The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.
Why People Say So Many Stupid Things on Twitter – Social media is full of word vomit, boneheaded comments, and sheer stupidity. Reasoned discourse regularly goes by the wayside.
There’s a simple explanation for this sorry cesspool. Social media puts humanity’s most primitive thinking on display for all to see.
That’s not meant to be an insult, it’s simply a matter of psychology. In his bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman makes the case that humans utilize two modes of thinking: system 1 and system 2. System 1 is the more primitive of the two, operating “automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.” On the other hand, system 2 is slow, deliberative, and controlled, used, for example, to fill out a tax form or to check the validity of a complex argument.
It’s apparent which system is most prominently used on social media. Take Twitter, for example, where lots of information arrives lightning fast in brief, 140-character tidbits, and one’s similarly short response is just a few types and a click away. The platform basically goads users into sharing their quickest and most mindless reactions and opinions. Read More > at Real Clear Science
Equifax: Breach Exposed Data of 143 Million Consumers – Credit reporting agency Equifax said Thursday a web application flaw exposed 143 million customer records to hackers, a startling breach from a company that ironically offers identity theft protection services.
The information exposed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some cases, driver’s license numbers, according to a news release. Although most of those affected are U.S. consumers, Equifax says some “limited personal” information for U.K. and Canadian residents was affected.
Equifax also says the breach exposed credit card numbers for 209,000 U.S. consumers. The hackers also accessed what Equifax described as “dispute documents” containing personal information for 182,000 U.S. consumers.
While not the largest breach on record, it’s certainly one of most sensitive. Equifax is one of the largest aggregators of financial data related to U.S. consumers, and its records are used by a variety of other businesses to gauge a person’s creditworthiness. Read More > at Data Breach Today
Community college enrollment drops by double digits on some campuses; some call it a “crisis” – About half of California’s 114 community colleges are seeing enrollment drops this year, state education officials say – prompting calls for new recruitment tactics from some faculty and reassurances from administrators.
Administrators say three of the nine campuses in the L.A. Community College District are facing double digit enrollment drops this year.
Most of the blame for the enrollment decline, officials said, should be laid on the improving economy. In good economic times, they argued, many people do not enroll in community colleges to improve their job skills.
…There are other factors out of the hands of colleges that are contributing to the enrollment drop, Rodriguez aid, such as dropping birth rates, rising housing costs, and the lower unemployment rates.
But community colleges still have to work to research the higher education needs of their surrounding communities. Read More > at KPCC
Legal Marijuana Is Not Staying Where It’s Supposed to in the U.S. – In 2012, voters in the US states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures that legalized the recreational sale of marijuana. The US federal government responded to this legalization in 2013 through the “Cole Memo” (pdf). The memo, written by then deputy attorney General James Cole explained that though marijuana remained illegal by federal US law, the federal government would not prioritize enforcing the law in these states. Still, one federal priority would be “preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states.”
They don’t seem to be doing a great job.
According to a recently released paper (paywall) from economists at the University of Oregon, huge amounts of legally purchased marijuana spill over from Washington into other states. They estimate that about 7.5% of the marijuana sold in Washington leaves the state, and that the number was closer to 12% before neighboring Oregon legalized recreational sales in late 2015. In the months before Oregon’s legalization, the researchers believe well over 300 kilograms of marijuana poured across Washington’s border. Read More > at Route Fifty
Flamingos In The Men’s Room: How Zoos And Aquariums Handle Hurricanes – When you’re building a zoo disaster plan, there’s one thing to keep in mind: Murphy’s law. Anything that could go wrong, will.
Just ask the flock of flamingos that weathered Hurricane Andrew in a public restroom at Zoo Miami in 1992.
Or, you could ask the zoo personnel across the coast who’ve been running emergency drills since the start of hurricane season.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which represents more than 230 animal care facilities in the U.S. and abroad, requires all of its members to practice an annual disaster preparedness drill to keep their accreditation. And many facilities review or update their protocols every year, including Zoo Miami, which is now buckling down as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida.
