A cafe in Baltimore, Maryland, shut down on Friday after nearly 13 years in business, due to a lack of kitchen staff.
As The Baltimore Sun first reported, the owners of Village Square Cafe, Roseann, and Robert Glick, blamed the closure on the ongoing labor shortage. “We simply cannot find qualified kitchen staff to keep up with the volume of business,” they wrote on the company website.
They added: “With no end in sight to the present employment crisis, we can no longer compromise and disappoint you, our wonderful friends.”
Village Square Cafe is located in the upscale Cross Keys Village, which is undergoing renovation. According to The Baltimore Sun, the closure will leave the Village without any restaurants.
The labor shortage is still having a significant impact on small businesses. Recently, the owners of a pizza restaurant in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, announced it was closing its doors after a 64-year run because it is struggling to recruit workers.
And in California, a sushi restaurant chain was forced to close all nine locations once a week because of a staff shortage. Its CEO said he had been looking for workers for months, without success.
Larger multi-chain restaurants are also struggling. A Dunkin’ coffee shop in Colorado recently announced that it was temporarily closing after the number of staff fell from 15 to three.
Back in Baltimore, many customers expressed their disappointment at Village Square Cafe’s closure on its Facebook page. One customer wrote: “And I was just wondering how this year could get any worse.”
There are many unanswered questions about the realities of the new space age. These include whether civilian spaceflights by SpaceX’s Inspiration4 team or Blue Origin are occasional success stories or a blueprint for humanity’s future relationship with space.
But two questions that have been asked less are: how will regions outside of North America, China, and Russia continue to contribute? And how can we ensure great inclusion across the space industry?
Timiebi Aganaba, a professor in space law and ethics at Arizona State University, has answers. She spoke to Insider about key factors that make the developing countries,specifically those across Africa, which have been mentioned far less frequently in mainstream discussions about space.
“Africa is in a unique opportunity to have a greater choice with respect to what actors to collaborate within its space development objective,” she said.
The continent’s space industry has already seen substantial growth, according to Aganaba.
“Eleven countries have launched satellites and 19 African countries established or began the process of creating a space programme, to take advantage of space applications,” she said, citing data from the African Space Industry annual report published by Space in Africa, an analytics and consulting company.
A significant amount of these satellites were launched within the last four years, indicating a surge in interest in space on the continent, she added.
By 2024, Space in Africa, said that an estimated 20 countries are expected to launch 110 satellites, including Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
But priority areas for collaboration with the US include proposals to build assembly integration and testing labs in Africa to fabricate new components and sub-systems, and partner with local universities and NGOs to develop startups.
Rwanda and Nigeria are open to providing land, among other incentives to develop space research institutes in collaboration with US entities, according to the annual report.
Aganaba sees Africa as a very significant potential player when it comes to contributing to solving space governance challenges.
Since countries across the continent already have extensive governance experience gained from dealing with the impact of earth mining, environmental degradation, and the history of colonialism, “everyone would be very interested to hear an African perspective as to how we should be organizing ourselves,” she said.
There are obstacles that the continent must overcome to realise its ambitions, however. “Lack of political support, awareness and talent, as well as dependency on external support, insufficient coordination and regulatory restrictions have been identified as challenges with an African space agency,” said Aganaba.
More than 90 institutions, including universities and colleges, in 28 countries engaged in satellite applications lack advanced computers, software, and financial resources for overseas training. They also suffer from obsolete curricula and facilities, she said.
These obstacles have been discussed extensively by scholar Stefano Ferretti, who analyzes how the international community can access the economic and societal benefits that space assets can offer.
Aganaba added that to tackle such issues, processes like technology development and transfer, entrepreneurship, and international cooperation are key to equip the continent with tools to build space capacity.
The Bureau’s analysis, which was shared with The Observer, focused on 60 sites and spanned three months. Ads for many household names – both in the US and UK – featured on such sites, it found.
The companies whose ads were displayed appear to have unwittingly helped fund sites that spread false COVID-19 information, The Observer added.
Ads for Amazon services were discovered on more than 30 sites that distributed fake news, including ones making baseless claims about Bill Gates, according to The Observer. The Microsoft cofounder has regularly been the subject of vaccine conspiracy theories.
