THREE YEARS OF MISERY INSIDE GOOGLE, THE HAPPIEST COMPANY


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A detailed account.

Google employees lit up the company’s internal social networks, once again contemplating galling facts about the status of women in Silicon Valley. But this time the discussion was less easily derailed, perhaps because some of the most important exchanges took place on an anonymous mailing list called Expectant New Moms. The group’s 4,000 members knew the stories about Rubin and Singhal—thanks in part to email threads on the list after each executive departed. But Rubin’s $90 million payout felt like a sucker punch. The fact that leaders’ misconduct had been an open secret made it worse. Why had they given so many years of their lives to make these men insanely rich?

The complete article

Nitasha Tiku — Wired

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Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience


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Esalen is the place.

Esalen is one such place. Another is 1440 Multiversity, a sleek campus in Santa Cruz County—the boutique hotel to Esalen’s summer camp. Spirit Rock, a meditation center in Marin County, recently held a gathering to discuss “technology as an existential threat to mindfulness.” There are invitation-only dinners, private cuddle parties, conferences called Responsible Tech and Wisdom 2.0. “There’s a lot of debate about what to call it,” Paula Goldman, who runs a new department at the software company Salesforce called the Office of Ethical and Humane Use, said. “Ethical tech? Responsible tech?” If the name is one source of confusion, the substance is another. Is it a movement, or the stirrings of what might become a movement? Is it evidence of canny P.R., or of deep introspection?

The complete article

Andrew Marantz — The New Yorker

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In Search of Lost Time on YouTube


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Like the fossilized mosquito in Jurassic Park, these scraps of cultural ephemera hold the DNA of a lost world. From them I can extract and return from extinction a long-ago living room, with its red carpet and exposed-brick chimney. These drops of preserved time are generous, containing in miniature a thousand blueprints for memories: a suburban swimming pool sealed up for the winter, along with school friends’ train-track smiles, a history project on George Washington, neon highlighters, sour candies in the shape of keys fizzing on the tongue, social anxieties and family worries, the touch of a cousin’s warm, bald head, the starship Enterprise hanging among the stars (shot from below), the white noise of space.

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Laurence Scott — The New Atlantis

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The Podcast Business Model


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Is Luminary going to be Netflix of podcast?

This is a natural evolution of the podcast model. Podcasts began as free content for, you guessed it, iPods. The idea is that the content could be ‘cast’ to the ‘pod.’ In fact, today, podcasts may be the only linguistic use of the ‘pod’ term left (well if you don’t count Tide). Those podcasts then got ads and then it turned out that the ads were effective which was great news for startups like Gimlet that had built themselves off a long tradition in audio content, including innovative ads, brought about by This American Life.  (Gimlet was recently acquired by Spotify for a purported $200m).

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Joshua Gans — Digitopoly

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Audible’s assault on leisure time


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“My writing time needs to surround itself with empty stretches,” the poet Maxine Kumin once wrote in an essay about how caring for her horses made her work possible, providing “the mindless suspension of doing simple, repetitive tasks—mucking out, refilling water buckets, raking sawdust—that allows those free-associative leaps out of which a poem may occasionally come.” The “empty stretches” are enforced by busyness but uncompressed by the pursuit of efficiency; farm work has “no beginning and no apparent end,” and within it the poet’s “contentment in isolation” can expand. I don’t have a barn full of horses, but I’m attempting to take more dog-walks in silence. Instead of doing chores, I’ve been listening to audiobooks while lying in bed—which takes far longer than silent reading, especially when my thoughts wander and I have to rewind. Right now, that torpor is what I like most. I think it’s good for me to waste some time.

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Nora Caplan-Bricker — The Baffler

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The first images of a black hole are a moving reminder of our collective vulnerability


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Generating an image of a black hole is a paradox.  A black hole is invisible by nature – it emits no matter that we can measure. So what we see in the image is actually its event horizon. The bright ring is not a physical ring – it’s light coming from matter orbiting the black hole, which is so extremely warped that light itself is bending. There are black holes at the centre of every galaxy – some which sing, some which whir along quietly – and now that we’ve created images of one, it’s possible that we can continue to image more black holes, and even other kinds of cosmic matter.

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Sanjana Varghese — New Statesman America

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‘Be Fearless.’ Tim Cook’s Commencement Speech at Duke University


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“We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy. So we choose a different path: Collecting as little of your data as possible. Being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know it belongs to you,” Cook said. “In every way, at every turn, the question we ask ourselves is not ‘what can we do’ but ‘what should we do’.”

The complete speech

Alix Langone — Time

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