Amazon's bestselling "bitter lemon" energy drink was bottled delivery driver piss
Today (Oct 20), I'm in Charleston, WV at Charleston's Taylor Books from 12h-14h.
For a brief time this year, the bestselling "bitter lemon drink" on Amazon was "Release Energy," which consisted of the harvested urine of Amazon delivery drivers, rebottled for sale by Catfish UK prankster Oobah Butler in a stunt for a new Channel 4 doc, "The Great Amazon Heist":
Collecting driver piss is surprisingly easy. Amazon, you see, puts its drivers on a quota that makes it impossible for them to drive safely, park conscientiously, or, indeed, fulfill their basic human biological needs. Amazon has long waged war on its employees' kidneys, marking down warehouse workers for "time off task" when they visit the toilets.
As tales of drivers pissing – and shitting! – in their vans multiplied, Amazon took decisive action. The company enacted a strict zero tolerance policy for drivers returning to the depot with bottles of piss in their vans.
That's where Butler comes in: the roads leading to Amazon delivery depots are lined with bottles of piss thrown out of delivery vans by drivers who don't want to lose their jobs, which made harvesting the raw material for "Release Energy" a straightforward matter.
Butler was worried that he wouldn't be able to list his product on Amazon because he didn't have the requisite "food and drinks licensing" certificates, so he listed his drink in Amazon's refillable pump dispenser category. But Amazon's systems detected the mismatch and automatically shifted the product into the drinks section.
Butler enlisted some confederates to place orders for his drink, and it quickly rocketed to the top of Amazon's listings for the category, which led to Amazon's recommendation engine pushing the item on people who weren't in on the gag. When these orders came in, Butler pulled the plug, but not before an Amazon rep telephoned him to pitch him turning packaging, shipping and fulfillment over to Amazon:
The Release Energy prank was just one stunt Butler pulled for his doc; he also went undercover at an Amazon warehouse, during a period when Amazon hired an extra 1,000 workers for its warehouses in Coventry, UK, in a successful bid to dilute pro-union sentiment in his workforce in advance of a key union vote:
Butler's stint as an Amazon warehouse worker only lasted a couple of days, ending when Amazon recognized him and fired him.
The contrast between Amazon's ability to detect an undercover reporter and its inability to spot bottles of piss being marketed as bitter lemon energy drink says it all, really. Corporations like Amazon hire vast armies of "threat intelligence" creeps who LARP at being CIA superspies, subjecting employees and activists to intense and often illegal surveillance.
But while Amazon's defensive might is laser-focused on the threat of labor organizers and documentarians, the company can't figure out that one of its bestselling products is bottles of its tormented drivers' own urine.
In the USA, the FTC is suing Amazon for its monopolistic tactics, arguing that the company has found ways to raise prices and reduce quality by trapping manufacturers and sellers with its logistics operation, taking $0.45-$0.51 out of every dollar they earn and forcing them to raise prices at all retailers:
The Release Energy stunt shows where Amazon's priorities are. Not only did Release Energy get listed on Amazon without any quality checks, the company actually nudged it into a category where it was more likely to be consumed by a person. The only notice the company took of Release Energy was in its logistics and manufacturing department – the part of the business that extracts the monopoly rents at issue in the FTC case – which tracked Butler down in order to sell him these services.
The drivers whose piss Butler collected don't work directly for Amazon, they work for a Delivery Service Partner. These DSPs are victims of a pyramid scheme that Amazon set up. DSP operators lease vans and pay to have them skinned in Amazon livery and studded with Amazon sensors. They take out long-term leases on depots, and hire drivers who dress in Amazon uniforms. Their drivers are minutely monitored by Amazon, down to the movements of their eyeballs.
But none of this is "Amazon" – it's all run by an "entrepreneur," whom Amazon can cut loose without notice, leaving them with unfairly terminated employees, outstanding workers' comp claims, a fleet of Amazon-skinned vehicles and unbreakable facilities leases:
Speaking to Wired, Amazon denied that it forces its drivers to piss in bottles, but Butler clearly catches a DSP dispatcher telling drivers "If you pee in a bottle and leave it [in the vehicle], you will get a point for that" – that is, the part you get punished for isn't the peeing, it's the leaving.
Amazon's defense against the FTC is that it spares no effort to keep its marketplace safe. As Amazon spokesperson James Drummond says, they use "industry-leading tools to prevent genuinely unsafe products being listed." But the only industry-leading tools in evidence are tools to bust unions and screw suppliers.
