Reading List: Deified Founders, Online Jerk Radicalization, and Can't We Just Trust Science Already?
Sweethearts, it’s the freaking weekend. And if you’re like me and hoping to spend as little time as possible out of your “nice” sweatpants this weekend, it’s time to load up them thar kindles and get to the reading!
Ellen Pao, Tech Founders’ Absolute Power is Destroying Company Culture (WIRED) - When Ellen Pao speaks, we’d all be good to listen, but especially when she’s writing on how the deification of executives in Silicon Valley leads to company boards unable to react to the malfeasance of their investee.
Elizabeth Chuck, Science says fluoride in water is good for kids. So why are these towns banning it? (NBC News) - In the 1940s, cities around North American began increasing natural fluoride levels in public drinking water in order to decrease tooth decay. That worked, and fluoridation was, as NBC points out, eventually named one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, alongside vaccination and “recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard.” But now, fluoride is being subject to the same science-rejecting rhetoric and organized action by a “cult-like” minority as vaccinations, and as a result, cities around the country are taking it out of the water, as the city council of my hometown Calgary did in 2011 without a vote on the matter, (to which the University of Calgary links a recent rise of tooth decay in children.) As NBC points out, “The frets over fluoride are reminiscent of the unfounded fear that vaccines cause autism: disproved by science, yet steadfast nonetheless.”
Noah Kulwin, ‘I Fundamentally Believe That My Time at Reddit Made the World a Worse Place’ (The Intelligencer) - Silicon Valley is rarely introspective (I mean, vs. navel gaze-y,) though there has been a shift towards genuine self-criticism in recent years. But so rarely do you have an architect of one of these online communities come right out and flatly say that stuff wasn’t done right. From the piece: “First, I’ll say there were very few decisions made. I think that the biggest problem that Reddit had and continues to have, and that all of the platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and Discord now continue to have is that they’re not making decisions, is that there is absolutely no active thought going into their problems — problems that are going to exist in coming months or years — and what they can do to combat them.”
Chris Gayomali, Steven Yeun Is Lighting Up the Screen (GQ) - As anyone who crushed on Glenn in Walking Dead can attest to, Steven Yeun is freaking lovely. But he’s even MORE freaking lovely in conversation with Gayomali, where they delve into Asian representation in film, how to counteract toxic masculinity, rethinking what it means to be a father in 2018, and recognizing and respecting the unique experience of American immigrants.
Robert Evans, From Memes to Infowars: How 75 Fascist Activists Were “Red-Pilled” (Bellingcat) - What can I say? We’re all totes doomed. Also, I bookmarked this story earlier in the week, only to realize as I was typing this up this morning that this week I had been binge listening to Evans’s podcast, which my Mum had recommended I check out. if you’re not listening to “Behind the Bastards,” you need to to subscribe to that ASAP from wherever podcasts are put into your ear holes. I recommend starting with How Hollywood Helped the Nazis, which is what my Mum told me to start with.
Toodles, darlings! Be kind to each other.