SL 692

I am very sad about Chris Pratt and Anna Faris. If those crazy kids can’t make it work in Hollywood, who can?

My twittterfeed has been yellling about that Google guy all day today. Some are saying that this move gave Trump a little more steam. Others are saying ‘who cares.” 

It’s raining at the beach today so we went to the movie theater. Saw Superman 2 for a second time. It’s a seriously excellent movie with a Ramones soundtrack. Peter Parker wears all sorts of geeky t-shirts that we’re buying for Ian. 

We visited Tryon’s Palace at New Bern yesterday, which is interesting to anybody who slogged through the later books in the Outlander books.  Tomorrow, we’ll have lunch with a friend in Raleigh on the way to Asheville. Bluegrass music every evening! 

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86 thoughts on “SL 692

  1. speaking of tenure the only people who don’t get fired after writing 10 page screeds about how 30% of their coworkers are inferior or “the exception” are tenured professors. Even the president of harvard basically got fired for less. I have zero problems with this. though don’t you think it is weird that Google has an internal anonymous message system? what is going on there? screw all of these people! write your own blog and keep it away from work! don’t swallow the kool aid. you don’t get to bring your whole self to work, as any normal person knows.

    1. And the Santa Monica Symphony is full of disturbance because Dennis Prager has been invited to guest conduct: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/arts/music/santa-monica-symphony-dennis-prager-conservative-guest-conductor.html?_r=0
      It does seem that the areas which are out of the zone of contention are being shrunk. Useta be you would go to your model airplane club or bowling and the other members would have a variety of political opinions. Now there is a lot of self-selection, and James Damore’s firing says there is double-plus-ungood opinion you cannot express and make your living at Google. Recent polling suggests that many people would be unhappy if their children married someone who was an adherent of another political party (as a Johnson voter, this would TRULY RESTRICT my children’s choices!).
      This seems to me to go in a direction which will not be pleasant.

      1. It would seem illogical to

        a) applaud hounding people out of their jobs for their opinions.

        and

        b) to wonder why people choose to ensconce themselves in geographically “safe” areas full of like-minded people.

        If ideological firings are going to be the order of the day, then people are going to look for safety (i.e. non-diversity).

      2. All this stuff is trying to make me figure how to dress “liberal” so nobody will assume I want to participate in the festival of white male butt hurt based on my appearance.

      3. If you don’t think women can be good engineers, and you work in a place with women engineers, why would your employer keep you at the job? It’s practicality.

        How about this: what if someone thinks autistic people make bad engineers and they write a memo to the entire company saying that they think autistic people make bad engineers? Would you put them onto a team with autistic engineers, who are probably well-represented among the engineering division?

      4. I thought I had “dressing liberal” down, but then I went to a gun show and got invited to be a spokesmodel for the automatic rifle association. I can just see my picture in a confederate flag bikini, stroking an M 16 in the annual calendar.

  2. Do you mean _Spiderman homecoming_? I loved those t-shirts!!

    A couple of days ago my 15 year old and I were re-watching _Captain America: Civil War_ (which we saw in the theater last year, but that was before my Marvel Movie Marathon this summer — my son really wanted me to catch up watching all the films in order) and I screamed hysterically when I realized that Peter Parker’s duvet cover (in the scene in which he’s recruited by Tony Stark) is the exact same IKEA duvet cover on my son’s bed!! ;-P

    1. The pee-pee tape is like the culmination of years of research into what topic would get middle school kids interested in politics.

  3. Megan McArdle has a nice piece:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-09/as-a-woman-in-tech-i-realized-these-are-not-my-people

    She had a brief dot com era career in tech.

    “It was very male-centric. I heard about client outings, involving strippers, to which I was obviously not invited. And the sexual harassment (entirely from clients, not colleagues), could be spectacular.

    “Which has nothing to do with why I left. This will make me sound a bit dim, but at the time, it never occurred to me that being a female in this bro ecosystem might impinge my ultimate career prospects. Nor did I miss having women in the room. I liked working with the bros just fine. And the sexual harassment, while annoying, was just that: annoying. I cannot recall that it ever affected my work, nor that I lost any sleep over it.

    “No, the reason I left is that I came into work one Monday morning and joined the guys at our work table, and one of them said “What did you do this weekend?”

    “I was in the throes of a brief, doomed romance. I had attended a concert that Saturday night. I answered the question with an account of both. The guys stared blankly. Then silence. Then one of them said: “I built a fiber-channel network in my basement,” and our co-workers fell all over themselves asking him to describe every step in loving detail.

    “At that moment I realized that fundamentally, these are not my people. I liked the work. But I was never going to like it enough to blow a weekend doing more of it for free. Which meant that I was never going to be as good at that job as the guys around me.”