In her landmark Yale Law Review paper, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," FTC Chair Lina Khan makes a brilliant argument that Amazon's alleged benefits to "consumers" are temporary at best, illusory at worst:
In Butler's documentary, Khan's hypothesis is thoroughly validated: here's a company extracting hundreds of billions from merchants who raise prices to compensate, and those monopoly rents are "invested" in union-busting and countermeasures against investigative journalists, while the tools to keep you from accidentally getting a bottle of piss in the mail are laughably primitive.
Truly, Amazon is the apex predator of the platform era:
If you'd like an essay-formatted version of this post to read or share, here's a link to it on pluralistic.net, my surveillance-free, ad-free, tracker-free blog:
My next novel is The Lost Cause, a hopeful novel of the climate emergency. Amazon won't sell the audiobook, so I made my own and I'm pre-selling it on Kickstarter!
Femme Fatale Guide: Tips To Become More Emotionally Intelligent
Embrace self-awareness & self-reflection: Observe how you feel, behave, and how people generally respond to your words/actions in different situations
Practice self-regulation: Learn to differentiate between your feelings and the actions that would be appropriate in a specific setting or interaction. Internalize that feelings are fleeting and non-factual. You're in control of how you respond/(don't) act on these emotions
Engage in active listening: Pay attention to what others are saying with the intent of understanding, not responding
Focus on emotional differentiation: Understand where your thoughts, feelings, intentions, and opinions end and another person's identity/perception begins
Display radical empathy and acceptance: Understand that almost all people's words and actions result from their own beliefs, past experiences, and current life circumstances/priorities. Put yourself in their shoes when attempting to understand their choices, behaviors, and times they come to you to discuss a problem, success, or major life decision. Accept that you can only control what you do. Very little of other people's actions/the world's workings are personal. Things are happening around you, not to you
Let go of your ego: View yourself as objectively as possible with the potential for improvement. Abolish any superior complex or overwhelming desire to prove your self-importance in others' lives and decisions
Remain open-minded: Question your own beliefs and opinions. Stay curious as to why you believe them to be true/authentic to you. Allow your opinions to change or have the capacity to modify your beliefs upon hearing new information. Understand your worldview and values are valid, but they're not definitively correct beliefs, just because they resonate/feel comfortable for you
Be receptive to feedback: Embrace constructive criticism as a self-improvement tool. Approach it with curiosity and optimism, not as a personal attack
Differentiate between your feelings and capabilities: Your thoughts are not facts. Remember you can do things you don't feel like doing most of the time (work, waking up in the morning, working out, etc.). Learn the difference between being a slave to your emotions and genuinely running out of energy
a guide to dealing with emotions in a healthy way˚ ༘ ೀ⋆｡˚🌷
what makes a coping mechanism healthy or unhealthy - a healthy coping mechanism isn't harmful to u or others. like listening to music or going on long walks to relieve stress. an unhealthy coping mechanism is something that is harmful to u or others and here r some examples so that u can become aware of ur own coping mechanisms.
forced positivity is a harmful coping mechanism bcuz it doesn't come from a place of genuine happiness. it comes from denial, invalidation, and minimization. u dont always have to have a positive disposition if ur going thru something. YOURE HUMAN and ur allowed to go thru emotions without having to mask everything and pretend to be feeling something that ur not. (replace this harmful coping mechanism with taking the time every day to write about ur feelings, u dont even have to talk about it if it makes u uncomfortable but dont let it weigh down on ur heart, let it out in ur journal, or with a trusted companion or family member)
self isolation, as a species we r social creatures and we crave and NEED interaction and connection with others
fatalism is simply when we experience something that's bad and imagine that its the worst possible thing that has ever happened to u. its an instinctive trait. dont prepare for the worst bcuz doing this will literally just give u more stress. (replace this harmful coping mechanism with listing 5 of the worst possible outcomes and asking urself how likely they are to actually happen, if u feel like one outcome is TRULY likely then plan for that outcome)
dont repress ur feelings, i feel like this ties back to our first bullet point so repressing ur feelings is literally the worst thing that u can do. its a defense mechanism that activates when u feel like u no longer have control over a situation. be genuine with how u feel and express it calmly and reasonably in a way that doesn't harm others (meditation rly helps to reduce emotional outbursts, so does yelling into a pillow, dancing, and working out)
Questioner: What is the difference, philosophically, between a mind/body/spirit complex healing itself through mental, shall I say, configuration or it being healed by an healer?
