Zuckerberg says that nobody got fired over Cambridge Analytica mess

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Facebook has been ramping up its damage control as outrage continues over the Cambridge Analytica mess. But it seems nobody at the social media company has been let go as a consequence. On a media conference call, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that no em…
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Former Google employee files lawsuit alleging the company fired him over pro-diversity posts

A former Google engineer is suing the company for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination, according to court documents filed today. Tim Chevalier, a software developer and former site-reliability engineer at Google, claims that Google fired him when he responded with internal posts and memes to racist and sexist encounters within the company and the general response to the now-infamous James Damore memo. News of Chevalier’s lawsuit was reported earlier today by Gizmodo.

Chevalier said in a statement to The Verge, “It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers.” Chevalier, who is also disabled and transgender, alleges…

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Labor board says Google legally fired diversity memo writer

James Damore may claim Google was wrong to fire him over his memo criticizing the company's diversity culture, but a federal government overseer begs to differ. The National Labor Relations Board has published a January memo recommending a dismissal…
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Justine Sacco, the PR exec who was fired from IAC for her tweets, has landed back at IAC’s Match Group

Sacco, who tweeted before she got on a plane, is back with Barry Diller’s company.

Justine Sacco, the communications exec who was very publicly fired from IAC back in 2014 for an inappropriate tweet, has returned to the IAC family: She’s now running all corporate communications for Match Group, the online dating company that IAC spun off in 2015. It still owns close to 80 percent of the new entity.

Sacco, who was most recently running communications for the daily fantasy sports startup FanDuel, will oversee corporate comms for Match, which includes the business’s online dating properties like Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid.

Justine Sacco LinkedIn

It’s a notable new job, considering how Sacco left IAC a few years back, where she was senior director of corporate communications. Sacco was fired after she sent an inappropriate tweet right before boarding a flight to South Africa. “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” she wrote at the time.

The post blew up on Twitter while she was in the air, and Sacco landed to a ton of angry tweets, and the fact that #HasJustineLandedYet was trending on the service.

She became a totem for internet shaming, and was the focus of countless essays. She took some time away from the industry to regroup. During that time, she spoke with author Jon Ronson for a book and offered an explanation.

“To me it was so insane of a comment for anyone to make,” she told him. “I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.” The passage, which was excerpted in New York Times Magazine, continues with a more extensive response from Sacco: “Unfortunately, I am not a character on ‘South Park’ or a comedian, so I had no business commenting on the epidemic in such a politically incorrect manner on a public platform … To put it simply, I wasn’t trying to raise awareness of AIDS or piss off the world or ruin my life. Living in America puts us in a bit of a bubble when it comes to what is going on in the third world. I was making fun of that bubble.”

A statement from Joey Levin, CEO of IAC and chairman of Match Group, welcomed Sacco back into the fold. “With one notable exception, Justine’s track record speaks for itself,” he wrote in a statement shared with Recode. “Very few people in the business world have Justine’s indomitable spirit, tenacity and drive to persevere. That’s the kind of talent we seek. I’m very happy to have her great mind and boundless positive energy back on the team.”

Sacco spent the past few years at FanDuel, and as far as corporate communications go, pretty much ran the gamut. Sacco handled press for the company as it raised — and spent — ridiculous amounts of investor money; battled publicly to keep FanDuel operating in states that considered daily fantasy to be a form of online gambling; and eventually attempted to merge with rival DraftKings. (It was ultimately abandoned due to regulatory concerns.)

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The Visa innovation chief who was fired had a history of affairs with subordinates

But it’s still unclear if those incidents played a part in his dismissal.

Years before top Visa exec Jim McCarthy was fired for “violating Visa policy,” he had affairs with two women at the company who worked for him in his division, four people with knowledge of the relationships told Recode.

At least one of the women reported directly to McCarthy, while another worked in his department, although it’s not clear if the second woman also reported to him.

The affairs took place in the early years of this decade while McCarthy was married, sources said. The two women with whom McCarthy had affairs left the company several years ago.

Neither woman replied to multiple requests for comment from Recode over the last week. McCarthy has also failed to respond to calls, text messages and emails over the last 10 days.

McCarthy spent 18 years at Visa and was most recently the company’s head of innovation and strategic partnerships — a role that gave him oversight over key deals with tech giants and gave him a high profile in Silicon Valley and on the conference circuit.

His teams oversaw Visa’s relationships with companies like Apple and Google for their Apple Pay and Android Pay services, as well as strategic investments and partnerships with fast-growing startups like Stripe and Klarna.

