Meredith Patterson’s valiant effort is probably doomed

I just read Okay, Feminism, It’s Time We Had a Talk About Empathy. and When Nerds Collide.

I’m caught between admiration for Meredith Patterson’s writing ability and what she’s trying to do, and a feeling that the attempt is fundamentally doomed.

She who travels as maradydd speaks for hackers very well. I’m happy to see someone else doing it; the ability is rare and the only other people besides me I see playing at a similar level are Paul Graham and (more obliquely) Randall Munroe.

The problem is, maradydd’s attempt requires the feminists and social-justice warriors she is addressing to fundamentally be about justice and inclusion, enough so that it is possible to change their behavior by appealing to those values. But that’s not what I see what I look at those people. What I see is thin rationalizations over bullying, dominance games, and an endless scream of monkey rage.

Shanley Kane, who maradydd says she’s puzzled by, is a case in point. We’ve learned recently of evidence that she has a recent past as a virulent racist. The informant, Auernheimer, is himself a repellent character and the reporter was wise enough to suspect he might be trolling, but apparently there’s documentary evidence of the relationship and his claims.

But even before this Shanley Kane didn’t puzzle me at all. Whenever I see screaming, hate-filled behavior like hers the important part never turns out to be whatever principles the screamer claims to be advocating. Those are just window-dressing for the bullying, the dominance games, and the rage.

You cannot ameliorate the behavior of people like that by accepting their premises and arguing within them; they’ll just pocket your concessions and attack again, seeking increasingly abject submission. In one-on-one relationships this is called “emotional abuse”, and like abusers they are all about control of you while claiming to be about anything but.

Third-wave feminism, “social justice” and “anti-racism” are rotten with this. Some of the principles, considered in isolation, would be noble; but they don’t stay noble in the minds of a rage mob.

The good news is that, like emotional abusers, they only have the power over you that you allow them. Liberation begins with recognizing the abuse for what it is. It continues by entirely rejecting their attempts at manipulation. This means rejecting their terminology, their core concepts, their framing, and their attempts to jam you into a “victim” or “oppressor” identity that denies your lived experience.

The identity-jamming part maradydd clearly gets; the most eloquent sections of her writing are those in which she (rightly) rejects feminist attempts to jam her into a victim identity. But I don’t think she quite gets how thoroughly you have to reject the rest of the SJW pitch in order not to enable their abuse.

This is why, for example, I basically disengage from anyone who uses the phrase “white privilege” or the term “patriarchy”. There is a possible world in which these might be useful terms of discussion, but if that were ever our universe it has long since ceased to be. Now what they mean is “I am about to attempt to bully you into submission using kafkatraps and your own sense of decency as a club”.

I think it is pretty clear what this implies for the defense of hacker culture and what maradydd calls “weird nerds”. I haven’t been paying much attention myself, but I don’t doubt maradydd when she asserts that the SJWs would like to colonize us and make us over into another hell-pit of identity politics and competitive grievance-mongering.

Where I differ with maradydd is that I think it is doomed to try fending the SJWs off using their own jargon. We have a better place to stand. Here it is: Shut up and show us the code.

You want to make a point about women or minorities in hacker culture? OK, where is your commit history? What open source have you hacked on? Where are your Arduino and Thingiverse designs? Are you running any development projects yourself? What do you bring us that isn’t monkey screaming? Why should we care what you think?

And if the answer is “Justice!”, then our reply has to be this: The code is its own justice. No compiler or network stack or 3-D printer gives a crap about the shape of your genitals or the color of your skin, and hackers as a culture don’t either.

If you want to make the hacker culture and the civilization it serves a better place, welcome. There’s plenty of work to go around. But leave your jargon and your guilt-tripping and your bullying and your special pleading and your monkey rage at the door, because about those we determinedly refuse to give a shit.

UPDATE: maradydd informs me by email that since writing those articles she has arrived at a “Shut up and show them the code” position essentially identical to mine.

696 thoughts on “Meredith Patterson’s valiant effort is probably doomed

  1. I have realized something over the last 4-5 years.

    There are things I actually HATE. I love my friends, I believe in politeness and reciprocating it when given. I also no longer care about getting along at the cost of respect, dignity, being sociable, etc. when someone is an ass.

    Not so much people, but lies. And even more toxic – bullsh*t. Sea Lawyering. Gaslighting. Kafkatraps.

    And generally, those who practice it, especially with malice aforethought, I have little but contempt.

    So I’m very happy that a line is being drawn in the sand here and elsewhere.

    “Show me the code”

    Thank you.

    Sadly, I actually have heard the argument – and not in jest – that logic/etc. was a patriarchal, western construct.

  2. Oh – and off topic – loved what you wrote in “Riding the Red Horse”

  3. > No compiler … gives a crap about the shape of your genitals…

    Well, maybe this one does.

    /me ducks.

  4. Patrick, omg C+= is too funny…I can’t decide if it is serious or parody…if its not intentional parody, it is so overly serious it wraps around to perfect self-parody.

    Eric: yeah, I have seen SO many instances where SJW’s use “neck-beard” as an epithet, they miss the whole pot/kettle bit there. Really vicious stuff about hacker stereotypes sometimes.

  5. I agree with everything above, except this:

    The good news is that, like emotional abusers, they only have the power over you that you allow them.

    Brendan Eich comes to mind, as do numerous other victims of PC lynch mobs. And Thilo Sarrazin.

  6. “Neck-beard” is only one example of the awesome contradictions you can find among SJWs. They’re against sexism except against men, against racism except against whites, against religious prejudice except against Christians, against discrimination based on sexual orientation except against straights. Oh, but racism and the other bad -isms are the exclusive province of the powerful (a.k.a. anyone they oppose), and “you can’t punch down,” so they themselves are immune from criticism. Talk about Kafka traps.

  7. I’ve seen some good discussion points that take concepts like privilege as given and try to examine them rationally – most boil down to “everybody has some privilege and some disprivilege, and we should be aware of that, but trying to perform a sorting algorithm of oppression is dumb”. And that’s a perfectly reasonable point, and there’s ways to examine it that don’t suck.

    That said, I hardly need to point out that it’s a vanishingly slim minority – I think I’ve seen that sort of talk from Scott Alexander and Scott Aaronson, and that’s it. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the meme.

  8. Eric, there’s a converse to your argument: hackers, in turn, must only care about the code. Like it or not, there are examples of technical disagreements turning into sexist dog piles on women. (I’m not aware of the same thing happening based on race or sexual orientation or anything else, but women have had gender-based attacks.) We must ruthlessly root out that kind of thing and show that it’s unacceptable.

    On the other hand, it’s not as prevalent as the SJWs claim, either…

  9. >On the other hand, it’s not as prevalent as the SJWs claim, either…

    And on the rare occasions it occurs, it’s not their job to fix it. It’s ours.

  10. > The language is to be strictly interpreted using feminist theory. Compilation privileges a single processor architecture over all others, which is deeply problematic. We cannot FORCE a cpu to conform to any architecture but rather let it self identify. Just because you’re running something on an arduino doesn’t mean it can’t be an otherkin Xeon with a dozen 64-bit registers and PAE and it would be discriminatory for you to hand it ARM assembly.

    > Instead of “running” a program, which implies thin privilege and pressure to “work out”, programs are “given birth”. After birth, a program rolls for a 40% chance of executing literally as the code is written, 40% of being “psychoanalytically incompatible”, and 40% of executing by a metaphorical epistemology the order of the functions found in main().

    David Mercer, I don’t think anyone could write the above seriously. It’s most certainly satire. (Also: 64-bit registers *and* PAE? Geesh.)

  11. Some months ago in a comment thread elsewhere, I read something that I think helps make sense of a lot of the sexism (or “sexism”) that some women say they encounter online.

    In person, many men (and especially nerds) tend to be deferential to women. If a woman criticizes them, they are likely to just look at their shoes and take it. And I think a lot of women are used to that. But when criticized in the online world, men (and especially nerds) are more likely to fire right back, sometimes rudely. If the criticism is from women, the rudeness might manifest itself as “sexism,” but in essence it’s “gender-blind.”

    To the Anita Sarkeesians of the world, that might seem like they’re being singled out and attacked as women, but most of it is just men treating women with the same vigor and rudeness with which they treat men. Not being used to this, these women complain that the online world is biased against them.

    Of course, another part of this is that the Sarkeesians of the world tend to exaggerate (if not invent) martyrdom stories.

    On the whole, the “online sexism” crisis is a lot like the “campus rape” crisis: individual cases exist, but they are much rarer than the activists would have us believe. It’s mostly hype done for political advantage, and is only nominally concerned with the supposed topic.

  12. PapayaSF: I recently encountered a paper that appears to support what you say, viz. “might seem like they’re being singled out and attacked as women, but most of it is just men treating women with the same vigor and rudeness with which they treat men.”

    The paper (a thesis about two studies): https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/6958/Yeung_Amy.pdf

    From the abstract: “Although there is a reliably positive association between hostile (HS) and benevolent sexism (BS), lay perceptions of this association have not been directly tested. I predicted that people perceive an illusory negative association between men’s HS and BS attitudes because lay theories expect men to have univalent attitudes toward women. In Study 1, I manipulated the target’s gender and responses on a subscale of the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (high HS, low HS, high BS, or low BS). The low BS male target (compared to high BS male target) was judged to be higher on HS, less supportive of female professionals, less good of father and husband, and more likely to perpetrate domestic violence. Ratings of the low BS male target were as equally negative as those of the high HS male target. In Study 2, low BS male targets were judged to be low in hostility towards women only if they explicitly stated that their low BS was motivated by egalitarian values, otherwise men’s low BS was assumed to indicate misogyny.”

  13. Very interesting, but …

    I think it’s significant I had never heard of this Kane character, nor of the people discussed in the other post of Eric’s on current “feminism” , while I know who Andrea Dworkin was, via the debate on pornography.

    My impression is that the attitude Eric correctly decries is strictly limited to the US: I cannot imagine any European country (except maybe the UK) where this behaviour would not be classified as anything else than trolling.

    I wonder whether there is any kind of mechanism in the US that repays that behaviour and at the same time makes it worse: maybe the MSM and public opinion use as a rough criterion for selection the “the louder the protest, the graver the offence” principle. Or maybe it is just the well-known mechanism of shouting louder and louder because nobody cares about the issue any more , I don’t know.

    But I do know that the mechanism is _not_ limited to femisnim: for instance, a friend of mine active in animal rights circles says some views coming from the US (quite often from a nick not even connected to a real name) are so troubling they have created a label to distance themselves from such people: nazianimalist.

    THey are the sort of people that say that a park ranger that accidently killed a bear must be prosecuted for murder – again in Italy these view would get the MSM as strictly comic relief pieces.

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  17. As noted WRT to Brendan Eich, “show us the code” didn’t do him a wit of good. Or take Adria Richards, who at a PyCon event overheard two men behind her possibly engaging in “sexist” talk to each other about dongles and forking, attacked them and got one fired from his job (small comfort that she in turn was fired, or that she’s a hypocrite, e.g. https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265091791847425).

    I find it beyond sobering that if I were headed for college today, there would be absolutely no point in my attending. Institutional science, at least in the US, has no room for live and let live (or die :-) conservatives like myself, and a CS degree isn’t really the right thing for me and the career I’d do if, as happened in the ’80s for financial reasons, science wasn’t an option.

  18. “And on the rare occasions it occurs, it’s not their job to fix it. It’s ours.”

    Oh, I agree. That’s why I said “We must ruthlessly root out that kind of thing and show that it’s unacceptable.” (emphasis added)

  19. “We must ruthlessly root out that kind of thing and show that it’s unacceptable.”

    In other words, do exactly what the other group is doing; circle the wagons about some concept of “us” and attack any monkey that doesn’t conform.

    That’s not a solution, that’s multiplying the original problem.

  20. TRX, are you seriously suggesting it’s acceptable to reject a technical comment, or a contribution, from a woman because she’s a woman?

    The code is what counts. The code is all that counts. If the code is good, use it. If not, reject it. But in neither case should anything about the submitter have anything to do with it.

  21. Jay Maynard: if that woman was a such a rare bird that she was both a SJW and someone who can genuinely contribute … well, maybe that’s a “we’ll burn this bridge down if we come to it” situation, no need to theorize about the improbable if not near impossible.

    TRX: pissing on a solution that’s known to work, albeit with problems, without suggesting an alternative is not helpful.

    Looking at this from a higher level, these SJWs are not going to go away and will continue to ruin everything they’re given a grip on. “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you” and all that. If we don’t want to have to implement nastier solutions (which I’m coming to view as inescapable), severely marginalizing them right now is the way to go. If this means we “circle the wagons” and viciously counter-attack those attacking us right now, so be it. If that requires us to construct a community of “anti-PC” organizations, where we practice “live and let live” but ruthlessly stomp on PC and SJWs who try to infiltrate, indeed polarizing the situation, I count that as infinitely better then surrender.

    I’m not willing to tolerate a soft tyranny like the one portrayed in Fallen Angels (and no doubt elsewhere).

  22. Harold, I’m referring to the author of the first article Eric cites. She made a technical comment on a project’s mailing list that got a small amount of discussion and then got ignored by the folks with commit permissions because one of the latter, on a private mailing list, shot it down because it came from a woman. Not knowing that, she went ahead and contributed it anyway, and it was a rousing success.

    That kind of crap is what the hacker community must root out. Eric’s right; we must do it ourselves. More importantly, we must do it not because of SJW notions of “quality” or “safe spaces”, but because rejecting good code for st00pid reasons makes our work harder and poorer. Why should we handicap ourselves?

    There’s no place for that in hackerdom, no matter aha the SJWs of the world might think of us.

  23. damn autocorrect…
    s/”quality”/”equality”/
    s/no matter aha/no matter what/

  24. @ESR

    One of the weirdest things about these people is that if you try to be kind to them, they tear you to pieces (Scott Aaronson), if are horribly rude with them (e.g. Fat Shaming Week on Twitter organized by Return of Kings, quite possibly the most offensive red-piller website), they treat you with a kind of fascinated, curious respect.

    This is NOT normal human behavior. Normally people have a sense of proportion and justice, like react to kindness with kindness and to hostility with hostility.

    It seems they hate weakness more than they hate injustice or rudeness.

    We were a lot like that when we were children, about 10-12. Ultimately, we wanted to respect teachers and with that we wanted them to show some backbone and show us some dominance/authority, so we harassed them to pieces, and despised the weak ones who could not stand it and respect with awe the strong ones who could earn our respect by putting their feet down and not backing down. We were practically asking for them to dominate us by doing stuff that was testing them to punish us. I still don’t understand what made us behave so as children.

    Perhaps this is a biological trait for selecting leaders: bully everybody, and crown those who won’t let themselves be…

    I don’t where this can come from in adults, but it is a lot like this.

  25. This is NOT normal human behavior.

    Of course it is. Show weakness to any predator, and you’re going to get pounced on. Stand up to it, and it’s likely to go searching for easier prey. Your mistake is simply in misidentifying the story archetype being played out here.

  26. Jay: “There’s no place for that in hackerdom….

    Then is there any place in your hackerdom for fallen humans?

    While agnostic now, I was raised Roman Catholic, and as one of my favorite (history) professors said to great acclaim in a lecture, “Original Sin is an empirical observation.” and I accept we live in a “fallen world” (well, modulo any likelihood things were better before then, e.g. we know the “noble savage” concept is worse than wrong) and that we are all sinning fallen humans.

    So I have room in my hackerdom for people like that dismissive guy, he’s akin to “damage to be routed around”, as happened in the very case you cite. Heck, I once had room in my hackerdom for RMS! (Now, not so much, as he again shows his horrible stewardship of projects with GNU Emacs and perhaps GCC facing likely forks to allow the former to properly support refactoring C++ (as one wag on Hacker News put it, since its inception GCC has been Defective By Design). And, oh, his attacks on OpenBSD this latest controversy brought to my attention; I doubt he’s any longer a force for good at all, and certainly not at net.)

  27. @Dgarsys

    >Sadly, I actually have heard the argument – and not in jest – that logic/etc. was a patriarchal, western construct.

    Why, this could make an interesting discussion in a sufficiently baked philosophy class, the issue is more about having their space cake and eating it, too, i.e. trying to colonialize logic-oriented fields for the prestige it brings, while rejecting their premises.

    Another line that needs to be drawn in the sand is “consistency between goals and methods” wanting the prestige associated with certain stuff while denying the very thing that generates its prestige must be ruled out.

  28. “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” is a quote by Flavia Dzodan oft-repeated among the more feral denizens of the SFF community such as N. K. Jemisin. I have no idea why she riffed on it.

    One of the things I’ve noticed in this Social Justice War is a single common denominator that leaps out at me time and again: the inability (or purposeful for scapegoating purposes) to distinguish between ideology and demography. The confusion about what is an outlier, an anomaly and what is truly systemic and institutional. Patterson herself displays this in her weird remark about sexual assault and tech. That’s a dangerous dark alley? One can only laugh at such wishful demonization of one’s opponent based on outliers willfully ignoring crime is not a shared thing among 3.5 billion humans. Men does not equal ideology and if it did, in what world would that be negative 100% of the time. Surely there are then positive profilings. But you see, if there were, there would be no point, because the entire argument would default back to one of human failings and success and the scapegoating disappear. Meredith seems tainted by what she ostensibly opposes.

    Racists typically portray their opponent group as a single person or even an ideology. The history of lesbian radical feminism (now with 50% more racial intersectionality) is one of portraying white heterosexual men as a single oppressor and attaching a political ideology to their very existence, innate to their identity, an original sin, a Mark of Cain. For those who’ve read their Charlotte Bunch, Denise Thompson and Andrea Dworkin, you’ll see they engage in the same gods/devils demonization tactics and view of their opponents as Nazis used against Jews. Heterosexuality, marriage, sex itself, is seen as shackles, privilege and the means of control and oppression. Rape is seen as a benefit all males share in on some level: “rape culture.”

    Like the KKK and blacks, failure is seen as inherent to the identity and shared by the entire group. Where the insanity flows in is in the classic manner in which these sociopathic hatreds are mainstreamed into the public consciousness as noble, or even necessary, acts of social justice. Gender feminism is the story of the noble colonized Fremen in their caves biding their time under the oppressive Harkonnens. Intersectional feminist cant is one of ritual phrases that sum up the oppressor: white privilege, rape culture, male gaze, ableisms and on and on. Its very language so specific one can tell the ideology at a glance once one has done one’s homework. It is as identifiable a marker as Russian.

    The bottom line is very simple: whatever the motivations, intersectional gender feminism is an analogue to a hate group. Its hate speech easily meets the definitions of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s benchmark of a hate group. The ideology on wide display in the SFF community and at the Nebula and Hugo Awards last year is no different than the New Black Panther Party or Nation of Islam: one single group is attacked and it is done in the same of social justice and leveling a playing field. The fact many of these people may simply be naive doesn’t enter into it. When one Tweets in triumph that no white men won an award that night the hate speech looks the same from the outside.

    Even if the accusations about Kane’s past are 100% false, it is the present that matters. Kane is no different from SFF authors N.K. Jemisin or now award-laden Ann Leckie and many others in SFF who have knowingly or unknowing made ’70s black lesbian feminist Audre Lorde their icon. Probably a simple majority have never heard of Audre Lorde. It doesn’t matter if one is a bigot and the other a useful idiot. They will put their Jews in whatever literary ghetto they can, even if it means ending careers by virtue of too white, too male, too heterosexual.

    Gender feminism is a classic form of how people who identify with an in-group demonize an out-group to reconcile their own low self-esteem or failure. It hides within legitimate anti-oppression movements like woman’s, gay and civil rights. But in fact it is the very KKK mentality that created those movements in the first place.

    Whenever you hear this Russian spoken, you now know exactly what you are facing, and it is hate. The rhetoric verges from psychotic to lying. None of its self-contradictory tenets can stand up to the slightest examination or debate. SJWs attack and defend groups based on rules that spin about like a weather vane in a storm. SJW ideology is third wave intersectional gay radical feminist ideology. Of that there is no doubt.

    Now that this wears a uniform, SJWs will find it increasingly difficult to hide. They have been exposed. They will either shut up and stop or be marginalized and delegitimized into the same swamp as the American Nazi Party and KKK, Nation of Islam and New Black Panther Party. All are indistinguishable from the other in principle. It is SJW addiction to identity over principle that lets them imagine they are any different.

  29. @ESR

    Is “show us the code” generalizable? Something along the lines of: “Here is this high prestige profession. To get entry, first practice it on a hobby level. You don’t even need a degree. All it takes is a computer, internet access, and lot of time and perseverance, first doing tutorials then moving on to the easier projects. Then the harder ones.”

    I think this how “show us the code” can be unpacked. To what extent can it be generalized to other fields? Obviously a doctor cannot say “show us the heart transplants” because it takes a licence, formal education, etc. so cannot really grow out from a hobby.

  30. Last year, I came face-to-face with an SJW, in of all places, a grocery check-out line.

    Some college kid wanted us to let her go ahead, as she only had about half a cart full of groceries, and we had two filled carts with stuff stacked on top (hey, it was a sale, we were stocking up, and we’d ALREADY been in line for 5 or so minutes).

    When I told her, no, to wait in line like everyone else, she dropped the Privilege Bomb, asking me to “check my White Privilege”.

    Being the sarcastic bastard that I am, I looked thoughtfully at her, then pulled out my wallet, started counting the cards in it, looked back at her, and said: “Why, thank you. Yes, it’s all here. In fact, I have a little extra, need some ???”

    The utterly flabbergasted look on her face was amazing.

    Moral of this story: when the SJWs get in your face, GET RIGHT BACK IN THEIRS. Call their bluff. Because, in the final analysis, that’s all it is. . . just like any other bully.

    P.S. After this little event, I had a brainstorm, and printed off a bunch of “White Privilege” check kits, with cards denoting various amounts of “privilege”. They were handed out last year at LibertyCon. . .

  31. Jay, unless you feel you’re part of a U.N. police force you have no obligation to root out anything unless you feel being a man equals ideology equals shared guilt. Anyone dog piling is an analogy to a criminal, a bad person. Morality knows no “man” or “woman.”

    I agree with TRX: you are buying into intersectional cant by group identification with an act of immorality. As for pissing on a solution, we already have one: it’s called being an individual, not a hive mind. We have and deserve equal protection. I will not take responsibility for what other men do. I am not part of an ideology some fool feminist has said I am. If someone shot something down because it was by a woman, take it up with the one’s who actually did that, the one’s with actual names. I do not jump to a neighbor who got burglarized by a tall person and apologize.

  32. Francis. . .

    Exactly. Hence, my getting in their face, and the Privilege Check Kits. The one thing that control freaks of ANY flavor cannot handle, is being laughed at.

    Which make our default response clear. . .

  33. Fail Burton: No, I’m not. I’m calling out one of ours – because he is one of ours, both by having commit access in a project’s repository and because he credibly identifies as one of us – for being st00pid. It’s not that he’s hurting us in the eyes of the SJWs; I don’t give a fuzzy rat’s ass what they think. He’s hurting us by depriving us of good code. That is what we need to concentrate on. By calling out such st00pidity, we strengthen ourselves.

  34. I find it beyond sobering that if I were headed for college today, there would be absolutely no point in my attending. Institutional science, at least in the US, has no room for live and let live (or die :-) conservatives like myself, and a CS degree isn’t really the right thing for me and the career I’d do if, as happened in the ’80s for financial reasons, science wasn’t an option.

    Yeah. I went to college in the mid 90’s, and one of the great thing about going to a tech school at the time was the lack of politically-correct BS that seemed to dominate other campuses. Nobody there gave a damn. There were some people on campus that tried to get everyone all riled up. But it never worked. I remember one time as a freshman that a classmate was making a big deal about his participation in an upcoming “coming-out” event, and the group I was with said something like “That’s nice. We’re rolling up characters for a Palladium Fantasy campaign. Want to join?”

    I’m afraid that experience won’t be around for my children. My five-year-old won’t be attending college for quite a while, so hopefully this will be sorted out by then. I don’t think that’s too likely, though.

  35. It’s one thing to get (or provide) criticism from outside of the field itself – sometimes an outside perspective can be invaluable. At the same time, it requires the critic to have a useful vantage point for their perspective. Roger Ebert was a great film critic, though his own directorial attempt was generally regarded as horrible.
    Other than whinging, what do these SJW critics do to create value? I have yet to see any who do much more than complain professionally.

  36. Is “show us the code” generalizable? Something along the lines of: “Here is this high prestige profession. To get entry, first practice it on a hobby level. You don’t even need a degree. All it takes is a computer, internet access, and lot of time and perseverance, first doing tutorials then moving on to the easier projects. Then the harder ones.”

    I think this how “show us the code” can be unpacked. To what extent can it be generalized to other fields? Obviously a doctor cannot say “show us the heart transplants” because it takes a licence, formal education, etc. so cannot really grow out from a hobby.

    The generalized version is “one cannot serve two masters”.

    Specific example from the text: Someone that produces code must be evaluated on their ability to produce code. As soon as it becomes customary to review them on something other than their ability to produce code; as soon as it is better to have a mediocre coder that meets a external (non-coding) criteria than a good coder that doesn’t meet the external criteria than your ability to produce code is compromised.

    We see this same form in SFF. A SFF author must be evaluated on their ability to produce enjoyable books. As soon as it becomes customary to review them on something other than their ability to produce enjoyable books; as soon as it is better to have a mediocre author that meets a criteria other than their ability to produce good books than a good author that doesn’t meet the external criteria than your ability to produce good books is compromised. If your interest in SFF is driven by reading the best books possible, anything that produces worse quality books is bad.

    The SJWs would rather have a mediocre SJW-approved author than an otherwise good non-SJW-approved author. Their opponents have stressed (to their credit) the supreme importance of producing good books, rather than producing anti-SJW books.

    If you’d rather have the best SFF books possible, you’re a SFF fan. If you’d rather have a SJW-approved mediocre book than a good non-SJW approved book, you’re a SJW before you’re a SFF fan. One of the two will be more important; you can’t serve both.

    Likewise, if you want the best code, pick the best coder. If you pick something as more important than coding ability when , than you don’t want the best code.

  37. “to be fundamentally be about justice and inclusion” ->
    “to be fundamentally about justice and inclusion”

  38. The first ever doctorate (in the modern sense) given in Europe to a woman was given Sofia Kovalevskaya to for mathematics. Why? Her math was undeniably good. It didn’t care about gender, color, or wealth.
    She showed them the formula.
    Indeed.
    And I like the term “kafkatrapping” very much, but note it’s not in the urban dictionary yet.

  39. Fail Burton said:

    >Now that this wears a uniform, SJWs will find it increasingly difficult to hide.

    The great thing, now that everyone is calling them SJWs, is that there is a common agreement on expressing the idea (as well as kafkatrapping – thank you ESR, I’m sure you’ve noticed that page being read a little more often lately).

    Calling it “typical B.C. activist bullshit” (as I’ve been doing for about 20 years now) had little impact and was wordy as hell. But you’d know if you saw it anywhere: sociopaths do-gooders who are experts at derailing conversation and draining funds, and just filibuster when someone calls them on it.

  40. I disagree Jay. I am not responsible for your view which differs from mine, nor you mine. Working in tech is not a de facto commitment to a group. Even voluntarily, assuming such guilt on SJW terms is playing into their hands. I watch fires, I do not apologize to firemen. I do not apologize for SFF authors or even my brother. I have seen men apologize on line for sexism. To me that is depraved.

  41. Exactly right. I’ve never understood why anyone cares what the SJW bullies have to say. They’re doing their thing ’cause that’s their culture, but doesn’t mean anybody else needs to listen to them.

    The catch is, that the SJWs are mostly women and even nerdly folk like me often have at least some interest in women. I guess we need to learn to ignore that interest.

  42. >The catch is, that the SJWs are mostly women and even nerdly folk like me often have at least some interest in women. I guess we need to learn to ignore that interest.

    You remind me of something A&D regular HedgeMage said about a friend of hers once, commenting on a series of spectacularly poor girlfriend choices: “He needs to learn to not stick it in the crazy.”

    If you pay attention to SJW women because they’re potential sexual partners, you too need to learn to not stick it in the crazy.

  43. I’m not apologizing to SJWs. I’m saying that we need to call out st00pid people for being st00pid. That’s it. nothing more, nothing less. We call out st00pid people for technical st00pidity. Why shouldn’t we call out st00pid people for harming our work by rejecting good code for st00pid reasons?

  44. On college: I went purely for the paper (business school) and earning ability conferred by that paper (in other words, purely signalling, not the knowledge, most of it was useless), and I have learned the things I am interested in on the side in public libraries and bookstores.

    Of course, the main reason for that was that it was in a country where education is completely tax-payer subsidized. If it would not have been “free”, I probably wanted the combination of signalling and actual learning for my money. This is roughly something everybody with a basic understanding of economics would expect.

    Although I am not convinced if a college is the ideal place for learning anything. What is the point of a lecture? The prof has a certain speed of speaking. For some, too slow, for some, too fast. Why not just everybody go to the library and read in their own pace and merely consult with professors?

    I think it is quickly becoming or have became signalling everywhere, no matter if taxpayer paid or paid by the student, this is seems to be convering all over the world. Largely because it is not really suitable for learning. Individual learning at an individual pace with consultations would be better than lectures.

    Another issue is that students learn theory first and pracice later, during internship. This is bullshit. People don’t pay attention to theory until pratice shows them what it is for. Every civil engineer should learn to work at a construction first, then learn the theory. I remember having memorized database normalization like BCNF, 4NF etc. and having no idea what it is for. It was like memorizing poetry, just commit it to the memory and barf it back, but no actual thinking or understanding was involved. Then when actually customizing databases and figuring out the common-sense ways to do so, it hit me it is actually informal BCNF and 4NF. Doing it first and learning the theory later would have been better, so that I can see what the theory is for and how it looks like informally.

    Anyway. Maybe it is time to not base education on the ideas that stem from medieval universities (Bologna: 1088, Sorbonne: 1200 etc.) but on something new.

  45. I’ve never understood why anyone cares what the SJW bullies have to say. They’re doing their thing ’cause that’s their culture, but doesn’t mean anybody else needs to listen to them.

    Yet, demonstrably there are employers, including those for entire fields of intellectual work, who do listen to them, if not themselves being SJWs of some sort. Current mainstream SFF publishers aside from Baen. The institutional science establishment; does anyone here suggest that Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor could have done anything but kowtow to the SJWs and kept his job/career/ability to feed his family? (Would any of be surprised if spurned SJWs wouldn’t continue to hound him and make it very difficult to get and keep a job that didn’t include “Would you like fries with that?” in its vocabulary?)

    Take Keith Glass’ delightful slam of a SJW in a grocery checkout line: what if the latter had then videoed him, doxxed him (assume the imaging technology will allow that fairly soon if not already) and made a stink with his employer and/or customers? Etc.

    This is a problem that transcends individuals simply putting SJWs in their place at retail.

  46. The way “show us the code” seems to be used here is a little different than I have experienced in the past, but that may well be due to my ignorance. To me “show us the code” is the equivalent of “stop all the waffling and show us a working exemplar of what your are talking about.” Or “theory is all very well, demonstrate in a practical, falsifiable, provable way.” Show us the code for cold fusion is a working cell with higher output than input, evidence of nuclear chemistry and an accompanying theory of mechanism of action. Instead we got a paper with claims that couldn’t be substantiated.

    But here “show us the code” seems to be used to mean “what have you contributed to our world, what are your props?” And although that is a fair question, it is not really a question of logic, in fact, in one regards it is an anti logic thing, specifically an appeal to authority.

    I think it is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask in terms of “do you have credibility? Are you part of our tribe?” however, in terms of a logical argument “show us your work” is a better question, “show us your evidence” what is the basis for the claim you are making.
    But again, that might be because I misunderstand the meaning of the phrase.

    Oh and one other thing, although I think there is a lot wrong with the circumstances of Brendan Eich’s forced resignation, I do want to say that it isn’t a geek thing. Eich was appointed the CEO of a huge public foundation, and anyone who knows much about the management of large companies knows that it is primarily about politics. If you go play in the political playground and loose you can’t complain about the whole thing being “political”. What disturbs me about the whole thing is the forced public disclosure of his participating in politics. It is the tip of the iceberg of the widely ignored consequences of the horrible FEC and public disclosure laws.

    I could rant about the destruction of the free market and the entrepreneurial spirit by the forced upsizing of corporations to deal with the massive bureaucratic overload, or the overload of these beautiful things by the cancer of the bullshit and political driven MBA culture, but that is perhaps for another time.

  47. >But here “show us the code” seems to be used to mean “what have you contributed to our world, what are your props?” And although that is a fair question, it is not really a question of logic, in fact, in one regards it is an anti logic thing, specifically an appeal to authority.

    How is authority involved? You contribute or you don’t. The tests for that are pretty objective.

    “Show us the code” can mean either of the things you’re pointing at. Usually it’s clear from context which is more relevant.

  48. @Harold

    >and viciously counter-attack

    They tend to believe that insults are attacks, that they are weapons. They are not. Don’t make the same mistake. They think they can hurt people and win battles through throwing insults at people. But it is not true. They don’t really hurt. Insults don’t break bones and don’t cost money. They only hurt those people who are very sensitive.

    For this reason, most of what SJWs do amounts to shooting with nerf guns while thinking they are doing it real.

    The point is, for intelligent people to take it seriously and shoot back with nerf guns i.e. insults would be a waste of time.

    Generally speaking you need to be aware when this throwing words, insults, nerf-gunning has real consequences like the Brendan Eich case, but usualyl there is no point in participating in this.

    The real world consequences like Eich and Summers and Dr. Matt Taylor all about mistaking the nerf guns wor real ones. They took the insults hurled at them as something real, as a real pressure. They got scared.

    I don’t understand why. This all is not real, just words typed into Twitter and suchlike. Just hot air. Not tangible, physical things. Just because a million people call you literally worse than shit, you can easily ignore it. It is nerf bullets. Not lead, not money.

    I think engaging in nerf wars is a waste of time and the most important thing to do would be encourage the Summers, Eich, Taylor types to not cave in, not resign, not to do anything, not see it as a real pressure, simply ignore it and let it bounce off their armor.

    Then they will have no real world consequnces at all, because every real world consequence is someone giving in to these nerf bullets and resigning, or firing someone. They cannot have any other real world consequence when not through this. This all is just hot air.

  49. esr
    > How is authority involved? You contribute or you don’t. The tests for that are pretty objective.

    If the argument is “you haven’t contributed and so therefore your argument is void” is an appeal to authority, namely the authority of having props within the community.

    “You want to make a point about women or minorities in hacker culture? OK, where is your commit history? What open source have you hacked on?”

    Why does the fact that I have or have not added to the open source community’s code base qualify me or disqualify me from making a point about women or minorities in hacker culture? You yourself are making comments about a community in which you do not participate (the “third wave feminist” community.) Does the fact that you have not contributed to that community disqualify you from commenting? Can the rad-fem say to you “shut up and show us your published work on feminism”?)

    I think the first meaning of “show us your numeric, falsifiable evidence” is an excellent question. “Show us your commit history” is not.

  50. >If the argument is “you haven’t contributed and so therefore your argument is void” is an appeal to authority, namely the authority of having props within the community.

    That’s not what “appeal to authority” is normally taken to mean. And a better unpacking would be “you haven’t contributed and therefore lack standing”. I use “standing” here advisedly, as subcultures frequently reject arguments from people without standing for exactly the same reasons courts do.

    >Why does the fact that I have or have not added to the open source community’s code base qualify me or disqualify me from making a point about women or minorities in hacker culture?

    Chesterton’s fence. If you are unfamiliar with the reasons for a custom or behavior, you need at least to be very cautious about dismissing it. To know the reasons you need to be inside the culture, not outside; you need to understand what its adaptive problems are from its position, not yours.

    There are exceptions of course, so you needn’t bother bringing up slavery or cannibalism or suttee or FGM. But those are exceptions because they involve gross use of force on parties who cannot withdraw from the interaction. You don’t get cases like that in what are essentially voluntary subcultures.

    >Can the rad-fem say to you “shut up and show us your published work on feminism”?)

    No. But the situation isn’t symmetrical; I’m not trying to tell her what the norms of her subculture ought to be, just denying that she gets to dictate the norms of mine.

  51. @esr:
    “If you pay attention to SJW women because they’re potential sexual partners, you too need to learn to not stick it in the crazy.”

    Where is the supply of available, attractive, and non-crazy women located? It seems to me that it’s a pick-two situation.

    @Jessica Boxer:
    I think the “show me the code” response is brilliant. If they are unable or unwilling to show a commit history, it defangs the argument of “you can’t talk about the experience of women/minorities because you aren’t one”.

  52. You remind me of Dorothy Sayers, who wrote a couple of essays that are now in a book called “Are Women Human?” The summary, pulled from Google Books: “Sayers did not devote a great deal of time to talking or writing about feminism, but she did explicitly address the issue of women’s role in society in the two classic essays collected here. Central to Sayers’s reflections is the conviction that both men and women are first of all human beings and must be regarded as essentially much more alike than different. We are to be true not so much to our sex as to our humanity. The proper role of both men and women, in her view, is to find the work for which they are suited and to do it.”

    Sayers was much more interested in the work done than in the sex of the person doing the work. As far as she was concerned, each human being has personhood as an individual, and assigning classifications is utterly pointless except for the most transient purposes. The important questions are–what is your work? Have you done it?

  53. Garrett wrote: “Where is the supply of available, attractive, and non-crazy women located?”

    That.

    I think that the main part of the audience of SJWs is other women. All women have been so bombarded with the SJW narrative that the entire set of today’s women has been somewhat poisoned. Oh sure, many women resist the narrative, but it’s tough and those that do resist get a tremendous amount of grief – perhaps they even experience more vitriol from the SJWs than men. But I think that most women who constantly hear “rape-culture,” “man-children,” “man-up,” “misogyny,” “sexism,” “glass ceilings,” and on, and on, and on, take at least bits of that narrative to heart.

  54. This topic is part of a larger phenomena. In the interest of brevity, I will over-simplify.

    In modern affluent societies (such as the US currently), the productive cohort of the population is shrinking rapidly (largely technology driven) and the remainder is becoming essentially parasitic. For the latter segment, it is necessary to create and maintain an illusion of productive contribution in order to justify their government re-allocated sustenance welfare. SJWs do what they do as a make-work job. And joining a bully mob is easy, as all that is required is a willingness to run with the popular herd.

  55. Why does the fact that I have or have not added to the open source community’s code base qualify me or disqualify me from making a point about women or minorities in hacker culture?

    I presume because it’s a proxy for ‘show us that you are committed to the hacker culture more than you are committed to the diversity culture’; that what you are arguing is good not because it benefits diversity but because it produces better code.

    In the article cited at top ‘Okay, Feminism, It’s Time We Had a Talk About Empathy’, Meredith Patterson cites an event where she was discriminated against, specifically that her ideas were overlooked because of her gender. This should be an affront to anyone that cares about technology (such as members of the hacker culture) because it led to a non-optimal outcome, namely that a good idea was delayed in implementation. The fact that this is also bad from a feminist perspective is immaterial. As someone that cares about technology, that anyone’s good idea should be overlooked because of their gender should be something we hope to prevent.

    That this puts us in agreement sometimes with feminists on individual cases isn’t bad, the insistence that we always agree with them is. It’s just as bad to dismiss Meredith’s idea because she’s female as it is to force workplace diversity quotas, because the result is the same: the product is worse.

  56. >I presume because it’s a proxy for ‘show us that you are committed to the hacker culture more than you are committed to the diversity culture’; that what you are arguing is good not because it benefits diversity but because it produces better code.

    That, too. I would have been explicit about this, but it was so obvious that I forgot to be. :-)

  57. @esr
    > That’s not what “appeal to authority” is normally taken to mean.

    Yes, of course you are right, I’m not sure the exactly correct terminology, but you unpack it below, so let’s examine it.

    > Chesterton’s fence. If you are unfamiliar with the reasons for a custom or behavior, you need at least to be very cautious about dismissing it. To know the reasons you need to be inside the culture, not outside; you need to understand what its adaptive problems are from its position, not yours.

    I think this is an interesting response, especially in light of Garrett’s comment above. If you accept this claim, if you think that participation in a community is necessary to understand it then indeed you must also accept the argument that “you can’t comment on female or minority matters because you are neither” is validated.

    I don’t think either “you are not a hacker therefore you cannot comment on the hacker experience” or “you are not female so you cannot comment on the female experience” are valid arguments. Those outside of the community do indeed have a high burden to study and understand the communities they participate in, principally because those communities may have access to evidence that is not readily available or apparent to those outside. Certainly I agree that claims from within those communities cannot be dismissed lightly. However, participation in a community is not necessary to have a valid opinion on it, and in fact the outside observer often has certain advantages over those buried in the middle.

    With respect to your “standing” argument, for sure if I don’t have standing within a court case I can’t participate, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a valid opinion on the case. I don’t buy health insurance through Obamacare, but I still think it is a terrible policy.

    > I’m not trying to tell her what the norms of her subculture ought to be, just denying that she gets to dictate the norms of mine.

    I would agree with you in this specific limited claim, however, if you generalize at all, if you want to make a more general statement about how society should deal with feminism then you are indeed answerable to the parallel claim “shut up and show us your published work on feminism”, publication being the coin in that particular world.

    I don’t think you would like that exclusion. You strike me as the sort of person who would say “let’s honestly examine the evidence.” You might claim that honesty is not possible from such a radical group, they are too imbued with their own culture to interface with the outside world. However, that is exactly the point I made earlier, namely that sometimes an outside perspective on a group and culture actually offers an advantage to the study.

  58. >You strike me as the sort of person who would say “let’s honestly examine the evidence.”

    Yes.

    >You might claim that honesty is not possible from such a radical group, they are too imbued with their own culture to interface with the outside world.

    Indeed. I have made that argument before.

    I think part of the problem is that you’re confusing two or more senses of the term “feminism” that need to be distinguished here.

    I have little or no standing to comment on the internal politics and norms of the feminist movement itself. That is, if I were to say to feminists “It’s wrong that you treat each other as you do,” that would be ludicrous. But when they attempt to export their theory outside their own social context, and that assertion touches my interests, then I have standing.

    There’s no strong parallel case with hackers because we don’t try seriously to export our norms.

  59. This is an excellent analysis. I’d like to expand on the proposed answer to “Justice!”.

    Against a high-level SJW, saying “Shut up and show us the code!” will likely prompt a response along the lines of “You don’t get it. Society discourages women and people of color from writing code, and those who do write code often face discrimination and harassment. It’s not as simple as ‘show us the code.'” For a novice, the temptation will be great to reply with examples of initiatives to encourage women and people of color to code, or to agree that we should encourage them more, or to concede that there is discrimination and harassment and that we should of course try to stop such things.

    This is a mistake, even if the novice believes all of those things, because now the novice has lost the frame. The correct answer to [SJW boilerplate response] is That’s not showing us the code. To [more SJW boilerplate], the reply is You’re still not showing us the code, or What I’m seeing here is excuses about why you can’t show us the code. Come back when you have some code to show.. Etc. Never concede the frame.

  60. >This is a mistake, even if the novice believes all of those things, because now the novice has lost the frame. The correct answer to [SJW boilerplate response] is That’s not showing us the code. To [more SJW boilerplate], the reply is You’re still not showing us the code, or What I’m seeing here is excuses about why you can’t show us the code. Come back when you have some code to show.. Etc. Never concede the frame.

