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Damore sues Google for discriminating against white men

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Last August, Google fired James Damore shortly after the engineer’s internal screed against affirmative action at the company went viral. Monday, Damore sued Google for illegally discriminating against whites, males, and conservatives, demonstrating that the company cannot rid itself of its controversy-courting former employee so easily.

Damore’s complaint includes 86 pages of screenshots from internal Google discussion forums, presented as evidence of alleged “anti-conservative” and “anti-Caucasian” bias, or Google’s alleged support for political violence (such as Nazi-punching). Immediately, the images became among the largest troves of internal Google discussions exposed to the public, including some images with the full names and profile pictures of Google employees, some of whom previously have been harassed for their opposition to the memo. Many are written with the earnest, unguarded candor of people who did not expect their words to travel outside of Google.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, claiming that Google’s efforts to increase the gender and racial diversity of its workforce exclude white people, men, and conservatives. It also argues that Google employees with conservative views are shamed, blacklisted, and denied opportunities because they deviate from Google’s liberal orthodoxy.

There’s some irony in those claims. Google’s overall workforce is 69 per cent male and 56 per cent white, according to the company’s most recent diversity report. Google’s technical employees are 80 per cent male and 53 per cent white. Google’s leadership is 75 per cent male and 68 per cent white. The company is facing a Department of Labor investigation and a private lawsuit claiming that it discriminates against women in pay, and promotion.

The claims of political discrimination are not based on the First Amendment, which does not apply to private employers, but rather on a California law protecting political points of view. Damore’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, claims to have won settlements in California based on discrimination against conservatives before, arguing that treating white, conservative men as a protected class “would not be a precedent, it would simply be an application of the law.”

In a statement to WIRED, a Google spokesperson said, “We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court.” Regardless of the merits of the case, Google now faces increased scrutiny on not only its hiring practices.

At a Monday press conference in San Francisco, Dhillon, a prominent conservative who was considered for a position in the Trump administration, said “It is not fashionable and I’m sure it’s going to be sneered at today on Twitter,” but white male conservatives are treated unfairly in Silicon Valley. More than once, she asked conservatives who may have been denied a job at Google based on their beliefs to get in touch with her law firm. “People should not have to prove that they didn’t vote for the president to get a job at Google,” she said.

Dhillon noted that she is an immigrant and a woman, and said it was a legitimate goal for Google to try to have its workforce reflect the diversity of the country and its customers. But she said Google violated the law when it allegedly created quotas for hiring women and underrepresented minorities. Instead, she said Google should try job fairs or making the company more welcoming to women.

Dhillon said class could include women and people of colour because it was divided into subclasses: white people, men, and conservatives, and Damore happened to embody all three. Dozens of people contacted the firm to express interest in joining the class, she said.

The images from Google’s internal discussion boards add another explosive element to an already charged case. The free-ranging discussions are highly valued inside Google, but until now, they’ve remained inside the company. Some, including ones related to polyamory, seem unrelated to the case.

At her press conference, Dhillon said Google shareholders will be “pretty shocked to find” that employees are spending their time “talking about furry sex clubs and toxic whiteness,” rather than doing their jobs.

Dhillon also mentioned evidence of an employee wondering if Google should tweak its search results to reduce the prominence of studies that Damore cited in his memo. Dhillon said she didn’t know whether Google was actually doing this, but said employees openly discussed altering rankings to not display racist, white supremacist, anti-gay and anti-semitic content. “Don’t be surprised if they start steering you in a different direction,” Dhillon said.

Google fired Damore in August for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” after his screed against workplace diversity went viral outside the company. The 10-page missive argued that there are fewer women in technical and leadership roles at Google because of psychological differences between the sexes based on underlying biological differences. Damore cited contested science from evolutionary psychology to claim that women are less interested and suited to the tasks.

California is an “at-will” state, which gives Google broad leeway to fire Damore. However, Damore filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in August before he was fired, which some lawyers say can prevent the suit from getting thrown out of court.

