When your experience of a big city is a seamless parade of hip restaurants and privately funded transportation, it’s easy to overlook the things that cities need, like filled potholes and a reliable transit system. San Franciscans feel resentful about the technology industry’s lack of civic and community engagement, and the Google bus is our daily reminder.
Then there was the small matter of hitting the woman at the bus stop.
There is a close relationship between having a life that is sheltered from everyday experiences of discomfort and difficulty, and having a blatant lack of consideration for other people. It’s not an accident that the man at that bus stop didn’t notice that he had hit someone. Nor is it an accident that he didn’t bother looking around to acknowledge the person whom he had hit.
He had no interest in seeing her. He will never see her.
And this, my friends, is why these stories inevitably end with the have-nots taking to the barricades, while the haves scramble for security and wonder when and why everyone got so angry.
The Labor Department has no authority to release [diversity] reports for companies that aren’t federal contractors. That knocked out 10 companies: Amazon, Facebook, Groupon, Hulu, LinkedIn, LivingSocial, Netflix, Twitter, Yelp and Zynga.
But even contractors may block the release of their data. Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Microsoft all submitted written objections, successfully petitioning the Department of Labor for their data to be excluded on the basis that doing so would cause “competitive harm.”
Julianne Pepitone for CNN: Diversity in Silicon Valley - black, female, and a Silicon Valley ‘trade secret’ (via).
That excuse is almost on the “my dog ate the homework” level. Sigh.
Late last month, [Max] Levchin began his latest venture, Affirm, which lets consumers buy things online using their Facebook profile. That follows his previous business, Slide, a photo-sharing service that also allowed people to take care of their virtual “SuperPoke! Pets.
To my North American perspective, the whole UK tech and design scene has this uniquely British-feeling mixture of humour and the unexpected–playfulness, in other words—and that’s what immediately felt familiar to me when I read “Low Life.” That community seems deeply rooted not just in 2000 AD, but in Boys’ Own and Dan Dare, and other British visions of the future (versus, say, Star Trek) And BERG themselves were named by Warren Ellis, who is closely linked with that scene, after the British Experimental Rocketry Group in The Quatermass Experiment.
And of course, given a choice of ur-texts to inspire the scenius of creative technologists, I’ll take the Dan Dare and 2000 AD of Silicon Roundabout over the Atlas Fucking Shrugged of Silicon Valley any day of the week.
Mike Migurski, in his post about The City From The Valley project (which you should read in full):
What of the private perks offered by valley companies, of which private transport is just one? I think Google, Facebook, Apple and others have all done their own math and determined that it’s advantageous to move, feed, clothe, and generally coddle your workforce. This math scales a lot more than is obvious, and as a country we should be looking at things like the Affordable Care Act in a more favorable light, perhaps asking companies who need to move employees up and down the peninsula to pay more into Caltrain instead of running their own fleets.
I remember a discussion with two (also ex-pat, but longer established in SF) friends last year, where I made a similar point about public transport. If Google, Apple, Yahoo and so on are really approaching a ridership about one third that of Caltrain itself, wouldn’t it make more sense to actually expand that service?
Their rebuttal did make some sense. The last-mile is a problem, at both ends- the station in SF is hardly located centrally, and many campuses are far from the train line. It’s also a lot easier to put coaches on the road than trains on a track. That was the case in London when Ken Livingstone first became Mayor in 2000; he expanded bus coverage rapidly (with somewhat more day routes, and definitely an expansion of night and 24 hour buses) because pushing investment to the Tube has a very long lead time. (The Victoria line upgrade programme still has a small step next year, after starting in about 2007, for example.)
Nonetheless, the sooner you start, the sooner you finish, and if Google had started pushing money in five years ago, perhaps the Caltrain modernisation, which will increase capacity and speed through electrification, would be finished somewhat sooner than in 2019. After all, the environmental impact reports date back to 2004.
One other thought occurs to me. If these large multinational companies can avoid paying tax on their non-US earnings, at least their headquarters should be available for funding local amenities.
If American citizens are happy letting some companies look after their employees while others sink, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with the actions of these new giants. If they’re not, though, perhaps there’s something to be said for raising the idea that perhaps they should be contributing more to their communities, if not their country.
Forty-seven-year-old Thomas Langenbach appeared in court Tuesday on four felony counts of burglary that could net him up to five years in prison if convicted. He didn’t enter a plea.
Authorities say Langenbach covered the original bar codes on Lego sets with his own bar-code stickers to get a cheaper price. They say he then sold the pilfered sets of colorful toy bricks on eBay.
Langenbach works for German software giant SAP. His LinkedIn profile lists him as a vice president in a Northern California division.