    Well put.

  61. @Civilis
    > I presume because it’s a proxy for ‘show us that you are committed to the hacker culture more than you are committed to the diversity culture’; that what you are arguing is good not because it benefits diversity but because it produces better code.

    Well hold on there, that is entirely missing the point. In the 1950s blacks and women were roundly discriminated against in many fields, business, science, politics etc. As a consequence we have entirely lost any valuable contributions these people might have made in these fields of endeavor. I consider that a disaster. I consider it something that makes us all a little poorer.

    If we accept just for a moment they view that the hacker culture is hostile to women and blacks (something which I think in reality is only partly true) then the contribution that these women and blacks might make to that community would also, under this assumption, be entirely lost. Which is to say if such hostility were eliminated then it would lead to better code. As a consequence it is entirely a valid question irrespective of justice; even if you metric is simply quantity and quality of code.

    And surely those who participate in the hacker community must lament the lack of women and minorities in that community. Missing nearly 75% of the American demographic must surely give a serious person pause, must make them wonder why. Perhaps there are good reasons, but it is surely a question that deserves examination? Surely a passion for quality code demands it.

  62. >If we accept just for a moment they view that the hacker culture is hostile to women and blacks

    I don’t accept that premise at all. And remember that I’ve spent the last quarter century observing the hacker culture very closely and analytically. If there were any hostility to blacks or women in the hacker culture – as opposed to sporadic, unusual, and culturally disfavored hostility by individuals – I would damned well know it

    The demographic pattern of hackers might make it look like there’s hostility, but…let’s push the premise. It is old news that Jews are way, way overrepresented in the hacker culture. Is that sufficient warrant for the claim “Hacker culture is hostile to gentiles”?

    If not, then how do you get from “{Blacks}Women} are way underrepresented” to “Hacker culture is hostile to {blacks|women}”?

    “And surely those who participate in the hacker community must lament the lack of women and minorities in that community.”

    We do, but only in a rather distant and secondary way. Our view is that you can’t talk people who don’t have the hacker nature into having it, and that those who do have the hacker nature know where to find us and couldn’t be stopped from joining us even if we were silly enough to have prejudices – the relevant traits are too easily masked for that.

    So, where you look at the demographics of our culture and see prejudice, we see a value-neutral fact about the incidence of hacker nature in the general population which we can do little or nothing to affect. Sure, we can reduce barriers to entry, but the effective ways to do that – like making Linux installation easier – are color and gender-blind.

    One standard response to this is to bang on about vast social inequities which might in some way distort the background incidence of hacker-nature – that is, “If society weren’t so {sexist|racist}, more {women|blacks} would be the sort of people who want to join you.”

    I think I have good reason to doubt this, but let’s assume it’s true. Now you’re pointing at a problem that we can’t solve. No amount of bending the hacker culture out of shape will fix that hypothetical larger problem in the background, and all the attempt can do is distract us from what we’re actually good for.

  63. @ Jay
    >”I’m not apologizing to SJWs. I’m saying that we need to call out st00pid people for being st00pid. That’s it. nothing more, nothing less. We call out st00pid people for technical st00pidity. Why shouldn’t we call out st00pid people for harming our work by rejecting good code for st00pid reasons?”

    I think what you’re seeing is a harder line version of esr’s “Show me the code.” SJWs and their ilk rest their power on a number of premises like “anti-racism”, “equality”, etc. As esr points out these are frequently mere poses and pretexts for various bits of nastiness but SJWs do at least CLAIM these concepts as their justification.

    One obvious way to get around this simply reject their premises. It could be done subtly as esr is suggesting. But as people have already pointed out that didn’t help Eich or the ‘donglegate’ guys any. Against foes as strident and unfair as SJWs the temptation then becomes to COMPLETELY reject the premises:
    Alice: “I’m the good guy because I’m fighting sexism!”
    Bob: “I don’t give a f–k about sexism. You’re the bad guy.”

    When you say something like “There is SOME sexism in tech.” (just between us, you’re right, there is) some people see this as handing the SJWs a beachhead. They feel (correctly, I think) that your fairness and honesty will not be reciprocated but will instead be exploited. The attitude might be compared to that of besieged soldiers who feel zero desire to give the enemy any advantage whatsoever. It might not be fair or kind or pleasant but it’s only to be expected when a minority is attacked by poisonous ideologues.

  64. To the Anita Sarkeesians of the world, that might seem like they’re being singled out and attacked as women, but most of it is just men treating women with the same vigor and rudeness with which they treat men. Not being used to this, these women complain that the online world is biased against them.

    THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.

    Back in 2009 when I was in Iraq one of the contractors called another contractor a whore. Not seriously, but the same way he’d called half the other guys in the office a whore at one time or another.

    There were two differences (1) the second contractor was a woman, and (2) she was cheating on her husband with another one of my co-workers. So basically she wasn’t *technically* a whore because she wasn’t charging him, but…

    Big blowup followed, with *his* contention being that he was treating her just like any other guy and her contention that he shouldn’t.

    Women wanted to be part of the “Man’s World”, then when they got it they decided that MEN shouldn’t behave like that.

    Now, sometimes I agree–there are limits to the sort of typical horn-locking that men do at work, and I think he cross the line, but this was a mixed military/civilian shop and boundaries get crossed all the time.

    But the larger issue is stop whinging, shut up and get your work done.

  65. Well hold on there, that is entirely missing the point. In the 1950s blacks and women were roundly discriminated against in many fields, business, science, politics etc. As a consequence we have entirely lost any valuable contributions these people might have made in these fields of endeavor. I consider that a disaster. I consider it something that makes us all a little poorer.

    So do I, but the response is not to play silly revenge games with white males. The response is to open up the playing field so that it is level. Removing the obstacles in front of women and minorities is fine, adding obstacles to the groups (and this is all a matter of groups) that seemed to lack them is not. And thinking in arbitrary groups is the issue here, as it always has been. That person that gets passed over for a job because a less-qualified applicant meets an arbitrary diversity quota is a person who likely had nothing to do with the quirks of history that gave him a slight advantage. As are his/her potential coworkers, and their customers, all of whom deserve the best possible outcomes.

    If we accept just for a moment they view that the hacker culture is hostile to women and blacks (something which I think in reality is only partly true) then the contribution that these women and blacks might make to that community would also, under this assumption, be entirely lost. Which is to say if such hostility were eliminated then it would lead to better code. As a consequence it is entirely a valid question irrespective of justice; even if you metric is simply quantity and quality of code.

    I don’t buy the ‘hostile culture’ argument. Hackers are a group of people, with individual quirks. The culture is merely an amalgamation of those quirks. Likewise, gamers are a group. I wince at the very bigoted-sounding insults coming from the more socially immature corner of the web. This could be seen as a ‘hostile culture’. It could also be that throwing slurs is a psychological tool in a gamer’s arsenal, a minor competitive edge. Are attempts at removing that tool making a better culture, or is it a sign that the tool is effective and that the people trying to remove the tool incapable of adapting to counter it? I would have no problem not hearing those slurs again, and usually pick pastimes where they are not an issue, but I often find myself stymied by other psychological / social tools that I don’t have access to, which makes things like office politics very painful for me. Are environments dominated by these other tools hostile to me?

    And surely those who participate in the hacker community must lament the lack of women and minorities in that community. Missing nearly 75% of the American demographic must surely give a serious person pause, must make them wonder why. Perhaps there are good reasons, but it is surely a question that deserves examination? Surely a passion for quality code demands it.

    Are fans of professional sports that are not racially representational (to say nothing about gender) lamenting the under-representation of particular groups in their sports? If you can demonstrate that coding has been harmed, as in Meredith’s case, then something needs to be done. Technology is colorblind and ignorant as to gender. It’s easy to demonstrate that laws prohibiting groups of people from studying or working in technology fields produces worse outcomes (or worse anything). It’s going to take a lot of evidence to support the argument that prioritizing people by race and gender over their ability to work with and develop technology will produce better technology.

  66. And surely those who participate in the hacker community must lament the lack of women and minorities in that community. Missing nearly 75% of the American demographic must surely give a serious person pause, must make them wonder why. Perhaps there are good reasons, but it is surely a question that deserves examination? Surely a passion for quality code demands it.

    Under-represented isn’t the same as missing, and I’m sure that under-representation will continue to be examined, but as long as the answer is chosen to benefit a specific agenda I’m not going to care what it is. And the people pushing diversity certainly don’t care to ask themselves similar questions. Surely, a passion for diversity encompasses (or demands) encouraging a diversity of thought and free expression on college campuses. Surely a passion for looking at the diversity in the tech industry can see fit to make their arguments without only splitting the tech industry into white, black and Hispanic when looking at representation.

    It’s telling that you lament the lack of ‘minorities’ in the hacker community. That’s an awful broad term, and one that overlooks a very major flaw in the diversity debate, one that gets papered over in the desire to push a specific agenda rather than true concern about diversity.

  67. Garrett on 2015-01-20 at 11:47:32 said:

    @esr:
    “If you pay attention to SJW women because they’re potential sexual partners, you too need to learn to not stick it in the crazy.”

    Where is the supply of available, attractive, and non-crazy women located? It seems to me that it’s a pick-two situation.

    This is one of those anti-inductive things. As soon as you figure it out, it changes.

  68. >This is one of those anti-inductive things. As soon as you figure it out, it changes.

    LOL. Very true. And +1 for the Slate Star Codex reference.

  69. All feminists talk about is empathy. How everyone else isn’t feeling the pain of being wymyn. I use the term “talk” in the sense of the monkey screeching sounds resembling words but shows reason is lacking. (I include the male “white knight” in the feminist category, perhaps we need more “black queens” on this particular chessboard in addition to “black knights”).

    “Shut up and show us the code” is a norm.

    It isn’t something easily exported, but it can be resented or envied (as in the deadly sin of Envy – the only one that takes no pleasure but only seeks destruction of someone else’s joy).

    Some people can’t stand that others are different – and worse, happy in that difference. And they wish to use the force of law – a dictatrixship – to override the more libertarian ideas of the geeks and the nerds.

    And Github originally had that norm but ditched it in a capitulation to feminists: http://www.businessinsider.com/githubs-ceo-ditches-meritocracy-rug-2014-1

    As to discrimination, I have no degree, but I’ve been “showing my code” for 35 years – that is usually enough, and when it isn’t (leading to a few cases of schadenfreude), it makes no sense to stay. They put hierarchy games or social norms above everything else including product quality. The patriotism or loyalty where everyone bought GM, Ford, Chrysler, or AMC even if they were wasteful and shoddy of my childhood is no longer, so it eventually fails.

    I’m also a traditional Roman Catholic, and there are lot of things which offend me, but I tend to ignore them. That is not part of my job (though I don’t shy away from a rational discussion). But it seems strange to me where I endure a stream of profanity, and if I simply say “Miss, could you not swear so often or loudly”, using the word “Miss” even once could invite a harassment – hostile work environment lawsuit

    For an example, see what happened to Github. Who hosts https://github.com/freebsdgirl (go see her code!), as well as taking down a #GamerGate coordination repo – apparently there are SJWs there who will delete anything they think doesn’t toe the SJW line. https://github.com/GamerGate/GamerGateOP

    This is hardly leaving us alone to be ourselves or do our thing, even if it is strictly a “show us the code” meritocracy.

  70. @William O. B’Livion
    > Women wanted to be part of the “Man’s World”, then when they got it they decided that MEN shouldn’t behave like that.

    I don’t want to be part of the “Man’s world” I want to be part of a world that isn’t a man’s world but a world belonging to all persons. And it an entirely reasonable expectation that everyone behave in a manner that is respectful of the other people in that world. That isn’t to say that substantive disrespect isn’t appropriate, of course it is. It also isn’t to say that some women behave as badly as some me, of course they do (including the example that you gave.) But, absent a reason not to, treating each other with respect for their feelings and needs is basic human decency. Of course it cuts both ways, but I object to the moniker “man’s world.”

    > But the larger issue is stop whinging, shut up and get your work done.

    I assume “whinging” means whining, and I mostly agree with you, but surely you also agree that sometimes it is good to step back and see the big picture too, instead of always looking at the tip of your nose.

  71. Once you realize that the people you are talking to aren’t actually arguing in good faith, you can have a lot of fun with them.
    For example, point out that “their” group doesn’t have a lot of conservatives in it. This means they don’t have ideological diversity – they don’t care about ideas, only the color of somebody’s skin.
    Ask them if people who grew up in Africa and moved to the US are acceptable. Does this include Moroccans? White South Africans? (My local work office had both well before anybody who qualified as “African-American”).
    Ask them what they are doing to rectify the gender imbalances in primary education and trash collection.
    As they are almost certainly in the 1% of global income, ask them how much of their money they are sending to poor nations.

  72. @Civilis
    > So do I, but the response is not to play silly revenge games with white males.

    Of course it isn’t. Don’t get me confused with the crazy extremists.

    > Are fans of professional sports that are not racially representational (to say nothing about gender) lamenting the under-representation of particular groups in their sports?

    Spots on professional sports teams are deliberately, artificially, constrained. If you look up and down the leagues from junior on up, including guys who play in the local softball team you will see all races and abilities represented. Perhaps not strictly parallel to the general demographic breakdown of the population, but not vastly out of whack. (And of course when it comes to sports, men and women are specifically segregated into separate leagues.)

    You see nothing of the kind in STEM. There is a vast imbalance completely out of wack with the demographics of the population. Of course bias and hostile working environment are not the only possible explanations for that, however they seem reasonable enough that asking the question is not some crazy feminist plot.

    You might expect to see certain artifacts concentrate white suburban males in the very elites of the hacker culture, but there are millions of hackers around the world, you’d expect to see some of it average out in the farm leagues.

    > It’s going to take a lot of evidence to support the argument that prioritizing people by race and gender over their ability to work with and develop technology will produce better technology.

    Who said anything about solutioning? My only comment was this: do you need a commit history to be eligible to ask the question? I don’t think so. Sometimes outside observers have a clearer view.

  73. > My only comment was this: do you need a commit history to be eligible to ask the question?

    Perhaps this distinction will help. You don’t need a commit history to ask the question. You do need a commit history before we will have any interest in your beliefs about the answer. And you need a helluva long, rich commit history before you can make normative claims about how to fix some implied problem and expect us to care.

  74. White South Africans?

    One of the gags on the late, lamented show The Goode Family was that the ultra-PC parents decided to adopt an African orphan, and got a white South African kid (who they named “Ubuntu”). He then often embarrassed his parents by being good at un-PC things like football and bingo.

  75. First a little background. Like all living things, we evolved amid a gauntlet of challenges and hardships that propelled the selection mechanism and either led to extinction or improvement. Our species represents the best problem solvers that the planet has ever known, and that is both our nature and our need as we live out our lives.

    Challenges, adversity, hardship, and obstacles are the fertile soil in which we thrive and improve. In our current civilization and affluence, we systematically try to eliminate this primordial swamp of difficulty in the belief that that will make us better. But just the opposite is true (on a macro scale). If more women and minorities in hackerdom is good for the species, then that will evolve. Imposing the artificial selection of either government interference or herd bullying is neither moral nor optimum.

    We are soft because we have no hardship to make us hard.

  76. @esr
    > It is old news that Jews are way, way overrepresented in the hacker culture. Is that sufficient warrant for the claim “Hacker culture is hostile to gentiles”?

    No, but it is a productive thing to notice, don’t you think? Most likely the causality is in the opposite direction, namely that Jewish culture is receptive to hacker culture. That may well lead us to think about ways in which we can adapt our culture to be more receptive to hackers, and especially how we can adapt certain sub cultures, such as our women, to be more receptive to hacking. So there you go, asking the question, even if we don’t get the answer we expect, can be quite a useful exercise.

    >and that those who do have the hacker nature know where to find us

    But that word “nature” demands an immediate question, don’t you think? Is it nature or nurture? Are we doing something in the black and female sub cultures to make them hostile to or uncomfortable with the hacker culture? And that also is potentially a very useful question to ask. One does not need a commit history to ask that question or attempt to find solutions to the problem, insofar as you consider it a problem.

    > I think I have good reason to doubt this, but let’s assume it’s true. Now you’re pointing at a problem that we can’t solve.

    Identifying problems with no solutions is extremely useful, don’t you think? Pointing out that we are all going to die is identifying a problem we can’t solve, however it is a very useful observation in terms of certain types of decision making you might make.

    > all the attempt can do is distract us from what we’re actually good for.

    As I said before, sure do your work. But sometimes looking beyond your nose, beyond the particular problem you are looking at, at some bigger problem, some meta problem, is much more productive that a few hundred extra lines of code. And sometimes hearing from people with no commit history, if one is open minded enough to do so, can give one a perspective that one might miss otherwise.

  77. >But that word “nature” demands an immediate question, don’t you think? Is it nature or nurture?

    It would be nice to know that, but whatever the answer is it is unlikely to be anything we can fix. So we don’t culturally spend a lot of effort trying to figure that one out. To be honest I think a lot of hackers consider puzzling about that sort of thing to be my job – I mean, ESR’s job in his role as resident anthropologist. Which I think is perfectly reasonable of them.

    >But sometimes looking beyond your nose, beyond the particular problem you are looking at, at some bigger problem, some meta problem, is much more productive that a few hundred extra lines of code.

    Indeed. But then you have to consider costs as well. J. Random Hacker looks up from his work and sees the hideous crapfests that tend to develop wherever race and gender issues get politicized. Can you blame him for wanting no part of that? “Uh, no thanks…” he thinks “…I’ll just get back to work now.”

  78. Bigots often use skewed demographics to attack groups they don’t like. There can be no discrimination against women in tech that crosses over cities and states. Who has organized such a vast tact agreement? No one. And crazy feminists never ask such questions without stipulating it is the patriarchy at work. There is no rhyme or reason to skewed demos. No one controls that unless you have hard rules in place. This issue in tech is scapegoating and demonization based on innuendoes of women-hatred, a thing that does not exist outside some fringe individuals.

  79. Where is the supply of available, attractive, and non-crazy women located? It seems to me that it’s a pick-two situation.

    They’re in the Unicorn Zone.

  80. >They’re in the Unicorn Zone.

    …and then I had to explain to my wife why I was laughing so hard my sides hurt.

  81. “asking the question [of whether bias and hostile working environment are the explanation for difference between STEM demographics and general demographics] is not some crazy feminist plot”

    “So there you go, asking the question, even if we don’t get the answer we expect, can be quite a useful exercise.”

    Are you arguing against the position of some actual existing person or faction that holds that it is a crazy feminist plot even to ask that question?

  82. The accusation of misoginy in nerddom confused me at first (and, to a certain extent, still does). One would suppose that nerds of all people would be far too concerned with concrete results to dither with such superficialities as race & gender. Does anyone know the origins of *ism in nerddom, especially gaming?

  83. Jessica Boxer on 2015-01-20 at 14:36:52 said:

    @William O. B’Livion
    > Women wanted to be part of the “Man’s World”, then when they got it they decided that MEN shouldn’t behave like that.

    I don’t want to be part of the “Man’s world” I want to be part of a world that isn’t a man’s world but a world belonging to all persons. And it an entirely reasonable expectation that everyone behave in a manner that is respectful of the other people in that world.

    Ah, but you’re projecting YOUR idea of what is respectful onto others who have different ideas.

    There are men who believe that if you’re a Big Person you shouldn’t mind a little scatology, sexual innuendo and rough language.

    I’ve heard more than once “If I didn’t like/respect you I wouldn’t give you shit”.

    Men lock horns, it’s how we relate.

  84. Spots on professional sports teams are deliberately, artificially, constrained. If you look up and down the leagues from junior on up, including guys who play in the local softball team you will see all races and abilities represented. Perhaps not strictly parallel to the general demographic breakdown of the population, but not vastly out of whack. (And of course when it comes to sports, men and women are specifically segregated into separate leagues.)

    Ok, but which companies are going to volunteer to remain as the farm league, and which are going to compete with the pros?

    You see nothing of the kind in STEM. There is a vast imbalance completely out of wack with the demographics of the population. Of course bias and hostile working environment are not the only possible explanations for that, however they seem reasonable enough that asking the question is not some crazy feminist plot.

    You might expect to see certain artifacts concentrate white suburban males in the very elites of the hacker culture, but there are millions of hackers around the world, you’d expect to see some of it average out in the farm leagues.

    I see you glossed over my other point, and again when discussing Jews in hacker culture. Some months back the Washington Post had a large article on diversity in the IT industry. There were many paragraphs on how few blacks and Hispanics were in tech and the dominance of whites, with pretty graphs next to them. The graphs were especially neat, because anyone who looked at them quickly noticed something, something the article mentioned almost in passing deep within. That fact: whites are also under-represented in the IT industry (or at least the surveyed section) compared to society at large.

  85. Sidenote: do SJW want us to abandon mathematics as patriarchial, and instead use matriarchial heuristics?

    Explanation:In “Wyk?ady z historii matematyki” (“Lectures on the history of mathematics”) Marek Kordos argues that mathematics and sciences (predictive rules which always apply) were born in nomad pastoral tribes – which were patriarchial, while sedentary agricultural tribes – which were usually matriarchial – used heuristics (good enough in my neighbourhood).

  86. > Against foes as strident and unfair as SJWs the temptation then becomes to COMPLETELY reject the premises:
    > Alice: “I’m the good guy because I’m fighting sexism!”
    > Bob: “I don’t give a f–k about sexism. You’re the bad guy.”

    I don’t think that’s the right answer. If you’re going to reject the premises, I think it’s best to do it in a blatantly trollish way:

    Bob: “You care about sexism? Well, sexism is YOUR fault. You’re the bad guy. Also, you’re supposed to show us the code.” Just keep turning the tables on them – the more strident and surreal, the better. To outsiders, this is a very strong signal that they don’t have a leg to stand on, either – which you couldn’t achieve by just “rejecting their premises”.

  87. @William O. B’Livion
    > Ah, but you’re projecting YOUR idea of what is respectful onto others who have different ideas.

    Oh baloney. The very essence of respect is to accommodate the concerns that the other person has. And yes, to shortcut your answer that does indeed cut both directions. However, in any interaction between two person the respectful thing to do is to find the maximum shared set of acceptables and stick with them.

    On the flip side, I think it is perfectly reasonable for men in a work force to expect the women not to talk their ear off, and to try to keep wiithin the realm of facts, if I might stereotype some common structures of female dialog.

    Of course, as I already said, there are exceptions. Sometimes people are being a pain in the ass, and sometimes their sensitivities are ridiculous. And let’s also be clear, I am not saying “the government should do something” I am saying decent people should do something about their own choices and behaviors and businesses should choose to have policies that create a productive environment for all their stakeholders.

    And just to be even more clear, the example you gave is interesting. There are plenty of women who guffaw like a drunken sailor at scatological humor, and plenty of men who are extremely uncomfortable with it. The averages and std devs might be different, but it isn’t a gender thing, it is a respect for everyone thing.

  88. @Civilis
    > That fact: whites are also under-represented in the IT industry (or at least the surveyed section) compared to society at large.

    Cite please, I’d like to read that survey it sounds interesting. FWIW, I couldn’t follow your other points in reply. Feel free to clarify.

  89. @esr
    > …and then I had to explain to my wife why I was laughing so hard my sides hurt.

    I thought it was funny too, but just to be clear, it is also factually bullshit. Like all really funny things it takes a tiny grain of truth and blows it up to ridiculous extremes. The funniest thing of all in the video was that the guy was evidently in earnest.

  90. When the workplace is disinfected to the point where no one is ever offended about anything (or feels persecuted about some perceived injustice), then boredom will reign supreme and the lazy will inherit the earth.

  91. Regarding white privilege…doesn’t it exist in the US in the same way asian privilege exists in China? Less so given who POTUS is but isn’t it a real thing that automatically exists for the majority racial demographic whomever it is?

    I’d guess that asians are over represented in IT/STEM but it’s amusing that we fade into the background in the discussion here. Hacker-wise I’d doubt asians are as significant a factor in comparison to tech in general but hacker-cred is not nearly as important as folks here on this blog think within the tech industry. $ > commit logs.

  92. JB wrote: “The very essence of respect is to accommodate the concerns that the other person has.”

    Not in my book. “Respect” and “accommodate” are NOT synonyms. Respect is something one earns. Once someone earns my respect I may be willing to work to accommodate them.

    That does seem to me to be the basis of some of your commentary – that everyone deserves respect without having to earn it. And maybe that’s even morally correct, but that’s not how I work.

  93. @ Jessica – “I thought it was funny too, but just to be clear, it is also factually bullshit.”

    Spoken like a true unicorn. I always thought you should be cloned.

  94. Jay Maynard on 2015-01-20 at 09:20:37 said: I’m calling out one of ours – because he is one of ours, both by having commit access in a project’s repository and because he credibly identifies as one of us – for being st00pid. It’s not that he’s hurting us in the eyes of the SJWs; I don’t give a fuzzy rat’s ass what they think.

    No, it’s worse than that. He hurts the hacker community (which I don’t presume to membership in) in the eyes of other reasonable people, and appears to confirm the accusations of the SJWs. When a mob is howling that some group is collectively guilty of a wrong, it’s bad for the group if any of them are.

    I would add furthermore that “silence gives consent”. Many argue, I think cogently, that Moslems who are silent about jihadi violence and propaganda are effectively complicit in jihadism. Hackerdom can and should cleanse itself of invidious sexism. Failure to do this is implicit approval of it.

  95. >Hackerdom can and should cleanse itself of invidious sexism. Failure to do this is implicit approval of it.

    I agree with you and Jay more than I do with the people who have been objecting to this stance, but at the same time I think we need to be very clear to outsiders that we will set our own performance-based sex-neutral standards rather than bowing before anyone else’s notion of what “non-sexism” should look like.

    In particular, I don’t think we should concede even for a second that men and women have identical distributions of talents and traits, such that that 50% gender parity in anything is a realistic or even humane goal.

    Personally, I would be really happy if 50% of hackers and 50% of project leads and 50% of the community leadership were female, because they look nicer and they smell better to me. But there are too many reasons – differences in IQ dispersion, ability to hyperfocus, willingness to work with the socially inept – that I don’t think this will ever happen.

    (To anyone outraged by this, get back to me when you find a pro basketball team that’s racially balanced, mmkay? And if you don’t see how that’s relevant I weep for your critical-thinking skills…)

    My point is that we shouldn’t concede the ability to define “fairness” to feminists, because (a) many of them are screeching anti-male harpies who aren’t interested in fairness, and (b) the more reasonable ones typically have no actual understanding of what we do and the qualities required to succeed at our functional and social games.

  96. @Bret
    > Not in my book. “Respect” and “accommodate” are NOT synonyms.

    That is because you are over generalizing the word “respect.” Respect is always with regards to something. For example, I respect Barak Obama for overcoming extremely challenging childhood circumstances to become extremely successful. However, I find it hard to think of any policy, idea, or even utterance from him that I respect. I respected Steve Jobs for being a marketing genius and for being one of the leaders in thought with regards to consumer electronics. I did not respect him for being a jackass of a person.

    All human beings deserve a basic respect for the dignity of being human, perhaps with the exception of some people whose actions have made such respect untenable. That is the kind of respect I am referring to. Not everyone deserves to be respected for the choices they have made, however except when there are strong reasons not to do so, all people deserve to be treated kindly and with compassion.

    And irrespective of what you think is right or wrong, it is economically beneficial to any organization whether a business or a hacker community to provide an accommodating, kind and supportive environment if they expect to attract and retain people.

    You know just as I was writing that I was thinking about this place A&D. I would not describe it is a kind, accommodating and supportive environment. On the contrary, it is rough and tumble, often brutal and frequently merciless. My guess is that that is why there are so few female commentators here. Not because women can’t take that, just that it isn’t as appealing to them as it is to men. I think women are more attracted to supportive evolutionary communities rather than the continuous bloodbath that is A&D.

    It isn’t that Eric is biased or discriminates against women, far from it, there are few people less discriminatory and open than he, but rather it is set with a tone that essentially appeals to the male testosterone rush, the male battle instinct. I guess it is what would be called by the psycho feminists “patriarchy” and it seems like a reasonable proxy for the hacker community more broadly.

  97. @esr
    >In particular, I don’t think we should concede even for a second that men and women have identical distributions of talents and traits, such that that 50% gender parity

    I don’t think you should concede that either, in fact anyone who thinks that is an ideologue or an idiot. I wouldn’t even think there was a problem if it were not for the fact that the balance is SO out of whack that I don’t think it is reasonable to think that some of the differences you call out are likely a sufficient explanation. But I concede that I could be wrong on this, I just think it is a valid question to ask, again, irrespective of your commit frequency.

  98. “I think we need to be very clear to outsiders that we will set our own performance-based sex-neutral standards rather than bowing before anyone else’s notion of what “non-sexism” should look like.”

    I won’t argue with this even a little bit.

    And, Jessica:
    “it is economically beneficial to any organization whether a business or a hacker community to provide an accommodating, kind and supportive environment if they expect to attract and retain people.”

    To many guys, this will be a dull, unstimulating, overly politically correct environment more concerned with image than substance, and will drive off precisely the kind of men who can contribute materially to its success.

  99. Eric,

    At this point, I refuse to accept a whole list of words and phrases as having any meaning. When SJWs use words such as “racist” and “sexist” I simply deny that they have any meaning, at all, and challenge them to provide a definition that is A) unitary B) coherent C) non-tautological D) fewer than thirty words. I have this down so pat it’s like an algorithm.

  100. Jessica,

    It’s not just talents and traits but also preferences in things like work/life balance. Further, I suspect that any social situation of any sort is either male-oriented or female-oriented and that it is impossible to have a social space or location that is completely balanced in catering to each sex.

  101. And, Jessica:
    “it is economically beneficial to any organization whether a business or a hacker community to provide an accommodating, kind and supportive environment if they expect to attract and retain people.”

    Jay Maynard nailed it. An environment that is accommodating, kind and supportive is going to be viewed as biased against males and biased toward females by a very large number of males.

  102. The first ever doctorate (in the modern sense) given in Europe to a woman was given Sofia Kovalevskaya to for mathematics. Why? Her math was undeniably good. It didn’t care about gender, color, or wealth.
    She showed them the formula.
    Indeed.

    IIRC, her analysis was a way to understand how the boundary conditions of a PDE extend into the domain governed by the equation, and which parts of a region depend on which regions of a boundary. Pretty neat stuff.

  103. My 2nd wife and I lived for a number of years next door to a math professor. He and I both went to school for math and computer science, so we had a lot of fun things to talk about. However, when we’d get a bit tipsy around the BBQ drinking beer, we’d sometimes get into politics and things would usually get pretty heated. She always thought we were genuinely mad at each other, and kept saying we needed to chill out. We’d invariably shrug and go “oh we weren’t mad the other night, we we just debating”. Now this is the level of “strenuous debate” you wouldn’t have at work, for instance, but it is not unique in my life to have a male friend I argue with quite heatedly that way. And among women that kind of discussion is not par for the course.

    Just another difference, and one that I think is testosterone driven. And you can’t paper that shit over.

  104. In particular, I don’t think we should concede even for a second that men and women have identical distributions of talents and traits, such that that 50% gender parity

    I don’t think you should concede that either, in fact anyone who thinks that is an ideologue or an idiot. I wouldn’t even think there was a problem if it were not for the fact that the balance is SO out of whack that I don’t think it is reasonable to think that some of the differences you call out are likely a sufficient explanation.

    I think that the fact that the balance is SO out of whack supports the idea of different distributions of talents and traits. A tiny proportion of men and a much smaller proportion of women are driven to pursue technical/scientific projects – a calling, if you will. I imagine that the hacker community includes a much higher proportion of these “driven” people than society as a whole.

    The post/comments about non-standard nerds generally seemed to take the position that nerds escape into computers and STEM. That was not true in my case. As a kid, I had lots of neighbourhood friends. But by the time I was about 9, I was able to read books about science and just found myself caring about that stuff more than playing kid’s games. Maybe I would have become a nerd in any case; who knows? But I loved science and later, computers.

    Long story short: There are way more men than women that consider their work and/or projects to be so important to them that it hurts other aspects of their lives… from the perspective of other people; the driven men think being driven is wonderful. (This is a generalization, of course.)

  105. @Jay Maynard
    > To many guys, this will be a dull, unstimulating, overly politically correct environment

    Really? You think that hackers are less kind, less supportive, less accommodating to others than people in general? I don’t agree, I think most hackers are better people on average than people in general.

  106. >Really? You think that hackers are less kind, less supportive, less accommodating to others than people in general?

    Possibly I misinterpret Jay, but I think he means to suggest that a workplace designed to be kind, supportive, and accommodating by female standards of same is dull and PC to men.

  107. @David Mercer
    > She always thought we were genuinely mad at each other, and kept saying we needed to chill out.

    I have guys at work that I have to treat with kid gloves. I can’t say boo to them or they totally freak out. They are useful and talented though, so I work within their limits.

    Go thou and do likewise.

  108. Jessica, oh I know the type. Fragile male ego exploding bombs waiting to happen. I’m practiced at using the tongs to gently move those around as needed. That nonsense isn’t arguing heatedly in good faith though, which is what I was talking about. What you’re talking about is usually in my opinion male insecurity, which can be vast (see: you only need one male to many females, biologically, for its roots).

  109. Words without the plausible threat of force are not bullying and mere rudeness is not oppression.

    They’re against sexism except against men, against racism except against whites, against religious prejudice except against Christians, against discrimination based on sexual orientation except against straights. Oh, but racism and the other bad -isms are the exclusive province of the powerful…

    I appreciate that SJWs get tiresome fast, especially when they insert issues of social justice in inappropriate settings, unrelated discussions and so on. But it is also true that the powerful cannot be oppressed by the weak. It’s just not possible.

    The good news is that, like emotional abusers, they only have the power over you that you allow them.

    Indeed. And whenever you’re that free to leave a dysfunctional social dynamic, you were never being abused nor oppressed. You were at worst annoyed. And even if you were very, very annoyed, that experience is fundamentally different to being a victim of bigotry, abuse, or oppression.

    Actual oppression and abuse have superficial similarities to guilt-tripping, kafkatraps and the like, which ESR has exhaustively described in an article linked in the OP. But there is also a fundamental difference he doesn’t mention which, at least in meat world is far more important, and that is the practical ability simply to stop having the undesired experience.

    Like money, it’s easy to believe that power “isn’t everything” until you have too little of it to have freedom in any practical sense. That practical lack of freedom is a necessary if not sufficient condition to define the difference between suffering actual abuse or oppression, and just suffering something unpleasant for a time — until you decide to stop suffering. Being described with insulting words referencing your whiteness, maleness, Christiness, wealth, etc. is just annoyance and not “reverse racism,” “sexism,” “religious bigotry,” etc.

    I’m not excusing nor defending any uncivil behavior of SJWs that you may have experienced. I’m not denying that it would be rude to insult your (white) race, your (male) gender, your (majority) religion or your (higher) socioeconomic status. What I am saying is that those valid complaints about suffering insult are orders of magnitude less serious than the valid complaints of people who have suffered real abuse and oppression. And I am saying — as precisely, neutrally, and constructively as I am able — that if you have been treated dismissively or otherwise rudely when you have compared those insults to real abuse and oppression, it is likely because these are incomparable categories of experience.

    You have the practical ability to stop having that experience any time you choose, at least two different ways: either by ceasing to compare incomparable categories of experience or by simply logging off when conversations turn that direction. Even in the real world, it’s easy to gracefully exit such conversations. “As a financially privileged white male, I have nothing to contribute to a discussion of oppression. I’ll talk to you later.”

  110. Cite please, I’d like to read that survey it sounds interesting. FWIW, I couldn’t follow your other points in reply. Feel free to clarify.

    It’s always good to check your source. I can’t find the WaPo article in question with a cursory search.

    I did track down a US Census breakdown in jobs in STEM fields (http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-24.pdf), which partially makes my point. It has White non-Hispanics slightly more represented in STEM jobs in general than in the population at large. It also breaks down racial disparities by individual career paths. In most of the listed career fields, Asians are well over-represented. That’s what generalizing about ‘minorities’ misses. Do we need affirmative action for white Software Developers (who are under-represented according to the census)?

  111. @Civilis
    > It’s always good to check your source. I can’t find the WaPo article in question with a cursory search.

    NP, it wasn’t meant to be a challenge to your claim, just that I’d have been interested to read it. Your claim seems plausible anyway based on my experience.

    >That’s what generalizing about ‘minorities’ misses. Do we need affirmative action for white Software Developers

    No, and if you knew much about my politics you’d know that I would never in a million years advocate for affirmative action for anyone; affirmative action is just racism/sexism/other-ism by a different name. You are right about “minorities”. I was really pulling that from earlier discussion, because “minorities” here is clearly a code word for “black people”.

    However, if that is true, if Asians are massively over represented, STEM might well ask what it is about that Asian culture that brings so many into their world, and whether that can be reused in the white male culture to generate similar results. (BTW, one thing worth saying here is that white male suburbanites seem to dominate the very top elite of programmers. that may indeed be a genetic thing, but I don’t really know.)

  112. Like money, it’s easy to believe that power “isn’t everything” until you have too little of it to have freedom in any practical sense. That practical lack of freedom is a necessary if not sufficient condition to define the difference between suffering actual abuse or oppression, and just suffering something unpleasant for a time — until you decide to stop suffering. Being described with insulting words referencing your whiteness, maleness, Christiness, wealth, etc. is just annoyance and not “reverse racism,” “sexism,” “religious bigotry,” etc.

    By that standard, no group in the United States is suffering real oppression. There are no doubt people with real issues, but those are personal. (I’d be willing to accept arguments that some Native Americans still face issues as a group that might be covered under the definition, but the names of professional sports teams don’t meet that standard.)

    The problem is that power no longer is distributed along racial / gender / ethnic / religious lines. There’s no doubt that it was as recently as the Jim Crow era. The difference in power between an upper middle class white and the urban poor is a rounding error when compared to the power of a city-level machine politician or a celebrity, much less a national-level politician.

  113. When I told her, no, to wait in line like everyone else, she dropped the Privilege Bomb, asking me to “check my White Privilege”.

    I’m thinking she was a bit ignant about what white privilege is there. It’s not supposed to be about black folks getting to jump supermarket queues in reparation for past injustices, it’s more about when the cashier decides to subject them to all kinds of security checks just in case.

  114. >Jessica Boxer

    I have guys at work that I have to treat with kid gloves. I can’t say boo to them or they totally freak out. They are useful and talented though, so I work within their limits.

    Yeah, some guys crack, or are fragile. I knew two guys on the boat – one didn’t make it through his second patrol, and the other – a really wound up guy – cracked later.

    That said – it doesn’t change the truth of the generality. Subs are but one environment wehere being able to take and throw insults and practical jokes and ribbing was the expected norm. And problems were dealt with, and objections brought up, very directly. Hell, nukes were EXPECTED to tell an office something wouldn’t work (but damn well better have his ducks in a row) and in situations where turning down an order was necessary, wasting time on pussyfooting around “feelings” was contraindicated.

    People who couldn’t take criticism – especially of genuine mistakes – did not last long and were not respected.

    I don’t think you should concede that either, in fact anyone who thinks that is an ideologue or an idiot. I wouldn’t even think there was a problem if it were not for the fact that the balance is SO out of whack that I don’t think it is reasonable to think that some of the differences you call out are likely a sufficient explanation. But I concede that I could be wrong on this, I just think it is a valid question to ask, again, irrespective of your commit frequency.

    It’s worth noting that:

    – Hormones affect a lot beyond merely emotions. Women have a very different hormonal makeup from men.

    – Anecdotally, I’ve come across article after article of mothers who’ve bought into “gender is a social construct” raising their children as free of “social norms” as possible being frustrated by their boys having a desire to play cops and robbers with imaginary guns, or “construction site” in a sandbox.

    – Studies of brain scans strongly indicate different connection patterns how brains react for men and women. The researchers themselves noted sadly that it seemed to reinforce stereotypes.

    – Within hours of birth there is already a notable statistical difference in what boys and girls pay attention to.

    – In other primates, given toys and sticks to play with, play modes are notably different between males and females.

    in short, there is a generalized, consistent difference in what interests men and women and how they process things. While I’d not argue it’s not better or worse overall, it certainly supports that there are some things men and women respectively will be better at noticing or working on, and interested in.

    And of course there will always be outliers.

    Put another way – if men and women were the same inside in terms of mental environment, how would a phrase like “man trapped inside a woman’s body” even make sense?

  115. I see you glossed over my other point, and again when discussing Jews in hacker culture. Some months back the Washington Post had a large article on diversity in the IT industry. There were many paragraphs on how few blacks and Hispanics were in tech and the dominance of whites, with pretty graphs next to them. The graphs were especially neat, because anyone who looked at them quickly noticed something, something the article mentioned almost in passing deep within. That fact: whites are also under-represented in the IT industry (or at least the surveyed section) compared to society at large.

    I don’t get this, do you mean Jews aren’t white?

  116. C S Lewis had a term for one for of this non-argument, “Bulverism”
    http://www.barking-moonbat.com/God_in_the_Dock.html

    The only line they can really take is to say that some thoughts are tainted and others are not – which has the advantage (if Freudians and Marxians regard it as an advantage) of being what every sane man has always believed. But if that is so, we must then ask how you find out which are tainted and which are not. It is no earthly use saying that those are tainted which agree with the secret wishes of the thinker. Some of the things I should like to believe must in fact be true; it is impossible to arrange a universe which contradicts everyone’s wishes, in every respect, at every moment. Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.” You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself. When you have checked my figures, then, and then only, will you know whether I have that balance or not. If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant – but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought. If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error.

    In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method [Note: This essay was written in 1941.] is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became to be so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going the write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father – who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third – “Oh, you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century

  117. Jewish isn’t a race.

    “White” isn’t a race, either. It’s a construct representing the dominant culture. There was a time not so long ago when Irish weren’t considered white, nor Italians.

    As for whether Judaism is a religion, it is of course — but it also functions like an ethnicity. Einstein and Feynman were both atheist in terms of religion, but considered Jewish on both sides of the Atlantic.

  118. @William O. B’livion

    >Back in 2009 when I was in Iraq one of the contractors called another contractor a whore. Not seriously, but the same way he’d called half the other guys in the office a whore at one time or another.

    I would have objected to it. I think if you want to be conservative and ignore all kinds of “progressive” rules of behavior, the be a real old fashioned gentleman type of classy conservative. But it seems that in the recent decades a new kind of conservatism emerged where etiquette, politeness and general gentlemanhood do not matter anymore, but entirely bumpkin-with-shit-on-the-boots behavior is tolerated, even celebrated as “manly”, with a “boys will be boys” kind of slogans. I think it is utterly confused, masculinity as such does not imply that one has to behave like a peasant and ignore etiquette and politeness. To the contrary, when masculinity is combined with gentlemanly behavior it has a more profound effect than either alone (see Roger Moore as James Bond as my go-to role model on how to be a gentleman).

    I mean, for example, in SJWs vs. Dr. Matt Taylor I obviously support Dr. Matt Taylor because the other side is beyond horrible, but on the other hand, I don’t talk a lot about that but I did notice that why exactly does a scientist have to represent a respectable instution wearing something (I guess) teenage kids would wear during surfing or skateboarding, instead of at the very least “smart casual” ? He did not deserve that backlash but nevertheless a bit more formality and better manners and style would make the conservative side harder to attack and more attractive.