Amazon and Nike did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According to the report, Honda, Walgreens, and eBay were also among those whose ads were found on misinformation-spreading sites.
A spokesperson for American Honda told The Observer: “We are currently working to determine how our advertising may have appeared on the websites in question. We would never support Covid misinformation or knowingly allow our advertising on such websites.”
The analysis found that the ads were being placed through the “opaque by design” digital advertising market, which is estimated to be worth more than $455 billion this year.
Even before these revelations surfaced, Amazon was facing scrutiny in relation to COVID-19 misinformation.
Books about hoax COVID-19 cures and anti-vaccination claims are frequently featured as top sellers on the digital retailer’s site. As a result, US lawmakers are investigating the issue, Insider Bethany Dawson reported.
A “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit model alleged that Twitter’s algorithm contributed to copyright infringement by cropping photos of her that were posted by other users. This created unauthorized derivative works, she said.
Earlier this month, Genevieve Morton sued Twitter in federal court, alleging in part that the company had been slow to remove her copyrighted material, which was posted by unauthorized accounts.
Morton sought at least $10 million in damages. It’s “frustrating” trying to control your own image, Morton told Insider.
Morton said: “Technology companies and social media platforms should be on the side of the artists and content creators because that’s what makes these sites interesting and valuable.
She added: “When I learned Twitter had developed artificially intelligent cropping tools using male engineers who impose their own biases, enough was enough.”
The lawsuit, filed on September 3, listed both Twitter and TweetDeck as defendants. It also listed Magic Pony Technology, a photo-algorithm company acquired by Twitter in 2016, as a defendant.
Morton’s lawyer, Jennifer Holliday, declined to discuss the lawsuit in detail, saying only that it appeared to be the first time Twitter had been sued over the algorithm. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.
In her complaint, Morton, whose Twitter account @genevievemorton had more than 80,000 followers, said another un-associated account, @city_tits, had posted two of her copyrighted photos without permission.
The lawsuit listed the owners of that handle as defendants, though they weren’t identified by name. The account has since been suspended for violating Twitter’s rules.
Morton filed take-down requests for both photos. One removal took about three months, the other about five weeks, the lawsuit said.
While the @city_tits posts were live, they got a total of 67 likes, the complaint said. Morton sought at least $150,000 in damages for each of those likes, totalling more than $10 million, the filing said.
But Morton’s lawsuit said the actual damages could be higher. Because Twitter doesn’t display how many times a post was viewed, it was unclear how many Twitter users saw the photos in question while they were live, the lawsuit said.
If there were more than 67 instances of infringement, the total damages request would probably be higher.
Morton sued Twitter last year for a similar instance, alleging that @SpyIRL had posted some of her copyrighted material.
Twitter filed a motion to dismiss most of the claims, which the court granted under Section 230, said Eric Goldman, associate dean at Santa Clara University School of Law, in a blog post. That case is ongoing.
In Morton’s new lawsuit, she added a charge against Twitter over its algorithm.
Her complaint accused the company of using the “saliency algorithm to crop and alter the infringed images without Ms. Morton’s authorization cropped Ms. Morton’s infringed images, creating an unauthorized derivative work.”
For Morton’s lawsuit to succeed, she’d have to establish that Twitter “clearly fostered inducement, which is something that most social media platforms do not do,” Peter Lee, a law professor at UC Davis School of Law, said via email.
Lee added: “The twist here, however, has to do with the allegation that Twitter’s algorithm deliberately altered Ms. Morton’s images. If Twitter did this to allow such images to elude automated searches for infringing material and to induce infringement, then it’s possible that Twitter could face liability for infringement.”
Between July and December 2020, Twitter received about 170,000 takedown notices for copyrighted material, according to the company’s Transparency Center.
About 60% of requests during that period resulted in material being removed from the platform, up about five percentage points from the previous six months, the company said.
Vitalik Buterin has compared the eight founders of the ethereum blockchain to JRR Tolkien’s close-knit “fellowship of the ring”, according to the Financial Times.
