Morning Ed: Society {2016.11.16.W}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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192 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Women, STEM, and Geek Culture: This is going to be a very pleasant conversation. (Sarcasm). There are many women into geek culture to but let us, for the sake of argument, assume that the main thesis is right and women stay away from STEM majors because of geek culture. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this particular argument, which seems to believe that most women aren’t into geek culture and do not want to be associated with it. Apparently if men in STEM were more the clean-cut bland Ken doll type than more women would be into STEM. There is no evidence for this. STEM and geek culture are closely related and there shouldn’t be a divorce.

    Gilsdorf: They play D&D twice and only for a few minutes in Stranger Things. Having the kid leads play D&D was a good way to establish background for the show.

    Museum hoarding: It makes some sense but private art collectors horde to. My solution is that a lot of art should be distributed from major metropolitan museums to smaller regional ones.

    Lego guy was amazing.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      ST/D&D: I’m curious about what school allows teachers or students to decorate classrooms like that? Office space, sure. But shared environments like classrooms and computer labs?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        My wife (an elementary school teacher) knows of a teacher that made her classroom completely Star Wars themed, all with handmade stuff.

        There’s also stuff like this

        The weird thing to me about the original thesis, that Sci Fi and Fantasy stuff in the classroom alienates women? I don’t know about Star Trek and D&D (their marketing machines are no match for The Mouse) but anecdotally, Star Wars has been super aggressive (and highly sucessful) at building out its fanbase among females born during the second Bush administration – and that was even well before Rey took the screen. And has done it not at all by making everything pink or whatever.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:


      There are plenty of women who like geek culture but I do think that a lot of STEM has a “treehouse” problem like a lot of geek culture has a treehouse problem. There are a lot of guys who want geek culture to be their sanctuary and are pissed as hell that it is becoming mainstream and in certain sections, women and minorities are becoming market voices.

      This means the companies that make the stuff are working to meet that consumer demand. So less scantily clad women, more minority superheros, etc. This drives a lot of geek guys off the deep end.

      My own experience with STEM types is that they can also be highly dismissive of any academic interest that is not STEM. One of the things that drove me out of fandom was hearing one too many geeks insisting that liberal arts people are not intelligent.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        And many people on the other side want complete capitulation and everybody to go all the way to them. Geeks replaced by Ken dolls, much more aesthetically pleading.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        One of the things that drove me out of fandom was hearing one too many geeks insisting that liberal arts people are not intelligent.

        That’s kind of funny in a sad head-shaking way. Who do these fans think made the arts products they obviously consider important accomplishments?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Math and science geeks, obviously.
          Who do you think wrote the Simpsons?
          Who do you think decided that using an actual “solvable” puzzle in Torchwood would be a good idea? (liberal arts people don’t know how to stop poisons by using ingredients found on an aeroplane).Report

    • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The Heatst piece quoted the professor on Star Trek:

      ““To draw more girls into STEM fields, it’s not enough to provide more learning opportunities,” Cheryan claims. “This geeky image is at odds with the way that many girls see themselves. Work from our lab shows that when high-school girls see Star Trek posters and video games in a computer-science classroom, they are less interested than boys in taking the course.”

      I get that any field wants to pull from as large a group as possible to get the best talent, but this smacks of the kind of thing that fuels lots of alt-Righter types (and in this case, am sympathetic to). Why should the people drawn to STEM and tech abandon the things they enjoy for some hypothetical gain in diversity? I embrace the idea of not having sexual pinups and the like in any type of office environment, but this seems to be saying “women don’t like these nerds and so they need to go.”

      And as other folks have mentioned here, just from my own anecdotal evidence, I know plenty of women who love Star Trek and other elements of geek culture.

