Working for Amazon, a Net Neutrality Mess, and 'Unlimited' Plans: Best Gizmodo Stories of the Week

Photo: Angelica Alzona (Gizmodo), AP, AT&T

Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, is owned by the richest human on earth, and is creating tons of jobs with every new Fulfillment Center that it opens. But as we found out this week, the company’s brutally efficient supply chain often puts warehouse workers in a tough spot, pushing them “Voluntary Time Off” that is anything but voluntary.

Hopefully you’re currently enjoying some actual voluntary downtime, so why not spend it reading the best stories that appeared on Gizmodo this week? Or do it while you’re on the clock, we don’t really care.


On Amazon’s Time

Illustration: Angelica Alzona (Gizmodo

At the beating heart of Amazon’s unstoppable ecommerce expansion is a very basic promise: jobs.

When a Fulfillment Center opens, the expectation is that anywhere from 1,000 to 2,200 positions will become available overnight, each providing 40 hours of work per week at a minimum. In reality, the labor hours Amazon needs to power its brutally efficient supply chain appear to be far fewer. To reduce overhead but continue to sop up performance-based incentives from the local governments it operates in, Amazon has become increasingly reliant on a work scheduling scheme that often coerces workers into leaving their shifts early or turns them away at the door without notice.


California Senator’s Half-Baked Net Neutrality Bill Is a Dangerous Mess

Kevin de Leon, state Senate president pro tem and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, acknowledges staff as he speaks during an election party Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Los Angeles.
Photo: AP

A key vote is taking place in California next week. Amid intense lobbying pressure, experts say it could eventually impact efforts by other states to reestablish net neutrality in the wake of the FCC’s decision to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order.

On Wednesday, a group of legislators in the California State Assembly will decide whether to advance a comprehensive net neutrality bill or an in-name-only net neutrality bill, which leading digital rights groups say is rife with loopholes that may ultimately benefit internet service providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, while leaving California residents and businesses vulnerable to known net neutrality violations.


Here’s How Limited Your Carrier’s ‘Unlimited’ Phone Plans Really Are


At this point, anytime you see the word unlimited in relation to phone plans, you should probably just assume you’re being misled. And after seeing the hijinks Verizon is trying to pull with its latest “unlimited” cell phone plan, it seemed like a good time to check in on the other major carriers to get a sense of how limited each company’s supposedly “unlimited” data plans really are.

DOJ Blows Its Chance to Stop Disastrous Merger of AT&T and Time Warner

Photo: AT&T

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that AT&T has the all clear to merge with Time Warner, paving the way for a media-gobbling merger frenzy. It didn’t have to be this way, but bizarre circumstances and inadequate arguments from the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division have, yet again, given corporations more power.

Woman Sues NASA to Keep Its Hands Off Her Precious Vial of Neil Armstrong Moon Dust

Photo: Christopher M. McHugh

The question of who owns the moon is at the center of a new lawsuit filed against NASA by a woman who wants to keep a vial of lunar dust gifted to her by astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The woman, Laura Murray Cicco, filed a lawsuit against the space agency last week preemptively—NASA hasn’t come for her vial, but the agency has tried to seize lunar mementos in the past. Cicco’s mother “gave her a glass vial with a rubber stopper full of light grey dust” when she was 10-years-old, according to the court document, but reportedly hadn’t seen it “for decades” until five years ago when she was going through her late parents’ belongings.


The Latest Breed of 2-in-1s Have Finally Realized the Hybrid Dream

Photo: Sam Rutherford

Even though they don’t look much different than a lot of other hybrid laptops, the release of the Dell’s XPS 15 2-in-1 and HP’s Spectre x360 15 is an important moment for today’s convertible PCs. That’s because by putting powerful, but not exceedingly expensive GPUs inside already flexible machines, it feels like 2-in-1s are finally ready to deliver on what made the idea of convertible computers so exciting in the first place.

