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BAN MEN
The time has come to say goodbye to men, and I can hardly believe you’d need me to tell you why. They murder, a lot. They assault and abuse, a lot. They start international and domestic wars, or at least try to. They talk too much, they don’t listen, and they’re bad at their jobs. They’re not just a problem but one of the biggest problems of our era, though saying so is still uncomfortably received by most.

It’d be easier to put a cheeky spin on it, but it’s hard to be facetious about something so objectively harmful. It’s like “joking” about eliminating asbestos, or throwing out curdled milk. Oh, ha, ha, men! Aren’t they rascals? Can’t live with them, can’t live….well, you really can’t live without them because sometimes they kill you and your family if you leave! Ha, ha! Would you like some more expired milk?

I bet most of us know and love at least one male individual, maybe even several, but don’t you worry that your favorite guy will go bad? Living with a gender binary is like living in a zombie movie: Of course we want to hang on to the affable dude friend who’s not yet showing symptoms of being like the others. We love him, and he’s on our side. We need all the help we can get. But he could turn into one of them at any moment.

%contrarian  #sex  *societyhell  ~feminism 
5 hours ago by lemeb
The Abolition of Boredom
Today, I open more apps in a day than I am able to close—and they keep accumulating like digital equivalents of New Yorkers massing on the coffee table. In addition to reading, I communicate through iMessage, email, Facebook messenger, Twitter, Instagram, and countless other platforms with everyone from old classmates to best friends and families to perfect strangers. I am never lonely. There is simply too much content, let alone contact, to ever again feel bored again. I know that this comes at a steep price, but I am also grateful. There is so much interesting stuff out there. We cannot begin to engage with it fully, and all in all, this is a good problem.
!write!technologist  %contrarian 
7 days ago by lemeb
In his new book, James Comey calls for ‘ethical leadership.’ But does he live up to it? - The Washington Post
washpo critic says what i’ve been feeling about the comey book:
Comey revisits his own big career moments — prosecuting mobsters, standing up to Vice President Dick Cheney and his consigliere David Addington over counterterrorism policies — with understandable pride. Yet he constantly worries he is too self-centered. “I can be stubborn, prideful, overconfident, and driven by ego,” he admits. “I’ve struggled with those my whole life.”

That struggle continues in this book. (...) He rejects the notion that “I am in love with my own righteousness” yet notes that “I have long worried about my ego.” (Consider the egotism of being preoccupied by your egotism.) (...)

He laments Trump’s lack of self-reflection or self-awareness. “Listening to others who disagree with me and are willing to criticize me is essential to piercing the seduction of certainty,” Comey writes. “Doubt, I’ve learned, is wisdom. . . . Those leaders who never think they are wrong, who never question their judgments or perspectives, are a danger to the organizations and people they lead.”

Trump is the most severe example of that tendency in this book. But he is not the only one.
%bookreview  %contrarian  #us#affairerusse 
10 days ago by lemeb
Why Entrepreneurs Start Companies Rather Than Join Them (steveblank.com)
It never crossed my mind that I gravitated to startups because I thought more of my abilities than the value a large company would put on them. At least not consciously. But that’s the conclusion of a provocative research paper, Asymmetric Information and Entrepreneurship, that explains a new theory of why some people choose to be entrepreneurs. The authors’ conclusion — Entrepreneurs think they are better than their resumes show and realize they can make more money by going it alone. And in most cases, they are right.


this is anti-clickbait: an article that delivers way more than its title suggests.

also:
Surprisingly, the company that best epitomized this was not some old-line manufacturing company but Google. When Marissa Mayer ran products at Google the New York Times described her hiring process, “More often than not, she relies on charts, graphs and quantitative analysis as a foundation for a decision, particularly when it comes to evaluating people…At a recent personnel meeting, she homes in on grade-point averages and SAT scores to narrow a list of candidates, many having graduated from Ivy League schools, …One candidate got a C in macroeconomics. “That’s troubling to me,” Ms. Mayer says. “Good students are good at all things.”

Really. What a perfect example of adverse signaling. No wonder the most successful Google products, other than search, have been acquisitions of startups not internal products: YouTube, Android, DoubleClick, Keyhole (Google Maps), Waze were started and run by entrepreneurs. The type of people Google and Marissa Mayer wouldn’t and didn’t hire started the companies they bought.
%contrarian  %theory  %econ  %policystats  !write!technologist  #startup 
11 days ago by lemeb
Goldman Sachs questions whether curing patients is a sustainable business model (arstechnica.com)
One-shot cures for diseases are not great for business—more specifically, they’re bad for longterm profits—Goldman Sachs analysts noted in an April 10 report for biotech clients, first reported by CNBC. The investment banks’ report, titled “The Genome Revolution,” asks clients the touchy question: “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” The answer may be “no,” according to follow-up information provided. Analyst Salveen Richter and colleagues laid it out: The potential to deliver “one shot cures” is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically engineered cell therapy, and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies... While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.


in the both-totally-logical-and-utterly-depressing category

to be fair, i guess economists would say that one-shot cures have massive positive externalities, which, well are not reaped directly by pharma. sad!
%econ  #$#pharma  #$#innov  %contrarian 
12 days ago by lemeb
The Libertarian Who Accidentally Helped Make the Case for Regulation
For his first paper using the database, Tabarrok decided to analyze the effect of federal regulation on “economic dynamism”—a catch-all term referring to the rate at which new businesses launch and grow, and at which people switch jobs, lose jobs, or migrate for work. There has been a notable and somewhat mysterious decline in dynamism over the last few decades. The rate at which start-ups form is half of what it was forty years ago, the fraction of workers who bounce from one job to another—a sign of competitive labor markets—has plunged, productivity has slowed, and adult employment remains well below its early-2000 peak.