      Where would we draw the line with this type of thing? The military attracts a certain type of person; those people turn off other segments of our society. Does this necessitate an undermining of their interests and attitudes so that some other group can better approach the field?Report

      • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to Roland Dodds says:

        I want to also ask the same question of professions that have generally drawn more women (literature, social work, education). Surely there are ideas/images/cultural norms present in those fields that men find less appealing. Should they necessarily change those to possibly pull a few more men towards the profession?Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Roland Dodds says:

        This post on another site is about the geek culture in engineering subject. The writer is a STEM guy. As he points out, many of the geeky STEM types were excluded throughout their school experiences. Their geek culture is what makes them feel included with other STEM types. Attempts to force them to change to be inclusive effectively works to make them feel excluded from the only place where they feel include.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Reformed Republican says:

          ” many of the geeky STEM types were excluded throughout their school experiences. Their geek culture is what makes them feel included with other STEM types.”

          There does seem to be this weird idea, recently, that geek-stuff is actually just another expression of Toxic Masculinity.

          Although I guess it’s what you’d expect when pushback against criticism of men is seen as inherently resulting from Challenge To The Patriarchy. “We’re telling all these nerdy sperglords that they’re jerks who like horrible things, and they’re complaining! Must be Threatened Male Privilege.”Report

        • And generally, I bristle at any suggestions that people homogenize themselves for the “comfort” or “ease” or whatever you might say of others. I mean, yes, there are some things that need to be agreed upon as “this is not a good idea” (the example of pin-up calendars, though I admit I’d be less put off by those than some might).

          But an example: I knit, and I tend to bring knitting with me when I invigilate exams. It keeps me from being bored and fidgety and feeling resentful towards that one student who wants to use every single second of the allotted exam time. But I also sometimes worry, when I have a class full of somewhat-rowdy guys (we have students who take my class as a cognate, who are majors in another department that leans very male, and very good-ol’-boy male) that it’s just going to lead to me being taken less seriously.

          So I always ask myself: do I leave it at home and feel somewhat resentful that I’ve had to do that, or do I take it and just deal with the fact that some of these guys seem not to want to show a little respect for whatever reason? I usually come down on the side of bringing it, because why should I have to edit who I am because of some trolls? And yes, I’m willing to deal with whatever fallout but if they’re already borderline rude to me, I’m not going to edit who I am – I’m even less likely to.

          And I will say: I was excluded throughout much of my schooling-years (though for other reasons than being a hardcore geek) and I admit one of the things that baffles me a little in gamer and other bad-behavior: these folks KNOW what it’s like to be excluded, yet they are doing it to other people (the “fake geek girl” taunts and the like). Humans are tribal beasts and while that probably has adaptive value for the species as a whole, I admit I don’t like it.

          (Also: girl bullying, at least until recently, relied very heavily upon shunning and exclusion of the non-conformers. And sometimes that includes girls interested in STEM. So it’s not just “geeks” that can make it hard)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk says:

            I’ve read an essay about how it’s similar to complaints of “gentrification”.

            People were excluded and they themselves made an enclave for themselves. A “safe space”, if you will.

            Someone who could go anywhere, literally anywhere else, decides to show up in their little enclave and starts pushing these formerly excluded people out of their own space? Where else are they going to go?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

              (And if you want to read that essay, God only knows why you might, but you might, it’s here.)Report

            • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird says:

              Except I doubt most people could go “literally anywhere” and be accepted there. As I said: humans are tribal critters (and some days I would add: and to Hell with ’em)

              I mean, I’m a cis-het-white-nativeborn-“abled”-Christian woman. I am like the MAJORITY majority here, and there are still plenty places I feel unwelcome. I tend to avoid those places.Report

          • I gotta say, I had to look up “invigilate.” Learn something everyday.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Roland Dodds says:

        Geek culture provided a big foundation for STEM for a long time that I really can’t see how you could untangle it. The entire argument that STEM should become less geeky to attract more women seems to be calling for all accommodation to come from one side, in this case nerd men. I think that there are diversity advocates who do think that “women don’t like these nerds and so they need to go” is a good argument though.