Ra: I am Ra. You have a misconception. The healer does not heal. The crystallized healer is a channel for intelligent energy which offers an opportunity to an entity that it might heal itself.
In no case is there an other description of healing. Therefore, there is no difference as long as the healer never approaches one whose request for aid has not come to it previously. This is also true of the more conventional healers of your culture and if these healers could but fully realize that they are responsible only for offering the opportunity of healing, and not for the healing, many of these entities would feel an enormous load of misconceived responsibility fall from them.
Aug 12 1981 session 66
Consistency is hard... but there is a way.
If you are like me, you have fallen out of one, two or even three of your goals then this will help me. I made a goal to read one book a week or two books a month and I have not been consistent. However, I have some changes that have helped me.
Easy Way Out: Make my goals too easy that is foolish to not complete them
Figure out why it's hard to accomplish my goals (no time or distraction).
Reward myself for making effort
Create systems that makes it easier to accomplish my goals
Plan ahead for each day
Wake up with optimism
The most important step I took is what I call the "Easy Way Out." I asked myself what the easiest way out is to accomplish my goal by breaking it down till it becomes too hard to ignore. For example:
Read 5 pages a day
Workout for 5 minutes
Run for 2 minutes
Break down a big task into smaller tasks that I can accomplish easier and at a faster rate
Meditate for 5 minutes
Rapidly write everything in my mind for fun in 60 seconds
Derek: You can take Stiles with you, since he's your friend.
Peter: Stiles is not my friend.
Derek: Really? Then who is?
Peter: Oh, damn, when the hell did that happen?
COME OUT YOU HIDDEN LEAF DOGS!!
Emotional intelligence and how to build it.
What is emotional intelligence or EQ?
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:
1. Self-management – You're able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
2. Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self- confidence.
3. Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
4. Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict
Building emotional intelligence,
key skill 1: Self-management
In order for you to engage your EQ, you must be able to use your emotions to make constructive decisions about your behavior. When you become overly stressed, you can lose control of your emotions and the ability to act thoughtfully and appropriately.
Think about a time when stress has overwhelmed you. Was it easy to think clearly or make a rational decision? Probably not. When you become overly stressed, your ability to both think clearly and accurately assess emotions—your own and other people's—becomes compromised.
Emotions are important pieces of information that tell you about yourself and others, but in the face of stress that takes us out of our comfort zone, we can become overwhelmed and lose control of ourselves. With the ability to manage stress and stay emotionally present, you can learn to receive upsetting information without letting it override your thoughts and self-control. You'll be able to make choices that allow you to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Key skill 2: Self-awareness
Managing stress is just the first step to building emotional intelligence. The science of attachment indicates that your current emotional experience is likely a reflection of your early life experience. Your ability to manage core feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy often depends on the quality and consistency of your early life emotional experiences. If your primary caretaker as an infant understood and valued your emotions, it's likely your emotions have become valuable assets in adult life. But, if your emotional experiences as an infant were confusing, threatening or painful, it's likely you've tried to distance yourself from your emotions.
But being able to connect to your emotions—having a moment-to-moment connection with your changing emotional experience-is the key to understanding how emotion influences your thoughts and actions.
Do you experience feelings that flow, encountering one emotion after another as your experiences change from moment to moment?
Are your emotions accompanied by physical sensations that you experience in places like your stomach, throat, or chest?
Do you experience individual feelings and emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy, each of which is evident in subtle facial expressions?
Can you experience intense feelings that are strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others?
Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they factor into your decision making?
If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, you may have "turned down" or "turned off" your emotions. In order to build EQ—and become emotionally healthy—you must reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, and become comfortable with them. You can achieve this through the practice of mindfulness.
[Listen: Mindful Breathing Meditation]
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and without judgment. The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of similar prayer or meditation technique. Mindfulness helps shift your preoccupation with thought toward an appreciation of the moment, your physical and emotional sensations, and brings a larger perspective on life. Mindfulness calms and focuses you, making you more self-aware in the process.
Developing emotional awareness
It's important that you learn how to manage stress first, so you'll feel more comfortable reconnecting to strong or unpleasant emotions and changing how you experience and respond to your feelings. You can develop your emotional awareness by using HelpGuide's free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit.
Key skill 3: Social awareness
Social awareness enables you to recognize and interpret the mainly nonverbal cues others are constantly using to communicate with you. These cues let you know how others are really feeling, how their emotional state is changing from moment to moment, and what's truly important to them. When groups of people send out similar nonverbal cues, you're able to read and understand the power dynamics and shared emotional experiences of the group. In short, you're empathetic and socially comfortable.
