Strike gets real, and new office digs=picket line

The WGA is officially on strike, but this doesn't mean a surfeit of brunching scribes playing with their Webkinz or perusing Fantasy Football matchups. For WGA members, the strike means 4 hrs/day of picketing:

"I've heard that a couple of people are greeting the news that their presence is required on the picket line with the very human and yet disappointing, 'Cool... So, um, what happens if we don't show up?'" a WGA email said. "So be aware: Failure to picket is a violation of Strike Rule 10, which says: 'You must picket and/or perform other strike support duties and cooperate with Guild committees charged with enforcement of the Strike Rules...' Absent a valid medical excuse, non-writing employment, compelling personal circumstances [necessary child or elder care] or emergency, you are obligated to perform these duties when and where requested. If there is a personal circumstance making strike support duties impossible when requested, members are required to arrange alternate times to contribute to the strike effort...' Basically, failing to picket is a punishable offense. (via Nikki Finke)

I'm not sure how strong of a presence the WGA has on Second Life, but maybe they could take a cue from IBM Italy workers, who sent their avatars--and others from around the world, totaling 2,000--to strike for them in September.

One protester reports:

Well I don't know what miracle happened, but my avatar got in...to a real staff meeting! They were discussing the corporate website's new functionalities, it seems. So since I managed to get in, why not call some of my protester friends? Minutes later, some 20 participants and staff teleported to literally crash the meeting. We had people saying slogans, some beeping sounds, horns and again, the jumping up and down with our banners and flying fish...It was the most disrupting event I've witnessed so far...! The poor IBM staff were quite confused and asked us to go protest outside. We, in return, demanded to speak to IBM management to put forward our requests. They ended up canceling their meeting."

Already, a new contract for IBM Italy workers has been signed, and you can keep updated on the progress here...For WGA strike updates, Chad Gervich has excellent coverage over at his Script Notes column for Writer's Digest. So do we have any striking _flossers in our midst? Or if you've otherwise clocked in for picket line work, please do share.

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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month
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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

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New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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