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Uber Drivers in China Are Using Ghoulish Pictures to Scare Away Passengers

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Adam Berry/Getty

The latest complaint Uber users have with the ride-sharing app sounds like the set-up to a horror movie: After a ride request is accepted, some passengers in China have been greeted with the profile of a “ghost driver” en route to pick them up. According to The Guardian, the spooky images are part of a new scheme used by drivers in China to score cancellation fees.

Drivers taking part in the deception will upload a picture manipulated to look like a ghost, zombie, or vampire to an otherwise normal profile. The intention is to frighten passengers into canceling their ride for a small fee the drivers then get to keep. Each cancellation amounts to 4.20 yuan, or about $.60.

That’s small enough that many would-be passengers won’t bother reporting the incident: Meanwhile, ghost drivers can spend the day scaring away customers and watch the fees add up. When brave passengers do decide to wait around for the ride, some ghost drivers will take the scam even further and accept a rider on the app as if they’ve entered the car without picking them up. The stood-up customer will eventually cancel and the driver still gets the fee.

Uber employees have plagued the ride-sharing service with scams in the past, from following unnecessary routes to charging customers for vomiting in the car when they never did. The company says they're refunding any customers who were involved in the latest scam and introducing facial-recognition technology to crack down on further driver fraud.

[h/t The Guardian]

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fun
Supermarket Employees to Compete in National Bagging Competition
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In today’s busy world, efficiency is king—especially at grocery stores, where long checkout lines can turn even the most patient shopper into a petulant purchaser. It only makes sense, then, that a nationwide competition exists among supermarket employees to determine the country’s best bagger.

As the Associated Press reports, Alysha Orrok, a teacher from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, recently won her state’s Best Bagger competition. She’s now headed to the U.S. finals, which will take place in Las Vegas in February 2018 and is sponsored by the National Grocers Association (NGA).

In Las Vegas, finalists from more than a dozen states—ranging from Washington to Florida—will duke it out onstage to see who’s truly king or queen of the checkout line. Competitors will be judged on weight distribution, appearance, speed, and technique (no smushed bread or bruised fruits allowed).

Orrok, who works evenings and weekends at a local grocery store, says she was initially clumsy on the job. “My first day as a bagger I dropped a soda and it exploded everywhere,” she told NBC Boston.

Over time, though, Orrok got so good at her side gig that she decided to compete in the New Hampshire state bagging competition earlier this month. At the tournament, "I was like 10 seconds faster than the next person," Orrok said. "I feel like I get in the zone and I just fly."

Competitors heading to 2018’s Best Bagger competition will face off to see who can achieve the best customer service in the shortest time span. The grand prize is $10,000, which will be awarded to a deserving grocery store employee “with infectious company pride and an enthusiastic commitment to customer service,” according to the NGA.

[h/t NBC Boston]

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Animals
Why Do Female Spotted Hyenas Give Birth Through Their Pseudo-Penises?
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At the zoo, you can sometimes tell the difference between male and female animals by noting their physical size, their behavior, and yes, their nether regions. Hyenas, however, flip the script: Not only are lady spotted hyenas bigger and meaner than their male counterparts, ruling the pack with an iron paw, they also sport what appear to be penises—shaft, scrotum, and all.

"Appear" is the key word here: These 7-inch-long phalluses don't produce sperm, so they're technically really long clitorises in disguise. But why do female hyenas have them? And do they actually have to (gulp) give birth through them? Wouldn't that hurt … a lot?

The short answers to these questions are, respectively, "We don't know," "Yes," and "OW." Longer answers can be found in this MinuteEarth video, which provides the full lowdown on hyena sex. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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