Posts tagged with "Shelter in place"

‘Summit’ talks: What on Earth is the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’?

July 22, 2020

On July 20, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a detailed, colorful poster entitled New York Toughdepicting the surge of the coronavirus pandemic within the state as a steep mountain that New Yorkers worked hard to flatten by their cooperative actions to shelter in place, shut down all nonessential businesses, test for the virus, social distance and wear masks; and support the healthcare heroes who work at the front.

But in addition to this familiar visual metaphor, Claire Lampen, a writer for New York Magazine’s The Cut, noted that the poster “…also features a bunch of highly specific yet bewildering symbols: ‘Winds of Fear’ bluster around the mountain as the crisis builds; a mask mandate at the mountain’s peak helps usher New York into its first phase of reopening; and the economy, portrayed as a river (?), feeds into the “Sea of Division” (??).

However, “perhaps the most perplexing detail,” Lampen says, “is the “Boyfriend Cliff”—represented by a little crag [midway up the right side of the mountain] with a small man dangling from its tip.”

“Is the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’ where we dispose of … boyfriends once we are through with them? Does the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’ refer to a boyfriend named Cliff?” she asks.

Or does the “Boyfriend Cliff” symbolize your relationship falling off a cliff when you and the significant other you don’t live with, who (again) may not be a boyfriend, realize you won’t be seeing each other for a few months due to social-distancing recommendations.

Some think it’s a personal reference made by the governor. For example, Syracuse.com seems pretty certain the “Boyfriend Cliff” harks back to a comment Cuomo previously made at a press conference, concerning his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, her boyfriend (not named Cliff), and the Cuomo family’s Spaghetti Sundays.

Chrissy Teigen, who weighed in on Twitter, seems to agree with this reading. She reminded Cuomo that he had claimed to “like the boyfriend,” prompting Cuomo to clarify, “We do like the  boyfriend. Alll boyfriends face a steep climb.”

The Cut contacted Cuomo’s office for answers. Two days later, Peter Ajemian— Cuomo’s senior deputy communications director—offered an explanation. According to Ajemian, the “Boyfriend Cliff” is simply “an ongoing‎, playful bit the governor has been doing publicly with his family over the past few months to help lighten spirits during an incredibly difficult time.” And why a cliff? There is so much we still don’t know.

Research contact: @TheCut

Twitter will allow employees to work from home ‘forever’

May 14, 2020

For those of its workers who are flourishing while conducting meetings on Zoom with a child on their laps and a cat next to the keyboard, social media giant Twitter announced on May 12 that it plans to let anyone who wishes to work from home to do so for the foreseeable future—even after its offices reopen in a post-pandemic world, ABC News reports.

“Twitter was one of the first companies to go to a WFH [work from home] model in the face of COVID-19, but we don’t anticipate being one of the first to return to offices,” the company said in a statement.

The past few months of having staff almost entirely remote “have proven we can make it work,” the statement continued. “So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

Twitter said its offices will not likely open before September, and when reopening does occur, it will be a gradual and cautious process, ABC notes. No in-person company events for the rest of 2020 are scheduled.

“We’re proud of the early action we took to protect the health of our employees and our communities,” Twitter said. “That will remain our top priority as we work through the unknowns of the coming months.”

Research contact: @ABC

Pokémon Stay? Niantic is updating Pokémon Go so you can play from home

April 17, 2020

Pokémon Go will soon get a bit easier to play at home—even from that indent you have created in your couch over the past few weeks, Fast Company reports.

The augmented reality mobile game was a smash hit when AR pioneer Niantic launched it in 2016. That may be eons in technology time—but Pokémon Go is still quite popular to

However, the COVID-19 lockdowns have made the most compelling features of Pokémon Go so impracticable, so, San Francisco-based Niantic has announced that it is working on “new and exciting gameplay that can be enjoyed both from home and when we’re able to go out and explore together again.”

According to Fast Company, Remote Raids is the big change coming to players nextRaid Battles, added to the game in 2017, enable players to get together at a physical spot to battle powerful pokémon. “Soon,” Niantic says, “you’ll be able to join any Raid Battle you can see on the Nearby screen or that you can tap on the map.”

Indeed, TechCrunch reports the feature will be “live in the coming days.”

Niantic teased other updates in the works, “including improved battle-screen design” and bonus Field Research “activities that you can complete from home.” Check out Niantic’s blog for more details.

Research contact: @FastCompany

Udacity offers one month of free tech training during COVID-19 crisis

March 27, 2020

Online learning platform Udacity is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free tech training to workers who have been laid off, furloughed, or are sheltering in place, due to the crisis.

On March 26, the Mountain View, California-based company announced on its blog that it will offer its courses—known as nanodegrees—free for one month. The average price for an individual signing up for a nanodegree is about $400 a month, and the degrees take anywhere from four to six months to complete, according to the company.

Gabe Dalporto, CEO of Udacity, told CNBC that over the past few weeks, as he and his senior leadership team heard projections of skyrocketing unemployment numbers as a result of COVID-19, he felt the need to act. “I think those reports were a giant wake-up call for everybody,” he says. “This [virus] will create disruption across the board and in many industries, and we wanted to do our part to help.”

Dalporto says Udacity is funding the scholarships completely and that displaced workers can apply for them at udacity.com/pledge-to-americas-workers .

Udacity will take the first 50 eligible applicants from each company that applies, and within 48 hours individuals should be able to begin the coursework. Dalporto says the offer will be good for the first 20 companies that apply and that “after that we’ll evaluate and figure out how many more scholarships we are going to fund.

The hope is that while individuals wait to go back to work, or in the event that the layoff is permanent, they can get training in fields that are driving so much of today’s digital transformation. Udacity’s courses include artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing, product management, data analysis, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, among others.

The company also announced this week that any individual, regardless of whether they’ve been laid off, can enroll for free in any one of Udacity’s 40 different nanodegree programs. Users will get the first month free when they enroll in a monthly subscription, but Dalporto pointed out that many students can complete a course in a month if they dedicate enough time to it.

Dalporto says. “The great irony in the world right now is that at the same time that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs, there are areas in corporations where managers just can’t hire enough people for jobs in data analytics, cloud computing and AI.”

Research contact: @CNBC