Yet, the story of the group is one marked by feuds and competition, with two members splintering off to create ethereum rivals cardano and polkadot. Buterin recently said choosing seven other founders “nondiscriminately” to build the network was his biggest regret.
The 27-year-old is one of the most famous figures in crypto, having come up with the idea for ethereum – a cryptocurrency network on which decentralized applications can be built – in 2013. He was just 19 at the time and 21 when ethereum launched in 2015.
Before that, Buterin had become a fan of bitcoin and crypto technology after being introduced to it by his dad, and went on to cofound Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin still works on the network, driving research and providing new ideas.
Maths whizz Charles Hoskinson quickly became an influential member of the ethereum startup that emerged in 2013. Yet, his time on the project came to an end within months, in part because of his prickly relationship with other founders. Hoskinson wanted ethereum to be a for-profit company, but Buterin wanted it to be a nonprofit platform.
Accounts vary about what happened: Hoskinson says he left, others say Butern fired him. Either way, the two are known to not particularly like each other and occasionally still take digs at the other’s methods.
After leaving ethereum, Hoskinson founded the cardano blockchain platform whose ada cryptocurrency has recently soared to become the third-biggest. Cardano is known as an “ETH killer” as it also lets users build their own projects and is a competitor with ethereum.
English computer scientist Gavin Wood became an important ethereum coder after joining the group in 2014. In fact, he created the first ethereum test network and made a number of other key programming contributions.
Wood left ethereum in 2016, and went on to found polkadot, another ETH killer crypto network focused on trying to link together different blockchains. Polkadot’s dot cryptocurrency has risen more than 500% in the last year as excitement has built around the project.
The polkadot founder has been known to take swipes at ethereum. For example, in 2020 he contrasted its “slow” transaction times with polkadot’s quicker speeds.
Although many of the ethereum cofounders were in their 20s, Lubin was older and more experienced when he came on board in 2013. The Princeton-educated computer scientist worked for Goldman Sachs before becoming disillusioned with traditional finance during the financial crisis.
Lubin founded the for-profit ethereum development company ConsenSys, which has launched a number of different projects on the network. One example is the widely used “wallet” MetaMask. ConsenSys raised $65 million from JPMorgan, UBS and others this year.
Anthony Di Iorio
Anthony Di Iorio was an entrepreneur and bitcoin enthusiast before Buterin asked him to come on board to launch ethereum. Yet, he was reportedly also not so keen on ethereum non-profit direction and took a backseat. He went on to found Decentral, which launched the Jaxx crypto wallet.
Di Iorio hit the headlines earlier this year when he said he was quitting the crypto world and selling his company, partly because of concerns about his personal safety. He said another key reason was to focus on philanthropy.
Mihai Alisie has known Buterin since 2011 when they founded Bitcoin Magazine, one of the first publications solely dedicated to crypto. Alisie was important in setting up the Swiss company that gave ethereum a legal and financial base in its early days.
He was vice president of the Ethereum Foundation – the non-profit organization which supports the network – until 2015. He stepped back to found Akasha, a crypto project looking to harness the technology for social purposes.
Computer programmer Jeffrey Wilke was a key player in the early days of ethereum, writing a version of the platform in the Google Go language. That turned into Go Ethereum, or Geth.
He has since left to form a games company called Grid Games with his brother. Wilcke has said he felt his energy was better spent elsewhere, “away from the drama” of ethereum.
Amir Chetrit is the most mysterious and publicity shy of the group, but was working on a crypto startup called Colored Coins – which Buterin also worked on – when he joined ethereum.
Yet, according to journalist Matthew Leising, who wrote a book about ethereum called “Out of the Ether,” other members thought Chetrit wasn’t pulling his weight. Leising wrote that this led to Buterin kicking him out of the project with Hoskinson.
Should you ask your Starbucks barista to blend a cake pop, brownie, or cookie into your drink, chances are they’ll say no.
It’s against company policy for baristas to blend food into Starbucks drinks like Frappuccinos. But that hasn’t stopped customers from trying.
“I’ve had people asked for some food items blended,” Alexis Rivera, a former Starbucks shift manager in New Jersey, told Insider. “We don’t do that.”
