Not In Sync

Why Google backed down from fiber; how to fix Silicon Valley's sexism problem; and more.


  • The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), says he will hold up a vote on Rod Rosenstein to be deputy attorney general until FBI director gives the committee a briefing on his agencies ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Seung Min Kim reports for Politico.

  • Stand Up Republic, a group created by conservatives Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn after running for president as independents last year, is throwing its weight behind calls on Trump to release his tax returns, Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post.

  • The Washington Post has found that Trump has tried to fill just one science and technology position—of 46, Chris Mooney reports. “But it is far from clear that Trump intends to fill all of these roles,” Mooney reports. “Recently, the president told Fox News that he may not fill many political posts in his government. “A lot of those jobs, I don’t want to appoint, because they’re unnecessary to have,” Trump said.”

  • Media matters: Kate O’Flaherty rounds up global responses to fake news in this Guardian piece.

  • Susan Crawford reports for Backchannel on why Google Fiber was doomed from the beginning. “Google’s retreat is all about the bottom line,” she writes. “It wanted an unrealistic rate of return on basic infrastructure. It wanted to see rapid cost declines per subscriber, like the Moore’s Law changes in productivity that have taken place when digital technologists squeeze costs from other legacy businesses.”

    We still need fiber, Crawford argues, we just can’t expect monolithic companies to provide it. “Don’t be distracted by talk about wireless,” she adds. “Saying Americans can rely on wireless alone is like saying, “Who needs airports? We have airplanes!””

  • The trials and tribulations of becoming a civic tech company: On the heels of my piece on Loveland and the possible unintended consequences of opening data, I follow up with a deep dive into how social good or civic technology companies like Loveland juggle a number of sometimes conflicting challenges—satisfying customers, helping communities, and pursuing their own organizational mission—which can hinder or obscure the impact they want to have.

  • The timing of Liza Mundy’s Atlantic cover story about sexual harassment and sexism in Silicon Valley seems almost too perfect—it went to press shortly after Susan J. Fowler wrote a blog post about her year at Uber—but apparently things are really just that bad! Read through for possible solutions, like hiring #goals.

  • A new coalition called Pop Culture Collaborative will spend $25 million over five years to “popularize authentic, just narratives about people of color, immigrants, refugees and Muslims that together tell the story of how we all belong in America.”

  • Your emails can and will be screenshotted: A Canadian food delivery service is enduring a public relations nightmare after a job applicant tweeted screenshots of an email exchange showing the company canceled an interview with her after she asked about compensation and benefits, writing, “Your questions reveal that your priorities are not in sync with those of SkipTheDishes,” Riley Sparks reported for National Observer.

  • Job listings: The Democracy Fund is looking to fill positions working on congressional capacity and oversight, modern elections, and internal evaluations, among others. Learn more here.

  • And Civic Hall Labs is also looking to fill two positions: Project coordinator for Pro Bono Tech, and an administrative assistant working on programs. Learn more and apply here.

  • In search of zen: Feeling pessimistic? Claustrophobic? Maybe a bit more misanthropic than usual? Then you might be interested in reading about how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 years. Michael Finkel reports for The Guardian.

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