Uber HR chief resigns in racism scandal

Liane Hornsey, Uber's HR chief, quit Tuesday after an investigation into racial discrimination found she "systematically dismissed internal complaints" about racism there.

The allegations raise questions about Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi’s efforts to change the toxic culture of the firm after he took over in August last year from former CEO Travis Kalanick following a series of scandals.

Khosrowshahi praised Hornsey in an email to employees, which was seen by Reuters, as “incredibly talented, creative, and hard-working.” He gave no reason for her departure. The allegations against her and Uber’s human resources department more broadly were made by an anonymous group that claims to be Uber employees of color, members of the group told Reuters.

They alleged Hornsey had used discriminatory language and made derogatory comments about Uber Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman, and had denigrated and threatened former Uber executive Bozoma Saint John, who left the company in June.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a midnight snack.

Photo: Uber handout. Read the rest

Guidelines for brutalist web design

"Raw content true to its construction" — no hinky web frameworks, no broken javascript soiling itself at the first whiff of interaction the developer didn't design for, no dark patterns, no performance-crushing superficial cleverness, no contempt for the user: guidelines for brutalist web design.

Brutalist Web Design is honest about what a website is and what it isn't. A website is not a magazine, though it might have magazine-like articles. A website is not an application, although you might use it to purchase products or interact with other people. A website is not a database, although it might be driven by one.

A website is about giving visitors content to enjoy and ways to interact with you.

The design guidelines outlined above—and detailed below—all are in the service of making websites more of what they are and less of what they aren't. These aren't restrictive rules to produce boring, minimalist websites. Rather these are a set of priorities that put the visitor to your site—the entire reason your website exists—front and center in all things.

Yes, you are allowed to use link colors other than blue. But don't get too fancy, buddy.

Photo: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com Read the rest

Procedurally generated Tarot cards

Procedurally-generated Tarot cards by watawatabou: "This is my submission for Summer PROCJAM 2018 - Procgen Tarot: https://watabou.itch.io/procgen-tarot. The algorithm is based on my experiments with streets generation." [via] Read the rest

Browsh: a modern text-only web browser

Browsh is a modern text-only browser which "renders anything that a modern browser can; HTML5, CSS3, JS, video and even WebGL." Read the rest

PayPal threatens to sue a cancer victim for dying, a "breach" of its rules

PayPal sent a legal threat to a woman who died of cancer, telling her that her death breached its rules and warning her of court action to come.

Lindsay Durdle died on 31 May aged 37. She had been first diagnosed with breast cancer about a year-and-a-half earlier. The disease had later spread to her lungs and brain. PayPal was informed of Mrs Durdle's death three weeks ago by her husband Howard Durdle.

He has now received a letter ... It said that Mrs Durdle owed the company about £3,200 and went on to say: "You are in breach of condition 15.4(c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we have received notice that you are deceased... this breach is not capable of remedy."

Read the rest

35mm footage of London's King's Road in the late 1960s

The golden age of 20th-century fashion, filmed in old-school HD. A new transfer would doubtless be even better. Read the rest

Don’t be like the #PlaneBae people

Lifehacker’s Virginia K. Smith on the trend of narrating others’ quasi-public interactions for viral attention: “stop posting pictures of strangers.”

It’s invasive, inappropriate, and can even put the other person in danger. In a world that made any sense, this wouldn’t require further explanation. This would be a commonly understood part of the social contract.

Instead, last week alone darkened the internet’s door with stories about the insufferable #PlaneBae saga, as well as one of the more distressing Dear Prudie questions in recent memory (no small feat).

In the case of the former, Twitter user Rosey Blair spent hours live tweeting the flirtation of two strangers sitting in front of her on a flight, complete with pictures, garnering hundreds of thousands of retweets (she later made a thirsty attempt to parlay her viral fame into a job at Buzzfeed, which should tell you everything you need to know). In the latter, a Dear Prudie letter writer looked to be let off the hook after getting caught taking an unauthorized photo of an overweight colleague and “[sharing] it in an online community where we discuss the obese people in our lives.”

Odd how the most trivially sociopathic people are so good at sensing where profit is to be made on the “empathy margins” where public and private life blur. Read the rest

All 12 boys rescued from Thai cave

The BBC reports that the last of the boys trapped deep in a flooded Thai cave is out, along with their coach.

• All 12 members of a Thai youth football team and their coach have been brought safely out of the cave in northern Thailand

• Eight boys rescued on Sunday and Monday are in hospital but have not been named and are being kept in quarantine

• Each person was pulled through the cave by expert divers

• A rescue doctor and three Navy Seals who stayed with the group are still to emerge

• The 12 boys and their coach were trapped by floods more than two weeks ago

Read the rest

Black teen, roughed up by cop, wins settlement in McKinney, Texas

Dajerria Becton, the black teenage girl roughed up by Texas cop Eric Casebolt at a suburban a pool party, has won a $184k settlement from the city of McKinney over the attack.

Casebolt was seen dragging Dajerria by the hair, slamming her to the ground, pinning her down and then handcuffing her, all while she called out for someone to call her mother.

Though it didn't result in signifant injury or death, this incident exemplified enduring problem with policing in America: inappropriate training, institutional irresponsibility, and big white cops satisfying themselves with violence on little black kids.

