Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Return-to-office mandates at some of the most powerful tech companies — Apple, Microsoft and SpaceX — were followed by a spike in departures among the most senior, tough-to-replace talent, according to a case study published last week by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.

Researchers drew on resume data from People Data Labs to understand the impact that forced returns to offices had on employee tenure, and the movement of workers between companies. What they found was a strong correlation between senior-level employees departing directly after a mandate was implemented, suggesting these policies “had a negative effect on the tenure and seniority of their respective workforce.” High-ranking employees stayed several months less than they might have without the mandate, the research suggests — and in many cases, they went to work for direct competitors.

At Microsoft, the share of senior employees as a portion of the company’s overall workforce declined more than 5 percentage points after the return-to-office mandate took effect, the researchers found. At Apple, the decline was 4 percentage points, while at SpaceX — the only company of the three to require workers to be fully in-person — the share of senior employees dropped 15 percentage points.

Source: Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Opinion: Russia can lose this war

On Thursday Russia will celebrate Victory Day, its commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Domestically, this is nostalgia. In the 1970s, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev created a cult of victory. Russia under Putin has continued the tradition.Abroad, this is intimidation. We are meant to think that Russia cannot lose.

And far too many of us, during Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, have believed that. In February 2022, when Russia undertook its full-scale invasion of its neighbor, the consensus was that Ukraine would fall within days.

Even today, when Ukraine has held its own for more than two years, the prevailing view among Russia’s friends in Congress and in the Senate is that Russia must eventually win. Moscow’s success is not on the battlefield, but in our minds.Russia can lose. And it should lose, for the sake of the world — and for its own sake.

Source: Opinion: Russia can lose this war

Top senators believe the US secretly recovered UFOs | The Hill

Has the U.S. government secretly retrieved exotic craft of “non-human” origin? Newly declassified documents, along with extraordinary legislation, illustrate how two successive Democratic Senate majority leaders appear to have believed so.

Notably, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) were not alone in their focus on UFOs. The Democratic heavyweights received critical support and encouragement from a bipartisan group of high-profile senators over the years, including former fighter pilot and famed astronaut John Glenn (D-Ohio); Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who observed a UFO as a World War II pilot; Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), then-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense; 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).

In late 2011, for example, the top scientist at the Department of Homeland Security met with Lieberman, then chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Reid to discuss the establishment of an ultra-secret UFO program.

Source: Top senators believe the US secretly recovered UFOs | The Hill

The Problem with Music | Steve Albini

I read this piece from Steve Albini years ago and it still resonates today. Steve died suddenly of a heart attack on Tuesday. The famed recording engineer (cough, producer) was sixty-one.

Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.

Nobody can see what’s printed on the contract. It’s too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody’s eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there’s only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says, “Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim it again, please. Backstroke.”

And he does, of course.

Source: The Problem with Music | Steve Albini

Congress hears testimony on Russia’s sonic attacks on US officials in Havana | US news | The Guardian

Russia has “targeted and neutralized” dozens of US intelligence agents in recent years in a covert worldwide operation using sonic weapons, a House committee heard on Wednesday as it looked into the mystery phenomenon known as Havana syndrome.

The panel heard from expert witnesses that Russia had “the motive, the means and the opportunity” to enact the attacks on US diplomats and other government employees at embassies and other government outposts that left many with debilitating or career-ending brain injuries and hearing loss.

Source: Congress hears testimony on Russia’s sonic attacks on US officials in Havana | US news | The Guardian

US AC-130J Ghostrider Destroys Chinese ‘Fishing Boat’ In Rare Military Drills Targeting Notorious Vessels

The US used its legendary AC-130J Ghostrider gunship in an exercise that involved firing its left-side guns on targets simulating China’s notorious fishing boats. This was during Exercise Balikatan 24 with the Philippine military. The AC-130J, used by the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), is a unique plane with a 30-mm and a 105-mm cannon on its left (port-side) lower fuselage.

The plane circles overhead while providing direct fire support to ground troops. It can also carry air-to-ground weapons like the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, GBU-69 Small Glide Munition, AGM-114 Hellfire missile, and AGM-176 Griffin missile.

The aircraft is a C-130 Hercules transport plane. The plane’s target of a small fishing boat, too, assumes significance since China’s use of large swarms of fishing vessels to assert its maritime rights has often vexed military experts.