  119. Ah, “oppression, another word that’s been abused to the point that it is nearly meaningless. First, it’s not always obvious what parties are weak and what parties are strong – hell, it’s not always obvious what constitutes a party. Second, differences in outcomes between parties (see above) do not necessarily indicate oppression. After all, if one party brings more to the table then the other, then, it is natural that you’re going to see differences in outcomes.

  120. @ESR @Jay

    >a workplace designed to be kind, supportive, and accommodating by female standards of same is dull and PC to men.

    I don’t understand this. A workplace should generally be designed around common business etiquette, politeness and professional objectivity. This is not a men vs. women thing: this is an ages-old coordination strategy: a bit of politeness and focus on objectivity defuses a lot of conflicts or at least does not let them be taken personally. Generally, not encouraging competitiveness, as it tends to be unproductive: generally people should invest as much effort into a given task as needed to get them good enough to do the job and move on to another one, and not more, while competitive work cultures tend to over-invest into tasks of the kind one can brag about. Not ideal. I think over-investing into tasks that have high bragging potential is one of the core reasons why projects are often late and end up with death-marches.

  121. All measurements are social constructs. Race is a type of measurement, no more and no less than weight, height, etc. If “jewish” can’t somehow be measured genetically, then, it is a heuristic.

  122. Opression is a meaningful word, but in an entirely opposite sense that it is meant. I learned to understand and recognize it from my Buddhist training. The core issue is having a too big ego, having too much self-importance: which materializes not as someone without this training would expect it: not a selfishness or overly high self-esteem, but actually as overly low self-esteem, because one rarely gets treated as super-important and also every small personal failure generates depression and self-loathing.

    The nature of a big ego is that it is hard to recognize the source of the problem in ones mind, so one turns outward, and lashes out to the world, demanding special treatment and validation. From then on, every limitation, every imperfect freedom feels like the world yelling at you that you are inferior and worthless. Every small insult feels like a huge offense, because it feels like challenging the already shaky self-worth.

    While this may be an overly convoluted and not really scientific idea, it predicts SJW types perfectly. Read their longer complaints and you will find it is rarely about being denied some practical advantage, rather it is always about their shaky self-worth, it is always complaints like “treated like a second class citizen”, “equality in the sense of equal worth”, and so on. In other words, it is all about having an all too shaky sense of self-worth not properly propped up by society.

    Here is a perfect example my theory predicts:

    http://silence-without.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/the-long-campaign-against-racism-bogged.html

    “I mean, here’s an analogy that might work for you: try being unwillingly unemployed for a while. Awful, isn’t it. It’s degrading, humiliating, debasing, and the longer it goes on the harder it gets to smile when you walk into an interview room.”

    See? See? We who don’t have a vulnerable ego because we don’t consider ourselves too important, don’t consider unemployment degrading. Our finances may be in the shit, but our self-esteem is not. But for someone who considers super important, not getting the validation out of employment is crushing.

    THIS is how it works, the whole SJW-opression issue can be reduced to certain psychological issues. Maybe my overly convoluted Buddhist approach is not ideal, I think something similar could be created on a scientific, psychiatrical basis (my bet would be on narcissistic personality disorders).

    However it is predictive and it also offers a cure: train yourself toward less self-importance. Train yourself to focus on the task at hand, on the goals you want to achieve and not focus on whether you are a worthy person or not. Learn to recognize that you are not important enough to care much about that.

  123. We who don’t have a vulnerable ego because we don’t consider ourselves too important, don’t consider unemployment degrading.

    It’s probably more that he or she’s cringing in expectation of being judged harshly for it. Perhaps hackers would invest any time between paid jobs in strenuous and career-enhancing open-source exertions, and would be unable to imagine that.

  124. “Possibly I misinterpret Jay, but I think he means to suggest that a workplace designed to be kind, supportive, and accommodating by female standards of same is dull and PC to men.”

    Yes. The effort to provide a “kind, supportive, accommodating safe space for women” is precisely the effort to remove those aspects of the environment that keeps life interesting and enjoyable for a man. It’s certainly possible to have an environment that’s toxic even by male standards, and Shenpen’s right that “common business etiquette, politeness, and professional objectivity” is necessary, but that’s not what women want. They – at least the SJWs fighting for “safe spaces” – want to go much farther.

  125. I see you glossed over my other point, and again when discussing Jews in hacker culture. Some months back the Washington Post had a large article on diversity in the IT industry. There were many paragraphs on how few blacks and Hispanics were in tech and the dominance of whites, with pretty graphs next to them. The graphs were especially neat, because anyone who looked at them quickly noticed something, something the article mentioned almost in passing deep within. That fact: whites are also under-represented in the IT industry (or at least the surveyed section) compared to society at large.

    I don’t get this, do you mean Jews aren’t white?

    No, I just included that because in the talk of Jews as over-represented in hacker culture there is no acknowledgement that Jews as a group were once systematically oppressed and excluded from opportunities, and as soon as those obstacles were lifted they were able to play a disproportionate role.

  126. Yeah, there’s a school of thought that reckons the oppression the Jews suffered may have actually *boosted* their intelligence. Be great if someone could bottle that.

  127. @William O. B’Livion
    > Back in 2009 when I was in Iraq one of the contractors called another contractor a whore. Not seriously, but the same way he’d called half the other guys in the office a whore at one time or another.

    I missed this the first time round but it is a curious thing to say. You call a guy a whore and it is generally considered a compliment, you call a woman a whore and it is generally considered about the worst thing you can say to her. This is due to the particulars of the social constructs we have about the relative roles of genders in sexual relationships.

    To call a woman a whore is not the same as calling a man a whore, it is more akin to a former female lover announcing in public that he has a tiny dick and can’t get it up. It is a reputation destroyer, and one that doesn’t have any effective response.

  128. @ Shenpen

    It’s not about talking yourself into low self-importance that’s the answer. Productive people tend to be psychologically stable because they have a reasonable measure of control over their fate; i.e. others value their labor/goods and want to trade with them. Conversely, unproductive people have an innate sense that they are predominantly parasitic and therefore could be discarded as useless under times of hardship. This is the likely source of their psychological insecurity.

    The evolutionary solution is to make oneself productive, and the rest will follow naturally.

    Last, civility in the workplace is indeed a social benefit, but not to extreme where it stifles all creativity or individual expression. A little chaos is good for the soul too.

  129. >A workplace should generally be designed around common business etiquette, politeness and professional objectivity.

    Certainly. But those things are situationally dependent. They really are.

    Most posters here are speaking from (no offense, but it’s clearly true) the perspective of life-long experience inside a safe, quiet, climate-controlled upper-middle-class white collar bubble. Which is fine when you’re making arguments about hackers.

    But when you try to speak universally? Politely clearing your throat to get someone’s attention when they’re putting their hand to close to a piece of machinery and they’re about to be permanently maimed (look up ‘degloving’, mind your lunch) isn’t really ‘polite’ after all.

  130. In most of the listed career fields, Asians are well over-represented. That’s what generalizing about ‘minorities’ misses. Do we need affirmative action for white Software Developers (who are under-represented according to the census)?

    Nope, Asians are under-represented in lead and management slots so it evens out. I can tell you that 30% of software leads/managers are not asians since I’m usually the only one in the meeting. Base percentages don’t tell the entire story.

    While many asians don’t want the lead slots for various reasons it can’t be simply cultural since the vast majority of the software leads in asia are not surprisingly asian. Just like the vast majority of lawyers, actors, politicians, etc are asian in asia for obvious reasons but asians are under-represented in these fields in the US.

  131. Jay Maynard wrote: “Yes. The effort to provide a “kind, supportive, accommodating safe space for women” is precisely the effort to remove those aspects of the environment that keeps life interesting and enjoyable for a man.”

    I’m not sure that it “removes” anything. I think it’s more that it adds annoying burdens. For example, instead of being able to be blunt in communications, you have to run everything you might say through a careful filter to avoid offending fragile fainting flowers of femininity. It shuts down communication, it shuts down discussion, and it drives away those who have a hard time with such filters.

    The fact that the vast majority of women are not fragile fainting flowers doesn’t mean that the one who is that you offend won’t make your life hard. Just ask the Rosetta scientist with the cool, er, I mean sexist, shirt.

  132. @Jay

    Well, then let’s try to draw a clear difference between what SJWs want and what women in general want.

    Here is one thing I noticed: _mothers_ tend to be perfectly okay with the basic politeness, objectivity, common business etiquette kind of thing. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, and unexpected – yet if I mentally go through the list of women who sticked to more or less tech oriented jobs and they were good at it, they tended to have children. It is hard to say why, but probably because children are an excellent vaccination against sensitivity, if you have patience for a toddler, you have patience for just about any kind of social interaction. Maybe it is just a subjective thing, as a new father, but I would put mothers nearer the top of the resume pile than single women. I am starting to know what they have to deal with, wrt to kids, and it is an excellent character test.

    Another interesting thing – the majority of tech-oriented mothers I know tended to drift into the testing aspect of the job, be that software or equipment testing. I guess because that is something that takes a lot of patience and that is something mothers have a lot of. If I remember my own mother right, half her domestic life was testing: “Have you packed in your school books? Are your ears clean? Homework done?”

  133. >There are men who believe that if you’re a Big Person you shouldn’t mind a little scatology, sexual innuendo and rough language.

    >I’ve heard more than once “If I didn’t like/respect you I wouldn’t give you shit”.

    >Men lock horns, it’s how we relate.

    I still think it is only how not very classy men relate. Sorry, I don’t know any nicer way to put it but it sounds vulgar/rural to me. At least not a universal thing. It sounds like a small-town construction-worker thing.

    Especially unusua in “geek” circles where everybody feels superior to locker-room types and avoids that kind of talk. Lately this even gets parodized and mocked online as being “gentlesirs”, as it is easy to go overboard with this too.

    So I wouldn’t generalize this much.

  134. However, if that is true, if Asians are massively over represented, STEM might well ask what it is about that Asian culture that brings so many into their world, and whether that can be reused in the white male culture to generate similar results.

    I don’t think there’s much doubt that asians are massively over represented in STEM in the US. Parental bias toward higher education and general refusal to pay for liberal arts degrees or anything less likely to result in a “good” (in their eyes) job.

    That’s not a tactic particularly easily reused since I doubt this bias lasts more than 1 or 2 generations even among asians. I don’t think I’ve ever met a 3rd generation tiger mom.

    On the plus side, we might eventually end up with more lawyers and politicians and end up less under represented in those fields.

    (BTW, one thing worth saying here is that white male suburbanites seem to dominate the very top elite of programmers. that may indeed be a genetic thing, but I don’t really know.)

    Genetic? Doubtful. The white male suburbanites you describe typically have a significant economic and educational advantage over most other demographics as well as larger number of role models and social network advantages. These are typically not lower middle income but upper middle income suburbanites with above average family incomes.

    The bios are typically along the lines of “quit Harvard or Stanford to do their startup with their roommate”.

    Western culture currently dominates technology and has since the renaissance so you don’t see the same advantages in other cultures/countries and western countries are more affluent anyway.

  135. @Dgarsys

    >People who couldn’t take criticism – especially of genuine mistakes – did not last long and were not respected.

    This is a really huge scale that can range from one very extreme range to another. I used to work for a boss who would never ever praise anything for 1.5 years, just either criticize or a grudging OK. I hated it. For now I work for very laid-back people who accept more or less anything, which tends to generate internal motivation in people and works surprisingly well. I have noticed things like cultural differences in it (e.g. German logic: 99.9% right means wrong, totally frustrating), but one thing I have not noticed is gender differences in criticism or the ability to take it.

    Actually, one of the worst things I saw in the field of criticism was women trying to destroy each others self-esteem. It was worse than when men “locked horns” because it was subtle, yet deep; not a challenge: but a poison. Both in private life, mother in law vs. wife types of scenarios (you know the deal: nothing what the daughter in law cooks is good enough, that kind of thing, my precious son would would deserve better, that kind of thing), and at a workplace, usually uglier, older, higher ranking woman vs. younger, hotter, lower ranking kind of self esteem murder attempts.

    So if anything, it is worse, when it happens, because it is worse than objective criticism. But overally, in general, I have not seen a lot of difference.

    Maybe you see this when many guys are perfectionists. But luckily I have not seen that much as I would not easily tolerate that myself either. Mostly I worked with good enough is good enough, it is not a competition type of more relaxed people.

  136. @ Jessica

    You make a good point that some behaviors (insults) are over-the-top and do genuine and potentially lasting harm. But I would argue that if some asshole is a chronic abuser with insults; then sooner or later, someone is going to flatten his nose. More likely is that this was a case of someone being careless and stupid with their mouth, and not really aware of how it affected the woman contractor. It sucks when it happens, but life is messy and people make mistakes.

    That’s the world that we live in, with occasional chaos and bad conduct. If we experienced more real hardship (i.e. starvation or lethal threat) in life, then these incidents wouldn’t seem as overwhelming.

    P.S. She should have slapped him in the face.

  137. >>Genetic? Doubtful. The white male suburbanites you describe typically have a significant economic and educational advantage over most other demographics as well as larger number of role models and social network advantages.

    And why would you think that there would not be a genetic factor in the above? Unpopular as the thought currently is, the folk in that group are not there by random chance. They are largely there because they did the work to get there and their parents and grands did the work to get them there. Because they and their immediate ancestors have the innate inclination and ability to be there.
    There will be outliers, of course, but that will be true of any group you designate with this type of measurement.

    Genetics is not all. But it’s a very long ways from nothing.
    Jim

  138. @Bret
    > The fact that the vast majority of women are not fragile fainting flowers doesn’t mean that the one who is that you offend won’t make your life hard.

    That is such bs. In what respect do you think the fainting flowers are limited to females? I assure you I deal with males all the time with whom prudence in communication is necessary. It is a people thing not a girl thing. And frankly, in my experience geeks can sometimes be the most sensitive men of the lot. Not all by any means, but many.

  139. JB wrote: “That is such bs.”

    See. If I even write “fainting flower of femininity” somewhere a woman goes ballistic! :-)

    Just think what would happen if I said that at the office.

    Ask Matt Taylor if it’s “bs.”

  140. @Jessica Boxer

    I think Bret was attracted to the alliteration.

    @Bret

    I think that Matt Taylor ran afoul of the Howling Harridans of Hatred, not the Fainting Flowers of Femininity.

  141. And why would you think that there would not be a genetic factor in the above? Unpopular as the thought currently is, the folk in that group are not there by random chance. They are largely there because they did the work to get there and their parents and grands did the work to get them there. Because they and their immediate ancestors have the innate inclination and ability to be there.

    When did I say random chance? The country started as an English colony and is still demographically dominated by caucasians. You can try to sell advantage that doesn’t matter to someone not old enough to remember colored drinking fountains. Or someone who’s parents did not work damn hard as immigrants in a time (1940s and 1950s) where asians were rare because of immigration discrimination from 1924 (1917 really) from the Asian Exclusion Act until the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

    Unpopular as the thought may be here, white advantage exists in America. It’s fortunately not nearly as significant today as in the past. Money is a great equalizer and many immigrants are pretty good at keeping their heads down and grinding away so their kids get an education and break into the middle class. Then it takes a couple more generations to make it into the halls of power. Asians, aside from the Japanese, simply have not have the required number of generations of assimilation to do so in any significant number.

    Genetic advantage? There’s some indications that asians have some minor genetic advantages in learning that is overwhelmed by the significant advantages of western culture over eastern culture. That’s why it’s very hard for asian countries to replicate Silicon Valley even when they try really really hard to do so.

    The longer this cultural advantages exists the better.

  142. “No. But the situation isn’t symmetrical; I’m not trying to tell her what the norms of her subculture ought to be, just denying that she gets to dictate the norms of mine.”

    Why does hacking get to be a subculture, rather than just something people [i]do[/i]?

    I was faced with this question re. the “gamer” stuff [i.e. what is a gamer, that “only” playing mario / angry birds / candy crush / etc makes you not a gamer] and was unable to come up with an answer.

  143. >Why does hacking get to be a subculture, rather than just something people [i]do[/i]?

    Subculturation is not something anyone can give or deny permission about. It happens if it happens.

  144. @Bob

    Yeah, I like alliteration a lot. :-)

    But I think they can be both Howling Harridans of Hate and Fainting Flowers of Femininity at the same time. I got locked on the latter alliteration after Larry Summers’ infamous quip that “even small differences in the standard deviation [between genders] will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out [from the mean]” caused a woman to state that she had to leave his talk because if she stayed, she “would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.” So she’s both fainting and howling, no?

  145. > How is authority involved? You contribute or you don’t. The tests for that are pretty objective.

    The idea that contribution is a source of authority for one’s non-technical arguments, rather than the arguments standing or falling on their own merit.

  146. Feminist SJWs don’t want an environment that is kind, supportive, and accommodating. They want a workplace in which male result-oriented competition is supplanted by female status competition.

    A hunter-gatherer hunting band is about going out and killing meat for the tribe or protecting it from external enemies.. A great tracker, a brave warrior, somebody who can throw a spear with accuracy and power will gain status from his ability as measured against an external foe. Male status competition, whether on a football team or within a business follows the same template. It’s about getting the job done.

    Female status competition, by contrast, tends to be internally focused. They tend to compete within the group. This is why Julie Horvath so strongly objected to the “meritocracy” rug — she wanted to play social dominance games, not actually get work done.

    Whatever semi-reasonable points or demands somebody like “Julie” makes, what she is trying to do is to subvert male competition and replace it with female competition.

  147. @Bret
    See. If I even write “fainting flower of femininity” somewhere a woman goes ballistic! :-)

    How ironic; your apparently tender sensitivities can’t handle a little criticism? You seriously think that calling something “bs” somehow resembles “going ballistic”? You need to grow a thicker skin if you are going to hang out here.

  148. Show me the code is a great argument in MANY debates that come up in the FOSS world.

    This is probably twisting the original meaning ever so slightly, but one of my favorite FOSS “mottos” was “Cypherpunks write code.” You can post emails, blog entries, and so on, but in the end nothing has the kind of impact that an actual implementation has. A crude but working implementation will beat out a great theoretical design almost every time.

    The other side of “show me the code” is that those who contribute code are doing the world a service that you simply can’t knock. You can complain about their design, and you can complain about what they’re doing with it, but when somebody releases open source software they’ve made everybody who is alive today and who will ever live in the future just a little bit wealthier. You might choose to never use the code, but I, at least, have a real respect for anybody who contributes it.

    Another philosophy that comes to mind was something I heard in an interview of Mstislav Rostropovich. Despite being one of the best cello players of all time, he generally would perform any new work written for the cello upon request no matter how unknown the composer. When it was pointed out to him that many of these works were just not that good, he commented that this might be true, but he felt it to be part of his duty to enrichen the cello repertoire and that inspiring composers to write for the cello would result in the creation of greater works.

    So, in the end I think that actually making tangible contributions has to be valued above argument, no matter how well-intended. Of course a good argument can also change the world, but actions speak louder than words.

  149. > Subculturation is not something anyone can give or deny permission about. It happens if it happens.

    Gatekeeping people’s participation in activities based on whether they fit in to a subculture that you attribute to that activity is not something that passively “happens”.

  150. >Gatekeeping people’s participation in activities based on whether they fit in to a subculture that you attribute to that activity is not something that passively “happens”.

    That is true. But invisible colleges develop pretty much the same structure pretty much any time they’re spun up, because we all have the same meatware and there are only a limited number of social patterns that work with it.

    You can get away from any individual gatekeeper, but you can’t get away with not having gatekeepers at all. Try spinning up your own subculture; you’ll rediscover this, and a lot of related truths, if you succeed. Actually, especially if you succeed.

  151. @Bret
    >JB, you missed the smiley face at the end?

    Oh, I assumed that was just you trying to put a brave face on it all. You know like the teenage girl draws little hearts and smiles on her school notebook to remember to be happy even though they were all being mean to her.

    Don’t worry Bret, I am a sensitive and kind person, I’ll totally remember to handle your emotions with kid gloves in future.

    Here watch this, it’ll calm your jangled nerves.

  152. I am reminded, somewhat, of the dispute between you and Thomas Dickey over ncurses. As near as I can tell, what happened was that he didn’t fit in to what you then understood to be “hacker culture”, and so you either directly opposed him taking over the project and/or his different cultural norms caused him to misstep and offend you in some other way.

  153. >I am reminded, somewhat, of the dispute between you and Thomas Dickey over ncurses.

    That’s an astute observation. I learned a lot by asking myself why I was so outraged by his behavior. It helped me become conscious about norms which I had absorbed unconsciously and (up to then) followed unreflectively and implicitly.

  154. JB, LOL, but since I’m male I find pink anything offensive. Well, maybe not pink anything… :-)

  155. > Gatekeeping people’s participation in activities based on whether they fit in to a subculture that you attribute to that activity is not something that passively “happens”.

    To clarify – the problem is that you characterize your argument “denying that she gets to dictate the norms of mine.” when there is no reason for anyone to give a damn about your subculture when their complaints are that (for example) women are discouraged or blocked from the activity of contributing to open-source projects. Whether that is done by enforcing a subculture or some other means is irrelevant – people shouldn’t have to be part of your subculture to be allowed to contribute code – the code should stand or fall on its own technical merits.

  156. >people shouldn’t have to be part of your subculture to be allowed to contribute code – the code should stand or fall on its own technical merits.

    Why do you suppose it doesn’t?

    When I get a patch for GPSD, I don’t ask myself whether the submitter laughs at the same jokes I do before I merge it. I don’t actually have any way to know that.

  157. Gatekeeping people’s participation in activities based on whether they fit in to a subculture that you attribute to that activity is not something that passively “happens”.

    But what’s going on is the opposite; you can’t be a member of a subculture built around an activity unless you actually do the activity. And subculture here is taken at it’s broadest. Take a different word, customer. A store owes service to its customers. Anyone who buys something is a customer, and anyone can buy something. What we have is someone who comes into a store and demands to be treated like a customer with no intention to actually buy anything from the store. We’re asking for people to prove they have bought or intend to buy something before treating them like a customer.

    Once we get past that step, take an example with two subgroups. I can be a customer at a store and an employee of a competing store. How I should be treated by the store depends on which group is the primary driver of my behavior. If I come in with the intention of acting like a competitor, such as by noting prices or sabotaging the store, I deserve to be treated as a competitor even if I make a token purchase to qualify as a customer.

    Likewise, someone that plays games but tries to force changes to games in the interests of a different group may qualify as a gamer isn’t acting for the benefit of gamers as a group.

  158. To clarify – the problem is that you characterize your argument “denying that she gets to dictate the norms of mine.” when there is no reason for anyone to give a damn about your subculture when their complaints are that (for example) women are discouraged or blocked from the activity of contributing to open-source projects. Whether that is done by enforcing a subculture or some other means is irrelevant – people shouldn’t have to be part of your subculture to be allowed to contribute code – the code should stand or fall on its own technical merits.

    The problem is with the nebulous use of discouraged. Ideally, the goal should be to remove obstacles that would block anyone from contributing to open source projects. From the perspective of producing better code, blocking a misogynist from contributing because he might discourage a woman is as bad as blocking a woman to appease a misogynist. After all, his code should also stand or fall on its own merits as well.

    Once you’re content with blocking some people based on perceived groups or values, the only difference is which power group gets to control the blocking. Blocking ‘misandrists’ is as valid as blocking ‘misogynsists’.

  159. Rodney McKay wrote:

    Words without the plausible threat of force are not bullying and mere rudeness is not oppression.
    […]
    You have the practical ability to stop having that experience any time you choose, at least two different ways: either by ceasing to compare incomparable categories of experience or by simply logging off when conversations turn that direction. Even in the real world, it’s easy to gracefully exit such conversations. “As a financially privileged white male, I have nothing to contribute to a discussion of oppression. I’ll talk to you later.”

    You’d think that could work, but the modus operandi of SJWs is to take over every conversation. Even as purely technical a topic as “don’t commit breaking changes” is an opportunity for the SJWs to derail the conversation. And if your strategy is to abandon the field to them, you’ll soon find yourself unable to talk—without being able to claim you’re being “silenced”.

    This is just another way for SJWs to beat you down with your own sense of decency (as ESR put it). No, thank you.

  160. > Ideally, the goal should be to remove obstacles that would block anyone from contributing to open source projects.

    But people aren’t allowed to contribute to that goal without also contributing code.

  161. “But people aren’t allowed to contribute to that goal without also contributing code.”

    It’s about credibility. Contribute code, and you gain credibility as someone who understands how things work. Don’t contribute code – don’t even make the effort – and you’re an outsider telling us how to behave. In the latter case, we will tell you to fuck off.

  162. But people aren’t allowed to contribute to that goal without also contributing code.

    What Jay said. “It’s about credibility. Contribute code, and you gain credibility as someone who understands how things work.

    If your idea is such that you can’t get people on the inside to take your side, then your idea is not going to work. If you’re an outsider with an idea, find someone on the inside that can take a look at your idea from an inside perspective to make your case. Perhaps there are things you overlooked. Perhaps you aren’t speaking the same jargon. People will be much more receptive to changes or criticism if they come from someone with credible knowledge of what the current state is and what the change will do.

  163. Jessica Boxer said: Most likely the causality is in the opposite direction, namely that Jewish culture is receptive to hacker culture

    I don’t know.

    I’ve always had the impression/intuition not that Jewish culture is “receptive” to hacker culture (I’m in fact having a hard time figuring out exactly what that signifies), but that Jewish culture teaches and, to steal some verbiage from Anthro, norms the sort of nitpicking, extra-logical detail oriented viewpoint and habit that makes one a good programmer (or good thinker; I believe Jews tend to over-represent in Philosophy as well, and Math and Physics – all things that value that sort of worldview.

    If that’s what “receptive to hacker culture” boils down to, then good – but it’s an opaque way of saying it.

    (Or maybe that’s all wrong; it’s necessarily not subject to rigorous proof.)

  164. This is probably twisting the original meaning ever so slightly, but one of my favorite FOSS “mottos” was “Cypherpunks write code.” You can post emails, blog entries, and so on, but in the end nothing has the kind of impact that an actual implementation has.

    Bollocks. I doubt Mark Shuttleworth has contributed a line of code in the last decade. Tell me some random FOSS commiter has made more impact.

    The guys with really big checkbooks have impact because they can afford to pay for the legions of corporate coders required to implement large FOSS projects. That would be Google, Oracle, IBM, Apple, governments, etc.

    The number of single commiters with the same level of impact on the FOSS world as someone like Larry Page, Tim Cook, Larry Ellison, etc can be counted on one hand. Maybe one finger.

  165. Infact, research exists to show there’s a ‘Gender Equality Paradox,’ as in, the more you have equality of opportunity, the wider will be the divergence in career choices among males and females.
    http://vimeo.com/19707588

    Note that Asian women, especially Indians, are far more prevalent in CS than others. I put this down to the lack of opportunity in their home countries for a successful career outside of the fields of medicine, engineering and law, etc.

  166. > Female status competition, by contrast, tends to be internally focused. They tend to compete within the group. This is why Julie Horvath so strongly objected to the “meritocracy” rug — she wanted to play social dominance games, not actually get work done.

    You don’t think the popularity-contest kind of competition is _female_ specific, do you? Most males also care about being socially dominant, which is often a result of just being popular within the group. Of course you’d want to limit these dynamics or the organization will fail, but it’s not clear that you can get rid of them entirely.

  167. esr: “Possibly I misinterpret Jay, but I think he means to suggest that a workplace designed to be kind, supportive, and accommodating by female standards of same is dull and PC to men.”

    This female thinks that Jay is absolutely correct.

    This doesn’t mean that women don’t status-compete or play passive-aggressive games, but it occurs on a different level. Many men watching us do this would probably think we were all good friends having fun together. :-)

  168. “JB, LOL, but since I’m male I find pink anything offensive.”

    I doubt you find a woman in a pink dress offensive. I don’t think what you’re talking about is “taking offense at pink”. You are saying that pink signals female/feminine, and you are offended if you think that you are being considered/treated as feminine.

    But if you are one step removed from it, you aren’t offended. Yes?

  169. Pingback: Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Quote note (#146)

  170. @Jeff Read
    “As for whether Judaism is a religion, it is of course — but it also functions like an ethnicity. ”

    I think the word/concept you are looking for there, is culture, not ethnicity.

  171. This doesn’t mean that women don’t status-compete or play passive-aggressive games, but it occurs on a different level. Many men watching us do this would probably think we were all good friends having fun together. :-)

    That’s because many men are unobservant or distracted.


  172. esr: “Possibly I misinterpret Jay, but I think he means to suggest that a workplace designed to be kind, supportive, and accommodating by female standards of same is dull and PC to men.”

    For those of us with male children it is interesting to note that the K-12 educational system is an environment designed to be kind, supportive and accommodating by female standards.

  173. >For those of us with male children it is interesting to note that the K-12 educational system is an environment designed to be kind, supportive and accommodating by female standards.

    Yes, and there is increasing evidence that this damages schoolboys rather badly. If only because so many are being drugged to make them conform.

  174. The problem is with the nebulous use of discouraged. Ideally, the goal should be to remove obstacles that would block anyone from contributing to open source projects. From the perspective of producing better code, blocking a misogynist from contributing because he might discourage a woman is as bad as blocking a woman to appease a misogynist. After all, his code should also stand or fall on its own merits as well.

    Typically when a community contemplates a ban you are past “might discourage” and deep into “has already been a royal ass” territory.

    Once you’re content with blocking some people based on perceived groups or values, the only difference is which power group gets to control the blocking. Blocking ‘misandrists’ is as valid as blocking ‘misogynsists’.

    What would be the downside of blocking both? Because most folks capable of operating in any sort of social environment won’t be rabidly either one whatever their private biases might be.

    How many FOSS projects have blocked code or wanted to block code from rabidly proprietary contributors *cough* Microsoft *cough* so we already do so based on perceived groups or values other than purely the technical merit of the contributed code.

  175. >How many FOSS projects have blocked code or wanted to block code from rabidly proprietary contributors *cough* Microsoft *cough* so we already do so based on perceived groups or values other than purely the technical merit of the contributed code.

    The answer is “None”. Any Microsoftie can contribute, and a significant number have done so. In one case I know of, one of the lead Windows guys (Raymond Chen) contributed a configuration script for the Linux kernel. Of course he has to do so under an open-source license, but that is a functional requirement rather than any sort of prejudice.

  176. By that standard, no group in the United States is suffering real oppression.

    If you think it’s easy to live on $15,000/year, go and try it yourself. It should be sufficient to spend a few minutes considering how many of the options you take for granted every day, would be completely unavailable. But if that exercise doesn’t change your mind, then seriously, go live in poverty for a year. There are no bootstraps.

  177. >If you think it’s easy to live on $15,000/year, go and try it yourself.

    This is confused on so many level. Poverty != oppression; that’s another example of the misuse and cheapening of the term “oppression”, an error I have written about before at length.

  178. Second, differences in outcomes between parties (see above) do not necessarily indicate oppression. After all, if one party brings more to the table then the other, then, it is natural that you’re going to see differences in outcomes.

    Of course one individual always bring more, less, or something completely different to the table than anybody else, but if you’re talking about groups, real differences between what one group and another brings to the table have been studied, and found too minor to mention — except for the differences that result from conditions imposed by one group on another, and that’s a matter one party stealing from the other party’s table, not of bringing more.

  179. @Zippy

    > They want a workplace in which male result-oriented competition is supplanted by female status competition.

    Really comments like this make me wonder. I consider myself a pretty average male, although geeky and timid, yet the idea of result oriented competition weirds me out. Why not just focus on getting the results without unnecessary competition? You want to build a team that functions as a team, cooperting for a common goal. Individual penis-measuring contests only disrupt that really it is something one should have learned latest at a high school sports team: the important thing is for the team to score, not for you to score, so help teammates score without competing individually.

    Putting it differently, the pre-condition for competing is for people to do the same thing. But why would you hire people who do the same thing? If you have a 3 people marketing team, one will be focusing on photography, the other on social media and the third on direct-mailing, so how could they compete for results? They just want to achieve results in their own thing individually. No competition.

    Business on a market, or dating/womanizing: the whole idea is to avoid competition by monopolizing a niche by offering something unique.

  180. On group differences: social science is counter-intuitive. And I am not sure if in these cases social science or intuitions are the more reliable.

    The core idea is that if you can measure differences in group-level outcomes and you cannot really ground it in biology, then the only possible other explanation is that somewhere somebody is being not entirely fair with the whole group. This then gets called oppression.

    But I think this model is overly crude. Intuitively, the biggest issue I find is that in measuring outcomes, it sounds a lot like there is one general “high score” (in the gaming sense) or “success” that you can measure. But is it really so? Can you calculate how many people of a given group become doctors for example, and consider that a high score, a success, an outcome? I mean, you cannot possible consider a job, a profession as a such as a reward. It is tasks to do. It is duties. The reward is the salary and the social prestige when doing the job, but being a doctor is not a reward in itself, it is just a chance to earn rewards by doing the job. And we cannot simply assume everybody wants the same kinds of rewards the same way and willing to do the same kinds of tasks to earn them.

    This way, membership in professions like tech or doctors, educational outcomes, and similar things are not proper outcome measures, they are not high scores.

    What would be a proper outcome measure? Money is the closest but even that is not suitable, a lot of artists would rather be starving artists than high-earning bankers.

    It is maybe reducable to the core problem of utilitarianism: it lacks a unit of measure.

    For this reason, this kind of social science is very open to distortions. I can take one thing I like but don’t seem to be able to achieve, and consider that an outcome measure (say getting a Silicon Valley job), find out that my group generally measures low in this, and since it is probably not biological I can cry opression. But this is obviously a misuse of social science, because “stuff I like” is NOT a valid group-level outcome/success/high score measure: my point is that such measure doesn’t even exist. Rationalists like to talk about utils and hedons, but that is not even a heuristic: even a heuristic would require a measurement at the end and you cannot do that without a valid unit of measurement.

    One thing I especially dislike about this all is the incredible dull, boring middle-class petite-bourgeois prejudices about success: surely everybody wants to do well in school memorizing stuff they are not interested in, get a boring office job and a mortgage, and any group who does not seem to achieve it well is surely oppressed! And of course “social science” based on this like “educational outcomes” i.e. ability and willingess to force yourself to learn stuff you don’t care about. Well, what if they are just wise enough not to enter the rat race and have to fight boredom all the way long?

  181. @ Rodney McKay

    if you’re talking about groups, real differences between what one group and another brings to the table have been studied, and found too minor to mention — except for the differences that result from conditions imposed by one group on another

    Bull
    Fucking
    Shit

    This is one of the stupidest things I’ve read in a very long time. It’s laughably false on its face.

  182. If you think it’s easy to live on $15,000/year, go and try it yourself. It should be sufficient to spend a few minutes considering how many of the options you take for granted every day, would be completely unavailable. But if that exercise doesn’t change your mind, then seriously, go live in poverty for a year. There are no bootstraps.

    I will direct you to the next line after the one you quoted: “There are no doubt people with real issues, but those are personal.” Being poor sucks, and there will always be poor people. You’re turning individual bad luck into group oppression. Sure, it’s possible for someone to do everything right and still end up poor, but it’s also possible to do everything to stay safe and then die in a freak accident. And nothing we can do will change that.

  183. Typically when a community contemplates a ban you are past “might discourage” and deep into “has already been a royal ass” territory.

    Brendan Eich was not in the “has already been a royal ass” territory, or if he was, the standards for that territory have been so broadly defined that basically anyone that has expressed an opinion can fall into it. (The original post I cited has ‘discouraged’ so that’s what I used.) At which point, you’re back to the original problem, that either a narrow set of political gatekeepers can control admission to the club or that popular opinion from those inside can control admittance (and will be biased against those trying to change the status quo and those with a currently-trendy ‘out’ status).

    What would be the downside of blocking both? Because most folks capable of operating in any sort of social environment won’t be rabidly either one whatever their private biases might be.

    But that determination is likely to be either internally or externally politically driven, and therefore fall onto those willing and able to play politics. Internally, if hackerdom was dominated by misogynists you’d have people vehemently arguing the feminist position kicked out as ‘misandrist’, which is a subjective evaluation. This also has a follow on chilling effect of suppressing people with similar opinions who may not be as prominent or as vocal. In these situations, especially where determinations are subjective, you also see people getting a pass on extremely bad behavior because they’re friends with the right people. If you are going to block people, it needs to be for apolitical objectively enforced behavioral standards. “Has… …been a royal ass” isn’t an objective standard.

  184. > At which point, you’re back to the original problem, that either a narrow set of political gatekeepers can control admission to the club or that popular opinion from those inside can control admittance (and will be biased against those trying to change the status quo and those with a currently-trendy ‘out’ status).

    Which is as neat a summary as I could ask for of why we must not have political or popularity gatekeepers at all.

    This issue has come up before. It’s why the Open Source Definition has both a clause forbidding discrimination against fields of endeavor and a clause forbidding discrimination against any person or group of persons.

    I was particularly concerned about this when we were writing it, and invented the dodge that a conformant license may warn users that legal export restrictions on software may apply in their jurisdiction but may not incorporate such restrictions itself.

  185. If you are going to block people, it needs to be for apolitical objectively enforced behavioral standards. “Has… …been a royal ass” isn’t an objective standard.

    Human communities, hacker or not, are not based on objective standards. A commiter that disrupts the project community (including both devs and users) is a net loss.

    As far as Eich goes IMHO he should have stuck to his guns. It would have blown over but he did the next best thing. Resign without giving in or apologizing.

    In a perfect world Tim Cook would offer him a high level job at Apple working on languages but I suspect you can’t really have two top cooks in any shop without issues. That more than his political views probably prevents that.

    He wouldn’t want to be under Lattner any more than Gosling would after being top language dog at Mozilla.

  186. @esr
    > Yes, and there is increasing evidence that this damages schoolboys rather badly. If only because so many are being drugged to make them conform.

    I agree, but in what sense would that design be “accommodating”?

    There is a huge difference between accommodating to female standards and accommodating by female standards, even though I have advocated neither. And as I said originally what I would seek is kind, and accommodating to all people not just females.

    Moreover, I find it interesting to see that the archetypes used of male and female behavior patterns here are always the super alpha patterns, even though that is rare in general and very, very rare in STEM. There aren’t too many college quarterbacks or head cheerleaders in our field.

  187. >I agree, but in what sense would that design be “accommodating”?

    It’s accommodating to female ideas about how males ought to behave.

  188. The answer is “None”. Any Microsoftie can contribute, and a significant number have done so. In one case I know of, one of the lead Windows guys (Raymond Chen) contributed a configuration script for the Linux kernel. Of course he has to do so under an open-source license, but that is a functional requirement rather than any sort of prejudice.

    Heh, mkay. There was signifificant pushback on OSI approval of MS’ open source licenses and the arguments were not entirely technical. There remains significant emotion about Microsoft.

    And yeah, I’ve seen MS code reuse rejected but the excuse was dealing with MS-PL was too onerous since it wasn’t GPL compatible. Never mind that there were other packages that had GPL incompatible FOSS licenses in the build…

    That many, if not most, MS attempts at contribution goes well doesn’t indicate that they all have to the point you can claim “none”.

  189. >That many, if not most, MS attempts at contribution goes well doesn’t indicate that they all have to the point you can claim “none”.

    I’m not aware of any exceptions. And if I knew of any case of people arguing “they can’t contribute because Microsoft” I would be in there arguing Microsoft’s side.

    Yes, you read that right. I would argue for Microsoft in that situation. Principle requires it and this is a case in which I would swing my “ESR” stick hard.

  190. Human communities, hacker or not, are not based on objective standards. A commiter that disrupts the project community (including both devs and users) is a net loss.

    Laws are, ideally, objective standards for human communities. When you switch from being ruled by laws (even only ideally) to being ruled by the whim of the ruler or the mob, something is lost. You may not be able to achieve perfectly objective rule, but abandoning even the pretense of objectivity turns things from ‘the betterment of the community’ to ‘the betterment of the ruler’ or ‘the betterment of whomever is best at swaying the mob’.

    Having ideal objective rules, even if they cannot be enforced as ideal every single time, provides a feedback mechanism that keeps the system from getting too unstable.

  191. > Brendan Eich was not in the “has already been a royal ass” territory, or if he was, the standards for that territory have been so broadly defined that basically anyone that has expressed an opinion can fall into it.

    I wasn’t aware he was banned from committing or from otherwise participating at the level of an ordinary user.

    > (The original post I cited has ‘discouraged’ so that’s what I used.)

    You’re taking it out of context – nobody is saying that banning the people ‘responsible’ for problems [if there even is anyone who can be personally blamed for them] is the only way to mitigate the problems themselves.

  192. > At which point, you’re back to the original problem, that either a narrow set of political gatekeepers can control admission to the club or that popular opinion from those inside can control admittance (and will be biased against those trying to change the status quo and those with a currently-trendy ‘out’ status).

    Wait a minute are we talking about now, or a hypothetical world where “the SJWs have won”?

  193. >Wait a minute are we talking about now, or a hypothetical world where “the SJWs have won”?

    I believe he’s talking about any world in which the criterion of admission isn’t “never mind your politics or anything else irrelevant, show us the code”.

  194. > I’m not aware of any exceptions. And if I knew of any case of people arguing “they can’t contribute because Microsoft” I would be in there arguing Microsoft’s side.

    I suspect that what this is referring to is how people tend to be unwilling to trust Microsoft’s open-source-definition-compliant licenses, and to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about them by analogy to the bad old days of “shared source”.

    This is really distinct from any claims that Microsoft, or individual MS employees on their own time, aren’t allowed to contribute to established non-MS open-source projects.

  195. > Which is as neat a summary as I could ask for of why we must not have political or popularity gatekeepers at all.

    > You can get away from any individual gatekeeper, but you can’t get away with not having gatekeepers at all.

    No comment.

  196. > I believe he’s talking about any world in which the criterion of admission isn’t “never mind your politics or anything else irrelevant, show us the code”.

    That’s just a form of popularity. Code is equally irrelevant to a discussion of why a project has trouble attracting contributors (whether of any particular demographic or otherwise).

    (It also tends to devalue the worth of other types of technical contributions such as testing, bug reports, design discussion, etc.)

  197. @esr
    > It’s accommodating to female ideas about how males ought to behave.

    Really? You think women are entirely ignorant of the way little boys are? I think most mothers of little boys are well aware of their behavioral limits and needs.

    I think that the problem in the schools is rather different. I think that they want little boys to sit down and shut up (or they will drug them to do so if it doesn’t come naturally) is simply for the convenience of the school and the teachers rather than any ignorance of the natural behavior of little boys, though there is probably some self delusion going on there.

    The fundamental problem with American K-12 schools is that they are designed as places of employment for unionized government employees rather than places for the education of children. Why else after all would it be so difficult to fire bad teachers, or put measures in place to determine which deserve to get fired? Something that greatly benefits the former and is a dreadful disservice to the latter?

    Little boys are made to sit down all day because it is easier for teachers to control them that way rather than because it is educationally beneficial for them to do so.

