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Philly Restaurants Revolt over Unauthorized Food Delivery “Partnerships”

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Philly Restaurants Revolt Over Unauthorized Food Delivery “Partnerships”

Grubhub, Doordash, and Postmates have been listing some Philly restaurants’ menus and information on their sites without permission, leaving small-business owners to deal with the consequences.

Getty images

Philly’s Love & Honey Fried Chicken shared an image of a complaint against Grubhub on Instagram over the weekend, threatening legal action if the restaurant’s menu was not removed from the site. By midday Monday it appeared that Grubhub had complied, but the post had already set off a chain of comments from the restaurateurs behind spots like Elwood, Mike’s BBQ, and Saté Kampar that demonstrate how many restaurants across the city have had problems with food-delivery companies.

@grubhub you don’t know who you are dealing with.

A post shared by Love & Honey Fried Chicken (@loveandhoneyfriedchicken) on

In October, Eater reported that Grubhub, currently the largest such service, was joining competitors such as Doordash and Postmates in listing restaurants on its site without actually partnering — or even communicating — with the businesses. This non-partnership policy seems to be hitting Philly restaurants hard, judging by an outpouring of frustration from restaurant owners across the city. (And by the way, this isn’t the first time local restaurants have pushed back against delivery companies. Last year, Tiffin, the Philly-based Indian chain, filed a class-action lawsuit against Grubhub for charging restaurants for phone calls that did not result in orders.)

At Baology, which partners exclusively with the delivery service Caviar, owner Judy Ni says the restaurant has struggled with being listed on Doordash and Grubhub. Because the restaurant doesn’t have an account with these companies, it doesn’t receive any orders that are submitted through them.

“The couriers walk in and we tell them we don’t even have an account with Doordash,” Ni explained. “And so they leave and they go outside and call the guest, and the guest doesn’t understand what’s going on — it makes us look absolutely terrible, and it becomes this mess of confusion for the guest.

“If they want to place an order, we’re happy to ring it in just like any other guest, but the prices and menu options on Doordash’s site are wrong, and it makes us sound completely incompetent and we don’t want that to be a representation of the way we do business.”

This has also been a problem at Saté Kampar, where owner Ange Branca has fought for years to have her information removed from both delivery sites and a fake website. Sate Kampar takes to-go orders over the phone, regularly — but unknowingly — accepting Doordash orders that way. When the couriers arrive to pick up the orders and the restaurant’s listed menu prices turn out to be higher than those listed on Doordash, guests refuse to pay the correct charge. This means lost money for Sate Kampar, as well as wasted time and angry customers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7i1hTCDNCy/

Last year, Hardena started receiving phone orders via Postmates, which listed prices from the restaurant’s original 2001 menu. They refused to accept the orders, says co-owner Diana Widjojo, but guests began complaining that the prices they’d seen online weren’t the same as in the restaurant. Postmates told the team at Hardena that the only way to change the prices would be to become a member, which meant accepting delivery orders and paying the company a percent of their profit. The listing is still live, and still reflects the 2001 menu prices. Grubhub, Doordash, and Postmates did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Even when restaurants intentionally partner with these companies, it can be a financial strain. According to Kiki Aranita, who owns Poi Dog, UberEats and Caviar charge the restaurant about 30 percent of the order cost, which is standard for the industry.

“Imagine traditional restaurant pricing,” Aranita explains. “30 percent labor, 30 percent food cost — not to mention all the other fees of running a restaurant. If 30 percent also goes to delivery, that can negate any profit. We have these services because we sell more food through them, obviously, but the system is such that profits through them are low.”

The profits are so thin that Poi Dog no longer offers fresh ahi tuna or salmon poke on their catering and delivery menus.

“Our food cost for fresh, sushi-grade fish is much higher than, say, chicken or pork,” Aranita said. “We only bring in fresh, quality fish for our poke, so if we were to put an item with a 40 percent food cost on a delivery menu, we would be losing money on each bowl.”

Despite the fees they charge restaurants, food delivery companies have struggled to attain profitability. According to The Information, Doordash is expected to lose $450 million this year, and Grubhub significantly reduced its expected earnings for last year. Ni, who worked in private equity before joining the hospitality business over a decade ago, says she believes that these companies are incorrectly representing the value of these services to customers.