…In preparation for Hurricane Irma this week, Zoo Miami’s plan is to stay put, too, says communications director Ron Magill. The reasoning, in part, is because the path of hurricanes can change quickly, and transporting an animal could actually mean moving it into more danger.
“That’s probably the No. 1 question I get asked: ‘Oh my God, when are you going to evacuate animals?’ We are never going to evacuate animals,” Magill says.
He says the stress of evacuating alone can be enough to kill an animal. Instead, the birds and small mammals of Zoo Miami will ride out the storm in independent kennels or buildings. The larger residents, particularly the carnivores and great apes, will bunker down in their usual indoor holding areas. Read More > at NPR
Lyft cars with self-driving AI will hit San Francisco streets – Lyft has been expanding rapidly over the last few months, and they’ve been open about their interest in self-driving tech. While they’ve made it clear they will always have human drivers, they’ve partnered with various companies, such as Waymo, to explore autonomous ridesharing. And now they’ve taken another step in that direction: Lyft announced that it’s partnered with Drive.ai, a company that produces AI for self-driving cars, for a pilot program in the Bay Area.
Drive.ai’s focus is artificial intelligence for self-driving cars, which is cost-efficient and can be developed relatively quickly. Their aim, much like Lyft’s, is to use autonomous driving tech to improve quality of life. The partnership will put actual self-driving cars, powered by Drive.ai’s intelligent software, onto the streets of San Francisco. Drive.ai has already received a self-driving permit from the state of California, and all pilot program vehicles will have a trained driver in the car, just in case.
It’s impossible to know how self-driving technology will function if companies can’t test it on actual roads, so this pilot is an encouraging sign. Read More > at Engadget
I Tried Shoplifting in a Store without Cashiers and Here’s What Happened – Say goodbye to the glitchy self-checkout scanners in your local retail store. Grocery buying is about to get a big boost from artificial intelligence.
At a prototype store in Santa Clara, California, you grab a plastic basket, fill it up as you amble down an aisle packed with all kinds of things—Doritos, hand soap, Coke, and so on—then walk to a tablet computer near the door. The tablet shows a list of everything that’s in your basket and how much you owe; you pay, and you leave.
This store is actually the demonstration space of a startup called Standard Cognition, which is using a network of cameras and machine vision and deep-learning techniques to create an autonomous checkout experience.
…Standard Cognition uses its cameras to track individual people in real time as they move around the store (Suswal says the company is not doing any facial recognition), and spot the items they take off the shelves. The company trains its deep neural networks to recognize items in the store, too, in a process that takes about two minutes per item and consists of an employee grabbing the item and doing things like turning it over, putting it behind their back, and placing it in a basket in view of the cameras.
…I grabbed a shopping basket to try it out myself. The results, while a little rough, were still impressive. I wandered down the aisle, placing Nilla Wafers, bottles of Coke, and other items in my basket, then taking some out and leaving them behind. I quickly shoved a can of Red Bull up my shirt in hopes that the cameras would miss it, and loaded up on similar-looking items (a bag of Doritos and a bag of Cheetos, as well as two different kinds of Mrs. Meyer’s liquid hand soap).
When I was done, I walked over to a tablet that showed me a list of all the items Standard Cognition thought I had in my basket. It missed one of my two bottles of Coke and added an additional bottle of soap—things we could edit in the checkout app on the tablet. But the list was mostly correct, and, to my chagrin, it caught that Red Bull, too. Read More > at MIT Technology Review
The Suspense Files: California bills vanish almost without a trace – Shortly after last year’s presidential election, Democrats in the California Legislature drew headlines by introducing a flurry of bills attacking “fake news.” They called for more resources to teach media literacy, so public school students could better discern facts from the kind of bogus stories that proliferated online during the campaign.
Yet in the months since, all three of those bills have quietly met their demise, victims of the Legislature’s appropriations committees. Officially, the committees—one in each house—are supposed to pull the Legislature’s purse strings, weighing how much a proposal is expected to cost, and comparing bills against one another to establish priorities for spending state tax dollars. Unofficially, the appropriations committee is where bills go to die—especially the ones the ruling party wants to bury with little trace.
