Tag Archives | Amazon

The Truth is Out There… Maybe

New Blog Foto 11 2015

Amongst the hypnotized masses that mindlessly—yet often joyously—drift through life, you will come across those far outnumbered truth seekers. Which, if you are reading this, you most likely fall into that category: enlightened beings on a never-ending quest for the truth about life and the mysteries of the universe. The deep thinkers and philosophers of our times, many of whom might feel that they think too much for their own good. At least that’s how I feel when I spend countless hours contemplating if anything I do in my lifetime will actually matter. I inevitably arrive to the conclusion that on a cosmic scale, it just doesn’t… or wait, does it? I will say, it certainly takes some convincing myself with internal debates to write this, to work diligently on my creative projects, or to jump through the hoops of life when one thinks too much for their own good.

Between the ages of 20 to my current age of 27, I have sought ferociously after “the truth,” and proudly called myself a truth seeker, diligently studying the mysteries of the universe.… Read the rest

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Amazon is the Walmart of the Internet

cubicle_farm“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk,” says one Amazon employee. “If you’re a good Amazonian, you become an Amabot,” says another. The New York Times describes the hellish working conditions that Amazon inflicts upon its white-collar staff:

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

Many of the newcomers filing in on Mondays may not be there in a few years. The company’s winners dream up innovations that they roll out to a quarter-billion customers and accrue small fortunes in soaring stock.

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Chevron Whistleblower Leaks ‘Smoking Gun’ in Case of Ecuadorian Oil Spill


This post was originally published on Common Dreams. More of Lauren’s posts here.

In what is being described as “smoking gun evidence” of Chevron’s complete guilt and corruption in the case of an oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon, internal videos leaked to an environmental watchdog show company technicians finding and then mocking the extensive oil contamination in areas that the oil giant told courts had been restored.

A Chevron whistleblower reportedly sent “dozens of DVDs” to U.S.-based Amazon Watch with a handwritten note stating: “I hope this is useful for you in your trial against Texaco/Chevron. [signed] A Friend from Chevron.”

The videos were all titled “pre-inspection” with dates and places of the former oil production sites where judicially-supervised inspections were set to take place. The footage was recorded by Chevron during an earlier visit to the site to determine where clean samples could be taken.

According to Amazon Watch’s description of the tapes:

Chevron employees and consultants can be heard joking about clearly visible pollution in soil samples being pulled out of the ground from waste pits that Chevron testified before both U.S.

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Amazon cleared to put its delivery drones to the test


The Federal Aviation Administration has given Amazon permission to begin testing its drone delivery operations.

via Nick Lavars at Gizmag:

It’s been more than a year in the making, but it seems that the regulatory wheels are beginning to turn on Amazon’s bold plan for drone deliveries. The FAA has today granted the online retailer permission to start testing its unmanned aircraft as part of its Prime Air initiative. It does come with its share of caveats, however, so don’t expect a box set to be air-delivered to your doorstep anytime soon.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first unveiled plans to use drones to deliver small packages in late 2013, saying that “we hope the FAA’s rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015. We will be ready at that time.” But since then, Amazon has played the waiting game as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revamps its regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles.

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Unlike Other Tech Giants, Amazon Doubles Down on Coal

Zhao !  (CC BY 2.0)

Zhao ! (CC BY 2.0)

via Cleantechnica:

“Use the Web? Congrats! You’re an environmentalist.” So said a headline in the Washington Post last week, and with good reason: some of the biggest names behind the internet are powering their data centers with wind and solar power.

That’s important because the internet uses a lot of electricity. If the internet were a country, its electricity demand would rank as the sixth largest in the world.

The Washington Post story focused on search engines, and indeed Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are increasingly powering their data centers with wind power in places like Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas. But it’s not just search: Apple is powering its data centers, replete with all of our iTunes, with 100% renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and microhydro power. Facebook is aiming for the same goal, and is purchasing massive quantities of wind power in Iowa to power our likes and shares in its data center there.

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Former employee protests Amazon tactics, vows to hold vigil at HQ for ‘days, weeks, months, or longer’


via Geekwire:

Kivin Varghese, a former Amazon employee involved in a protracted legal dispute with the company, says he will protest outside Amazon’s Seattle headquarters for six to ten hours a day until the company addresses his allegations of deceptive and unethical business practices, as laid out in a 29-page letter from Varghese to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon board.

“I don’t care whether it takes days, weeks, months, or longer,” says Varghese, pictured here as he began what he described as a “quiet vigil” this morning at Amazon HQ in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

In his letter and lawsuit, Varghese alleges that his former manager and Amazon executives covered up problems that caused an Amazon advertising customer, Discover, to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Kindle advertising campaign.

He alleges that he was fired in retaliation for raising the issues internally — using backdated and falsified performance reviews to justify his termination — and that his manager was subsequently promoted despite evidence that her own resume contained false information.

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My Brief and Curious Life As a Mechanical Turk


via Gizmodo:

As accomplished as modern-day computers are, there are some very basic things even the smartest machines have yet to master: tough judgment calls, advanced image recognition, making goofy faces, conducting psychological surveys. These are an assortment of tasks we humans can still claim as our own. Or at least, that we can outsource to other, less fortunate humans. Like me.

In Amazon’s words, Mechanical Turk is “a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence.” But in reality it’s even simpler than that description implies: It’s a job board where the pay is low and the jobs are dumb. If you have a functional cerebral cortex, an internet connection, and a few minutes to spare, you can pick up a handful of odd jobs—the oddest of jobs—and make a few bucks, pennies, and nickels at a time. But what’s it like to be that “human intelligence?” As I found out last year, it’s weird, fascinating, perplexing, and a little depressing, all at once.

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Ballmer vs. Bezos — who will get the last laugh?


via Greekwire:

A fascinating debate emerged in the tech world this week after Amazon’s big earnings miss and Steve Ballmer’s comments about Amazon’s business model.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, the former Microsoft CEO said that Amazon isn’t a “real business” without meaningful profits — defending his own record of profitability at Microsoft and implying that critics should take a second look at his legacy as a business leader.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is famous for saying it’s “Still Day One” — underscoring a long-term focus that tests the patience of investors. The company is a giant in the world of e-commerce and cloud computing but has stumbled with its initial attempt to expand into smartphones.

Bezos says real innovators need to be “willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.”

Read More.

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OpenBazaar: P2P Marketplace to Undermine our Corporate Overlords

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Around the turn of the century, Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces provided revolutionary new venues for small-business entrepreneurship, but they have since grown into heavy-handed corporate behemoths that treat sellers like share croppers while exerting an ever-expanding influence over government and the economy. In the future, online marketplaces will be publicly shared via distributed p2p networks. There will be no fees, no trade restrictions, no corporate overlords running the show. The concept is gaining traction; the technology is already here.

One promising effort in this direction is OpenBazaar. They hope to offer a full release in 2014, and are currently seeking beta testers:

OpenBazaar is an open source project to create a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online—using Bitcoin—that has no fees and cannot be censored. Put simply, it’s the baby of eBay and BitTorrent.

Right now, online commerce means using centralized services.… Read the rest

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