The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'exploitation'
In the US, mobile phone carriers have a lot more power over consumers than in Europe or Australia. There phones are only obtainable from carriers, are locked to one carrier and often have features disabled to drive profits to the carrier, resulting in Americans paying more for less than their fellow mobile phone users abroad. (It's the classic "turd-in-a-can" ideal of predatory consumer capitalism; first, make sure you have a captive audience, and then you can sell them any old crap at the price of your choice, safe in the knowledge that they have nowhere else to go.)
Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is turning its attention to this issue, in particular to the practice of locking phones down and the use of copyright laws to enforce this; to this aim, it has launched the Free Your Phone campaign, and is asking US residents to sign an online petition. It's probably about time.
Exonerated non-murdering celebrity O.J. Simpson takes time out from his relentless pursuit of his wife's killers to film an interview for Fox TV confessing how he would have done it—had he done it, and to release a book titled If I Did It, describing his hypothetical murder of his wife in "chilling detail". Indicentally, both the book and the interview are being released through News Corporation.
Another hypothetical situation: if somebody murdered your beloved life partner and tried to frame you for it, and you, a grieving, innocent party, were only exonerated after a long court case under the harsh glare of the unsympathetic media, how much would Rupert Murdoch have to offer you to put your name to a fictionalised confession of how you would have murdered the one you loved, and how desperate would you have to be to take it?
In 2004, an anonymous writer calling herself "ea_spouse" posted a letter detailing sweatshop-like working conditions at video game company Electronic Arts, at which her partner worked, complaining that the company deliberately kept schedules in "crunch time", obliging employees to put in 85-hour weeks with no paid overtime, and thus that her partner came home physically and mentally fatigued. Now, ea_spouse has revealed her identity; she is one Erin Hoffman, married to former EA developer Leander Hasty. If you've ever played "Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth", you have experienced the fruit of this chap's gruelling labours:
On Hasty's second day of work, the team was sucked into a six day-a-week "crunch,'' an intense work period. By September, the team had to work 13-hour days, seven days a week.
The exhausted team members started making mistakes and getting sick. For Hasty, the stress triggered an allergic reaction that resulted in stomach problems and chronic headaches. He dropped 10 pounds and turned pale.
They desperately wanted to ditch EA. But they didn't have the $5,000 to repay the signing bonus.The good news is that the essay led to a class action by video-game industry employees against EA, which has apparently resulted in working conditions in the industry improving. (It doesn't say how much they have improved by, though, and whether anybody in their right mind would be drawn to the industry if they knew about it works now.) Hoffman and Hasty (who now work at an independent game studio) are continuing their activism for video-game developers' rights, and are setting up a web forum for developers to discuss issues at their workplaces.
While the rest of the world is closing its doors to refugees, Belarus's neo-Soviet dictator Alexander Lukashenko, is allowing them to settle and get full asylum — with the proviso that they settle in radiation-contaminated areas near Chernobyl. They will even get fully-furnished houses (as abandoned by their original residents some 19 years ago), and will live a life of luxury, as long as they don't mind getting cancer.
"Lukashenko wants to draw a line under the Chernobyl catastrophe and allow the area to regain its economic value." The government is especially keen to get the agricultural sector back on its feet again. Berries and mushrooms, which absorb radiation especially well, flourish here.
From the most recent Onion:
NEW YORK-- An English as a Second Language textbook focuses predominantly on food-preparation vocabulary, night-school student Eduardo Reyes reported Monday. "I must admit, I would like to learn how to say more than, 'I have diced the onions,' and, 'Did he want scrambled or over-easy?'" said a disconsolate Reyes, speaking through a translator, following his first lesson. "I had hoped to learn words for the different parts of the body so I can pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I have instead learned much about the grilling of chickens."