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Sam Jayne / Axios

Google has over 70,000 employees. One of them wrote a lengthy memo that, among other things, suggested that tech's gender gap can be partially explained by biology (i.e., men are more genetically apt to be good engineers than are women). Many of the 70,000 were outraged. Some were supportive. It leaked to the press and became mainstream news, even topping Monday's print edition of USA Today.

The narrative: This comes just weeks after several male venture capitalists were accused of sexual harassment toward female tech entrepreneurs, and that was on top of allegations of gender discrimination at Uber. In the course of a summer, Silicon Valley's reputation has devolved from progressive meritocracy to sexist cesspool.

What's really happening: All of these incidents reveal a dirty secret about America's technology industry: It is comprised of people who live in America. As such, it is prone to many of the same cultural flaws inherent in other industries and communities. Sexism. Racism. Intolerance of dissenting views, let alone interest in debating for the sake of greater knowledge. It's something we forgot in our rush to venerate the new masters of the universe. Would we have even batted a collective eye if the Google memo had been written by someone working in Wall Street, or at a Fortune 500 manufacturer? Tech is getting its moment in this unwanted spotlight because it claimed to have changed the paradigm, and we naively believed in what really was aspiration masquerading as achievement.

Why it matters: Technology is growing exponentially important in our everyday lives, and its creators are growing exponentially wealthy – America's five most valuable companies are each tech outfits. And there is no indication that it's some reversible trend. That its troubles are representative of our broader societal ills may be logical, but it is not comforting. The more powerful, the more responsible for moral leadership. Tech has earned the scrutiny, for better or for worse.

Go deeper

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

The Supreme Court's abortion showdown arrives

Protesters gather at the Supreme Court during arguments about the Texas abortion law Nov. 1. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Supreme Court will debate today whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, and neither side is trying to lower the stakes — or to make today’s case anything less than a referendum on Roe’s very survival.

The big picture: Conventional wisdom, on both the left and right, says the court is likely to chip away at abortion rights without overturning its precedents outright. But neither side has spent much time trying to help the justices thread that needle.

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.