Plus, the day-to-day life of Trump in the White House, the last of the long-distance drivers, and the Word of the Year is …
After a manic run-up last week, bitcoin trading officially began on Wall Street last night, giving speculators a chance to bet on the value of the cryptocurrency through a listed and regulated entity. Prices soared, and Cboe’s website crashed. Last week, the crazy spike in bitcoin value made Coinbase the most-downloaded app on Apple’s U.S. app store. The volatile virtual currency’s meteoric price rise (and sudden falls) have raised worries that it could collapse soon, but analysts don’t think it could hurt broader financial markets. The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Here’s a video primer. [Saqib Iqbal Ahmed / Reuters]
The New York Times’ White House reporting team has a vivid close-up look at what it’s like to be President Trump in the White House — which involves watching TV for four to eight hours a day. Structured like an oral biography, with observations from more than 60 advisers and associates, we witness Trump through a typically embattled day — restless in bed, flipping between CNN and Fox, grabbing for his iPhone for his morning tweetstorm, sometimes wandering to the Treaty Room still in his sleepwear and marveling over his new power: “I can invite anyone for dinner, and they will come!” [The New York Times]
We may be seeing the last generation of long-distance truckers. And taxi drivers. And shuttle bus drivers. Autonomous technology could make the livelihood of millions who drive for a living obsolete. Here’s a thoughtful look ahead at how self-driving vehicles — including cars and trucks — may positively affect the economy by creating new jobs and opportunities. [Carolyn Said / San Francisco Chronicle]
A couple of standouts from The New Yorker’s chewy “World Changers” double issue: The tiny post-Soviet nation of Estonia has become the wired-up e_Estonia, the world’s most ambitious project in transforming a country into a digital society. And the magazine goes deep on Meitu, a company whose photo-editing apps — which smooth out skin, exaggerate features, brighten eyes— are installed on more than a billion phones, transforming the selfie-face of China.
Here’s a fascinating brief history of sexism in the tech industry — which is as old as the tech industry itself. Women filled computer-programming jobs in the U.S. and U.K. after World War II, but as government and business professionalized programming, men pushed women out of the jobs, and the decline of female coders began. All six of the first programmers of America’s first digital computer, Eniac, were women. But Princeton University, which had one of the earliest and most-respected coding programs, didn’t admit women at the time, and an intensely male “hero” culture of programming was fostered. [Christopher Mims / The Wall Street Journal]
Recode presents …
Recode’s Kara Swisher talks with Crooked Media’s Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor and Dan Pfeiffer, appearing as a guest on a live taping of their podcast, Pod Save America, in Oakland, Calif. The group talks about the regulatory challenges facing tech companies today, the future of jobs and how Facebook has defended itself in the wake of mounting evidence that Russian agents used its platform to manipulate voters during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Plus: When are left-leaning techies going to get politically organized?
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