That changed recently. On Dec. 1, Visa President Ryan McInerney sent out a memo to Visa staff announcing that McCarthy was being fired for violating an unspecified company policy and engaging in behavior “that runs counter to our leadership principles and culture.”

That vague explanation immediately set off intense speculation across Visa and the industry, after Recode broke news of McCarthy’s ouster. Much of that discussion has focused on McCarthy’s past affairs and how they may — or may not — have played a role in his dismissal.

A Visa spokesperson declined to comment on whether affairs played a role in McCarthy’s exit, citing the confidentiality of the investigation that led to his dismissal. It’s unclear what action, if any, previous Visa management teams took when the relationships with subordinates were discovered.

After a divorce, McCarthy later entered into a relationship with a third woman who worked at Visa; the two recently married, sources said. This woman — who was already planning to retire from Visa at the end of this year — had previously been married to another Visa executive.

Her ex-husband, who left Visa earlier this year, also did not respond to messages seeking comment.

If you have more information, you can email me at jason@recode.net, or reach me by phone or on secure messaging apps like Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and Confide at 9176554267.

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Voyager 1 Just Fired Its Thrusters for the First Time in 37 Years

Good Morning

Voyager 1 just fired up a set of thrusters that have been dormant for 37 years. The aging spacecraft, first launched in 1977, is the fastest and most well-traveled spacecraft ever launched by NASA. It is also the first object made by humans to reach interstellar space, the vast world beyond our solar system.

The satellite relies on “attitude control” thrusters to orient itself so it can communicate with Earth using the Deep Space Network. The Voyager team had noticed diminishing returns on these thrusters since 2014, with the thrusters needing to fire up more often to give off the same amount of energy. To extend the life of the mission, researchers came up with the novel idea of reactivating the craft’s “trajectory correction maneuver” (TCM) thrusters.

Communication’s Next Frontier
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The TCM thrusters are identical to the degrading attitude control thrusters, only they are located on the back side of the satellite. They also hadn’t been switched on since the craft’s encounter with Saturn in 1980 and had never been used for the purpose of orienting the craft for communication.

Still, the team though the TCM thrusters might suit their purposes, so on November 28, they decided to fire them up with 10-millisecond pulses to test if they could be a viable replacement for the nearly spent thrusters. The team was delighted when the results of their test were resoundingly positive.

“The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test,” said Todd Barber, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) propulsion engineer, in a JPL news release. “The mood was one of relief, joy, and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all.”

Voyager’s Voyage

The TCM thrusters will officially take over for the attitude control thrusters in January, and the Voyager team predicts that the backup thrusters will add another two to three years to Voyager 1’s mission. However, the TCM thrusters operate with the use of heaters, which drain Voyager 1’s limited power, so it is not a permanent switch. Once their ability to utilize the backups is diminished, the team will switch back to the original thrusters for the remainder of the mission.

And Voyager 1 has enjoyed a storied mission, indeed. The craft provided us with highly detailed images of our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter, in 1979, followed by images of Saturn in 1980. The gravity of one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, disrupted the trajectory of Voyager 1, so instead of flying by the rest of the solar system, the craft headed toward interstellar space. Thirty-four years after launching, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to travel beyond our solar system.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
Image credit: NASA/JPL

New probes, like the planned Breakthrough Starshot, could actually reach the nearest star after the Sun, Alpha Centauri, within 20 to 50 years. The biggest problem facing future interstellar travel isn’t getting spacecraft to the stars, but slowing them down enough for the craft to gather meaningful data from their missions. Scientists are proposing ideas to help in this arena, including magnetic sails to slow satellites once they reach their destination.

Thanks to the innovation of dedicated scientists, Voyager 1 can continue its mission, and each additional year the craft is in operation, it has the potential to deliver new insights into the world beyond our solar system.

The post Voyager 1 Just Fired Its Thrusters for the First Time in 37 Years appeared first on Futurism.


NASA fired up Voyager 1’s backup thrusters for the first time in 37 years

NASA is getting really good at squeezing every last bit of life out of its hardware. It recently extended the Dawn spacecraft’s mission over Ceres for a second time, while New Horizons is on its way to check out a small icy body called 2014 MU69 in January 2019. Yesterday, NASA announced that it has successfully fired up four of Voyager 1’s backup thrusters, which haven’t been used since 1980, which should extend its life by a couple of years.

Voyager 1 is the only human-made object flying outside of our solar system, and it’s still communicating with Earth by way of the Deep Space Network, which allows engineers to send it instructions. The probe currently uses its attitude control thrusters to make tiny corrections — firing for only…

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Head of innovation Jim McCarthy fired for behavior that ‘violated Visa policy’

The high-profile executive was a key figure in deals with tech giants like Apple and Google

Jim McCarthy, a top Visa executive who was the company’s key decision-maker on deals with big tech companies, has been fired for behavior that “violated” company policy.

