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David Richter
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David Richter

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Every day, we read about another woman who has thrown in the towel. A woman who's left her team, or her company, or her industry, fed up with the constant exhaustion of having to continually deal with sexism in the technology industry. And there are doubtlessly many many more who leave silently, without a high-profile exit. How many women (or trans* people, or minority ethnicities, or...) leaving the industry—or worse, never entering it—over this shit are we prepared to tolerate? Even if they don't leave, how many lives are willing to make miserable? How many careers are we willing to stunt through fear, anger, and distress?

I want to make one thing perfectly clear, especially to my fellow white straight cis-males: I'm not OK with this. Not by a very long way. As a manager, I want to make it quite clear that any team under my management will have zero tolerance for sexism, racism and transphobia, in whatever form they come. If I see it, I will call it out. If you want to do it, move elsewhere (ideally out of my company, or even better out of CS altogether). This applies as well for teams, groups, or conferences I participate in, but don't manage: if I see it, I will say it. If it continues, I am done with you and I will do everything in my power to never have to work with you again, at my current or any future company.

I beg all of you to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaqpoeVgr8U, a video made in the face of (yet another) sexual misbehaviour scandal in the Australian army. It is by far one of the most powerful anti-sexism messages ever spoken. I literally have a calendar reminder set to watch this every few months, because it is so powerful and resonates with me so strongly. It's a refreshing reminder of what a powerful anti-sexism message can look like.

Watch it, and if you take nothing else away from David Morrison's speech, take away this: "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept". It doesn't matter if you're not doing it (making the jokes, performing the microaggressions, belittling the contributions); it matters that you allow it to happen. By allowing it to happen, without stepping in, you are giving it your implicit approval, and letting it take root and grow. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

For the managers reading this, remember his followup: "That goes for all of us, but especially those who, by their rank, have a leadership role". As managers, some of us have a unique ability and responsibility. Do not let this fester in your team. If it festers in your team, it spreads, and the whole of your team, your company, and your industry all become lesser places for it.

Don't be silent. We, as individuals and as an industry, need to root this rot out and destroy it. It will take all of us, and I promise to do what I can.

Author's note: this is an edited version of something I posted internally at Google.
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I'm glad that this launched, and happy to have worked on it, if in a small way. I only wish we'd done it much sooner.
 
For many people, gender identity is more complex than just "male" or "female."  Starting today, I'm proud to announce that Google+ will support an infinite number of ways to express gender identity, by giving you the option to customize the way your gender is represented on your profile. 

Previously, we provided options for “Male,” “Female,” and “Other,” to encompass both those who don't fit into the traditional gender labels and those who don't want to declare their gender to the world at large. Now, the gender field on your profile will contain four entries, “Male,” “Female,” “Decline to state,” and “Custom.”  When “Custom” is selected, a freeform text field and a pronoun field will appear. You can still limit who can see your gender, just like you can now. We’ll be rolling this feature out for all users over the next few days.

Many thanks to the people and groups who gave us advice on the best ways to do this. Your input has been really valuable to us, and we hope you like the result!
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Half-Earth as a conservation vision: bring it on. That said, this article about it is so focused on North America, and the USA in particular that it is really more half-USA that is discussed. But that would be a good start.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/can-world-really-set-aside-half-planet-wildlife-180952379/?all&no-ist
The eminent evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event
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Deserts and mountains are fabulous ecosystems for the animals and plants native to them. That would be a great start. And read the article for some talk about for-profit bison ranching as part of this; that can bring in the Plains. As for the raccoons, yeah, this would mean figuring out the interactions at the border as well. That's a good problem to have.
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This is fascinating. Here's an earlier paper by two of the same authors.

http://m.pnas.org/content/early/2011/01/07/1011687108

The 2011 paper does cover the basics of statistical corrections for multiple tests on the same dataset, and has some interesting details. A gene where similarities attract is suspected of affecting social interactions; a distinct gene where opposites attract of affecting the immune system.

ETA: Hey everyone! Here's my moderation policy for comments on this post: make it polite, kind, and intelligent or interesting. Pick at least three, the first two are not optional. Otherwise hold your peace here. No exceptions.
A genome-wide analysis by researchers and friends James Fowler (right) and Nicholas Christakis shows that pairs of friends share genetic similarities. Photo by Liza Green. If you consider your friends family, you may be on to something. A study from the University of California, San Diego, ...
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:-)
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I know a few of you suffer from migraines, and I'm sure others of you do as well or know of someone who does. Here's two articles about the first anti-migraine device that the FDA approved. It has been in use in some other countries for some years, doesn't work for everyone, but is helpful for those it does work for, and doesn't conflict with current treatments.
http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/news/20140311/fda-approves-first-device-to-prevent-migraines
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/11/health/fda-medical-device-migraines/
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Noted.  I used to have migraines very frequently during junior high school, as did my mom, but (fortunately) not since.  I hope that my kids don't have this problem but it would be nice to have a palliative that works (medication didn't, particularly, for me). 
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I've always suspected that some religious prohibitions came more from avoiding parasites than anything else.
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This is pretty nice.
Here is “Knot”, a short comic I drew to sell at Mocca and TCAF this year. The printed version is going to be SO PRETTY. I’m in love with the cover (which I will post later). I just wanted to do...
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If you're using Google+, you probably care about your Google account.
 
