Rude Uber riders could be booted from the app

Uber said that starting Wednesday, riders with a rating from drivers that's significantly below average could lose their ability to ride. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 May 2019
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Rude Uber riders could be booted from the app

  • If you misbehave repeatedly while getting a ride from Uber, you could get booted off the app
  • Uber already expects drivers to meet a minimum rating that varies by city

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber riders prone to rude behavior such as leaving trash or urging drivers to speed may be booted from the app under a policy change that took effect here Wednesday.
Uber riders in the US and Canada who have been consistently rated poorly by drivers will soon begin getting notices that they are at risk of losing access to the service.

But before that happens they'll get tips on how to improve ratings by being polite, not leaving trash in vehicles and not asking the driver to violate the speed limit. Uber says they'll get several chances to improve their rating before getting the boot.
The policy change was rolled out in Australia and New Zealand last year, and recently in India, according to Uber. It is to be expanded to other Uber markets, with timing to be determined.
“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability,” Uber head of safety brand and initiatives Kate Parker said in an online post.
“While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it’s the right thing to do.”
Riders at risk of being left at the curb by Uber will receive tips on how to improve their ratings, with suggestions such as being polite; not leaving behind messes, and refraining from asking drivers to break traffic laws.
Uber drivers have long been expected to remain above minimum thresholds in average ratings by passengers, and now riders are being called on to be similarly well-behaved.
“We’re launching a campaign to educate the entire Uber community about these guidelines,” Parker said.


What happened to the Apollo goodwill moon rocks?

Updated 16 June 2019
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What happened to the Apollo goodwill moon rocks?

  • Some of the gifts have either gone missing, were stolen or destroyed over the decades

HOUSTON, Texas: US President Richard Nixon gave moon rocks collected by Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 astronauts to 135 countries around the world and the 50 US states as a token of American goodwill.
While some hold pride of place in museums and scientific institutions, many others are unaccounted for — they have either gone missing, were stolen or even destroyed over the decades.
The list below recounts the stories of some of the missing moon rocks and others that were lost and later found.
It is compiled from research done by Joseph Gutheinz Jr, a retired NASA special agent known as the “Moon Rock Hunter,” his students, and collectSPACE, a website which specializes in space history.

• Both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon rocks presented to perpetually war-wracked Afghanistan have vanished.

• One of the moon rocks destined for Cyprus was never delivered due to the July 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and the assassination of the US ambassador the following month.
It was given to NASA years later by the son of a US diplomat but has not been handed over to Cyprus.

Joseph Gutheinz, an attorney known as the "Moon Rock Hunter," displays meteorite fragments in his office on May 22, 2019 in Friendswood, Texas. (AFP / Loren Elliot)



• Honduras’s Apollo 17 moon rock was recovered by Gutheinz and Bob Cregger, a US Postal Service agent, in a 1998 undercover sting operation baptized “Operation Lunar Eclipse.”
It had been sold to a Florida businessman, Alan Rosen, for $50,000 by a Honduran army colonel. Rosen tried to sell the rock to Gutheinz for $5 million. It was seized and eventually returned to Honduras.

• Ireland’s Apollo 11 moon rock was on display in Dublin’s Dunsink Observatory, which was destroyed in a 1977 fire. Debris from the observatory — including the moon rock — ended up in the Finglas landfill.

• The Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon rocks given to then Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi have vanished.

• Malta’s Apollo 17 moon rock was stolen from a museum in May 2004. It has not been found.

• Nicaragua’s Apollo 17 moon rock was allegedly sold to someone in the Middle East for $5-10 million. Its Apollo 11 moon rock ended up with a Las Vegas casino owner, who displayed it for a time in his Moon Rock Cafe. Bob Stupak’s estate turned it over to NASA when he died. It has since been returned to Nicaragua.

• Romania’s Apollo 11 moon rock is on display in a museum in Bucharest. Romania’s Apollo 17 moon rock is believed to have been sold by the estate of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed along with his wife, Elena, on Christmas Day 1989.


Spain’s Apollo 17 moon rock is on display in Madrid’s Naval Museum after being donated by the family of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, who was assassinated by the Basque separatist group ETA in 1973.
Spain’s Apollo 11 moon rock is missing and is believed to be in the hands of the family of former dictator Francisco Franco.
cl/sst