Pandora CEO and co-founder out


After a rough weekend, it has been confirmed that Pandora’s CEO and co-founder Tim Westergren will be stepping down as CEO.

Techcrunch reported that Westergren became CEO of Pandora shortly after its founding for two years and stepped back into the role in 2016, stating that Pandora was “on the cusp of realizing an extraordinary vision.”

Due to the recent tumultuousness of the music industry, licensing costs have continued to be a problem for the company, which has struggled to expand outside of the U.S. companies like Spotify and Apple Music have also been putting more pressure on Pandora.

Naveen Chopra, the company’s CFO as of February, will be filling in as interim CFO while the board of directors searches for a replacement.

President Mike Herring and CMO Nick Bartle will also be leaving the company. Westergren’s will also be leaving the board of directors. He will be replaced by Jason Hirschhorn, the CEO of “digital content curation” company ReDEF Group, who worked at Myspace, Sling, and served as MTV’s Chief Digital Officer.

This has been a widely covered topic, especially considering the recent shakeup that happened at Uber. The tech industry is seeing a shift in the kinds of people they need in positions of power, perhaps in an attempt to focus on the newer generations of users.

There is a consensus among people of all levels that the future ahead is wildly unpredictable. Whoever takes over for Pandora will certainly feel that.

Fitness blogger dies in freak accident


A French fitness blogger has died after a whipped cream dispenser malfunctioned and exploded. The canister lodged into her thorax and killed her.

Rebecca Burger, 33, was a fitness and travel blogger on such social media sites Facebook and Instagram. She had amassed about 200,000 followers on the sites.

Burger’s family made posts for her followers on her social media sites.

They wrote: “It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of Rebecca on Sunday 18 June 2017 following an accident in the home.” It was signed “her grieving family, friends and husband.”

Her family also took to social media to warn about the kitchen utensil, the dispenser. The canister exploded and pierced her chest, causing her to have a heart attack. She was taken to the hospital but died the next day. The local prosecutor is investigating the matter.

French consumer magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs said it had warned readers about the gas capsules in cream dispensers for years after about 60 reports of exploding siphons causing injuries ranging from broken teeth, tinnitus, multiple fractures and, in one case, the loss of an eye. The problem affected more than a dozen models produced between 2009 and 2013, the magazine said.

“Due to a fault in its conception, the siphon’s plastic cap appears much too fragile to withstand being put under pressure … as a result, the siphon could explode and injure the user and those around them,” the magazine warned.

What we’re seeing now in the news media is a response to this claim. These canisters should have all been recalled and clearly there was something forgotten in the process.

It’s unfortunate that it took someone of international popularity to die for this to be brought forward but hopefully authorities can prevent anymore senseless deaths form occurring.

Uber initiative aims to improve


After what seems like months of crises, Uber has implemented a program called “180 Days of Change.” It announced on Tuesday that the initiative is a pledge to make improvements over the next six months.

The first of those will be giving riders the option to tip drivers. This is something Uber has been adamant about not doing since it started the ride-sharing app. The roll out of this new system will begin Tuesday in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston and expected to expand to all U.S. cities by the end of July.

Uber co-founder and chairman, Garrett Camp, spoke out about the company’s recent scandals and its contentious relationship with drivers, on Tuesday.

“A friend recently asked me, ‘What went wrong?’ and the answer is that we had not listened well enough to those who got us here … our team and especially our drivers,” wrote Camp in a Medium post titled “Uber’s path forward.”

Along with the new tipping feature, Uber will change it’s free-cancellation policy from five minutes to two. Many drivers had complained about the policy, citing that it was too lenient on riders and causes drivers to operate at a loss.

The story has been picked up by several tech sites like The Verge and TechCrunch, all of them speaking favorably about the new proposed changes. All outlets do seem to agree that this is a clear attempt at changing the current image of Uber, which has decreased in popularity due to its recent scandals.

I believe this is a good start for Uber, and hope that its “180 Days of Change” initiative really does change things for the better. Many people depend on the app for their livelihood, it’s about time that they recognize that.

Camp said that while all companies have growing pains, Uber’s were “much more serious” because of how fast the company grew. “We must update our core values, listen better to employees and riders, and prioritize our drivers,” he wrote in the Medium post.

Madrid cracks down on ‘manspreading’


Madrid, the Spanish capital, will begin to place signs on city buses that will prohibit “manspreading.” Much like those already in place that do not allow smoking or littering.

Manspreading is the practice whereby a man, especially one traveling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary.

Cities around the world, like New York and Philadelphia, have been adopting these kind of campaigns to dissuade riders from practicing the careless behavior.

“The mission of this new signage is to remember the need to maintain civic behavior and to respect the space of everyone on board the bus,” Spanish bus operator EMT said in a statement this week.

The decision came after a Spanish feminist group called “Mujeres en Lucha” created a petition that garnered more than 600 signatures on the popular site They also created the hashtag #MadridSinManspreading (MadridWithoutManspreading) to help spread the message.

Manspreading “is not something that occurs sporadically, but if you look, you will realize that it is a very common practice,” the petition read. “It is not difficult to see women with their legs closed and very uncomfortable because there is a man next to her who is invading her space with his legs.”

Transport officials in Madrid also plan to use this campaign for the city’s metro system, according to BBC News.

The term “manspreading” has become a worldwide phenomenon and has led to many men being called out via social media. So much so that the Oxford Dictionary entered it into their online dictionary in 2015.

The practice has become so commonplace that most perpetrators don’t even realize that they’re doing it- and if they do they certainly don’t care. Hence, the new campaign to put a stop to it.