Armed with RegData, Tabarrok and Goldschlag set out to show that regulations were at least partly to blame. But they couldn’t. There was simply no correlation, they found, between the degree of federal regulation and the decline of business dynamism. The decline was seen across many different industries, including those that are heavily regulated and those that are not. They tried two other independent tests that didn’t rely on RegData, and came to the same conclusion: an increase in federal regulation just could not explain what was going on.


props to him for releasing a paper counter to his beliefs! also, suggested in the article as the real culprit is corporate concentration... but Tabarrok doesn’t think antitrust can fix that. go figure.
#$#monopoly  #conservatives  *stats  %policystats  %contrarian  %bigdata  %econ 
14 days ago by lemeb
Making The Grade: Why Apple’s education strategy is not based on reality | 9to5Mac
Apple’s next book for education needs to be about reinventing everything. Part of the Tim Cook doctrine is this:

“We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.”

This doctrine should apply to education as well. If Apple believes they can make a significant contribution to schools, then they should go all in to change everything about school technology. They should buy major a textbook publisher and change the purchasing model for books when you deploy iPads. They should buy (or buy back) a student information system platform and integrate it with all of their new apps.

They should build a viable alternative to G-Suite that makes it easy for schools to manage communications. They should do all of this at a price where the least affluent districts can deploy it as easily as the most affluent ones.


actually amazing take. that apple doesn’t want to eat their margins in education is spellbinding.
~apple  %contrarian 
21 days ago by lemeb
Overcoming Bias : Toward Reality TV MBAs
If one can learn much from just watching the inside story of real firms over several years, that suggests a big win: record the full lives of many rising managers over several years, and show a mildly compressed and annotated selection of such recordings to aspiring managers. Such recordings could be compressed by deleting sleep and non-social periods. They could be annotated to identify key decisions and ask viewers to make their own choices, before they see actual choices. Recordings might be selected 2/3 from the most successful, and 1/3 from a sampling of others.

Yes, there are issues of privacy and business secrets. But these are already issues for personal assistants and others who attend key business meetings. Waiting five years could take away many business secret concerns. And we don’t have to make these videos available to the world; making manager experiences visible to only 100 times more people might increase our pool of good manager candidates by a factor of 100. And that could be worth trillions to the world economy.
%contrarian  ~management 
21 days ago by lemeb
The average American is much better off now than four decades ago
The past four decades have been hard for many Americans. Trade and technology have upended the labour market, and many low-skilled men have left the workforce. Economic growth has been weak in non-coastal states, and the top few percent take home a greater share of all income. Wage growth, by any measure, has been far lower than in the post-war decades. But the idea that the typical American is little better off than four decades ago does not withstand scrutiny.


hint: it’s all in the stats. good contrarian take, although i would surmise that the cash on hand is still roughly the same now than it was 40 years ago... i guess that’s the difference between CPI and PCE.
%policystats  %contrarian 
22 days ago by lemeb
The man behind the dictionary. Noah Webster Jr. had superiority issues, a penchant for political incorrectness, and a zeal for Americanizing English
Merriam-Webster’s resistance to an administration steeped in nativism, however, is complicated by the dictionary’s original goal to create and preserve a monolithic American culture. Noah Webster Jr., the dictionary’s founding author, was one of the first American nationalists, and he wrote his reference books with the express purpose of creating a single definition of American English—one that often existed at the expense of regional and cultural variation of any kind.
%criticism  %contrarian  ~history 
22 days ago by lemeb
The impossibility of intelligence explosion – François Chollet – Medium
If intelligence is fundamentally linked to specific sensorimotor modalities, a specific environment, a specific upbringing, and a specific problem to solve, then you cannot hope to arbitrarily increase the intelligence of an agent merely by tuning its brain — no more than you can increase the throughput of a factory line by speeding up the conveyor belt


Ah!
%contrarian  #t#ml 
december 2017 by lemeb
Toolkits for the Mind - MIT Technology Review
Most successful programming languages have an overall philosophy or set of guiding principles that organize their vocabulary and grammar—the set of possible instructions they make available to the programmer—into a logical whole. PHP doesn’t. Its creator, Rasmus Lerdorf, freely admits he just cobbled it together. “I don’t know how to stop it,” he said in a 2003 interview. “I have absolutely no idea how to write a programming language—I just kept adding the next logical step along the way.”

