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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

UPDATE 2017-08-09, 18:19 UTC: I just thought it was worth mentioning that the raw document (the one which includes sources) can – at least for now – be found by simply searching for “google memo” on Google News, as shown at the bottom of this post. Hopefully this means that significantly more people will get a more nuanced picture of things.

(This is a follow-up to my previous blog post on the same topic.)

To see the memo in full – with sources! – please go to: diversitymemo.com

Before you read through the media responses to this memo, please check out the following articles, or you may be missing key points here:

Now, to the “fun” part. Do you see your favorite media news outlet in the list below, perhaps?

Since there’s seemingly so much agreement out there, it must mean they’re all on to something… right?

WRONG. Read the articles above, please.

See if you can spot a trend… (I’ve left out the links, since I’m lazy and I’m only looking at the titles here anyway.)

Here we go:

ABC News: Google fires employee behind controversial anti-diversity memo
BBC: Was Google wrong to fire anti-diversity memo author?
CBS Miami: Google Engineer Fired For Sexist Memo
CNBC: Why it may be illegal for Google to punish that engineer over his now viral anti-diversity memo
CNN: Google CEO condemns anti-diversity memo
Forbes: Google Fires Anti-Diversity Memo Writer, Drawing Ire In Right-Wing Circles
Fortune: Read Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s Letter About the Controversial Anti-Diversity Memo
Fox News: Fired Google employee who wrote anti-diversity memo threatens to sue; legal expert says he doesn’t have a case
Gizmodo: Exclusive: Here’s The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google
Motherboard: Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes ‘Internally Viral’
MSNBC: ‘Recode’ Editor: Google’s Anti-Women Memo Hurts Tech Industry
Newsweek: Who is James Damore? Alt-Right Furious After Google Fires Engineer Over Anti-Diversity Memo
Reuters: Google fires employee behind anti-diversity memo
The Guardian: Google reportedly fires author of anti-diversity memo
The New York Times: Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Questioning Women in Tech
The Sun: What was in the Google anti-diversity memo and who is its author James Damore?
The Telegraph: Julian Assange offers job to fired Google employee who wrote anti-diversity memo
The Verge: Google fires employee who wrote anti-diversity memo
TIME: Google Has Fired the Employee Who Wrote an Anti-Diversity Tirade, Report Says
ThinkProgress: Google fires employee responsible for 10-page sexist screed
USA Today: Engineer behind Google anti-diversity memo confirms firing: report
Vox: Google has fired the engineer whose anti-diversity memo reflects a divided tech culture
Washington Post: Decoding the ancient logic of the Google Bro
ZDNet: Google fires anti-diversity engineer

And yet, the memo is in actuality pro-diversity. It makes one wonder why the false talking points are parroted so eagerly…

These were quite arbitrary picks, there were simply too many articles along the same lines, so I had to stop at some point.

Now, some news outlets go a little further…

Huffpost: Here’s Why I’m Not Reading The Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Memo

Yeah, OK, “he’s a bad guy, because I said so! Boohoo!”

Very mature, thanks…

But that’s clearly not strong enough, perhaps this author has something to learn from Wall Street Journal? In a piece titled “Memo to a Google Engineer”, the subtitle reads:

“Hey, shut up. Google is fighting the diversity furies and you’re not helping.”

This opinion piece, as it turns out, seems to actually be defending James Damore (subscription required, so I don’t have access to the full piece), but they could work on their wording as well…

Clearly, a vast amount of this supposed “reporting” is not very useful, so, please, RTFM (politely translated as Read The Fine Memo), check out the source material, and make an informed opinion of your own.

Partial Google News screenshot from August 9 – the second link goes directly to the raw PDF:

Resized

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UPDATE 2017-08-09: the memo is available via diversitymemo.com as well.

A Google employee wrote an internal document (not so internal now…) criticizing how the company treats their employees and people who apply for a job there.

This person has since been reported as being fired, though Google won’t confirm this, saying they “can’t comment on individual employee cases”. So while the timing is not in favor of Google in my view, it’s possible he was fired for some unrelated reason. I’m not speculating too much on this either way.