President Trump Made a Fake Movie Trailer for Kim Jong Un with the Two Leaders as Heroes

Gif: The White House

President Trump and Kim Jong Un had a historic private meeting earlier today in Singapore. And while we don’t know exactly what was said between the two men, we do know that Trump played a video for Kim on his iPad. The video was created to look like a Hollywood movie trailer and it’s honestly pretty bizarre.

Honestly, What the Hell, Supergirl

Photo: The CW

After Supergirl aired what was arguably its worst episode last week, it seemed like the show could go nowhere but up. And it did! This week’s episode was infinitely better. And yet, it was also a thousand plots a minute.

Things went down so fast, and were so incredibly camp—without much of Supergirl’s trademark heart to warm it up—that I found myself essentially live-texting the entire episode to a friend.


This USB-C iPhone Rumor Is Too Much

Photo: Alex Cranz

A post by DigiTimes that’s making the rounds cites unnamed “sources at analog IC vendors” who say that Apple could be moving the iPhone and iPad to USB-C by 2019. That move would spell the gradual demise of Apple’s proprietary Lightning port, which was introduced in 2012 and has been the connector for basically every iProduct since.

How a Legal Brawl Between Two Rich Guys Could Change How We Think About DNA

Illustration: Angelica Alzona

It was the kind of lawsuit that would only happen in Florida.

Toronto businessman Harold Peerenboom and Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter were locked in an absurd suburban skirmish, bickering over who should run the tennis center at Sloan’s Curve, the exclusive Palm Beach waterfront community where both men resided. Peerenboom wanted to open bidding for the position. Perlmutter was happy with the status quo, a woman named Karen Donnelly who had run the center for years.


The Casual Inhumanity of How Detroit: Become Human Uses Black Culture

Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

To quote a time-honored African-American turn of phrase, video game developer David Cage owes black people a check.

I went back to playing Detroit: Become Human after a few weeks away because it bothered me. The opening sequences of the game warned of a narrative that would be unsubtle and awkward, yet there was a masochistic part of me that wanted to see if it’d ever get past that. Another part of me needed to investigate a nagging feeling: Every time I saw a black face in Detroit: Become Human, I felt suspicion, and questioned why it was there.


A Reminder of the Many, Many Stephen King Adaptations That Are Currently in the Works

Stephen King promotes Under the Dome in 2009; the book was later adapted into a series for CBS.
Photo: Getty

This week, Media Rights Capital revealed it commissioned a 10-episode adaptation of crime thriller The Outsider by an author who has seemingly become the most desirable man in Hollywood lately: Stephen King. A lot of King’s work is currently in the process of being remade for television and film—so here’s a reminder of just what’s in store.

Wonder Woman’s Steve Trevor Makes a Triumphant Return in All His ‘80s Glory [UPDATED]

Photo: Warner Bros.

I hope Diana likes tracksuits.

Patty Jenkins just took to Twitter to officially confirm that not only is the currently-filming Wonder Woman sequel titled Wonder Woman 1984, but the movie will indeed feature the return of Chris Pine as Diana’s love interest from the first film, Steve Trevor.


Incredibles 2 Is a Super Sequel That Was Absolutely Worth the Wait

Photo: Disney

Incredibles 2 takes everything you love about the Oscar-winning original and flips it on its head. The result is a highly-entertaining, slightly familiar tale with bigger action, interesting subtext, and all the smarts, heart, and laughs you could ask for. It’s Pixar doing what Pixar does best.

Jurassic Park Was My Nerd Haven

Photo: Universal

Today is the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park. I was 11 years old when it came out. Here’s what I remember.

There was a time in the mid-’90s my family didn’t go to the theater that often, so I actually saw Jurassic Park for the first time on VHS. And it was a revelation. My memory is a little hazy—I called my mom, who was no help, by the way—but I believe we rented it from the library first and I was so enamored with it, that my folks bought a copy for me to wear out. And wear it out I did.


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About the author

AJ Dellinger

Nights and weekends editor, Gizmodo