This month the appropriations committees quietly killed the last of the fake news bills, a pile of marijuana measures, a proposal to create a “pro-choice” license plate and another to allow cities to keep bars open until 4 a.m.—an issue few lawmakers outside of San Francisco seem to regard as a burning problem.
As befits a good murder plot, lawmakers target potential victims by placing the bills on what they call the “suspense file.” Then, twice a year, the appropriations committees cull through all these bills, allowing some to proceed to a floor vote but stopping many in their tracks. In other committees, lawmakers publicly vote when they kill a bill, attaching their names and reputations to the decision. But there is no public vote when the appropriations committees snuff out bills on the suspense file. Read More > at CALmatters
Why Does High School Still Start So Early? – The last students around the country are making their way back to school this week. But regardless of the virtues of starting a new school year in August or in September, one thing is still almost uniformly true: Most of the nation’s public middle schools and high schools still start far too early—in the morning, that is. The latest data, part of the 2015–2016 National Teacher and Principal Survey (conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics), show an average high-school start time of 7:59 a.m. and an average middle-school start of 8:04 a.m. That’s unchanged from the previous NCES survey for the 2011–2012 school year—and much earlier than the 8:30 a.m. start time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others, based on the myriad health and academic risks too-early start times pose.
It isn’t that these recommendations aren’t well-known. Overall, though, changing school start times—and changing public opinion—has been slow. For one thing, teens are often still seen as the root cause of their own chronic sleepiness. As a parent volunteer who’s been advocating for healthy start times as part of Start School Later California, I spend a lot of time answering questions like, “Why can’t teens just go to bed earlier?” The answer? Kids’ body clocks shift when they hit adolescence, making it harder for them to fall asleep until about 11 p.m. They can’t get the recommended 8.5–9.5 hours of sleep their growing bodies need if they have to wake at dawn because of too-early start times.
Others see the current start times as good practice for the real world. As one commenter noted on a Slate article I wrote on the topic: “Most workplaces expect you to set your alarm, get up in the morning, and haul you’re a$$ to the office on time, despite the urgings of your circadian rhythms.” But this ignores the reality that there isn’t actually a uniform start time for work, and that adults need less sleep than teens. Read More > in Slate
Gap stock jumps on news it will shutter 200 stores – San Francisco-based retailer Gap Inc. said Wednesday that it will close 200 underperforming stores, which is around 10 percent of its store total, news that sent the company’s share price up more than 7 percent in late trading.
A spokesperson for Gap declined to comment on where the store closures, which will affect Gap and Banana Republic, will take place.
Speaking at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) retail conference on Wednesday, Gap CEO Art Peck said that the company’s slumping sales had come after “creative missteps” that had caused “significant and acute” damage to the retailer’s bottom line, CNN Money reports.
Gap said it plans to open 70 new net stores, an addition that will come as the company doubles down on the brands it has that have been doing well, Old Navy and Athleta. The S.F. company said it will open 270 new stores for Athleta and Old Navy over the next three years as it shutters its less successful counterparts across the Banana Republic and Gap portion of its portfolio. Read More > in the San Francisco Business Times
Electric cars are taking off. What’s the problem with an electric pickup truck? – Americans no longer face a lack of choice when choosing an electric car — unless, that is, they want a pickup truck.
Although sales of electric vehicles are soaring, with 105,000 plug-in vehicles sold by August this year —- a 35 percent increase over the same period in 2016 — car manufacturers have yet to put an electric truck on the road.
This could be about to change, and it has big implications.
One in every six vehicles bought in the United States is a pickup truck. Ford’s F-series truck has been America’s best-selling car for 35 years, shifting 500,000 units so far in 2017. America’s second most popular car is also a pickup truck. And its third.