News media outlets have maintained a pretty good level on non-bias reporting on this topic, which surprisingly has been reported on by most top sites.

This is just one of those issues that is non-partisan, because after all, how can you be mad at people just trying to make the world more polite?

America divided over Comey hearing


The long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee hearing has come and gone but the impact it has left on the country will sure to stay. In a way not seen since Watergate, the event drew in people from all walks of life to stop and watch ex-FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on Thursday.

Americans all over the country filled bars, clubs, airports and restaurants just to sit and listen to the testimonial.

“There were recordings, there were memos made, a paper trail created I think it tells a lot about the trust that not only the American public should have in Trump but his own administration,” Alicia Gosford, who watched and told local New Haven, Conn., news station WTNH.

The news media are clearly divided over what Comey’s testimonials could mean for Trump, and the American people are no different.

“I think it was definitely good for President Trump, with the only exception being Comey’s points about Trump ‘lying’ about his character,” Chris Jones, a marketing executive from Redding, Conn., told Fox News.

It truly boils down to where you stand on the political spectrum. The more liberal stations like CNN, MSNBC, etc., seem to draw up a general consensus that the hearing will have a negative impact for Trump in the coming weeks. News outlets like FOX, on the other hand, seem optimistic that these hearings will amount to nothing.

That being said, when polled Americans overwhelmingly believe that Comey’s firing had to do with the fact that the FBI investigation would “hurt” Trump. According to a FOX News poll, 79 percent of people agree with this while 29 percent believe that he was “hurting” the FBI.

The news media bias in this case is strong, but I believe only time will tell what the facts really are, that is, if the ever come out.

Harvard rescinds 10 admit decisions


Harvard University has chosen to rescind acceptance offers from 10 incoming freshman after becoming aware of an offshoot face group aimed at sharing “offensive” memes.

School administrators moderate an official Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook group in an effort to create a place for new students to get to know each other beforehand and ask questions in preparation for their first semester

Everything began when about 100 students created a separate page to share memes with one another – a trend amongst elite colleges. The page was entitled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.”

According to the Harvard Crimson, the school’s daily newspaper, the whole exchange took a dark turn when members of this group formed a spin-off page where students could exchange “R-rated” memes.

The founders of the group required that students posted questionable memes on the main page to gain admittance. Otherwise, the page is completely private.

The memes and images that were shared in the private group ranged from offensive racial stereotypes to the deaths of children, according the images provided by The Crimson. When university officials became aware of what was going on they took immediate action.

Harvard reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission if the admitted student “engages or has engaged in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character,” among other conditions, Rachel Dane, a Harvard spokeswoman, told The Washington Post.

This reaction brings to light a whole new issue that has been growing in recent years – that social media is playing a large role in the university admissions process.

The reoccurring question seems to be that at which point does this violate freedom of expression?

Erica Goldberg, an assistant professor at Ohio Northern law school, which said she taught at Harvard Law School for three years, stated that this page was no different than the popular game Cards Against Humanity, “whose purpose is to be as clearly offensive as possible”.

The group – which garnered more than 30,000 members, including “pharmabro” Martin Shkreli – seems to clearly be aimed at poking fun at these topics and not necessarily supporting these sentiments.

News media coverage of this topic has mainly focused on how this offensive material undermines the current “PC” culture at universities nationwide. The problem with reporting on these topics is, in fact, that it is done by older adults who unfortunately don’t understand the irreverent humor.

The headlines repeatedly use words like “hateful” and “racist” to describe the pages but they fail to recognize that the whole point of these memes is to not embrace these ideals but to laugh at the absurdity that anyone could actually believe these kinds of things.

Instead of demonizing these teens for their jokes, perhaps the news media should be focusing more on how appropriate it is that they are being reprimanded for conversations made in private.

U.S withdraws from Paris agreement


In a move that surprised very few, President Trump has decided to pull the United States from the Paris agreement – an historic global coalition meant to curb the effects of climate change by reducing worldwide emissions.

Despite widespread condemnation from political leaders, business leaders and environmentalist around the world, Trump affirms that he is doing so to benefit the American people who elected him to office.

The Paris agreement was signed by 195 countries and is supposed to create global accountability for rising temperatures and propose new carbon emission standards. The only countries that did not sign the agreement were Syria and Nicaragua, the former of which is currently marred by civil war.

“It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic affairs,” said Trump during his speech at the Rose Garden on Thursday.

Trump’s position is that the 2015 agreement imposes wildly unfair business standards aimed at attacking American sovereignty and his ability to create business initiatives that would benefit American workers.

In an article written by Michael D. Shear of The New York Times, he states that business leaders like Elon Musk of Tesla, Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric and Lloyd C. Bankfield of Goldman Sachs, are diametrically opposed to the decision. They argue that the decision would hinder future job creation and shift markets for clean energy and technology to overseas competitors.

At this point, this kind of decision made by president Trump shows the obvious disconnect which he has with the American people – 73 percent of which actually supported the agreement.

In his article, Shear clearly tried to maintain neutrality by presenting both sides of the argument but it’s evident where he, and others like him, stands and it’s not with the president.

World leaders were quick to react to the news and the general consensus is that the decision presents more harm than a possible good. Especially considering the U.S is Earth’s second largest pollution contributor.

Trump did manage to say that a renegotiation was possible but they would have to be on his terms.

“We are getting out,” Trump said. “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”

It’s now in the hands of state and city leaders to decide if they are going to side with Trump, or the rest of the world.