    At our house, computer science is definitely one of the majors I have on my mental list for the 15-year-old daughter. The 15-year-old is very good at math (she somehow had a 100% average in trigonometry this spring), her spatial skills are off the charts, she has done a number of basic programming camps, and her dad had her working on a hands-on electronics project this summer and doing a lot of soldering (which she did exquisitely for hour after hour). However, that said, I don’t think she has ever done any self-initiated projects (aside from Minecraft construction). She has huge amounts of natural ability–but she isn’t obsessive about it.

    Meanwhile, being an obsessive nut is kind of a prerequisite for working at Google or similar.

    Google is basically a cult and it’s not uncommon for employees to literally live there–seriously, people live in the parking lot.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/employees-who-live-at-google-2014-9

    http://www.businessinsider.com/couple-lived-in-rv-in-google-parking-lot-2016-3/#-3

    It’s not that hard to see why bright, normal women see that, say, “Heck with that!,” go into medicine instead, where they can make a solid salary, live anywhere they want to live, have the option of part-time work, see their kids occasionally, and basically have a real life.

    1. This has it backwards. Those dudes are building fiber channels on the weekend because no one will have doomed romances with them. All they have is fiber channels. Like, are we supposed to believe, that if a pleasant looking nice young woman asked them out, they’d be like “sorry no, not interested in dating or sex, I have fiber channels to build instead.” Certainly there is room on the weekends for both fiber channels and dating, but the reality is that these kinds of guys feel so out of depth when it comes to dating that they retreat fully into fiber channels because that is what is safe for them. That doesn’t mean they don’t want anything else.

      1. I am really surprised that my take on Megan’s anecdote is so different. Someone asked her an ice breaker question at work, and she responded with a tale of relationship woe. Her colleagues didn’t react, because what do you say when someone is inappropriate. They are her colleagues, not her friends. A colleague tells about a project that is relevant to work and everyone jumped on it. Probably out of relief.

        But the reaction here is that that guy can’t get a date?

        Last weekend I worked on a machine learning project to refine my skills. When people at work ask what I did, I tell them about that. I also went to a barbecue. I didn’t talk about machine learning there.

        My takeaway is that Megan lacks social skills.

      2. Yes, I also code for fun and did even more when I was working. So, is machine learning going to be different this time around? I feel the same sense of over-promising that I felt when first discovering neural networks. But, there have been huge breakthroughs. Understanding human speech was always an example of a classic hard problem. A leading language development researcher would always lead her talks with multiple people saying “no” — understanding was a trivial task for her human audience, but very difficult for any non-biological system. AI is succeeding at that task now. Still not good as a human, but good enough to use.

    2. “computers” were “calculators”. It was an undervalued job, and while they were crunching numbers, interesting problems were given to the men, who got all the credit. There were women who used the only role they were alloted to make something more for themselves (usually without credit). But let’s not romanticize that era.

      A statistic I do like to cite, and it also fits with the personal anecdotes I hear, is that in India, women score just as well as men (if not better) on the math exams. And, the women I know, educated there now, report that they (and mind you, they are all highly privileged, wealthy women, so I am not making a general statement about sexism in India) faced no bias against their technical abilities. They say they were surprised, when asked to participate in forums in the US on the barriers against girls doing math or coding.

      1. It reminds me of studies done on race and athleticism. African-Americans often dominate elite levels of sports, but there’s no clear cut biological or genetic evidence for why that might be the case, especially (as we’ve discussed), “race” isn’t a genetic category. There is evidence from small mountainous ethnic groups that prolonged living at high elevation confers and advantage in distance running, but this appears to be pretty adaptable, in that moving to a high elevation and staying there confers advantage and living at sea level eventually decreases it (score one for Lamarck, I guess).

        I read a fairly convincing article pointing out that the reason why East Africans dominate distance running is that it’s a grueling, painful activity with relatively low pay off (top distance runners don’t earn anything near what what soccer or football players earn). Gifted runners from first world countries tend to turn to sports like soccer, which pay giant salaries and don’t require running until you vomit and pee yourself on a regular basis. Plus, staying in top shape as a distance runner requires a level of spartan discipline above and beyond that required for something like soccer. Before East Africans dominated distance running, the Finns did, and in the 70s people wondered if there was something special about Finns that made them such good runners.

        With basketball and football, there’s pretty strong evidence that African-Americans dominate because it’s a widely acceptable and expected form of economic mobility for African American men, and it’s a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy. If China decides to get really into basketball, we might see articles in 30 years written about how the Chinese are uniquely biologically suited to basketball, something that people would have found ludicrous before Yao Ming or Jeremy Lin.