Source: US AC-130J Ghostrider Destroys Chinese ‘Fishing Boat’ In Rare Military Drills Targeting Notorious Vessels

The Pentagon is lying about UFOs | The Hill

According to Gaetz, fighter pilots tracked four unknown objects flying in a “clear diamond formation.” Notably, the incident occurred on a training range typically conspicuously free of any airborne clutter.

In a case resolution report published last week, the Pentagon’s UFO analysis office concluded with “moderate” confidence that the object observed by the pilot was a balloon, likely “a large commercial lighting balloon.”

This so-called explanation insults the intelligence of any reader who takes a few moments to review the details of the incident. It did not convince the world’s most prominent UFO skeptic. The pilot’s sketch of the object, described as akin to an “Apollo spacecraft,” bears no plausible resemblance to the design of any known industrial lighting balloon.

Source: The Pentagon is lying about UFOs | The Hill

With ATACMS In Hand, Ukraine Looks To Neutralize Putin’s Fortress In Crimea

There is now no place in Russian-occupied Crimea that isn’t safe from attacks from Ukraine. Let’s go.

Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, his armed forces have pounded Ukraine with missiles and drones fired from the relatively safe confines of Crimea.

Following his occupation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula in 2014, the Kremlin leader poured billions of dollars into militarizing Crimea, expanding bases and constructing depots and other infrastructure.Now fortress Crimea faces a significant new threat that could neutralize its crucial role in the 26-month-old war: U.S. long-range ATACMS, or Army Tactical Missile Systems. After nearly two years of hesitation, the United States earlier this month delivered versions of the powerful ballistic missiles that can travel 300 kilometers — essentially reaching any of the more than 100 military targets on the peninsula.

“The delivery of ATACMS is a big breakthrough. It could basically make Crimea militarily worthless,” Philip Karber, a Washington-based military analyst who focuses on Ukraine, told RFE/RL.

Source: With ATACMS In Hand, Ukraine Looks To Neutralize Putin’s Fortress In Crimea

Opinion: I’m a Jewish student at Yale. Here’s what everyone is getting wrong about the protests | CNN

In light of student arrests Monday morning — along with similar arrests at Columbia last week — campus clashes and concerns around antisemitism are once again in the news.

I do not deny that there has been a shocking and upsetting rise in antisemitism over the last few months, including several instances of antisemitism right at Yale and in New Haven. Last fall, one professor’s post on X (formerly Twitter) appearing to praise Hamas’ October 7th attack sparked a petition for her to be fired.

I have had countless painful conversations with close friends trying to explain to them how their rhetoric has at times minimized the killing and hostage-taking of Israeli Jews and how that language hurts their Jewish classmates, myself included.

But when people see pro-Palestinian protesters arrested at the same time as President Joe Biden and others are warning about a surge of antisemitism on college campuses, they apply the same tired framework — supposedly antisemitic pro-Palestine activists pitted against Jewish pro-Israel activists — to Yale. As a fourth-year Yale student, I find this characterization to be deeply frustrating, as it could not be further from the truth. At every turn, I have encountered a community of activists and organizers that is eager to listen, ready to learn and committed to including Jewish voices and perspectives.

Source: Opinion: I’m a Jewish student at Yale. Here’s what everyone is getting wrong about the protests | CNN

COVID-free again

Well, I am fully on the other side of my very first COVID infection. I was still testing positive on Monday morning, though I went into the office (masked) for a meeting with my manager. By Wednesday I tested negative, which would have been 11 days after being infected at EncounterQuest. According to the science stories I posted recently, a fully-vaccinated COVID patient such as myself is normally only contagious for an average of four days. Almost no one is contagious after 8-11 days from symptom onset.

I had blocked off my work week to work from home with the goal of not spreading this to my colleagues. Though I am feeling much better, I have opted to continue working from home this week.

So, was COVID fun? Not really. I was really, really tired the first two days of symptom onset. My brain felt fried all last Tuesday night and I was sweating at night, pulse racing as my body responded. Last Wednesday I began taking Paxlovid and my energy quickly returned (though the side effects of diarrhea and a bitter taste in my mouth were not fun). By the end of last week, Kelly and I were comfortable with not masking around each other.

Fortunately, there was no real pain. No fever. I was in a stupor for the first few days but once I was sleeping better (Paxlovid?) my brain function began to return. And I never lost my sense of taste or smell (though the bitter taste was a temporary add-on).

Good to be back to the land of the living again!