        There are some differences between male and female geeks. I think women into geek culture have an easier time going back and forth between the geek and non-geek worlds. Most of this is because of sexism. Parents of daughters aren’t going to let them flounder around with bad social skills the way that will allow sons if the son is good at math or science or something. The stricter social education that girls are given takes away a lot of the outcast edge of geek culture. Physical attractiveness can help geeky women more than it helps geeky men when dealing with non-geeks.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Roland Dodds says:

        I’m more generally curious about the idea of hanging up any sort of decorations such as those being discussed.

        Maybe schools are weird but it seems strange to me that you’d hang up or otherwise “theme” a professional space with pop culture artifacts. I mean, a little Yoda figurine on your desk is one thing. But Star Trek posters in the break room is just weird… or is it?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:


          That struck me as well. In college, I spent a lot of time in both the engineering and the CS departments, and while our classrooms & labs were not unadorned, any decoration was topical, not cultural (think pictures of mechanisms, a construction, molecules, or the results of a simulation).

          I’ve never been to a STEM college that allowed pop-culture decorations anywhere except grad student office space.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            I find it especially weird in shared spaces. I can very quickly see a “war” brewing, where one poster yields another yields another and soon you are wall papered with “competing” posters trying to define the space.

            But these conversations always have some irony that goes unaddressed.

            “Why do you care if there is a Star Trek poster on the wall?”
            “Why do you care if there isn’t?”

            If a Star Trek poster — or any particular cultural item — is very important to you to have there, you can’t then turn around and say it’s presence is meaningless and doesn’t impact anyone.

            It was like the woman last year who I listened to rant and rave about the Starbucks cup design. She finished her rant with, “WHO THE HELL GETS ANGRY ABOUT CUPS?!?!” with absolutely no sense of irony.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:


              I’m curious now if any of the other STEM folks here have been in classrooms or lab spaces adorned with pop-culture artifacts and images. The very idea just strikes me as so very foreign. But I went to a large public Ivy, so perhaps my experience is abnormal.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The cube farms always had every third cube be some kind of shrine.

                Oh. This person is a Broncos fan.
                Oh. This person really, really likes angels and other religious imagery.
                Oh. This person apparently has 14 children/nieces/nephews/grandchildren.
                Oh. This person enjoys the music of a popular artist.

                So on, so forth.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Were those cubes “owned” by the individual?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                Cubicles is mostly what I think of. I’ve been in two cubicle environments (two open labs, one office) and both were definitely “Design it how you like it” sort of places. Whether they were “owned” or not is subject to interpretation. Neither were particularly private. One was a shared space that I got half of, the other was a really tiny little space (“Got in trouble for OSHA until they put slide-out keyboards” tiny) and pretty visible.

                Neither place put any significant restrictions on what we could put out there. I would have responded negatively if they had. (Though if my cube-mate had said something, I’d have responded very flexibly.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yes, but the “hallway” was a shared space, of sorts. The cube walls were things that you pretty much had to walk past if you were coming or going.

                People plastered everything from Dilbert cartoons to recently acquired certifications to daughter’s friend’s wedding pictures to, yes, Star Trek movie posters on them.

                Some of the sports people sat close enough to each other to have rivalries. The Broncos guy vs. the Cowboys guy. The Red Wings guy vs. the Avalanche guy.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                @will-truman @jaybird

                That seems reasonable to me. I’ve never worked in a cube but it strikes me as analogous to an office, albeit with less privacy. I wouldn’t say you should have carte blanche (e.g., no nudie posters, no swastikas) but otherwise nothing you said seems a problem.

                A cube is “your” space. Treat it as such. The problems seem to arise when you treat a shared space — like the break room — into your space.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

                But cube farms (which are offices) are not class rooms or lab spaces. How likely would a prospective new student be walking through a grad student office space? Once they start classes, they might be doing office hours in such a place, but I go back to my original point:

                If their interest in the subject matter is so tenuous that open, non-sexual/non-misogynistic displays of geek culture will discourage them, then I posit the work itself will drive them out in short order.

