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Wednesday News: Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity, Technology and the future...

At first glance, Apple has better workplace diversity statistics than many peers. But look at the numbers for technology employees and management—the people who have the most influence and the highest salaries within the companies—and consider the gender gap in each of these groups, and things start to get much more homogenous. Apple only slightly raises what’s a very low bar—which is something not lost on CEO Tim Cook. –Quartz

Yes, historically, technology has killed certain types of jobs while creating others. But what we’re seeing happen right now isn’t merely a redistribution of unskilled jobs to other sectors over the course of a couple decades, or the outsourcing of factory workers to other countries or cities with better tax breaks.

Instead, it’s wiping out entire industries, entire swaths of the economy, in years, not decades. And it’s killing white collar jobs as frequently as it’s killing blue collar ones. –Vice

What I get from the network during such events is something similar to what happens when we hear about a friend who has passed away: a sense of shock and regret, but also funny stories about that person, snapshots in time that remind you of them and how they made you feel. Byers says in his post: “As for what I thought about — what movie, what stand-up routine, what quote — do you really care?” And my response would be yes, I do. Seeing people share their favorite movies and lines from Williams’ standup routines reminded me of what I loved about his comedy, and of the moments I remember watching his movies with others. –Gigaom

But there is a hitch, and it is a big one: While the services each offer hundreds of thousands of books, many newer books are not yet available through these subscriptions. That is because the services haven’t been able to reach deals with many of the major publishers, especially for new books. So unless you’re a truly voracious reader who doesn’t mind older books, you probably want to avoid adding this monthly charge. –New York Times

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Avery Flynn
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 08:56:43

    An interesting piece in today’s Wall Street Journal about how libraries and their digital lending library with best sellers and new releases beat Amazon’s subscription service.

  2. Diana
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 09:11:59

    That robot future doomsaying piece is kind of scary. What’s scarier is that we all know that nothing will change in education, at least in America, until it’s too late — and maybe not even then.

    As a mom to young kids, I am constantly worrying about how they will survive in the world someday. The way the world is going, I’m afraid they won’t have the chances that I’ve had (and even these were reduced from the economic opportunities that my parents enjoyed coming to age in the 1970s).

  3. Hestia
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 09:21:35

    The reduction of the middle class is caused by low wages, not poor education. How does education help if the living wage jobs are not there?

  4. autonomous
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 09:42:08

    Diana, I share the same concerns. I worry every day what kind of jobs my children will have when they grow up. I’m trying instill a strong sense of practicality when it comes to preparing for college and choosing a profession. Don’t even get me started on the sad state of the public school system where I live. I live in one of the worst school districts in my state.

    Re: … And it’s killing white collar jobs as frequently as it’s killing blue collar ones.

    That’s exactly what I’m seeing in my place of work. I work in operations and a lot of our jobs have gone to India. I lot of the students we hire out of MBA programs aren’t from the US either. We now employ 20,000 people in India (which is probably neck and neck with the number of people we employ here in the US) which just astounds me. We’ve also reached the point where technology is going replace many of us. I do , however, often think that the unstable state of world affairs is going to bite my employer in the face. On the other hand, my employer is very progressive about diversity, and women have done very well here.

  5. hapax
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 12:10:08

    One positive thing I have seen coming out of the social media reaction to Robin Williams’s death is serious discussion of mental illness (esp. depression) and suicide.

    Anything that helps raise awareness and decrease stigma is valuable.

  6. Kaley
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 12:31:09

    I might have agreed that social media is a great way to mourn the passing of someone famous until I heard about Zelda Williams having to take a break from social media due to harassment. People apparently were tweeting photo shopped pics of Robin Williams to her and even a link that claimed to be of his body in the coroner’s office (that ended up being a hoax). Others were harassing her on Instagram b/c she didn’t have many pics of her father posted. The insensitivity and cruelty are mind-boggling and overwhelm the wonderful tributes I have seen.

  7. Laura Jardine
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 12:42:57

    @hapax: I agree that it has led to a lot of good discussion. I’ve been surprised by the number of reasonable articles on this. And while there have been some people posting insensitive comments, there are an awful lot of very insightful ones as well.

    It is also great to see people talking about their favourite Robin Williams movies, posting their favourite clips, etc. Sometimes when someone takes their own life, the end overshadows everything else.

  8. Amanda
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 13:59:47

    I was stunned by Williams death and deeply saddened. At first I thought I was taking his death so hard because my family history with bipolar disorder and suicide. It helped going on social media and seeing that others were feeling grief as strongly. However I have been avoiding twitter today because every time I saw a new message concerning Williams’s death I felt myself feeling exactly the way I felt when I first heard the news.

  9. Robin/Janet
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 15:03:16

    @Hestia: Actually, the relationship between education and the health of the middle class in the US is very powerful, and it’s the subject of much discussion in higher education. The first GI Bill is largely credited for building the middle class, and because social mobility in the US is still tied very strongly to education (on average, those who earn a bachelor’s degree are still likely to earn $1m more over the course of their lifetime than those with a high school diploma), it’s a crucial element of the equation. And because the middle class is something that needs to be intentionally created and fortified, there’s a lot of concern around how all of the elements– including, as you say, living wage jobs — are/are not being cultivated/nurtured.

    Here’s a decent article on the influence of the GI Bill on the US middle class:

  10. Evangeline Holland
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 15:38:01

    I grew up on both coasts (and the Mid-West) and the differences in diversity and class has always interested me. I’m not surprised by the demographics in the tech industry–I’ve heard some horror stories.

    For a more light-hearted view of social media reaction to celebrity deaths, I point to Luvvie’s The Stages of Twitter Grief of Celebrity Deaths:

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