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$200M Worth of Pandemic Bonus for Eligible Microsoft Employees

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The pandemic has hit some industries hard. And the tech industry is undeniably one of those struggling to stay afloat — the small tech companies at least. But not Microsoft. The big tech tycoon plans to give a $1,500 pandemic bonus to employees worldwide, amounting to around $200 million in total! 

Small tech companies are one of the industries hard hit by the pandemic. There is a hindrance to business continuity planning due to the uncertainties that the pandemic offers. In addition to that, the pandemic means there will be fewer tech industry events, leading to fewer business development and opportunities. Moreover, as client transactions diminish, more and more tech companies are slowly shutting their doors or keeping their heads above water. 

Microsoft’s jump in profits

While all the other small tech industries are trying to stay afloat, Microsoft seems to be experiencing a pandemic boon even when the coronavirus accelerated. Since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers in some industries have relied heavily on the cloud computing system as well as digital services. 

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down”. So this is the reason why Microsoft has seen a 44-percent jump in profits compared to last year. This amounted to around $15.5 billion in total earnings for this fiscal year. Microsoft also had a 19-percent increase in revenues, which reached $41.7 billion in the third quarter, an even better performance than last year.

Microsoft even beat the Wall Street analyst expectations of $41.05 billion as revenue projection for the big tech company. So what difference does a $200-million pandemic bonus make to the company’s bottom line? 

Challenging fiscal year

However, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the big tech company. Microsoft says the pandemic bonus is due to the “unique and challenging fiscal year Microsoft just completed.” 

Due to that, the software giant plans to give out a $1,500 bonus to all its employees in the United States and the rest of the world. Multiply that by the number of employees Microsoft has, which is 175,508, which amounts to exactly $263,262,000. This is a one-time monetary gift and profits that Microsoft can earn in less than a week. 

Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, states that everyone below the corporate vice president level and hired before March 31st, 2021, will be eligible for the said bonus. This includes part-time workers as well as employees on hourly rates. 

Big companies are pouring out bonuses

Microsoft isn’t the first big software company that plans to show generosity to its employees. Previous big companies such as Facebook and Amazon have also showered their employees with surprising monetary gifts even during the pandemic. 

Facebook had also given out a pandemic bonus to all of its 45,000 employees at $1,000 each. This is to help them fight against the toils of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, Zuckerberg promised to give out full bonuses after their six-month review. 

Moreover, Amazon is one company that’s extra generous last year. The eCommerce giant also gave a $300 bonus to employees during the holiday season. This is in appreciation for their continued hard work coming into the holidays. Part-time workers who were also hired from December 1 to 30 will also receive a $150 bonus. 

Microsoft employees must be nothing short of excited with this news. As the pandemic wreaks havoc on other personal and business aspects, at least Microsoft workers have a $1,500-allowance to use for whatever purpose.

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Nature’s #MeToo: How Female Animals Fight Back

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The #MeToo social movement has gained international attention over raising awareness against sexual abuse and publicizing sex crimes and harassment. As it turns out, females fighting back when facing injustice isn’t exclusive to humans. In fact, recent studies show that certain animals also have their own ways of retaliating when ill-treated. 

Yes, nature has its very own #MeToo movement, and the hummingbirds and octopuses show us how it’s done in the wild.

#MeToo: Female Hummingbirds Take What’s Theirs

First, let’s talk about hummingbirds, particularly the white-necked jacobin hummingbirds (Florisuga mellivora). The male birds of this species have blue-colored heads and throats, while female ones have more muted hues – olive-green heads and backs, with spotted throats. On the other hand, some females also have blue coloring, and they often use it in their #MeToo movement.

According to a study published in Current Biology, researchers found that female birds display their blue coloring. Though birds often show their colorful features during mating season to attract those of the opposite sex, the study found that procreation isn’t their motivation. In fact, males don’t seem to prefer blue-colored female birds.

University of Washington evolutionary biologist Jay Falk who led the study, said mating choices don’t exclusively determine animals’ looks. Falk’s team released over 400 birds in Panama and used genetics to know their sex to conduct the study.

To make the research even more interesting, the researchers placed green or dull-colored dummies on feeders. According to the results of the study, males attempted to mate with the dummies, mistaking them for live female birds.

Falk described male jacobins as the” show-off jocks of the hummingbird world,” and for a good reason. Aside from attempting to court the dummies, some male birds also attacked the dummies. And when this happened, other species of hummingbirds also followed suit. According to Falk, this only goes to show why female birds wanted to show off their blue color – they want to have as much power as the males.  

Female Octopuses Don’t Stand Back

For other animals, it takes a lot more than showing colors to gain a bit of leverage in the struggle for power between genders. Such is the case for female octopuses off the Australian coast. Their #MeToo move? They throw a fit – literally. 

University of Sydney scientist Peter Godfrey-Smith and his team filmed Sydney octopuses at a site in Jervis Bay. Some people call the place Octopolis because it’s one of the few locations in the sandy sea bottom where the octopuses can create dens, thus their big population in the area. 

