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Inside the startup where staff share a house with their boss

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Inside the startup where staff share a house with their boss

These techies have taken co-working to the next level. 

At education company Fiveable, employees have been going into the office for the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic — because their office is also their house. 

In a profile for the Guardian, writer Poppy Noor takes readers inside the “medieval-looking stone house” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where five of the tech business’ staffers have been living (rent-free), working, eating, sleeping, partying and hanging out with their two bosses since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. The decision to do so was made by the company’s leaders to simultaneously cut costs and offer workers something unique.

After a year of the experiment, participants generally reflected that it was a success, especially during such an isolating disease-filled year.

“Living and working together is not for everyone, but for Fiveable, it has worked well for years,” founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral told The Post in a statement. “Not only because we’ve been able to move fast, with the benefit of being able to collaborate in the comfort of our home, but because we’ve also identified and built relationships with other people who care just as much about our mission and goals as we do.”

However, certain problems became intensely exacerbated by living together, according to The Guardian.

“Any conflict we have usually has to be resolved very quickly. Because we don’t want that to affect what we are doing,” Fiveable’s chief experience officer, Tan Ho, told the publication of co-living arguments. 

“Firing anyone sucks,” said DoAmaral, who has had to let employees go, including ones she considered her friends. “But when you live together, you have to evict them also.” 

To thrive in such an environment, a deep commitment to and fulfillment from work appears to be vital: The majority of those interviewed self-identified as workaholics and, while the group does let loose together after hours, the concept of a weekend appears blurred. 

“We try not to work Saturdays. And Sundays are sort of like a halfsies day,” DoAmaral said.

The residents also have to navigate personal behavior and determine what is acceptable. For instance, when employee Harry Cao got sick after downing too much tequila at a house party, he lucked out because it technically happened during off-time.

“If we’re going to have a night where everybody’s drinking, then we’re drinking, too,” said DoAmaral. “I’m not gonna fire Harry for getting sick. He’s just having fun.”

But there are limits.

“If there was a fight between people and really awful things were being said … racist, sexist or homophobic things. If some true colors were coming out, that would be really concerning,” DoAmaral said.

Fiveable’s setup, while extreme, is far from unheard of in the often work-obsessed tech industry. At the six-bedroom Silicon Valley home dubbed “Casa de Facebook” — where the social media behemoth’s co-founders (Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg) and staff lived in the company’s early days — some 10 interns reportedly shared a bunk bed-filled sunroom. 

“The home just exploded with engineers and Facebook employees,” landlord Judy Fusco recently told The Post of the Facebook team’s time renting it. 

Also, giants like Google have created luxury campus headquarters to entice employees with cushy surroundings. 

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Former President Obama’s dog Bo dies

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Former President Obama's dog Bo dies

Former President Obama’s dog Bo died Saturday, the ex-commander in chief revealed in a Twitter thread.

The cause of death was cancer. He was 12 years old.

“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives — happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between,” Obama wrote.

“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair,” Obama continued. “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”

Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, moved into the White House shortly after Obama took office, and was colloquially known as the first dog. He was joined by a second canine of the same breed named Sunny in 2013.

The former president’s post swiftly went viral on Twitter, where it was met with an outpouring of sympathy from Bo fans.

“It always made the day incalculably better to see Bo wandering around the west wing,” said former Obama administration Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

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New Zealand trying to eradicate hedgehog ‘killing machines’

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New Zealand trying to eradicate hedgehog 'killing machines'

Everyone loves the hedgehog – except for New Zealand.

The creature that inspired Beatrix Potter’s “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle” and the popular video game character Sonic was introduced to the country decades ago when New Zealand was still a British colony to remind the colonizers of their gardens at home. But with no natural predators on the island nation, the hedgehog population soared and is now a scourge of “killing machines.”

“Unchecked by the food chain, they meander blissfully through forests and gardens, hoovering up an astonishing number of native creatures,” the Guardian reports.

 “It’s increasingly coming to light how much damage they can do,” Nick Foster, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago who is researching hedgehogs, told the paper. A single, dedicated hedgehog will consume numerous native lizards, bird eggs, and wētā – a kind of large flightless cricket found only in New Zealand. One study found 283 wētā legs in a single hedgehog stomach. “That means in a 24-hour period this hedgehog has guzzled up 60 or so animals,” Foster said. “It’s a banquet.”

New Zealand is now trying to eradicate the animals by 2050, by way of trapping, hunting, and poisoning them — a plan that is despised by some locals due to the “cuteness” of the animals.

Foster told the Guardian there is “a bit of a psychological barrier” when it comes to hedgehog eradication. “It has been proposed to ship them all back to the UK. European hedgehogs aren’t doing so well in Europe. Still in good numbers, but they are declining.”

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Melting glacier reveals ‘open-air museum’ of World War I relics

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Adamello White War Museum, Temu, Valle Camonica, Lombardy. Image shot 08/2014. Exact date unknown.

Thawing ice has revealed a treasure trove of previously hidden World War I artifacts in the Italian Alps. 

Last month, a team from the Stelvio National Park White’s War Museum excavated a cave shelter, built by Austrian soldiers, atop Mount Scorluzzo and acquired 300 “exciting” artifacts, ranging from coins to corpses, helmets and weapons. 

No one had been inside the space, which was hidden and closed off by ice, in nearly 100 years. But as a result of rising temperatures, a glacier preventing access to the shelter had sufficiently melted in 2017 to allow researchers into what they’ve discovered to be a goldmine of items.

As the ice melted, relics — including bodies — have continued to appear in the area summer after summer. 

“A corpse is found every two or three years, usually in places where there was fighting on the glacier,” museum staffer Marco Ghizzoni told The Guardian.

“The findings in the cave on Mount Scorluzzo give us, after over a hundred years, a slice of life at over 3,000 meters above sea level, where the time stopped on November 3, 1918 when the last Austrian soldier closed the door and rushed downhill,” according to a museum press release, CNN reported. 

Inside, a world last accessed close to a century ago has offered researchers an abundance of antiques from a bygone era. Some of the recovered artifacts will be part of a collection set to open at the museum next year.

“It’s a sort of open-air museum,” historian Stefano Morosini told CNN of the northern Italy cave, where 20 servicemen lived their “very poor daily” lives while fighting Italian troops during the war. “Soldiers had to fight against the extreme environment, fight against the snow or the avalanches, but also fight against the enemy,” he went on. “The artifacts are a representation, like a time machine, of … the extreme conditions of life during the First World War.”

Italy’s White War Museum.

Alamy Stock Photo

Adamello White War Museum, Temu, Valle Camonica, Lombardy. Image shot 08/2014. Exact date unknown.

An upcoming exhibit here will display some of the findings from the cave expeditions.

Alamy Stock Photo

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