                I mean, what is more likely to cause someone to stop studying poetry, the subject matter, or Yeats fandom?Report

              • Everywhere I’ve worked with labs, the lab spaces were off limits for anything except “inside” jokes, eg, most of the laser labs had some variation of this poster in addition to all of the real mandatory warning signs.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                “If their interest in the subject matter is so tenuous that open, non-sexual/non-misogynistic displays of geek culture will discourage them, then I posit the work itself will drive them out in short order.”

                Yes. I could see it being why they choose one workplace over another. But an entire field? Very unlikely. Broader cultural issues can be a factor but this don’t seem like that. The real factors that discourage many women from STEM fields happen long before they reach that level.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Broader cultural issues can be a factor but this don’t seem like that. ”

                actually from this looks of things this is all about broad cultural issues. (bah-DOOMP)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I can’t think of an analogue from my experience. I can’t think of a classroom I was in for either undergrad or grad that wasn’t a shared space and often with classes of a very different nature (in undergrad, we share classroom space with foreign language and in grad school, many of our classes were in actual elementary school classrooms… and the few that weren’t were all multi-purpose shared spaces). But we didn’t really have a lab or anything like that… something that was simultaneously shared but also dedicated to the field. The closest was the Educational Resource Center in undergrad, which really amounted to a children’s library complete with books and classroom materials. I guess that was decorated as you’d expect… framed pictures of book characters and crap like that.Report

          • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            My lab is decorated with free posters from various ag departments – “Common lawn weeds” and the like, and “The Dirty Dozen” (invasive species).

            I have a poster of a Carl Larsson painting up in my office and a couple of My Little Pony tiny toys hidden away on my desk where only I see them.

            I have biostats comic strips (there are more than you’d think) up on my office door but even that’s a bit sketchy, I know in some departments faculty were asked to denude their doors because of the rather pointed political things on them and fear it might offend potential donors.

            So far, no one has complained about my xkcd “correlation vs. causation” strip.

            I wonder where t-shirts fit in with this? Certainly seeing someone in a t-shirt is a shared-space thing. (And I might note how glad I am for the death of the “Big Johnson” themed t-shirts fad. I don’t squick out easily but those kinda squicked me out. Not that I ever said anything)Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Roland Dodds says:

        Exactly this.

        I mean, one of the things about many STEM fields is that interest in such things is not typically something that one just decides upon during their freshman year of college. It’s roots run much deeper, and further back into development, because the work is incredibly hard, and if you don’t have a deep seated interest, you’ll burn out.

        Most of the attrition you see from STEM fields are from people who found it a bit interesting, or thought it would be a good career path, but found the work either daunting or boring.

        Sure there are always exceptions that prove the rule, but most of the folks I know who were successful engineers and computer scientists (not just code monkeys) were heavy into the topics long before starting college. And those that didn’t have that long term interest either changed majors or did something very smart like doing a double major in business, or going to law school.

        tl;dr – interest in a STEM field that can be dissuaded so easily by (non-sexual) geek paraphernalia is interest that probably won’t survive the first year of STEM classes.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Roland Dodds says:

        Work from our lab shows that when high-school girls see Star Trek posters and video games in a computer-science classroom, they are less interested than boys in taking the course.”

        As a counterpoint to this finding, I cite Nichelle Nichols

        After the cancellation of Star Trek, Nichols volunteered her time in a special project with NASA to recruit minority and female personnel for the space agency.[18] She began this work by making an affiliation between NASA and a company which she helped to run, Women in Motion.[19][20][21][22][23][24]

        The program was a success. Among those recruited were Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the current NASA administrator and veteran of four shuttle missions, and Lori Garver, former deputy administrator.[24]

        I don’t understand at all how Star Trek could go from the cutting edge of getting women and minorities in STEM to being an obstacle.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kolohe says:

          “I don’t understand at all how Star Trek could go from the cutting edge of getting women and minorities in STEM to being an obstacle.”

          It’s the contagion of hate.