    3. I absolutely detest this genre of anecdote. It’s fine if a woman finds the sexual harassment merely “annoying” and doesn’t loose any sleep over it. But, it doesn’t mean that others should have to deal with it.

  4. This was interesting, too:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-08/google-can-t-seem-to-tolerate-diversity

    “Google rejects 99.8 percent of job applicants, making it far more selective than any Ivy League university. It’s not unreasonable to posit that in this top 0.2 percent of the population, there may be various ways in which talent manifests differently between the sexes.”

    “The percentage of women in computing roles peaked in 1991, at a high of 36 percent. It has declined ever since and now stands at 25 percent.”

    I took the 15-year-old to see Hidden Figures this spring. One of the highlights of the movie is one of the heroines learning “Fortran: Language of the Future” and elbowing her way into working with the big new NASA mainframe. I don’t know historically accurate it was, but one thing that jumped out at me was how normal the heroines were. Even though they were bright and conscientious and the whole NASA thing no doubt put some strain on their home support systems, they had real personal lives (2-6 children according to the Wikipedia pages on the real life women).

    The insistence on total sacrifice is probably one of the least attractive features of Silicon Valley life for normal women. (Or even for men–my husband got a nibble from a Large Technical Company a few years ago, and while it was flattering, it would have been a huge downgrade in terms of quality of life and financial security, even at twice the pay.)

    I haven’t brought myself to read it, but the 10-page memo apparently mentions that the Google life style is not that attractive to women.

    There just aren’t going to be mobs of women begging to give a kidney for Google. And frankly, I think it would be pretty dumb to do so.

    1. “.2% of the population?” How does one measure a population? The memo is filled with similar theoretically implausible stereotypes. We have no way of measuring the top 0.2% of the population, as, incidentally, Google’s own hiring data showed them. Maybe one could posit some “Foundation” style world in which the future is predictable in which it might be possible to measure a population, and once that was done, we might find that there are differences in distribution based on some other human variable (for example, men could be generally worse leaders), but until then, these vague ideas (the Damon memo includes a fully unlabeled charter of distributions), merely serve to reinforce existing stereotypes. And, that’s the reasoning that Google gave in firing Damon.

      “There just aren’t going to be mobs of women begging to give a kidney for Google. ”

      Really? how do you know? And why should the fact that you think it would be pretty dumb to do so have anything to do with the decision that someone else would want to make?

      1. “Google rejects 99.8 percent of job applicants, making it far more selective than any Ivy League university. It’s not unreasonable to posit that in this top 0.2 percent of the population, there may be various ways in which talent manifests differently between the sexes.”
        It is perfectly plausible to read this sentence as “this top 0.2 percent of the population OF GOOGLE JOB SEEKERS” since it is the job applicant population which McMegan was talking about. And, yes, that two tenths per cent of a self-selected group of applicants may well be very different from the US population as a whole, and from the Google job seeker group as well.

      2. Yes, bj is right. We know that women who work and Google and have been doing so far years complained about the memo and felt it was both insulting and wrong. The defense of the memo-writer is just another way of saying “women don’t have a right to be upset with what a man does until other men confirm they have a reason to be upset.”

      3. MH, do you actually think what you have written is a response to what I wrote? If so, as earlier noted, you need to get out more.

      4. I was pointing out why what you said didn’t reply to what bj said. You, like Reagan and now Trump, just keep using projection to denounce others for what you are doing. My point, obvious and repeated often in this thread, is that we don’t need to show that all women would be interested in jobs at google. We know many are and have been doing these jobs. That a bunch of outsiders are saying their shouldn’t, was (and should be) taken as a personal insult to them regardless of what you or McMegan thinks they should read in the screed or what women.

      5. “It is perfectly plausible to read this sentence as “this top 0.2 percent of the population OF GOOGLE JOB SEEKERS” ”

        Yes, it is, and in fact, I referring to the studies made by Google itself that decided that their methods of selecting their employees, based on scores and mind games, were ineffective in choosing effective employees. They decided they didn’t have a way to calculate the “top 0.2%” of their applicants for their ultimate goal of hiring. And, variables that might be useful in separating poor or mediocre applicants from good applicants don’t do much for separating good from excellent or excellent from “best”.

        They are Google, though, the experts in this kind of analysis, and I expect continued research on the topic from them.

      6. bj said,

        “Really? how do you know? And why should the fact that you think it would be pretty dumb to do so have anything to do with the decision that someone else would want to make?”

        I know it’s dumb to have a one-sided love affair with a corporation that doesn’t feel the same way about you, offers you no security, and would replace you in a heart beat.