…“Running on electricity is perfect for pickups. It makes the truck a more complete work station where you can plug in all your tools, including your power tools — even your arc welder. People have been denied the choice of an all-electric pickup truck and we want to make it right,” Havelaar Canada said in an emailed statement.
So why has the idea been so slow to catch on? Launching an electric pickup truck comes with its own set of difficulties, which manufacturers have attempted to address as they bring the models to market.
Pickup trucks are equipped to deal with heavy loads and tough terrain, and are designed for functionality and reliability. Perhaps the most pressing issue is how far their vehicle can travel before the battery runs out.
“It’s range anxiety on steroids, because suddenly you’re towing something or you’ve got a big load on the back,” Steve Burns, the chief executive of Workhorse, said in an interview. He’s attempted to assuage these concerns with a gasoline range extender, allowing the truck to continue beyond its 80 to 100 mile electric-only range “so you never have to sweat,” he said. Read More > in The Washington Post
Death of NFL inevitable as middle class abandons the game – To witness the death of the multi-billion dollar National Football League, you really don’t need to see sportswriters wringing their hands over the moral dilemma of covering America’s Roman circus of brain trauma.
And you don’t need to watch multi-millionaire football stars, pampered for most of their lives, ostentatiously disrespecting the American national anthem, kneeling, their raised fists in the air.
You don’t need to see the desperation in the NFL’s television commercials: actresses in team gear, holding snack trays to feed their (virtual) extended team-gear-wearing families, as the NFL begs middle-class women to mother their game before it dies.
You don’t have to do any of that to see how football is dying.
All you have to do is go out to a youth football field, as I did on Sunday morning, and talk to parents and coaches.
“Just four years ago, we had so many boys signing up for football, we had five teams at this fourth-grade level,” says John Herrera, a dad, software engineer and football coach of the Wheaton Rams in the Bill George Youth Football League in the western suburbs of Chicago.
“And from five teams of fourth-graders four years ago, what do we have now? One team. Just one.”
…Without that feeder system to provide fresh meat and fresh brains for the NFL meat grinder, the NFL as we know it is doomed.
There is still enough talent and size to fill the ranks. And gambling drives the game along. But without its connection to the middle class, the NFL loses what it can’t afford to lose — market share. Read More > in the Chicago Tribune
10 things you should teach your kids about money before they leave home – The moment you have dreaded has finally arrived. Your baby is leaving the nest. Some of the most valuable lessons you can impart should be shared right now, before they head out into the world.
In case you need help picking some wisdom to pass on, we’ve asked top money managers and financial pros to weigh in with their favorite lessons you should share with your child. You might learn a little something, too!
Lesson No. 1: Understand debt
It’s important to understand what student loans and other debts will really cost, both today and in the long run. Catey Hill, author of the coming book “The 30-Minute Money Plan for Moms: How to Maximize Your Family Budget in Minimal Time,” suggests using real examples with dollar amounts to demonstrate. She says, “Bankrate has a calculator that shows what paying the minimum looks like. Use the cost of anything that might be relatable to your teen, then plug those numbers into Bankrate’s calculator to show how expensive an item can get when you pay just the minimum.”
Lesson No. 2: Know what you expect to earn before you borrow
When weighing whether or not to take out a loan to pay for school, College Ave Student Loans CEO and co-founder Joe DePaulo suggests that you think about the type of career you see in your future. “It’s OK if you’re not exactly sure what you want to do yet, but having an idea of your future earning potential will help you avoid over-borrowing now,” he says. “It’s a general rule of thumb not to borrow more for school than you expect to make in the first year of your professional career.”
Lesson No. 3: Save, save, and save some more
Save what you can, and make saving a habit by revisiting your spending and savings goals each month. David Osborn, entrepreneur and co-author of “Wealth Can’t Wait,” says that by simply mastering the art of saving and investing, you could end up with a fortune. If you don’t understand money instinctively, Osborn suggests making it a priority to learn about wealth by reading or listening to roughly four books a year about investing. “Learning consistently leads to greatness over time,” he says. “Think of your extra dollars as employees, and if you put them to work for you, they will one day pay you all you need to live and more.” Read More > at Market Watch
Hurricane Harvey revealed the awesome power of real America – Following the news over the past weeks and months was making me sad. It gave the impression of an America hopelessly hostile and divided by race, class and politics, at swords’ points over even the smallest disagreements, with a government that seemed unable to perform the simplest task effectively. Then came Hurricane Harvey, and the real America appeared.
