reifman writes: After the truck attack in Nice, France, radio host Joe Walsh tweeted, 'Not a gun. Not a bomb. This was a truck. 2-3 minutes. As of now over 80 dead. Please understand now. It's not the weapon. It's the ideology.' This got me into a Twitter argument with a friend who wrote, 'Rules against guns will go just about as well as drug laws. And, to be consistent, the left should be going to war against vans.' Another Walsh follower posted later, 'Paris and Orlando: guns. Nice: Truck. Germany: Axe. The issue is the ideology, not the weapons.' I decided to look up the statistics on the ground in America and actually, guns are the problem, not as much ideology.
reifman writes: Crosscut reports that Seattle's tech growth is driving rapid expansion of the local sex trade. In "one 24 hour-period in Seattle, an estimated 6,487 people solicited sex on only one of the 100+ websites that connect supply with demand." And that was in 2014, Amazon's currently hiring 14,000 people annually in Seattle, typically 85 percent male. Says Crosscut, "63 percent of prostituted people say they met clients on company properties" and 80 percent of buyers are white and 44 percent of sex workers are African American."
reifman writes: In How the Tech Industry is Fueling the Local Sex Trade, Crosscut reports that "in one 24 hour-period in Seattle, an estimated 6,487 people solicited sex on only one of the 100+ websites that connect supply with demand." And that was in 2014, Amazon's currently hiring 14,000 people annually in Seattle, typically 85 percent male. According to Crosscut, "63 percent of prostituted people say they met clients on company properties" and 80 percent of buyers are white and 44 percent of sex workers are African American (compared to 7.9% of the overall population.) A sample of 104 people charged with soliciting sex with minors in King County revealed 12 percent working in the tech industry —the percentage involved in hiring adult workers would likely be much higher. After the response to the challenges of dating here detailed in "You've Got Male" and "Peepless in Seattle", I wondered when more data would emerge reinforcing last year's report that Seattle may have the fastest growing sex trade in the country. The Crosscut article highlights some encouraging, proactive steps members of the tech community are taking to create conversation around these issues including issues of the effect of tech culture.
reifman writes: Amazon announced this week that it will commit one of its buildings to housing 200 Seattle homeless for the next year allowing a nonprofit organization to oversee the facilities. The former Travelodge motel faces demolition as part of the company's tremendous growth in the city's South Lake Union neighborhood. It's finally time to applaud the company and CEO Jeff Bezos, traditionally a libertarian, for stepping up to help address this enormous problem. You may remember last month's Seattle #manintree who gained national notoriety — he was homeless. The mayor has declared a homelessness emergency. More than 45 people died on the streets in 2015. Heroine related deaths in King County are at a 20 year high. Neighborhoods are up in arms about homeless drug use, crime and people living in cars. Amazon's efforts won't solve the problem on their own. Should the government require developers to offer a portion of new units to lower and middle income families? Should it institute emergency rent controls? Should it require successful corporate titans like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing, notable state tax dodgers, to contribute even more?
reifman writes: As posted earlier, Amazon's growth and predominantly male hiring has made dating in Seattle incredibly difficult for everyone. Two Amazon employees, Becca Goldman and Mahvish Gazipura, recently launched DateADev to help coworkers optimize their dating profiles: 'at Amazon [we're] surrounded by software developers and project managers all the time, we just noticed their need. We talk to them all the time about their frustrations with dating.' Goldman's gone on more than 500 dates in the past three years. 'Her experience... helps her quickly assess an online profile of a potential partner.' Rather than drive its employees into moonlighting, Amazon could just start hiring more women.
reifman writes: Lisa Rein, is raising funds on KickStarter for a an important documentary about supporting whistleblowers with technology: From DeadDrop to SecureDrop tells the story of how 'SecureDrop' was created to help protect sources — individuals who might not come forward otherwise due the prospect of relentless government persecution and being penalized for telling the truth. Through the film's simplified format, the intent of this film is both to educate and to inspire potential whistleblowers to take action the next time they encounter corruption they don't wish to condone and be a part of. The film suggests that SecureDrop could potentially usher in a new generation of whistleblower: One that won't necessarily have to put their whole life at risk, in order to 'do the right thing.' This is such a no brainer for the tech community to fund.
reifman writes: On June 3rd, I had brain surgery to treat a benign tumor called a meningioma. I knew ahead of time that the surgeon wouldn’t be able to remove the entire tumor – its geography extended from my cavernous sinus to the pituitary gland to the left hemisphere of the brain and to my brain stem. I also needed CyberKnife radiation therapy to attempt to mutate the remaining tumor’s DNA to stop its growth. Come meet Lenore, my robotic radiosurgeon.
reifman writes: Amazon released new video of its futuristic drones (honestly the though of them buzzing around is the only thing that makes me want to join the NRA) but there's some hopefulness here. Prime Air vehicles will take advantage of sophisticated 'sense and avoid' technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more. 'It looks like science fiction, but it's real: One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road. ' Amazon said its drones fly under 400 feet and weigh less than 55 pounds.