Venice’s Controversial Flood Barriers To Rise Today Amid Stormy Weather

Venice will activate its Mose flood barrier system today for the first time, as bad weather and particularly high tides are set to hit the canal city. This will be the first real test of the mobile gates, whose construction has been wildly over budget, years late, and riddled with corruption. 

Venice, in the northern Italian region of the Veneto, is braced for storms over the weekend and is expected to see a high tide, or “acqua alta” today at noon. Mose Commissioner Elisabetta Spitz confirmed the barriers would be activated on Saturday if levels reach those predicted, the Ansa news agency reports. The tide is expected to reach 135 cm at midday today, which would trigger the emergency procedure for activating the flood defense system. 

Controversial former Uber exec Emil Michael has registered plans for a $250 million SPAC

SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are all the rage right now, and people are emerging from all corners to raise them.

Among the latest entrants — and someone who might be of interest to Silicon Valley watchers — is Emil Michael, a former Uber executive and top lieutenant to former CEO Travis Kalanick. Earlier today, Micheal registered plans with the SEC to raise $250 million in an IPO for a blank-check company that will broadly acquire a company in the tech sector.

IPO Edge had reported earlier today that the SPAC might be in the works.

The filing lists as special advisors Alphabet’s former executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and Betsy Atkins, a founder of Ascend Communications and investor who has served on so many boards that last year she wrote a book about it. Indeed, among her other roles currently, she’s on the boards of Volvo, Wynn Resorts, and Oyo Hotels.

Michael was as senior vice president of field operations at Tellme Networks, then later served as COO of the startup Klout before landing at Uber, where he was a senior vice president for business for nearly four years.

He gained prominence in the role, but also some disrepute after he publicly made comments about hiring opposition researchers to quite journalists critical of the company and following a later report that he had attended an “escort bar” in Seoul with other Uber executives, including Kalanick. Indeed, when he left the company in 2017, Uber declined to say if he left of his own accord.

Despite — or perhaps even because of — his trajectory at Uber, Michael was reportedly vetted at one point for the position of Secretary of Transportation after Donald Trump was elected president. Now, he apparently sees a way to jump back into tech by using