America consumes the equivalent of 96 pounds of chicken per person every year. In order to make plant-based alternatives competitive, writes Andrew Zaleski on Future Human, they need to be manufactured at an industrial scale. Zaleski profiled Rebellyous Foods, a startup that has built a 10,000-square-foot production space in West Seattle with hopes of developing the technology it will take to produce enough fake meat to take on Big Chicken.
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What if the internet of things were inside you?
Jameson Rich has lived with a cardiac device connected to the internet for the past three years, well aware that the same types of security risks inherent to any connected gadget also apply to his heart. For OneZero, he writes about the proliferation of internet-connected medical devices and the anxiety of living with one.
At first, he was consumed by a fear that the device could harm or kill him. But “what bothers me more now,” he writes, “is the cavalier way the medical community has decided unilaterally that the threat of hacking does not matter for the average person, and that the side effects are outweighed by the lifesaving nature of the device.”
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In his latest Where Are They Now column for Marker, Whet Moser investigates what happened to the company behind the button-heavy, Obama-favorite BlackBerry. Though BlackBerry has thoroughly squandered the 55% share of the U.S. mobile phone market that it once owned, you’ve probably used its software recently without even realizing it.
In a further unexpected move, last year BlackBerry acquired a cybersecurity company, with hopes that an increase in remote work will drive a greater need for employers to protect their employees’ devices.
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Proposition 22 passed in California on Tuesday. Uber, Lyft, and other gig economy companies spent more than $200 million on the ballot measure, which will allow them to classify drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
Here’s what has changed:
Today California votes on Proposition 22, the controversial ballot initiative that seeks to grant companies like Uber and Lyft an exception to a California law that makes their workers employees. Roughly $202 million has been poured into the initiative, with companies resorting to strategies from sending deceptive mailers to printing “Yes 22” on delivery bags.
And there’s a reason that everyone is so amped up about it: Gig economy business models depend on classifying workers as independent contractors, who have no labor protections such as a minimum wage, paid breaks, or the right to unionize — though the initiative would grant them some relatively meager benefits. …
For decades, ABC aired A Charlie Brown Christmas each holiday season. But starting this year, the Peanuts special will instead stream exclusively on Apple TV+. Joshua N. Miller explores the significance of this move in an essay on Debugger.
“If Apple is bold enough to think it can make a profit by privatizing such a publicly recognized character like Charlie Brown,” he writes, “rival companies may proceed to make their own plans to ensure that consumers are spending the holidays on their respective platforms as well.”
All that is holding these companies back from strong-arming customers with exclusive access to their favorite iconic content, he writes, are syndication contracts that will eventually expire. And while no classic is safe from these land grabs, Apple’s exclusive on Charlie Brown is perhaps particularly stinging — the moral of the Christmas story, after all, is to find joy in community instead of capitalist norms. …
In April, OneZero’s Brian Merchant made the case that the pandemic put an end to the Amazon debate: Considering a long list of abuses at the company, he argues, shopping on its platform is unethical.
It’s a case worth keeping in mind during Amazon Prime Day, the company’s annual shopping holiday — actually two days long — that runs on October 13 and 14 after being pushed back from July this year.
Merchant writes that as Amazon stock hit record highs during the pandemic, the company slashed its affiliate sales fees, failed to inform workers of the risks of the virus, made decisions that hurt vendors, and fought its workers’ efforts to improve their working conditions — all on top of its already long record as a bad civic actor.
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Uber and Lyft are at war with the state of California after a judge ruled last month that ride-hailing companies, like other businesses, should be subject to a new law that classifies their workers as employees rather than independent contractors.
Instead of complying with the ruling, which would fundamentally change how the companies operate and make its workers eligible for protections and benefits, Uber and Lyft have floated the idea of becoming franchises and have also threatened to shut down completely. …
In 2009, the year Uber launched, FedEx made a change to its business model. The shipping firm had previously relied on independent contractors who owned their own trucks and were paid by the delivery or mile rather than the hour. For years, the company faced an onslaught of lawsuits arguing that the people who delivered mail in a FedEx branded truck and uniform should actually be classified as employees, rather than contractors, and protected by minimum wage and other labor laws.
To avoid treating workers as employees as a result of these lawsuits, FedEx pivoted instead to contracting with “independent providers” who managed multiple drivers, instead of independent individuals. The company argued that, in part, because these providers could negotiate their routes and rates, they met the definition of being independent and were not employees. …
There are few business maneuvers that Gary Vaynerchuk appears to love more than the flip. The Belarus-born, New Jersey-raised, straight-talking entrepreneur — “GaryVee” to his fans — regularly recommends flipping everything from sports cards to sports cars. He once created a special five-part video series devoted to his love of yard sales, and in January, suggested his fans flip 250 sweatshirts printed with the slogan “Hustle like my name is GaryVee,” congratulating via tweet those who succeeded in driving the price up on Ebay. So when the coronavirus essential supply schemers emerged in mid-March, like a teenage boy in the U.K. …