        I was once talking online with a woman whose husband had this sort of give-a-kidney love for his employer (Walmart, oddly enough). I told her “Walmart doesn’t love your husband the way your husband loves Walmart.”

        That’s just not a reasonable level of loyalty in the current economic environment.

        Related: There’s a lot of age discrimination in tech.

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-08/silicon-valley-s-job-hungry-say-we-re-not-to-old-for-this

      7. bj said:

        “Yes, it is, and in fact, I referring to the studies made by Google itself that decided that their methods of selecting their employees, based on scores and mind games, were ineffective in choosing effective employees. They decided they didn’t have a way to calculate the “top 0.2%” of their applicants for their ultimate goal of hiring. And, variables that might be useful in separating poor or mediocre applicants from good applicants don’t do much for separating good from excellent or excellent from “best”.

        “They are Google, though, the experts in this kind of analysis, and I expect continued research on the topic from them.”

        Indeed–Google can also do all sorts of creepy snooping that aren’t possible for other companies.

        When my husband was recruited out of the blue a few years ago by a different company, it was based on his app creation history. (He’s had literally millions of downloads of his free stuff and back in his heyday we were getting $900+ a month in royalties–not quit-your-job money, but awfully nice while we were saving for our house.) Although the company that was interested in him later had an embarrassing exploding phone problem, it does seem to me that they were on the right track and that a portfolio is a better measure of creativity than some contrived games (how many gas stations are there in Manhattan–blech!).

  5. “Useta be you would go to your model airplane club or bowling and the other members would have a variety of political opinions. ”

    And, it used to be that a black person couldn’t marry a white person or and a professor could use their female grad students as a personal dating pool. Used to be that a principle investigator could create a seriously hostile work environment with no consequence because they were “god”. Used to be that a near requirement for succeeding in media was to put up with and/or submit to the sexual demands of your bosses.

    In the past few months or so, we’ve seen two tenured professors leave their position. At Caltech, Christian Ott resigned after having developed a fantasy relationship with his graduate student, documented in tumblr poems, and then firing her. He was offered remedial social skills training, but it didn’t appear to stick. At U Washington, Michael Katze was fired!. There had been repeated complaints about the environment in his lab, but they’d been dismissed with an admonition from his department chair, repeatedly, until people stopped reporting them. Eventually his deeds blew up in his face when he hired a woman whose job was to be his mistress who he paid off a federal grant. He left a email train. At that point, the UW was complicit to fraud against the federal government and they felt they had to act.

    Yes, there’s a culture war going on because behaviors that used to be acceptable aren’t anymore. Where will it end? I don’t know, but I think in the end, it will depend on who has more power.

    1. BeeJay, I was expressing nostalgia for institutions in the population which resulted in people mixing with those not clones of themselves and their ideologies. And you are spitting vitriol at people who opposed miscegenation or who used their power to screw women. I think men like Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy and Bill Clinton who used their power to intimidate women into screwing them were and are vile. I think marriages should take place between people who are fond of each other and that their race should not be a barrier. Those things have nothing what so ever to do with my point that it’s a problem for our cohesion as a nation that people of differing view get together less than they used to.

      1. “I was expressing nostalgia for institutions in the population which resulted in people mixing with those not clones of themselves and their ideologies. ”

        What institutions? There are plenty of clubs and groups and civic organizations made up of people with different ideologies. They come together because they all love genealogy, or photography, or soccer, or any number of things that are not about political ideology. When I want to talk about political ideology, I go to a group that is about political ideology.

        You often describe the world you seem to want to exist rather than the one that exists.

      2. Your lack of nostalgia for that world might have been better supported if you’d included the more recent examples on the right end of the political spectrum in your list (Ailes, O’Reilly, Trump). But, if your point is really that “as a nation that people of differing view get together less than they used to” then it is not particularly served by citing some earlier time in American history. You are citing a time when homogenous groups of people got together and just-happened to agree on some things (say, that women should be calculators or secretaries and not astronomers to astronauts).

      3. Wendy said:

        “What institutions? There are plenty of clubs and groups and civic organizations made up of people with different ideologies.”

        That’s basically the whole point of Putnam’s Bowling Alone (which I have actually read), that there has been a significant change in how Americans spend their leisure time.

  6. My first thought on the firing, and I was working on the presumption that Google wasn’t merely being naive, was what it meant on the balance of power. Assuming that Google wasn’t merely naive in their bubble, not understanding how Damon’s firing would play out at Breitbart and in the nether reaches of Redit, they were making a decision that overall they would benefit as a company by firing him. I believe people at Google have opinions, but, I think, in general, Google management doesn’t want to do anything that hurts Google, in spite of a motto of “do no evil”.

