Friday, August 11, 2017

A Response to an Open Letter to James Damore

I posted a comment in response to An Open Letter to James Damore by Debra Sterling, below:
It doesn't get mentioned, but some of the same stereotypes that Damore claims make women ill-suited for technology, e.g., extroversion and emotional management, are the same traits that in some studies have been shown to make teams more productive. The concern about managing relationships, regardless of gender, has been shown to correlate with more effective team leaders. Extroversion in programmers has also been shown to correlate with team productivity.

I'm sure there are findings that might contradict the above, but Damore seems to have a very narrow view of what makes one effective. Leadership, or at least getting to the top, in Damore's view, and in traditional masculine societies, might require a desire for dominance and a penchant for combativeness, but ideal styles of leadership typically require driving consensus, presenting a vision, social cohesion and charisma, obviously absent from Damore's understanding of leadership.

Damore's ideas are cherry-picked to support his flawed world view.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Review: The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

An excellent, incredibly insightful and informative book, somewhat marred by the tedium experienced in the authors' rehashing the ideas of organizations working for change. For most of this book, the writers masterfully tie together concepts in systems, mathematics, consciousness, the environment, society and biology, and for that, it is a brilliant read.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision by Fritjof Capra

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who Pays on the First Date? No One Knows Anymore, and It’s Really Awkward - WSJ

In response to Who Pays on the First Date? No One Knows Anymore, and It’s Really Awkward in the Wall Street Journal I wrote the following:
I am by no means a traditional man, but when I was dating via the personals, I paid. I make more than women, by virtue of my gender. I am smart, but only as smart as my now wife, and I am in a well-paying profession in a well-paying industry, but some of that is becuase of the sexsim of our culture. My wife has more education than I have, but works for a non-profit. I am sure, without the limitations placed on our respective genders, she could excel in my field, if allowed.

Although I have always paid in the beginning of a relationship, I knew that, if it lasted, the relationship would become a partnership, with each contributing as much as we could. Maybe not always the same amount, but fully.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Men Don’t Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree. - The New York Times

Responding to Men Don’t Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree. in the NY Times:
The US has some deeply ingrained aspects that make this situation intractable, a traditional culture that appreciates work in which men are supposed to succeed, along with a social system that denigrates women's work, and a socioeconomic system that provides no protection for labor, particularly service work, the kind of work traditionally done by women.

Where can it be improved?

Ideally, at least for someone like me, we would move towards an egalitarian society where quality of life matters more than work, that provides some degree of social welfare to buffet against the harms the economy can bring, and that protects labor, particularly service work. Seriously, I doubt that the US will become a culture that focuses on quality of life over work. I would also doubt that the sociopolitical world would change to protect service work. The only bright spot for male-type labor would be in the growing green energy sector, but the right-wing, those currently in power, are focusing on the old industries, which are looking to be in their death throes. Our traditional, unequal, inegalitarian culture makes all of that an uphill climb.

The US likely cannot solve this problem adequately, or at least will not, since it is the result of its dysfunctional culture. Yes, some solution would result, but likely an ugly patchwork that satisfies no one.

We would rather emigrate...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Where Anti-Tax Fervor Means ‘All Services Will Cease' - The NY Times

A minor article, Where Anti-Tax Fervor Means ‘All Services Will Cease’, highlighting a small town's cutting of it's nose to spite its face, ala a No Taxes credo.
Although much of the effective drive against taxes can be traced to 'astroturf' political organizations, American short-sightedness paired with its individualism, has helped create high inequality and low taxes, resulting in little money in people's pockets and in government coffers, required to sustain decent lives.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Response to Therapists Offer Strategies for Postelection Stress

My response to the NYT article Therapists Offer Strategies for Postelection Stress garnered many likes, so I thought I'd repost it here:
Reduce the crap, avoid the hype, read the best sources. Get a life. Regardless of how miserable the idiot-in-chief and his cronies, the quality of your life matters, and don't let them ruin it. Get involved. Instead of worrying about the harm of the Republicans, get busy, not from home, but get out and help to bring about change.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750

Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 by Jonathan I. Israel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book and ideas, with some flaws I found irritating. First, some quotes are provided without translations - I wish my French was better, and I have no real understanding of Dutch - and it would have been nice to link to the translation, if not had it displayed in the text. Second, the history is very detailed, a bit too much for my taste, and I would have preferred a somewhat higher-level view of the actions of the various actors in the enlightenment drama, although as I pored on, the complexity of the story was very engaging.

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A Response to an Open Letter to James Damore

I posted a comment in response to An Open Letter to James Damore by Debra Sterling , below: It doesn't get mentioned, but some of the ...