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Developers, Rock Stars Of The Digital Age

The "devs" who code our digital world are so rarefied and vital they can dictate their own terms. Companies do anything to recruit them, but like birds, they tend to fly. A look at this singular species.

"A good dev lives for developing"
"A good dev lives for developing"
Julien Dupont-Calbo

PARIS — Developers are volatile, strange birds that require lots of attention and nurturing if their employers don't want them to fly away. As Fabien Devos, a smiling T-shirt-clad thirtysomething, says, "If things don't work out, I'll leave."

For the time being, he's exercising his computer science talents at Upthere, a Palo Alto, California, start-up created by Bertrand Serlet — the "Frenchy" behind the Apple computer operating system. "He's definitely somebody to be reckoned with," Devos confides. "But at work we don't put out enough products. I need constant feedback from users." So he spends his evenings and weekends on Hacked, the game he and a colleague have been refining for four months. "There were 10,000 downloads the first day," he says jubilantly.

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Geopolitics

Is Odessa Next? Putin Sees A Gateway To Moldova — And Chance For Revenge

After the fall of Mariupol, Vladimir Putin appears to have his eye on another iconic southern coastal city, with a strong identity and strategic location.

Odessa after a missile attack

Vincenzo Circosta/ZUMA
Anna Akage

Air strikes on the port city of Odessa have become more frequent over the past three weeks, most often hitting residential buildings, shopping malls, and critical infrastructure rather than military targets. The missiles arrive from naval vessels on the Black Sea and across the sea from the nearby Crimean coast, with the toll including multiple civilian deaths and a growing sense of panic. In Odessa, fears are rising that it could follow Mariupol as Vladimir Putin’s next principal target.

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Since the beginning of the war, more than half of the population — about 500,000 people — have left the city, even as others are flowing into Odessa from other war-torn regions in southern Ukraine, where the situation is even worse: people from Nikolayev, Kherson, Crimea, and even from Moldovan Transnistria.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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