  198. I’ve been trying to sort out a few things over the past few weeks, and I think I found a relevant connection here. (Stay with me).
    One of the natural implications of the increase in automation, communications overhead, and so forth is that the number of people required to produce a given level of output will drop. There is also a growing number of people who cannot or will not be able to perform work at or greater value than required to care for themselves (make a living). I’ve been trying to figure out “what to do” with these people. There’s been talk of guaranteed minimum income, increased minimum wage, and other proposals.
    What recently struck me was: what will people in that situation do? I would posit that much of the SJW movement is an “upper-class” attempt to engage in mimetic warfare as an attempt to purloin additional resources for themselves. The “low-class” attempt would be to argue for increased taxation on the wealthy and increased social benefits, so as to get benefits without working for them. The “middle-class” attempt would be to increase the minimum wage so as to get benefits while working for them. The “upper-class” attempt is to mask over the idea of merit so that they can be seen as performing work of equal value to those who are paid more.
    Thoughts?

  199. I wasn’t aware he was banned from committing or from otherwise participating at the level of an ordinary user.

    Are you willing to accept people losing their jobs for holding private political beliefs? If witch hunts and blacklists are acceptable, then you have to expect them to be used against you.

    You’re taking it out of context – nobody is saying that banning the people ‘responsible’ for problems [if there even is anyone who can be personally blamed for them] is the only way to mitigate the problems themselves.

    No, but a lot of problems these days seem to be solved by banning or otherwise ostracizing people for having differing opinions. We have one group complaining that they face a hostile environment. Perhaps I’m too used to the business world, where this sort of allegation can only end with at least one person escorted from the building with a box of their stuff, which to me seems comparable to banning someone from a community.

    Wait a minute are we talking about now, or a hypothetical world where “the SJWs have won”?

    Both. Only the identity of the people doing the gatekeeping will be different. Right now, the SJWs are complaining that women and (some) minorities feel blocked from fully participating in the IT world; essentially, that IT is a “white men’s club” that keeps out other groups. They may have a point; I know that women and (some) minorities are under-represented in IT, but do not know if this is a systemic issue from within IT or is caused by outside factors. If it is systemic to IT, I would be open to making changes to allow others to have full access, but I do not think handing control over who can participate in IT to SJWs achieves that goal.

    We have seen that SJWs are willing to keep those they disagree with (such as Brendan Eich) from having full participation in communities based on political disagreements. There is no reason to believe IT will be any different. The people doing the blocking has changed, but people who can contribute are still being blocked.

  200. “You can get away from any individual gatekeeper, but you can’t get away with not having gatekeepers at all.”

    If you have to have a gatekeeper, make it as minimal and objectively rule based as possible, which especially means make it as related to what it’s gatekeeping for as possible. Your gender shouldn’t normally matter to your contribution to an enterprise, yet I’d be silly to not take it into consideration when sending a sales team to Saudi Arabia.

    Perhaps “show us the code” can be generalized as “show us your stake”, as in the business concept of stakeholders. Your bug testers are as much stakeholders in your coding process as your coders.

  201. >Perhaps “show us the code” can be generalized as “show us your stake”, as in the business concept of stakeholders. Your bug testers are as much stakeholders in your coding process as your coders.

    Fair point.

  202. Really? You think women are entirely ignorant of the way little boys are? I think most mothers of little boys are well aware of their behavioral limits and needs.

    The way that mothers in general respond to (or understand) aggressive boy behavior is very different from the way fathers in general respond to aggressive boy behavior.

    Which is why having both parents around is more effective than just one or even two of the same gender.

    Women and female teachers are no less ignorant regarding male behavior than men and male teachers ignorant regarding female behaviors. Ignorant is not a good word but rather the interpretation of behaviors based on thier own native behaviors.

  203. > Are you willing to accept people losing their jobs for holding private political beliefs? If witch hunts and blacklists are acceptable, then you have to expect them to be used against you.

    It’s not the subject of discussion and bringing it up is moving the goalposts.

    > We have seen that SJWs are willing to keep those they disagree with (such as Brendan Eich) from having full participation in communities based on political disagreements.

    Anyone who is not a CEO is not fully participating, apparently.

  204. > Perhaps “show us the code” can be generalized as “show us your stake”, as in the business concept of stakeholders. Your bug testers are as much stakeholders in your coding process as your coders.

    Fair point.

    I think you’re omitting a subtlety here. I can name plenty of hackers who have earned their reputation primarily as testers, architects, auditors, tech writers, etc. ­— but all of them also have a commit history they can point to. I think this is evidence of an unspoken rule: from established members of the hacker community, we value contributions of many kinds, but before you can gain entrance, you’ve got to show us some code.

  205. >I think this is evidence of an unspoken rule: from established members of the hacker community, we value contributions of many kinds, but before you can gain entrance, you’ve got to show us some code.

    And “code” need not be interpreted too narrowly. I could readily imagine someone making his or her bones by maintaining a particularly central and high-quality FAQ. I don’t know that this has actually occurred, however.

  206. > I think you’re omitting a subtlety here. I can name plenty of hackers who have earned their reputation primarily as testers, architects, auditors, tech writers, etc. ­— but all of them also have a commit history they can point to. I think this is evidence of an unspoken rule: from established members of the hacker community, we value contributions of many kinds, but before you can gain entrance, you’ve got to show us some code.

    Then the question becomes whether this is how it should be, or merely how it is. If one is proposing that this is not how it should be, then omitting that subtlety from one’s proposal is by design.

  207. Anyone who is not a CEO is not fully participating, apparently.

    In this case yes. He made CEO based on technical merits and got booted from his a project he helped start because of a personal opinion expressed as a private donation.

    There is no goalpost moving and the example entirely appropriate.

    The “proper” FOSS way isn’t to boot the lead but to fork and abandon him. Of course if it had played out nobody would have forked and Mozzilla as a foundation more important that a browser code base. I think it would have blown over and if some folks left Mozilla because of personal opinion and not behavior good riddance and I don’t care what their commit stats looked like.

    Plenty more programmers available for hire if push comes to shove and they needed more coders.

  208. It’s not the subject of discussion and bringing it up is moving the goalposts.

    Why is it moving the goalposts to discuss the real world effects on people rather than the theoretical ‘discouragement’ some may experience?

    Anyone who is not a CEO is not fully participating, apparently.

    There are enough other people that have lost their jobs for not being PC. I know a few. And there are IT businesses that have watched their once vibrant cultures strangled for fear of lawsuits because someone though the environment was hostile.

    If the minor slights of off color jokes and slightly inappropriate shirts are serious business which demand a wholesale overhaul of a culture, why should the threat of being hounded out of your job because you donated money to the wrong political cause be considered trivial?

  209. And “code” need not be interpreted too narrowly. I could readily imagine someone making his or her bones by maintaining a particularly central and high-quality FAQ.

    This is contrary to what I’m claiming. I don’t think it’s literally impossible for this to happen, but I think an FAQ maintainer who also has a commit history will have a much easier time drawing attention to and extracting reputation from the FAQ.

  210. >This is contrary to what I’m claiming. I don’t think it’s literally impossible for this to happen, but I think an FAQ maintainer who also has a commit history will have a much easier time drawing attention to and extracting reputation from the FAQ.

    I don’t think we actually disagree much, if at all. I don’t actually know of a case where a hacker’s reputation is based solely on a FAQ, and I agree that having shipped some well-known code before the FAQ would help a lot.

    What I was getting at, I guess, is that a convincing contribution need not in principle be code in the normal sense. A sufficiently well-written technical standard could swing a lot of weight. I don’t have to see any of the authors’ code, for example to know that the PNG standard is a thing of hackerly beauty for which they deserve respect.

  211. Allow me to throw out an example for discussion. I’ve raised this one before with Eric, but it’s germane to this discussion.

    Jessica Lyon (SL name) is the project leader of the Firestorm viewer, the most widely used client for the Second Life virtual world and related systems. Yes, she’s really female in RL, too. She’s not a coder, by her own admission, though she can at least build the viewer. (For Windows, a nontrivial task.) Even so, she’s well liked and well respected both among the folks on the Firestorm team and in the wider world of SL in general, as well as the folks at Linden Lab who run the system.

    She comes to Firestorm and its predecessor, Phoenix, by way of having been the QA lead on a predecessor viewer, Emerald. When Emerald was under fire, and eventually blocked, because of crap some developers snuck into it, she forked the project and got folks to come with her. The SL user community was very grateful, as Emerald had significant advances in functionality over the standard, Linden Lab-supplied viewer, and people had gotten used to it. Phoenix took off like a rocket within days of its initial release and Emerald’s blocking, and the project never looked back.

    She is very much the glue that holds the project together. There’s been a lot of friction among the developers, but she keeps everyone together and working in the same direction. She’s been effective at getting people to manage testing/QA and support teams. She’s a very well-spoken, assertive voice for the program and its users even when Linden Lab would prefer she not be. More than once, her opposition to a LL position has changed their direction.

    Not bad for a woman who can’t code, eh?

  212. >She is very much the glue that holds the project together. […] Not bad for a woman who can’t code, eh?

    Not at all.

    Ex ante, this is what I’d expect women to be good at on projects, more often than heavy coding. On the one hand, there’s a case that the hacker culture doesn’t know how to reward it very well. On the other hand, I don’t see anyone trying to block women from contributing in this way.

  213. > The “proper” FOSS way isn’t to boot the lead but to fork and abandon him.

    Are these measurably different, if this were a group of people freely associating with each other (as most projects below a certain size are)?

    > What I was getting at, I guess, is that a convincing contribution need not in principle be code in the normal sense.

    The question is whether there is a failure to recognize non-code contributions (or a failure to allow people who don’t have significant code contributions under their belt, to make large non-code contributions in the first place) – “in principle” isn’t really good enough to answer that.

  214. > The “proper” FOSS way isn’t to boot the lead but to fork and abandon him.

    P.S. I think ESR has some thoughts, which he has discussed before in pieces but never properly written up, on when forking is (and, more importantly, is not) acceptable. If this were done, then I suspect it would have become an equally bitter argument on whether forking due to opposition to a project maintainer’s politics is “proper” or not.

  215. >>And “code” need not be interpreted too narrowly. I could readily imagine someone making his or her bones by maintaining a particularly central and high-quality FAQ. I don’t know that this has actually occurred, however.

    My guess would be that almost all the time, those who are capable of doing the testing, doc, bugtracking… group of tasks will also be capable of doing some coding. Either before they become the faq maintainer, or after, they will become aware of some problem, see a solution and do the coding, submit it and go back to being faq maintainer. To do a good job at any of those tasks, you will need to be pretty familiar with the problem domain as a whole.

    There will be a few scattering total non coders involved, but that won’t be the norm. Not that a non coder shouldn’t maintain a faq, but that those that are will be very few on the ground. Very few that can and will do the job will also be total non coders.

    Jim

  216. Jay’s example of Jessica Lyon is surprising and rare. I’ve never participated in Second Life; I wonder if there’s anything peculiar to the SL culture which enables people like Jessica to succeed.

    In the corporate world, people with Jessica’s skill profile are program managers. In the open source community, I don’t think we even have a name for it.

  217. >I wonder if there’s anything peculiar to the SL culture which enables people like Jessica to succeed.

    If so, let’s figure out what it is so we can import it.

    >In the corporate world, people with Jessica’s skill profile are program managers.

    And, thinking about it, open source may be a better venue for a “female” management style. The coercive tools corporate program managers have that their open-source counterparts don’t are exactly the ones most women are on average not very good at using.

  218. @Jay
    And, to not put your Lady example down at all. She is even more of an outlier than we are.
    We are in the .01% of the population in this area (most all of the A&D group are)
    She is out on the far edge of the far edge, even more unusual, and wonderful because of that.

    Jim

  219. Program managers, almost by definition, don’t have those coercive tools at their disposal. They’re required to exert influence across organizations despite having no direct reports and no budget authority. Yet, when the really capable ones say “jump”, people at ten times their pay grade leap into the air.

  220. I think the SL cultural difference is that there are enough people presenting themselves inworld as other than their RL gender that the cultural norm in SL is to treat people as the gender they present as inworld. Attempts to find out RL details about someone who does not offer them voluntarily are met with open hostility, and while there are people who do not follow that norm and demand to know that the SL female they’re playing with is female in RL, they are very much in the minority and met with at least barely suppressed contempt.

    This has the effect of disconnecting gender from consideration when it is not relevant to what’s going on. Perhaps it also has a disinhibiting effect on women; that’s one I can’t speculate on.

  221. And, thinking about it, open source may be a better venue for a “female” management style.

    Not when the litmus test for community leadership is how much code you’ve written.

    The coercive tools corporate program managers have that their open-source counterparts don’t are exactly the ones most women are on average not very good at using.

    You mean the ability to attempt to kick your dead weight off their project? Not fire but TRY to make you some other PM’s problem.

    There aren’t really all that many coercive tools PMs have in this litigious age. I guess a bad performance review but some HR departments actively discourages documenting these.

  222. @Rodney McKay entered the discussion with:

    What I am saying is that those valid complaints about suffering insult are orders of magnitude less serious than the valid complaints of people who have suffered real abuse and oppression. And I am saying — as precisely, neutrally, and constructively as I am able — that if you have been treated dismissively or otherwise rudely when you have compared those insults to real abuse and oppression, it is likely because these are incomparable categories of experience.

    You have the practical ability to stop having that experience any time you choose, at least two different ways: either by ceasing to compare incomparable categories of experience or by simply logging off when conversations turn that direction.

    If the suffering of insulted geeks are “orders of magnitude less” than suffering caused by experiencing abuse and oppression, then the two are not incomparable: the former statement is one of comparison, which directly contradicts the second premise. Furthermore, the only way that the two can truly be incomparable is if it is categorically impossible to establish a pattern of abuse and oppression on the basis of insults and name-calling, no matter how severe — a premise I believe many people would find difficult to swallow.

    Normally, this would be the point where I would ask which of these two positions you actually believe, but when you conclude your argument with the Kafkatrap of demanding we “either [cease] to compare incomparable categories of experience or by simply logging off” — i.e. “shut up if you disagree with my invalid argument” — you have already answered this question.

    [Oh, I do recognize the possibility that your argument was altered in form or weakened by having to phrase it more “precisely, neutrally, and constructively” than you usually would, but that itself is also evidence toward the nature of your belief.]

  223. If the suffering of insulted geeks are “orders of magnitude less” than suffering caused by experiencing abuse and oppression, then the two are not incomparable: the former statement is one of comparison, which directly contradicts the second premise.

    And here I thought I was the incomparable pedantic ass.

    The difference between my experience in being called a chink when I was a kid to Vincent Chin’s experience of getting beat to death with a baseball bat because he was a chink in Detroit is so large that it is comparable only by complete morons.

    If I rolled my eyes any harder they’d catch on fire and explode.

  224. > “Not when the litmus test for community leadership is how much code you’ve written.”

    The whole point of this discussion is that literally writing code is not the _only_ way of making a highly notable contribution. There are large, underserved areas where novices can make such contributions with very good bang for the buck; not just overall project leadership, but documentation, UX, advocacy, etc. People who are not even willing to put in this kind of effort are effectively not a part of our community. When they nonetheless make strident, politicized demands on us, they are acting as lamers (lusers, posers) and we should feel free to ignore them.

  225. [uninformed speculation]
    Are gender differences as prominent in hacker culture (and other fields which appeal disproportionately to each gender) as in most of society? I would expect ‘topslicing’ to result in female hackers to be less feminine & more ‘manly’.
    Also, is it productive to use gender as a proxy for qualities. eith different frequency distributions between genders. E.ge. should one discuss ‘feminisation of the workplace’ or ‘decrease in, for want of abetter word, belligerence acceptable in the workplace’? (if the latter, introduction of average women = introduction of ‘effeminate’ men)
    [/uninformed speculation]

  226. >I would expect ‘topslicing’ to result in female hackers to be less feminine & more ‘manly’.

    While this seems plausible, I have not observed it to be the case. I’m currently in fairly regular contact with five female hackers, and the degree to which they present as feminine seems to be distributed in a pretty normal way.

  227. Every vocation (and vocational environment) benefits when each new class of rookies must pass through some measure of gauntlet in order to secure a place in the new tribe. This has always been a vital aspect of evolutionary progress, and attempting to eliminate (or tame) the gauntlet is counterproductive. Rights-of-passage that are extreme or immoral will die off in evolutionary time, but continually lowering the bar because of modern sensibilities is a losing strategy. Hard but fair is likely optimum.

  228. Any time you use slave labor, there is a risk of slave revolts. This goes back thousands of years. Feminism etc are just the latest extensions of the slave revolt in morality started by the Jews and continued by the Christians. It’s not all bad; yes, there’s the constant risk of women pushing their noses into everything, but on the other hand you have a massively expanded labor pool. So the challenge today is (contrary to the MRA babies) to balance the increase in available labor against the increasing knitting-circle complaints of little women. If anyone doubts that this is what all this feminist stuff is, just look at the language they use. It’s like listening to the private chatterings of a woman to her husband. I mean, look at the title of the linked post (which is perfectly typical)! “Okay, Feminism, It’s Time We Had a Talk About Empathy” lol

    I have said it before on this blog: women are not creators, they are slaves. Slaves are useful, but they are incapable of _leading_. Unfortunately, nowadays the term “leader” has become synonymous with being a high-ranking functionary, which is something women are well suited for, but also something completely different to “leading”.

  229. re: the idiocy of code flying on its own merits, this is a CLASSIC error. People MUST have prejudices in order to function. It’s simply impossible to vet every fucking patch personally, and it is impossible to judge every fucking person individually. It simply can’t happen, and people who are “against prejudice” are typically highly prejudicial idiots with the most stupid possible prejudices. Fact: people who negatively stereotype blacks are far closer to the mark than people who negatively stereotype whites. And yet – this is EXACTLY what the “anti-prejudice” people do all day long! And it will turn out the same way if they get a foothold in computing.

    The usual personality traits that select a person into computing are introversion, lack of social skills, intensely focused interests, intense desire to “make” something, well suppressed feelings of inferiority to brutish people. All things that – provided there is leadership to guide them – are excellent qualities. Now think about the kinds of traits the “anti-prejudice” people secretly want to select for: extroversion, good verbal skills, shallow interests, intense desire to appropriate existing work, poorly suppressed feelings of inferiority to ALL successful people.

  230. @Roger

    The open source / hacker culture has handled the impossible problem of vetting patches for a long time now.

    Maybe it really is magic pixie dust!

  231. @Foo Quuxman

    If I understand your post, you didn’t understand what I said about patches at all. What is it with people on this forum and responding to fantasy posts?

  232. @Daniel Franke

    Nothing much different from his normal ravings…… just another fool who can’t comprehend of a world not based on rabid authoritarianism.

  233. If he’s gone off in this direction before, this is the first I’ve seen it. Roger, while acerbic at times, has been an outstanding contributor to numerous technical discussions and I’m genuinely shocked to see this sort of foolishness coming out of him.

  234. >I’m genuinely shocked to see this sort of foolishness coming out of him.

    Sadly, I’m not. He was sounding pretty raving bonkers for a while, pulled himself together a bit when I slapped him upside the head, and is now deteriorating again. Actual mental illness is looking pretty likely.

    Damn shame. He has a sharp, interesting mind, when it’s actually working. Obnoxious git, yes, but I rather like him anyway.

    Roger, if you are reading this, get help.

  235. If he’s gone off in this direction before, this is the first I’ve seen it. Roger, while acerbic at times, has been an outstanding contributor to numerous technical discussions and I’m genuinely shocked to see this sort of foolishness coming out of him.

    Isn’t this entire thread about whether outstanding technical contributors with shocking amounts of foolishness should get the boot?

    I’m not sure why some folks here think hackers are somehow more virtuous than any other random set of humans just because they have a talent for coding.

    There’s a reason why professional etiquette includes the common rule of thumb of not to discussing politics or religion.

  236. There’s a reason why professional etiquette includes the common rule of thumb of not to discussing politics or religion.

    Crap. I swear that English IS my first language.

  237. The argument that Roger is using is a common error among Herr Rooster types:

    Group X is inferior to Group Y in some or all ways.
    Therefore Group Y must rule over Group X.

    I do not know where they learned the logica petauristarius* but they are quite good at it.

    People who get such a raging hard on for authority are clearly inferior thinkers and should be “guided” by those who are not vulnerable to such passions, for their own good of course.

    * logic acrobat for those without google

  238. @esr

    Damn shame. He has a sharp, interesting mind, when it’s actually working.

    Roger, if you are reading this, get help.

    This would have more teeth if you (or anyone else here for that matter) bothered to read, understand and respond to what I wrote instead of getting your knickers in a knot about the way I write.

    @Daniel Franke

    If he’s gone off in this direction before, this is the first I’ve seen it. Roger, while acerbic at times, has been an outstanding contributor to numerous technical discussions and I’m genuinely shocked to see this sort of foolishness coming out of him.

    In the interests of fairness, why don’t you summarize my “foolishness” so we can see whether you understood what I said? Failure to do so will demonstrate bad faith on your part. I mean, I already know you don’t understand because you compare me to JAD.. who has wildly different views to me. But in your mind – which is little better than an n-gram text model – the fact that, for example, the phrase “women are slaves” appears in my text instantly puts me in some bucket, regardless of what the phrase is intended to mean. I am quite confident that I could start posting the output of a markov generator without changing the way people responded to me.

    @Foo Quuxman

    Nothing much different from his normal ravings…… just another fool who can’t comprehend of a world not based on rabid authoritarianism.

    So are you going to correct your idiotic misreading of my post? Oh sorry you called me a fool I guess that will stop people from noticing how stupid and intellectually incurious you are. lol.

    @Foo Quuxman

    The argument that Roger is using is a common error among Herr Rooster types:

    Group X is inferior to Group Y in some or all ways.
    Therefore Group Y must rule over Group X.

    How does it feel that you’re reduced to making shit up in lieu of an actual response? Well, at least you can look up to me and dream of having a lucid thought one day. So this is the second time you’ve responded in spite of misunderstanding me completely. I wonder, how long before the penny drops and you realize how retarded this behavior is? But again, when dealing with the mentally retarded, dogs etc I don’t expect them to EVER understand certain things, and so it is with people like yourself who are basically retarded but can nonetheless perform a shallow imitation of human speech. Here’s how people (and I’m using that term loosely) like you argue:

    (1) Extract some n-grams from the post,
    (2) Cluster the post into some very rough category,
    (3) Generate a NEW post from the same category using a markov-like process, and
    (4) Try to come up with an argument for the new post. If you fail, go back to step 3,
    (5) Present generated argument as response to the original post.

    Whereas, the CORRECT way – at least, as far as actual human beings who have progressed beyond the level of monkeys are concerned – is to simply understand the INTENDED MEANING from a post, construct a response to that intended meaning, and then write some words whose intended meaning is the response. I am the best at this process on the forum, Eric is okay at it, and nobody else has any ability to do it whatsoever. This is how we end up with threads scores of posts long where people like Winter and Jessica respond to imagine fantasy posts that have nothing to do with anything I’ve said.

  239. Intended meaning indeed? Why perchance is it that I remember you tearing Jessica a new one a few weeks ago because her writing was not perfectly precise?

    (4) Try to come up with an argument for the new post. If you fail, go back to step 3,

    Actually no, I just post what comes up first :P

  240. Intended meaning indeed? Why perchance is it that I remember you tearing Jessica a new one a few weeks ago because her writing was not perfectly precise?

    Because you’re a dumbass with a bad memory. It was the EXACT OPPOSITE of this – she kept responding to some bizarro world version of my opinion, just as you are. And if I happened to criticize her usage of words it would be AFTER having understood what she meant, or at least making the most valiant possible effort to do so. Whereas you just surface read some ridiculous bullshit and then consider yourself reading to castigate me as a “fool”, when I doubt you know what half of the terms in my post mean.

  241. All right, Roger. Let’s grant for the sake of argument that nobody is understanding your posts.

    If everyone is misunderstanding you, couldn’t it at least be possible that you are not communicating clearly, instead of that everyone around you is an idiot?

    How about clearly and succinctly laying out just what it is you do mean?

  242. @Jay Maynard

    If everyone is misunderstanding you, couldn’t it at least be possible that you are not communicating clearly, instead of that everyone around you is an idiot?

    How about clearly and succinctly laying out just what it is you do mean?

    Because whatever I write will be deliberately misinterpreted once again. And every response I will have to contend with more and more misinterpretations. To put it another way, in the right setting, with non-morons, redundancy from elaboration is used to “error correct” the channel. Whereas with this audience, any redundancy will be used as an ALTERNATIVE into which new, completely unintended meanings will be read. So to get me to elaborate, you first have demonstrate some desire to understand me – which nobody has done so far.

  243. “So to get me to elaborate, you first have demonstrate some desire to understand me – which nobody has done so far.”

    If I didn’t want to understand you, I wouldn’t have asked you to clarify.

  244. Roger,

    Assertions such as “women are slaves, not creators” and “women cannot be leaders” admit very few interpretations by right thinking people, and virtually all of them are counterfactual. To say nothing of emotionally hurtful.

  245. Jeff, your idea of “right thinking people” is not Roger’s. Your argument is unlikely to sway him.

    Let’s see if he clarifies what he means before we judge.

  246. @Jeff Read

    Assertions such as “women are slaves, not creators” and “women cannot be leaders” admit very few interpretations by right thinking people, and virtually all of them are counterfactual.

    The problem here is that we have a difference of language. The difference between you and I is that I _know_ there is a difference of language, which is why I only rarely misinterpret people, and even in those cases purely by accident. Whereas your total ignorance of the presence of many different interpretations and systems of terminology is a repeating character trait.

    To say nothing of emotionally hurtful.

    There’s no “to say nothing of” – this is the ONLY thing that has so far registered with any of the respondents. The ONLY thing. Every single thing that has been said in response follows from the existence of this “point of pain”. And if you can’t get past “points of pain” like this you will simply be a chimp for all eternity.

  247. @Jay Maynard

    If I didn’t want to understand you, I wouldn’t have asked you to clarify.

    Imagine how long a person would survive in the jungle if he really believed this. As though it were impossible dissimulate and everyone who acted like a friend was a friend. A REAL demonstration would consist of you going back to the original post and making an effort to understand it. Starting by asking for a clarification of individual terms. But of course, if you had any intention of talking in good faith you’d have done all this already instead of making stupid guesses. That’s why I know that your attitude is that of someone waiting in ambush. I can picture you hiding in the bushes in your tron suit, just waiting to pop out with a machete.

  248. @Rodney

    >And whenever you’re that free to leave a dysfunctional social dynamic, you were never being abused nor oppressed.

    I am confused – who isn’t free to leave a dysfunctional social dynamic via becoming a bitter social shut-in, working a menial job and spending 10 hours a day in World of Warcraft in that proverbial maternal basement? Because that – admittedly really bad and depressive – strategy is how many nerds/geeks do it. So either they too are oppressed, or I guess there are people in such a bad situation that even that would not work?

    I mean, compare a traditionally opressed group: gays. What prevents them doing the same thing? Of course, it would imply involuntary celibacy but many nerds/geeks are incels too. It implies being a bit secretive about who you are, but many nerds/geeks don’t have Jay’s courage to make their Tron fandom public either. And yes they too remember physical violence, from beatings to wedgies simply because they were perceived as weak and easy targets for some sadistic fun. What is the difference really?

  249. > Assertions such as “women are slaves, not creators” and “women cannot be leaders” admit very few interpretations by right thinking people, and virtually all of them are counterfactual.

    In all fairness to Roger Phillips, this is simply untrue. Many people believe that something like Friedrich Nietzsche’s master-slave morality describes a real social pattern, and one that’s even correlated to gender. Of course, ‘master’ and ‘slave’ are contentious terms these days, even if they’re only used as a metaphor. We could use ‘leader’ and ‘follower’, but these are not free of uncomfortable gender-normative implications either. ISTM that we should do what many open-source hackers do these days, and call them ‘primary’ and ‘replica’ morality (/s).

  250. Because whatever I write will be deliberately misinterpreted once again. And every response I will have to contend with more and more misinterpretations.

    Lol. This is like writing a shell script in scheme and whining that the OS deliberately misinterprets what is written because you refuse to either write “#!/usr/local/bin/scsh -s” so it has a clue wtf context to use or write using the system default shell language like normal people.

    The proper response by both the OS and other people is to tell the idiot to fuck off and come back after they learn to code.

    Roger, nobody is going to bother trying to figure out what YOU mean by words because it’s not their job as the reader. It’s your job as the writer to include the language context if it differs from the system norm. You haven’t made any sort of good faith effort to communicate so wtf whine that no one is trying to correctly interpret what you wrote?

    Frankly, your opinion simply isn’t worth any effort to interpret. It’s nobody’s loss but yours when it is misinterpreted and people think you suck.

  251. Roger:
    “Starting by asking for a clarification of individual terms.”

    All right, let’s start with the ones that seem to get the most violent reactions: “master” and “slave”. You don’t mean that women should be kept locked up in the house on a chain, right? So what do you mean?

    “But of course, if you had any intention of talking in good faith you’d have done all this already instead of making stupid guesses.”

    No, I’m not making any guesses. Indeed, as I just said, I’m rejecting the guesses of others.

    “That’s why I know that your attitude is that of someone waiting in ambush.”

    I’m tempted to say “chump don’t want no help, chump don’t get no help”, but not willing to give up just yet.

  252. In all fairness to Roger Phillips, this is simply untrue. Many people believe that something like Friedrich Nietzsche’s master-slave morality describes a real social pattern,

    No, in all fairness to his readers he should have stuck #!/usr/local/Nietzsche somewhere in his post. Or #!/usr/local/bsdm. Or whatever.

    Far be it for me to claim the Nietzsche was mostly full of shit on this but yeah, IMHO high self indulgent bullshit to reality ratio.

  253. As the lawyers say, there’s certainly a colorable argument that Nietzsche’s description (at least as reported in the linked Wikipedia article) has considerable basis in truth. Certainly, the touchy-feely aspects of it describe modern leftism to a T.

    But I agree: if that’s what Roger meant, he should have said so. The words “master” and “slave”, unqualified, bring up far different ideas.

    And yes, I’m still reserving judgment on what Roger actually meant until he tells us himself.

  254. @jay Wikipedia provides a skeleton but not the fleshed out argument but honestly after 30 years I have no real recollection of Nietzsche as the only reason I was taking a philosophy course was because of a girl. The end result of the course was that between RMS and the philosophy prof I developed an allergic reaction to redefining words to mean something else and then complaining that everyone else uses the word wrong.

    I have also always found it amusing that my wife with a Doctor in Philosophy has never taken a class in philosophy. She should have a Sc.D but nobody offers those.

  255. As usual, Eric’s analysis is spot on. Roger, please get help.

    No one is making fun of you, we just want you to be OK. This is a family of sorts, and we care enough to say that you’re not well.

  256. > Many people believe that something like Friedrich Nietzsche’s master-slave morality describes a real social pattern, and one that’s even correlated to gender.

    Do they believe they’re so strongly correlated as to admit no exceptions?

  257. @nht
    > as the only reason I was taking a philosophy course was because of a girl.

    I think we all want to know…. did you get the girl?

  258. @nht:

    And here I thought I was the incomparable pedantic ass.

    The difference between my experience in being called a [racial slur] when I was a kid to Vincent Chin’s experience of getting beat to death with a baseball bat…

    The pedant’s answer is “…the difference between words and actions”, which is a significant point of contention when discussing geek “oppression” with the traditional gender/race/sexuality social justice groups. One simple phrasing of this issue would be something like “Is it possible to establish a pattern of oppression with language alone, or is action always required?” The reason I dropped into super-pedant mode with Rodney McKay is that either a yes or no answer to that question can be grounds to call the two situations “incomparible”– either in the literal sense of incompatible categories (“Which is bigger, the moon or the number 4?”) when action is required, or in the common sense of ‘so vastly dissimilar in magnitude to be impossible to confuse’ (“Which is bigger, an atom or the Milky Way galaxy?”).

    Calling someone a “pedantic ass” is clearly incomparable [category meaning] to a racially-motivated, fatal beating—they are vastly different actions by nature. However, when we compare the same name calling to the use of racial slurs, we can’t honestly say they are different actions—only that the context attached to both makes the severity incomparable [magnitude meaning]. The problem is that unless this is called out quickly, someone arguing in bad faith can switch between the two meanings at will: they can argue sometimes as if they mean the two forms of name calling belong in different categories and sometimes as if they are of the same kind of action, then when pressed on this contradiction retreat into a solidly defensible “incomparable magnitude” position which is not consistent with either argument.

    Now, I couldn’t care less whether you think racial slurs are more alike the beatings or the generic insults — for the “sake of argument” (or literally, not arguing) I’m quite willing to postulate either position. However, I will object quite strenuously when it appears that vague language is intended to allow inconsistent arguments to be presented.

  259. @nht

    Frankly, your opinion simply isn’t worth any effort to interpret. It’s nobody’s loss but yours when it is misinterpreted and people think you suck.

    Well, good luck making any intellectual progress at all with this sort of attitude. IMAGINE if serious readers worked in this manner. Result: NEAR TOTAL DESTRUCTION of the Western canon!! I mean, if you can’t adjust to CLEARLY SIGNPOSTED, minor shifts in terminology, IMAGINE how you would respond to text written in a different language. No more Shakespeare, no more Plato, etc. It says quite clearly in my post “the slave revolt in morality”. Tell me, what did you “accidentally” mistake that for? Explain to me how it’s possible to fail to recognise that I am talking about something specific, other than that you have incredibly knuckleheaded reading habits?

    No, in all fairness to his readers he should have stuck #!/usr/local/Nietzsche somewhere in his post. Or #!/usr/local/bsdm. Or whatever.

    Hilarious. So.. when you read something and it contains phrases like “the slave revolt in morality” – CELARLY sign-posting a specific set of terms, it’s not up to YOU the fucking reader to refrain from MAKING UP FUCKING BULLSHIT, but the writer’s responsibility to clarify every fucking thing like you’re 5 years old. No wonder you’re such a fucking blockhead. If you really operate in this manner you are simply a fucking dumb ass.

    Far be it for me to claim the Nietzsche was mostly full of shit on this but yeah, IMHO high self indulgent bullshit to reality ratio.

    Incredible. The man who took a philosophy course as part of some subterranean ploy to get a woman, and who admits to having learned nothing, is now – some number of years later – pronouncing history’s greatest philosopher to have a “high self indulgent bullshit to reality ratio”. The lack of self awareness is simply flabbergasting.

    @Jay Maynard

    But I agree: if that’s what Roger meant, he should have said so. The words “master” and “slave”, unqualified, bring up far different ideas.

    It boggles the mind how someone can read a phrase like “the slave revolt in morality” and not clue in that there’s some things they should be familiar with before responding. I can picture in my mind your ape-like confusion over the word “rings” when listening to someone talking about “the theory of rings” and your insistence that they “qualify” themselves, even though that is the exact purpose of mentioning the theory in the first place. Of course this is all unmitigated bullshit, and you are only saying this to rationalize the fact that you have terrible reading habits.

    Now after all this total fucking horseshit, I wonder if a SINGLE one of you mental defectives will go back and read the post and try seriously to understand it.

  260. think we all want to know…. did you get the girl?

    Alas, no. On the plus side I now have many pearls of wisdom to pass along to my son.

  261. The lack of self awareness is simply flabbergasting.

    What you cite as lack self awareness is actually self-deprecation.

    And hint: you aren’t Shakespeare or Plato or Nietzsche.

    I wonder if a SINGLE one of you mental defectives will go back and read the post and try seriously to understand it.

    Yep, I’m sure folks will get right on that with that skillfully phrased request.

    Perhaps you should seek a more erudite crowd for your musings?

    Woot, I just used the word erudite in a sentence not involving a novel by Veronica Roth.

  262. @esr:
    I don’t have to see any of the authors’ code, for example to know that the PNG standard is a thing of hackerly beauty for which they deserve respect.

    Would you give it the same respect if no code existed? If, in other words, if you had the standard, but there was no proof that an actual working implementation could exist? If your answer (as I suspect) is “no”, then the code is still important even if you haven’t explicitly read the source yourself.

  263. >Would you give it the same respect if no code existed? If, in other words, if you had the standard, but there was no proof that an actual working implementation could exist? If your answer (as I suspect) is “no”, then the code is still important even if you haven’t explicitly read the source yourself.

    You are right. On the other hand, the authors of the PNG standard are only contingently the authors of parts of the reference implementation. I wrote some other parts of it myself, which is how I know this.

  264. However, I will object quite strenuously when it appears that vague language is intended to allow inconsistent arguments to be presented.

    Given that he used the words “order of magnitude” in the same paragraph wouldn’t your atom vs Galaxy definition be the meaning he was attempting to convey with that particular word choice?

  265. >Calling someone a “pedantic ass” is clearly incomparable [category meaning] to a racially-motivated, fatal beating—they are vastly different actions by nature. However, when we compare the same name calling to the use of racial slurs, we can’t honestly say they are different actions—only that the context attached to both makes the severity incomparable [magnitude meaning].

    How do you call this out without appearing to deny that? Is it really necessary to call it out, if you agree that the severity is incomparable and thus that it is inappropriate to draw an equivalence between them? It’s not equivocating if both supposedly different meanings of the word have the same effect.

  266. In other words, “incomparable” doesn’t have two meanings here – it always means “should not be compared or treated as near-equivalent” – what differs is the reason they are asserted to be incomparable. Without disagreeing with the validity of either reason, your argument lacks substance.

  267. Actually, on further reflection, I don’t think the category meaning is being used at all – the magnitude meaning (where all three things are in the category of harmful actions) is the only one. So, all the vagueness comes from you. Which makes this a straw man argument – you are substituting a different meaning for the one they intended, in order to invent an inconsistency you can use to tear down their argument.

  268. @nht, @random832:

    Let me quote Rodney McKay again.

    Words without the plausible threat of force are not bullying and mere rudeness is not oppression.

    And even if you were very, very annoyed, that experience is fundamentally different to being a victim of bigotry, abuse, or oppression.”

    This is the sort of language I would expect only when someone is establishing two different kinds of things (“fundamentally different” experiences) rather than a difference in magnitude.

  269. “It boggles the mind how someone can read a phrase like “the slave revolt in morality” and not clue in that there’s some things they should be familiar with before responding.”

    Free clue: not all of us are philosophers, or even have ever taken a philosophy course. I had no idea that when you said that you were referring to a specific theory in a specific field of endeavor. I had never heard of Nietzsche’s master-slave morality before it came up in this discussion. That phrase did not mean much of anything to me.

    You may have thought you were being perfectly clear, but the reactions you have received put the kibosh on that. If you’d explicitly said you were talking about Nietzsche’s theory, you would have gotten a lot less hostility and a lot more discussion. After all, no matter what rarefied circles you may travel in, the simple fact is that Nietzsche is not a very common subject for discussion among hackers, much less the population at large. Consider that the next time you post…or else be prepared to get misunderstood and flamed.

  270. I’ve only worked in the large-corporate IT world for about a year and a half now, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the Project Manager position exists to compensate for the project members’ wide separation on org charts, which leads to the inevitable tendency for what in baseball terms is a “Texas leaguer”. (If you’ve never heard of this, it’s a pop fly that goes over an infielder’s head and falls between him and two other fielders who either can’t get to it fast enough or each think one of the others is going to get it.)

    Her job (and the PM has thus far invariably been a woman) is to run meetings and emails that assure there’s a plan to be sure we all know who is responsible for what piece of the project, and no Texas leaguers fall into the gaps. Even though none of us directly report to her, we all act as if we report to her for the purposes of that project, because on some level we all know hardly anything could get done without somoene who can short-circuit the org chart like that.

  271. So the reason most FOSS projects might not have PMs per se is that they tend to be much smaller organizationally, and therefore have no need for people whose job is to circumvent the barriers those organizational structures tend to impose.

    My theory is that a PM-like role is most needed in a really large project with a lot of pieces that have to communicate with each other, and the teams working on those pieces have evolved sufficiently different sub-…cultures that mediation between them is required.

    The best fit for this would probably be something like a distro, which has to deal with all of the upstream projects and integrate them into a functional whole. The mention of the value of Shuttleworth upthread seems to fit this well.

  272. Monster: The Firestorm project has three major teams, development, QA, and support. The support team is the biggest, somewhere north of 30 or so; QA is pretty small, with a shifting group of testers who don’t really belong to the team so much as they get early access to builds in return for test reports; and there are about 10 developers.

    That group’s big enough that a PM type is needed just to keep the groups balanced, and to keep, for example, developers form going off half-cocked and doing things that would massively increase the support workload.

    The support team is really, really good. Not only do they support Firestorm, but they often give better support for Second Life itself than the official, paid support folks do.

    Without Jessica’s work, the group would fly apart.

  273. @Jay Maynard

    Free clue: not all of us are philosophers, or even have ever taken a philosophy course. I had no idea that when you said that you were referring to a specific theory in a specific field of endeavor. I had never heard of Nietzsche’s master-slave morality before it came up in this discussion. That phrase did not mean much of anything to me.

    THIS IS EXACTLY THE POINT! You didn’t understand, so you just fucking GUESSED. How many times do I have to keep repeating this?

    You may have thought you were being perfectly clear, but the reactions you have received put the kibosh on that.

    WRONG. If I talk to a dog and it doesn’t understand me, it TELLS ME SOMETHING ABOUT THE DOG. Namely, that it doesn’t speak English. Just as it tells me something about you when I say something obscure to you and you respond to me while GUESSING what I meant. Specifically, it tells me that you are a terrible reader.

    If you’d explicitly said you were talking about Nietzsche’s theory, you would have gotten a lot less hostility and a lot more discussion. After all, no matter what rarefied circles you may travel in, the simple fact is that Nietzsche is not a very common subject for discussion among hackers, much less the population at large. Consider that the next time you post…or else be prepared to get misunderstood and flamed.

    IT MAKES NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE. Even small children ask “what does XYZ mean?” You are apparently yet to master this and you appear to be at least 35 years old. Consider that shit next time YOU post!

  274. I’m not sure why some folks here think hackers are somehow more virtuous than any other random set of humans just because they have a talent for coding.

    I think it’s like TomA says up above, “In modern affluent societies (such as the US currently), the productive cohort of the population is shrinking rapidly (largely technology driven) and the remainder is becoming essentially parasitic.”

    Eloi, basically – and what’s worse, inedible. Unless someone tracks down some *much* better recipes.

  275. @Roger Phillips

    >Just as it tells me something about you when I say something obscure to you and you respond to me while GUESSING what I meant. Specifically, it tells me that you are a terrible reader.

    Sierra tango oscar papa, bravo echo india November golf.
    Sierra uniform charlie hotel, alpha — delta oscar romeo charlie echo.

  276. @Alex K

    It’s interesting that you did not quote the section that you originally quoted:

    What I am saying is that those valid complaints about suffering insult are orders of magnitude less serious than the valid complaints of people who have suffered real abuse and oppression.

  277. > what’s worse, inedible. Unless someone tracks down
    > some *much* better recipes

    “They’re made out of meat.” Best not to eat the brains; they can carry communicable prion diseases.

  278. >WRONG. If I talk to a dog and it doesn’t understand me, it TELLS ME SOMETHING ABOUT THE DOG. Namely, that it doesn’t speak English.

    If you talk to the dog in English and expect it to understand you, it also say something about you too. Especially when you get upset that it doesn’t understand you. And then lose your mind because you can’t get the dog to stop peeing on your rug.

    Can you imagine Roger hiring a contractor to renovate his bathroom?

  279. Damn, it looked like it didn’t post, then it did. I may have double posted. The second, revised attempt after I thought the first one went to /dev/null is the better one. Sorry.

  280. @esr, Adrian

    > >dorce?

    > Yeah, that’d be a dork with a pet doge.

