MediaFile

New Facebook headquarters celebrates the quirky

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***Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wore the only tie on display when he welcomed reporters for a reception and tour of his company’s new headquarters, tucked below a hill in a residential area of Palo Alto, not far from the Stanford campus.******The old HP research facility was refurbished for comfort, not for luxury. Facebook tore out a sea of cubicles to reveal wide open spaces for desks and oversized terminals. Nearly everyone sits there, including all company executives.******The result is something like a dream college dorm, with good food available throughout the day in a cafeteria .******“It’s a temporary space. It’s not going to last us forever. It’s an experiment so we can decide what sort of building we want for ourselves going forward,” said Aaron Sittig, who took reporters around the 137,000 square foot building that celebrates the quirky.******Privacy is afforded in meeting rooms, some with names that are mashups of  video games and condiments, like Donkey Kong Chutney and Guitartar Hero.  A leftover crane from HP days decorates one of the snack kitchens. There is an outdoor basketball court, an indoor ping pong table (mixed doubles were going on when reporters walked by) and RipStiks are scattered around for quick transport.******”It’s a rite of passage to learn how to use these to get around,” said Sittig.******Facebook has 700 employees in the building and another 200 in other cities. It will stay in its new home for a few years, until Stanford — which owns the land — wants it back.******Photo: David Lawsky

Let the sunshine in with transparentdemocracy.org

U.S. citizens need as much information as they can get to make the best decisions about their political system and the companies they invest in, believes Kim Cranston. The son of late California Democratic Senator Alan Cranston is using the Internet to do that.

Americans are more likely to face tough issues head on, such as climate change, if they have more information, Cranston says. For that reason, he, Jeff Manning, and some Stanford students have started a website to put an easy voting guide on the Web. The idea behind the website, transparentdemocracy.org, is to give people guideposts.

“A user can see how people they trust  are voting and why — Republican or Democrat, Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, anything that is in there,” Cranston said. People can add their comments, too.