According to the study, the females throw shells and silt to target males that harass them. How do they do it? Godfrey-Smith says the females hold algae, silt, or other objects under their bodies with their tentacles. They then angle their siphons and shoot water afterward. As a result, they propel the projectiles in a move akin to throwing.

Godfrey-Smith says octopuses often use this move to excavate dens or to dispose of the remains of meals. In that sense, it was easy to assume that the move was a harmless deed without malice. However, they started to suspect that something was up when they saw that the females hit males.

When they gave it a closer look, they indeed found the difference between throws that clear the den and throws that target others.

In fact, they even caught a female octopus throwing silt ten times at a male that was attempting to mate with her. The female was successful in hitting its target five times. The male tried to duck and avoid the projectile but to no avail.

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Hackers Threaten The Alexander Lukashenko Regime

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A group of hackers threatens Alexander Lukashenko’s empire. The hackers say they have data of all corrupt and misdoings of the dictator.

Belarus is a country bordered by Russia and Ukraine. It is the 13th largest country in Eastern Europe, with a population of 9.3 million. Its dictator, who has been appointed into office since 1994, is the first president of Belarus. For close to three decades, Alexander Lukashenko reigned supreme with the most restrictive police authorities. The tyrant used his power to remain in office to date.

However, Alexander Lukashenko’s opposition is trying to overthrow this almost 30-year regime by collaborating with a group of hackers. They aim to expose the wrongdoings of Alexander Lukashenko and his political intentions. 

The group of hackers called Belarus Cyber Partisans consists of activists in Belarus with over 77,000 subscribers on Telegram. Belarus Cyber Partisans has penetrated Belarus’s authoritarian government. 

Leaked information about Alexander Lukashenko

It all started when Belarus Cyber Partisans leaked information they gathered from the most confidential government and police networks. These activists protested against the dictator in September 2020. It’s by using government websites to unleash a series of fraudulent systems — including the country’s most recent election. 

Although Lukashenko won by a mile, the people of Belarus believed that the win was a total fraud. Experts believe that this might be the most comprehensive hacks of a nation in history. 

Belarus Cyber Partisans claims they have successfully infiltrated a majority of the Belarus administration by breaching the most sensitive police and government networks. The group has released evidence of Belarus police crimes, the country’s cover-up on the real COVID-19 mortality rate, and the violent crackdowns on the people’s peaceful protests. 

Since the group has hacked almost all of the administration’s systems, they assured more information is coming. They say that the series of leaked information is just a fraction of the other ruthless crimes that Alexander Lukashenko committed. 

An anonymous Belarus Cyber Partisans representative said in an MIT Technology Review interview that, “What we want is to stop the violence and repression from the terroristic regime in Belarus and to bring the country back to democratic principles and rule of law.”

The country’s thriving IT scene led to the formation of the Belarus Cyber Partisans. The group comprises 15 IT professionals who started causing turmoil in September 2020 when the group began defacing the country’s government websites.

Help from officers and former politicians

In December 2020, Belarus Cyber Partisans sought the help of a Belarusian law enforcement group called BYPOL. This is an organization of intelligent officers and former politicians working from outside and inside the country to dethrone Alexander Lukashenko and end his unjust and cruel methods. Last year alone, the dictator arrested over 27,000 people from peaceful protests. 

A former Belarusian diplomat attested to the regime’s criminal activities and supported both groups’ plans in exposing Alexander Lukashenko’s misdeeds. He says the groups will open the people’s eyes by making the crimes more “transparent.”

The series of leaked information also included drone footage of violent crackdowns of the people’s protest, audio recordings, and video feeds from surveillance cameras and isolation cells. 

Overall, the Belarus Cyber Partisans’ goal is to weaken the regime’s infrastructure by implementing cyberattacks that cripple the government’s security forces. Moreover, the group also ensures that protesters get the protection they need.

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Entertainment

Kim Kardashian Breaks The Internet. Again.

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Hey everyone. Kim Kardashian did another thing. And it’s not what you expect.

This year’s 2021 Met Gala theme was “American Independence.” This theme was so open that the outfits, dresses, and costumes were absolutely all over the place. From Frank Ocean’s puppet to Grimes’ Sci-Fi Warrier outfit, to AOC’s “Tax The Rich” gown this year’s Met Gala was one to see.

And who stood out amongst the crowd? Why, Kim Kardashian, of course.

When people expect something from you, the best way to maintain attention is to take that expectation and flip it on its head. Because Kim knows how to “break the internet,” Twitter went HAM on memes. 

Here’s a compilation of all the best memes made from Kim Kardashian and her attention-seeking outfit. 

If I woke up seeing that I’d have a very wet bed.

Definitely knock before entering.

Some people may be very disappointed when they unlock this character.

Me. So, so me.

Quick! Throw a Pokeball at it!

Best anti-social social outfit ever.

“dementor” is a little on the nose, no?

You know who had a way more impressive Met Gala appearance than Kim Kardashian? Lil Nas X.

Look at how shiny she is. You go on Lil Nas X, with your gay C-3PO look.

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