    Thoughts: Damon is one person, and they have lots of workers and people who want to work for them, thus, he doesn’t have “god” protection (say, unlike Sergey Brin or Larry Page); Google is fighting sexual discrimination claims; boycotting Google isn’t really an option; and, coming out front on reinforcing gender stereotypes that women are less able than men might make it easier for them to maintain their bottom line of ad placements in sites regardless of content).

    1. Here’s a machiavellian thought–firing Damon allows them to follow his advice while preserving plausible deniability.

  7. I too long for the days when being impolite to racists was worse than hating people based on superficial and immutable physical characteristics.

    Oh wait! We’re apparently still there.

    1. “…hating people based on superficial and immutable physical characteristics…” ??? Have you, BI, in fact read Damore’s piece?
      I think politeness is a value in pretty much all circumstances.

    2. I don’t think we are still there, and in fact that these culture wars stem from that fact. I maintain though, that we will regress unless we have people in positions of power and I will stick to using what power I have to try to prevent us from regressing. Some of these discussions could occur in a theoretical construct (and, frankly, that is why I do believe that state universities should be required to have them and that private universities might choose to have them). But in a workplace, the workplace should be able to set a standard of behavior. Sometimes people won’t make exactly the decision I would have chosen — was Damore naive? awkward? politically motivated? educable on the culture of the workplace? If he were my employee those things would have supported my decision making. But, I fully support Google’s decision to make this decision.

      Can they weather it? I think so, and I hope they considered whether they could, because firing Damore, and then backing away would be worse than not firing him at all.

  8. Judging people for what they do is not a problem and nothing like judging people for unchangeable and superficial physical characteristics. If I’m a woman who works at google, I want my reputation to be based on my ability to do my job. I want to be given projects based on my demonstrable skills and past track record. I don’t want the fact I’m a woman to factor into it. Same if I’m black or Asian or homosexual or a straight white man.

    In general, if I do good work, I want it to be acknowledged. If I write an interesting article, I want it to be published. If I write a great grant application, I want to get the grant. On the flip side, if I do something wrong, I accept that I have to take responsibility for my actions. If I pay my credit card bill late, I accept I have to pay a fine. If I miss a grant deadline, I accept that I won’t get the grant. if I send a memo to all my coworkers saying that I think some chunk of them are innately inferior, then I accept I am creating an antisocial work environment and my company will probably fire me.

    Accepting that I’m being held accountable for my behavior, good or bad, is called being an adult. If someone can’t accept that, then maybe they shouldn’t apply for jobs that call for adults.

  9. BI, everything you said above until ‘if I send a memo to all my coworkers..’ is absolutely anodyne, and is in fact absolutely consistent with what Mr Damore said in his piece. After that, you have problems. you are mischaracterizing his piece in your claim that he described anyone as innately inferior. He also said there are wide distributions in talent and inclination in all groups. Have you in fact read it? Or have you just read the outraged descriptions of it?

  10. This is the same shit you pulled with Murray. Yes, the add lots of portions that say things that aren’t racist or sexist. Then, when somebody calls it sexist or racist, defenders point to all the not sexist stuff as a defense. Like if you defended a bank robber by not mentioning the time they robbed the bank but repeated ad nauseum all times they did other things in the bank. It’s exactly what I mean by “women don’t have a right to be upset with what a man does until other men confirm they have a reason to be upset.”

  11. ‘The head may prove it all for what I know, Mr. Easy, but her conduct tells another tale.’ ‘She is well fitted for the situation, ma’am,’ continued the doctor. ‘And if you please, ma’am,’ rejoined Sarah, ‘it was such a little one.’
    Okay. You seem to be looking for any pretext to cast Mr Damore into the outer darkness and signal your own virtue. There’s a New Catechism in town, and if you give any incorrect answers, it’s the abyss for you! I don’t find it convincing, but your mileage clearly differs.

    1. I don’t find “acceptable reason for being fired” equivalent to “cast into the outer darkness.” If you have a problem with at-will employment in general, I agree.

  12. Dave.s.: And who are Mr. Easy and Sarah and why do they have something to do with this discussion about women in the tech workplace?

    I thought we were talking about a Google employee who wrote a company-wide memo saying stuff like: “Women, on average, have more: Neuroticism” which leads to: “lower number of women in high stress jobs”.

    1. cy, I was giving MH the Mrs Easy role – she was about to turn away this wet nurse (and survival for her baby) for having had a child out of marriage.