Programmers’ favorite example is a PHP function called “mysql_escape_string,” which rids a query of malicious input before sending it off to a database. (For an example of a malicious input, think of a form on a website that asks for your e-mail address; a hacker can enter code in that slot to force the site to cough up passwords.) When a bug was discovered in the function, a new version was added, called “mysql_real_escape_string,” but the original was not replaced. The result is a bit like having two similar-looking buttons right next to each other in an airline cockpit: one that puts the landing gear down and one that puts it down safely. It’s not just an affront to common sense—it’s a recipe for disaster.
%explainer  %contrarian  !write!technologist 
november 2017 by lemeb
Immigrants Do a Great Job at Becoming Americans
Assimilation, therefore, is really a process of integration -- many cultures becoming one culture. E pluribus unum. American parents of all races can expect their children to know how to use chopsticks and to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, just as older generations of Americans embraced German Christmas trees and Italian pasta. Cultural preservationists on all sides might be unhappy with this, while cosmopolitans will rejoice. But no matter what you think of cultural evolution, it’s important to realize that integration is nothing like the submissive, conformist abandonment of all ancestral culture that some nativists wrongly imagine prevailed in the past.
#immigration  %contrarian  %😃 
november 2017 by lemeb
Breitbart is too dumb to survive the net neutrality apocalypse / Boing Boing
Case in point: Breitbart News. The only reason Breitbart was able to be economically viable and politically influential is because of net neutrality: if their ability to contact their constituencies was contingent on approval from the establishment they decry, they'd have been strangled in their cradle.

This is true of many things I love and many things I hate: insurgencies rely on free, fair, open infrastructure and suffer under systems of control and incumbency. Boing Boing thrives because of the same free, fair and open network that let Breitbart arise.

What Breitbart doesn't realize is that the weapon they fashion for Trump and his FCC will remain locked and loaded for the administrations that come next: once you erode the principle of net neutrality, then a 2018 Democratic Congress or a 2020 Democratic President could simply turn Breitbart off.
#conservatives  #techpol  %contrarian  !write!technologist  !write!readthenews  #$#journalism  #us#trumpland  !write!dystopia 
november 2017 by lemeb
Can Trumpism Survive Trump? - The New York Times
Olsen: The G.O.P. remains intellectually wedded to dying dogma. The congressional party really wants to do nothing other than cut taxes for businesspeople and the top bracket based on what can only be called religious devotion to supply-side theory. I do not think they represent their voters, and Trump’s nomination is proof of that. I think it will take a big defeat, though, before mainstream Republican pols start to realize the old ways aren’t politically sustainable. Just the sort of defeat that an inept reaction to last week’s election thrashing would create — and, boy, it sure looks like the first reaction might be exactly that!

Douthat: And yet in Steve Bannon, you have someone with real prominence who keeps saying that the party needs to change in something like the direction that you advocate — who talks about building a “workers’ party,” ditching libertarianism and even doing outreach to minority voters with economic-nationalist themes. But then when it comes to the specifics of his strategy, Bannon always seems more inclined toward seeking out racialized cultural fights, or linking himself to substance-free resentment vehicles like Roy Moore, than toward pursuing the economic-policy shift he’s officially in favor of accomplishing. What do you think of the frequent liberal argument that this is a problem inherent to right-wing populism — that the lurches toward race-baiting are inescapable, that the effort to build a pan-ethnic conservative populism is foredoomed?


The ultimate #conwatch
#conservatives  %contrarian 
november 2017 by lemeb
Breitbart’s Coming Exploitation of the Believe Women Movement | Crooked Media
Imagine it’s September or October 2020, and out of nowhere multiple women accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of sexual abuse, but instead of surfacing in a meticulously sourced story in a news outlet with a healthy tradition of careful reporting, it runs in a blind item on Breitbart.com. Or imagine such a story about a current Democratic candidate or leader landed in such an outlet tomorrow.


Oh shit 😮
#conservatives  %contrarian  #fakenews  !write!dystopia  #xxi#sexualassault  #us#trumpland 
november 2017 by lemeb
The Christian Right Was Right
It turns out that every single one of their raw-throated, brimstone-breathing prophecies were true:

That the wolves would come in sheep’s clothing to devour the innocent.
That there would be a twisting of the Scriptures to justify vile evil of every kind.
That people would do what was right in their own eyes and make themselves into the very God they most worshiped.
That money and power and pride would be too seductive to avoid for far too many.
That the Church was in danger of being polluted to the point of death.
That the least of these would be discarded and brutalized.
That good people would be preyed upon by opportunistic monsters.

These sage prognosticators had everything about the approaching disaster correct—except its source.


Ouch, that's violent.
#conservatives  %contrarian  !write!dystopia 
november 2017 by lemeb
mcc on Twitter: "For context of the problem, here's Harvard's "Moral Machine", a quiz that shows a scenario & asks you to judge the car's appropriate action https://t.co/jfkg7luuFh"
All these thought experiments (Like MIT Moral Machines) are based on a misunderstanding about the nature of information available to any self driving car

tl;dr a car does probabilistic calculations, so it can't do that kind of trolley-like decisions. They said what I was thinking all along.
#t#selfdriving  #xxi#tech  %theory  %contrarian 
november 2017 by lemeb

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