“If you don’t provide an accurate picture of the service, it devalues everyone that’s part of it,” Ni says. “If you tell customers it should be cheaper, you’re devaluing our businesses, and that’s not going to help with increasing diversity and supporting these small businesses that really need our support. This is all going to blow up at some point, and customers are going to feel really confused because these companies have been lying about the cost of delivering food to them.”

According to comments on Love & Honey’s post, both they and the Kettle Black have hired lawyers and threatened legal action if their menus weren’t removed from these sites. (Love & Honey’s owners were not available for comment.) The outcry from these restaurants is an indication that they need the support of guests.

“If you can come directly into the shop and order, do that,” Ni says. “Make it clear to these apps that you’d be willing to accept slightly higher prices to make sure all parties involved can be compensated properly. We understand the convenience factor and don’t disagree with the market need for these types of apps.  We’re just asking for a fairer playing field.”

This post has been updated.


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fxer
7 hours ago
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Feds seize Alan Turing’s doctorate, knighthood medal after offered to CU Boulder

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Federal officials say they recovered mathematician and World War II-era codebreaker Alan Turing’s doctoral degree, knighthood medal and other pieces of memorabilia in Colorado in 2018, almost 36 years after they were stolen.

In filings in the U.S. District Court of Colorado Friday, federal officials say they seized the British mathematician’s Princeton University degree, his Order of the British Empire medal and several photos, school reports and letters from his time at Sherborne School, a boarding school in Dorset, England.

According to the seizure notices, a woman named Julia Turing approached the University of Colorado Boulder in January 2018, saying she wanted to loan Alan Turing’s memorabilia to the library. Archivists at the library determined the items were stolen from Sherborne in 1984.

Based on her own admission to investigators and from Sherborne records, Julia Turing visited the school during a larger study of Alan Turing’s life and asked to see his archive, which was stored in a wooden box in a laboratory. School officials said they found a note underneath the box after the theft, reading: “Please forgive me for taking these materials into my possession. They will be well taken care of while under the care of my hands and shall one day all be returned to this spot.”

Julia Turing isn’t related to Alan Turing, but she changed her last name from Schwinghamer in 1988, according to the complaint. A former biology teacher at the Sherborne said Julia Turing claimed she was Alan Turing’s daughter when he gave her a tour of the school.

A month after she reached out to CU Boulder, federal officials searched Julia Turing’s home in Conifer and recovered the items, which are valued at $37,775. The property is in the possession of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Denver.

However, the items could have far greater value. One of Turing’s notebooks from 1942 was sold at auction for mor than $1 million in 2015. It was not a part of the items found in Julia Turing’s home.

Alan Turing developed several processes for breaking German military ciphers for British intelligence agencies during World War II and is considered a forefather of computer science and algorithmic design. He died by poisoning in 1954. His life story was most recently portrayed in the 2014 film “The Imitation Game.”

It’s unclear why federal agencies are now saying they recovered these items after nearly two years, or if they are slated for return to Sherborne School.

The U.S. Attorney for Colorado and CU Boulder were not available for comment Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.


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9 hours ago
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Astronomers find an oddball asteroid entirely inside the orbit of Venus

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The Zwicky Transient Facility at Palomar Observatory in California.

Enlarge / The Zwicky Transient Facility at Palomar Observatory in California. (credit: Caltech Optical Observatories)

Astronomers have found nearly 1 million asteroids in our Solar System, with the vast majority located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

It is far rarer to find asteroids with orbits closer to the Sun, and especially inside the orbit of Earth, due to Jupiter's gravitational influence. There are only about 20 known asteroids with orbits entirely inside that of Earth's. They are called Atira asteroids.

Many of these Atira asteroids have orbits that are substantially tilted away from the plane of the Solar System, suggesting past encounters with Mercury or Venus.

A rare find

Until now, scientists have theorized that Vatira asteroids might exist—those with orbits inside Venus—but had yet to find one. They would be difficult to observe because their orbits would bring them close to the Sun, leaving only a short window to find them in the dusk or dawn sky. And also because presumably they are quite rare due to the gravitational challenge of squeezing into a stable orbit so near the Sun.

But now astronomers have found a Vatira asteroid for the first time. The body, called 2020 AV2, was found earlier this month by the California Institute of Technology's Zwicky Transient Facility, and confirmed by other observatories around the world.

