Day: February 14, 2020

Michigan computer science faculty calls for Jason Mars to take a leave of absence following Verge investigation

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The faculty at the University of Michigan’s computer science and engineering department wrote a letter calling for professor Jason Mars to take a leave of absence, following an investigation from The Verge into his behavior as CEO of Clinc, an AI startup with ties to the school.

“On behalf of the entire CSE community, we vehemently condemn the alleged conduct, which violates not only the high standards to which we hold ourselves at Michigan but basic tenets of human decency,” they wrote. “The Computer Science and Engineering faculty calls on Professor Mars to immediately take a leave of absence, until a full account of his behavior can be known.”

Michigan’s School of Information also said it was suspending its recruiting relationship…

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Go read this grim Motherboard report about what it’s like to work at Target delivery company Shipt

Target Flickr

The gig economy of ride-sharing and grocery delivery has become notorious for exploiting and mistreating workers — and now, Motherboard has an inside look at one particularly bad example. A new piece digs into Target-owned grocery delivery company Shipt, examining all the extra work drivers feel pressured to do just to stay active and keep receiving work on the platform. It’s a thorough investigation of a company culture that seems based on fear and intimidation.

Workers say Shipt customers often live in gated and upscale communities and that the app encourages workers to tack on gifts like thank you cards, hot cocoa, flowers, and balloons onto orders (paid for out of their own pocket) and to offer to walk customer’s dogs and take out…

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Apple might use its own 5G antenna in its 2020 iPhones

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple is widely expected to debut its first 5G iPhones this fall, powered by Qualcomm’s X55 modem — thanks to Apple and Qualcomm’s surprise settlement last year that saw the two companies resume business. But a new report from Fast Company indicates that Apple is looking to limit its reliance on Qualcomm, with the iPhone maker said to be exploring designing its own 5G antenna rather than relying on Qualcomm’s existing hardware.

The issue at hand is apparently the size of Qualcomm’s QTM525 antenna, specifically for accessing the faster mmWave version of 5G, which a Fast Company source claims is too large for the slim profile of Apple’s next iPhones. As such, Apple is said to be developing its own, in-house antenna system that would…

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Coronavirus cancellations show evidence-based decisions are rare during epidemics

Mobile World Congress Stands Dismantled After Fair CancellationPhoto by David Zorrakino/Europa Press via Getty Images

Giant corporations, governments, and individuals are all making decisions that they hope will reduce the risk of spreading the new coronavirus — but not all of those tough calls are solely based on the latest health information. The factors that led people to enact two-week travel restrictions, or stock up on face masks, or cancel the Mobile World Congress are far more complex, and are based just as much on what scientists don’t know as what they do know.

Reactions to public health problems are mediated by more than just public health evidence or recommendations from public health experts. “It also depends on what other social and cultural influences are out there,” says Megan Jehn, who studies global health in the School of Human…

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