    You’re GUESSING, and you know how Roger feels about that: Anyone who couldn’t understand my meaning is a complete and utter moron, and by GUESSING you’re just making it worse for yourself. You Untermenschen should really stop embarrassing yourselves by trying to fathom my wisdom, and just be grateful that I deign to share it with you at all.

    [It’s actually a portmanteau of “dork” and “douche”, but with the “h” left out to guarantee no one would really know what it was, therefore allowing me to proclaim my superiority over you rubes who are bound by actual English. Had anyone actually been able to decipher it, I’d have considered the deMONSTRation a failure.]

  281. Pingback: Shanley Kane, Danger Seeker | improprietaryinfluence

  282. Actually, no, Roger, I didn’t guess. Or, if you like, I guessed and then rejected that guess. Either way, I did not assign a meaning to your words before getting clarification.

    And, as noted above, I think you’re on to something when you bring up Nietzsche’s master/slave morality.

    However…if this is how you treat folks who agree with you, then you must really go off the deep end when someone dares disagree.

    Chump don’t want no help, chump don’t get no help.

  283. From the article ping backed just above:

    “Eric Raymond, in his open-source Withywindle, can ignore the battles going on outside and say, shut up and show us the code,”

    “open-source Withywindle”?

  284. >“open-source Withywindle”?

    Don’t touch it, Jay. Do not be tempted to engage. It’s got crazy all over it. Back away slowly….

  285. @Jay Maynard –

    I assume that the phrase is a (presumed fantasy-reader’s) nerdishly clever way of saying ‘backwater’ or ‘minor tributary to the real way software gets created”.

    I poked around that blog briefly. Less than a month old; only two posts. Subtitled “neoreactionary comment”. I grok ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. (To use another, probably more widely recognized literary quote without context.)

  286. A quick Google turns up that it’s a Tolkien reference.

    Since I still think Bored of the Rings says everything that needs saying about Tolkien in a mere 150 pages…

  287. @Jay, @John wow, are Tolkein references really that obscure here? Believe me, comparing ESR to the Eldest, over which the creations of evil have no power, was not meant as an insult.

  288. “Don’t touch it, Jay. Do not be tempted to engage. It’s got crazy all over it. Back away slowly….”

    Oh, I have the perfect inoculation against Tolkienists:

    Grundig blaupunkt luger frug
    Watusi snarf wazoo!
    Nixon dirksen nasahist
    Rebozo boogaloo.

  289. Has nothing to do with Tolkienists, and more to do with monkey-rage-screeching feminist bullies and trolls. And the mis-placed but quite vehement, reaction to same.

  290. @Jay

    “Chump don’t want no help; chump don’t get [no] help.” (The original had “da” instead of “no”, but I agree that this has a better ring to it.)
    I refer to this as the Billingsley Doctrine. The next sentence is rarely uttered aloud, but is implied:
    “Jive-ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow!”.

  291. @The Monster

    >Just as it tells me something about you when I say something obscure to you and you respond to me while GUESSING what I meant. Specifically, it tells me that you are a terrible reader.

    Sierra tango oscar papa, bravo echo india November golf.
    Sierra uniform charlie hotel, alpha — delta oscar romeo charlie echo.

    This is a DUMB joke, because I wouldn’t ever PRETEND to know what the fuck you are talking about. Keep derping, loser!

    @Jay Maynard

    Actually, no, Roger, I didn’t guess. Or, if you like, I guessed and then rejected that guess. Either way, I did not assign a meaning to your words before getting clarification.

    In fairness to you Jay, you DID ask what I meant first, but this barely counts in your favor because your response was a direct continuation of what everyone else was saying – you merely took the step of skeptically supposing that I might have been understood IN PRINCIPLE as a rhetorical device. So no, you didn’t “push the knife in” but you would have LIKED to, and the fact that you drew the knife out later as part of a PLOY does you few favors. So while you are TECHNICALLY correct, this constitutes YET ANOTHER MISINTERPRETATION, because the point is not precisely who was the one who misinterpreted me in the first order, but also all those who ASSISTED in the process. But I’m more interested in the following:

    And, as noted above, I think you’re on to something when you bring up Nietzsche’s master/slave morality.

    However…if this is how you treat folks who agree with you, then you must really go off the deep end when someone dares disagree.

    I didn’t respond to this because I could sense your well-documented neurosis regarding “leftists” coming into action, but at this point I’d rather deal with that than the endless misinterpretations and pointless “technicalities” the existing thread is mired in. You are correct that left wingers are slave moralists. Feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, redistribution of wealth, etc are all descendants of the slave morality first introduced by the Jews. But libertarians do not favor a “master” morality either, because they wish to put strict limits on power. They are opposed to particular manifestations of slave morality.

  292. Once again, the black readers of this blog (if there be any) are either laughing or shaking their heads.

    The Billingsley character was condescending to the jive guy — and clueless about the relationship of jive to the dominant culture. The “chump don’t want no help” line indicates her reaction with hostility when she is called on her condescension, rather than her being introspective enough to understand where she went wrong and why her behavior was offensive.

  293. >>Sierra tango oscar papa, bravo echo india November golf.
    >>Sierra uniform charlie hotel, alpha — delta oscar romeo charlie echo.

    >This is a DUMB joke, because I wouldn’t ever PRETEND to know what the fuck you are talking >about. Keep derping, loser!

    You’re trying way too hard. Are your pants on too tight or something?

    My 6 year old would get it. Can you ‘s’ ‘p’ ‘e’ ‘l’ ‘l’? And he would probably think a dorce was something hilarious.

  294. > Feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, redistribution of wealth, etc are all descendants of the slave morality first introduced by the Jews.

    Nitpick: just because Nietzsche says that it was introduced by the Jews doesn’t mean it’s literally true. For one thing, ancient Greek and Roman cultures also had some elements of ‘slave’ morality, although they leaned far more to the ‘master’ side. I think we’re dealing with far more widely-shared patterns of thinking. You’re right that libertarians do not strictly favor either, of course.

  295. You have got to be kidding.

    It’s called the subjunctive mood. Look it up.

  296. >It’s called the subjunctive mood. Look it up.

    You can call your cultural appropriation whatever you like.

  297. @Peter Donis
    Golly.

    Well if that don’t take the rag off of the bush!

  298. Once again, the black readers of this blog (if there be any) are either laughing or shaking their heads.

    Doubtful. A bunch of white folks pontificating about racism at each other is pointless and loses its amusement factor quickly. And it’s not like you can really change anyone’s opinion in the matter.

    Same for a bunch of guys pontificating about the female experience in STEM.

    It’s amusing (and not in a ha-ha way) that the few women on this thread are pretty much scoffed at (when not completely ignored) with regard to their opinion on the topic by a large segment of the readers.

    Par for the course.

  299. You’re trying way too hard. Are your pants on too tight or something?

    My 6 year old would get it. Can you ‘s’ ‘p’ ‘e’ ‘l’ ‘l’? And he would probably think a dorce was something hilarious.

    lol piss off “Greg”, imbecile who chimes in about some stupid joke I didn’t even bother to read because you have nothing more interesting to say.

    @guest

    Nitpick: just because Nietzsche says that it was introduced by the Jews doesn’t mean it’s literally true. For one thing, ancient Greek and Roman cultures also had some elements of ‘slave’ morality, although they leaned far more to the ‘master’ side. I think we’re dealing with far more widely-shared patterns of thinking. You’re right that libertarians do not strictly favor either, of course.

    Well sure. For slave morality to poison master morality against itself, there has to be some common elements. But the point is that the Jews kicked off the most successful strand. Regarding the Romans specifically, Seneca goes to great pains to justify the good treatment of slaves – almost all of it phrased in terms of the benefit to the master rather than general moral principles. As for the libertarians – they are mostly slave moralists. Their whole philosophy is based upon non-aggression. Naturally – and as is the case with all moralities – there *is* aggression (or the alternative – death), but it is a much slower-acting aggression based in the first instance on voluntary exchange.

  300. But people aren’t allowed to contribute to that goal without also contributing code.

    What I was getting at, I guess, is that a convincing contribution need not in principle be code in the normal sense.

    As a more direct but still non-code-submitting case, clear and specific bug reports. I tend to familiarize myself with the different pieces of the libraries I use and then combine them in apparently unconventional ways. I’ve uncovered a number of subtle bugs in infrastructure code (the Spring Framework in particular, but also some build tools) and have been able to specifically demonstrate the failure case, even when the mechanism of the bug deep in some black magic that I can’t submit a patch for. A clear (and better yet, reproducible) bug report handles a lot of the effort required to squash the bug and is a sort of fungible contribution toward core committer time.

  301. >A clear (and better yet, reproducible) bug report handles a lot of the effort required to squash the bug and is a sort of fungible contribution toward core committer time.

    Indeed. Another type of contribution I have occasionally found utterly invaluable is ssh access to a particular weird environment in which an elusive bug can be reproduced.

  302. One aspect of the community and process that I don’t think Eric’s quite grokked yet is the reduction in friction provided by GitHub’s fork/pull model. I’ve used (or just been interested in) a number of projects where I’ve opened an issue saying that I’d like to see some feature, to get a response that the maintainer would be happy to add it with a PR. This sort of pre-flighting makes it very low risk on my end to work up code, since the maintainer isn’t going to object to the concept, and the PR workflow makes it very low risk for the maintainer to merge code from a stranger who doesn’t even actually use the software but just saw a potential improvement.

    The ease of this sort of “drive-by contribution” exerts its own strong pressure to judge the code on the code. I’ve received positive and negative feedback, particularly with requests to do X to my submission and push a fixup, from people who knew nothing more about me than my opaqueish handle and abstract image.

  303. >One aspect of the community and process that I don’t think Eric’s quite grokked yet is the reduction in friction provided by GitHub’s fork/pull model.

    I get it. Most of my projects live on gitorious these days.

  304. >lol piss off “Greg”, imbecile who chimes in about some stupid joke I didn’t even bother to read because you have nothing more interesting to say.

    Says the asshole you can’t figure out how to communicate with humans. Enjoy yourself. Being yourself.

  305. I’ve given up on filing bug reports any more. If you post to IRC or a mailing list you’re told to post to the bug tracker. Bug tracker wants me to sign up for Yet Another Account. If I can’t use Google/FB login, the transaction overhead is too much work.

  306. Garrett, you’re definitely in the minority there: there’s lots and lots of folks complaining that FB and Google are taking over their lives…

  307. >Garrett, you’re definitely in the minority there: there’s lots and lots of folks complaining that FB and Google are taking over their lives…

    No, he’s talking about something different – a friction cost that an FB or G+ identity lets him circumvent, whether or not he actually uses either. It’s a valid point.

  308. lol piss off “Greg”, imbecile who chimes in about some stupid joke I didn’t even bother to read because you have nothing more interesting to say.

    “You do not understand ‘ordinary people’. To you they are ‘stupid fools’ — so you will not tolerate them or treat their foibles with tolerance or patience — but will drive yourself wild (or they will drive you wild) trying to deal with them in an effective way.

    Find a way to do your research with as little contact with non-technical people as possible, with one exception, fall madly in love! That is my advice, my friend.”

    –Richard Feynman, in a letter to Stephen Wolfram

  309. Lemme take another crack at a point I tried to make up-thread…

    From the beginning of the The Loginataka by our host…

    Speak, O Guru: How can I become a Unix Wizard?

    O, Nobly Born: know that the Way to Wizardhood is long, and winding, and Fraught with Risks. Thou must Attune thyself with the Source, attaining the arcane Knowledge and Conversation of the System Libraries and Internals. Yea; and such an all-consuming Time and Energy Sink is this as to greatly Imperil thy Grade Point Average (if one thou hast), not to mention thy Sex Life (if one thou hast). But persevere, oh Larval One; rewards beyond the Dreams of Lusers await thee!

    Now, becoming a Unix Wizard is a more ambitious goal than contributing code to an open source project. Nevertheless, I suggest that the kind of compulsive devotion described in The Loginataka, whether it is for Unix, math, electronics or rebuilding old cars, is much more common in guys than women.

    Some people retreat into nerd pursuits as a result of not fitting in. But there are others with that old compulsion to understand and/or to build; being a geek is a result of their compulsion overriding priorities that others consider normal.

  310. @nht:

    I believe you have just validated my original point. When Rodney starts off with the premise that “mere name calling is not a form of oppression (because there is no threat of force)”, then switches halfway to “geek complaints are a magnitude less in severity than others” (i.e. acknowledging some form of commonality between the two forms of experience), I would call that an inconsistent thesis.

    You have to pick one: either insults are oppressive (in which case geeks are truly oppressed, however mild it may be compared to others’ experience) or they are not (in which case slurs are not racist). The rules of formal logic forbid “having it both ways” by changing your definition halfway through the argument.

  311. > in which case slurs are not racist

    Does not follow. In addition to implicitly adopting the premise that the term “racist” cannot have referents that are not oppressive, you are also rejecting that insults can be a contributing part of a larger system of oppression, the other parts of which are not present for geeks even as they are present for minority groups.

  312. And you’re also ignoring that, in general, the argument takes the form of claiming that there is always an implicit threat of violence when a white person uses a racial slur against a non-white person, so such a thing can never be “mere” name-calling.

  313. > I get it. Most of my projects live on gitorious these days.

    Does this mean you have revised your ideas about forking being an inherently negative/hostile thing, or are you doing some other form of mental gymnastics like considering “fork” to be an incorrect term for what is actually being done (which is hairsplitting – at the very least, they’re what you have called “rogue patches”)

  314. >Does this mean you have revised your ideas about forking being an inherently negative/hostile thing, or are you doing some other form of mental gymnastics like considering “fork” to be an incorrect term for what is actually being done (which is hairsplitting – at the very least, they’re what you have called “rogue patches”)

    I think it is a different thing. People who fork projects in the latter-day gitorious/github sense are not usually competing with the person/project they forked from – there’s no attempt to lure developers and users away from the parent project, nor replace the parent project in the plans of people who integrate software into distributions.

    What the new model teaches us is that it’s useful to distinguish between a fork that is a social move against a project and a “fork” which starts a line of development that is intended to either re-merge with the project or become a private customized version. It would be better if we used some other term – say, “clone” – for the latter.

  315. A trip down memory lane. When I was very young (1960s), anyone who was hypersensitive about insults was regarded as being a pussy, and that reputation was worse than any hurt feelings derived from an insult. Are we becoming a nation of pussies? Is the worse thing in life now when someone calls you a name. If we get soft as a nation, that is likely a lot more of a problem than residual casual bigotry.

  316. >And you’re also ignoring that, in general, the argument takes the form of claiming that there is >always an implicit threat of violence when a white person uses a racial slur against a non-white >person, so such a thing can never be “mere” name-calling.

    Wait, what?

    If white people using racial epithets is invariably made racist oppression as opposed to simple vulgar name-calling, by the implicit threat of violence (somehow) always present when a white person uses such a term, what happens, what do you call it, when a non-white person uses racial epithets accompanied by explicit, overt threats of violence? Or, even better, actual real violence?

    I already am pretty sure I know the ‘answer’, but I’m asking for clarification and confirmation.

  317. > It’s amusing (and not in a ha-ha way) that the few women on this thread are pretty much scoffed at (when not completely ignored) with regard to their opinion on the topic by a large segment of the readers.

    It’s actually entirely predictable. It’s due to the standard goalpost-moving of every “social justice” movement. Having won the right to be judged by the same standards as men, women are upset about it. On some level they realize they’ve lost something their grandmothers had, and rather than admit they want it both ways, they tie themselves into logical pretzels to explain why they need to retain certain special deference that men have never granted each other.

    There’s more than a little truth to the joke that “Misogyny” is when men treat women like they treat each other (particularly when the antecedent to “they” is taken to be “women”, who can engage in viciousness I’ve never witnessed in men).

  318. I think “rogue patches” are a real issue in the DVCS/git-based model. Especially for newer projects that don’t really have an established, centralized presence, we should put some effort into purposeful curation, in order to fully replicate the advantages of said centralization. The curation work itself can of course be decentralized and distributed; the point is that there should be a goal of providing reliable, integrated software artifacts that distros and users can pick up easily, not just a bunch of patches/repos floating around.

  319. @TomA
    A trip down memory lane. When I was very young (1960s), anyone who was hypersensitive about insults was regarded as being a pussy, and that reputation was worse than any hurt feelings derived from an insult. Are we becoming a nation of pussies? Is the worse thing in life now when someone calls you a name. If we get soft as a nation, that is likely a lot more of a problem than residual casual bigotry.

    So…
    If someone called you a pussy and you beat the shit of them for doing so, did that make you a pussy?

    :)

  320. @TomA
    >A trip down memory lane. When I was very young (1960s), anyone who was hypersensitive about insults was regarded as being a pussy, and that reputation was worse than any hurt feelings derived from an insult.

    I’m pretty sure calling someone a “pussy” is at least a micro-aggression, with implied sexism and/or homophobia, and WHERE WAS YOUR TRIGGER WARNING?!?!

  321. @Greg

    The word “racism” is carefully defined so as to exclude any act of an “oppressed class” member, who by definition lacks the “power” that imbues the words uttered by members of the Oppressor Class with the ability to inflict grievous harm.

    That this definition is the antithesis of judging all by the same standard is lost upon the typical SJW.

  322. @Random832 (in two separate comments):

    In addition to implicitly adopting the premise that the term “racist” cannot have referents that are not oppressive, you are also rejecting that insults can be a contributing part of a larger system of oppression…

    Ah, I understand. Slurs can be an inherent part of oppression (I suppose, if one insisted on requiring “violence” in any system of oppression, we could define them as being some sort of psychic/emotional violence).

    And you’re also ignoring that, in general, the argument takes the form of claiming that there is always an implicit threat of violence when a white person uses a racial slur against a non-white person, so such a thing can never be “mere” name-calling.

    Ah, I understand. Slurs are not, in and of themselves, oppressive but only a verbal signifier of oppression.

    War is peace, Ignorance is strength, and slurs are oppression (except when they’re not).

  323. > The word “racism” is carefully defined so as to exclude any act of an “oppressed class” member

    Good point. But how many people actually care about this sort of definition? I think there’s still a lot of value in pointing out that officially “Oppressed(TM)” folks can and do act in prejudiced ways. After all, you’re forcing the SJWs to resort to this transparently nutty, toxic ideology and (implicitly, at least) challenging them to resolve the cognitive dissonance resulting from the SJW memeplex.

  324. @ bpsouther

    Being regarded as a pussy was worse than being called a pussy (the latter was often more of an admonition to clean up your act and stop complaining about trivial shit). In my neighborhood, there were lots of social gauntlets that everyone was put through, but these weren’t malicious and were essentially about assuring that everyone in the group possessed at least a minimal degree of toughness. It was about making the group stronger and not really an attempt to ostracize anyone. You had to be a real weeny to be the object of a lot of abuse, but even these guys were protected by the other neighborhood boys if an outsider tried to mess with them, so they were still part of our group. BTW, the above also applied to black and minorities in our lower class neighborhood. We had no concept of racism, same rules for everyone.

  325. @TomA

    You saw the smiley at the bottom of my post and knew I was just joking, right?
    I grew up in a blue collar town in the 70s/80s. The word had the same meaning and implication.

  326. >The word “racism” is carefully defined so as to exclude any act of an “oppressed class” member, >who by definition lacks the “power” that imbues the words uttered by members of the Oppressor >Class with the ability to inflict grievous harm.

    Indeed, I knew that answer. Was just hoping to see someone spouting that nonsense try to defend it. Oh and I was less concerned with the words of members of the ‘oppressed class’, and more with their fists. Oddly enough where I grew up justified fear of the ‘oppressed class’ was commonplace. Makes me wonder about Stockholm Syndrome….

    >That this definition is the antithesis of judging all by the same standard is lost upon the typical >SJW.

    Is there *anything* a SJW cares about other than expressing hatred and gaining power over others? (And yes, those two things are inextricably linked for SJW’s. For them one always leads to and furthers the other.)

  327. You have to pick one: either insults are oppressive (in which case geeks are truly oppressed, however mild it may be compared to others’ experience) or they are not (in which case slurs are not racist). The rules of formal logic forbid “having it both ways” by changing your definition halfway through the argument.

    Or I can pick that insults are oppressive but so much less so than actual violence that the experience is as incomparable as a firecracker and an atomic bomb.

    Which is what he meant. Instead of disagreeing with or discussing his point you decided to go down this silly path.

    It is arguable that his assertion is wrong because this kind of name calling enables the kind of mob mentality that eventually lynches people and justifies any negative result with “they had it coming”.

    That’s a rather weak counterargument but orders of magnitude so much better than yours that it is incomparably better.

  328. > It is arguable that his assertion is wrong because this kind of name calling enables the kind of mob mentality that eventually lynches people and justifies any negative result with “they had it coming”.

    You’re right about the dangers of name-calling, but quite wrong about his assertions. Professionals and intellectuals (i.e. “geeks”) were _deliberately targeted_ in the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal actions in Cambodia. And Pol Pot was quite well-educated in the same sort of fashionable French/Western Marxism that also influenced the Frankfurt School, so-called ‘critical theory’ (a misnomer if there ever was one) in academia and, if less directly, SJW’s.

  329. BTW, the above also applied to black and minorities in our lower class neighborhood. We had no concept of racism, same rules for everyone.

    In the 1960s? I call rose colored bullshit.

    There isn’t a minority in America that would prefer your 1960 American utopia to the “pussified” version today.

    Same rules for everyone my ass. Until 1968 it was still legal to restrict neighborhoods by racial covenants and you could find such covenants in every state north, south, east , west or middle.

    No concept of racism. Fuck you. Everyone is racist to some degree oppressor or oppressed because humans do that. Today it’s much less an issue. But to deny racism was systemic and even codified as law in America in the 60’s is revisionist bullshit.

    Did you even have a black neighbor you fucktard? Did it ever occur to you while writing this idiocy that all those blacks and minorities in the poor neighborhood were there because of racism?

    Jesus. This is why minoriies don’t bother expressing themselves in these kinds of forums. It’s a fucking waste of time, it’s massively aggravating to read crap like yours and you are just going to get pissed because I’m pointing out stuff you don’t want to hear but would rather exist in a fucking echo chamber bitching about evil SJWs and how fucking great it was back in the day that women and minorities knew their fucking place.

    I’ve used my quota of four letter words for the month so I guess you win.

  330. >Same rules for everyone my ass.

    Calm down, Nigel. I didn’t see TomA making a universal claim about absence of racism, just a local one about his neighborhood.

  331. >Jesus. This is why minoriies don’t bother expressing themselves in these kinds of forums.

    A&D has at least one regular who is black; since he does not care to make an issue out of his race, I’m not going to either.

  332. >Did it ever occur to you while writing this idiocy that all those blacks and minorities in the poor neighborhood were there because of racism?

    Flip side of this rant, how do you explain all those white people in the poor white neighborhoods? Couldn’t have been racism.

    It is amazingly condescending, and in fact bloody well racist, to suggest that anything bad that ever happens to someone with melanin in their skin is racism.

  333. Flip side of this rant, how do you explain all those white people in the poor white neighborhoods? Couldn’t have been racism.

    It is amazingly condescending, and in fact bloody well racist, to suggest that anything bad that ever happens to someone with melanin in their skin is racism.

    Condescending? Fuck you, learn to google. Poor whites were stuck in poor neighborhoods because of lack of money. Rich blacks were stuck in poor neighborhoods because of housing covenants and real estate agents simply would not sell them property in good (aka white) neighborhoods. Hence the need for the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

    That happened to my father so this isn’t some abstract history lesson for me. Everything from not being able to get tenure in white universities but black ones to not being able to buy into neighborhoods with better schools because he was asian.

    That wan’t some random act. This was systemic racism that existed in every state of the union to keep races separate and white neighborhoods white. It wasn’t even a hidden practice until later but part of the deed to the house. More prevalent in the South yes but you could find this practice in every state.

    Today money and education is an equalizer. Enough that its not that big a deal. I have no doubts that by the time that my kids are adults that they COULD be President if they had the luck, skill and determination to pursue such a dream.

    In 1960 America neither money nor education was an equalizer…and thank god for the SJWs of the day to change that.

  334. >In 1960 America neither money nor education was an equalizer…and thank god for the SJWs of the day to change that.

    I realize this was a rant, but I can’t let the implied equivalence between the Freedom Riders and today’s SJWs pass.

    The Freedom Riders succeeded – and deserved to succeed – because they called on American society to live up to what was best in its own traditions – individual liberty, equality before the law, indifference to race or other accidents irrelevant to character.

    Today’s SJWs invert those values. They advocate racial identity politics, mandated inequality before the law, and anti-individualism. That is why they deserve to fail.

  335. Calm down, Nigel. I didn’t see TomA making a universal claim about absence of racism, just a local one about his neighborhood.

    My apologies. A button got pushed. Usually I just laugh it off since it IS just history now.

  336. Maybe I misunderstood the train of thought in the oppression olympics up thread, but it’s worth pointing out that if implied or explicit violence is one component of oppression and one which makes insults oppressive, then I do believe geeks of various stripes can check that box too. Can’t think of too many geeks that I know of that didn’t encounter at least some (if not a good bit) of implied and explicit violence, (sometimes sexual) to accompany the insults and general social ostracism.

  337. @ nht

    I wasn’t trying to hit a nerve, just reminiscing about my youth and relating a real world experience that I thought might add something to the discussion. Perhaps a little more background would help.

    Yes, I am Caucasian, but that was the minority race in my neighborhood while growing up. My best friend in 3rd grade was Henry Whitfield. He was black, stood about 6 feet tall, and was a gentle giant. We did everything together. It was also a multi-ethnic neighborhood, with immigrant families from Italy, Lativa, Poland, and Puerto Rico, plus poor Jews from the Ukraine. In my neighborhood, hardship wasn’t an insult, it was no automobile and one pair of shoes for transportation. My mother’s family name was Carciopolo and, believe it or not, dagoes were persona non grata among the WASP contingent.

    Moral of this story. Quit being such a pussy and develop a thicker skin. You’re not the only one on this blog that’s felt the sting of bigotry. And pissing and moaning about the past isn’t going to make you any stronger.

  338. Personally I’m a big fan of private property and free association. Give it time, and it solves many ills. Without the side effects that weakening property rights and free association have brought and will continue to bring….

    A lot of those poor whites you like to ignore were trapped in what were essentially ghettos for the same reason that non-whites were. They were FOB’s, not assimilated.

    Once burned, twice shy. Where I grew up, during the terribly ‘racist’ period you were talking about, people had learned by horrific experience to be bloody *careful* about who you let in to the neighborhood. For one, the coming of the Irish in the 19th Century was a major trauma and it shaped attititudes.

    And with the luxury of hindsight, maybe the people who were so unwilling to risk having *any* unknown quantity move into their neighborhood, might have been on to something.

    The luxury of hindsight also teaches that, in the presence of a welfare state, you need to be even *more* careful about who moves on in.

  339. I realize this was a rant, but I can’t let the implied equivalence between the Freedom Riders and today’s SJWs pass.

    Fine I’ll concede that point with the note that some of the folks labeled as SJWs are probably not.

  340. @nht:

    Or I can pick that insults are oppressive but so much less so than actual violence that the experience is as incomparable as a firecracker and an atomic bomb. Which is what he meant.

    That may be what you (and Rodney) believe, but it is not what Rodney McKay wrote. “Words without the plausible threat of force are not bullying and mere rudeness is not oppression.”

    (I did not expect my original post to become an object lesson in how ridiculous a statement that is—after all, we are nothing but “words without the threat of force” online—but if you are correct in what Rodney actually meant, it makes his continued silence during this entire debate-by-proxy even more ridiculous.)

    Furthermore, we can test if your premise of “incomparable magnitudes” for insults vs. violent oppression is the dominant theory among the various equality activists and SJWs: as these movements achieve their victories, do they pursue the remaining actions above some threshold of injury ever more vehemently, or does that threshold seem instead to descend toward ever smaller “microaggressions” which can be used as examples of continuing persecution?

  341. @nht

    Did you even have a black neighbor you fucktard? Did it ever occur to you while writing this idiocy that all those blacks and minorities in the poor neighborhood were there because of racism?

    Despite his obviously crippling neurosis about his origins, failure to overcome the past, etc, nht is regarded as a perfectly “sane” individual, while people say I am batshit crazy for recapitulating history’s greatest philosopher. Just look at this guy’s inferiority complex. #ButthurtMinorities As though all people didn’t start out as sludge etc all the way down until the clash of whites and blacks, which the whites won PURELY BECAUSE THEIR CIVILIZATION WAS BETTER. Just consider the fantasy world these people live in, like Sub-Saharan Africans wouldn’t have invaded the rest of the world if they’d had the means to do so. So what does it all come down to, in the end? Pure, unadulterated resentment against SUCCESS.

  342. @TomA

    Moral of this story. Quit being such a pussy and develop a thicker skin. You’re not the only one on this blog that’s felt the sting of bigotry. And pissing and moaning about the past isn’t going to make you any stronger.

    This is the smartest thing anyone other than me has written in this thread. And if you people weren’t such monkeys you’d realize it’s _almost_ an executive summary of what I’ve written.

  343. @esr:
    >What the new model teaches us is that it’s useful to distinguish between a fork that is a social move against a project and a “fork” which starts a line of development that is intended to either re-merge with the project or become a private customized version. It would be better if we used some other term – say, “clone” – for the latter.

    Except that “clone” already means something (ground-up reimplementation without access to the original sources).

  344. Except that “clone” already means something (ground-up reimplementation without access to the original sources).

    Or comprehensive copy of the source repository…

  345. > As though all people didn’t start out as sludge etc all the way down until the clash of whites and blacks, which the whites won PURELY BECAUSE THEIR CIVILIZATION WAS BETTER.

    I am not convinced. This is a way more complicated. I actually spent time looking into why the West was succesful and get contradictory results.

    One part is saying it was more democractic, more freedom-oriented, lower power distance, more individualistic, less state power, fewer absolute kings and more power to the baronage or kings being first amongst equals of barons, more rights to the middle class, that kind of thing. This sounds like a nice civilized thing.

    But some sources say the opposite – that Westerners were plain simply more aggressive and more savage than others, having more of a gangsta tough-guy ethic. For example here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malakia#Greek_attitude_toward_effeminacy the Greeks come accross as not more civilized than Persians, but to the contrary, more barbarian, more macho, more savage, individualistic and freedom-oriented indeed, but not in the way of the civilized man but in the way of the street gang criminal who takes every rule he is supposed to obey as a challenge to his manhood.

    I think the jury is still out on this one.

  346. @Shenpen
    “I am not convinced. This is a way more complicated.”

    Africa had a pretty low population density when the Europeans arrived. Read Jarred Diamond “Guns germs and steel” for a pretty convincing argument why.

    Eurasia had the best domesticable grasses and livestock. Compare corn and rice, goats, cattle, sheep, pigs, chicken in Eurasia with just corn (maize) and llamas in the Americas (no manure nor plow animals for agriculture). Most of Africa’s wildlife resists domestication (zebras are killers) and the green stuff was more difficult too.

    And then there were the parasites and diseases (Aids and Ebola are just the latest arrivals). Large areas of Africa are still poorly inhabited due to the tsetse fly. Malaria is still a major problem. Everywhere but in Africa did people settle around rivers (cheap transport). In Africa, they learned early on to stay away from open water. In every continent, the aboriginals dropped like flies when the Europeans arrived. Africa is the sole continent where Eurasians did worse than the locals.

    In short, Africa was adapted to humans before the humans could become a problem. Only after Eurasian food plants and livestock arrived with guns and medicine could the population grow fast.

  347. There are many theories as to why western civilization is currently dominant but ultimately why doesn’t matter.

    What is important is that it continues. Because history shows it all changes. Fortunately, it takes a while for things to shift.

    If we were having this conversation in the 12th century some Mongol would be stating that the acendency of the Mogol civilization was due to its inherent superiority. In the 13th and 14th century some Ming dynasty mandarin would be saying the same. The 15th century is when western civilization started to gain acendency and it is interesting to wonder what the 16th would have been like if Suleiman won the battle of Vienna and continues he conquest of Europe.

    It’s not till the fall of the Ming and Ottomans that the west can claim clear title to ascendency in the 17th century and not until the British Empire did it have the same dominance as the Mongols.

    If we let the Chinese dominate space after such an early lead the 21st century might end up theirs.

  348. @esr is one of my earlier response stuck in moderation or eaten by the software?

  349. >@esr is one of my earlier response stuck in moderation or eaten by the software

    Eaten by Akismet, probably. I see nothing in the pending queue.

  350. @nht
    “If we let the Chinese dominate space after such an early lead the 21st century might end up theirs.”

    With 1.5 billion people, that outcome is reasonably plausible. What will probably ruin the party is that the rest of the planet cannot become a Chinese citizen (yet?). This problem is shared by other East Asian states. It is well known that when people cannot join a club, they tend to team up against it.

    In all the examples you quote the victors did indeed see their victory as inevitable because of their inherent superiority. In that respect, those claiming the inherent superiority of the Europeans as the cause of their dominance follow an ancient tradition embraced by every barbarian chieftain that ever won a war against the neighboring village.

  351. Though an outsider and lurker, I would like to come to R.Phillips’ defense. Read his first two posts in this thread, and try not to be -triggered- by the word slave in proximity to the word woman. Notice also that he is making what looks like an argument and being mostly civil, and leave aside for a moment the issue of whether he is ultimately wrong.

    For instance, the first reply, courtesy of Quuxman, is of course actively missing the point. The sheer magnitude of decisions to be made prohibits the strategy of always judging every contributions on its merits. I assume most of us read the postings on this blog because we are -prejudiced- to think they are interesting, because of past experience with postings also in the reference class [written by ESR and posted on A&D]. I assume what he is criticizing is pretending that this sort of useful heuristics is somehow inherently wrong, which is indeed one of the canards of who he calls the revolting slaves. Is this idea simultaneously wrong -and- not worth discussing?

    It is true that R.Phillips gets increasingly less civil, but please notice the (less overt) nastiness he has already gotten in reply at this point from a variety of people. Mostly being written aside as a foolish, crazy person by people who absolutely refuse to engage with his arguments. He is very much on point where he complains about N-gram refutations – it is very fashionable to be rudely condescending of anything which sort-of pattern matches to sexism.

    In my opinion, the sort of underhanded rudeness and intellectual dishonesty R.Phillips is met with, is orders of magnitude nastier than the unpleasant language he returns the favor with. And in my opinion, it is very unfortunate when the former is applauded while provoking the latter.

  352. Sorry, Anon. I still maintain that Phillips’ statements were not written in language that would produce the reactions he desired. Your “try not to be triggered by ‘slave’ next to ‘woman'”) gives the game away. It’s not at all unreasonable for someone to jump to the wrong conclusion there. If Nietzschean philosophy were a common subject of discussion here, never mind in society at large, he’d have a point.

    It didn’t help that he assumed I’d leaped to the same wrong conclusion as everyone else when, in fact, as I’ve repeatedly said, I rejected that conclusion as almost certainly not being what was intended – but his words did not supply sufficient information for me to find out what he did mean until someone else supplied the necessary clue.

    In short, if you’re going to discuss Nietzschean morality, it’s a Really Good Idea to flag your discussion that way, lest you be misunderstood.

  353. J.Maynard: My main contention is that there is nothing in his posts which justify the reactions. Were he simply raving like a madman or stating what everybody wants to be true, he would have been ignored.

    I think it is the combination of at least vaguely plausible and totally unacceptable which triggers the whole charade – he must be discredited post-haste, but at no point engaged in actual discussion.

  354. @Winter:
    Wolves are also positively mean animals. Comparing perfectly wild zebras with horses and their roughly 4000 years long history of domestication is the kind of trick that Jared Diamond tries to pull, and you apparently don’t notice.

  355. Anon, you can’t compare domestication of the wolf vs. the horse – the latter was way harder and it was only achieved relatively late in human history. (We know quite a bit about domestication of the horse, because there’s a lot of evidence that it is what led to the extremely wide diffusion of the original Proto-Indo-European culture.)

  356. @Anon
    “Wolves are also positively mean animals.”

    No, they are not. Male chimpanzees, hippopotamuses, and rhinos are mean, wolves are pretty easy in comparison. Actually, long time ago, the director of the Berlin zoo commuted in public transport with a wolf on a line. Never a problem until people found out and freaked out.

  357. Anon: Phillips posted something that was more controversial than it needed to be because it was not written clearly to define what it was actually talking about. People reacted as though he’d meant what he wrote, rather than what he actually meant to say. He took offense and went nonlinear.

    This is not an approach designed to foster discussion.

  358. Well that’s odd…if it’s not stuck in a queue it’s getting eaten which is quite bizarre.

    Rewrote it and it got eaten again. Maybe it’s too long.

  359. Moral of this story. Quit being such a pussy and develop a thicker skin. You’re not the only one on this blog that’s felt the sting of bigotry. And pissing and moaning about the past isn’t going to make you any stronger.

    Lol…I wasn’t pissing and moaning about the past I was correcting your bullshit that the past was some great time when men were men and afraid of being called pussy.

    And your best friend was black? Classic. And you’re attempting to pull the race card because you were Italian in the 1960s? Really? Because it “stung” to be a italian-american?

    Yah, guys like Lombardi, LaGuardia and Sinatra had a real hard time with the WASPs not accepting them. And Capra’s rags to riches story wasn’t considered the personification of the American Dream. If DiMaggio was black he’d wouldn’t have gotten strung up for marrying Marilyn Monroe. By the 1960s there had been italian-american governors, senators, mayors in the halls of power, famous italian americans on the silver screen, in sports and throughout American culture for decades. Sure Dean Martin had to change his name from Dino Crocetti but LaGuardia got voted into congress in 1916 with his own last name.

    It must have really really stung. Do you want a bandaid? Pussy.

    Yeah, some folks were “stung” by bigotry. Others got lynched.

  360. @esr

    Nope not the length…there’s something about the text in the 2nd section that causes it to be eaten…the 1st half ended up in moderation the 2nd half just disappears. There aren’t even any links in it.

    I can email it to you if you like.

  361. With 1.5 billion people, that outcome is reasonably plausible. What will probably ruin the party is that the rest of the planet cannot become a Chinese citizen (yet?). This problem is shared by other East Asian states. It is well known that when people cannot join a club, they tend to team up against it.

    No, I don’t think they allow immigration and until I googled 1 minute ago I had never checked.

    I suppose if you really wanted to be a Chinese citizen someday I suppose you could immigrate to Taiwan and wait for the inevitable. Or marry in. I dunno if that works or not.

    They have a female demographic problem…but that wouldn’t help you much.

    But other than for economic opportunities why would folks want to immigrate to China? Many want to get out. Few people are under any illusions regarding the PRC government and what could happen.

  362. And your best friend was black? Classic.

    Careful, you are skirting extremely close to the event horizon of a kafkatrap.

  363. >Careful, you are skirting extremely close to the event horizon of a kafkatrap.

    *snrk* Well put…

  364. Careful, you are skirting extremely close to the event horizon of a kafkatrap.

    Please. I’m not accusing him of any guilt just that his recollections of the 60s is complete and utter bullshit. I never once accused him of any racism and as a kid he’s not responsible for the state of the world in the 1960s anyway.

    So why bring up his BLACK friend? I don’t care what color his best friend was and it’s not germane to the discussion at all.

    His position should be able stand or fall fully based on what the reality was in the 1960s and that reality was that his black buddy was subject to the racist laws and attitudes of the 1960s in ways he simply chooses not to comprehend.

    So bringing up that he had a black best friend is the classic stupidity used to support the contention that he knows anything about what being a minority was like back in the glory days and it wasn’t really so bad.

  365. @Winter:
    So, the director of the Berlin Zoo commuted with a wolf, so they can’t be mean. And there is plenty of footage of people riding zebras – including showjumping – but I assume this does not show that they aren’t mean and can not have their meanness bred and tamed away.

    What exactly would you require, for Diamond’s hypothesis to be refuted? Would it be sufficient to show that indisputably domesticated animals, such as the pig, horse and ox, are comparatively mean in their wild, pre-domesticated forms?

    (@guest: I’m not as much comparing wolves and horses directly, as pointing out how much an animal can be changed by selective breeding. The Soviet fox taming experiment is illustrative of what results can be achieved in the short term.)

    (@all: Please tell me if this sort of egregious off-topic is poor form.)

  366. @Anon

    Generally if the diversion is interesting it is not only tolerated but welcomed. Of course there have also been a few times when a topic has been declared out of bounds for that thread, or in one case (9/11 trutherism) for the entire blog unless ESR makes a post on the subject.

    ESR will tolerate a lot if it is interesting, and there is always a warning before action is taken.

  367. @nht
    “But other than for economic opportunities why would folks want to immigrate to China?”

    That is another problem. If you want it to be “your” century, people have to want to be you. But I was actually refering to this:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-i-just-cant-become-chinese-1409333549

    No matter how huge China’s GDP gets, the U.S. retains a deep, enduring competitive advantage: America makes Chinese Americans. China doesn’t make American Chinese.

  368. @ nht – “I’m not accusing him of any guilt just that his recollections of the 60s is complete and utter bullshit.”

    My recollections were personal and accurate, not a treatise on the 60s or racism in America. Henry was/is real, and I lost contact with him at middle school. I don’t claim any special agency from having befriended a black person (skin color wasn’t an issue for us, most friendships are based on personalities and circumstances). I have no idea why you have such a raging hard-on of hate for the presumed national pastime of racism, but virtually every immigrant group that found its way here had to fight its way into assimilation and acceptance. The famous Americans of Italian descent that you mention are examples of the success stories, not counterfactuals. Wallow in your self-pity if you must, but don’t blame that on the bigots of the world, it’s your choice.

  369. Regarding “Guns Steel and Germs”, I thought his thesis was interesting and helped me to understand something that I was always curious about. When the settlers came to America (and Australia) the natives all died off from the bugs the settlers brought with due to the fact that their immune systems had never encountered European pathogens.

    However, the reverse was not true, the settlers did not die off from pathogens native to the Americas and Australia. I was never sure why, however, Diamond’s contention was that Europeans lived in very close proximity to animals (as in, they lived in their homes) which stimulated and strengthened European immune systems.

    One of the discussions among parents today is the increasing degree of allergies among children, peanut being one of the big topics. There seems to be some speculation that this is due to the fact that kids grow up in a super sanitized world with anti bacterial soap, flush toilets, 409 cleaner everywhere and so forth. And as a consequence their immune systems are never challenged. Since the immune system is designed to fight pathogens, in the absence of pathogens it picks on other things, like peanuts. There seems to be some support for this in for example, the evidence that farm kids have much lower incidences of these types of misfiring immune systems.

    However, I wonder, if Diamond’s theory is right, then we would expect to see a much higher instance of allergies and other false immune attacks in these native populations. I wonder if that is true. Anybody know?

  370. @Anon
    Did these people ride an adult zebra steed? Do wolves attack people often?

    It is not that it has not been tried to tame zebras. The English in South Africa spent a lot of effort to do so. But they could not stop the steeds from trying to kill the personel.

  371. @Jessica
    These native populations had their pathogens. However, the pathogens involved are the ones the human imune system can readily master. The zoonoses brought by the Europeans, e.g., smallpox, plague, measles etc are of a totally different class.

    Also, the increase in allegies ibserved seems to be linked to the part of the imune system that normally combats parasites, e.g., worms, and not virusses and bacteria. But I am not really current in this area.

    At the other end of the spectrum are Africans, which have such a well trained imune systems that it (cross) reacts with almost any antigen tested.