That aside, let’s focus on the memo linked to above, and it’s quite a read.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai responds in a memo of his own:

First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.

He does not go on to say what “portions” or “harmful gender stereotypes” he is referring to.

I find the way that Google and the media is treating this employee is lacking, to say the least. I’ve seen this being caricatured, strawmanned (is that a word?) and worse. By all means, go ahead and criticize the memo if you will, but get the facts straight, and if you’re going to make claims about the document, have the decency to actually present it in the first place!

Gizmodo at least reproduces the memo, “in full” they say, and then go on to say in passing that “two charts and several hyperlinks are also omitted”.

Yes, I suppose 32 links to sources are technically several. (That’s without counting the half dozen internal links on top of that.)

SHA-256 checksum of the PDF:
ef5f91368d61e7076e61ef7493e88f2ae45cf5f7cb7b03d66c167fd2346bbc7b

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Update 19:33: funny story on Al Jazeera English just now. Following the resignation of Mubarak, an overjoyed taxi driver reportedly left his vehicle, leaving a camera man from the network to drive it. 😎

Just one day after he signaled he would not do so, Mubarak has resigned, according to USA Today and others. Excerpt from the article: (note: some (unimportant) errors here, not introduced by me)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigne.d Vice President Omar Suleiman said in a brief televised statement. His statement in full: “Hosni Mubarak has waived the office of presidency and told the army to run the affairs of the country. ”

Tahrir Square is full of joy and possibly noisier than ever.

It remains to be seen what really happened behind the scenes and how things will progress in terms of elections etc.

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Update 22:12: listened to Mubarak’s speech on Al Jazeera English. He is not leaving, and it doesn’t seem like he’s offering anything new that is significant. The crowd in Tahrir Square definitely did not appreciate it, very angry response from there. It remains to be seen what the army and other parties will do going forward; quite a confusing situation in Egypt right now with several conflicting signals.

Following many rapid events in Egypt, CNN reports on their home page:

Strong likelihood Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will resign Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta tells Congress.

This by itself may not satisfy protesters’ increasing demands, such as ones reported by Al Jazeera as follows:

They want a one-year transitional period before full parliamentary elections – during which a three-person presidential council should run the country while a panel of experts write a new, permanent constitution – taking advice from opposition groups and senior, high-profile Egyptians, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Some reports by Al Jazeera suggest a resignation might be accompanied by some set of actions, but in any case, if Mubarak steps down now it would certainly be of great symbolic value for the protesters’ interests. I would say it would no longer be a matter of if, but when, the protesters would see their efforts pay off. That is hardly to say that the journey is over, though.

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On Al Jazeera (“Inside Story – Changing the US vision of the Middle East“, February 4, 2011), in the context of the political developments in Egypt, Khairi Abaza is asked about the desire for stability in the region. He points out several times that what matters would be how stability is achieved, and if it lasts. My transcript of the video from ca. 14:17 to ca. 14:26:

[REPORTER] Yea, that’s what I’m asking, how can you reject stability?
[KHAIRI ABAZA] Stability, I mean, er, graveyards are very stable.

(It sounds like the reporter was quite amused by this.)

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On opinion polls

Update 31 Aug, 17:30: my first attempt with Google translate yielded a horrible result for some reason. A later attempt performed better than Bing Translator. Try for yourself to see what works better since I will not investigate further right now.

Update 31 Aug, 17:44: it seems I had attempted to try a Swahili-English translation by mistake. 🙂 I didn’t suspect I was that much off since it almost translated whole sentences like one would expect.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter has a good article (in Swedish) on opinion polling. For an online translation, try Bing Translator or Google Translate. 1

1 Note that Bing is a bit slow (at least in this case) and requires JavaScript support in order to provide the translation step by step in your browser. Note that Bing Translator has a side-by-side view that may be useful to match Swedish original sentences with their respective English translations in a more practical manner. Other than that, it outputs reasonably comprehensible text, although there are some particular oddities (e.g. DN.se is replaced with F1racing.NET (eh…?). I vaguely recall a third alternative to use instead of Google’s or Bing’s, but I can’t find it right now.

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