HOW UBER CONQUERS A CITY IN SEVEN STEPS

Uber … not a fan 🙁
Ralph

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2.Recruit drivers aggressively
There’s no Uber without a critical mass of drivers, so the company offers $1,000 sign-up and referral bonuses to lure them away from legacy taxi firms. For those who don’t have their own car, Uber’s Xchange leasing program allows even those with low credit scores to get deals on vehicles. However, drivers who opt for these financing deals can end up paying high prices. “The lease terms are awful – you could buy the car for what they are being leased for, or maybe even less,” said Greg McBride, a financial analyst who looked at the figures for the Associated Press. In response, Uber said the program offered weekly rentals, flexible leases, traditional leases and purchase discounts through some carmakers.

According to Uber’s arch-rival, Lyft, one of Uber’s more grubby tactics includes allegedly ordering and cancelling more than 5,000 rides from Lyft in order to make drivers think the service was less reliable and to drive passengers looking for available cars to Uber. Uber denied the allegations.

[By Olivia Solon; more at The Guardian, 12th April 2017]

REVEALED: THE TERROR AND TORMENT OF TURKEY’S JAILED JOURNALISTS

Scores of imprisoned Turkish journalists face a Kafkaesque nightmare of legal limbo, farcical charge sheets, maltreatment and even solitary confinement in the country that locks up more reporters than any other in the world.

A series of Guardian interviews and written exchanges with several of those jailed as a result of a sweeping media crackdown found a huge mental burden on the incarcerated, as well as tough social and intellectual restrictions.

“I have been broken and twisted in more ways than I can imagine,” says the recently released novelist Aslı Erdoğan (no relation to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan), who spent five days in solitary confinement at the start of four months of pretrial detention.

‘Sometimes I laugh at this farce’: six writers on life behind bars in Turkey

Mehmet Altan, a journalist awaiting trial for supposedly attempting to bring down the government describes his life in prison as an environment “where no needs of a mature mind are met. It is like wearing striped pyjamas. It is a very narrow life without any joy or feeling to it.”

[By Kareem Shaheen; more at The Guardian, 23rd March 2017]

EVERY TIME WE TAKE A UBER WE’RE SPREADING ITS SOCIAL POISON

There are very few things that $5bn can’t buy, but one of them is manners. This week video emerged of Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder of ride-share app Uber, patronising and swearing at one of his own drivers, who complained that harsh company policies had forced him into bankruptcy. “Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit,” sneered Kalanick. Truer words were never spoken by a tycoon: for Uber, along with many other aggressive corporations, not taking responsibility for your own shit isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a business model.

Uber has barely been out of the news this year, with a succession of scandals cementing the company’s reputation as a byword for cod-libertarian douchebaggery. Accusations of strike-breaking during protests against Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” sparked a viral campaign to get customers to delete the app. A week later, a former employee went public with accusations of sexual harassment and institutional misogyny. Kalanick, who was pressured to withdraw from a position as a business adviser to Trump, is now facing legal suits across the world from drivers who insist that they would be better able to “take responsibility” for their lives if they could earn a living wage.

[By Laurie Penny; more at The Guardian, 3rd March, 2017]

PAULINE HANSON EMERGES AS THE QUEEN OF A POTENTIALLY UNRULY SENATE

Arise, Queen Pauline of the parliament.

When the final results emerged on Thursday, the record shows the Coalition has 30 senators (down three), Labor has 26 (up one), the Greens have nine (the South Australian Robert Simms failed to get back so they are down one) – and the crossbench now numbers eleven, which is three more than the last parliament. That last parliament would be the one the Coalition complained was unmanageable.

More from Katharine Murphy at The Guardian, 4th August 2016

TASMANIA’S BIG DRY HAS APPLE ISLE’S RENEWABLE ENERGY UNDER A CLOUD

Great Lake was a series of wetlands around a smaller freshwater lake before it was dammed in 1967. With a surface area of 176 sq km it is Australia’s largest permanent natural freshwater lake. Lake St Clair, about 50km west, is Australia’s deepest natural lake, and the combined Lake Pedder-Lake Gordon system, in the world heritage-listed west coast, is the country’s biggest man-made water storage.

These lakes are the main storages for the Hydro Tasmania network, which can generate 9,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy. Tasmania’s annual requirement is about 10,800GWh.

In an ordinary year, Davy says, another 1,000GWh was provided by two Hydro-owned wind farms, Woolnorth, off Tasmania’s north-west coast, and Musselroe, in the north-east. The balance is purchased from mainland providers through the Basslink cable. Or it would be, if the cable hadn’t broken in December.

By Calla Wahlquist; more at The Guardian, 30 April, 2016

PARIS AGREEMENT IS A STRONG SIGNAL THAT ‘WE WILL SOLVE CLIMATE CRISIS’, AL GORE SAYS

We have created a major new opportunity by committing to a sustainable future. But we have to steer in the right direction and accelerate our pace because we still face challenges. We simply cannot continue to put 110m tons of global-warming pollution into the atmosphere every day as if it’s an open sewer.

[Al Gore and Don Henry; more at The Guardian, 30 April 2016]

THE AIRSTRIKE ON AN ALEPPO HOSPITAL IS A WAKE-UP CALL FOR THE UN. IT MUST ACT NOW.

Underpinning everything has to be the acceptance that the medical needs of people – no matter who they are, where they are from or what side they support or fight for – must take precedence. Medical staff are present in areas of conflict in order to care for the sick and wounded, on the basis of need. And only need. This is the fundamental principle of impartiality and is the basis of medical ethics. It is the very fact that doctors treat on the basis of need – and are not involved in hostilities – that they can claim protection under international humanitarian law.

(By Joanne Lui and Peter Maurer; more at The Guardian, 29 April 2016).