The screengrab is taken from a video of the attack recorded by Brandon Books, without which it is as likely Casebolt would have been praised by his superiors rather than merely insulated by them from legal consequences.

Here he leaps into the fray, lest justice be evaded:

Here he reaches for his gun, lest justice be resisted:

Read the rest

Cross-stitched classic Mac control panel

This striking and immaculate cross-stitched Macintosh control panel is by Glenda Adams: "This took nearly 6 months, working on and off- so many little pixels to stitch."

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How to assess The Federalist Papers' authorship with statistics

The Federalist Papers comprises of 85 articles written in the 1780s by founding fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. They wrote under a collective pseudonym, Publius, so keep their involvement secret. But who wrote what? There is much dispute. Let's try K-Means Clustering.

K-means clustering aims to partition n observations into k clusters in which each observation belongs to the cluster with the nearest mean, serving as a prototype of the cluster. This results in a partitioning of the data space into Voronoi cells. For our example we’ll have 68 observations (papers) into 2 clusters (2 authors, Madison and Hamilton).

Once the data has been converted into workable features, we can fit them onto a 2-cluster model. This is unsupervised - we are effectively just pouring in our (ideally) significant data and telling it that there are two distinct sets within it, and to try and extricate them.

Spoiler: most of them were by Hamilton. Read the rest

Crooks install skimmer on point-of-sale machine in 2 seconds

It's not the store's ATM targeted here by thieves, but the point-of-sale machine right in front of the clerk's eyes. It takes no more time to install a tiny card skimmer than it does to swipe a card, so only a moment's distraction is needed to get the job done. Read the rest

Florida cop accuses Burger King of putting dirt on his burger. It was seasoning.

Tim McCormick, a cop in Fort Myers, publicly accused a local Burger King of serving him dirt on a burger. But after an investigation, the "dirt" was found to be the burger seasoning.

Fitzpatrick said that after the officers watched the video they determined that nothing inappropriate had happened to the food cooked for McCormick.

So what was it?

As part of the prep process for cooking the meat, Fitzpatrick said, there is a salt and pepper blend applied to the food. He said it is possible that the spice mixture, as well as the flame-broiled grilling process itself, may have left particles the officer thought was dirt.


McCormick, posting under the Facebook name of Mac O'Durham, added that he noticed that his receipt had block letters with the word POLICE on it, something he said he had never noticed in previous visits.

But the restaurant has more receipts:

"Every one of our guests we ask 'May we have your name to better serve you?'," he said.

In this instance when the server asked McCormick for his name he simply said "officer." When the clerk didn't understand and asked him to repeat his name, McCormick said "police officer."

Christ, what an asshole. Read the rest

Japan cult leader executed over 1995 sarin attack

Shoko Asahara, leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, was executed today for orchestrating a 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 13 and hurt thousands. Six of his liutenants joined him at the noose.

On 20 March 1995, cult members released the Sarin on the Tokyo subway.

They left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on central train lines. The toxin struck victims down in a matter of seconds, leaving them choking and vomiting, some blinded and paralysed. Rescue workers had to wear hazmat suits and gas masks to help the injured and deal with the poison. ... The cult began as a spiritual group mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, later including elements of apocalyptic Christian prophesies.

Aum always had big plans.

About 25 members of Aum Shinrikyo came to Australia to stay at Banjawarn in 1993, and while the group had come to the attention of Australian Customs upon their arrival in the country because of the vast amount of excess luggage they brought with them — reportedly $30,000 worth — few members of the public knew of the cult's existence.

The bizarre inventory they carried with them to Australia included generators, ditch diggers, gas masks, lab equipment and chemicals — including hydrochloric acid transported in large glass bottles labelled "hand soap".

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Scott Pruitt must be kept moist

A startling and quite wonderful ... article? ... at the Washington Post today, wherein Alexandra Petri lenses EPA chief Scott Pruit's corruption through a mockingly science-fictional eye and perfectly distills the surreal horror of his administration.

Have you seen what happens when you leave an earthworm in the sun on hot asphalt? Have you seen what happens to the things that live in a wetland when that swamp dries up? Have you seen a salamander who has been too long in a hot car? Have you seen a lobster without its shell?

Unrelatedly, we must find Scott Pruitt his lotion.

Scott Pruitt must be seated at the front of the plane, behind the little curtain. Perhaps a private jet would be better, all things considered. It would be safer. None must see what happens when he reaches 30,000 feet.

What will happen?

Nothing, nothing! Naturally.

I hope you like my GIF; they gave me my Wacom back on the express condition I not make any more of these but, well, here we are, in 2018, and all.

Update: he resigned. Read the rest

Lions eat poachers

Three poachers who broke into a game reserve this week were eaten by lions, reports Newsweek. Read the rest

Blob of liquid floating in zero gravity

From NASA Johnson: "Astronauts on the International Space Station dissolved an effervescent tablet in a floating ball of water, and captured images using a camera capable of recording four times the resolution of normal high-definition cameras. The higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos can reveal more information when used on science investigations, giving researchers a valuable new tool aboard the space station. This footage is one of the first of its kind. The cameras are being evaluated for capturing science data and vehicle operations by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama." Read the rest

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