In our travels across the Web in search of news, the Techwire staff sometimes comes across a nugget that doesn’t fit neatly into our coverage model — California state and local government and the technology community that serves it. But these nuggets — sometimes directly related to IT, and sometimes IT-adjacent — can be illuminating, educational or entertaining. Here’s a brief sampling across all three of those parameters.

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True students of technology will happily geek out with Refactoring to Rust, written by Nathan Mara, a software developer at San Francisco-based OneSignal. Mara explores a very specific topic: Rust is “a modern systems programming language focusing on safety, speed, and concurrency” — that may not be in everyone’s wheelhouse. In Mara’s own words, the book is “about finding the performance or safety critical sections of code written in existing non-Rust applications, and moving them into Rust.” One reviewer wrote: “A very good and practical introduction to Rust. Especially valuable for seasoned users of other languages. It emphasizes concepts of Rust which are usually absent in different programming languages.” It’s published by Manning Publications and is available here. Mara has IT in his DNA: He’s the son of Joseph Mara, the VP of Americas SLED for Elastic.  

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Moving from language to longitude and latitude, a power couple in the world of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has written Resilient Communities Across Geographies. The text is by Dr. Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg, faculty president and professor of GIS, Social and Environmental Sciences at Orange County’s Brandman University; and husband Dr. Steve Steinberg, the geographic information officer (GIO) for Los Angeles County government. The Steinbergs have co-authored two previous books — GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives, and GIS for the Social Sciences: Investigating Space and Place. GIO Steinberg is also on the executive committee for the California GIS Council.  

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Moving from education to entertainment, researcher/author Seth Vaughn has written Political Scientist: A Novel, a tech-adjacent thriller that’s as up-to-date as this morning’s news. This brief excerpt should whet the appetite: “It would be easy to pick them off, one by one. And who would stop you? The Russians and Chinese hackers are in the government. The scandal-ridden FBI is too busy infighting over their own politics. … With an entirely new Congress maybe our politicians would start working for Americans instead of enriching themselves and their friends. A congressional reset button, who wouldn’t press it?” Vaughn, an alumnus of Techwire parent company e.Republic, is now a Bay Area-based “market and brand researcher, content creator, author and data miner,” and his novel is available online.  

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And if you’d rather listen than read, CapRadio has a new 4-minute podcast of interest to the IT community: “Technical Glitches Keep Newsom’s Dream of High-Tech Government on Hold.” The podcast, featuring reporting by CapRadio’s Scott Rodd, delves into how much — and how little — things have changed since Gov. Gavin Newsom articulated his vision of a digitally humming state government through technological revolution in his 2013 book Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government. The podcast shares a link with an article laying out the distractions to that vision that have persisted and arisen since Newsom wrote his manifesto.

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Closing out the reading list is an article in Forbes magazine by Caroline Beteta, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Visit California. One might think a tourism-oriented executive would shy away from talking about pandemics and wildfires and other travel-dampening occurrences, but that’s precisely Beteta’s point in “Why Acknowledging Hot Topics Or Crises Is Good For Business.” Beteta, a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, lays out four challenges surrounding public perception of tourism: Public distrust of institutions, selective reporting by the media, personal bias on decisions about risk, and people’s desire for certainty. And she offers some ways to address them that transcend tourism and are applicable to the IT industry and a host of others.