The government response to Harvey — unlike the earlier botched responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy — seems to be going well. But the real story isn’t what the government is doing. It’s what ordinary Americans are doing.
Across the affected area, Americans are coming together to help each other. Despite the racial divisions exacerbated by small numbers of fanatics on the left and right, (and amplified by the press), out in the real America white people, black people and Asians helped each other, men rescued women and children, and so on. The “Cajun Navy,” which had so distinguished itself in response to flooding in Louisiana, took its boats to Texas and started saving people.
People formed human chains to rescue victims, a black man (sent via Chik-fil-A) rescued an elderly white woman from her home on a jet-ski, driving it right out of her flooded living room. Some of the people helping were rich, others clearly were not. Likewise those they helped. The photos of rescuers and rescued show the kind of wide-ranging diversity that our colleges and corporations aspire to, but usually fail to deliver. Read More > at USA Today
Unbreakable Rubber Bands That Are 200 Times Stronger Than Steel Are Coming Soon – The world’s largest manufacturer of rubber bands is making its main product immortal.
Alliance Rubber Co., a 94-year-old company based out of Alliance, Ohio, has announced a new partnership with British researchers to infuse graphene into its rubber bands.
The rubber bands could transform how food travels through supply chains, simplify the shipment of fragile electronics, and, most satisfyingly, last forever.
Graphene’s signature property is its super-strength. More than 200 times tougher than steel, it is the strongest substance known to humans. Read More > at Science Alert
The complex process that dictionaries use to decide which words are obsolete – As a child, one of my favorite books was my mom’s dictionary from the 1960s. The words that delighted me then—like crapulence (hangover) and dischuffed (displeased)—have stuck with me for over 20 years, despite my never having seen them appear anywhere in print other than that particular dictionary.
Each year, 1,000 or so words enter the English language by officially making it into an authority like the Oxford English Dictionary. But it’s a lot easier to add a new word to the dictionary than it is to take one away—even a little-used one like dischuffed. A look at the process by which dictionaries eliminate words from their roundups reveals that it’s actually pretty hard for a word to get the boot.
“We rarely take words out of our dictionaries,” says Mary O’Neill, managing editor of the largest single-volume English language dictionary, the unabridged Collins English Dictionary, which clocks in at 2,305 pages. “This is especially true of our larger dictionaries. If we find that a word has fallen out of general use, or is not used as much as it was before, we usually label such words as ‘obsolete,’ ‘archaic,’ or ‘old-fashioned’ rather than deleting them entirely.”
…That said, lexicographers do have a process for deciding whether it’s fair to label a word as obsolete—the final resting place of an obscure or out-of-use word. The evidence for whether a word is in current use, or “quotation evidence,” comes from analyzing huge databases of written and spoken language, collected from a range of sources including academic journals, novels, newspapers, magazines, blogs, emails, social media, TV, and radio. Collins relies on its constantly updated, 4.5 billion-word computer-compiled database of language in current use, while the OED refers to its database of 2.5 billion words. Read More > at Quartz
US job growth slowed in August but economy still looks solid – The U.S. job market hit a lull in August, with employers adding a solid but less-than-robust 156,000 jobs and holding back on meaningful pay raises for most workers.
Friday’s jobs report from the government pointed to an economy that is still steadily generating jobs, though more slowly than it did earlier in its recovery from the Great Recession. With the economy now in its ninth year of expansion and unemployment near a 16-year low, fewer people are looking for work and fewer jobs are being filled.
The unemployment rate ticked up from 4.3 percent to a still-low 4.4 percent, the Labor Department said. The government also revised down its estimate of job growth in June and July by a combined 41,000, leaving an average monthly gain this year of a decent 176,000.