    1. Minus the TMI, I have actually lived that xkcd cartoon multiple times in real life at home.

      It is something else to live with somebody whose brain gets locked into “MUST SOLVE TECHNICAL PROBLEM” mode and can’t stop working on a project or thinking about a project until it’s done, no matter how counter-productive that might be.

      I have no doubt that there are autistic women that are similar, but there are 4X as many diagnosed males as diagnosed females, so we’re talking about a much smaller pool.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_autism

      I’ll mention the necessary disclaimer about underdiagnosis of autistic girls–but the fact that high functioning autistic girls are often unnoticed strongly suggests that the behaviors they present are rather distinct from those of high functioning autistic boys.

      Note also what an interesting coincidence it is that the percentage of female computer science and engineering majors closely resembles the percentage of girls among diagnosed autistic people:

      https://ngcproject.org/statistics

      But looking at this from a different perspective, the xkcd cartoon suggests that it probably is very important for a tech company to have some non-obsessive non-nuts on staff (i.e. women and neurotypicals). You need somebody who is not in love with particular projects, and is willing and able to pull the plug–for everybody’s good.

  13. Conor Friedersdorf sets out to embarrass Google and solidifies my high regard for him: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/08/a-question-for-google-ceo-sundar-pichai/536535/ “I have a question for the CEO. Given that the full text of the memo is public, that it is the subject of a national debate on an important subject, that many educated people disagree with one another about what claims it made, and that clarity can only help Google employees adhere to the company’s rules going forward, would you be willing to highlight the memo using green to indicate the “much” that you identified as “fair to debate” and red to flag the “portions” that you deemed Code-of-Conduct violations?”
    He quotes Allan Jacobs of Baylor http://blog.ayjay.org/the-mystery-of-googles-position/ “I seriously doubt that Google will get much more specific. Their goal will be to create a climate of maximal fear-of-offending, and that is best done by never allowing employees to know where the uncrossable lines are. That is, after all, corporate SOP.”

    1. Conor Friedersdorf said:

      “I have a question for the CEO. Given that the full text of the memo is public, that it is the subject of a national debate on an important subject, that many educated people disagree with one another about what claims it made, and that clarity can only help Google employees adhere to the company’s rules going forward, would you be willing to highlight the memo using green to indicate the “much” that you identified as “fair to debate” and red to flag the “portions” that you deemed Code-of-Conduct violations?”

      That’s a very fair question.

      1. When I get ready to retire, I’m going to send a ten page memo to the whole university pointing out that white males are disproportionately racist and sexist. I expect you all to respond with same sense of dumbfounded wonder when I get fired.

  14. So, Friedersdorf’s piece seems to me terrific, and that led me over to the blog of Allan Jacobs and I looked further at it than just the ‘mystery’ post. This snippet from Jacobs seems valuable to me, and in the context of our mudwrestling here in the Greater Levendee Co-Prosperity Sphere:
    “One of the major themes of my forthcoming book How to Think is the fruitlessness of arguments badly conducted. When we treat those we disagree with as necessarily wicked or stupid, when we forbid to “their side” practices that we cheerfully allow to “our side,” when we recklessly (and sometimes quite intentionally) misconstrue those who disagree with us, then genuine argument never happens: we descend into shouted recriminations.

    Of course, many people are perfectly happy with shouted recriminations. But Christians are forbidden that. As I have reflected on these matters in the past couple of years — and I’ve spent a lot of time in such reflection — I have been struck by just how consistently concerned the New Testament is with proper responses to conflict. We are told, by Jesus in the Gospels and by the apostles in their letters, how to respond when we are attacked and vilified by those outside the “household of faith” and how to deal with various kinds of conflict within that household.”

      1. Grumpy, much? Do note that I was quoting Jacobs here (approvingly, yes). MH, you seem often to think that vitriol and arguments from authority are substitutes for argument from reason.

      2. You made an argument from authority (the New Testament). Where exactly are you getting that from is my question.

      3. I don’t think having read the New Testament is making an argument from authority. You could read it too. I think you wrote nonsense and are now refusing to admit such.

    1. MH, you are not showing a clear understanding of what is an argument from authority. If I had said, ‘the Bible says so, so it is true’, that is an argument from authority. What I said was, the blogger Allan Jacobs posted the following, I think it’s useful. That’s not the same thing.

  15. bj hates anecdotes, but here’s another anecdote.

    An older dad in our circle was fretting over the fact that his daughter (a computer science major at a well-respected program) was doing fine in her program BUT was not doing projects outside of her school work.

    That’s essentially what Megan McArdle was talking about in the fiber channel anecdote–that women are much less likely to be absolutely consumed and utterly obsessed by the field, much less likely to let it leak into non-working hours.

