Bro Culture

Internal Googler memo against diversity circulates; many respond; and more.

  • A male engineer at Google wrote a 10-page internal memo opposing the company’s diversity initiatives that reportedly went “viral” inside the company’s intranet, though it’s not clear whether that was because employees support or oppose its reactionary sentiments. First reported by Motherboard’s Louise Matsakis, the full memo was obtained and posted by Gizmodo’s Kate Conger. Among its many offensive charges, the memo claims that “Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.”

  • Former Google engineer Yonatan Zunger tears the memo and its writer apart.

  • Cate Huston points out that the memo writer was educated at Harvard and MIT.

  • Danielle Brown, Google’s new VP of Diversity, Integrity and Governance responded as well, saying the memo “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender,” and “diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company.”

  • As NPR’s Steve Henn reported in 2014, the share of women in computer science was rising from the mid-60s to the mid-80s (alongside similar rises of women in medicine, law and other physical sciences), and then it started to crash. Why? Many observers blame the marketing of PCs. “This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the computing revolution. It helped define who geeks were, and it created techie culture.”

  • Opposition watch: Hillary Clinton’s Onward Together PAC has hired two of her 2016 staffers, Emmy Ruiz (a top field director) and Adam Parkhomenko (director of grassroots engagement), Ruby Cramer reports for BuzzFeed News.

  • New on Civicist from our Jessica McKenzie: How the Wilderness Society is crowdsourcing its effort to make sure that the 1.4 million comments that the Interior Department has received on its proposal to roll back the National Monuments program get heard.

  • Has “Organizing for America” become “the lead organizing hub of the Trump resistance”? That’s what Edward-Isaac Dovere writes in his report for Politico on “Obama’s army,” but apart from experiencing the same post-Trump wave that many progressive groups have been riding, there’s little evidence that OFA is at the center of things. For example, while OFA says it has 102 chapters, has hosted or participated in 2,500 events and trained 40,000 people in person or by webinar, Indivisible has roughly 6,000 local chapters, which have each probably held tens if not dozens of events, and earlier this year was regularly drawing tens of thousands on its weekly conference calls (held in tandem with allies like MoveOn and the Working Families Party).

  • Disrupt for America, the only current group devoted to drafting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for President in 2020, has 27 likes. That’s up from 15 when Bill Scher wrote this smart memo to Zuckerberg on Politico, explaining why running for President isn’t as easy as writing code.

  • How we live today: Ships on the high seas are shifting from a reliance on satellite signals, which are at risk of hacking, back to World War II radio technology, Reuters reports. “Last year, South Korea said hundreds of fishing vessels had returned early to port after their GPS signals were jammed by hackers from North Korea, which denied responsibility.”

  • Kenya’s presidential election is tomorrow, and as Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura reports for the New York Times, fake news and the murder of a senior election official in charge of crucial voting technology has the country on edge.

  • The FCC has revived an obsolete loophole in order to give Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative TV network, the ability to own stations reaching 72% of US households, double a congressional imposed nationwide audience cap, Margaret Harding McGill and John Hendel report for Politico.

  • Government chatbots are on the rise, reports Zack Quaintance for GovTech.

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