"Getting past the orbit of Venus must have been challenging," said George Helou, a Caltech astronomer and co-investigator at the Zwicky facility, in a news release. "The only way it will ever get out of its orbit is if it gets flung out via a gravitational encounter with Mercury or Venus, but more likely it will end up crashing on one of those two planets."

Astronomers say the asteroid spans about 1 to 3 kilometers in diameter and has an orbit tilted about 15 degrees relative to the plane of the Solar System. During its 151-day elongated orbit, it remains within the path of Venus while also approaching the orbit of Mercury. It likely was thrown into the intervenusian orbit by an encounter with another planet.

The Zwicky camera, attached to a telescope at Palomar Observatory in Southern California, is well suited to finding asteroids because it scans the entire sky rapidly and can observe asteroids during their short-lived appearances in the night sky.

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Qumran National Park in Israel

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Qumran Ruins

The story of Qumran began in the second century BC when the Essenes settled in this remote spot near the Dead Sea. The Essenes were an all-male Jewish sect that lived in Israel from the 2nd century BC until the fall of the second temple in 70. They lived a monastic life, and strictly observed the rules of Moses as they were written in the Torah.

It is thought that about 200 people lived in Qumran, sharing meals, studying scripture and keeping their own calendar. The Romans conquered Qumran in 68, destroyed it, and the Essenes dispersed, leaving the ruins largely abandoned for almost 2,000 years.

In 1947, Bedouins came across several ancient scrolls stored in jars inside a cave in the desert near Qumran, which was the beginning of a significant discovery. Archeologists began to explore the area and between 1947 and 1956 found a total of 20 complete scrolls and some 16,000 fragments of manuscripts spread across 12 caves. The scrolls found include books from the old testament of the Bible, non-biblical religious texts, and detailed descriptions of the daily life of the Essenes people. Today, the collection is widely known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A visit to the Qumran National Park gives us a peek into this mysterious historical story. Thanks to the arid climate of the Dead Sea Valley, the ruins of Qumran village were very well preserved. The complex includes remnants of an aqueduct, water reservoirs, kitchens, a watch tower, and a gathering hall. There is a museum at the site that houses archeological finds from excavations at the site. The caves can be viewed from an observation deck, but the entrance to the caves is not permitted to the public.

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Crispus Attucks Needs No Introduction. Or Does He?

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In a melee on March 5, 1770, later called the Boston Massacre, British soldiers killed five Patriots. One was a man named Crispus Attucks, whom many consider the first casualty of the American Revolution. It’s now believed that Attucks was of African and Native American ancestry, and probably freed himself from slavery in Framingham, Massachusetts, around 1750. In the years after his self-emancipation, Attucks worked on the docks and whaling ships.  

The future president John Adams, in defending the Redcoats in court, called the Bostonians involved “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negros and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish Jack Tars.” Attucks was the ringleader of the mob, Adams said; the dockworker apparently fit several of those disparaging categories.

American studies scholar Karsten Fitz traces Attucks’s posthumous career in images of the Boston Massacre. None other than Paul Revere engraved the first widely circulated picture of the event, The Bloody Massacre, perpetrated in King-Street, Boston, on March 5th, 1770, published three weeks after the skirmish (featured image, above). Fitz calls this famous image “one of the most striking distortions in the record of the visual narratives of the American Revolution.”

Revere’s engraving should not be taken so much as historical record as propaganda for the Patriot cause, writes Fitz: Revere portrays Redcoats firing on gentlemen Patriots at point-blank range. (In reality, the Bostonians were armed, albeit with sticks, rocks, and snowballs, and by all accounts were moving aggressively toward the soldiers.)  Depending on the version of the print, a head in the lower left may be Crispus Attucks. But in many existing copies, this figure isn’t portrayed as African American. Nonetheless, this is the image that has “become part of the storehouse of American cultural memory.”

Subsequent “visual narratives” also erased the participation of African Americans like Attucks from the Revolution. Fitz suggests that white Americans preferred images like this, so as not to connect “their national formative events . . . with the system of slavery[.]” A whitewashed Boston Massacre would “hide” slavery “from their commemoration of the founding of the nation.”

