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Comment Re:They could always work elsewhere. (Score 3, Informative) 160

Out of 4,000 workers, a newspaper managed to find three tents out in the woods, one of which they reported as apparently abandoned and the actual person in one tent made it clear he had a home elsewhere he could sleep in, but preferred to be closer to work to save on commuting costs.

Clearly Amazon is at fault for daring to provide someone employment. Probably the other 3,998 or so people they hired are just sleeping without tents because of their super low wages, right?

In most places (notably, non-prisons and without servant's quarters...), companies don't decide for and aren't responsible for their employees where and how they are allowed to live. That's up to the employee to decide for themselves.

Comment "Second Covers" (Score 4, Interesting) 58

UFOs are often convenient cover for secret Re:Carl Saganflight tests.

That gives the government an incentive to encourage UFO nuts.

A lot of the cold-war-era "conspiracy theories" sound like "second cover" stories. That's a psychological technique for diverting investigation into some large-enough-to-be-worth-the-effort secret project. Works like this:

Plant TWO cover stories. The first is plausible but misdirection. The second is fruitcake-nuts (but ideally has aspects that look attractively like actual artifacts of the project being hidden). Somebody investigating what is going on first hits the first cover. If he accepts it, fine. If he notices it doesn't quite fit and digs deeper, he finds the obviously screwy second cover. Oops? Now what?

The tendency of the more rational is to reject it - but bounce back to the first cover and give up there. The less well-hinged may report the second cover (much to the glee of the security people). Few are going to keep digging past both to discover some approximation of what's really going on - and if they DO get there and talk about it in public, if they happen to have said anything related to the second cover story (or even if the HAVEN'T), they can be debunked by painting them as having accepted the self-evidently tinfoil-hat-grade second cover story and propagating a variant of it.

The "conspiracy theories are always wrong and insane" meme is very convenient for this as well (as it is for any actual conspirators B-) )

Comment Re:Carl SaganUFOs are often convenient cover for s (Score 1) 58

UFOs are often convenient cover for secret flight tests.

Wasn't there a not too long ago release of government info-or-whatever about the Roswell incident?

Story was that one of the things they were testing there was the reentry mechanism for the upcoming (and still very cold-war-secret-military-tech) mercury launches, by lifting various model reentry vehicles to the edge of the atmosphere using weather balloons and dropping them . Not all that good a model of the heating, but a great way to check whether it would end up flying heat-shield-first until it was at low-atmosphere terminal velocity and time for the 'chutes.

Video showed a mercury capsule heat-shield, with retro-pack still attached, upside-down on sawhorses-or-the-like in a hanger. Looked very much like the canonical flying-saucer artwork of the era, and the picture was given as an explanation for the story of a passerby seeing what looked like a flying saucer in a hanger.

Comment Re:They could always work elsewhere. (Score 1, Insightful) 160

Yeah, you could also have titled this story "Amazon hires thousands of temporary workers desperate for jobs, giving them a chance at Christmas!"

But then, that wouldn't fit the narrative, would it? 4,000 jobs in a small town is a massive benefit to those who need work, but I guess some would rather they sat at home and just collected a check from other people's wages instead.

Businesses

Struggling Workers Found Sleeping In Tents Behind Amazon's Warehouse (thecourier.co.uk) 160

"At least three tents have been spotted in woodland beside the online retail giant's base," reports a Scottish newspaper -- hidden behind trees, but within sight of Amazon's warehouse, and right next to a busy highway. An anonymous reader writes: Despite Scotland's "bitterly cold winter nights" -- with lows in the 30s -- the tent "was easier and cheaper than commuting from his home," one Amazon worker told the Courier. (Though yesterday someone stole all of his camping equipment.) Amazon charges its employees for shuttle service to the fulfillment center, which "swallows up a lot of the weekly wage," one political party leader told the Courier, "forcing people to seek ever more desperate ways of making work pay.

"Amazon should be ashamed that they pay their workers so little that they have to camp out in the dead of winter to make ends meet..." he continued. "They pay a small amount of tax and received millions of pounds from the Scottish National Party Government, so the least they should do is pay the proper living wage." Though the newspaper reports that holiday shopping has created 4,000 temporary jobs in the small town of Dunfermline, "The company came under fire last month from local activists who claimed that agency workers are working up to 60 hours per week for little more than the minimum wage and are harshly treated."

Amazon responded, "The safety and well-being of our permanent and temporary associates is our number one priority."

Comment Re:"Feel forced?" (Score 1) 410

Anyone in a city can order a taxi and they know what they are getting. With an Uber you may get one you may not, they may be surge pricing they may not.

Before you hail an Uber or Lyft, you know exactly how much the fare will be. Try telling me, before you step into a taxi, the exact price. In fact there are many areas where taxis bill based on "zones", and many people get screwed by the higher prices, when they could have walked a block and saved a lot of cash, but of course, they didn't know, and taxi companies don't want them to know.

When I have caught a taxi I walk to the nearest hotel and there are always several outside.

You need to get out of your bubble once in a while. In many places, you couldn't find a taxi if your life depended on it.

Comment Re:Public information? (Score 1) 101

a cop can stand there and listen to what you say, even record it if they want. It's a public place.

The difference is that it used to take some effort to track what one person was saying in those public places. With technology making it nearly free, we're all facing every public moment of our entire lives being stored forever in some law enforcement database.

I'm fine with the local police getting copies of business' surveillance tapes, interviewing people, and checking telco logs to piece together my actions, AFTER there has been some credible accusation that I've committed a felony. But doing it all day, every day, in minute detail, storing it forever, etc., is massively crossing a line into police-state territory.

Your argument is akin to peeping toms protesting their innocence because you don't have an expectation of privacy when absolutely anybody could have been standing on a ladder, with a high-powered scope, taking pictures through the crack between the curtains, so it's all your fault, not theirs.

Comment Re:'"We are looking into the matter" (Score 0) 137

I had to read this carefully before I realized that the US state of Georgia was complaining, rather than the country of Georgia.

The word "state" appears EIGHT times in the title and summary. You can read it quite carelessly, and it's still difficult to miss the context.

There's plenty of problems to complain about, here... This is not one of them.

Comment Re:"Feel forced?" (Score 2) 410

No one sat down and said they wantd to make taxis more expensive 'just because'. There are reasons for that extra cost that protect the public

There's certainly some of that, but all too much of it is rent-seeking, lack of modern technology, and hanging onto depreciated business models.

The insane price of NYC taxi medallions for example. Technology allowing drivers to rate passengers, therefore allowing expensive trouble passengers to be left without a lift. Technology allowing passengers to get prices and comparison shop rather than being locked-in to the rates of whichever taxi pulls up, and depending on the route they take. Better utilization by telling drivers where passengers are. Technology that forces passengers to pay without cab drivers needing to tackle cheats. etc.

I have no love for Uber / Lyft abusing their employees, skirting innumerable laws, and throwing money around to try and get themselves exemptions, but it's easy to make the case that the traditional taxi system was incredibly inefficient and rather corrupt, for no good reason.

Comment Re:Being pedantic (Score 1) 378

... the felonious taking of the property of another from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, against his or her will, by violence or intimidation.

What Alphabet did is by definition Robbery.

If they'd given, or promised, a Christmas Bonus, then yes it would be robbery.

If the (or their predecessors) had led the workers to expect bonuses only by voluntarily giving them in the past, but had never written contract terms or otherwise promised the bonuses for this year, then the hypothetical missing bonus was never the property of the workers in the first place.

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