          Gamergate likes Star Trek. Gamergate is bad. Therefore, Star Trek is bad.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      At my office there is no shortage of “nerd culture” stuff, but there are other things also. The point is, you can find people playing CCGs at lunch, or in the video game room, but you also find people in the fitness center or in our weekly knitting group. There is an onsite manicurist. But then, we have a hobbiest machine shop. But then, we have a music room. Etc.

      I just finished working with local management to ensure our team branded apparel has some decent feminine choices. They had never thought about the topic much.

      The physical space looks like this: (Some of those are other offices, but still.)

      The point is, this isn’t all-or-nothing. It’s not about the complete absence of geek-coded things. It’s about actual diversity.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to veronica d says:

        You see this a lot with business types. “doh, we didn’t think about that”
        Be it “feminine” clothing, or “hey, these leaks are actually contributing to global warming. Why don’t we be responsible and think about fixing the ones that don’t cause explosions?”

        It’s not that they don’t have budget to do decent things (good PR if nothing else). It’s that they truly don’t think sometimes.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Smart glasses: Bout time. They also go well paired with cute girls. HOT

    Star Trek / D&D: Quality comment from the ST article: “This is nonsense by someone who didn’t have the smarts or drive to get to class and get As.” D&D: The funny thing is that my jujitsu istructor is a D&D fan. He has a group of adults that get together and play once or twice a month. Got all the sets and such too. NERRRRRRD 🙂

    Lego: Damn it, now make me a model of the Defiant! I will buy.

    Bookcase: Crying “I’ve been crushed by a bookcase and can’t get out” plaintively like an old lady doesn’t work?Report

  3. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I dunno. I’m a woman and I guess I could say my career is STEM-adjacent (professor of biology at a teaching-heavy university) and also some people would say I’m “STEM-lite” because I’m a botanist, but – Star Trek fandom and Dungeons and Dragons were not the things I found challenging about being a woman in science. And they aren’t now, even though I doubt any of my colleagues play D&D. (One might be a Trek fan, not sure).

    I’ve made Star Wars jokes in class (I prefer the “classic” Star Wars movies to Trek). Had no idea I might be specifically “alienating” women. Oh well. I suppose the thing is to never make jokes, and to never let anyone know you have a side to you outside of your narrow field, then. THAT’S appealing to students. (not)

    There are other things that make a career in the sciences unappealing. I really really loved my subject but some of the politics and crap surrounding the whole research arena is what drove me into a more teaching-oriented career. Also, I didn’t want a job where my continued employment was dependent upon how many federal grants I could get, because even back in the Clinton administration I suspected that “gravy train” was slowing down fast.

    Also, at least when I was in grad school, the fact that I preferred not to drink alcohol (so, didn’t generally go to the bar with the rest of the folks after weekly seminar) was probably more “distancing” for me than the fact that many of my colleagues were guys, some of whom, yes, liked Star Trek or played Dungeons and Dragons.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to fillyjonk says:

      The lovely Natasha Likko works with a cadre of over a hundred STEM geeks. Yes, many of them played Dungeons & Dragons and I suspect some still do. Yes, many of them are utterly fascinated with Star Trek and Star Wars and debate about the relative merits of each. And about 10% are women, and they’re quite comfortable with the aesthetic incidents of geekdom.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Botany Huh? My dad was a prof. of Pomology at a teaching oriented college. Which he preferred also.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Aaron David says:

        I wish someone had pushed me more to specialize in something like Pomology. I’m just kind of the Utility Infielder of botanists….(most of my research has been on either remnant prairie or restoring prairie. Though I have done some entomological stuff of late, and if I were going to do it all over again, I think I would go the Entomology route – more possibilities for alt-ac careers if the teaching thing palls.)Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to fillyjonk says:

          Well, he was actually a geneticist by PhD, though the Pom part did work very well with the lower degrees (Crop Sci.) He did talk about going back and getting a Metallurgy doc. after he retired though.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, today is Wednesday, not Thursday (per the post title).Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    So when a room is filled with objects strongly indicative of identification with a particular culture, persons who do not consider themselves members of that culture feel uncomfortable and excluded. This is yet another example of the strong group-defense response common to white males, who find the open celebration of other cultures a threat to their patriarchal hegemony.