  372. That is another problem. If you want it to be “your” century, people have to want to be you. But I was actually refering to this:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-i-just-cant-become-chinese-1409333549

    No matter how huge China’s GDP gets, the U.S. retains a deep, enduring competitive advantage: America makes Chinese Americans. China doesn’t make American Chinese.

    That is a key advantage…at least from the perspective of diversity and drawing the best from other parts of the world. We also enjoy several other advantages such as a large but not too large population, large land mass, large quantities of natural resources, highly educated population, better infrastructure, homogeneous culture (in comparison to the EU), diverse culture (in comparison to everyone else).

    Its not surprising that we’re the #1 world power and no one is likely to displace us any time soon without some kind of disaster occurring.

  373. Regarding “Guns Steel and Germs”, I thought his thesis was interesting and helped me to understand something that I was always curious about. When the settlers came to America (and Australia) the natives all died off from the bugs the settlers brought with due to the fact that their immune systems had never encountered European pathogens.

    However, the reverse was not true, the settlers did not die off from pathogens native to the Americas and Australia. I was never sure why, however, Diamond’s contention was that Europeans lived in very close proximity to animals (as in, they lived in their homes) which stimulated and strengthened European immune systems.

    The fall of the Mings can partly be attributed to 30M+ dead from plague. I forget which kind but asians live with livestock too and many of the pandemics started in China.

    A virulent pandemic on the scale of the Black Death could really cut short Pax Americana. Even today we mostly look at asia as the nexus for the next epidemic (avian, swine, whatever).

    Anyway, my assertion is that Western civilization and Empires are dominant because of geography and Mahan. The dominant civilization is the one the controls the seas. When the Mings turned their backs on the oceans they doomed Chinese civilization to eventual western dominance. Doh.

    There are always good reasons to stay home rather than explore. It’s just deadly not to push the frontiers.

    An interesting comment from The Atlantic:

    It’s a little strange when you think about it: Just about every American ninth-grader has never lived a moment without astronauts soaring overhead, living in space. But chances are, most ninth-graders don’t know the name of a single active astronaut—many don’t even know that Americans are up there. We’ve got a permanent space colony, inaugurated a year before the setting of the iconic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a stunning achievement, and it’s completely ignored.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/5200-days-in-space/383510/

    If there’s a canary in the mine this might be it. Then again, it’s up there and we’re still supporting it rather than another carrier battle group.

    Still, best not to let the asians establish dominance over space or in a couple hundred years this discussion might be written in Chinese.

  374. My recollections were personal and accurate,

    I guarantee you that your recollections this many years after the fact are not accurate. Especially with regards to the assertion: “We had no concept of racism, same rules for everyone.

    That you think that statement is anywhere close to accurate is laughable. If your buddy tried to date a white girl he’d have been pummeled.

    I have no idea why you have such a raging hard-on of hate for the presumed national pastime of racism,

    Everyone should have a raging hard on of hate for institutionalized racism.

    but virtually every immigrant group that found its way here had to fight its way into assimilation and acceptance.

    For asians I partially agree…we simply have not has sufficient generations here to fully assimilate. This is primarily due to the very restrictive immigration laws that did not allow asians to immigrate here in any great number prior to the 1960s.

    However, some groups can assimilate and eventually disappear. Others cannot regardless of the level of assimilation. Ask the Japanese-Americans who had fully assimilated and considered themselves just American how well acceptance worked out in comparison to German-Americans.

    The famous Americans of Italian descent that you mention are examples of the success stories, not counterfactuals.

    They are counterfactuals to your very lame assertion that you suffered from bigotry to any degree similar to colored minorities in the 1960s. It would be another three decades before African americans had the same level of cultural penetration.

    Wallow in your self-pity if you must, but don’t blame that on the bigots of the world, it’s your choice.

    No wallowing here but yes those laws were the fault of bigots. They didn’t spontaneously appear. Don’t like me pointing you’re full of it? Too bad. Suck it up.

  375. Oh, and I love how you lost track of your friend in middle school and yet describe him as a 6 ft gentle giant. That’s a big 8th grader.

    Yep, your recollections are sure accurate.

  376. @nht

    Ask the Japanese-Americans who had fully assimilated and considered themselves just American how well acceptance worked out in comparison to German-Americans.

    Not to minimize the extra problems assimilating when you don’t visually blend in with the majority, but a great many Germans-Americans Anglicized their names at the start of WWI. They didn’t want to stick out.

  377. >a great many Germans-Americans Anglicized their names at the start of WWI.

    It is just barely possible that my grandfather or great grandfather was one of these, and that if he hadn’t my family name would be Reimann or Reeman or something of the sort.

    On the one hand, there’s no evidence that we know of from the records of Clearfield (my father’s home town) of a name change. And the family story that his grandfather died leading a cavalry charge at Gettysburg is matched by a “Raymond” on the battle monument; I looked. Sergeant in a Pennsylvania cavalry regiment.

    On the other hand, we have learned that my grandfather tried to conceal the family’s ethnic-German roots, and the timing is right for WWI to have been the proximate cause of same. Was easier for him because by all accounts they were French nationals when they emigrated.

    Most likely the family name was already “Raymond” when they crossed the Atlantic in 1815, but records were sparse enough then to leave room for some doubt on that score.

  378. @Winter: I already linked you a video. In the description, it is stated that the animal is six years old, which is presumably adult age for zebras.

    That the British did not ultimately domesticate zebras does not show that they cannot be domesticated, only that they had more success with their familiar and already domesticated horses. Steam engines aren’t unfeasible, they are simply less useful than combustion engines. You might as well suggest that the utter dominance of QWERTY-keyboards proves that it is the only workable configuration.

    But please first address exactly what kind of refutation you demand, for the theory that zebras cannot be domesticated. Is your only basis for this claim Jared Diamond’s suggestion that they are too temperamental, or are there further goalposts beyond the horizon?

  379. @Shenpen

    But some sources say the opposite – that Westerners were plain simply more aggressive and more savage than others, having more of a gangsta tough-guy ethic. For example here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malakia#Greek_attitude_toward_effeminacy the Greeks come accross as not more civilized than Persians, but to the contrary, more barbarian, more macho, more savage, individualistic and freedom-oriented indeed, but not in the way of the civilized man but in the way of the street gang criminal who takes every rule he is supposed to obey as a challenge to his manhood.

    By “blacks” I meant Sub-Saharan Africans. The Greeks and Persians etc are another matter. Further, civilized doesn’t mean “effeminate”, “docile” or “politically correct”. The point is: blacks were enslaved because their civilization (if you can even call it that) was conquerable, not because Europeans had some “evil” essence within them that their ancestors should feel bad about. It is in fact the worst kind of “racism” to try to make whites feel guilty about the success of their ancestors.

  380. @anon
    What evidence? Domestication.

    Wolves have been domesticated and a host of other animals. But no one succeeded in breeding zebras for riding. Neither the aboriginals nor the Europeans.

    And the point is not that the zebra in the clip is an adult, it must be a steed (male). Because it is steeds that attack (as is explained by the video I linked to). I

    And you can, e.g., tame elephants. But people do not breed domesticated elephants. It simply does not work.

    It is also not that Jarred invented this argument himself. It is a quite well known argument. So I am puzzled why you insist on fighting it. Especially as you have little more evidence than some anecdotal movieclip.

  381. I can anecdotally confirm literal, direct anti-German violence in NYC early in the 20th Century, especially around both world wars. My paternal grandfather and older uncles were rather rough characters, and for a reason.

    Rapid and aggressive assimilation resulted, not whining.

  382. The point is: blacks were enslaved because their civilization (if you can even call it that) was conquerable, not because Europeans had some “evil” essence within them that their ancestors should feel bad about. It is in fact the worst kind of “racism” to try to make whites feel guilty about the success of their ancestors.

    Ethiopia did rather well. I think you can call it a civilization.

    There’s no need to feel guilty about history however folks feel the need to deny the occurrence of evil for some reason as well as deny that they have advantages as the dominant demographic.

    Enslaving people because you can is not a good act regardless of reason but an evil one. An act that people justified by categorizing other humans as less than human.

    Also the “worst kind of racism” isn’t making someone feel guilty. That is an idiotic assertion. The “worst kind of racism” is enslaving, torturing and killing people because of race.

  383. On a different note 74.5 million iPhones this qtr. and 1 billionth iOS device sold in December.

    Aren’t they supposed to be disrupted and dead by now?

  384. >Aren’t they supposed to be disrupted and dead by now?

    According to IDC, Android is at 84%, IOS at 11%. The four year trend looks good for Android, bad for Apple – in fact, Windows phones are doing better at reaching new customers than Apple’s are (1.7% growth vs. 2.1% decline over four years.

    So yeah, I’d say Apple is looking pretty disrupted. Not dead let but that can’t be much compensation when you growth prospects are worse than Microsoft’s.

    http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp

  385. @ nht – “I guarantee you that your recollections this many years after the fact are not accurate.”

    How could you possibly make this statement? Are you asserting from firsthand knowledge; where you living nearby? We had many ethnic groups in the old neighborhood, but I don’t remember any Asians named Nigel. And what is the meaning of your guarantee? What do you forfeit if you’re wrong? How would you react if I arrogantly rewrote your youth for you? Sorry, but you flunk rationality and humility.

    “Everyone should have a raging hard on of hate for institutionalized racism.”

    My contention was that you presume racism to be a national pastime, which it is not. I share your repulsion of institutionalized racism, but that problem is way overblown in current society.

    “we simply have not has sufficient generations here to fully assimilate”

    That’s the world as it exists. Some things just suck, and you have to play the cards you’re dealt in life. Whining only gives the illusion of benefit, you have to strive to overcome.

    “They are counterfactuals to your very lame assertion that you suffered from bigotry to any degree similar to colored minorities in the 1960s.”

    Go back and reread my post. I never made nor implied any such thing. If you think that immigrants (be they Italian, Irish, Polish, or Slav) assimilated without hardship, then you are sorely uninformed.

    “No wallowing here”

    I beg to differ. You’re stewing in a pot of resentment and recrimination because you think you’ve been dealt a bad hand in life. Even if that were true, rising about it is better than a lifetime of feeling sorry for yourself.

    Please stop telling other people what to think and start taking control of what you can do.

  386. @nht
    >>Please. I’m not accusing him of any guilt just that his recollections of the 60s is complete and utter bullshit.

    I doubt it. Keep in mind that he was speaking of his neighbourhood, and from a kids point of view. I imagine that within those limitations it was fairly accurate.

    I have no doubt at all that some of the examples you referred to exisited. I never saw anything of that nature when I was growing up, but I grew up in an extremely rural area. Closest family was about 3/4 mile away, next was perhaps three and there were 8 families that made up the entire school district.

    I would strongly suspect that the examples you gave were specific to high population areas, and probably the same ones that have the bulk of the shootings today.

    Not to suggest that they didn’t exist, and that they were wrong. I just doubt very much that they were endemic as you seem to be saying.

    And granted, I never lived in that kind of environment, but even for the ones you say did live there it was at least somewhat by choice. One can move to a different area, small towns and cities are all over the place. They aren’t the big city, but that too is a choice.

    Jim

  387. >>t is not that it has not been tried to tame zebras. The English in South Africa spent a lot of effort to do so. But they could not stop the steeds from trying to kill the personel.

    All they needed was 20-50 zebra generations, culling the mean ones and breeding the more useful ones. The only thing needed to get over the hump there is a few zebras that are worth the trouble in the first few years. (Not comensurals like horses and dogs have become, just showing some sort of small profit. If nothing else, as meat animals, converting grass to something we can eat.)

    I have no doubt at all that capturing and trying to ride a zebra from the wild herd would be a real challenge. Even capturing a newborn and raising it would be pretty iffy. If you spent a hundred years at the task you would probably show progress. By the time your great great grands were old, probably some success.

    As usual, way too short of a measuring stick for trying to measure genetic change.

    Jim

  388. @nht

    There’s no need to feel guilty about history however folks feel the need to deny the occurrence of evil for some reason as well as deny that they have advantages as the dominant demographic.

    If you’d asked an 19th Englishman, he wouldn’t have denied that he has advantages at all. What happened is that resentful little idiots such as yourself conspired to poison people against themselves, such that people feel BAD about the fact that they have advantages over others, in spite of the fact that this is what every person strives for (in one way or another), and that everyone wants to pass something of value on to their kids. So in fact you and your resentful little friends with inferiority complexes CREATED this problem of hypocrisy.

    Enslaving people because you can is not a good act regardless of reason but an evil one. An act that people justified by categorizing other humans as less than human.

    This is just pure stupidity. Firstly, because it judges actions retroactively according to PRESENT standards, and secondly because it is humanist nonsense. To the Europeans, Africans living in the dirt, sticking spears into each other and accomplishing more or less NOTHING might as well be subhuman animals. The fact that it turns out Africans can be turned into human beings if you fill them to the brim with white culture is simply an advancement in knowledge.

    Also the “worst kind of racism” isn’t making someone feel guilty. That is an idiotic assertion. The “worst kind of racism” is enslaving, torturing and killing people because of race.

    WRONG. So WRONG that it can only be the product of a venomous, weak nature. Killing “people” (organisms) because of race (species) is HOW THE HUMAN RACE CAME INTO EXISTENCE. If organisms didn’t engage in an interminable, deadly competition to survive, there would be NO REASON TO EVOLVE INTELLIGENCE AT ALL. What ought to be stamped out is the venomous poisonings of inferior creatures, which doesn’t create anything new, but rather seeks to destroy and weaken others out of pure resentment.

  389. >@esr This blog needs an edit facility

    No, what it needs is for the venomous, weak, and inferior not to make markup errors that have to be corrected by superior men, e.g. me.

    :-)

  390. So yeah, I’d say Apple is looking pretty disrupted. Not dead let but that can’t be much compensation when you growth prospects are worse than Microsoft’s.

    Lol. I knew your response would be good for a much needed laugh.

    Bantering about smartphones is more fun.

  391. @esr:
    >According to IDC, Android is at 84%, IOS at 11%. The four year trend looks good for Android, bad for Apple – in fact, Windows phones are doing better at reaching new customers than Apple’s are (1.7% growth vs. 2.1% decline over four years.

    While I don’t dispute the statistics at all, and agree that Android dominance is better than IOS dominance, I’m not much cheered by this.

    Google seems to be managing with Google Play to do what IBM failed to do with the PS/2; extend and extinguish their own architecture in order to perform a bait and switch from an open architecture to a proprietary one. While the future does seem to be Android, it looks to be a Google Play future, not an AOSP future. Meanwhile, the degree of effort needed to obtain root on mobile devices has always been unacceptable and doesn’t look like changing, even with Android (not unacceptable because it’s necessarily a lot of effort, at least for the technically knowledgeable, but because getting root should be a matter of running the out-of-box setup wizard and entering a root/sudoer account password).

  392. >Google seems to be managing with Google Play to do what IBM failed to do with the PS/2; extend and extinguish their own architecture in order to perform a bait and switch from an open architecture to a proprietary one.

    I have a 1+1 running CyanogenMod now. There’s a path out if Google turns seriously evil.

  393. And the majority of your pronouncements and predictions proved false when you were pretending that the data revealed what you wanted to see so I’m unclear why I’d listen to you know making the same points after having been proven wrong for years while citing data that you claimed was untrustworthy.

    You are literally the worst smartphone “analyst” I’ve had the opportunity to read. And there are a fair number of bad ones.

  394. >while citing data that you claimed was untrustworthy.

    I thought it was trustworthy at the time. That was my most serious mistake. But my predictive record was, and remains, pretty good – I called the market share crossover point ten months in advance, if you’ll recall.

    Anyway, I don’t actually much care whether you think I’m a prophet or not. The important point is: Android 84% and rising, Apple 11% and falling. I will have the last laugh, fanboy. In fact, I’m having it now.

  395. Regarding domestication:

    A great many animals, like Zebras, Elephants, Cheetahs, etc can be tamed, but not domesticated. Domestication means controlling the breeding of the animal.

    Zebras can’t be domesticated because they’re damned dangerous-mean when breeding. So are elephants. Cheetahs can’t be enclosed and expect to breed.

    The Sami and Nenets people in Asia let their reindeer roam wild during breeding season because, like all deer, they get nasty during breeding season. The reindeer isn’t domesticated (yet). Outside of the breeding season, they’re tame.

    There were just damned few animals in the new world capable of being domesticated. The Llama group, the turkey and a few ducks were just about it (aside from the ubiquitous dog). A few rodents, like Guinea Pigs and Nutria as well (both of which are delicious).

  396. Winter:
    A steed merely means something you ride. I guess the word you are looking for is stallion? And if you had spent literally a single minute looking at the source I provided you with, you could yourself have confirmed that the zebra in question is indeed adult (six years old) and is indeed male (he is even named Zack). Not that any of this matters, seeing as you seem happy to assume that any animal that has not been domesticated cannot be domesticated, and refuse to entertain the hypothesis that some animals may exist which can be domesticated, but hasn’t been.

    kb:
    While Cheetahs are indeed difficult to breed in captivity, where exactly did you come up with the idea that controlled breeding zebras is nigh impossible, so as to set them apart from for instance horses pre-domestication?

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebroid#Historical_and_notable_zebroids , we can find a good number of gentlemen purposely breeding zebras with all sorts of equines back in the 19th century, which can hardly be much easier than breeding zebras with each other.

    Most importantly, though – do you suppose that you need to perfectly control the breeding of a population, in order to begin to domesticate it? Do you suppose rougher methods such as culling temperamental males in a relatively free herd is a better place to start? How do you imagine the Aurochs was tamed, some eight thousand years ago?

  397. How could you possibly make this statement? Are you asserting from firsthand knowledge; where you living nearby? We had many ethnic groups in the old neighborhood, but I don’t remember any Asians named Nigel. And what is the meaning of your guarantee? What do you forfeit if you’re wrong? How would you react if I arrogantly rewrote your youth for you? Sorry, but you flunk rationality and humility.

    I can make the assertion based on the fact that human memory is not a very trustworthy source, especially after 50 years and your statement that “We had no concept of racism, same rules for everyone” is clearly false. First, you said “we” instead of “I” which you cannot assert with any degree of certainty and second because it simply isn’t true.

    Tell me what would have happened if a black boy dated a white girl in your neighborhood in the 1960s. Then claim there was no concept of racism in your neighborhood and it was the same rules for everyone.

    My contention was that you presume racism to be a national pastime, which it is not. I share your repulsion of institutionalized racism, but that problem is way overblown in current society.

    We are not talking about current society but society of the 1960s.

    That’s the world as it exists. Some things just suck, and you have to play the cards you’re dealt in life. Whining only gives the illusion of benefit, you have to strive to overcome.

    There is no whining and things don’t suck. You refuse to accept that for some reason. Things are relatively awesome in 2015 wrt to racial issues. There is a black president. There may possibly be a female one next year. In a decade or two there may be an asian one. There certainly will likely be a hispanic one before that.

    Now the LGBT folks are still sitting somewhere in the 1960s from a legal perspective without the legal ability to marry or laws to protect them from discrimination so their situation is different.

    But even there the CEO of the most successful tech company in the world is openly gay.

    Go back and reread my post. I never made nor implied any such thing. If you think that immigrants (be they Italian, Irish, Polish, or Slav) assimilated without hardship, then you are sorely uninformed.

    I can quote what you wrote:

    “My mother’s family name was Carciopolo and, believe it or not, dagoes were persona non grata among the WASP contingent.

    You’re not the only one on this blog that’s felt the sting of bigotry.”

    You weren’t talking about the hardships of Italian Americans in the 1800s but someone on this blog…and given that you specifically self-identified as an italian american the obvious implication is that you were talking about yourself as who “felt the sting of bigotry”.

    I beg to differ. You’re stewing in a pot of resentment and recrimination because you think you’ve been dealt a bad hand in life. Even if that were true, rising about it is better than a lifetime of feeling sorry for yourself.

    I’ve had an awesome life and my kids will have a better one. There is no bad hand to resent because the generations of minorities up through the sucessful civil rights movement in the 1960s paid the price to make sure folks that grew up after the 1970s had a decent hand to play.

    Mostly african-americans did the heavy lifting (and bleeding) in the fight for racial equality.

    Please stop telling other people what to think and start taking control of what you can do.

    Lol, says the guy that I’m pissed off for have been dealt a bad hand despite repeatedly stating the opposite.

  398. @esr

    No, what it needs is for the venomous, weak, and inferior not to make markup errors that have to be corrected by superior men, e.g. me.

    hehe

    @nht

    Lol, says the guy that I’m pissed off for have been dealt a bad hand despite repeatedly stating the opposite.

    No amount of fake “lols” can hide your venom, loser. The mere knowledge that your kind lost and that your existence depends on playing by the white man’s rules is sufficient to make you feel bad. There’s a simple test for this: how many fucks do you think I would give if someone called me a “honky” or whatever? The answer: zero. I don’t think anyone here would believe that you feel the same way about racial epithets.

  399. Anyway, I don’t actually much care whether you think I’m a prophet or not. The important point is: Android 84% and rising, Apple 11% and falling. I will have the last laugh, fanboy. In fact, I’m having it now.

    Look at the total mobile phone market share numbers. Apple continues to outpace total market growth. That Android will capture the vast majority of featurephone conversions is a given because of price but Apple is still increasing along side. The estimate is by 2018 that 90% of all phones will be smartphones.

    Apple had a huge qtr and isn’t losing steam which is amazing since they also increased ASP at the same time. Apple is likely going to be the #2 vendor of the total market (smart and feature phones) with nothing but high end phones in its lineup this qtr. Possibly #1 if Samsung had an exceptionally bad qtr.

  400. @roger I mistakenly responded to one of your posts because it wasn’t raving and I wasn’t paying attention. Sorry, if you have the incorrect impression I will have a conversation with you.

  401. @Anon
    “And if you had spent literally a single minute looking at the source I provided you with, you could yourself have confirmed that the zebra in question is indeed adult (six years old) and is indeed male (he is even named Zack).”

    On the other hand, if you would have looked at the link I posted, you would know that domestication is more than breeding in captivity and finding individuals that can be tamed.

    Here is a nice video of tame lions:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ_vJNFYYGw

    Now, would you suggest starting to domesticate lions? Why did people not simply domesticated lions for fun and profit?

    But I am much more interested in knowing why Jarred Diamond writing zebras cannot be domesticated is so controversial? You are literally the only person I know who gets inflamed by me saying zebras cannot be domesticated? Do you hate Jarred Diamond? Do you not want to cut Africans any slack for not being able to domesticate zebras? Why?

    @Anon
    “Not that any of this matters, seeing as you seem happy to assume that any animal that has not been domesticated cannot be domesticated, and refuse to entertain the hypothesis that some animals may exist which can be domesticated, but hasn’t been.”

    No, but it is an empirical fact that precious few animal species have been domesticated in the last centuries. And that is not for a want of trying. And there has developed an understanding what it needs to effectively domesticate a species (and that is more than breeding in captivity).
    See the link I posted.

    Zebras lack one of the features that are found in those species that were successfully domesticated. Together with the fact that attempts to domesticate them failed suggest you should not bet money on getting it done.

    And as you cannot prove a negative, these observations are all we have to make predictions.

    @ Anon
    “Do you suppose rougher methods such as culling temperamental males in a relatively free herd is a better place to start?”

    That sounds horribly uneconomically. And that might not work fast. That sounds like trying to breed cats that hunt in packs.

  402. @Roger Philips
    “There’s a simple test for this: how many fucks do you think I would give if someone called me a “honky” or whatever?”

    That makes me wonder why you explode at literally every response that people like me, Jessica or Jay give to something you write?

    I know few people who can become so furious when you ask for an explanation of their words. Actually, when I think of it, I know no one else who gets up all in arms and vitriol when I simply ask what they mean when they say something that is opaque to me.

  403. “Anyway, I don’t actually much care whether you think I’m a prophet or not. The important point is: Android 84% and rising, Apple 11% and falling. I will have the last laugh, fanboy. In fact, I’m having it now.”

    Oh man, and I thought we had reached a breakthrough when you admitted that you didn’t understand the mobile market and stopped publishing phone-war updates. Oh well…

  404. @nht
    ” Apple continues to outpace total market growth.”

    No, they don’t:
    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2015/01/apple-passes-nokia-microsoft-for-all-their-phones-smart-and-dumb-bloodbath-results-apple-oct-dec-qua.html

    Apple final 2014 unit sales were 192.7 million iPhones, up 26% from 2013 just about the same rate as the industry grew. So I get a preliminary annual market share for the iPhone at 15.2% which is just marginally down from the 15.5% it was in 2013.

    @ww
    “Oh man, and I thought we had reached a breakthrough when you admitted that you didn’t understand the mobile market and stopped publishing phone-war updates. Oh well…”

    Oh please, Eric, give us another installment. Smartphones are really taking over the world. I expect strong incursions into laptop land and convergence from Apple and Google between their PC and Mobile OS’

    Here are the previous installments:
    The last one, from 2013-09-03. Interesting to see what we were discussing then:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5039&cpage=1#comment-413372

    Links to all installments upto 2Q2012, the last but one
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4500

  405. @TomA

    >Productive people tend to be psychologically stable because they have a reasonable measure of control over their fate

    Sorry for the late answer. The issue is that the measure of productivity tends to what other people are willing to pay for it. This tends to work really badly in things like arts. Actually one reason I just flirt with libertarianism and do not fully buy in is that markets work abysmally bad in arts – that when it is all based on paying customers, you get pop-culture shit, if it is based on the occasional rich mentor or yes, governmental sponsorship, you get quality, higher arts.

    I know this is a bit controversial – who I am to tell that high art is “objectively” better than pop-art, and how the hell can a democratic government spend money on the kind of stuff its voters don’t want to spend money on? I admit I cannot prove the whole thing rationally. I am fully appealing on instincts here – I think basically all of you would find a world where Miley Cyrus outcompetes the SF Philharmonics to the extent that the only the former kind of stuff exists and the later not, a bad kind of world.

    I also hope it can be demonstrated this is not a market failure but at some level intervention-based, such as redistribution, perhaps a more inequal free market would mean more sponsorship of quality, and less mass-produced pop-culture consumption. I also think intellectual property is an intervention, an abomination actually, and killing either legislatively or just through widespread piracy that would be a good way to make the pop-culture shit-generator collapse, high art relies less on per-copy sales and more on sponsorship.

    But I don’t want this to be about politics, sorry. I am just saying markets, money are not good measures of people whose productivity is in the arts.

    Here we can see a clear connection. Artists have a traditional tendency to lean left, and the connection between studying liberal arts and being an SJW is faily clear.

    My point is simply that many of these people are not unproductive, but productive in artsy things that cannot really be measured well by markets and money. This is probably a big part of the picture.

    Okay, this is not exclusive to arts. I don’t think ESR is raking in money with gpsd and similar projects either. So it is not how he measures productivity. But the hacker community has a way to measure worth by different means.

    Perhaps either the artist community or society as whole needs to learn from this, I don’t know. Find other ways to measure productivity.

  406. @TomA

    >Conversely, unproductive people have an innate sense that they are predominantly parasitic and therefore could be discarded as useless under times of hardship.

    I did not notice this part first. Well, I would propose your theory of history is seriouly flawed. There is one thing strangely in common in Libertarians, Objectivists, and, gasp, Marxsts: the assumption that history is based on work, work, work. I.e. productivity.

    I think this is entirely wrong. History is based on conquering and looting. The warrior, not the workman, is the central figure of history. For example consider Caesar looting Gaul. There was an immense amount of human productivity behind creating all that. And it all ended up serving entirely different purposes than what the creators wanted.

    I am not trying to guilt-trip anyone (also saying this to Roger Phillips). Conquering and looting is simply “historically normal”, it is against our ethics, but reality does not really care about our ethics. I mean it in the coldly objective sense, not in an accusatory sense.

    I hope this can be proven wrong, since it is a plainly bleak view. But I think history revolves around warriors, conquerors, looters, not productive people, and if we are looking for a biological-psychological-historical basis for why do some people NOT have self-esteem problems, I think it is not because they know they are productive and thus would be useful in times of hardship, but more like they know they could fight and be even more useful that way in times of hardship, because of helping the tribe not be massacred, looted, and enslaved. Which is kinda more important in times of hardship than being good at making shoes.

    Productivity is something for the good times, not the hard times. When circumstances are civilized, you have police and property rights enforced at court and similar things. This is the good times, not the bad times.

    It is still possible that productivity drives valid, correct self-esteem, but in that case it is not biological, not prehistorical, not old historical, but just based on the last couple of centuries.

  407. Winter:
    I did check your link and I did listen to the grating cartoon voice of your children’s TV voice actor. That is why I have been discussing exactly the issue it raises – i.e. their temperament. Whereas you have been asking whether the zebra being ridden was adult, and subsequently whether it was male – clutching at straws, I presume – which you could very easily have checked yourself.

    Zebras breed just fine in captivity. That’s not a problem. The (not well substantiated) problem, which a poster going by kb brought up, is that of -controlling- their breeding, i.e. keeping them from mating at their own discretion.

    [Largely irrelevant: It is very likely, in part from your video and in part from dealing with cats, that lions could in theory be domesticated. I am not intimately familiar with their breeding habits, which might present problems. The main issue, though, is that of practicality – a single lion eats roughly eight men’s worth of (mostly) human-grade meat. I don’t see how you would make such an animal worth its keep. It doesn’t help much that they are large with a predatory aggressiveness, unlike herbivores which generally only defend themselves when threatened.]

    I also provided you with a link to the Soviet domestication of foxes, which by itself proves that the set of animals which have not been domesticated, yet could have been, is non-empty. Note that wild foxes fail somewhere between two and four of Jared Diamond’s criteria, which clearly shows these are not exact laws: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestication#Animals

    The claim that zebras cannot be domesticated, solely on the basis of their (non-exceptional) temper, despite ample proof that out-of-the-wild zebras have been trained for show jumping and pulling carts, and despite multiple relatives close enough to hybridize with them having been domesticated, is frankly absurd. The defensible position is that they might be slightly more difficult to domesticate than the wild horse.

    [Largely irrelevant: There is nothing uneconomical about culling temperamental males, as long as you don’t overdo it. You are going to eat some of your animals either way, and the females will still be fertilized.]

    Finally, I appreciate your attempts to divert the discussion away from the factual matter of domestication, towards my ulterior motives for discussing and suggestions that I am -inflamed-. If you search this very page for ‘Bulverism’, you will find that sort of nonsense well ridiculed.

  408. >Largely irrelevant: It is very likely, in part from your video and in part from dealing with cats, that lions could in theory be domesticated.

    I suspect the exceptional cat species (if any exceptions exist) are the ones that could not be domesticated. Why I believe this:

    (1) Housecats are not genetically distinguishable from the wild Felis Lybica and Felis Sylvestris and routinely interbreed with the wild stock where the ranges overlap. Implies that these “wild” species should be easily domesticable too.

    (2) The Felidae are both genetically and behaviorally a very conservative and relatively homogenous family. The distance in design space between a housecat and a lion or tiger is not all that great, with most of the divergence being in traits like size that are very plastic under selective pressure.

    (3) The wild cats display behavior and developmental traits that suggest domesticability. One important trait is the ability to form lifelong affectionate bonds with humans if exposed to human individuals early enough – this is not universal in any wild cat species but is common enough that a modest amount of selective breeding would likely produce a subpopulation in which it is 100%.

  409. @Winter

    That makes me wonder why you explode at literally every response that people like me, Jessica or Jay give to something you write?

    I stereotype Jay as a quaint “Little American” type who could live his whole life eating jerky in some shitkicker town without feeling like he was missing out on anything. Certainly, this is how he operates on the intellectual plane. When he puffs himself up against me on this forum, it’s basically just insolence from an inferior organism and I react to it accordingly. Naturally, he’s the most quickly forgiven, as I see him as a kind of lovable, harmless idiot.

    Jessica and you both have high intelligence, small imagination, specialist education only, total lack of will. Both of you believe yourself to be “modern” thinkers, but you’re essentially primitive moralizers. Jessica is more of a verbal, “intuitive” thinker, and as an American knucklehead believes in a DIY approach to thinking. You are a bit more of a conceptual thinker, and as an academic, your shtick is to present thinking as an impersonal matter, to keep “yourself” out of it. All attributes guaranteed to lead to repeated and unremitting intellectual failure. I explode on the both of you because it’s fun to have a punching bag to knock about. Because you both recognize and resent me (particularly you) as your intellectual superior, you can’t help coming back for more punishment. And your dopey, self-unaware attempts at thinking are the perfect provocation. Now if only we had punching bags that could arouse us in such a way!

    I know few people who can become so furious when you ask for an explanation of their words. Actually, when I think of it, I know no one else who gets up all in arms and vitriol when I simply ask what they mean when they say something that is opaque to me.

    Because you don’t operate in good faith, or you’re just too stupid for your request to be useful. Either way, you always misinterpret YET AGAIN, even after things are explained to you, constantly dragging the conversation down into the verbal realm and muddling everything up.

  410. @Winter, some clumsy wording – conceptual thinking doesn’t lead to intellectual failure, just impersonal thinking.

  411. Eric, you’ve spoken of seeing intelligence looking out at you from the eyes of a tiger. (FWIW, I agree; that look, to me, says “you live only because I do not choose to eat you right now”, which implies a nontrivial level of intelligence.) Yet you don’t see that in the average housecat. What makes the difference there? Does domestication select for lower intelligence?

  412. >Does domestication select for lower intelligence?

    Yes. That general fact is quite well known to animal ethologists.

  413. @esr
    When domesticating lions and tigers, you will hit on the occasional feral one that will exterminate your village or tribe. Nonplus good. Maybe you have heard the occasional tale of lions and tigers with a taste for human flesh?

    When using tame zebras to give children a ride in the zoo, you will hit on the occasional bad temper that will kill a few children and adults. Nonplus good.

    And here for the obligatory read:
    https://www.vetlearn.com/_preview?_cms.fe.previewId=e04b2e20-fb7e-11e1-9d55-005056ad4734

    Zebras and zebroids generally become intractable by puberty. The behavior change can be abrupt, shocking inexperienced owners who have become used to an affectionate foal. Bottle-raised animals seem especially likely to become aggressive. Equine practitioners should be aware that zebras are generally unsuitable as pets and should not be handled by children, contrary to suggestions in movies and other media.

    I still do not see why this would be controversial. And why people are so keen on trying to prove me wrong on the simplest matters.

  414. >When domesticating lions and tigers, you will hit on the occasional feral one that will exterminate your village or tribe.

    I have little doubt that domesticating the aurochs into modern cattle was almost as dangerous in its neolithic early stages. If you doubt, reflect that the Cape buffalo kills humans more frequently than any of the other Big Five game animals (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros).

  415. J.Maynard: Domestication is widely regarded as causing -neoteny- or juvenilization. This could maybe explain either actual or apparently lowered intelligence. Then again, housecats are not all that distinct form wild cats. Food for thought, at best…

  416. @Roger Philips
    “Because you don’t operate in good faith, or you’re just too stupid for your request to be useful. ”

    You really cannot know the former, as you do not know me, and you are the only one I ever met that assumed the latter.

    A point of principle here is that me being “too stupid for your request to be useful” is itself a very revealing remark. I assume you do no teaching?

  417. > I still do not see why this would be controversial. And why people are so keen on trying to prove me wrong on the simplest matters.

    I don’t see anything there that says that would persist after many generations of controlled breeding – or that it would make controlled breeding flatly impossible rather than difficult and incomplete – or that the same was not also likely just as true of prehistoric wild horses.

  418. @esr
    “I have little doubt that domesticating the aurochs into modern cattle was almost as dangerous in its neolithic early stages.”

    Indeed, and it still shows:
    http://io9.com/5897169/dna-reveals-that-cows-were-almost-impossible-to-domesticate

    A likely path to the domestication of many animals is as hunting prey attracted to crops in fields. Agriculture attracts herbivores that are a prey for hunting farmers. The idea is that men and animals became used to living near each other which over time lead to domestication.

    I cannot find the original paper anymore, but this covers it too:
    http://anthropology.si.edu/archaeobio/cm/Zeder%20Geptsetal%202012.pdf

  419. @Random832
    “I don’t see anything there that says that would persist after many generations of controlled breeding ”

    And who is going to spend many human generations to domesticate zebras? And why?

  420. Winter: Jared Diamond’s thesis, as I’m sure you know, is that Africans would have wanted to domesticate zebras, because domestic animals are useful, and the lack of domestic animals stunted the development of their societies. He claims that unlike horses, zebras can’t be domesticated. Why do you pretend to forget about this when it is convenient?

  421. And who is going to spend many human generations to domesticate zebras? And why?

    I’ve been patiently waiting for someone to bring up the why question, because it’s key to this (completely off-topic) discussion. Horses were domesticated because there were good reasons to domesticate them. They were useful as domesticated animals. Why domesticate zebras? What would be the benefit, when we already have horses to fulfill the same purpose?

    Of course, that says nothing of whether or not zebras can be domesticated, which is largely irrelevant.

  422. And, more importantly, why are we talking about domesticating zebras in the middle of a discussion about females in hacker culture…?

  423. @ nht

    Well, I have to admit that you are passionately consumed by a tale from my youth. That, in itself, is a rather bizarre fixation, but I will assume that your pain is genuine, runs deep, and is not personal to me.

    Since you love to make tangible assertions about my life history, I invite you to come to Denver for a visit. I will introduce you to Will and Monetta Edwards. Will is a few years older than me (we have been friends for nearly three decades now), but we share a similar background. He grew up poor in Michigan and I did so in Ohio. We will regale you with many tales from our youth, and you will note that the similarities are almost uncanny (and hilarious) even though we came from different worlds. For you will see that Will is black, his wife of 35 years is of Italian descent, and their two boys (Larry and Chad) are mixed race. Their courtship was no piece of cake, but not because of community prejudice, but because Monetta’s family was initially opposed to the union. Will persistently (and eventually) won them over and the rest is a wonderful family history. Our two families have grown up side by side (I have three sons), and they are all bright, accomplished, and colorblind with respect to race.

    This is the life as I have live it, not an imagined world of all-consuming racial hatred. Please come and see for yourself. Perhaps that chip on your shoulder will loosen a little.

  424. Winter: So we are discussing the merits of this theory. It obviously hinges on whether zebras are radically different from horses, such that they cannot be domesticated. You have been discussing this issue yourself for a good while now, so I don’t see where you’re going with pretending it suddenly doesn’t matter.

  425. @Anon
    “It obviously hinges on whether zebras are radically different from horses, such that they cannot be domesticated. ”

    Jarred’s book covers a lot of terrain, with a lot of references. So, no, this particular example is not crucial to his wider thesis.

    On the other hand, when I look for knowledge about the domestication of zebras, they all point towards one direction: Zebras tend to be vicious and mean and domestication attempts have failed. You, however, come back with a single anecdote of one zebra that showed up with a girl on her back. So, what should I believe, a whole stack of literature telling us zebras cannot be domesticated, including a vet that says they are vicious and mean and should not be held as pets, or you who seems to have neither personal experience with animal domestication or zebras?

  426. @Anon
    “It obviously hinges on whether zebras are radically different from horses, such that they cannot be domesticated. ”

    I forgot something. It is with domestication as with cross-breeding and grafting. Small differences can change whether it succeeds or not. Horses, donkeys and zebras can interbreed. But they are still different and whether or not they can be domesticated hinges on small differences in character and habits.

  427. Since you love to make tangible assertions about my life history, I invite you to come to Denver for a visit. I will introduce you to Will and Monetta Edwards.

    Tell you what Tom I’ll concede. But the next time you speak to Will ask him if his recollection was of a neighborhood without any concept of racism and see what he says.

    If I’m ever in Denver again I’ll buy you a beer (or if you prefer a single malt) at the Pints Pub and you can tell me his answer. This will likely be a few years since I don’t travel much for work anymore and the only reason to fly through Denver is to head to skiing.

  428. Winter: So now you are preparing the second line of trenches – zebras cannot be domesticated, but if they can, it still doesn’t matter. What is this force that compels you to distract the attention away from the matter at hand – can zebras be domesticated?

    Yes, zebras are not presently suitable as pets. The same goes for wild foxes, wolves (wild dogs), boar (wild pigs) and aurochs (which also happen to be extinct). This shows that they are not yet domestic animals, but is not a good criterion for determining whether they can -be- domesticated. Domestication is a gradual process, over the course of generations, and involves breeding.

    I could of course have provided you with much more than a single anecdote, but as we have established, you don’t care to actually inspect the sources you are given. Rotschild’s zebra carriage is for instance fascinating.

    If you are content to believe that animals intimately related to horses, that you can sometimes achieve excellent results with without any sort of breeding, -cannot- be domesticated, we are at an impasse.

    For the wider discussion of Guns, etcetera, the easiest way to ridicule him is to quote him.

    “Sound evidence for the existence of human differences in intelligence that parallel human differences in technology is lacking.”
    “That is, in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners”
    “there is also a second reason why New Guineans may have come to be smarter than Westerners. Modern European and American children spend much of their time being passively entertained by television, radio, and movies.”
    ( http://pastebin.com/w8f540Tt )

  429. @ nht – “35 years ago was 1980”

    Willard Edwards was a star football player in Michigan during his high school years in the 1960s. He received a basketball scholarship to Colorado State University in 1971, which is when he met Monetta. Their courtship took nearly a decade because of Monetta’s family objections and it is a testament to Will’s persistence that he never gave up on the relationship until they married. Not sure of the exact date/year, but late 1970s sounds about right.

    None of the above is meant to imply that there hasn’t been real bigotry in America during it past; just a reminder that you can overcome it and still lead a good and fruitful life.

  430. @Anon
    “Winter: So now you are preparing the second line of trenches – zebras cannot be domesticated, but if they can, it still doesn’t matter.”

    No, but you claimed his complete work depended on the impossibility of domesticating zebras. That is evidently not true.

    @Anon
    “This shows that they are not yet domestic animals, but is not a good criterion for determining whether they can -be- domesticated. Domestication is a gradual process, over the course of generations, and involves breeding.”

    I have said it before, you cannot prove a negative. So we cannot “prove” that some species cannot be domesticated. We can only see how far we can get using existing examples. As far as we can see, the odds for zebras are bad. If we breed over enough generations, we can achieve anything we want. But there is no economical reason to spend that much effort.

    Moreover, Jarred’s thesis is not so much that it is impossible in an abstract sense to domesticate zebras, but that it was not feasible for pre-industrial people to domesticate zebras. Which was obvious, or so I thought.

    And as aurochses are extinct, it becomes very difficult to examine their “domesticability”. But the DNA evidence indicates that this was indeed extremely difficult. It might have been a one-time off streak of luck.

  431. I should have gone back and re-read my last post earlier; it seems the second half was eaten (maybe by a missing angle brace?) and did not appear properly.

    So continuing to @nht:

    Ignoring for a moment the fact that I see no practical value in a position of “same in principle, but differentiated by magnitude”, your posts so far leave me with a very puzzling question: where do slurs against ones’ gender, sexuality, or race belong on this spectrum? Are they aligned with generic insults, with physical violence, or somewhere in between?

    [I would hope, since I won’t even quote someone else using a slur, that it should be obvious I rank slurs very closely indeed to physical violence: it is indistinguishably inappropriate to hit someone or call names based on gender, sexuality, or race. However, if you have a better-informed position that I should adopt, I await correction.]

