- Gears – Bartosz Ciechanowski
- Cool gear animations and explanations of how they work.
(tags: animation engineering physics mechanics)
- How knitters got knotted in a purity spiral – UnHerd
- Yep, knitters. “Purity spiral” is a good name for the runaway effect of only rewarding people who call out others for not being pure enough.
(tags: ethics culture community purity social-justice)
- The Most Common Error in Coverage of the Google Memo – The Atlantic
- TL;DR: it wasn’t anti-diversity. Via @sonyaellenmann.
(tags: google sexism politics social-justice diversity)
- The Google Memo: What Does the Research Say About Gender Differences? | HeterodoxAcademy.org
- “1. Gender differences in math/science ability, achievement, and performance are small or nil…
2. Gender differences in interest and enjoyment of math, coding, and highly “systemizing” activities are large. …
3. Culture and context matter, in complicated ways. Some gender differences have decreased over time as women have achieved greater equality, showing that these differences are responsive to changes in culture and environment. But the cross-national findings sometimes show “paradoxical” effects: progress toward gender equality in rights and opportunities sometimes leads to larger gender differences in some traits and career choices. Nonetheless, it seems that actions taken today by parents, teachers, politicians, and designers of tech products may increase the likelihood that girls will grow up to pursue careers in tech, and this is true whether or not biology plays a role in producing any particular population difference.”
(tags: feminism google diversity psychology gender politics)
- Suzanne Sadedin’s answer to What do scientists think about the biological claims made in the anti-diversity document written by a Google employee in August 2017? – Quora
- Dr Sadedin’s is the best rebuttal to the Google memo that I’ve seen (as the rest just call it bad without rebutting it).
(tags: science google gender sexism psychology)
- How To Add A Security Key To Your Gmail (Tech Solidarity)
- 2FA without the SMS/phone number backup (which can be hacked by social engineering your mobile phone network provider).
(tags: email google 2fa authentication security)
- We only hire the trendiest
- More efficient hiring and better tools are cheaper than competing for candidates from the top universities.
(tags: tech programming hiring recruiters google)
- Critically Examining the doctrine of gender identity – YouTube
- A presentation by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper for Coventry Skeptics. The Q&A; (linked from the description) is interesting too.
A concept of gender identity which is entirely exhausted by “I am what I say I am” doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of a professional philosopher like Reilly-Cooper, and I hadn’t realised that people were saying things like “my penis is a female sex organ, because I am female” (as opposed to saying “it’s a woman’s, because I am a woman”).
I do wonder how much harm is being done by people believing wacky things in this case, though: is it common for males to cynically claiming to be women in order to harass women?
(tags: gender sex feminism identity identity-politics biology philosophy)
- Libertarian Social Justice Warrior: A Surprisingly Coherent Position | Thing of Things
- “As far as I am aware, “libertarian social justice warrior” is a niche very rarely filled. This is annoying to me, because a really good case can be made for the social justice libertarian.”
(tags: social-justice libertarianism sjw basic-income economics welfare)
- Infographic: Taking Easter Seriously – Jericho Brisance
- “Many Christians read the Easter stories year upon year, as I did for several decades, yet we never compare them in detail. As a consequence, we often do not realize that they are not telling the same story. There are indeed contradictions in the texts, but it is very important to move beyond “mere contradiction” – the issues with our gospels are far more extensive than that. Comparison against the historical record and assessing the gospels for trends of legend development are probably far more crucial. As with many non-believers, I left Christianity specifically because of the Bible, and because I considered and examined its content very seriously indeed.”
(tags: bible easter crucifixion contradictions history Christianity Religion)
- Not quite the original comic. Makes a good point though. Via andrewducker.
(tags: comic sealioning)
Scott Alexander wrote, on dealing with social justice debates on the Internet:
H.L. Mencken writes “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.” Well, this is my temptation. It requires more willpower than anything else I do in my life – more willpower than it takes for me to get up in the morning and work a ten hour day – to resist the urge to just hoist the black flag and turn into a much less tolerant and compassionate version of Heartiste1.
Hoist the colours high
I felt this urge most strongly while reading the Metafilter thread about the attack on Charlie Hebdo (I’m pw201 on Mefi), where many commenters were engaging in what elsewhere might be called victim blaming or de-railing, and then flouncing when called out.
What passes for Leftism in America and in her cultural sphere of influence (i.e. the Guardian) seems to be the the establishment of an ordering of identity groups and the promotion of the interests of those groups lower down the order over those groups higher up. (The claims that there are multiple orthogonal pecking orders or that there’s no strict total ordering in people’s heads seem false: there are only two directions one can “punch”, and, whenever there’s a debate, it’s about who is really higher or lower).
It is one thing to bite the bullet, as I think Arthur Chu does, and admit that the accusations of victim blaming and the like are properly made only against his ideological enemies, without any attempt to pretend that victim blaming is universally bad. But to do this is to admit to special pleading, which most people don’t think is fair.
What I saw in the debate about the attacks and subsequent anger/flouncing was the painful dissonance that arises when Leftists-of-this-sort have to deal with members of a group whose interests they would naturally promote (identifying the murderers as Muslims and brown people) carrying out heinous crimes against people higher up the ordering (identifying the victims as white people or even as racists). Suddenly, those L-O-T-S who in other contexts would be assiduous in calling out any implication, however subtle, that “she was asking for it, dressed like that” or “maybe it was a bad idea to drink so much at the frat party”, are using those same tropes and hoping that a big disclaimer will do the trick.
