Inflatable Space Elevators and the Unbearable Lightness of Maternity Leave

Happiest of Wednesdays, my fair ladies and gents. While I’m sipping my coffee, reveling in these Yelp reviews for the TSA (even Carly Fiorina got in on the fun!) and adding apps for photoshopping your selfies to my self-hating Hanukkah list, why don’t you freak out about how serial killer supply sales are spiking in Nevada:

Wait, I’m sorry, that’s sales of supplies for Burning Man. I regret and apologize for confusing rope, tarps, rubber bands and dust masks for serial killer supplies. The error will not occur again.

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I am a huge fan of Nitasha Tiku’s work. From her days at Valleywag to the Verge to Buzzfeed, she is consistently one of the top voices on tech and culture, with a sharp eye, and sharper wit that adds delight to exhaustively reported pieces. She’s one of the good ones, and (in my mind) she’s doing the work of whatever deity you happen to pray to.

ANYHOO, you must read her latest for BuzzFeed. Tiku examines tech firms promoting their ‘unlimited’ maternity leave policies, and why such corporate statements often obfuscate workplace realities — workplaces designed to replace every aspect of your life, unless you’re a new parent.

From One Upside to the Tech Industry’s Endemic Groupthink:

And when it comes to time off, the word “unlimited” seems to benefit management more than employees, who end up tethered to their desk while they try to decipher how much leeway the policy actually permits. If Marissa Mayer famously only took two weeks off for maternity leave, how would it look if you took 20, much less an entire year?

So go read it, kay? I’ll be here when you get back.


Hooray! Obama names first transgender official at the White House.

So about Ben Carson: where exactly does he stand on abortion? While he’s touting his pro-life cred, his history as a surgeon indicates a different professional stance, as he’s referred women for the procedure in the past. His comms director (wouldn’t want to have that job, yeesh) is issuing wishy-washy, non-committal statements that don’t really address the issue.

Guys, Rick Perry is fine. No, really, he’s had a long day, he’s just going to go back to the hotel and put his feet up. No, he’s not upset, he’s fine, he just needs some time to himself and a bunch of money to pay his staffers. Guys, Rick Perry is fine.

George Zimmerman is making confederate flag art sold by a Florida gun supply store that banned Muslim. Because, of course. Also, he claims he’s being made to look like a racist by the media. I’m pretty sure making confederate art sold by a gun store that bans Muslims makes you look like a racist, but then again, I’m no scientist.

And today, in Rubio


Remember: don’t put anything in an online medium that you wouldn’t be willing to scream at a work cocktail party. Or have someone tell your parents about. Today’s example: angry work emails. Venting feels awesome, but that snarky little missive you send to your coworker can (and let’s be honest, WILL) bite you in the tush.

Hackers have posted the hacked data from notorious cheating site Ashley Madison. Folks are already combing it for government email addresses and other juicy gossip. BTW, for everyone who’s schadenfreuding everywhere over this, let’s remind ourselves that this data is connected to actual people, whose actual information is now at the mercy of the bloodthirsty internet. No matter what, this is not going to end well.

On that note, meet Loki, the Vampire Cat (thanks Katelyn :)