welcome to The long view– where we go through the week’s news and cut it down to the essentials. let’s work what really matters.
This week: Verizon fined for allegedly spreading disease, Bolt Financial repeats past mistakes and Yandex founder resigns.
1. NY AG vs. VZ: FIGHT!
First up this week: another summer, another outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York. State Attorney General Letitia James has harsh words to say about Verizon’s maintenance file roof air coolers.
Analysis: is your data center killing people?
Poorly maintained air conditioning condensers or cooling towers can breed bacteria and spray them all over the surrounding area. Remember to maintain yours, as AG James claims Verizon has. Legionella and other bacteria spread by aerosols can pose a serious health hazard to employees, visitors and neighbors—potentially fatal.
Rebecca Heilweil: New York Attorney General calls out Verizon for spreading Legionnaires’ disease
When you think of potential disease vectors, Verizon probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But this week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of a three-year investigation into cooling towers in buildings across the state. That doesn’t look good for Verizon.
Findings…reviewed Verizon’s cooling tower maintenance record from 2017 [and] arrive amid two new clusters of Legionnaires… including an outbreak in the Bronx that has so far killed two people and infected at least 24. [At] four specific cooling towers in the Highbridge area of the Bronx…the bacteria was discovered growing. The [NYC] The Health Ministry did not say who was responsible. … the company [said] he admitted no wrongdoing.
Cooling towers like those used by Verizon are often placed on rooftops and are typically used to cool… telecommunications equipment. [If infected by] Legionella bacteria, this bacteria can also enter the air, where it can infect people nearby. These cooling towers are of particular concern because they can operate at ideal temperatures for the growth of this bacteria, especially in the summer.
So farVerizon was fined $118,000 for the historical failures. @LucyDunagan explains why this is important:
I’m mad. … A penalty of $118,000 is nothing. My husband had LD and spent 37 days in intensive care, fighting for his life and another 14 days in a respiratory hospital, being weaned from an incubator and learning to walk. Permanent damage to the lungs, heart and kidneys.
His bill was about half a million. He was never the same again and… two and a half years later, he died. That’s not even a slap on the wrist… for such a big company.
But is there more to come? With important clarification, here is u/winterspike:
The fine concerns [an] Verizon investigation that ended a few weeks ago and is unrelated to this latest outbreak. If this latest outbreak is attributable to Verizon, they will face much stiffer penalties.
2. Bolt Dot-Com Shens: Historical Rhymes
Bolt Financial is under fire for hundreds of interest-free loans it has given to staff to exercise stock options. Just over three months later, almost a third of the company I was fired.
Analysis: Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it
The loan program has ominous echoes of the dot-com crash of 22 years ago. Back then, frothy markets were sparking similar stock option shenanigans, leaving countless start-up employees with crippling debt or a big tax bill. “When the experience is not retained… childhood is perpetual.”
Arielle Pardes: Bolt loaned thousands of employees to buy stock, then fired them
At the end of May, [over one] day, 250 employees, almost a third of the company, had been made redundant. … But Bolt seemed fine; the founder boasted that the company was growing “at lightning speed”. An employee had even asked, during a recent town hall, whether to expect layoffs soon. CEO Maju Kuruvilla said no.
[This had] led some Bolt employees to take out personal loans from the company in order to exercise… options. Bolt founder Ryan Breslow…said more than half of Bolt employees opted into the program, [but] a Bolt spokesman said only a “single-digit” number of laid-off employees will have to repay loans.
During the dotcom crash of 2000, many other startup employees found themselves in a similar situation. These types of loans left people in debt [or] tax charges related to loan forgiveness.
Yeah. Sounds predatory, right? u/Korrocks isn’t so sure:
I don’t know if it’s necessarily too predatory. It appears that employees can be cured by selling the options back to the company, which in theory leaves them in the position they were in before taking out the loans. They would only have to repay the loans if they wanted to keep the options or get the shares.
The gray area is whether employees made career decisions based on stock value (for example, whether they accepted a lower salary than they could have gotten from other companies because they took into account the value of the options in their total compensation). Employees in this position may legitimately feel ripped off because they knew they would be pressured to resell the options after…being fired…so they might have either asked for more money as salary or taken different jobs to start. .
And we’re led to believe it’s less than 10 people. But skrtskrt doesn’t buy this:
A ton more who weren’t laid off borrowed money to exercise and probably had their valuation crushed. The fact that the C-suite feel comfortable doing this (even though there were no layoffs) is complete crap and says a lot more about them and the company than just how many people concerned.
3. Yandex founder resigns due to EU sanctions
Yandex’s billionaire Russian CEO Arkady Yuryevich Volozh was sanctioned by the EU last week. As a result, he “voluntarily” deviated from the Russian Internet Center.
Analysis: The War in Ukraine Calls for Another DevOps Scalp
Yandex, a former major internet services developer, is now widely seen as just another pawn in Vladimir Putin’s murderous game. And Volozh is the visible figurehead the EU needs if it wants to show how serious it is to harm those close to diet.
Paul Julius Reuter:Yandex CEO resigns after being targeted by EU sanctions
Russian internet giant Yandex [said] Arkady Volozh had resigned as CEO and quit the board after the European Union put him on its latest sanctions list against Russian entities and individuals. [He] was subject to EU sanctions on Friday after the bloc accused it of “materially or financially” supporting Russia.
Yandex itself is not subject to EU sanctions. The company said it did not believe Volozh’s departure would affect its operations: … “The board continues to operate as normal. Yandex has a strong and deep management team that is well positioned to take the business to new levels,” he said.
Russia…sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24. [It] calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbor.
What causes paroxism in this anonymous coward:
Despite Russia’s laughable “Nazi” propaganda and the acknowledged existence of a small number of far-rightists in Ukraine – whom the Russians have attempted to use to smear the entire country and justify their invasion – it is quite clear that Russia is the closest to the historical Nazis in this scenario, down to the Russian-speaking excuse of “Sudetenland”.
Yes, we know that the Soviets sacrificed many of their people and helped the allies defeat the Axis powers. But they did it because they had to.
Stay in your lane, Richi. Why is the EU targeting Аркадий Юрьевич Волож? golergka knows:
The Yandex News service is how many Russians consume news media. It has a systemic history of censorship and propaganda. Additionally, Yandex search is also notorious for censoring results, again in the interests of the Russian state.
Once upon a time, in the 2000s, Yandex was a big company, with a world-class tech community and great ties to the Russian math community. … Unfortunately, that reputation is now destroyed.
The moral of the story:
Life… is a story told by an idiot – full of sound and fury, meaning nothing
Have you read The long view by Richi Jennings. You can contact him at @RiCHi Where [email protected].
Image: Josh Hild (via Unsplash; leveled and cropped)