Monday, July 3rd, 2017


There’s a Gap for That

The gender wage gap seems like just another holdover in a society that has never treated women equally. And in part, it really is that simple. But, not entirely. In Bloomberg, Claire Suddath takes an interesting look at a surprisingly hard question to answer: Why Can't Your Company Just Fix the Gender Wage Gap? "Over the past 50 years, women have achieved an astounding level of equality in the U.S. They have become astronauts and U.S. Supreme Court justices and have come so close to winning the presidency it's easy to forget that until 1974 they couldn't get a credit card unless a man co-signed the application. Women are the primary breadwinners in half of all U.S. families. They're more likely to hold a bachelor's or master's degree than men, and should they choose to marry, about a third of them will keep their last name. But one of the most intractable and measurable differences between women and men in the U.S. is the kind of jobs they hold and how much they're paid."

+ Those of us in the Bay Area's tech community like to think of ourselves as the center of the progressive world. But a series of recent stories have made it clear that we also remain stubbornly stuck to our bro culture ways. And the stories keep coming. The latest from the NYT: Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment. (It used to be a criticism to say a VC was just in it for the money. These days, that sounds like a compliment.)

+ Dave McClure (one of those named in the NYT piece) resigns as general partner of 500 Startups funds.


My Dinner with Andrea

Mike Pence got some social media ribbing when we learned that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife. It turns out, that's not such a rare philosophy. According to a recent poll, Americans are wary of being alone with the opposite sex. "The results show the extent to which sex is an implicit part of our interactions. They also explain in part why women still don't have the same opportunities as men. They are treated differently not just on the golf course or in the boardroom, but in daily episodes large and small, at work and in their social lives." (My wife and I have a simple rule. You can hang out with anyone you want, as long as you take the kids with you.)


Repeal and Relax

Before the House and Senate Republicans began their uphill battle to come up with a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, they had another idea. Repeal Obamacare now, and take the next few years to come up with a new plan. That idea was summarily nixed by President Trump. Well, the idea is back, and it seems to be gaining some support. From WaPo: Trump is trying to blow up the Obamacare strategy he pushed for.

+ The White House Science Division officially has zero staff members. Of course, that headline about science is only meaningful if you believe in math.


Red, Fight, and Blue

"The state is as politically divided as the rest of the nation. One can drive across it and be in two different states at the same time: FM Texas and AM Texas. FM Texas is the silky voice of city dwellers, the kingdom of NPR. It is progressive, blue, reasonable, secular, and smug -- almost like California. AM Texas speaks to the suburbs and the rural areas: Trumpland. It's endless bluster and endless ads. Paranoia and piety are the main items on the menu." By 2050, Texas could be home to as many as 54 million people. It has already become the nation's bellwether. From Lawrence Wright: America's Future Is Texas.

+ "A liberal nirvana, a crunchy, weed-and-hops city where Republicans and plastic bags alike have been all but evicted, Portland has embodied and outpaced many of the urban trends of the early 21st century: gentrification and co-ops, food trucks and footbridges, transitions to a bike-and-pedestrian economy. It is, as a conspicuous show has encapsulated, a progressive paradise." It also could be America's most politically violent city.


Prime Numbers

"To consumers whose seeming every wish can be fulfilled by the more than 400 million products available for sale, its scope can seem enormous. Amazon sells 52% of all books (print, electronic and audio) in the United States. Forty-three percent of all online commerce goes through Amazon. It's got 45% of the cloud computing market." Those numbers alone make this seem like a fair question: Is Amazon getting too big?

+ While we're debating whether Amazon is too big, they're busy getting bigger. And soon, they could be your pharmacy. (Prime members will get the really good stuff...)


I Will Survive

In Wired, Sam Apple looks at the latest twists and turns in the quest to make you live longer (and maybe, forever). Forget the blood of teens. This pill promises to extend life for a nickel a pop. "Almost nothing seems too far-fetched in the so-called life-extension community. And yet, while it's certainly possible that this work will lead to a breakthrough that will benefit all of humanity, it's hard to escape the sense that Silicon Valley's newfound urge to postpone aging indefinitely is, first and foremost, an attempt by the super wealthy to extend their own lives." It's also part of the world's newest religion in which we pray to the tech gods and believe that if you can create a popular photosharing app, you can do anything.


See Spot Heal

"The number of papers I see that start out, ‘It is now well-established that there are health benefits from owning pets' -- that drives me crazy. Yes, there's literature that supports that. But there's also literature that doesn't find that." From WaPo: Therapy animals are everywhere. Proof that they help is not. (I didn't even need animal therapy before I got my fifth pet.)


Drill Baby, Drill

"Among the general public, dentists tend to have a Norman Rockwell appeal -- solo practitioners who clean your teeth, tell your kids to cut down on the candy, and put their seal of approval on a range of minty toothpastes and mouthwashes. But lawmakers from Maine to Alaska see a different side of dentists and their lobby, the American Dental Association, describing a political force so unified, so relentless and so thoroughly woven into American communities that its clout rivals that of the gun lobby." From WaPo: The unexpected political power of dentists. (Speak softly and carry a big pair of pliers...)

+ Stat: How George Washington's teeth -- from animals and maybe slaves -- became an American legend.


When the Brit Hits the Fan

My wife and I were once watching a match at Wimbledon when a fire broke out at a nearby apartment building. Everyone could see the fire, but no one made any audible mention of it. I suppose that's not a surprise at a tournament where the crowds are often so quiet you can hear the ball hitting the grass. So when the crowd makes noise, it hurts. From the NYT: From the Quiet of Wimbledon, the Loud Groan of the Crowd.


Bottom of the News

Admit it. You were dreading the inevitability of talking about Trump and DC politics at your 4th of July gathering. Well, good news. You can talk about Chris Christie instead. NPR: Chris Christie Closed New Jersey's State Beaches -- And Then Went To The Beach. (This is proof that you're addicted to political news. They're showing you pictures of Chris Christie on the beach and you still don't turn it off...)

+ Here's a headline that gets right to the point: I Could Kill You with a Consumer Drone.

+ In case you need any ideas to spice up your Fourth, there's this: "On the Greek island of Chios, two churches host an ancient ritual in which residents on either side of town fire some 100,000 handmade rockets at the bell tower of the opposing church -- while worship takes place inside."