Figure 1: Crispus Attucks, the First Martyr of the American Revolution by William C. Nell via NYPL

Fitz argues that this iconic “mother image” was the beginning of a process: “the erasure, the marginalization, and the re-emergence of the black presence” in representations of the Revolution. Indeed, it took eighty-five years for Attucks to be portrayed as the leader of the Bostonians, as Adams said he was. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a black abolitionist was the first to do it: in 1855, William C. Nell presented “Crispus Attucks, the First Martyr of the American Revolution” in his The Coloured Patriots of the American Revolution (fig. 1). Nell places the dying Attucks front and center, being held in the arms of a white compatriot in the manner of popular “dying general” paintings of the day.

Figure 2: Boston Massacre by William L. Champney via Wikimedia Commons

William L. Champney (“of whom next to nothing is known,” according to Fitz) also centered Attucks in his 1856 print “Boston Massacre” (fig. 2). But neither Nell’s nor Champney’s works had anywhere near the distribution of Alonzo Chappel’s “Boston Massacre” (1857, fig. 3), which reverted back to the Revere style: there is a black man in the crowd, but he’s obscured, not the leader, nor the first martyr. 

Figure 3: Boston Massacre by Alonzo Chappel via Wikimedia Commons

“American art in the middle decades of the nineteenth century was consciously designed to influence and elevate the national character,” writes Fitz. Images of the massacre in the 1850s were conflicted about Attucks, who became a symbol for the abolitionist movement. There was, after all, no better representative of freedom than a former slave who died for the cause.


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The post Crispus Attucks Needs No Introduction. Or Does He?  appeared first on JSTOR Daily.

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LastPass stores passwords so securely, not even its users can access them

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Updated Password manager LastPass appears to have had a big night out on Friday, to the point where the service needed a lenghty lie down over the weekend. In fact, for some users it is still horizontal.

Social media is awash with customers unable to connect to the service either via the company's website or through its various apps. For some, the problem has been going on for days.

@LastPass since three days I can't log-in, getting message "An error has occurred while contacting the LastPass server. Please try again later.". The best part is that LP says everything is ok: https://t.co/Ad4SJvOiFj

No information, no help, sad 😢😥

— Jacek Zloty (@JacekZloty) January 20, 2020

While the company's status page insists that everything is hunky-dory, the volume of wailing indicates that something has gone awry. Customers have been asked to clear caches, reinstall apps, everything bar the immortal "turn it off and turn it on again" to no avail. Some have indulged in a bit of amateur sleuthing to identify a pattern in the affected accounts.

I got a reply from LastPass support saying to clear my cache... @!$# Multiple browsers, multiple devices, same issue everywhere!

One thing I'm curious about is maybe it's only happening with people who have had LastPass for a certain amount of time? I've had mine since 2014.

— Charles Lehardy (@BetaBlueIS) January 20, 2020

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

Fanning the flames is the company's attitude, which seems akin to the "works alright on my PC, guv" so beloved by techies and users alike.

Still, at least whoever is running the LastPass Status Twitter account said the company was looking into the wave of wailing, before once again insisting that "no service issues have been identified."

It's not us, it's you.

This hasn't been working for me for 3+ days - neither Chrome extension or website: pic.twitter.com/YJ8BijMhYN

— Henrik Helmø Larsen (@H3nr1kL4rs3n) January 20, 2020

Password managers are tremendously useful tools in a world where every website seems to require a login with ever more convoluted passwords. Such is the level of slickness with which the tools integrate both within browsers and the iOS and Android platforms that users frequently never know what password has been used.

Naturally, some users have been quick to trumpet the names of competing managers to which they intend to jump. We, however, remain rather taken by the Terence Conran leatherbound "Logins & Passwords" book.

Maybe the current outage is a sign that a return to a more analogue world is due.**

The Register contacted LastPass to find out what in blue blazes is going on and will update if an explanation is forthcoming.

* Total Inability To Serve User Passwords

** Please don't do this

Updated to add

LastPass issued this statement to The Register: "We are aware and actively investigating reports from a few LastPass customers from over the weekend who may be experiencing issues and receiving errors when attempting to log in. At this time we believe this is an isolated issue with limited impact and our engineers are working to resolve the issue."

Sponsored: Detecting cyber attacks as a small to medium business


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fxer
16 hours ago
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Get Bitwarden.
Bend, Oregon
DMack
15 hours ago
sounds like their support staff hasn't improved in the past 6 years, just like the software itself
freeAgent
9 hours ago
I've had a great experience with 1Password so far. LastPass sound straight-up negligent here.
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