'Tokenized': Inside Black Workers' Struggles at the King of Crypto Start-Ups

Nathaniel Popper, reporting for The New York Times: One by one, they left. Some quit. Others were fired. All were Black. The 15 people worked at Coinbase, the most valuable U.S. cryptocurrency start-up, where they represented roughly three-quarters of the Black employees at the 600-person company. Before leaving in late 2018 and early 2019, at least 11 of them informed the human resources department or their managers about what they said was racist or discriminatory treatment, five people with knowledge of the situation said. One of the employees was Alysa Butler, 25, who worked in recruiting. During her time at Coinbase, she said, she told her manager several times about how he and others excluded her from meetings and conversations, making her feel invisible. "Most people of color working in tech know that there's a diversity problem," said Ms. Butler, who resigned in April 2019. "But I've never experienced anything like Coinbase." In Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs and investors often preach high-minded missions and style themselves as management gurus, Coinbase has held itself up as a model. Since the start-up was founded in 2012, Brian Armstrong, the chief executive, has assembled memos and blog posts about how he built the $8 billion company's culture with distinct hiring and training practices. That has won him acclaim among influential venture capitalists and executives. But according to 23 current and former Coinbase employees, five of whom spoke on the record, as well as internal documents and recordings of conversations, the start-up has long struggled with its management of Black employees. One Black employee said her manager suggested in front of colleagues that she was dealing drugs and carrying a gun, trading on racist stereotypes. Another said a co-worker at a recruiting meeting broadly described Black employees as less capable. Still another said managers spoke down to her and her Black colleagues, adding that they were passed over for promotions in favor of less experienced white employees. The accumulation of incidents, they said, led to the wave of departures. On Wednesday, before publication of this article, Emilie Choi, Coinbase's chief operating officer, wrote an email to employees to preemptively question the article's accuracy and said, "We know the story will recount episodes that will be difficult for employees to read." The company posted the email to its public blog. "As Brian shared with the ColorBlock ERG this morning, we don't care what The New York Times thinks. " Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2020-11-27 12:15:01 preview's
India Enters Recession as Virus Pummels No. 3 Asian Economy

India entered an unprecedented recession with the economy contracting in the three months through September due to the lingering effects of lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. From a report: Gross domestic product declined 7.5% last quarter from a year ago, the Statistics Ministry said Friday. That was milder than an 8.2% drop forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, and and a marked improvement from a record 24% contraction the previous quarter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the world's strictest lockdowns in March, sapping demand for non-essential goods and services. Despite the measures to stem the pandemic, the country is now home to the second-highest Covid-19 infections after the U.S. at 9.3 million cases. The second straight quarterly decline in GDP, pushes Asia's third-largest economy into its first technical recession in records going back to 1996. Financial and real estate services -- among the biggest component of India's dominant services sector -- shrank 8.1% last quarter from a year ago, while trade, hotels, transport and communication declined 15.6%. Manufacturing gained 0.6%, electricity and gas expanded 4.4% and agriculture grew 3.4%. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2020-11-27 11:15:01 preview's
The best Apple deals of Black Friday 2020

Including price drops on new M1 Macs, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch Series 6.
2020-11-27 11:00:02 preview's
Leaf-Cutter Ants Have Rocky Crystal Armor, Never Before Seen in Insects

Leaf-cutter ants are named for their Herculean feats: they chomp foliage and carry unwieldy pieces, like green flags many times their size, long distances to their colonies. There they chew up the leaves to feed underground fungus farms. Along the way, the insects brave all manner of predators -- and regularly engage in wars with other ants. But these insects are even tougher than previously thought. From a report: A new study shows that one Central American leaf-cutter ant species has natural armor that covers its exoskeleton. This shield-like coating is made of calcite with high levels of magnesium, a type found only in one other biological structure: sea urchin teeth, which can grind limestone. Bones and teeth of many animals contain calciferous minerals, and crustaceans, such as crabs and lobsters, have mineralized shells and other body parts. But before this finding, no type of calcite had been found in any adult insect. In leaf-cutter ants, this coating is made of thousands of tiny, plate-like crystals that harden their exoskeleton. This "armor" helps prevent the insects from losing limbs in battles with other ants and staves off fungal infections, according to a paper published November 24 in the journal Nature Communications. The discovery is especially surprising because the ants are well known. "There are thousands of papers on leaf-cutter ants," says study co-author Cameron Currie, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We were really excited to find [this in] one of the most well-studied insects in nature," he says. Though this paper looked only at one species, Acromyrmex echinatior, Currie and colleagues suspect other related ants have the biomineral too. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2020-11-27 10:15:02 preview's
Is This the Gayest Yuletide Yet?

Streaming services are giving LGBTQ fans a tidy package of content this holiday season.
2020-11-27 09:15:03 preview's
We test Herman Miller’s $1,499 gaming chair: All business—to a fault

Branding collaboration with Logitech amounts to a single, stitched letter "G."
2020-11-27 09:15:02 preview's
Dyson Pledges New Investment Into AI, Robotics and Batteries

Dyson will invest an additional 2.75bn pound ($3.67 billion) on developing technologies and products over the next five years [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], as the appliances brand pushes deeper into areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and energy storage. From a report: The company founded by billionaire James Dyson and famous for its vacuum cleaners said it intended to double its portfolio of products by 2025 and enter new fields, taking it "beyond the home" for the first time. Although it did not provide any breakdown of the investments, they will be focused in Singapore, where the group controversially decided to move its headquarters last year, as well as the UK and the Philippines. The announcement comes more than a year after Dyson abandoned its ambitious plans to manufacture an electric vehicle from scratch in the Asian city-state. Sir James had hoped that the EV project would redefine his business but, after spending hundreds of millions of pounds, concluded that it was too expensive to compete against established carmakers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2020-11-27 09:15:02 preview's
These Are the Very Best Laptop Deals for Black Friday

We scoured the web to find the best deals on notebooks, Chromebooks, external monitors, and more.
2020-11-27 09:15:02 preview's
AI can run your work meetings now

"Optimizing" meetings, from automated scheduling to facial recognition to measure attention.
2020-11-27 08:15:03 preview's
What's a Semi-Log Plot and How Can You Use It for Covid Data?

It is very useful for showing data that spans different orders of magnitude—like case numbers in South Korea compared to the numbers in the United States.
2020-11-27 08:15:03