Special offer from Google today: run a 2-minute security check on your account (which is really a good idea anyway) and get a free 2GB of Drive storage space. If your Google account matters to you -- your GMail, YouTube, Google+, Drive, and so on -- this is something worth running every few months.

And after you do that, go enable 2-step verification. (https://www.google.com/landing/2step/) It's the single best thing you can do to protect your account from being compromised. 
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In addition to Yes, No, and My, I want a reply to Yes/No questions that means I don't know.
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Signal boosting. Comments on original, please.
 
Note to the reader: Some people have been upset that I'm writing more about issues like these lately, and don't want to hear about things like race in America. If you feel this way, you may continue to be disappointed: these things are important, and we need to talk about them. Consider yourself forewarned: there will be more of this. If this makes you unhappy, you may want to stop reading now. But you probably shouldn't: if you find that this brings up lots of complicated emotions for you, that's a sign that you should read more, not less.

I wish that I could give you a short version of this article. But you need to read this, because it's going to be important to our national conversation about many things. Radley Balko has written a deeply researched, detailed article about the system of institutionalized corruption by which municipalities across Missouri are essentially treating their poor -- especially their black poor -- as a resource to be harvested and consumed to line their own pockets.

The basic idea is simple and should be familiar to anyone who's watched loansharks at work: they start with a fine for something -- say, having expired tags on your car, not having proof of insurance, or (I kid you not) "wearing saggy pants." If you don't have a lawyer (and they've made sure that you won't have one unless you're rich enough to hire one), then you don't simply pay the fine; instead, you have a series of court dates. The message seems to somehow have gone out to the public that if you go to one of these dates and can't afford the fine, you'll go to jail -- so people miss the dates, and are then arrested for that, instead. Then they get fined for that, as well. As well as fines for not paying the fines, and so on, and so forth. 

It's brutally effective, and it's why you hear so much concern about towns which are 90% black with a police force that's almost entirely white and living in a different town: that police force is, generally, running one of these schemes, together with a local government that's arranging all of the payments. (Guess where all the money for this goes? Hint: it's not the town general fund. At least, not the town where any of the people being imprisoned live.) When the people writing and "enforcing" (I use the term loosely) the laws have no ties to the people being charged under them, you have a sophisticated extortion racket, and no rule of law.

This article is extensive and detailed, and by the time you get through it, you should have a painfully clear picture of how it works. There are probably two other things you should read in conjunction with it: Ta-Nehisi Coates' now-famous article about similar corruption of the housing system (http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/), and the book I'm working through now, Douglas A. Blackmon's Pulitzer Prize-winning Slavery by Another Name. (http://www.amazon.com/Slavery-Another-Name-Re-Enslavement-Americans/dp/0385722702) I suspect that these three will give you a very good picture of some of the "hidden corruption," of the darkest form imaginable, which plagues our country to this day.
The uprising in Ferguson was an inevitable reaction to the institutional racism coursing through the area for decades.
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As someone who's been reading a number of the originals recently, this is quite funny.

H/T to +Yonatan Zunger 
 
Children's books for adults

Possibly NSFW because of some of the language.  Pretty funny, especially if you know the originals!

http://thechive.com/2014/04/01/classic-childrens-books-written-for-adults-13-photos/
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One of my favs.

Also, do we have any idea how hard it would be these days to get a publisher to include the word "goddamn" in a kids book and chuckle instead of freak out about who'd object?
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Enter your phone number and they'll call to connect you with your three Congresspeople's offices with a script to read to each one. Super easy.

There's also an email option, which is even easier, but my understanding is that legislators take phone calls more seriously.
Reddit, Mozilla, Tumblr, Imgur, and over 6,000 other websites are protesting NSA surveillance. Join them.
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Fabulous playground for the 2-12 set.
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Lovely views, a wide flat beach, really good sand for digging and building, and a play structure. There's driving allowed on the beach. Lots of people given the easy access. The water fountain and shoe wash appears long-since broken.
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