    True story: My husband, who is a hobbyist rather than a professional tech guy, used to fuss and fuss with getting his fonts exactly right. You see, the commercial ones just weren’t good enough. That was aggravating–right up until the point where I realized that we were getting a royalty check for hundreds of dollars every month for something he would do anyway.

    But again, there’s got to be a place for “normal people” even at a cutting edge tech company, because a) for everybody’s good, management needs to avoid the tunnel vision in my previous xkcd cartoon and b) they need to stay in touch with their users’ needs.

    1. I don’t hate anecdotes. They are fun. But, they shouldn’t have much to do with decision making. Your anecdote is the very epitome of reinforcing gender stereotypes and reflective of the systemic bias we are all prone to — the classic example of confirmation bias in reporting, remembering, and reinforcing.

  16. This was interesting:

    https://qz.com/604723/when-google-increased-paid-maternity-leave-the-rate-at-which-new-mothers-quit-dropped-50/

    “The tech industry often points to a pipeline problem when talking about its gender gap. There simply aren’t enough women studying computer science, some argue, and as a result, many companies suffer from a gender imbalance, especially in technical departments.
    But companies interested in narrowing the gap might also want to do a better job of keeping women who already are in the pipeline from leaving it. According to a 2008 Harvard Business Review report, 52% of women in science, engineering, and technology jobs ultimately depart from their respective fields.

    “Yet as Google demonstrates, a little bit of generosity can go a long way toward retaining female talent—while also ultimately improving a company’s bottom line. According to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who has five kids of her own, by increasing paid maternity leave in 2007 to 18 weeks from 12 weeks, parent company Google (now Alphabet) halved the rate at which new mothers quit.”

  17. One of my email friends is retraining for tech right now (but probably for a tech position within a non-tech company). She is totally willing to give a kidney (as she’s faced a lot of unemployment as a Millennial), but she’s realistic that her niche would be something like–tech savvy person with social skills. She’s clear on the fact that she’s nothing exceptional on the pure tech side.

    Come to think of it, having a realistic estimation of one’s skills is also a typically female quality.

    https://hbr.org/2016/08/the-gender-gap-in-feedback-and-self-perception

    1. “.. a realistic estimation of one’s skills is also a typically female quality…” This is where we think about whether either of the candidates in the last Presidential election had any kind of realistic self-estimate. Since I think each party nominated just about its weakest possible candidate… we got the result we got.

      1. dave s. said:

        “This is where we think about whether either of the candidates in the last Presidential election had any kind of realistic self-estimate.”

        I’ve recently been fascinated by the research on narcissists. Narcissists are, on the one hand, initially very persuasive and capable of persuading new acquaintances that they are amazing and deserving of leadership responsibility–but people eventually figure them out.

        “Narcissists don’t play well with others, and this becomes clearer in the long-term. Narcissists don’t tend to do well in long-term relationships, and suffer from all sorts of intra- and interpersonal problems. Paulhus (1998) found that after the seventh roughly 2.5 hour student work group session, narcissists were rated by the other members of the group as less agreeable, less well adjusted, less warm, and more hostile and arrogant.

        “But here’s the kicker (or paradox). In that same study, Paulhus found that after the first meeting, narcissists were rated as more agreeable, conscientious, open, competence, entertaining, and well adjusted by the other members of the group. What a contrast to what the group members thought of the very same narcissistic individuals on the seventh day!”

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201001/why-are-narcissists-initially-so-popular

        http://freakonomics.com/2011/08/17/narcissists-look-like-good-leaders-but-are-they/

    1. The intellectual Right decided about a decade or so ago they would start categorically comparing all liberals to Nazis. Hillary Clinton, Obama, even Bernie Sanders have all been compared at least once to Hitler, with the premises being 1) Nazis are evil, 2) Nazis are leftist. When the current Republican administration decides to openly embrace Nazism, the same conservatives must either admit that their own administration is composed of evil leftists, or retract their previous statements. Instead, you have them running a “no true Scotsman” argument of ridiculous proportions. “Why yes, they were wearing brown uniforms with swastikas and shouting ‘sieg heil’ and ‘blood and soil,’ but they’re not *really* neo-Nazis. The *real* Nazis are the black lesbians in rainbow tie-dye and dreads.”* In our new reality, being a white supremacist authoritarian who loves Hitler means you’re pro-democracy, and being pro-civil rights and anti- racism means you’re a Nazi.

      *I once got called a hysterical leftist for pointing out the Carl Schmitt was a Nazi. When I directed people to his wikipedia page and noted that it was a statement of fact that the Attorney General of the Third Reich was indeed a card carrying member of the NSDAP, the response was basically, “well yah but he wasn’t a *real* Nazi,” (unlike the members of Greenpeace or BLM, I suppose).