A Starbucks representative said baristas “may handcraft blended beverages using ingredients offered at Starbucks stores including sauces, syrups, espresso, coffee and tea, Evolution Fresh juices, and bananas and blueberries.”
“Food items in store (including baked goods and egg bites) are not approved additions to blended beverages at Starbucks,” the representative added.
Numerous former baristas, however, told Insider they had gotten requests – which they said they rejected – for food to be blended into drinks. This included cake, cake pops, Danish pastries, cookies, and brownies.
Rivera said some customers brought in their own food or protein shakes and asked for them to be blended.
The baristas said this happened only with in-store customers because adding food to drinks wasn’t listed as a modification on the Starbucks app.
Speaking about in-store orders, Rivera said “technically if you’re not able to charge for it in the drink, it’s not something that can be made.”
But she said some customers would seek a workaround: “If you’re requesting those items too, you’re buying them separately, like a Frappuccino, but you’re asking, ‘Hey can you blend them for me?’ Some places do – some places don’t.”
“Making items like that during rushes where you don’t even have enough people to go to the back and clean them properly, that’s most likely why they’re declined,” she added.
Different baristas Insider spoke with had different attitudes. “It’s not worth risking my job to add a brownie to a blender,” a current barista in Florida said.
Rivera said one customer had even asked her colleague to blend egg bites into a drink, though the customer ultimately described it as a joke.
Rivera said her colleague didn’t follow through with the request – but a former barista in Indiana, who asked for anonymity because she still visited the store as a customer, said she had actually blended egg bites into a Frappuccino.
“It was just gross to hand out,” she said.
The Indiana barista said she had also blended a melted brownie into a frappuccino, too. She said her manager had told her that though she technically wasn’t supposed to blend food into drinks, she could tell the customer they could make it as a one-off.
A former barista in British Columbia, who asked to stay anonymous because she might return to work at the chain, said customers often asked for their Refreshers, which usually contained liquid, ice, and fruit pieces, to be blended.
“A lot of the time we’d be like, ‘We can do it, but we’d rather not put the fruit in it because the fruit gets stuck and it jams the blender,'” she said.
“They’re not really designed for that kind of thing,” she added, saying the staff at her store once broke a blender blending dried fruit into a drink.
The main goal of the Inspiration4 mission was to raise $200 million for St. Jude, where one of the crew members works as a physician assistant.
The fundraiser had raised $160 million before Musk pledged to contribute to the campaign.
The historic Insipiration4 launched Wednesday evening from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It had four people on board:Jared Isaacman, a billionaire businessman; Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant and childhood cancer survivor; Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran; and Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist and science communication specialist.
Isaacman, commander of the spaceflight, donated $100 million to St. Jude. The mission had raised another $60.2 million before Musk’s pledge surpassed the goal, raising the total to more than $210 million, CNBC reported.
Following his donation, the crew expressed their gratitude toward Musk on Twitter.
“This brings tears to my eyes. Thank you @elonmusk for this generous donation toward our $200 million dollar fundraising goal for @StJude!!!” said Arceneaux.
As Insider’s Kate Duffy reported, the crew will auction off items they took on their three-day trip around the Earth to further raise money for the hospital. These include a ukulele, artwork, and NFTs.
Google and Facebook have both laid thousands of miles of cables along the seafloor, stretching between continents, to carry internet around the world.
Often, the two tech giants invest in cable projects along with a consortium of other companies, although Google has five privately owned cable projects underway.
In total, Google is invested in 19 cable projects around the world.
Facebook is invested in two cables that are currently active. It is involved in five more cable projects currently under construction, a spokesman said.
Here’s how the companies lay the cables along the bottom of the ocean.
First, the companies have to plan the route they want the cable to take.
Jayne Stowell, strategic negotiator for Global Infrastructure at Google, told Insider planning the route can take up to a year.
A Facebook spokesperson told Insider it conducts a bathymetric and geophysical survey along its expected route, which allows it to plan down to the meter.
To do this, it sends out vessels equipped with sonar to map out the seabed and look for risks such as high currents, underwater landslides, and unexploded bombs or mines.
