Daily Digest 12/2 – Amazon Warehouse Employees Face Serious Injuries, What Is Venice’s Future?


The Way Out for a World Economy Hooked On Debt? More Debt (Adam)

Now, as policy makers grapple with the slowest growth since that era, a suite of options on how to revive their economies share a common denominator: yet more debt. From Green New Deals to Modern Monetary Theory, proponents of deficit spending argue central banks are exhausted and that massive fiscal spending is needed to yank companies and households out of their funk.

Most holiday shoppers prefer buying gifts online – not in stores (Thomas R.)

According to PwC, Black Friday has become less important because of the increase in online shopping, other deals that Amazon runs on Prime Day and the fact that retailers start offering Black Friday deals much earlier in the month.

WeWork Seals Multi-Billion Dollar Rescue Deal, Founder to Exit With $1.7 Billion (newsbuoy)

WeWork, which essentially is a real estate company that presents itself in the tech sphere, saw rapid success with its hip co-working spaces. Since 2010, it‘s expanded to more than 30 countries and is one of the biggest private tenants in Manhattan, London and Washington, D.C. It claims about a third of the flexible office space market, according to data from real estate firm CBRE. Yet despite its aggressive expansion, the company has never turned a profit and will be out of money by November without more financing, CNBC reported.

China launches mandatory face scans for mobile users (Thomas R.)

Meanwhile, the government has continued to use facial-recognition as part of its massive surveillance network, including in the Xinjiang region, where it has been accused of detaining religious and ethnic minorities in what authorities call “re-education” camps.

Rare mass protest breaks out in Chinese province near Hong Kong (Thomas R.)

Though protests against local authorities about issues such as environmental concerns, city planning and workers’ rights occur from time to time, it is rarely on the scale of the Wenlou skirmishes.

The protest began on Thursday, continuing for two days before authorities announced that they had suspended plans to build the crematorium.

European Protesters Demand Amazon Stop Treating Workers Like Robots (newsbuoy)

GMB said Amazon employees at locations throughout the U.K. have reported being denied restroom breaks, penalized for taking sick days, and forced to work at a dangerous pace to meet the retail behemoth’s productivity goals.

Amazon Warehouse Employees Face Serious Injuries, Report Says (jdargis)

So the workers are held to these very high production quotas, processing hundreds of items an hour for up to 12-hour shifts. They know that if they don’t keep up, they can be fired. And so they’re basically sacrificing their bodies either through repetitive stress injuries or strains and sprains. The speed is – seems to be the key element. And the safety – the former safety managers at Amazon that we talked to said they basically can’t protect the workers when the production demands are so high.

The horror of sameness (tmn)

Thus, for both the Right and the Left, a scenario in which predator lies down next to prey is no paradise but, at best, only a prelude to something better and, at worst, a kind of hell in itself. In his 1947 book Eclipse of Reason, Max Horkheimer traced what he viewed as the catastrophic fusion of fascist and utilitarian thinking that emerged in the postwar era. The postwar collapse of these former opposites into one was not the same as their reconciliation. ‘[W]e might describe fascism as a satanic synthesis of reason and nature,’ he wrote, ‘the very opposite of that reconciliation of the two poles that philosophy has always dreamed of.’ Does the periodic revulsion that the Right and Left share towards homogenisation mean that both are truly on to something, although they diagnose its causes differently? Or is the truly horrific outcome rather the homogenisation of Right and Left implied by this strange consensus?

Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail and a Lucrative ‘Hot List’ (Sparky1)

Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again.

Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works.

Many Evangelicals Excuse Anything Trump Does — Because He’s the “Chosen One” (newsbuoy)

At the start of this month, Trump hired the Florida-based prosperity gospel televangelist Paula White onto his White House staff. It was an illuminating moment. White, who has a grand talent for self-promotion and an instinct for what Trump would term “the art of the deal,” believes that far from siding with the meek and the downtrodden, God rewards believers monetarily. More shockingly, prosperity gospel advocates also argue that God particularly likes those who already enjoy financial success.

SCOTUS has the 2nd Amendment in its sights—and gun groups are thrilled (Thomas R.)

Republicans, the Trump administration, and the NYSRPA are eager for a ruling on the constitutional grounds because they believe the high court bench is primed for a decision favorable to gun owners. With five conservative justices and only four progressives, a decision expanding gun rights, or at least chiding the city, is entirely possible.

Stellar Black Hole in Our Galaxy Is So Massive It Shouldn’t Exist (Thomas R.)

“We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds as they approach the end of their life,” lead study author Jifeng Liu, deputy director-general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ National Astronomical Observatories, said in a statement. “Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant.”

Early Asteroid Impacts Could Have Spurred Today’s Tectonic Activity (Thomas R.)

Geologic evidence of tectonic plate activity begins around 3.2 million years ago, coincidentally, during the heavy bombardment—a volatile period in Earth’s history marked by a near constant stream of asteroid impacts. A team of scientists, led by geophysicist Craig O’Neill of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, found spherule beds—layers of rock marked by round particles formed by rock pulverized in an extra-terrestrial impact—which suggest there may have been a connection.

And So They Drooled (thc0655)

Anything electric is good – no matter how absurd. This includes calling a four-door SUV without even a four cylinder engine a “Mustang” – the vehicular equivalent of the Victory Coffee in Orwell’s 1984.

Up is down, left is right. And cost is no longer an object.E

The rise of solar power is jeopardising the WA energy grid, and it’s a lesson for all of Australia (ezlxq1949)

Combined, the capacity of rooftop solar on the system far exceeds the single biggest generator — an ageing 854-megawatt coal-fired power station.

But there is now so much renewable solar power being generated on the grid that those responsible for keeping the lights on warn the stability of the entire system could soon be in jeopardy.

Underwater loudspeakers could help restore damaged coral reefs (Thomas R.)

“The study found that broadcasting healthy reef sound doubled the total number of fish arriving onto experimental patches of reef habitat, as well as increasing the number of species present by 50%,” the University of Exeter said in a release on Friday.

Metabolism-based glyphosate resistance discovered in weed in Western Australia’s Ord irrigation scheme (ezlxq1949)

In the last 20 years, massive glyphosate use has led to worldwide evolution of an increasing number of glyphosate-resistant weed species.

In the United States alone, the herbicide has an estimated annual use of 136,100 tonnes (300 million pounds).

With Waters Rising And Its Population Falling, What Is Venice’s Future? (Thomas R.)

Pellestrina is home mostly to fishermen. For centuries, this 7 1/2-mile-long barrier island protected the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. But on Nov. 12, a near-record high tide of more than 6 feet, combined with strong winds, made for a perfect storm and washed over Pellestrina’s high embankments, flooding the island for a full day. Nearly everything on ground floors was destroyed.

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