One reason why few analysts expressed concern about last month’s slower job gain is that monthly employment reports can be volatile – especially figures for August. Employers are gearing up for the start of fall, schools are reopening and the government can’t always precisely factor those changes into its August employment data. Read More > from the Associated Press
Cummins beats Tesla to the punch by revealing electric semi truck – Cummins may be best-known for producing brawny diesel engines for commercial trucks and light-duty pickups, but it’s leaping into the world of EVs with both feet. On Tuesday, the Columbus, Indiana-based company revealed an Urban Hauler Tractor concept that’s pure electric. In doing so, Cummins may have stolen a little thunder from Tesla — the Silicon Valley automaker has plans to reveal an electric semi truck of its own in September.
Designed as a Class 7 semi, the 18,000-pound big rig known as AEOS is designed to move freight locally, over short hauls. It can carry some 44,000 pounds of payload, and its 140-kWh battery pack only takes an hour to charge at a 140-kWh charging station. The fully operational prototype is only tipped to have 100 miles of range, however, so AEOS is definitely a city-oriented cargo solution. (By contrast, reports have Tesla’s yet-to-be-revealed rival as producing 200-300 miles of range). Cummins says that by 2020, improvements in battery tech are “expected to reduce” the charge time to 20 minutes. Read More > at Road/Show
Bohemia’s Strange Trip – San Francisco, that most forward-looking of cities, has looked backward this summer. Half a century after an estimated 100,000 young Americans descended on the 20 blocks surrounding the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets to “tune in, turn on, and drop out,” the city has commemorated the birth of America’s counterculture. A frenzy of nostalgia—exhibitions, concerts, conferences, lectures, installations, street fairs, walking and “magical mystery” bus tours—has celebrated all things “hippie.” More than 50 of San Francisco’s best-known institutions—the California Historical Society, de Young Fine Arts Museum, University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, San Francisco’s ballet and opera companies, dozens of art galleries, and private merchants—paid tribute to 1967’s Summer of Love, iconic shorthand for a decade that not only shattered the city’s and the nation’s cultural and political norms but also gave birth to a countermovement that elected Ronald Reagan as California’s governor…
By now, the information revolution has long since overrun the countercultural revolution, at least economically. Well-heeled techies have displaced latter-day hippies, says Stannous Fluoride, a wry, well-informed guide for Flower Power Walking Tours in the Haight. He spoke with me while guiding tourists along the Haight’s tree-lined streets and elegant late-Victorian houses, the so-called Painted Ladies, where Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane—and, yes, the mass murderer Charles Manson and Jonestown’s infamous Reverend Jim Jones—once lived or hung out. “What helped make the counterculture possible was cheap rent,” he says. But since 1987, San Francisco’s median home price has exceeded New York’s, and for years, the city has had the dubious distinction of being the nation’s most expensive; it appeared last year on the Guardian newspaper’s list of the world’s ten costliest places to live. The older, avant-garde Beats and, later, the teenage hippies who flocked here could not have afforded to live in the city today. The musicians who combined elements of jazz, blues, folk, and rock and roll at the Fillmore West and the Avalon Ballroom to produce a quintessentially American sound would not be able to pay the rates at even a decrepit recording studio today, much less the run-down house at 710 Ashbury Street once shared by San Francisco–born Jerry Garcia and other members of the Grateful Dead, the band that embodied the counterculture spirit.
Heroin, opioids, and crime are on the rise again in Fog City. Homelessness has again become a plague, and not only in the Haight. Billionaires step over sleeping bags and dodge dog feces on sidewalks to enter some of the nation’s most expensive restaurants. A city with more dogs than children, San Francisco has become, like New York, a city of extremes of wealth and poverty, with too few of the middle-class adults upon whom urban cultural and economic vibrancy ultimately depend. Read More > at City Journal
To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now – Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.
For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.
In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.
The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.
Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.
Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple. Read More > in The New York Times