Visa president Ryan McInerney, to whom McCarthy reported, sent out a company-wide memo on Friday announcing the departure.

“Jim is an 18-year veteran of Visa and has contributed much to our company over the years,” the message, which Recode viewed, read in part. “However, in response to information that recently came to our attention, we determined that Jim had violated Visa policy. We cannot ignore behavior — at any level — that runs counter to our leadership principles and culture.”

The memo does not disclose the nature of the “information” nor the behavior or violation that led to the decision. But one would imagine it is serious enough for management to oust someone of McCarthy’s stature.

A Visa spokeswoman declined to comment. McCarthy did not immediately respond to text and voice messages seeking comment.

Recode has been working to gather more information about the circumstances surrounding the termination, but does not yet have enough of the details confirmed to publish the reasons for McCarthy’s ouster. (If you do have more information, you can email me at jason@recode.net, or reach me by phone or on secure messaging apps like Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and Confide at 9176554267.)

The firing is significant for tech, since McCarthy has been Visa’s highest-profile executive in Silicon Valley due to his role overseeing the company’s global innovation and strategic partnerships groups. These teams work on big projects such as Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay, as well as deals with other tech firms such as Stripe, FitBit and Garmin.

Externally, McCarthy had also become the face of Visa at tech-related conferences. (For example, I’ve interviewed McCarthy twice onstage at the Money20/20 payments conference alongside a counterpart from MasterCard.)

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Elon Musk said Tesla fired 700 people because they didn’t meet the company’s high standards

Musk said it was not because they “believe in being mean.” He added that journalists should be ashamed of themselves for how they wrote about the Tesla firings.

Elon Musk disclosed in today’s quarterly earnings call that Tesla fired 700 people last month, or 2 percent of the company’s 33,000 employees.

He said they didn’t meet the company’s high standards and that Tesla is one of many companies that fire employees based on regular performance reviews.

The Tesla CEO blamed the headlines about the firings on “journalists and editors without integrity” who didn’t provide context.

“Any journalists who’ve written articles to this effect [about the firings] should be ashamed of themselves,” Musk said.

The firings were related to performance issues, and he considered the number of people affected to be small. This is the first time the number of employees fired has been confirmed.

“Our standards are high not because we believe in being mean to people, they’re high because if they aren’t high we’d die,” Musk said.

Tesla posted a record net loss of $ 619 million in its earnings release today.

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Girl’s Hands-On iPhone X Video Got Her Dad Fired from Apple

An Apple engineer was reportedly dismissed from his position on the company’s iPhone development team last week, after it was discovered that his daughter’s iPhone X hands-on video went viral on YouTube.

Brooke Amelia Peterson, the daughter of [former] Apple engineer, Ken Bauer, posted a vlog to her YouTube channel early last week in which she paid a visit to her dad’s workplace at Apple HQ. It was there that Peterson got the chance to spend some (unauthorized) hands-on time with Apple’s unreleased iPhone X flagship.

In a purely unfortunate turn of events, Peterson was back just four days later with another impassioned vlog post, this time claiming that her father was fired from his position at Apple as the result of her video-gone-viral, which quickly circulated the web last week and has been viewed some 1.5 million times on YouTube so far.

Peterson explains in her follow-up vlog post that her dad “violated an Apple company rule” by allowing her to film its then-unreleased iPhone X on the company’s campus, which is, in fact, a clear violation of Apple’s policy. According to The Verge, after discovering the video’s presence last week, Apple asked Peterson to remove it; however by that time it had already spread across the web like wildfire.

Interestingly, while filming on Apple’s campus may very well be strictly prohibited, it’s worth noting that Peterson’s post appears to have revealed a bit more than just the iPhone X, itself — which likely reinforced the dismissal of her father. It may have seemed like an innocent “iPhone X hands-on,” as Peterson’s enthusiasm might suggest; however, whether she was aware of it or not, her video also showcased what appears to be some Apple employee-only QR codes, in addition to an open Notes app which may have included codenames and details of some unreleased Apple products.

Of course, while Bauer’s dismissal might seem a bit extreme for his daughter’s naive crime, this wouldn’t be the first of such high-profile dismissals over pre-release leaks. According to an Engadget report, back in 2005 a Microsoft engineer was dismissed from his post after it was discovered that his son posted pictures of the Xbox 360 console ahead of its official release.

Bauer had allegedly worked at Apple on its iPhone RF team for the last four years. Apple has yet to respond to multiple requests for comment on Bauer’s dismissal.

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