Mindfulness is an ally of emotional and social awareness
To build social awareness, you need to recognize the importance of mindfulness in the social process. After all, you can't pick up on subtle nonverbal cues when you're in your own head, thinking about other things, or simply zoning out on your phone. Social awareness requires your presence in the moment. While many of us pride ourselves on an ability to multitask, this means that you'll miss the subtle emotional shifts taking place in other people that help you fully understand them.
* You are actually more likely to further your social goals by setting other thoughts aside and focusing on the interaction itself.
* Following the flow of another person's emotional responses is a give-and-take process that requires you to also pay attention to the changes in your own emotional experience.
* Paying attention to others doesn't diminish your own self-awareness. By investing the time and effort to really pay attention to others, you'll actually gain insight into your own emotional state as well as your values and beliefs. For example, if you feel discomfort hearing others express certain views, you'll have learned something important about yourself.
Key skill 4: Relationship management
Working well with others is a process that begins with emotional awareness and your ability to recognize and understand what other people are experiencing. Once emotional awareness is in play, you can effectively develop additional social/emotional skills that will make your relationships more effective, fruitful, and fulfiling.
Become aware of how effectively you use nonverbal communication. It's impossible to avoid sending nonverbal messages to others about what you think and feel. The many muscles in the face, especially those around the eyes, nose, mouth and forehead, help you to wordlessly convey your own emotions as well as read other peoples' emotional intent. The emotional part of your brain is always on—and even if you ignore its messages—others won't. Recognizing the nonverbal messages that you send to others can play a huge part in improving your relationships.
Use humor and play to relieve stress. Humor, laughter and play are natural antidotes to stress. They lessen your burdens and help you keep things in perspective. Laughter brings your nervous system into balance, reducing stress, calming you down, sharpening your mind and making you more empathic.
werewolf jack vampire spot demon race and ghoul crutchie living in a house share together and sending out fake roommate applications to get human victims only to end up with regular ass man and Monster Catnip davey jacobs who just assumes they're all trans and/or neurodivergent.
“I know as a woman I'm supposed to be afraid of getting older but I love this shit so much. Every year I sink deeper into this bath of unapologetic realness and it's amazing.” - Bunmi Laditan
I'm losing the urge to verbally express myself even typing this feels a bit odd. But I feel connected like an electric wave, though I fear what I am connected to. I'm curious but not checking kind of like waiting to see something come out from behind a bush only to find out it's a stuck animal or something.
How do I sound and appear more intelligent and sophisticated? I've read books and stuff but how do I apply the knowledge in real life? How do I make my everyday vocabulary more sophisticated? Ik the general advice to read books and converse with people etc, but how do I actually apply it irl?
Hi love! Here are some of my suggestions/tips:
How do I sound and appear more intelligent and sophisticated?
Keep your language and explanations simple & concise
Speak slowly & deliberately: Take your time between sentences, and pause between your thoughts. Always think before you speak. Silences, while slightly awkward, are not always best avoided
Use the proper propositions when speaking: Avoid small grammar mistakes (know when to use less vs. fewer, I vs. me, graduated from an institution, etc.)
Articulate complex concepts into layman's terms: Break concepts down into different parts of the conceptual equation – chronically, from beginning to end or outcome to origin, simultaneously moving parts/micro-stories or situations; Use analogies (metaphors, mundane/real-life examples, or hypothetical situations) that require the same thought-process or methodology)
Apply conversational "show don't tell" when sharing a story: Describe the situation using the 5 senses to convey the implied meaning (e.g. "I could feel the pit in my stomach." vs. "I was nervous.")
Use subtle tonality to convey particularly emotional or significant points while speaking
I've read books and stuff but how do I apply the knowledge in real life?
Relate cultural references or learned concepts to add clever humor to everyday conversations
Create parallels and analogies to outside information to convey your understanding of what someone is saying, ask more thoughtful follow-up questions, or smoothly transition into a new conversation topic
How do I make my everyday vocabulary more sophisticated?
Use everyday/simple sentence structure and replace one simple word choice with another more sophisticated word that is equally apt to the message you're trying to convey
If you're ever confused about whether a particular synonym makes sense to use IRL, look at how it is used in the dictionary sentence examples and in other books/articles
Ik the general advice to read books and converse with people etc, but how do I actually apply it irl?