  432. Winter: I stated the thesis in question; differential outcomes in domestication in Eurasia and Africa are best explained by the differences between available animals. I didn’t mean that his entire book hinged on this single fact. The rest of the book does have rather similar flaws, though.

    Since we have now gotten to where we must discuss differences in degree rather than absolute, is it established that zebras are more difficult to domesticate than aurochs? The latter was achieved by pre-industrial Eurasians, after all, and you seem to suggest that it was so difficult it must be explained by luck.

    Presumably, if the aurochs lived in Africa instead and were never domesticated, some contrafactual Jared Diamond would be lecturing us about how aurochs cannot be domesticated. (Read ‘cannot’ in the sense that it is too difficult to acheive by pre-industrial peoples, be they Eurasians of Aricans)

  433. @Shenpen:
    History is based on conquering and looting.

    And conquering and looting is based on…productivity. Otherwise there’s nothing worth conquering and looting.

    A better way of saying what I think you might be trying to say here is that, through most of history, the balance was in favor of the conquerors and looters; productive people could never get very far in building something worthwhile before a bunch of conquerors and looters swooped in and took it all, and then squandered it, putting everyone back to square one. Which is why, through most of history, the human standard of living, on average, never got much above the bare subsistence level.

    The difference today is that we have actually managed to change that balance, at least in some parts of the world, so that the conquerors and looters are suppressed and the productive people get a chance to build something that can support a standard of living much, much better than bare subsistence. And the reason libertarians and others focus so much attention on productivity is that keeping the balance tipped that way is our only chance to maintain that high standard of living. But that requires constant vigilance, since the conquerors and looters are always there, just waiting for a chance to swoop in and ruin everything once more.

  434. P.Donis: Would you consider the bureaucracy and the welfare state as looters?

  435. >>>Does domestication select for lower intelligence?

    >>Yes. That general fact is quite well known to animal ethologists.

    I would question that. Sheep, cows, turkeys… most probably.
    Horses and sheep dogs, not so much. I would expect it to be dependent on what the domesticator wants out of the animal. A working horse needs to be both tractable and smart (within horse levels of smart) A dumb working dog won’t be the one chosen for the next gen either.

    And some dogs are bred for dumb and some for mean.

    Jim

  436. Eric was speaking of cats, which are not bred for work and arguably aren’t truly domesticated. (House cats go feral very easily.)

    I’m not sure how accurate this subjective “seeing intelligence in the eyes” metric really is. My best friend of any species, Smokey, always had an easygoing, somewhat dopey expression on his face; yet he figured out doorknobs without training or human encouragement. He was also keenly insightful in other ways, such as being able to guess whether I was reaching for yogurt (a favorite treat of his) or something else in the refrigerator from behind a closed door.

    I always wondered if Smokey had DNA from one of the large northern cat breeds — Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat — in him. Such cats are known for their intelligence and friendliness.

  437. ” I called the market share crossover point ten months in advance, if you’ll recall.”

    I recall you basing your “experiment” on several hugely irrational and unscientific claims (1. that the US was a sufficient proxy for the world, that the only differentiation was a time delay, 2. that 50% of US smartphones for Android represented a “zero sum” point based on nothing that could be argued to be rational whatsoever, and 3. once this “zero sum” point was reached, Apple would “collapse” — whether or not precipitously or slowly, you’d often vacillate and hedge on this…)

    Not only were all of these assumptions wrong, Apple has done exactly the opposite (continued to grow share in the US smartphone market) since roughly around this “crossover point” occurred.

    How did you respond to this reality? You claimed that the data was no longer trustworthy (even though you relied on it exclusively for nearly 2 years while denying all other data sources), took your ball away and went home, and then decided to claim that you were right in the first place because you don’t have provincial concerns for the US and only the world market matters (despite the fact that you had argued completely differently for nearly two years).

    Recall that in some of my earliest posts I not only stated this was wrong, that Apple was likely to break out of the sideways or downward market share growth in the US and would begin regaining share in the US, possibly as much or more than 50% — this prediction continues to play out for more accurately than your cherry-picked “correct” predictions — but I also argued that even if Apple’s share was reduced to 10-15% in the US or worldwide, they could still achieve a growing piece of the total mobile telephone market (again, this prediction continues to be accurate!), that Apple could have a user base of 500 million to 1 billion users even if it is 10-15% of the market (again, this prediction continues to be accurate!), and this small market share would have a hugely sustainable, healthy, and even powerful base of developers because it’s not the % of share that determines a healthy, viable market but a basic threshold of competent developers and the profits ($$$) those developers do or do not make (again, this prediction continues to be accurate!) — and you and others vehemently argued that I was wrong.

    Please, no one is fooled by your silly attempts to recast your accuracy, your intent, and whether or not your ends were met. You quite simply constructed one of the most foolish, most self-aggrandizing, and wrong models for the smartphone market and your inability to own that certainly doesn’t make you look any less foolish.

  438. >I recall you basing your “experiment” on several hugely irrational and unscientific claims

    Your “recall” is so distorted, partisan, and factually wrong that I see no point in getting down in the mud with you.

    Be grateful for the extra consideration I grant those who disagree with and attack me, or you’d be banned for spouting this nonsense.

  439. The distance in design space between a housecat and a lion or tiger is not all that great, with most of the divergence being in traits like size that are very plastic under selective pressure.

    Temperament is itself very plastic under selective pressure. The domesticated silver fox provides recent experimental evidence for this. There are also plenty of natural examples of genetically close species that differ greatly in temperament, such as the American marten vs. the wolverine.

  440. “Your “recall” is so distorted, partisan, and factually wrong that I see no point in getting down in the mud with you.”

    Those capable of reading English can see otherwise, ESR.

  441. > many Germans-Americans Anglicized
    > their names at the start of WWI.

    That happened in England too. The Saxe-Coburg und Gotha family being the most prominent…

  442. Irrespective of market share numbers, the fact is this: the rule among mobile developers is still the following: develop for iOS first, and Android second as needed.

    The reason is simple: despite having a much smoother process to getting an app published thanks to no approval process, Google managed to cock up developing Android apps in nearly every other conceivable way. Relying on a slow-ass VM with a garbage collector. Not enforcing consistency regarding screen size or device capabilities. (Some SoC GPU drivers flat-out lie about what OpenGL ES capabilities they actually support, leading to bugs, glitches, or simply the lack of a display in many Android games.) Making developers use the crawling eldritch abomination that is Eclipse. And when they finally do support native development in C++, it’s ungainly and requires familiarity with the quixotic mess that is JNI. Shitty, constantly changing APIs across the board, making it more difficult to do basic things.

    Oh, and let’s not forget deliberately, flagrantly violating Oracle’s intellectual property rights to the Java language and APIs, putting the entire future of the platform in the hands of a Supreme Court ruling which may not go in their favor.

    And it’s not entirely clear that Apple’s approval process is a net lose: malware is of virtually no concern on iOS, while it continues to dog unwary Android users. Furthermore, getting an app approved for App Store sales is a feather in a developer’s cap. In general, mobile developers develop for iOS because they want to, and for Android because they have to.

    I know that in Eric’s open-source Withywindle, Apple is the devil incarnate. But overall, developers love Apple, and have loved it for at least three decades. Their soup-to-nuts control over the platform, from hardware loadout all the way to developer APIs and public-facing user interface, enforce a consistency and clarity of vision that’s unmatched in the industry. And that makes developers happy. Apple devices are more than just hip or trendy. They make the soul sing. You may have heard the tale of the two Apple deelopers who were let go before their scientific calculator app was finished, yet snuck into the Cupertino offices at night using forged ID cards, just to finish the app. Simply because it’s worth it to develop a useful application that looks and runs great on the greatest end-user computing platform in history.

    Although it’s a great place with smart, fun people building products of enormous sophistication, near as I can tell, Google still doesn’t have a culture that inspires that sort of passion, dedication, and artistry. Until it does, iOS will still get the prime choice of apps and app developers.

    It’s the platform, stupid.

  443. >It’s the platform, stupid.

    I just trashed a comment by Tim F. for blatant trolling. I apologize to everyone for having allowed myself to respond to Nigel’s earlier troll. I will continue my policy of not responding to such trolls until and unless I am confident that there is a fact basis of reliable market-share figures from which to argue.

    UPDATE: Tim F. has persisted in his trolling attempts and is now under a ban warning.

  444. many Germans-Americans Anglicized their names at the start of WWI.

    My sister married a man whose family added “-ski” to the end of their German surname to make it sound more Polish

  445. @Anon:
    Would you consider the bureaucracy and the welfare state as looters?

    The libertarian side of me would say yes. The realistic side of me says it’s a mix. You have to set up a society with the humans that exist, not with idealized humans that would thrive in an idealized libertarian world. Given that, we can’t avoid a certain amount of bureaucracy and welfare state; or at least, no society to date has figured out how to do that without collapsing. But that certainly doesn’t imply that our current societies are anywhere near optimal in this regard.

    Also, I should mention that I would also include in the looters people who run, say, large investment banks that tank the economy by playing high-risk zero-sum games with other people’s retirement savings. Once again, there will always be greedy people and a certain amount of financial shenanigans, because we have to have some kind of financial system (or, at least, no society to date has figured out how to get along without one), but that doesn’t mean our current one is anywhere near optimal.

  446. @Winter

    You really cannot know the former, as you do not know me, and you are the only one I ever met that assumed the latter.

    Of course I can.

    A point of principle here is that me being “too stupid for your request to be useful” is itself a very revealing remark. I assume you do no teaching?

    Revealing of what?

  447. >Bwahahahaha!!!

    If you are trying to avoid the ban-hammer, you are going about it poorly.

  448. if you are trying to have any credibility as a scientific, rational man who supports open discussion, you are going about it poorly.

  449. >if you are trying to have any credibility as a scientific, rational man who supports open discussion, you are going about it poorly.

    Congratulations. You’re banned, just to demonstrate that I won’t be jerked around in this fashion.

  450. I barely paid any attention to that smartphone subthread, but I can pretty quickly see that Tim F.’s latest applies much more to him than to ESR. Tim, you’re doing whatever viewpoint you hold a disservice.

  451. >Tim, you’re doing whatever viewpoint you hold a disservice.

    No one has ever been banned from this blog for attacking me. But trying to jerk me around by my sense of fair play after having been given a ban warning – without repairing actual conduct – is an instant crash landing.

    From How to get banned from my blog

    But I will not be more specific about the sorts of things I will or will not ban for, because I have discovered this: when I try to be open, fair, judicious, and balanced, there is a category of troll that will constantly push my limits and attempt to use my own scruples, sense of fair play, and respect for the norms of civilized debate as a weapon against me and against the health of the community around this blog. Coping with this sort of thing is a waste of my time.

  452. Conquering and looting is a form of parasitism. It net destroys or consumes as opposed to producing anything new from raw materials.

    In this modern age, some governments marginally serve to oppose conquering and looting within society. And other governments seek a monopoly on conquering and looting of their citizens. Parasitism is a survival strategy for most governments, and if it grows too large, it kills the host.

  453. @TomA

    Conquering and looting is a form of parasitism. It net destroys or consumes as opposed to producing anything new from raw materials.

    So.. how does one “produce anything new” without taking command (another word for “conquering”) of others? This hits at the core of the libertarian delusion – that “libertarian style” interactions don’t result from the application of power, which is as laughable as the leftist’s belief in “equality”. Essentially, libertarianism ideals are a clever way to get slaves to believe they’re working for their own benefit by convincing them that the game isn’t stacked from the start (which of course, as everywhere else in life, it very much is). Hence the high productivity of Americans and the delusional ethos of being “self-made” (as if that were in any way possible).

    Leftism of all stripes more or less boils down to making the slaves aware of their situation in order to put them under a NEW tyranny. At first there is some phony promise to deliver a society of equal comrades working for the common good. Obviously this is totally impossible because life is by definition not “flat”. What is actually achieved is a REARRANGEMENT, quite possibly into a vastly less “equal” structure. The distance between the lowest and the highest man in the “egalitarian” Soviet Union was vastly larger than in the United States or even the aristocratic system that preceded the revolution.

  454. R.Phillips: The obvious answer – how to produce something without commanding others – seems to be to do it yourself. Composing a piece of music seems to be a reasonable example.

    Of course, many forms of production are much more complicated and involve leading / commanding / exploiting others to do work for you, but there still seems to be a distinction between making and taking, at least in principle. Am I missing something?

  455. >>Of course, many forms of production are much more complicated and involve leading / commanding / exploiting others to do work for you, but there still seems to be a distinction between making and taking, at least in principle. Am I missing something?

    And, in addition, some of the folk on this blog miss the concept that “business, done properly, is not a zero sum game.” For the most part in a USA style business economy, at least at the lower levels (perhaps not the mega corps, but even them most of the time), a proper business deal leaves both parties better off than they were before. It is necessary (not as a moral issue, but as a business necessity) that both sides do at least OK. If nothing else because I may want you as a customer again in the future, and even with a one shot sale, that others see that I can and will deliver a good product, up to spec and on time.

    In almost nothing of a normal business environment is in necessary for you to lose for me to win.

    That the real world is seldom perfect does not make the above less true.

    Jim

  456. >> Of course, many forms of production are much more complicated and involve leading / commanding / exploiting others to do work for you

    And how did it get to be exploiting for me to hire you, for more than the bare minimum that you might be willing to work for, but less than you wish you were getting?

    As a business owner/manager I might well hire at a lower wage in a depressed area or during a recession. But I do need the work done, and so long as I can hire and produce at a profit, I will. When the profit goes away, so will the jobs. If the profit is large compared to normal business margins, I better be prepared for competitors to hire the best of my people away and sell at a lower price.

    I don’t see any evil here, just good business management. The only time I can mange evil is if I have a captive labor pool (And the only guy hiring your skills in the area does not count as captive) or a true captive market. The record companies are the stereotype example of both, but even they are slowly losing.

    Jim

  457. @Anon

    R.Phillips: The obvious answer – how to produce something without commanding others – seems to be to do it yourself. Composing a piece of music seems to be a reasonable example.

    First, for you to have time to compose a piece of music, all your vital needs have to be taken care of. Second, it takes the brain tyrannizing over every cell in the body to get the notes onto a page, keep the body alive, fuel itself. Cells and bacteria are dying in your body constantly so that the whole can survive – and most of the time the whole serves the brain. In principle machines could take care of all sorts of labor concerns, but what is a machine (in the sense we mean it today)? The _lowest_ form of life with the weakest will. And that is the way it always goes: the stronger-willed, more powerful organisms push the boring work off to the weaker-willed, less powerful organisms.

    Of course, many forms of production are much more complicated and involve leading / commanding / exploiting others to do work for you, but there still seems to be a distinction between making and taking, at least in principle. Am I missing something?

    Power, order and creation different faces of the same concept. An artist has power over the form of his medium and the minds of the viewers. A statesman has power over civilisation as a whole. Where things get confused is that people are bad at accounting for longer time scales. So they view anything violent, sudden or otherwise disturbing as powerful. And it is – but the power exists only over their _mind_. The best illustration of this are the American spree shooters. Are these people powerful? This is CHAOS at work. Almost anyone can run through the streets shooting at people, doing little more than randomizing some small part of the world. The only order is the terror in the mind of the TV viewer. What’s really hard is conquering a neighborhood and controlling it (ORDER). That’s why the former is usually done by disgruntled idiots and the latter requires at the very least a gang of criminals.

    @Jim Hurlburt

    And how did it get to be exploiting for me to hire you, for more than the bare minimum that you might be willing to work for, but less than you wish you were getting?

    You’re only confused because you think exploitation, control etc are bad.

  458. Back to the original point of the post:

    The SJW thing can be examined from different angles.

    The PETA people might be providing a useful service: In spite of the absolute moonbattery of their position, by taking such an extreme position, we might, as a society, be jerked away from wanton cruelty to animals. This isn’t a bad thing.

    The global warming people may very well keep us from running an open experiment on unchecked CO2 production. I’d love to see us switch over to pebble-bed reactors and liquid thorium reactors for most of our energy needs, and keep the fossil fuels in the ground for when we might need them later.

    Other examples quickly come to mind: by providing an extreme example, we might be slid into some middle ground that’s desirable.

    The current crop of SJW, though, provide the opposite. They’re coming in from the other side, jerking us towards barbaric behavior. When you replace ‘white hetero male’ in their screeds with ‘jew’, and there’s no difference between them and Mein Kampf, we’ve got a problem. The fact that it’s so fashionable now is….

    Well, is it 1934 in Germany?

  459. @Peter Donis

    Entirely correct, but entirely irrelevant to the issue, namely whether the psychological instability of SJWs comes from low productive ability. If through most of prehistory and history the balance was tipped towards conquerors and away from producers, it is not likely that there is some biological trigger that productivity automatically generates healthy self-esteem.

    However, something occured to me. Something that may be actually quite important.

    @TomA, @ESR, please pay attention, this may be something that matters.

    This is actually science based, not my usual philosophical speculation. It looks like the evolutionary basis of depression is keeping the ill and the those whose lose dominance contests out of harms way. And there are good results with treating male depression with testosterone shots, which essentially simulates winning dominance contests. A commenter on SSC (forgot his name) speculated that if it is true, and since even dogs can get depressed, nature must have some fairly simple, not very intelligent trigger in the brain for the “Am I a loser enough to switch to depressed mode?” choice, and this trigger is probably “Is there anyone else under me, am I dominating anyone, does anyone defer to me? If nobody, then I have the lowest rank, better be depressed so that I don’t challenge them.” From this he derived that mild to moderate depressed people should be training, tutoring others, in basically any kind of skill, offering courses, since this is a humane and useful way to exercise dominance. And he claims it is often working.

    Now if it all is true, and at least it rhymes with the science of it, we can try to link production and conquering/looting. Conquering is obviously a way to exercise dominance. But productivity, as such, does not simply mean sitting on your ass and churning out code or making shoes. It too has more gently dominant aspects like tutoring or managing projects.

    If this all is true, perhaps we can say that productivity combined with some kind of exercise of leadership is what causes psychological ability.

    So, one way to help artsy SJW types out of these horrible self esteem problems (which they project to others as oppression) is to recommend them to teach art, artsy stuff, to whoever wants to learn it, kids or adults.

    Predictional test: are teachers typically more psychologically stable? They may still be SJWs ideologically, but my point is about whether they belong to that subset who actually feels intense pain over feeling inferior than others.

  460. Going back to the original topic of the thread, more or less…

    ISTM that there is a significant cohort of “nerds” and gamers who are socially and sexually frustrated males. Their frustration has curdled into misogyny, and manifests in the sort of harassment noted in a comment here by Ken Burnside. (He mentioned a woman he knows who gets a blast of abusive e-mails whenever she posts bug fixes to the game programs she works on.)

    Such behavior should be eliminated. It should be sternly suppressed, but its “root cause” should be addressed too.

  461. @kb

    >They’re coming in from the other side, jerking us towards barbaric behavior.

    Yes – and the backlash isn’t exactly civilized either. Mainly I mean the Red Pill / Manosphere type of backlash, it used to be about valuing honesty over kindness, now it is more like a bravery competition in obnoxiousness. In the zeal to try to offend radfems and white-knights as hard as possible, there is also plenty of fallout to regular women with legitimate complaints. I don’t like that at all.

    It would be sort of good to somehow wall off the SJW-vs-Red-Pill mud-wrestling from the rest of the Internet, even, from the rest of the discussion of similar topics.

    I have a lot of respect for Scott Alexander’s civilized moderate-leftism, and reading his blog has an excellent effect on calming me and ensuring I am not wandering into uncivilized territory with my moderate-rightism.

    The issue is not even really the tone. There is a Red Pill blog called The Soul Is Not A Smithy and its tone is not “nice” at all, after all the author took the Trainspotting character Francis Begbie as his persona. Yet, it totally comes accross that below that he is an absolutely good guy with a keen sense of empathy and understanding. More of these, please. Intentions matter more than tone.

    And you know what is the weirdest? As Matt Forney called it, these are all narcissistic bum fights. Like Gamergate. They are not about stuff that matters. It is a form of violent collective navel-gazing, while the important stuff in the world goes whooosh by.

  462. J.Hurlburt: Try not to get too hung up on the emotional connotations of the word. In a situation where the employee would want higher pay and the employer want to pay less, they are both wielding their power against each other.

    The employer holds some power, for instance in that his employee is unwilling to go to the trouble of or maybe even unable to get other forms of work. The employee holds some power as well, perhaps in that has more experience in this particular job than a theoretical replacement. While you can couch this in terms of morality, fairness, mutually beneficial exchange (…), this is ultimately a sort of (non-violent) hostage situation where both parties are trying to swing the deal in their favor.

    Getting to decide what counts as fair is also ultimately a form of power in this exchange.

  463. R.Phillips: Thanks. I actually think I understood your point just by assuming there was one and mulling it over while going to sleep. I think perhaps the word co-dependencies goes some way towards explaining it. The musician could be said to be exploiting others’ appreciation for his work, and is himself enabled by living in a society where he does not need to fend for his own food and safety.

    I am not sure if the distinction between producing and looting is entirely dead on arrival, though. There is a difference between raising cattle and stealing from your neighbors. Both are of course applications of power, but a police / militia / sheriff which enforces property rights amplifies the power of the producer and diminishes the power of the looter. This seems to be an important step towards a wealthy society.

  464. >The musician could be said to be exploiting others’ appreciation for his work, and is himself enabled by living in a society where he does not need to fend for his own food and safety.

    Roger has “power” confused with “coercion”, and thus trade confused with exploitation. This is a not entirely unexpected result of getting drunk on Nietzsche.

  465. ESR: I wouldn’t write him off that quickly, but maybe you have discussed this with him previously. Is not exploitation just a form of trade, where the (various forms of bargaining) power is heavily skewed in one party’s favor?

  466. >ESR: I wouldn’t write him off that quickly, but maybe you have discussed this with him previously.

    Not Roger, specifically, but this is a kind of confusion libertarians often find themselves contending with. There are many strains of left-wing thought (and even a few strains of right-wing thought) in which it is a major theme.

    >Is not exploitation just a form of trade, where the (various forms of bargaining) power is heavily skewed in one party’s favor?

    Rationally, it does not actually matter what semantic boundaries you draw around terms like “trade”, “exploitation” or “conquering”; what matters is the underlying reality of whether one party to a transaction is being forced or tricked into a transaction that has a net negative outcome for that party. The language is only meaningful if different terms have semantic fields that coincide with different kinds of transactions without confusing them. Do not confuse map with territory.

    When a musician “exploits” others’ appreciation for his work, the transaction is positive-sum; each party gives up less than each party gains. That should be called “trade”; it is tendentious to call it “exploitation” and an outright abuse of language to speak of either party conquering the other.

    Now, at this point we could go haring off into the weeds about whether the word “exploitation” actually has referents, and if so what they are. But that would be an argument about map, not territory, and it would be a distraction from the more severe problem with Nietzscheanism.

    That problem is that a Nietzschean does not believe positive-sum exchanges exist, or if they do they can only be marginal and unimportant phenomena surrounded by oceans of force and fraud. Most of economic and social life has to be masters and slaves trying to dominate each other, or masters and slaves trying to trick each other.

    Nietzsche’s language is a kind of propaganda designed to put you in that frame and keep you there. Roger has bought it all, hook, line, and sinker. It is not irrelevant that Nietzsche died insane, and that Roger sounds most unhinged when he’s at his most Nietzschean.

  467. Second, it takes the brain tyrannizing over every cell in the body to get the notes onto a page, keep the body alive, fuel itself.

    See kids, this is what Philosophy will do to you if you let it. The field that promises to explain Everything That Matters™ works by thoroughly scrambling every map you have and then giving you the mother of all superiority complexes.

  468. Gaaahhh! Hate it when I remember something right after clicking post, guess that proves my inferior worminess.

    Roger’s brain tyranny comment also betrays a total and complete ignorance of how the body works, it is the philosophers model of the human, not the biologists.

  469. ESR: I believe you might be making this too easy for yourself. I’m not sure if it is possible to do the positive-sum / negative-sum calculus you assume.

    Say there is a choice I can make, where I give up a little wealth everyday in order to not be killed. Am I being extorted, or am I willfully participating in a positive-sum transaction?

    It seems to depend on the framing. Suppose that there is a volcano, and that I must feed some coins into it to prevent it from erupting. Far-fetched, of course, but let’s leave that aside for the moment. In this case, it is clearly positive-sum.

    Suppose that there is instead a dangerous, wild beast. If I feed it, it leaves me alone. Else, it eats me. In a sense this is even more positive-sum, because the wild beast clearly also benefits from being fed. In another sense, it seems that I am being exploited, by the beasts power to end my life.

    Suppose that this beast is instead a human being. It now seems obviously negative-sum, insofar as this person is capable of instead doing productive labor himself which would leave the both of us better off.

    It seems that you cannot disentangle your utility analysis from a counterfactual framing. You need to answer the question of whether a thuggish sociopath ‘could have done otherwise’, or if he at least has some moral obligation to do otherwise. It might not be impossible, but it is surely not trivial.

    It seems to follow that dictating what is and isn’t a moral obligation will ultimately determine whether sums come out positive or negative. And in a social context, this is the ultimate form of power.

  470. >In another sense, it seems that I am being exploited, by the beasts power to end my life.

    Exploited is a word with which you will only confuse yourself. The beast presents you with a threat of force.

    >Suppose that this beast is instead a human being. It now seems obviously negative-sum, insofar as this person is capable of instead doing productive labor himself which would leave the both of us better off.

    You’ve put your finger on the key point here. The beast may not be capable of recognizing the Schelling point at which neither of you threaten each other with force; the human is.

    >It seems that you cannot disentangle your utility analysis from a counterfactual framing.

    If there were no Schelling points, that would be true.

    >It seems to follow that dictating what is and isn’t a moral obligation will ultimately determine whether sums come out positive or negative. And in a social context, this is the ultimate form of power.

    This is the Nietzschean trap, right here. The Nietzschean does not understand that Schelling points exist and create natural cooperative equilibria. If that were true, all morality would have to be imposed by force. Because it is not true, silent trade is possible – people who do not share a common language or culture can perform positive-sun exchanges without even meeting face to face.

  471. @esr
    “When a musician “exploits” others’ appreciation for his work, the transaction is positive-sum; each party gives up less than each party gains. That should be called “trade”;”

    Actually, almost all value created in human societies comes from “trade”: My surplus for your surplus.

    The more people are involved in trade and the longer the distances involved, the more value is created. But trade is only viable when transportation and transaction costs (and risks) are lower than the gain. Hence the economic revolutions brought about by roads (Roman), canals (Chinese), railways and container shipping.

    I think that the value created by trade is what fuels state forming: States promote (internal) trade. When they don’t, income declines rapidly (and people die). But I expect you will have a different view on this.

  472. >I think that the value created by trade is what fuels state forming: States promote (internal) trade. When they don’t, income declines rapidly (and people die). But I expect you will have a different view on this.

    The silent trade also shows that state formation is not required for positive-sum exchange. It is true that some states sometimes provide services that increase trade efficiency, but this is an argument for the state only if those services cannot be decoupled from the state. In the real world, we can observe that this is not true.

  473. @Anon
    “Suppose that there is instead a dangerous, wild beast. If I feed it, it leaves me alone. Else, it eats me.”

    Sounds like the textbook definition of a “parasite”. Parasites are generally considered to have only negative effects on their host.
    (ignoring the problems with the definitions and realities of parasitism and mutualism)

  474. I once attempted to explain silent trading to a communist, unsurprisingly he refused to understand the concept. Rather, he insisted that it was merely a “gift culture”.

  475. >I once attempted to explain silent trading to a communist, unsurprisingly he refused to understand the concept. Rather, he insisted that it was merely a “gift culture”.

    You’ve given me an idea for a future blog post. The silent trade demonstrates the existence of objective morality.

  476. ESR: “(W)hat matters is the underlying reality of whether one party to a transaction is being forced or tricked into a transaction that has a net negative outcome for that party…. When a musician ‘exploits’ others’ appreciation for his work, the transaction is positive-sum; each party gives up less than each party gains. That should be called ‘trade’; it is tendentious to call it ‘exploitation’.”

    I would agree with this definition in principle, but I have always wondered if it does not have a couple of fairly toxic loopholes in practice. Firstly, of course, as long as both parties to a transaction show a nominal gain, it does not allow for the possibility that one party is gaining vastly more than the other (e.g. price-gouging or debt-slavery), and secondly, as long as one party is not directly and personally deceiving or compelling the other, it does not allow for situations where one party is taking advantage of external circumstances which offer the other very few or even no tolerable alternatives (e.g. monopolies or hoarding). How would the utilitarian calculus prevent such situations?

  477. >How would the utilitarian calculus prevent such situations?

    By taking a sufficiently long-term and inclusive view of net utility. Debt slavery is a good example of a situation where a long-term analysis of utility inverts what we think we see in an analysis limited to single transactions. Extraction of monopoly rents is usually a similar case, though less obviously so.

    You are pointing out some technical problems which, while not trivial, are solvable. I’m not even going to be able to sketch the solutions in a blog comment thread, though. Occasional A&D commenter Dr. David Friedman has done a lot of good work in this area.

  478. @esr
    “The silent trade also shows that state formation is not required for positive-sum exchange. ”

    I was thinking about trade beyond the local tribe/village. Think cities and larger.

    There have been times and areas where a person could not cross the border with the next tribe/village without risking his live. That tends to impede trade enormously. Hence the wealth of the great empires which did allow (some) people to trade across the empire (Roman, Persian, Chinese, Arab, Mongol).

  479. I don’t know if there’s been any research on this, but I suspect that a high-tech slave society might be impossible.

    Consider the slave working on the plantation. The slave owner would rationally apply force to the slave to “motivate” them to work at maximum sustainable output rate. The output of the slave is fairly obvious – amount of $stuff collected. Dropping below that rate is immediately obvious and can be dealt with immediately through additional “motivation”.

    Consider now a software developer. As a slave, I could be “motivated” to sit at my desk all day. However, most software is corner case handling. Bugs are discovered sometimes years after the software has been written, even if audited by many others. There’s almost no way for an owner of slave-me to know if bugs which creep in are a result of oversight (aka nobody’s perfect), laziness, or worse, sabotage. Application of direct force (such as whipping) is likely to *lower* my productivity in the short term rather than raise it as it’s a cognitive task.

  480. It is well to remember that the modern evolutionary stew that incorporates civilization is only a few thousand years old. During most of our history, higher level communication and intellect were not available to our ancestors, and consequently selection pressure was more immediate and existentially consequential. As such, the evolutionary modalities of the past may not be playing out the same way in our current environment. In many ways, our minds are now evolving faster than our bodies used to.

  481. “You are pointing out some technical problems which, while not trivial, are solvable.”

    Agreed; but my point, insofar as I think I have one, is that the criteria needed to solve the problems of severely unbalanced yet “non-exploitative” transactions come from considerations that cannot be deduced from the utilitarian mechanics of trade itself.

    For example, who decides what scope constitutes a “sufficiently” long-term and inclusive view of net utility? Either party to a transaction has an interest in defining that to their own advantage, and in influencing any third-party arbitrators who may be called upon to so decide. Alternatively, what obligation does one party to a transaction have to ensure the other is acting “rationally”, i.e. has full information about all options and alternatives? It is very easy (and not always wrong) for a merchant to say, “I’m not my customers’ keeper,” but there is a difference between traders unafraid of improving their partners’ knowledge and traders who prefer to take advantage of partners’ ignorance.

    There are, as you say, solutions to these and the other problems, but those solutions aren’t in themselves “utilitarian”, I would suggest, in that they rely on values that must be agreed upon before the transaction and can’t themselves be derived from it.

  482. >There are, as you say, solutions to these and the other problems, but those solutions aren’t in themselves “utilitarian”, I would suggest, in that they rely on values that must be agreed upon before the transaction and can’t themselves be derived from it.

    The silent trade is valuable precisely as a demonstration that this is not true – that, in fact, there a game-theoretic equilibrium of sustained cooperation is reachable even when the partners’ only concern is to maximize self-perceived utility and their only communication with each other is their history of accepted and refused exchanges.

    I will develop this idea further in a blog post.

  483. >The silent trade also shows that state formation is not required for positive-sum exchange.

    Obviously, that was never the purpose of states. The purpose is to prevent negative-sum exchange i.e. violence, to provide defense. Or rather to monopolize that, because if competition in the production of goods is good, then competition in the production of bads (violence, coercion) cannot be good, so you rather have a monopolistic coercer than many competing ones.

    The way it relates the positive-sum exchange is generally taking certain risks, like highway robbery out of it. Losing all your goods for nothing to a bandit is a particularly bad outcome, so if you make normally 10% profit on a trade route, 10% of a bandit attack makes you rather want to not do it at all. Trade is very vulnerable to this, and this is why the Pax Romana, Britannica, Americana etc. mattered / matter.

  484. The global warming people may very well keep us from running an open experiment on unchecked CO2 production. I’d love to see us switch over to pebble-bed reactors and liquid thorium reactors for most of our energy needs, and keep the fossil fuels in the ground for when we might need them later.

    No. Solar. My clean energy will be renewables-based or it will be bullshit. Especially when it takes a patch of desert 250 km on a side to supply the world’s energy needs from solar alone.

    For non-energy use of hydrocarbons we need to figure out how to synthesize them at scale.

  485. @anon
    >>Getting to decide what counts as fair is also ultimately a form of power in this exchange.

    What you said is what I said. Except for this line.
    Ignore fair, or at least define it to mean that both parties are better off with the exchange than they would have been without it. It’s not required that they both win equally, the two versions of win may be hard to equate in any case. It is merely necessary that both prefer the current relationship to no relationship.

    Jim

    Jim

  486. @Jeff Read: In order to make solar viable, you need a way to store energy for use overnight. Lots and lots of energy. The only way to do so at scale right now is through the use of pumped storage facilities. This involves damming up current valleys and pumping water into them when power is available, and running them like a hydro plant when it is not. Is that going to be acceptable? How can the legal battle be overcome?

  487. > The only way to do so at scale right now is through the use of pumped storage facilities.

    What about molten-salt solar/thermal?

  488. > But trying to jerk me around by my sense of fair play after having been given a ban warning – without repairing actual conduct – is an instant crash landing.

    I think this strategy produces a risk that someone who feels that there was nothing wrong with what they originally said* will double down because they’re having a bad day… maybe there should be some room for cool-off periods rather than going from warnings to permanent bans.

    *disclaimer: I have no idea what he originally said.

  489. >I think this strategy produces a risk that someone who feels that there was nothing wrong with what they originally said* will double down because they’re having a bad day… maybe there should be some room for cool-off periods rather than going from warnings to permanent bans.

    Theoretically a good point, and I might implement it in the future. But since, on average, I only drop the banhammer rather less than once a year, I’m not very worried that I’m overreacting. I believe that my total of bans since the blog launch in 2002 is now up to 7.

  490. The marketplace is an evolutionary proving ground where the strong prosper and the weak either get better or become extinct. This natural mechanism has been with us for a very long time.

    If barbarism (thrive by force alone) was a long-term success strategy, then it would still be a major feature of current life. That it has been largely supplanted by civilization is a demonstration that the most robust model will eventually takeover and persist.

    An interesting question is . . . can we optimize future evolutionary development via the power of intelligence?

  491. @Random832: “What about molten-salt solar/thermal?”

    An interesting idea which seems to be practical in some areas. However, I haven’t had much luck finding plants which operate both at scale as well as over time. The Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Spain has a rating of 20 MW, and was able to sustain 24×7 operation for 36 days continuously. I don’t know why they aren’t advertising a longer duration of operation than that after 3 years.

    Compare that to the new AP1000 reactors which are designed for over 1GWe on a smaller footprint. That’s 50x the power without the ongoing distraction of glowing beacons in the sky. Also, they can be placed independently of climate, though not topology.

    Solar power reactors such as this might be suitable for demand-following supply which follows day-time demand (eg. air conditioning). However, I still don’t see it being able to provide the extensive supply of power needed broadly.

  492. Ideally, we’d have a robust global power grid, and be able to ship power from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world.

    In reality, of course, none of our power grids are robust, we’re insane to make them as large as they are let alone global, so each country (and regions of larger countries) needs to supply itself and maybe buy/sell excess from nearby regions.

  493. Stephen J.: For example, who decides what scope constitutes a “sufficiently” long-term and inclusive view of net utility?

    Whoever’s setting their personal scope does. Consider: the wider the scope, the more factors to consider; the higher the risks; and ultimately, the more effort must be expended to analyze the scope and manage all the risk. So for example, I might not have enough resources to plan beyond next month to my satisfaction, so one month (or less) is my limit. Alternately, I might be able to plan certain simpler projects out for the next decade, so I do broad-brush things like opening a retirement account and ignoring details like exactly what groceries I might buy with it in 2050.

    But notice that such long-term details still exist whether I ignore them or not. All I’m doing is deciding not to spend effort managing those details. Something in those details might still bite me – perhaps I had part of my savings in an investment fund involving wheat futures, only to find out in thirty years that wheat has been partially replaced by some synthetic substitute and my savings drop by more than I expected before I was able to reallocate. And perhaps I could have foreseen this replacement and increased my net utility if I had more closely studied cutting edge advances in GMOs… but I didn’t have time.

    The point here is that while any economic party has an interest in setting its own scope, there’s a force pushing it narrower (it’s simpler to keep track of that way) and a force pushing it wider (it might catch more potential risks).

    Any party also has an incentive to widen their scope if they believe other parties are, too. If we’re both speculators in some commodity and I’m looking one year ahead, and I get evidence that you’re looking two ahead, I’m suddenly going to become very interested in what you think. I might try to find what you’re looking at, what inside tracks you might have; or I might just copy your decisions. (Alternately, I might convince myself that you’re not playing too riskily or that you’re ignoring certain factors I think are important. Either way, you’d be a point of focus.)

    Any economic party also has the same basic utility problem when deciding whether to pass information to another party. Happens all the time. Sometimes it’s apparently selfish, such as when a house seller informs a potential buyer that someone else was interested in buying too; sometimes it’s apparently altruistic, such as when someone claims that since higher education levels increase everyone’s quality of life, everyone ought to have an interest in donating to education – and it wouldn’t really be donating per se, but rather purchasing of a slightly higher QoL. (I say “apparently” because there’s significant opportunity for misinformation in both examples, and others, that could flip the appearance of selfishness / altruism.)

  494. Random832: I think this strategy produces a risk that someone who feels that there was nothing wrong with what they originally said* will double down because they’re having a bad day… maybe there should be some room for cool-off periods rather than going from warnings to permanent bans.

    ESR: Theoretically a good point, and I might implement it in the future. But since, on average, I only drop the banhammer rather less than once a year, I’m not very worried that I’m overreacting. I believe that my total of bans since the blog launch in 2002 is now up to 7.

    In practice, ISTR there was a ban last year that might have not happened if there was a cool-off of, say, a week. (I forget the name. Eric apparently had met him in person at least once. I do recall he wouldn’t stop posting, and Eric asked him to at least limit it to N per day and he couldn’t stick to that and Eric finally dropped the hammer. I never noticed him post before that, though.)

    I remember Tim F. from much older Smartphone Wars posts. He never came off to me (as someone with no real stake in that war) as anything other than bad-faith, even if / when he had information to share.

  495. >In practice, ISTR there was a ban last year that might have not happened if there was a cool-off of, say, a week. (I forget the name. Eric apparently had met him in person at least once. I do recall he wouldn’t stop posting, and Eric asked him to at least limit it to N per day and he couldn’t stick to that and Eric finally dropped the hammer. I never noticed him post before that, though.)

    I believe that one was a glossolalic nutcase who had previously got himself banned here under another name (possibly his real one) for the same behavior. I don’t think we had ever met.

  496. (Hmm. The notify of followup comments mechanism seems… broken right now. Will try RSS feed for a while and see how that goes.)

  497. hmm. maybe it’s time for a new phone-war post after all:

    Microsoft invests in Cyanogen

  498. @Anon

    I am not sure if the distinction between producing and looting is entirely dead on arrival, though. There is a difference between raising cattle and stealing from your neighbors. Both are of course applications of power, but a police / militia / sheriff which enforces property rights amplifies the power of the producer and diminishes the power of the looter. This seems to be an important step towards a wealthy society.

    The intention is not to kill the term “looting” nor any other term. None of the above is controversial, but the bit about “amplifying power” is stated incorrectly. I don’t know how we got to this point because “looting” very clearly sits on the side of CHAOS (weakness), not order.

    Of course, nobody is bothering about this order/chaos thing nor anything else I ACTUALLY SAID because they’re (and this doesn’t include you, Anon) too busy derping about libertarianism and “silent trade” and other shit that has ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING.

    @Foo Quuxman

    Why do you keep responding to posts you are incapable of understanding? Don’t answer, that I already know..

    @esr

    Roger has “power” confused with “coercion”, and thus trade confused with exploitation.

    I understand the distinction perfectly. lol? This has nothing to do with anything I said. Disappointing to see you dropping into monkey mode

    This is the Nietzschean trap, right here. The Nietzschean does not understand that Schelling points exist and create natural cooperative equilibria. If that were true, all morality would have to be imposed by force. Because it is not true, silent trade is possible – people who do not share a common language or culture can perform positive-sun exchanges without even meeting face to face.

    This is simply fabricated bullshit from an American dolt. Thanks to you there’s now so many fucking fabrications in this thread now that I can’t be bothered quoting them all. I don’t believe in Shelling points, I think trade is the same thing as exploitation, I don’t believe in positive-sum interactions etc, all fucking FABRICATED (and worse, fraudulently attributed to Nietzsche) because libertarianism is a bulwark of your identity and you have to mobilize a squadron of rationlisations any time it’s criticised. I scarcely believe you have so much as an INKLING of what was meant by any of my posts, just that I think libertaranism is stupid, which leads to a need inside you to DEFEND it, regardless of whether you’re capable of doing so. Just as various imbeciles around here had to DEFEND when they say the phrase “women are slaves”, regardless of whether they were in any way capable of doing so. Except of course to start jumping around and making monkey sounds, as you have just done. The fact that your monkey sounds are about a hundred times more advanced than theirs just adds insult to injury.

  499. >I think trade is the same thing as exploitation, I don’t believe in positive-sum interactions etc, all fucking FABRICATED (and worse, fraudulently attributed to Nietzsche) because libertarianism is a bulwark of your identity and you have to mobilize a squadron of rationlisations any time it’s criticised.

    Had it occurred to you, Roger, that I might have read Nietzsche too, and encountered Nietzscheans before, and therefore had reason to believe these things about Nietzschean thought independently of you?

    In the past week I’ve received two independent requests that I ban you for abusive behavior, spewing of content-free insults, and general motormouthing. I would strongly prefer not to do this, because I think you have an interesting mind when you’ve actually got a grip on yourself and can behave like a civilized person. Besides, you’ve changed my mind about something at least once; I don’t remember what it was but I tend to allow anyone who has done that a great deal of slack.

    So let’s try to play nice, shall we? We’ll start with something simple: if you wish to assert that you do recognize a difference between trade and exploitation, then do so instead of just raving about fabrication. Then explain what you think the difference is and how it relates to the Nietzschean opposition between master and slave morality.

    It is possible that I have failed to understand Nietzsche on this point. You might teach me something.

  500. In order to make solar viable, you need a way to store energy for use overnight. Lots and lots of energy.

    Not if you put the collector in space.

  501. ESR: (First, thanks for the interesting discussion.)

    I am afraid I’m still not entirely convinced, though. I think you want the Schelling points to do more work than reasonable.

