U.S.-led coalition says it has started Syria withdrawal

The U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State added to confusion surrounding the U.S. withdrawal from Syria on Friday by declaring that it had started the pullout process but U.S. officials later clarified that only equipment, not troops, had exited the country.

Amtrak works to modernize, speed up trains in busiest U.S. rail corridor

Amtrak is gearing up to introduce new high-speed Acela trains as it plans to spend billions of dollars in upgrades on the busiest U.S. rail corridor.

Huawei Canada executive leaves post as scrutiny of company grows

One of Huawei Canada’s top executives on Friday disclosed he was leaving his post after more than seven years with the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker, which is facing heightened scrutiny over security issues from Canada and its allies.

WeWork gets into the food business, backing the superfood startup of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has been described as an avid surfer, one who has been known to grab his board and go, both in the Hamptons in Long Island, where he reportedly owns a home, as well as in Hawaii.

Maybe it’s no surprise, then, that WeWork is now also investing a so-called superfood company that was created several years ago by big wave surf star Laird Hamilton, who Neumann was apparently surfing alongside just last week. In a video call with Neumann on Monday, a Fast Company reporter noted that Neumann is currently sporting a cast on one of his fingers, having broken it during the outing.

How much WeWork is investing in the startup, Laird Superfood, is not being disclosed, but according to the food company, the money will be used to fuel product development, acquisitions, and to hire more employees. A press release that was published without fanfare earlier today also notes that Laird Superfood products will be made available to WeWork members and employees at select locations soon.

Some of those offerings are certainly interesting, including “performance mushrooms” that it says “harnesses the benefits” of Chaga, a fungus believed by some to stimulate the immune system; Cordyceps, another fungus that’s been used for kidney disorders and erectile dysfuntion; and Lion’s Mane, yet another fungus believed by some to stimulate nerve growth in the brain.

The company suggests adding one teaspoon of the mushrooms each day to one’s coffee, tea, or health shake.

Laird Superfood also sells beet- and turmeric-infused powdered coconut waters, “ultra-caffeinated” coffee, and a variety of coffee creamers, including a mint-flavored creamer and a turmeric-flavored number.

It’s for a very specific consumer, in other words — presumably one who really likes turmeric, for example. Then again, what works for Laird Hamilton will undoubtedly work for a lot of people who’ve watched his decades-long career with amazement.

Hamilton seems to be selling what he actually ingests, too. As he told The Guardian last spring of his own diet: “I love espresso. You could give me five shots of espresso, a quarter stick of butter, a quarter stick of coconut oil and other fat, and I’ll drink that. I could go for five or six hours and not be hungry, because I’m burning fat.”

Organic food startups have been raising money left and right in recent years, including from traditional food companies, as well as from venture investors, who’ve poured billions of dollars into healthy snacks and drinks, with mixed results.

For WeWork’s part, the investment isn’t the first that has seemed somewhat far afield for the company. In one of its more surprising bets to date, WeWork invested in a maker of wave pools in 2016. The size of that funding was also undisclosed.

After lawsuit filed, Gearbox CEO confirms he left USB stick of porn at Medieval Times

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, recreated in a photo illustration of the game <em>Borderlands</em>'s cover art.

A pair of lawsuits filed in Collin County and Dallas County District Courts late last year came to light on Friday, each revolving around an apparently nasty dispute between the former general counsel of Gearbox Studios (makers of the Borderlands and Aliens: Colonial Marines game series) and its CEO, Randy Pitchford.

A November filing by Gearbox, uncovered by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, alleged that the company’s former general counsel, Wade Callender, “exploit[ed] Gearbox’s generosity and trust for his own personal gain.” Callender’s own countersuit, filed in the same court one month later, went quite a bit further. Callender’s suit alleges that Pitchford “breached his fiduciary duties by exploiting Gearbox employees and property to fund Pitchford’s private cravings,” and one portion of the suit makes two sensational accusations about Pitchford’s behavior: that he accidentally left a selection of “underage” pornography on a USB stick at a restaurant, and that he used his company’s money to host parties where “adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Pitchford.”

The allegations about a USB stick places its discovery at a 2014 Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament location in Dallas, down the road from Gearbox’s Plano, Texas, headquarters. Callender alleges in the December suit that someone from the restaurant perused the USB stick’s contents upon their discovery and then contacted the game studio so that its employees could recover it. “Pitchford declared that the thumb drive was his and requested its prompt return,” Callender’s suit states.

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