The House Across From The Westboro Baptist Church

I love this:

An anti-poverty group has purchased a home across the way from the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kansas, and is planning on painting it the colors of the rainbow flag.

Planting Peace, whose mission is to “providing sustainable initiatives to impoverished areas around the world,” purchased a small house on SW Orleans Street six months ago for $80,000, and plans to turn it into a drop-in center for LGBT and anti-bullying campaigns.

“It hit me right away,” said Aaron Jackson, who founded Planting Peace with John Dieubon. “It would be interesting to own a house across from the Westboro Baptist Church and turn it into something.’ And then, within five seconds: ‘And I’ll paint it the color of the pride flag.’ Perfect.”

The Poorest Americans Donate 3.2% of Their Income to Charity. The Richest Donate 1.3%

From The Atlantic:

One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns.

But why? Lower-income Americans are presumably no more intrinsically generous (or “prosocial,” as the sociologists say) than anyone else. However, some experts have speculated that the wealthy may be less generous—that the personal drive to accumulate wealth may be inconsistent with the idea of communal support. Last year, Paul Piff, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, published research that correlated wealth with an increase in unethical behavior: “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff later told New York magazine, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people.” They are, he continued, “more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”


Why I left Google

Another former Google employee speaks out. Google Reader’s imminent demise is still hitting me hard.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

Technically I suppose Google has always been an advertising company, but for the better part of the last three years, it didn’t feel like one. Google was an ad company only in the sense that a good TV show is an ad company: having great content attracts advertisers.

Under Eric Schmidt ads were always in the background. Google was run like an innovation factory, empowering employees to be entrepreneurial through founder’s awards, peer bonuses and 20% time. Our advertising revenue gave us the headroom to think, innovate and create. Forums like App Engine, Google Labs and open source served as staging grounds for our inventions. The fact that all this was paid for by a cash machine stuffed full of advertising loot was lost on most of us. Maybe the engineers who actually worked on ads felt it, but the rest of us were convinced that Google was a technology company first and foremost; a company that hired smart people and placed a big bet on their ability to innovate.