    Say that I am in the wilderness and encounter a woman who has broken her leg. All the effort I have to make to save her life is to spend two minutes calling 911 on her behalf.

    In this case, even though I am providing her with a service of immense value, I think (nearly) everybody’s intuitions say that I cannot reasonably refuse to help her unless she agrees to become my concubine. This seems exploitative. (I.e. in the same category as demanding compensation for refraining from killing someone.)

    But now, gradually dial up the cost of helping her, from the trivial to the suicidal. Perhaps I have to carry her some distance to safety. Perhaps there is a blizzard, and that in doing this I will be putting myself in considerable danger.

    As the cost increases, my moral obligations seem to diminish, and it becomes permissible to refuse to help or demand compensation. Crucially, I do not think people agree on when this transition takes place.

    This perhaps reveals one of the Schelling points involved – that everybody is better off for living in a society where there is an obligation to help each other out in cases of emergency, when very little is required. But it also hints at a general problem with the Schelling points – there seems to be a Schelling region, where coordination is imperfect, in between the edge cases of ‘trivial cost’ and ‘heroic effort’.

    And in these hard cases, we can’t just ignore the problem of determining the zero-level of behavior. (Remember, we want some way to ground our negative-sum / positive-sum transaction calculus, such that extortion rackets are cleanly negative, but being a bit lazy is not.)

  502. >In this case, even though I am providing her with a service of immense value, I think (nearly) everybody’s intuitions say that I cannot reasonably refuse to help her unless she agrees to become my concubine.

    Right. You are using her distress to impose on her. I don’t think it is difficult to analyze this as a wrong based on the particular Schelling point revealed by the silent trade – give value for value.

    >But it also hints at a general problem with the Schelling points – there seems to be a Schelling region, where coordination is imperfect, in between the edge cases of ‘trivial cost’ and ‘heroic effort’.

    I agree. The usual reply to this, which I agree with, is “hard cases make bad law”. That is, the fact that we cannot apply a rule with 100% certainty of correctness is not a reason to reject the rule when we reasonably expect that averaged over all cases it will lead to better positive-sum outcomes than competing rules.

  503. I have found it a curious study to watching the interaction with Roger here. It seems to be that he fits pretty clearly into two very specific species of Internet denizens.

    Firstly the dictionary Nazi, though he has his on spin on this. Essentially this person defines words the way that is convenient to them and then defends that definition irrespective of its common meaning. Now in Roger’s case he is fixated on the particular vocab in his world, but it is an extreme example of this phenomenon. In Roger’s case he takes words with specific meanings in specific contexts, words that are deliberately chosen in that context to be extremely provocative.

    So for example, when he uses the word “slave” or “master” or “exploitation” he has specific meanings in mind that are different than the standard meaning, allowing him to say things like “you think exploitation, control etc are bad” as if that isn’t self evidently true for any common meaning of those words. If a person doesn’t know the specific meanings that he is using (without any signaling that special meanings are to be used) he goes nuts and questions our sanity for not asking him to explain his out of the norm use of these words.

    I reminds me of words like nigger, whore or queer. In some very limited social contexts these words are perfectly acceptable, but in general use they are deliberately provocative. Without explaining the context it is just plain wrong to use them outside of their specialized usage. Normally people scrabble to justify their use, Roger just lights the fuse on his vitriolic contempt. Basically the big disconnect is that he is living in a different semantic domain than us, and apparently expects that we should all live in his little philosophical echo chamber.

    He seems to think that it is entirely the responsibility of readers to understand his meaning no matter how obtuse or obscure and that he is entirely absolved of any responsibility to explain himself clearly in a manner that the typical reader would understand. Perhaps we are indeed, relatively speaking, a bunch of drooling monkeys, or as he said at one point, having the intellect of a five year old. However, one does not give a college textbook to a five year old and then tear him a new asshole when the fucking moron can’t understand it. Which isn’t to accept his lowly view of our intellect, but it is curious to wonder what is going on in that head.

    Which leads me to the second part, which is more interesting, and useful. One wonders if we are all such fucking morons why he graces us with his presence. I guess he revealed himself when he wrote: ” I explode on the both of you because it’s fun to have a punching bag to knock about. ” Which is to say he says provocative things to get a reaction from us all.

    As you probably know, the correct term for such a person is a “troll”. And the great wisdom of the web tells us that you should not feed the trolls.

  504. R.Phillips: I wouldn’t mind if you elaborated on order / chaos. My best guess is something about the how I can toss a bouncy ball into a store full of fine china – it is powerful, in the sense that a lot will happen, but weak in the sense that I have very little control over precisely what happens, and weak in the sense that I can only take things in one direction – i.e. destroying what already is there, but not making anything which isn’t.

    Whereas order is not merely about making something dramatic happen at random, but being in control of the consequences. (I am mostly guessing, I have to admit.)

  505. ESR: I might need a disambiguation for -value-, as in value-for-value. It seems like you want some sort of nominal value, so to speak, to trump the practical value. But the whole point of transactions is that goods have different (practical) values for the two parties – because of this you can have positive sum transactions, right?

    (I really don’t have the proper terminology for this.)

  506. >ESR: I might need a disambiguation for -value-, as in value-for-value. It seems like you want some sort of nominal value, so to speak, to trump the practical value. But the whole point of transactions is that goods have different (practical) values for the two parties – because of this you can have positive sum transactions, right?

    Right. It’s a positive-sum transaction if both parties gain value, but there is no requirement that they have the same utility function. To recognize a positive-sum transaction, it is not required that we know both utility functions. It isn’t even required that the parties be fully aware of their own utility functions., just that they be able to compare gains and losses across conceivable outcomes.

    This is straight-up neoclassical and Austrian economics. You might benefit from reading an introduction to microeconomics, such as David Friedman’s Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life.

  507. @ Jessica

    An excellent and rational analysis of Roger’s most recent interactions here on A&D, but I also think that Roger is smart enough to have figured this out as well. As Eric has alluded to earlier, Roger may need some professional help in order to be able to communicate effectively with the other pretty doggone intelligent people here on the blog. This is the outcome that I desire, as he is an outlier thinker that can inspire unconventional insight. I don’t think he’s trolling maliciously, just operating on a different plane of consciousness.

  508. ESR: I might have asked the wrong question.

    For the value-for-value principle to make help-for-slavery wrong, you need to regard the phone-call as being of trivial value (as it is for him) rather than of immense value (as it is for her).

    To me, it seems that the general principle is to gauge the (perceived) value the transaction generates (ultimately because of different utility functions), and that this surplus should be split evenly between both parties. (This last part is where the so-called-exploitation enters the picture, because excess bargaining power can allow one party to hog the lion’s share of benefit, which is maybe-unfair.)

    Thus I’m not sure if the value-for-value principle is the right reason, for help-for-slavery being wrong. I think you need something much more nebulous, like the assigning-value-to-life taboo. Fleecing someone who collects celebrity memorabilia, for instance, seems much less scummy.

  509. >Thus I’m not sure if the value-for-value principle is the right reason, for help-for-slavery being wrong

    What happens to you if you get a reputation for driving that kind of ‘bargain’? People won’t want to trade with you – they won’t expect value for value in the terms they conceive it. It is in your long-term interest to have a reputation for trading fairly.

    Here is where we cross over into virtue ethics. It is difficult to maintain a reputation for fair dealing without internalizing fair dealing as a virtue; other humans, being at the near end of millions of years of cheater-deception arms races, are very good at detecting that kind of deception.

    Ultimately, the reason you don’t want to try to make lost girl your concubine is that being the kind of person who can do that sacrifices future opportunities for positive-sum gains.

  510. @esr

    Had it occurred to you, Roger, that I might have read Nietzsche too, and encountered Nietzscheans before, and therefore had reason to believe these things about Nietzschean thought independently of you?

    Of course. But there is no good reason to believe these things on the basis of having read his books. And half of Nietzsche’s “followers” are Marxist idiots who are incapable of reading his books for comprehension. Don’t you think it’s a bit embarrassing for you to justify your ideas about Nietzsche on the basis that you were fooled by these people?

    So let’s try to play nice, shall we? We’ll start with something simple: if you wish to assert that you do recognize a difference between trade and exploitation, then do so instead of just raving about fabrication. Then explain what you think the difference is and how it relates to the Nietzschean opposition between master and slave morality.

    I see this style of conversation as useless, because you’re insisting that I clarify something that isn’t germane to the point I was making. Trade is something like exchange between approximate “equals”, and exploitation is just a negative way of saying “use”. They’re distinct but overlapping concepts, like “shoot” and “murder”. Asking me to slave and master morality doesn’t speak to any of the posts I’ve made at all.

    Let me recapitulate what I _did_ say: libertarian style interactions will still be the result of power discharging. They will not be “free”. One person will still control another. It might not be as sudden or shocking (like say, pointing a gun in someone’s face and demanding labor), but it is no more “free”. There will be weak people and strong people, and the strong people will set the direction of things – which is exactly as it should be. Right now I don’t have the energy to unravel how you managed to go from this to disbelief in cooperation, lack of Shelling points etc.

    @Anon

    I wouldn’t mind if you elaborated on order / chaos. My best guess is something about the how I can toss a bouncy ball into a store full of fine china – it is powerful, in the sense that a lot will happen, but weak in the sense that I have very little control over precisely what happens, and weak in the sense that I can only take things in one direction – i.e. destroying what already is there, but not making anything which isn’t.

    Whereas order is not merely about making something dramatic happen at random, but being in control of the consequences. (I am mostly guessing, I have to admit.)

    This is more or less what I meant. Power is the extent to which you can control things. That’s why it can’t be “gifted” to others. The act of “freeing” someone is an attempt to control them, and to the extent to which they subvert you it is an indication that your attempt failed, i.e. a revelation of your own weakness. Usually, when people say “control” they are using it with some implicit qualifications the hide certain kinds of power. So for example people would object to the statement that “you’re controlling of your children”, when this is exactly what the job of a good parent is. Another reason people never get the “power” thing right is that they first postulate a degree of power, and when it turns out to be wrong they further postulate the ability to magically influence events without power, rather than admitting that their estimation was wrong.

  511. > I think this strategy produces a risk that someone who feels that there was nothing wrong
    > with what they originally said* will double down because they’re having a bad day…
    > maybe there should be some room for cool-off periods rather than going from warnings
    > to permanent bans.

    If they’re old enough to have a clue about what’s going on on this blog and still behave that way, then they need to learn when to not be a dick.

    Learning when to not be a dick is a very, very important skill for people who are intrinsically. It can save a fortune in dental bills, and can heck, the life you save might be your own.

  512. > Liquid-metal batteries get boost from molten lead

    Lead, CO2?

    Lead, CO2?

    Lead, CO2?

    Fuuuuckkk lead, I’ll take the CO2.

  513. @Jessica

    Firstly the dictionary Nazi, though he has his on spin on this. Essentially this person defines words the way that is convenient to them and then defends that definition irrespective of its common meaning. Now in Roger’s case he is fixated on the particular vocab in his world, but it is an extreme example of this phenomenon. In Roger’s case he takes words with specific meanings in specific contexts, words that are deliberately chosen in that context to be extremely provocative.

    I understand and allow you your monkey language, I just don’t want you to talk bullshit in it. It’s YOU who insist that I talk in a stilted, primitive way so that you can understand me. It’s the fact that the way you use your monkey language you are constantly misrepresenting events, just as here you are misrepresenting me as being some kind of grammar Nazi when I allow each person his own language, and you allow only one!

    He seems to think that it is entirely the responsibility of readers to understand his meaning no matter how obtuse or obscure and that he is entirely absolved of any responsibility to explain himself clearly in a manner that the typical reader would understand.

    Here’s what Nieztsche had to say about this:

    The opinions of one’s opponents. — To assess the natural quality of even the cleverest heads — to see whether they are naturally subtle or feeble — one should take note of how they interpret and reproduce the opinions of their opponents: for how it does this betrays the natural measure of every intellect. — The perfect sage without knowing it elevates his opponent into the ideal and purifies his contradictory opinion of every blemish and adventitiousness: only when his opponent has by this means become a god with shining weapons does the sage fight against him.

    This is what I do to your replies; you do the opposite.

    So for example, when he uses the word “slave” or “master” or “exploitation” he has specific meanings in mind that are different than the standard meaning, allowing him to say things like “you think exploitation, control etc are bad” as if that isn’t self evidently true for any common meaning of those words. If a person doesn’t know the specific meanings that he is using (without any signaling that special meanings are to be used) he goes nuts and questions our sanity for not asking him to explain his out of the norm use of these words.

    “Control” is a specific term, and the way it is generally used is not suitable for intelligent conversation. And there is plenty of signalling. In what way is screaming “STOP MISINTERPRETING ME” a thousand times not a signal? The truth is most of you are talking well past one another, but none of you care enough about the intended meaning to realize it. It doesn’t even interest you what the other person means, which is why you find lots of stupid reasons not to take an interest in it.

  514. Jessica Boxer on 2015-01-21 at 10:24:03 said:

    @William O. B’Livion
    > Back in 2009 when I was in Iraq one of the contractors called another contractor a whore. Not seriously, but the same way he’d called half the other guys in the office a whore at one time or another.

    I missed this the first time round but it is a curious thing to say. You call a guy a whore and it is generally considered a compliment, you call a woman a whore and it is generally considered about the worst thing you can say to her. This is due to the particulars of the social constructs we have about the relative roles of genders in sexual relationships.

    You’re missing the context and in so doing not getting the tone.

    Most guys in the trades, the military (and associated civilian occupations), and when not around women have a bit of coarseness to them.

    We *routinely* call each other things that are, to male-dom *far* worse than calling a woman “whore”, but context and tone matter *a lot*. To say to one of your platoon mates, co-workers or whatever “What’s up fag” is generally not an indication you think he’s homosexual (and if you think he is for whatever reason you don’t say it unless you’re *really* good friends). Things like “Shut yer cock-hole” or “Don’t make me tear your head off and shit down your throat” are really not uncommon in that realm, but *are* in more professional settings.

    When Male Contractor called Female Contractor a whore he was treating her–in tone and context–like he treated every other contractor and enlisted/junior NCO/junior officer in the room. The difference was (a) she was female and (b) she was cheating on her husband with a co-worker who was a complete scumbag.

    Now, I’m not defending his actions–I think that sort of behavior is rather unprofessional, low brow and tends towards our baser instincts, but in those sorts of environments you have to be able to take it, and you’re expected to give it.

  515. @Shenpen:
    If through most of prehistory and history the balance was tipped towards conquerors and away from producers, it is not likely that there is some biological trigger that productivity automatically generates healthy self-esteem.

    You’re making an additional assumption here: that conquerors and looters have high self-esteem. I’m not sure I would agree that that’s a reasonable assumption in general (though there are no doubt specific cases in which it is true).

  516. To understand why this way of working is the only one that works, consider a word like “discriminate”. Like many words, this has numerous meanings. And in this case, the double meaning is exploited by parasites to bamboozle people. The correct way to deal with this is to ask “which is the most broadly useful meaning?”, then TRANSLATE all other usages into this meaning. So when someone says “discriminate” you translate it into whatever they really mean, e.g. “to evaluate things in a way that disadvantages me”, which exposes the scam they are running. Whereas if you work in the democratic way that Jessica suggests, you concede the game to scammers and parasites right from the start.

    This is something totally different to insisting that people use some particular terminology. You want them to keep doing it so they can be identified (and ideally sent to the nearest gas chamber).

  517. @Winter: “For solar energy storage”.

    I ran into these a few months ago. If I use the data from the extended tables and a pile of information from Wikipedia, it doesn’t look good. Assuming that energy consumption is the same every day of the year, and we only need to 10% of power production at night, I get a requirement for just shy of 3 years worth of global lead production to store the power just for the US in batteries. 20 years worth of global antimony production. This assumes perfect efficiency and no other scary factors.
    Yes, industry can scale up, and you don’t have to build everything at once. However, you’re looking at *huge* vats of molten metal at 450 degrees. I don’t know what the implications of a liquid lithium leak are if there’s water anywhere, but it can’t be good.

  518. As you probably know, the correct term for such a person is a “troll”. And the great wisdom of the web tells us that you should not feed the trolls.

    The question is why the behavior exhibited is tolerated by ESR regardless of his opinion of the mental balance of someone. There is heated disagreement where words are exchanged and there is childish name calling because there are no potential physical repercussions for doing so on the net. Roger would not be doing this in person. Or at least not more than once.

    /shrug

    So I disregard him in a way that I don’t with JAD and some folks here are making some rather questionable excuses for his behavior.

    And in an example of amusing male behavior, his response to you annoys me whereas his responses to me amuse me.

  519. Most guys in the trades, the military (and associated civilian occupations), and when not around women have a bit of coarseness to them.

    It’s amusing to watch folks switch contexts.

    We *routinely* call each other things that are, to male-dom *far* worse than calling a woman “whore”, but context and tone matter *a lot*.

    That’s because ultimately it is understood that if the line is crossed that a confrontation occurs. Someone will back down or not. Either way, it’s typically resolved…at least sufficiently for the outward behavior to change.

    In a male-female context it ends up all sorts of complicated.

  520. Lead, CO2?

    Lead, CO2?

    Lead, CO2?

    Fuuuuckkk lead, I’ll take the CO2.

    How do microwaves strike you? It’s not necessarily an either or proposition.

    The russians tried a space based solar mirror for night illumination but the second experiment failed to deploy and they ran our of money/desire for a third.

  521. ESR: “What happens to you if you get a reputation for driving that kind of ‘bargain’? People won’t want to trade with you – they won’t expect value for value in the terms they conceive it. It is in your long-term interest to have a reputation for trading fairly.”

    This is the sensible truth, but it is worth pointing out that the better one’s reputation for fair trade, the more chance one has of getting away with rare but extremely profitable unfair trades when they come along. The need for such a reputation also goes down remarkably if you can work your way into a position where your potential partners have little or no alternative, as previously noted.

    Such reputations are most easily and efficiently won by actually being a fair trader, of course, but it only takes one exception to do enough damage that those hurt by it may become suspicious of the system that permitted it rather than the person who abused it.

    “Ultimately, the reason you don’t want to try to make lost girl your concubine is that being the kind of person who can do that sacrifices future opportunities for positive-sum gains.”

    True, but if the girl was Scarlett Johansson, I can pretty easily understand the mindset that says, “Ah, f*** it, it’s worth it.”

    Or more generally and less crudely, the ability to rationally evaluate future opportunity cost against present deferred gratification is always (a) an estimate at best and (b) very prone to immediacy bias. A bird in the hand is almost always worth two in the bush.

  522. >True, but if the girl was Scarlett Johansson, I can pretty easily understand the mindset that says, “Ah, f*** it, it’s worth it.”

    The fact that humans are not perfect executors of game-theoretically optimal strategies doesn’t mean the strategies aren’t optimal, it means humans are imperfect executers. The better optimizers tend to win, which means that over time fewer lostr girls get concubinized.

  523. On the topic of African animals being domesticable…the donkey is from Africa. So are a couple species of birds (guinea fowl, ringneck doves). And sub-Saharan African tribes raised cattle before whites entered the area.
    So I doubt that a lack of indigenous species that could be domesticated held back civilization in Africa.

  524. Given enough time, the social (and economic) strategies that work best will become part of our evolutionary heritage (assuming we don’t become extinct for some reason). Mutations will drive a diversity of techniques, of which some will do better than others. We have opposable thumbs and bicameral vision because that is what worked, not because someone thought up an optimum solution.

    However, we are now in a new evolutionary architecture with the advent of memetics. Can we use our intelligence to design and implement the evolutionary future of our choice? And if so, how would we know if it’s the right choice if it’s not a consequence of the selection process?

  525. @TomA What you’re describing is the creation of the overman. For this to happen some types have to perish, which requires that this equality and “freedom” bullshit to be overcome.

  526. @Garret
    “Assuming that energy consumption is the same every day of the year, and we only need to 10% of power production at night, I get a requirement for just shy of 3 years worth of global lead production to store the power just for the US in batteries. 20 years worth of global antimony production.”

    Actually, that amount of energy can be stored by using part of the capacity of auto batteries at night to buy back stored power. If the car fleet of the US is electric, that would enough. These bigger liquid batteries would be for leveling out power output and use. I agree that that much of lead and antimony might pose a “problem”.

    Note that the pumped hydropower is very useful for storing large amounts of energy and can be done in many ways. For instance, along the coast it suffices to build a circular dike in shallow water and pump water out. And with HVDC lines, the hydroelectric plant can be almost anywhere.

  527. In reality, of course, none of our power grids are robust, we’re insane to make them as large as they are let alone global, so each country (and regions of larger countries) needs to supply itself and maybe buy/sell excess from nearby regions.

    The 250-km-square land area needn’t be concentrated in one place.

    And with HVDC it becomes possible to transmit power over long distances with little loss.

    From an engineering standpoint, total conversion to solar is feasible. Again, the only reason it doesn’t get done is politics, which actually means money. As in money the established players stand to lose.

  528. @Random832
    “In reality, of course, none of our power grids are robust, we’re insane to make them as large as they are let alone global, so each country (and regions of larger countries) needs to supply itself and maybe buy/sell excess from nearby regions.”

    The European one is reasonably reliable and services ~400 million people:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronous_grid_of_Continental_Europe

    And they are working on an even bigger one to accommodate an all electrical economy:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_super_grid

  529. I can’t stand Roger as a person, but I have to share his pessimism (if that is a good term to describe it) a bit. The problem that optimistic libertarians tend to forget is that trade and the marketplace is built on top of pre-existing property relations which have a nasty tendecy to be the products of large-scale violence. Just a random example, Irish Potato Famine, largely the result of a free trade built upon the completely fucked up property relations created by the Cromwellian invasion. The libertarian claim that it was not free trade but the former violence responsible for it s true, however, not very relevant, but rather what it demonstrates is that the relevance and importance of free trade or markets is dwarfed by the relevance and importance of the property relations created by conquests, they are an icing on the blood-cake.. I don’t know if roughly this is Roger’s Nietzschean point but if yes, I am forced to agree. Thus, the issue is that the libertarian enthusiasm for trade and markets in unjustified because they way less important than the conquest-based property relations they are built on top. Furthermore, when those relations are sufficiently unjust (or dysfunctional), there is no principle that would predict that free-trade policies are still the best idea, for example during that famine it wasn’t. Lockean homesteading was a normative idea, an ideal, not descriptive of history.

    The point here is not to debate free trade or not, but to questions its historical relevance at all, compared to the relevance of violence-based, totally un-Lockean, property relations, on top of which the marketplace is built. I mean, no question to trade being an immense useful tool for making everybody richer, that is entirely irrelevant to the issue, as efficient trade usually happens between those folks who are on the happier end of the property ownership scale anyway.

  530. @Shenpen
    “The point here is not to debate free trade or not, but to questions its historical relevance at all, compared to the relevance of violence-based, totally un-Lockean, property relations, on top of which the marketplace is built.”

    I agree with your evaluation. But I think you are not going “deep” enough. The Libertarian ideology is build on the idea that markets are fundamental and “property” is sacred, absolute and a kind of a law of nature. However, property relations are anything but a given fact nor are they ever absolute.

    What can be owned by whom and under what conditions is as fluid as water. Children cannot own things, women could not (cannot in many parts of the world) own property or keep their own money. You cannot do what you like with some property you own in almost any country on earth (e.g., zoning laws).

    The whole concept of “property” and the morals of who owns what are so fluid that Libertarian Free Market ideology breaks down the moment you start asking questions about it.

    Example in point:
    Bernard Madov is a criminal who defrauded people. Everything he owns has been taken away to pay back his victims. However, the 2008 economic crash involved many bank frauds that caused orders of magnitude more damage. The perpetrators of these frauds were allowed to keep their spoils.

    So, what makes the property of Madov “bad” and that of the bank people “good”? The law? But you can make absolutely anything legal.

    This is the same question as in Ireland during the famine. Why was the property that Cromwell robbed from the Irish people suddenly the sacred property of the English nobility? So sacred that they rather led a million Irish die or have driven into exile rather than change it?

  531. @Winter

    Well, you think I am not taking it deep enough, I think you are taking it too far :) Property is simpler than that. It is rooted in land, and in the ability to defend it, which ability is currently, in the post-Westphalian era, is monopolized by states. The primary entity – nowadays the state – who defends it, and thus is its primary owner, “sub-lets”, allows individuals or corporations to lay claim to parts of it, and that is how private property is made, essentially them being the secondary owners. For example, when there is a lawsuit, e.g. an inheritance dospute, the state, in the form of the judge, as the primary owner, reassigns the property from one secondary owner to another. (At least in civil law countries, not sure if common law countries the judge can be called the represtantive of the state.) This is where it all originates in reality.

    This is not very fluid. It is simply based on the fact that warfare is geographical, so primary property ownership i.e. statehood or other kind of sovereignty is geographical, based on land.

    Every other property derives from land. From productivity too, but productivity alone does not determine who owns the product. If someone would break in a house and make a marvelous sculpture out of the materials found there, the sculpture would be owned by the owner of the house.

    I don’t think it necesary breaks down libertarian ideology, it simply explains what is the underpinning of the market exchange. Libertarian market exchange happens on top of this.

    When women and children could not own property that was not a random fluid rule, but an expression that property originated not in homesteading or productivity or any other “nice” thing, but in the ability to conquer and defend land by force, and traditionally soldiers were men.

    I don’t think this invalidates libertarianism, just puts it into perspective, that it is a warefare-dog wagging a market-tail.

    What makes good or bad is simply obeying or not obeying generally accepted social rules, especially ones that work fairly well. When the sovereign state, the primary property holder divides up the conquered loot into private holdings, it is meant to increase efficiency and competition. It is a huge social contract. People are allowed to push for rewriting parts of that contract, but cannot simply ignore parts of it randomly or else social coordination is lost. This is what Madow or any thief of fraudster done wrong. Breaking a social rule that is not supposed to be broken in favor of social coordination. Not breaking a natural right, and not breaking an objective good, but only so far that if social coordination is good, and social contracts help that, then individuals should not be allowed to randomly break them.

    There is no particular sacredness about the bank frauds and Cromwellian conquests and I have not seen anyone defend them as such. Rather, it is the idea that people should play with the social contract is “sacred” and not challenge them individually. Which means, it is correct to push for political changes that reassign these kinds of property, what is not correct is every random individual deciding if they find it just or not and thus steal from it or not. This is chaos, and order and coordination is really the only “sacred” things here. Property is sacred only in so far that as the social contract, the sovereign accepts a piece of property as someone’s, individuals should play by the rules, can push to change the rules, but play by it.

  532. Winter, you keep talking about using vehicle batteries to supply power to the grid overnight. There’s just one problem with this: This use is incompatible with having them charged and ready to drive to work the next morning!

    And the fleet will not be all, or substantially all, electric, in the time frame that would make transitioning to an electric economy workable. That would be the last part to go electric, not the first.

    You still ignore those things we use petroleum fuels for that are not doable by electricity. There’s a reason that petroleum is used for piston aircraft: nothing else will serve.

  533. @Winter

    Addendum to my comment: another aspect of the “sacredness” is that while on the political level, it is perfectly okay to challenge this or that piece of property as wrongly assigned, unjust, (both of your examples are good), much of the last 100-200 years of left-wing politics tends to challenge property _generally_, like taxing all incomes, or nationalizing all large businesses, that kind of thing. It challenges not certain pieces of property, but its whole idea.

    It is important to understand this precisely. Since most property originates in conquest, the issue is not that this is fundamentally unjust. The issue is that there is no new social contract. That is, there is no new cast-in-stone system telling who gets what.

    Leftism would be perfectly workable if it could create cast-in-stone rules 50% of all income over €1M is taxed away today, tomorrow, in 100 years, 200 years, forever. Because this is what a property-oriented social contract means. This is how the social construction of property always worked. This what leftism breaks, and this is what is wrong with it.

    I am not sure you understand it accurately, so let me give you an example. I am a captain and we conquer some land. The king says this village is my property and that one over the creek is not my property. It is cast in stone. It never ever changes, unless I sell it or some other conqueror comes in which case our rules do not matter. Right? Suppose today I make €2M per year and leftists want to tax €1.2M of it away. The same way, it should be a rule cast in stone, that out of that income €1.2M is not my property and I won’t ever ever ever get it, and €800K is my property, and I won’t ever ever ever lose it. Right? But this is obviously not what happens – all rules are subject to change, if my political party wins next year, I pay only €1.1M and if yours it is €1.3M, nothing is cast in stone anymore. Right? So this future income is not my property, but neither the state’s property, because it is no longer cast in stone who will won it. Rather, it is hovering in a limbo where we can squabble over it forever, depending on which party wins the election.

    THAT is the issue with leftism and property and “sacredness”, NOT that property relations are inherently just, but that they are inherently fixed, as long as no new conquerors come, and the issue with leftism is the inability to create a new social contract that would be similarly fixed and unchangeable: leftism does not simply move property from individuals to that of the state, that would be acceptble, but it moves property from individuals to an unowned limbo where it is subject to endless political disputes.

    In other words, sacredness of property means that it should be predictable who gets what, and it is the unpredictability of the leftist system is what the issue with it.

    (Justice is a separate issue. If I get conquered by Genghis Khan I can predict exactly well how big my property is going to be. About the size of a coffin. The old, pre-modern, non-socialist system was entirely predictable, that was its huge advantage.)

  534. @Jay Maynard
    “There’s just one problem with this: This use is incompatible with having them charged and ready to drive to work the next morning!”

    Not at all. There will always be a considerable number of cars that have excess capacity that can be leased out.

    @Jay Maynard
    “And the fleet will not be all, or substantially all, electric, in the time frame that would make transitioning to an electric economy workable. That would be the last part to go electric, not the first.”

    It already is. When you visit China, you will see that most cities demand all bikes be electrical. The infrastructure is being build to include cars. Especially in China, there is a huge need to get fossil fuels off the road. The smog is already killing a large number of Chinese. In Europe, there is a concerted effort to move to an electrical infrastructure. Not this decade, but the next.

    @Jay Maynard
    “You still ignore those things we use petroleum fuels for that are not doable by electricity. There’s a reason that petroleum is used for piston aircraft: nothing else will serve.”

    Who is talking about aircrafts? They can fly on synthetic fuels if needed. It is the ground based stuff that must go first. The first problem is to get a solution for trucks. Biodiesel or synthetic fuels come to mind.

  535. @Shenpen That’s part of it, but the point is more general. No matter what the system of law, business etc, smart and strong-willed people will always be better at getting what they want. Which is as it should be. Your moralistic take on the whole affair is silly, without conquest there would be no human race at all, let alone advanced civilization. This view that history is all a big error and that, if we’d just done this or that, we could be right where were are now, is the most ludicrous form of the “hindsight fallacy”. We clearly HAD to kill millions to get here, because that’s exactly what happened! Unless you are hanging on for a time machine, it’s DONE. Women lost. Blacks lost. Homosexuals lost. Indians lost. Pygmies lost. The white male won history so far because he was the best at civilisation building, and all that is left for everybody else is to scramble to emulate him as much as possible. Which is exactly what every successful person on the planet is doing, regardless of race!

  536. @Shenpen
    “Every other property derives from land.”

    Sorry, but most property is not land, and over history, most people never had land as property. If you said that power is derived from controlling (owning) land, that would be right. But as a property, land has always been very restricted (in very many cases, it cannot even be sold) and few people really “owned” any land.

    So, when you are discussion “property” and “markets”, land is the worst possible example as for most of the history, there was not even a market for land.

    However, food, clothes, and utensils are a much more fundamental type of property for which ownership has always affected all people at all times. There have always been markets for these goods and all people, large and small have needed them. And here too we see a wide variety of customs and rules that could even restrict who could eat what food or wear what clothes and how these were supposed to be used and shared.

    And to go back to markets. Markets have always only existed under the protection and license of some power. Even today, in many (most?) places on earth, you need some kind of license to be allowed to run a shop or market of any kind. Especially Free markets can only exists if there is some institution that can and will force the participants to compete.

  537. >Markets have always only existed under the protection and license of some power.

    False. Again, the silent trade is a counterexample.

  538. @Roger frankly, I had no intention to be moralistic, rather grimly realistic. My only “ought” is that in a civilized society coordination, market exchange and rational planning requires that the rules of the game (i.e. property) should be fairly fixed and not subject to much change, and thus the results of actions predictable. The only “ought not” here is ultimately unpredictability or chaos.

    >No matter what the system of law, business etc, smart and strong-willed people will always be better at getting what they want. Which is as it should be.

    The difference between civilization and barbarism is still relevant, and civilization largely means the rules by which the strong and smart play the game of getting what they want. And this is supremely important. The civilization-building ability of the white (and Asian) male is to coming up with good rules and being good at casting them into various stones. How exactly it works I am not sure, intelligence surely plays role, but testosterone and the behavior traits related to that too, and these two traits interplay in a rather complicated way, sometimes sabotaging each other (i.e. T-fueled pride making people do stupid things, or overly sophisticated intellectuals losing their courage), sometimes being synergistic with each other (I have a huge respect of the both smart and bold warrior stereotype Heinlein have represented).

    If I may make a wild guess: succesful civilization-building probably means figuring out how IQ and testosterone can be made synergistic. And the answer is almost certainly in coming up with the right kind of rules, the right ways to enforce them, and the right ways to cast them into stone.

    I think you may have inherited too much aristocratic anarchism from Nietzsche, a bit of a “the really strong are above the rules” attitude, but that is exactly one way to ruin a civilization. Granted, not the most prominent of the ways exercised these days. But that is a Heptarchy type of setup and those ages were called dark for a reason. True civilization, like the Roman, has to have effective ways to prevent any local strongman to create short-lived local tyrannies and attack the neighboring ones.

    Although the rest of your comment is not relevant to mine, I feel compelled to reply to this:

    >Unless you are hanging on for a time machine, it’s DONE. Women lost. Blacks lost. Homosexuals lost. Indians lost. Pygmies lost.

    The only way for a group to really lose forever is to be extinct. While people are alive, there is always a chance. Pygmies or Indians may not have much chance since there is not many of them alive, but there is nothing really fixed about the fate of women or homosexuals as far as the future goes. In fact, it seems like the tides are turning in their favor, and nobody can really predict what is going to happen in the long run, although we can try to make educated guesses.

  539. @Winter

    I see your point, but this really revolves around how we see the relationship between property and market. Since I defined property as a structure underlying the market exchange, from my point of view the market is not about exchanging property, but exchanging trade goods. I tend to see them as a different category. I know this sounds a bit weird because in the modern society everything can be sold and bought, and today it is hard to see the difference between a real estate agent and a wheat trader, but this used to not be so.

    Frankly I admit I got a bit confused here and not sure anymore what I was trying to say. Something along the lines of different layers of property existing, land and natural resources being layer 1, capital goods like machinery layer 2 and trade goods and consumption items layer 3. The market for layer 3 is very fluid and responsive, and works largely how libertarian economists predict it. Layer 2 is more fixed, less fluid, and layer 1 even less. There is no _structure_ to the ownership of shoes (layer 3), more structure to the ownership of shoe-making machines (layer 2) and even more structure to ownership of the grasslands on the cows of which the shoes are made graze (layer 1). Since layer 1 is very structural, it is very susceptible to conquest or political machinations. Layer 2 is less so, and layer 3 works largely how libertarian economics predicts it would. But structure and conquest in the ownership of layer 1-2, the more fixed things, lies under the market exchanges of layer 3, the more fluid things. Since market exchange is more of a layer 3 thing, less so in 2 and even less in 1, market-exchange analysis, which is at the heart of libertarian econ, is unable to give the full picture, that was simply my point.

  540. Biodiesel, Winter? You really should study before pronouncing. Biiodiesel’s fine for the summer, but it gels up bad in the winter. Minnesota has a legal mandate for 5-20% biodiesel in every gallon of diesel sold. They had to suspend it between October and April, because it just wasn’t workable. As it is, many truck lines based in Minnesota tell their drivers to fill up before entering the state and avoid buying fuel here if at all possible.

    And, while I don’t know of any studies for biodiesel specifically, it’s plain that ethanol is worse than gasoline in terms of carbon emissions when the total lifecycle of the fuel is considered.

    Finally, nobody’s calling for more than 20% biodiesel in fuels anyway, because it’s too hard on engine components. Injector pumps, in particular, absolutely depend on the fuel to lubricate them, and biodiesel just doesn’t get the job done.

    I’ve had to learn about this more than I though I would, since I live in Minnesota, and bought a diesel Mercedes SUV a couple of months ago. (A 2008 ML320CDI, to be precise.)

  541. @esr
    “False. Again, the silent trade is a counterexample.”

    If I understand it well, the silent trade is done on a pairwise basis only. I am rather reluctant to call that a “market”, as that implies a multitude of sellers and buyers who in some form compete.

    But it is also a case in point. The silent trade existed often where people do not trust each other within the reach of their weapons. I do not think the fact that people did not speak each others language was the main driving force. The procedure sounds to convoluted for that. Deep (and justified) distrust sounds as a more important motivation.

    This is the description I am familiar with:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_trade

  542. >If I understand it well, the silent trade is done on a pairwise basis only.

    No. In more detailed descriptions of the trade from, for example, the Gold Cost, it is clear there were multiple buyers and sellers on each side. When the Portuguese participated in it, for example, crew members of merchant ships often traded on their own accounts independently of the “official” trades made on behalf of the merchant syndicate that owned the ship. The option to do this was a recognized form of compensation in addition to wages.

  543. > If they’re old enough to have a clue about what’s going on on this blog and still behave that way, then they need to learn when to not be a dick.

    Perhaps this is true, but ESR’s goal in choosing this strategy seemed to be to separate people who are “jerking him around” from people who sincerely feel he is being unfair, so I felt justified in pointing out that it leads him to ban people – permanently, with no recourse (so there’s no way to identify when they have “learned when to not be a dick”) – for feeling, in the moment, that he is being unfair.

  544. > In what way is screaming “STOP MISINTERPRETING ME” a thousand times not a signal?

    The fact that you did not do so until after communication had already broken down seems relevant.

  545. >I’ve had to learn about this more than I though I would, since I live in Minnesota, and bought a diesel Mercedes SUV a couple of months ago. (A 2008 ML320CDI, to be precise.)

    How’s the meatloaf treating you? I know one other person who has one, and I am told it’s ‘fussy’.

  546. So far, so good. The W163 (first-generation, 1998-2005) M-class SUVs were problematical, especially the first few years, but the W164 (2006-2011, IIRC) seems better, again especially after the first couple of years. It probably helps that this one was meticulously maintained: it has 136K miles on it, and looks like it just rolled off the line in Tuscaloosa, inside and out.

    And it’s really nice to be able to plan 600-mile legs on the highway…

  547. @esr
    “No. In more detailed descriptions of the trade from, for example, the Gold Cost, it is clear there were multiple buyers and sellers on each side.”

    Interesting. When told this way, it sounds logical.

    But I do understand the aboriginals. I would not have trusted the Portuguese myself then.

  548. >Interesting. When told this way, it sounds logical.

    I should add that while we don’t have accounts from the aboriginal side, multiple traders is a straight inference from the variety of goods offered.

  549. ESR: I agree with everything you say about virtue ethics and maintaining a reputation. [Largely irrelevant: I have taken an introductory course in philosophy, and for the exam I wrote about how utilitarianism and virtue ethics are not necessarily antithetical, but (might) blend into each other in a long term perspective. Hardly a novel idea, I hope.]

    However! – it seems (?) we are now agreeing that fair trade is fundamentally contingent on a balance of power. It is not the Schelling point itself which protects the woman from being enslaved, but the very credible threat of reprisals from my peers. (Though their reprisals would in some sense be motivated by the Schelling point.)

    If I’m not putting words into your mouth, I can merrily agree that in a free market, with multiple, independent and at least comparably strong actors, transactions automatically tend towards ‘largely fair’, by mechanisms such as reputation and perceived fairness, etcetera. But underneath the hood, the checks and balances are all various forms of power. (I realize this is tautological, but still.) From this, I am tempted to make two claims.

    (Preemptive warning: Neither (a) or (b) are groundbreaking theses. In a sense, this is squabbling over mere words. But at least it explains what I think Phillips suggests -about the territory, not the map- when he refuses to distinguish trade from exploitation, and why I think there is some sense to it. I’m not trying to win a semantic argument, to equate trade and slavery or some such nonsense.)

    (a): As the self-regulatory market breaks down, transactions will become increasingly less fair and more exploitative. [Schematic proof; say the world is exactly the same, except that providers of electricity have formed a cartel. The fair price should not change, but the actual price will.] In the trivial sense that no market is perfectly healthy, transactions are always somewhere in between entirely fair and outright exploitative.

    (b): In the absence of a market such that the value of commodities are common knowledge – such as with gold, today – every transaction is a literal duel of bargaining power. Let’s first assume that both parties are well informed and understand their personal utility functions, and have the option of walking away. Then, the only thing at stake is micro-exploitation (let’s keep that term away from the feminists) in the form of securing the lion’s share of the total utility gain. (Think of the Ultimatum Game.) Since the assumptions of perfect information are much too generous, in truth it is yet worse.

  550. >(I realize this is tautological, but still.)

    Unfortunately tautology is not the most serious problem here. I agree with you on the substance, but if you actually say “the checks and balances are all various forms of power” as opposed to using a more specific term like “retaliation”, you hand a rhetorical club to people who are hostile to free markets and they will (rather dishonestly) beat you to death with it.

  551. >So far, so good. The W163 (first-generation, 1998-2005) M-class SUVs were problematical, especially the first few years, but the W164 (2006-2011, IIRC) seems better, again especially after the first couple of years. It probably helps that this one was meticulously maintained: it has 136K miles on it, and looks like it just rolled off the line in Tuscaloosa, inside and out.

    >And it’s really nice to be able to plan 600-mile legs on the highway…

    Sweet. Diesel SUV is a nice thing in snow country. And the potential value proposition on many used German-make cars is very tempting, I’m just too risk averse w.r.t. the repair cost lottery.

  552. For hundreds of thousands of years, our early ancestors evolved essentially as an animal species (albeit the most success of the animal species). Certain evolved physical traits played a large role in this success (e.g. bipedalism, opposable thumbs, etc.).

    Then we began to develop and utilize complex language, and for tens of thousands of years our brains grew, our intelligence increased, and we started manipulating our environment rather than just experience it (e.g. stone age, agriculture/domestication, bronze age, iron age).

    In the last few thousand years, our intelligence has dominated our evolutionary progress through manipulation of our behaviors (memetics) as well as our environment. And this process is accelerating.

    This evolved intelligence has provided us with civilization, industrialization, modern medical science, and the technology explosion. And this track record of success has led some people to believe that we are capable of intelligently designing a Utopian world. They would have us jump into this brave new (ideal) world in a matter of months or years.

    These incipient tyrants wish to replace the age-old evolutionary stew with their own invention of species’ progress. They wish to play God and supplant nature.

  553. @Winter: You’re changing the focus. Fuels for mobile transportation, such as biodiesel or synthetic fuels may be a way to provide transportation. However, that still doesn’t address the ability to have power overnight.

    In those cases, wind power can be an advantage. However, wind is largely unreliable. The few bits of information I’ve seen allow wind power producers to count only 10% of their nominal rating for base load accounting purposes. It’s better than nothing, and still better backed by pumped-storage.

    @Jay: Ethanol/biofuels/synthetics don’t have to be net energy positive in order to be useful. The co