Damore himself said little at the press conference. He was asked about his memo’s emphasis on biology, but evaded the question. Google CEO Sundar Pichai mentioned Damore’s argument about biology in his note about why Damore was fired. According to a report in Recode, the group of executives that Pichai consulted before firing Damore was split until they considered how Damore’s contentions would have been received if they were based on race or religion.

Louise Matsakis contributed to this article.

This article was originally published on WIRED.com

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LG G7 ThinQ Is Now Available In the US for $750

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LG waited longer than normal to announce its big 2018 flagship phone, but it finally took the wraps off the LG G7 ThinQ a few weeks ago. Today, the phone is available for purchase on most US carriers. While LG has had trouble competing with the likes of Samsung, it’s still targeting the same premium space. Although, it’s got an iPhone-style screen notch now. That’s what consumers want, right?

The LG G7 ThinQ is the epitome of all things 2018 in smartphone design. It has a glass back, dual cameras, and a display notch that isn’t done particularly well. The missing bit of screen provides a place for the camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. It does seem a little excessively large for how compact these components are, though. In addition, the G7 has a “chin” at the bottom with a larger bezel than the top and bottom. This asymmetric look isn’t as striking as the iPhone X it imitates. The 6.1-inch 1440p display is also an OLED, which lacks the vibrancy of modern OLED panels.

Inside, this phone has all the current flagship hardware you’d expect with a Snapdragon 845, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many other current smartphones, the company has opted to keep the headphone jack for the G7 ThinQ. LG also touts the G7’s unique speaker design that uses the entire chassis as a resonator to boost sound output.

You may be wondering about the name — specifically the “ThinQ” bit. Well, that’s LG’s expanded brand for all its AI technologies. What that means for the G7 is that there’s an AI mode in the camera that looks for objects it can identify and offers possible filters. It’s not very accurate or useful, but LG didn’t even develop any AI software or hardware for this phone. It just licensed a machine vision library from a third-party.

The LG G7 ThinQ is available from all major carriers in the US except AT&T. Apparently, AT&T chose to sell the LG V35 instead of the G7. This marks the third variant of the V30 that LG has sold since it debuted last year. At other carriers, the G7 ThinQ will run you $750, give or take a few dollars. Carriers offer payment plans to split the cost over two years. It will launch on Google’s Project Fi soon, as well. If you don’t want to go through carriers, the phone is also available from Amazon.

 

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Google Doodle honors ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Maths is the latest to receive the Google Doodle homage.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, otherwise known as “The Prince of Mathematicians”, made instrumental contributions to number theory, algebra, geophysics, mechanics and statistics.

Gauss was born on April 30 in 1777 in Brunswick, a city in the north of Germany, near Wolfsburg. Despite poor working-class parents and an illiterate mother, Gauss was a child prodigy, believed to have been able to add up every number from 1 to 100 at 8-years-old.

One of his first major equations was working out his date of birth, which his mother hadn’t recorded. He used the only information she had: that it was a Wednesday, eight days before an Easter holiday.

At university when he was 19, Gauss discovered a heptadecagon, or a 17-sided polygon. He requested that a regular heptadecagon be inscribed on his tombstone, but it was too difficult for the stonemason, who said it would just look like a circle.

513px-regular-polygon-17-annotated-svg
 A heptadecagon.

 


László Németh/Wikipedia

And remember your prime numbers? That year Gauss was involved with proving the prime number theorem, helping understand how prime numbers are distributed among the integers, or whole numbers.

Again the same year, a productive one for Gauss, he discovered the quadratic reciprocity law, which allows mathematicians to determine the solvability of any quadratic equation in modular arithmetic.

At 24, Gauss’ work on number theory, which he completed when he was 21, was published as a textbook. Not only did it involve his original work, but it reconciled that of other mathematicians. It would be considered his magnum opus and had an extraordinary impact on the field.

Oh, and add to those achievements a discovery in astronomy — in the same year, 1801, Gauss calculated the orbit of an asteroid called Ceres.

After a much-accomplished life, Gauss died aged 77 on Feb. 23, 1855.

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