      1. Citing his Nazi party card sounds like an “argument from authority.” Because insisting words have meaning is now a partisan political trick.

  18. MH, you seem to have real trouble understanding what argument from authority is. Perhaps Wikipedia can help:

    “Argument from authority or appeal to authority is a form of argument or reasoning which may give rise to a fallacy when misused.

    In informal reasoning, the appeal to authority is an argument of the form:

    A is an authority on a particular topic
    A says says something about that topic
    A is probably correct
    Statistically, that may often be right. However, it might be wrong in a particular case. In that case, it would be a fallacy. Thus, the appeal to authority is not a generally reliable argument for establishing facts”

    1. Sigh. Arguments from authority are not fallacious in and of themselves. It’s not a matter of statistics, which makes it sound like “well, a stopped clock is right twice a day, so that explains Neil Degrasse Tyson.” Arguments from authority that are wrong usually have something else wrong with them, like a faulty premise. An example is your “If I had said, ‘the Bible says so, so it is true’, that is an argument from authority.” The idea that the Bible is an authority on any topic is highly contested and of course applied inconsistently. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CPjWd4MUXs.

    2. I have real trouble understanding how asking where something is in the Gospel that you said is in the Gospel makes me the one with trouble understanding things You’re talking nonsense and bullshit and blaming me for making you sad by making this explicit.

      1. Your big problem with understanding here is that what I said was, Allan Jacobs says it is in the New Testament. I didn’t say I had found it – I am not someone who reads the Bible on any regular basis. If you want to find it, you should either go to his blog and see if he gives chapter and verse, or you should go to the Bible yourself. I don’t think the value of the idea depends on its source, but I did identify where I got it. So, yes, you are having a very hard time understanding what I said, which was really quite clear.

      2. Still nonsense. You are trying to claim the authority of Jesus’s teachings for what you “value” in the context of an argument while claiming I’m arguing from “authority.” There’s a reason you did that (because it works very often because the Republican Party has decided Jesus was a nice white men from Iowa). And there’s a reason I’m insisting on calling out things like that (because there is an explicit movement to move toward white supremacism in the U.S. and those leading that movement have had great success at getting votes from self-identified Christians).

    3. Anyway, the entire Republican party depends on there being no standard of evidence acceptable for saying “you’re wrong”. It ends with the Republican Party being the functional equivalent of an ISIS supporter.

      1. Another sort of … quirk … of yours is that you seem to have formed the notion either that I am a Republican or that I am somehow responsible to defend those guys. I can’t imagine what gave you that notion. I am not, nor do I feel any responsibility for them.

      2. Because I do not feel there is a meaningful distinction between someone who calls themselves a Republican and someone who doesn’t but spends all their time attacking liberals, women, and Democrats.

      3. I feel confident that people telling me I’m in a bubble are more likely to be in a bubble than I am. I get around no less than I ever have, I just do so with more unease when I’m in what was formerly my home territory.

      4. Oh, okay. It’s a terminology problem. Instead of meaning ‘adherent of the Republican Party’, Republican now means ‘holder of opinions of which MH disapproves’. That’s fine, as long as it’s clear. Thanks.

      5. I disapprove of lots of things that aren’t worth mentioning. White fragility and the political consequences of it alarm and disgust me.

      6. MH, I’m going to guess that you’re not a regular reader of Instapundit. Just a WAG… If you were, you might have seen his link to this thumbsucker http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/23/how-anti-white-rhetoric-is-fueling-white-nationalism/ whose author suggests that the drumbeat of criticism of white people has elicited, will elicit, the sort of white tribalism which festered into the events in Charlottesville. Seems to me to be at least worth thinking about, particularly given recent events.

      7. I was a regular reader for years. I’ve heard all these arguments. During the last election Obama won I saw and heard things that convinced any explanation that didn’t include white racism was incomplete but that racism against whites was nearly always overblown or chaff to hide racism by whites. There has been no new information against that point since 2012 and very much new information to support it. The worse the conservatives and Republicans get, the worse the lies they use about liberals but the less evidence they offer. Public discourse has been rendered impossible because of a ludicrous “those guys do it too” that hasn’t applied for longer than a decade.

        I have watched as literal fascism rose again and l have no need to comfort those who aided it by blaming everybody but the actual fascists.

      8. MH, you are on fire lately.
        Also, I don’t know how to write positive comments without emojis any more. Where is my “hands clapping” or “thumbs up” emoji?

    4. This is why we have a president who, while incapable of uttering any clear condemnation of white surpemacism, is running ads about people attacking him when he has only been in office for seven months.

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