Somewhere north of 15,000 American children are conservatively believed to be afflicted with Asperger Syndrome, a disorder characterized by obsessive and rigid behavior, poor communication skills, clumsiness, and a lack of empathy and reciprocity. Cases of Asperger's and a related disorder, autism, exploded in Silicon Valley over the past 20 years, according to state-funded outreach workers — an assertion that will come as no shock to users familiar with pedantic, apathetic, tight-lipped and self-serving tech companies. How, exactly, does Asperger's work, and has it had a material impact on how the technology sector relates to its customers? Below, find a quick guide to those questions, and a look at why one of the Valley's most famously infuriating pedants, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is rumored to have it.
Author/socialite Plum Sykes and her twin sister, fashion designer/socialite Lucy Sykes Rellie are turning 40 today. Jay-Z is celebrating his 40th birthday, too. Tyra Banks turns 36. Marisa Tomei is turning 45. Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen is 43. Actor Jeff Bridges is 60. Ugly Betty's Kevin Sussman is 39. Former porn star Nikki Tyler is 37. And former game show host Wink Martindale turns 75 today. A handful of weekend birthdays are below.
• The newspaper industry may look to take a cue from the music business in its elusive hunt for new sources of revenue. Because, clearly, if there's one industry to gleam some wisdom from, that's the one. [MP, WSJ]
• The Justice Department is looking into whether tech giants like Yahoo! and Google violated antitrust laws in their recruiting efforts. [WaPo]
• NBC's two-part White House special scored big ratings. Conveniently, it also squeezed in plugs for every other show on the network. [HP, Newsday]
• Laura Ling and Euna Lee went on trial in North Korea today. [WaPo]
• Silvio Berlusconi is feuding with Rupert Murdoch. And so now Michael Wolff says he really likes Berlusconi. Business as usual, clearly. [Gawker, Reuters]
• Here's something really depressing to chew on: Glenn Beck is No. 81 on Forbes's "Celebrity 100" list and made $23 million last year. [Forbes]
Craig Newmark, the hypernerdy classifieds-site operator who's destroying the newspaper industry, has found the limits of Craigslist. After repeated appeals online, he's taken to looking for a pair of lost glasses using old media.
Normally if I saw Arianna Huffington, Craig Newmark and Markos Moulitsas coauthoring a statement, I'd click my Back button and Move On, as they say. But Instapundit editor Glenn Reynolds has joined the mostly leftospheric collection of bloggers who've dubbed themselves the Open Debate Coalition. They want two things, which I've helpfully edited down to 10 words each:1) Fox News, please let us post clips instead of threatening to sue. 2) Adopt a Digg-like voting system to let the audience choose the questions. The first demand seems as easy as the second is sure to be rickrolled. (Photo by The Fun Times Guide)
We need more gushy "Internet rich dudes, they're just like us!" star profiles, don't we? The problem is, in the Valley, too few are willing to flaunt their success. Take this piece of fiction about Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist's CEO, in the Times of London: "He lives in a modest, rented apartment not far from the company’s global headquarters, a rickety 19th century house tucked between a pizza restaurant and a junk shop in San Francisco." If a "modest apartment" is a freestanding house — a rarity in San Francisco — which can accommodate 40 people for Thanksgiving, then sure. The article also repeats an old canard about how Newmark doesn't have a place to park his car — when he's had parking behind the house he owns for years.The humility of billionaires! No, the real "nerd values" on display are the ones responsible for this wealth. Like the $16 million Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark got in brokering a deal to let eBay buy a 28 percent stake in their company. Yet they still make a point of posing as heroes of the ultraliberal working class, second-hand Prius and all. Worse yet, people continue to buy it. And not just gullible reporters parachuting in from London, either. Larry from Minneapolis writes in a comment:
Don't look now — really, don't. Top venture capitalist Tim Draper's daughter, Jesse Draper, has already released eight episodes of her Web video show, "The Valley Girl." Jesse is a screen star, best known in the tween set for "The Naked Brothers Band," but somehow we think her dad had more to do with the guests she's pulled in, who include Draper himself; Draper's partner Steve Jurvetson; VC and SkinnySongs founder Heidi Roizen; Glam Media's Samir Arora; and Sun chairman Scott McNealy. McNealy, a native of Detroit, was asked the hard-hitting question, "What does Silicon Valley mean to you?" His reply: "Great weather." In today's episode, Jesse interviews former AOL CEO Barry Schuler. We were surprised the man still goes out in public. For a proper introduction to the show, however, you're better off with episode seven. In it, Jesse asks Craigslist founder Craig Newmark: "Do you consider customer service one of the most important things?" From somewhere deep within, Newmark manages to answer this difficult query.
Have you heard about Google's "Big Tent," the $100 luxury newsroom Google has set up for bloggers at the Democratic National Convention? If not, here's another story on the Internet where reporters go, Oh man, Google is totes on the pulse, giving all the intrepid young blogger kids at the Democratic National Convention this week a safe place to get massaged for free by ladies and plug in their 'iPones" — read the label — while they change the world together!
From right to left, Sutter Hill Ventures's Greg Sands, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, Barack Obama, Pincus's new wife Alison Gelb Pincus, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and "the girlfriend," Eileen Whelply. We know you can do better, so crack wise in the comments and we'll make the best one the new title. Friday's winner was sample032 for "Who killed my electric car?" (And not just because he showed up to the happy hour in Mountain View.) (Photo by Steve Jurvetson)
An addition to the Barackathon at the San Francisco ballot box this November: a measure to decriminalize prostitution among consenting adults. City officials are already complaining it will hinder their efforts to prosecute related crimes, or that its passage will be "a welcome mat for prostitutes and pimps to come and hang out in San Francisco." Such talk conjures images of throngs of pimps 'n' hos crowding SF sidewalks. But most prostitution is now hidden indoors, and marketed on the Internet, as a member of the organization sponsoring the vote, the Erotic Service Providers Union, explained to local CBS news reporters. (I don't expect anyone from Craigslist to weigh in on the topic, but the site links to ESPU atop its Erotic Services section — making Craig Newmark a very low-key sugar daddy.)