Reiterate a concise, simplified version of the other person's anecdotes to convey your understanding. Drive the conversation forward by asking specific follow-up questions based on one "part" of the idea or story
Use cultural parallels to convey your understanding of what the other person is saying (sounds like this TV show character, like a certain artist, historical/current event, etc.)
Leverage metaphors to connect the dots between the points you and your conversation partner are making. Make an insightful connection to break up the air time between their anecdote and contribution
Conversational word choice should be used to create vivid images in people's minds – to paint a picture of the concept, scene, emotions, or sensations one would engage with or experience if the person was living your conversation in the present moment
Learn how to use wit conversations – context and delivery are vital to its success and positive reception
Hope this helps xx
i wanted to try my hand at designing some characters in the PN style, so OC time! in the future superstar agents AU, these three are Raz's coworkers in the Psychohazards department. from left to right:
Dr Navreet Narula (she/her, they/them); late 40s, has a background in physical chemistry. very chill and laid back, though she's a little spacey sometimes. knows more than you about obscure sci-fi tv shows. didn't figure out she was psychic until, like, a few years ago (they assumed everyone could hear the crystals sing to them)
Dr Katie Adejei (she/her); early 30s, did her PhD in geology before pivoting to the psychic sciences. into crystals in a way that's mostly ironic, honest. always thought rocks had an aura, delighted to find out that 90% of the time it's an aura of, like, "make you hallucinate your fingernails turning into spiders and crawling up your arm" (that was a fun afternoon in the department)
Professor Evelyn Hertz (she/her); reformed supervillain, age unknown (early 50s?). she's nice nowadays, but she can be pretty, uh, intense! her previous work involved using psycho-reactive materials to bioengineer creatures into killer weapons of destruction. it never really panned out, and now she just has a house full of, like, genetically modified dog-sized psychic rats that she keeps as pets
By Julia Conley
Oct. 17, 2023
"The elites of the Oil and Money Conference, they have no intention of transition," Thunberg said ahead of her arrest. "Their plan is to continue this destructive surge of profits. That is why we have to take direct action."
Climate leader Greta Thunberg was among at least 27 people arrested in London on Tuesday at a rally against the Energy Intelligence Forum, where fossil fuel CEOs rubbed elbows with policymakers including British Energy Minister Graham Stuart and, as one campaigner said, continued "hijacking our politics to keep us hooked on their dirty fuel."
Thunberg gathered with advocates from Fossil Free London, which organized the direct action, and others outside the Intercontinental Hotel for the first of three days of protests.
The forum—formerly known as the "Oil and Money Conference"—is taking place from October 17-19, with speakers including Shell CEO Wael Sawn and TotalEnergies Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné.
Campaigners chanted, "Oily money out" as the executives attended events that promised to ask questions such as, "Who will pay for the transition and how?" and discuss whether global climate summits such as the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference are "still relevant."
5 ways to become luckier
The harder you work, the luckier you are to people
Find mutual interests: I met a student on campus and we started a deep conversation about life and meaning. It went so well that she took my number and invited me to a dinner party. At the dinner party, I met other students from my school who are interning at top firms that I want to intern at. The host of the dinner party studied at Harvard and Oxford and even told me she can look over my essays when I apply to business schools. It's been a year since I was invited and I have been introduced to doctors, lawyers, engineers. All they care about is your interest and character.
Define your character and personality: You need to figure out what you want to be know for? The one who is curious? The one who comes to work early? The one who dresses well? The smart one? The funny one? You get to define who you are and it attracts people with similar personalities and before you know it you will attract opportunities.
Take risks: No risk, no reward. You need to put yourself out there. Go out to coffee shops, networking events, introduce yourself, join groups. You may not get what you want immediately but you are learning and making choices based on the people and opportunities you have
Use resources: Use free and paid resources to get you where you want. Connect with your professors, career centers, boss, online experts, podcasts, friends of friends, books. Take advantage of scholarships, professional organizations, mentors etc. What you will realize is that there are many opportunities available to you. Set up coffee chats with alumni, reach out to your Linkedin connections, and take advantage of local small organizations.
Be disciplined: Your work ethic and education wil speak for you. Your degree is not carved on your face so it is your conversations skills that will help you. Getting to Harvard is not a joke, you will ahve to prove yourself through discipline. Getting to work for the Big three is a goal that only a few can achieve. Yet some people get offers from all. Before you call anyone lucky remember people make sacrifices, they study hard, network hard, apply to 50+ jobs. Get ready to do the work.