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Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale is a cautionary tale of totalitarianism, it's written primarily about a loss of women's rights – and some of the most stark parallels between the novel and current American politics present in this sphere.

In Atwood's novel, our protagonist Offred remembers all that she's lost to the new regime. In doing so, she references some of those little injustices that a lot of women are still expected to ignore in real life – like a wife's employment possibility being an afterthought only to a husband's employment right; like avoiding being out alone at night; like being careful not to look ungrateful or spoilt in highlighting either of the former.

The show comes at a time when a series of moves by American politicians have evoked a certain degree of concern: We're talking about more than just Trump forcing his female employees to "dress like women."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer continues to stack up piles of cash, despite her veritable failure to rescue the company from a pile of its own rot. After numerous setbacks, including two massive security breaches and dwindling ad revenue, Mayer is set to make about $186 million as a result of the company's sale to Verizon, new SEC documents show.

This enormous sum of money -- the actual transfer of which is contingent upon shareholder approval, a move the New York Times described as "widely expected" -- includes shares she already owned, outstanding share options, a $23 million "golden parachute," cash payments, and medical benefits, according to the documents.

The sum does not include Mayer's salary or bonuses over the past five years, which reportedly add up to more than $200 million alone.

The rich-poor gap -- the difference in annual income between households in the top 20 percent and those in the bottom 20 percent -- ballooned by $29,200 to $189,600 between 2010 and 2015, based on Bloomberg calculations using U.S. Census Bureau data.

Computers and robots are taking over many types of tasks, shoving aside some workers while boosting the productivity of specialized employees, contributing to the gap.

"Technological developments have increasingly replaced low- and mid-skilled jobs while complementing higher-skilled jobs," said Chad Sparber, an associate professor and chair of the economic department at Colgate University. read more

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Alphabet company is making a rare, sweeping change to the algorithm behind its powerful search engine [Google] to demote misleading, false and offensive articles online. Google is also setting new rules encouraging its "raters" -- the 10,000-plus staff that assess search results -- to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls "low-quality" content. The moves follow months after criticism of Google and Facebook for hosting misleading information, particular tied to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Google executives claimed the type of web pages categorized in this bucket are relatively small, which is a reason why the search giant hadn't addressed the issue before. "It was not a large fraction of queries -- only about a quarter percent of our traffic -- but they were important queries," said Ben Gomes, vice president of engineering for Google. read more

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Trump administration is weighing providing additional support for the Saudi-led fight in Yemen amid mounting speculation about specific military steps the U.S. may take in the battle against Iranian-backed rebels. But such a move could receive blowback on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties have called for the administration to provide a more detailed strategy on conflicts such as in Syria and have expressed doubts about assisting Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Defense Secretary James Mattis all but pledged additional support for the Saudi-led fight in Yemen this week. "We will have to overcome Iran's efforts to destabilize yet another country and create another militia in their image of Lebanese Hezbollah, but the bottom line is we are on the right path for it," Mattis told reporters in Riyadh after meeting senior Saudi officials. read more


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