The cable itself is about the thickness of a garden hose, Stowell said.
Cables are wrapped in a copper casing for electricity conduction.
“A plastic and steel sheathing is then added to waterproof the cable and help it withstand potentially adverse ocean conditions such as heavy currents, earthquakes or interference from fishing trawlers,” Stowell said.
For Facebook’s 2Africa cable, it’s using aluminium rather than copper, which it said will lower manufacturing costs and enable longer cables.
2Africa is in the process of being laid around the entire continent and is 37,000 kilometers long — only slightly shorter than the circumference of the Earth.
Once the route is mapped out and the cable is made, it’s time to load the cable onto a specialised laying vessel.
Google’s Stowell said the company uses a fleet of 50 to 55 specialised laying vessels, with capacity for up to 100 crew members. Just loading the cable onto the ship can take four weeks, she said.
Facebook said its vessels generally need a crew of 30 to 50 people.
The vessel leaves port, spooling the cable behind it. Once it gets into deeper water, it deploys an underwater plow to dig a trench along the seabed into which it lays the cable.
“The natural movement of wave action will then cover the cable once the ship moves on,” Stowell said.
“An ocean plough does not look too different from a plow a farmer might use in a field, except it is much larger – about the height of a two-story building,” Stowell said.
The plow is only used at depths of 1,000 to 1,500 meters (3281 to 4921 feet), Stowell added.
“This is where it is needed to protect the cable from potential damage from other seabed users – most frequently bottom trawling fishing vessels or ships anchors that are put down at sea in a storm,” Stowell said.
A cable is fairly safe in the deep seas and has no need for burial nor armoring, she added.
For longer cables, Stowell said Google also installs a device called an amplifier every 100 meters (328 feet) to boost the signal and keep the data moving.
“Although fibre-optic cables are made of the purest glass, over long distances the intensity of a beam of light begins to weaken,” she said.
Amplifiers help boost the light back to its original intensity.
When the laying vessel reaches its final destination it isn’t able to come close to shore.
Buoys are used to float the cable at the surface and it is guided into position by divers, jet skis, and smaller boats.
Finally, the cable is pulled up onto the beach to a ready-made trench, where it’s connected to a beach manhole, a buried container where the undersea cable is hooked up to a terrestrial cable – which in turn connects to a cable station.
These cables are able to channel a huge amount of data around every second.
Stowell said Google’s Grace Hopper cable — which was landed in the UK earlier this week — is set to funnel 340 terabytes of data per second, which would mean 17.5 million people could stream 4K videos at the same time.
Like in South Shields, there was a walk of around five minutes from the ferry terminal to North Shields Metro station for the next leg of the journey.
The Metro carriages were surprisingly clean for public transport. Though there were no trash cans onboard, the only litter I really spotted was old newspapers people had left on the seats for other travelers.
I took my trip during the morning and early afternoon of a Tuesday during the school vacation. There weren’t many other passengers …
… though it picked up a bit at around lunchtime.
Nexus, which operates the Tyne and Wear Metro, mandates that passengers wear face masks, though a lot of people didn’t wear them.
An airline passenger reportedly recorded a flight attendant pledging to annoy passengers who had not put their face masks on.
Yahoo News reported that TikTok user Tyler Janee posted a video in which an unidentified female crew member bluntly explained the airline’s policy. Neither the airline nor the flight attendant were visible in the clip.
Since being posted last week, the video has racked up millions of views and sparked a social-media debate about travel etiquette.
Insider has reached out to Janee for comment.
In the clip, a woman’s voice can be heard saying: “We see you without your face coverings. I know it’s a 46-minute flight, you all look tired – we already established that – so you might fall asleep. If that face covering is not on your face properly, I will wake you up and I do not care, OK?”
The user then shows Janee’s eyes widen as a reaction to the speech.
The video continues with the apparent crew member saying: “I will be annoying. We don’t have to be annoying but I will be.”
It ends with her explaining that there were COVID tests available onboard – and that she would swab passengers if necessary.
One TikTok commenter wrote in praise of the woman: “Give that flight attendant a raise !!!!!”