So, a sort of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis for the programming domain. It certainly feels true; living and breathing a language like Erlang would probably make one think very differently about what's possible than someone immersed in Fortran.
I walk through that intersection most days. What they've done in NYC is interesting. That part of First Avenue used to be, like most in mid and upper Manhattan, six (or sometimes more) undifferentiated lanes.
The first change was the addition of dedicated bus lanes (right-most lane, painted reddish), complete with violation cameras and automated ticketing. This reduced competition among buses and cars -- in favor of buses, leading to somewhat better bus throughput. Cars now had five lanes -- although with parking in at least the left-most lane, and delivery trucks double-parked adjacent to the cars, more like three.
Then came the big bike lane initiative. In the book Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt, some of the takeaways are that parked cars can form a buffer between flowing traffic and bike lanes, and that narrowing roads at intersections through the addition of islands with trees on them increases pedestrian safety (in no small part by reducing the speed of turning cars at intersections). To varying degrees they've applied these ideas -- the left-most lane is now entirely a bike lane (painted green, complete with its own traffic signals). Next to that is a dedicated parking lane -- yes, in lane two -- often buffered by concrete islands at intersections, with a tree or two. You can see this here 
Cars now have three or perhaps four lanes for general travel. For left turns, the bike and parking lanes are cut by a dedicated left-turn waiting lane  (usually with its own left turn signal, so left turners are not fighting pedestrians in the crosswalk).
On some avenues they then added "Select Buses", which work on a "trust-but-verify" honor system so riders can enter and exit quickly through any of three wide doors without queueing to dip a Metrocard.
Finally, they cut the city-wide speed limit to 25 miles per hour, adjusting the timing of avenue traffic signals accordingly.
The result of all this has been much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, but as a whole it's made the city substantially better for bikers and pedestrians, and in many cases left turns are much easier for drivers.
It is all too common to see developers experience burnout from 60+ hour weeks in order to attempt to meet a deadline because managers were awful at planning.
Another pattern I've seen is the dreaded "artificial deadline" from on high. A project is structured to meet a tight deadline, resources are reallocated, nights and weekends are worked, stress ripples through the team. At great emotional expense the deadline is met, and the team submits the project, victorious.
And then nothing is heard for several days. No feedback from the heavens. Inquiries are made, and it's discovered that, well, no, in fact there was no particular reason this project had to be finished by that particular date. Managers have moved on, checkboxes have been checked. Because the project was nominally successful, the episode is used to further confirm the management theory that "the dev team needs deadlines, even arbitrary ones, or things don't get done." The project size and time frame is now baked into management's institutional memory as the new baseline.
Selecting a bunch of files and having it tell me how big the selection is
This one does have a solution: Select your multiple items, then use Command-Option-I instead of Command-I. If you're not careful to include Option in this chord, you'll be highly displeased with the results, especially with many items selected.
With the File menu open in the Finder, holding Option reveals that this feature is called "Show Inspector". And since it does follow an "inspector" metaphor, it's a persistent window that will remain in place and update its display as you continue changing your selection. Useful.
It's certainly not only Republicans. But neither are they pandering to their "base" in any traditional sense; rather, they are pandering to a few dozen specific people, the extreme concentration of whose wealth generates gravitational fields that that propagate through today's medium more freely than in any time in recent memory.
In addition, in any location where a company is the sole provider, net neutrality applies, which would solve the problem of choices.
You've floated this idea a few times here. How would you propose this rule apply in Manhattan, where the availability of a second ISP option can vary not only block by block, but building by building? I'm not sure if this is unique to New York City, but the choice to bring a supplier into a building is often the result of an exclusive contractual agreement with that provider (I waited about five years for FiOS to arrive as the second option in my building, finally supplanting the incumbent Time Warner 10/0.5 "broadband" option).
N.B.: My initial response was to your similar comment deeply threaded below.
They're generating profits at a rate of $200 Million per day [sic]. It's fair to say they make enough to pay for the costs of almost anything, including this. You've identified the one requirement they can in fact satisfy; the hard part is... everything else.
1. $5B is super way off. First of all you are lumping one-time construction costs in with the incremental costs of running the data centers. The article clearly states the bucket in which data center operational costs are included is $2.82B.
2. Even that bucket is a grab bag of other costs as well such as amortization of acquired assets (not necessarily for data centers). Additionally while web search is major it is certainly not the only thing that Google data centers do; for example they run Gmail and an AWS competitor on it. So it's very hard to determine just what the operational cost of web search is, but it's certainly well under $2.82B.
3. The Bing article clearly states its major cost increases are "costs associated with the Yahoo! search agreement and increased traffic acquisition costs", i.e. promotional not operational costs. This is not applicable to Apple, who already gets paid for traffic.
4. As for maps it's not just GPS data, it's road and signage and building data including visual imagery. That's many orders of magnitude more expensive to gather than loading a web page (even loading it 1000 times). You have to roll trucks and fly planes. In fact there was just a story yesterday about Apple rolling trucks to start gathering competing "streetview" data.. all from scratch.
Chatting about this with you made me challenge my knowledge of how web search works. Many articles I've found suggest that the hardest problem to solve isn't competing on the size of Google but the relevance of Google. Which is partly to do with the size and power of their datacenters. But also to do with smart engineering of the servers, database, and algorithms. The algorithms not only determine the how to order the results but which pages to crawl and how often.
What this all makes me think of is all the work being put into AI research lately. IBM, Google, Facebook, Baidu etc. There is a race to AI and the winner could very well make a better Google.
They started running their map service because google was about to start charging for Google Maps.
iMaps already had a rollout that felt improvised and pretty crappy, if the Apple people were suicidal enough to get in a huge business they have absolutely no idea about, such as Web Search, I wouldn't expect a barely usable product in years.
I don't remember anything about a fee, but I do specifically recall something about Google withholding from the iOS version two greatly desired features that had already been deployed on Android: vector tiles and turn-by-turn directions. The lack of the latter, at least, was beginning to rise to the level of consumer awareness as an iOS weakness.
You're right with those numbers, but it's only half if you take the year's average per day. I was referring to their current rate (as of the most recent quarter, during which they earned $18B). $18B gives the nice, round, shocking $200M/day, but even $100M per day isn't half bad.