I guess what’s happened is that the ordering was established as an instrument to promote the positive values of some sort of Leftism, but has now become almost an end in itself. My political leanings were formed growing up in the 1980s reading the Daily Mirror, but it’s fair to say I’m not an “ally” of L-O-T-S. Which isn’t to say I haven’t learned anything from reading Mefi, LJ and even Tumblr (the shocking prevalence of street harassment, to take one example).
Mais je ne suis pas votre ennemi
Scott Alexander’s urge doesn’t really make much sense rationally, though it’s psychologically understandable. If you have lefty views but think the special pleaders are bad, recall that their ideological rivals are worse, or at least, seeking worse outcomes. If you’re just posting and commenting on the Internet (as opposed to, say, voting), you don’t actually have to join up pick a team and buy their views as a package. If people you agree with about a lot of stuff argue with you about some other stuff, you don’t have to feel bad about that, because you’re not letting the team down: remember, you’re not on a team in the first place. People who are experts on social problems aren’t necessarily experts on how you personally should deal with them, as previously discussed. And thus I survive on Mefi, and places like it.
The Mefi thread went in quite a good direction in the end: there was a debate about cartoons and caricature, some attempt to understand what the cartoons were about, and translated commentary from French people. It is long, but worth reading. I’ve been posting the good bits to the link blog, but allow me to recommend Lost in translation: Charlie Hebdo, free speech and the unilingual left in particular.
- Dueling Magical Negros on Vimeo
- Looks like Morgan Freeman wasn’t available.
(tags: magical negro dueling funny race comedy)
- What The Fuck Is My Wearable Strategy?
- “MONEYCLIP THAT POSTS TO FACEBOOK WHEN YOU NEED A SHIT” “TEMPORARY TATTOO THAT TWEETS WHEN YOU HAVE NIGHTMARES”
(tags: funny humour technology wearable strategy)
- Allah vs atheism: ‘Leaving Islam was the hardest thing I’ve done’ – Home News – UK – The Independent
- Personal stories from some ex-Muslims.
(tags: religion islam de-conversion ex-muslim)
- Ten Things I Want To Stop Seeing On The Internet In 2014 | Slate Star Codex
- An interesting thread about the internet social justice movement, on Slate Star Codex: “I am having a hard time finding a middle ground between SJ and sociopathy. I don’t like what SJ does to my brain. But realistically it’s not actually feasible for me to not give a shit about anyone. Could use a little advice.” Commenter then gets good advice.
(tags: social-justice sjw internet sociopath)
- ▶ UKIP Shipping Forecast by Nicholas Pegg
- The Shipping Forecast as delivered by UKIP.
(tags: politics humour shipping ukip funny)
- Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality – Robert Wright – The Atlantic
- “Squaring recent research suggesting we’re “naturally moral” with all the strife in the world.”
(tags: morality science evolution utilitarianism joshua-greene trolley-problem)
- Djina Unchained
- A social justice blogger. I think it’s a parody, but it’s hard to be sure.
(tags: sjw social-justice privilege tumblr patriarchy feminism)
- The cult of Cthulhu: real prayer for a fake tentacle | The Verge
- Someone published a Necronomicon. I never knew that.
(tags: necronomicon h.p.-lovecraft fiction magic horror aleister-crowley)
- Waterstones’s social stories · Storify
- Turns out Twitter is useful for something after all. Waterstones (the bookshop) in Oxford Street have been writing short stories with theirs. I liked “Quantum Leap”.
(tags: twitter waterstones oxford-street books bookshop funny fiction storify)
- Burkhard Bilger: Inside Google’s Driverless Car : The New Yorker
- The engineers behind Google’s driveless car.
(tags: google cars robots automotive driveless artificial-intelligence)
A friend on Facebook linked to Louise Mensch vs Laurie Penny on the “check your privilege” thing. He went on to say he hadn’t come across that phrase, and wondered if it’s anything more than thinly veiled argumentum ad hominem. I done a comment, which seemed long enough to blog:
It’s jargon from the Internet social justice warrior subculture, as far as I can tell, so if you haven’t heard it, hang out on Tumblr, LiveJournal or bits of the feminist blogsphere (or, you know, don’t). It’s becoming more mainstream, if those articles are anything to go by.
The injunction to “check your privilege” means different things at different times. Sometimes it means “you are not in a position to know that”. For example, if I claimed “there is no homophobia in Cambridge”, someone could rightly point out that I’m not that likely to be a victim of homophobia, so I should probably ask some gay people for their opinions. Saying that continues the argument by undercutting my claim.
Sometimes it does seem to act as what Suber calls “logical rudeness“, that is, saying “CYP!” insulates a theory from argument by attributing some fault to those who do not believe it, stopping the argument about the theory by switching it to an argument about the unbeliever. As Suber says, though, it’s not clear that there’s a general duty to respond to would-be debunkers of theories we hold, and claiming that, say, feminism is nonsense because so many feminists are fans of privilege checking is itself rude. However, Suber doesn’t seem to address the point that, if we’re interested in having accurate beliefs, we should debate those with the strongest counter-arguments: our rudeness should not allow the opposition to conclude we are mistaken, but it should worry us.
Using “CYP!” a single line response (on Twitter, or in a comment box, say) is just blowing off steam or cheering for your team, as far as I can tell. It doesn’t actually mean anything other than “yay for us and boo for you!”
Edited to add: There’s some more discussion of this over on Liv’s journal. Read the comments too.