Google kicks off its big developer conference Wednesday. Less than a month after admitting it has a diversity problem, the company is taking measures to address the white male culture of the tech world. Google committed $50 million to a project called Made With Code, meant to inspire girls to get into coding.
Education is crucial, says Alaina Percival, who heads the group Women Who Code. But she says tech culture also contributes to the problem, like when industry people talk about hiring, say, a new iOS specialist.
“They’ll say, oh we need a great iOS guy,” Percival says -- not a great iOS person.
“Little things like that, that happen over and over again, that if you complained about any one of them, you would sound crazy,” she adds.
Lisa Cook is an economist at Michigan State University who researches the participation of women and minorities in the basic research and commercialization of inventions. She points out that culture plays into recruitment as well. Cook says people tend to recruit from the schools and labs they themselves experienced. The problem is that those social networks might leave out places like historically black colleges and universities.
“While HBCUs are responsible for a declining number of bachelor’s degrees, they’re responsible for an increasing number of STEM graduates,” she says.
Cook says those are the places that recruiters who want to increase diversity should target.
Climate change is a business opportunity.
There. I said it. Also? It's true. And kind of a paradox.
Global warming's been a bit buzzy this week, what with former Treasury Secretary — and current Republican — Henry Paulson in the New York Times this past weekend coming out in favor of a tax on carbon as the best way to control global warming, and a report from Paulson and others laying out the economic risks of climate change (Although, honestly, couldn't they have come up with a better name for the report than 'Risky Business?').
Six or seven years ago we sent Stephen Beard and Sam Eaton off to do a series we called 'Frozen Assets' — an exploration of the ways in which businesses would be able to take advantage of a warming planet. Back then, we concentrated on the areas that were (and mostly still are) literally frozen — Norway, Arctic Canada, and Greenland — and what would happen up there; oil exploration, fishing opportunities and shipping routes through the Northwest passage.
Since then, as the Paulson report and countless others have made clear, the obvious downsides have been mounting: decreased productivity, coastal property damage, infrastructure problems, lower crop yields and growing public health concerns. I could go on, but it'd be easier if you just have a look at the report, which I highly recommend.
Here — at long last — is my point. There's a way that capitalism — arguably the root cause of global warming — can help us find a way out. Or, at least, a way to mitigate the looming apocalypse. If companies, governments and people realize that market forces can work to our advantage in this — without resorting reflexively to well-entrenched positions — well, then maybe we've got a chance.
Or, to paraphrase Ezra Klein, maybe we're just screwed.
In past decades, foreign firms offered lavish perks for people to work in Beijing because of how hard life was there. China's booming economy ended that. Now, air pollution is driving many to leave.
In the 1980s and '90s, thousands of Cubans fleeing to the U.S. passed through Mariel port. Today, it's the site of an ambitious special economic zone that is filling many locals with optimism.
In a trial underway in California, the NCAA is arguing that college ball players should not be paid. But every coach knows that many players are not typical students, says commentator Frank Deford.
A remote-controlled bomb costs as much as an iPhone. Car bombs can cost up to $20,000. So for a cash-rich group like ISIS, the only limit to attacks is the number of people willing to carry them out.