lobsters must not catch cold before cooking

Italy’s highest court ruled on Friday that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens because it causes them unjustifiable suffering before they head for death by fine dining.Judges accepted a complaint by an animal rights group against the owner of a restaurant near Florence who kept live crustaceans on ice, ordering him to pay a 2,000 euro fine ($5,593) and a further 3,000 euros in legal fees.

Upholding a sentence by a lower court, the Cassation court ruled that the fact that lobsters are usually cooked while still alive does not mean they can be mistreated beforehand.”While the particular method of cooking can be considered legal by recognizing that it is commonly used, the suffering caused by detaining the animals while they wait to be cooked cannot be justified in that way,” the judges wrote.Rather than keeping lobsters and other crustaceans refrigerated, the court said it was already common practice in high-level restaurants and even supermarkets to keep them in oxygenated water tanks at room temperature.

Source: Italian court says lobsters must not catch cold before cooking | Reuters

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