We start today with two Silicon Valley-related stories: First, Reddit Interim CEO Ellen Pao is suing a powerful venture capital firm she used to work for, alleging gender discrimination. Then, a look at how the app Snapchat is trying to branch out. Next, in our regular car segment, is Apple going to become a car maker? Continuing our weeklong series of interviews with the filmmakers behind this year’s Oscar-nominated documentaries, Madeleine speaks to Orlando von Einsiedel, who wrote and directed Virunga. And finally, monarch butterflies are in trouble. We hear about a government plan to restore them.
FROM THIS EPISODE
A high-profile court case alleging gender discrimination in the tech industry is heading towards trial this week. Reddit Interim CEO Ellen Pao is suing a powerful venture capital firm where she used to be a partner, claiming she was sexually harassed. Pao’s lawsuit also claims that the company routinely denied its female employees raises and promotions. The case packs a one-two punch of juicy gossip and broader allegations about a sexist culture among the tech world’s elite, which has made it one of the most closely watched legal battles Silicon Valley has seen. We get up to speed on the lawsuit and whether it could mean anything for diversity in the tech world.
Elizabeth Weise, Science Reporter, USA Today
Turning to a different Silicon Valley story, Snapchat is seeking another round of funding from venture capital firms. The company is reportedly valued at $19 billion: a lot of money for an app that’s ephemeral, literally. Snapchat lets you share pictures and short videos that disappear once they’re watched. Now, however, it’s trying to extend its impact by branching out into news and other media content.
The line between cars and computers gets thinner every day. We now have dashboards loaded with five-inch screens, digital maps, and MP3 players. And now, Apple may want to erase that line once and for all. The company reportedly has created a research center at a secret location somewhere, where it’s experimenting with creating a brand new vehicle all its own. We talk about that and more in our regular car culture roundup.
Aaron Robinson, Car and Driver magazine
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a been a troubled nation for most of its modern history. Once a Belgian colony, the country’s now been at war with itself for two decades. But it’s not just the people of the region who’ve been caught in the crossfire. Congo’s Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. It’s also home to many of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In our weeklong series of interviews with the filmmakers behind this year’s Oscar-nominated documentaries, we hear from the writer-director of Virunga, a film following the people trying to protect the park and its gorillas from war, poachers, and oil companies.
Orlando von Einsiedel, writer and director, 'Virunga'
With its orange-and black stained-glass wings, the monarch is the best-known butterfly in America. There used to be a billion of them, but these days only about 30 million remain. The federal government is considering whether to place the monarch on the list of threatened species, and it’s setting aside more than $3 million for monarch habitat restoration and conservation.
Elizabeth Long, UCLA
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
The decline of American manufacturing During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump called out a steel manufacturer for closing a plant in Indiana and moving it to Mexico. The plant still closed and jobs were lost. We speak with a reporter who spent a year documenting the closing of the plant, and tells the story of one woman who worked her way up to supervisor and then had to train her Mexican replacement.
Why is it so hard to publish stories critical of powerful men? One of the main reasons the Harvey Weinstein stories didn’t get out sooner was that the Hollywood press couldn’t -- or wouldn’t -- publish them. KCRW’s Kim Masters has a story about another big executive: Amazon’s Roy Price.
Can Kevin de Leon unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein? California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon announced his challenge to Senator Dianne Feinstein. He is capitalizing on a fury in the state against the president, and painting Feinstein as too accommodating of Trump.
NorCal fires: Melted motorcycles, raining embers The Northern Californian wildfires are some of the worst in the state’s history. They’ve killed more than 30 people and many are still missing. More than 160 acres have been scorched. Winds are spreading the flames, and air quality in the Bay Area is as bad as Beijing’s.
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