    …wait, what was that article about again?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Somebody who writes at Status 451 (Clarkhat’s site), recently had an essay about the whole Star Trek thing. (Note: this is a different essay than the Gentrification one.)

      “Exclusive Inclusivity” is the term he gave it.

      His argument is that Star Trek is a schelling point.

      Whenever there is a new group of people coming into a culture and this new group picks different shelling points, it’s going to create static.

      Now we can discuss the extent to which cultures can be evil and need correction. And then we can talk about whether picking this culture instead of that culture is indicative of evil that needs correction. And then we can talk about how I’m not the freaking problem here, people like you are. And then we can talk about how it’s completely different when I do it. And then we can talk about…Report

  6. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Because this is a bit thought provoking

    His latest point is that citizens and their politicians have to change the conversation about carbon. Climate change, he maintains, is a design failure, a breakdown in the natural carbon cycle caused by humans. By rethinking how we design things, especially cities, we can restore the natural carbon cycle and exploit it for human gain, creating positive environmental impacts rather than harm.


    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Turn it into a moral issue, it becomes a culture war.

      Turn it into an engineering issue, we suddenly start wondering if the reason there aren’t more women team leads is because of all of the Star Trek posters in the lab.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

        The issue of where we stop dividing people into groups is what has me wary of parity.

        Do we really need as many female legislators as male legislators?
        Is it preferable that black police officers kill more people?

        I’m not sure the left-handed population is fairly represented.
        Also, people who are significantly taller than average suffer immensely from a society which rejects their height, while short people can walk through doorways without stooping. It’s inherently unfair.
        I’m not so sure that people missing a toe are well-represented in Congress, while that would be easy enough to fix, given a hatchet, if they really cared.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will H. says:

          The idea for more diversity is that you get more viewpoints and ultimately a better result. Many people of color that I know believe that the media underreported
          Trump’s racism and sexism because most people involved are white and men rather than people of color or women. This may or may not be true. The idea for more female legislators is that policy and law that effects women directly will get treated more seriously by female legislators than male ones.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I love this new idea that the media underreported Trump’s racism and sexism and that’s why he didn’t lose.

            It’s very funny to think about this while recalling how CNN turned into a 24-7 loop of “grab ’em by the pussy” for about a week back in October.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to LeeEsq says:

            @leeesq :
            I understand what the arguments are for diversity.
            The argument presented is against parity, specifically; e.g., there is no reason to believe that, were 50 Senators female, the nation as a whole would be better represented.

            Further, there is something of a slippery slope argument which is really directed against divisiveness generally; e.g., I had cottage cheese (large curd) with fruit (peaches) this morning for breakfast– how then could I be fairly represented by someone who has clearly not eaten cottage cheese (large curd) for breakfast?
            In addition, there is the element of a view toward matters of consequence, whereas physical resemblance, whatever aspect, is fairly shallow; e.g., if having a woman for president is a laudable goal, then why not Squeaky Fromme?
            (After an assassination attempt against a Republican president, I assume she would be running as a Democrat.)

            I regret (truly!, and without reservation) being unclear as to the argument previously.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Will H. says:

          As the Son, Brother and Father of the Left Handled, I shall start wearing my watch on my off-handed wrist in support!Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, that’s making it a choice between X (sub a) versus X (sub b) decision, your favorite kind:

        Will we make a special effort to recruit women to design the next generation of lower-carbon devices, or do we care at all about the gender of who’s designing them?Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Burt Likko says:

          The assumption, on the part of the people who feel very strongly that gender imbalances are bad, is that the only reason gender imbalances exist is that there are people who do care about the gender of the designers–even though we shouldn’t–and that those people feel very strongly that the gender of designers should not be female.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Burt Likko says:

          95% of the time, the science or engineering is utterly divorced from the gender of the practitioner. The reason we should encourage more diversity into STEM fields is less about the end product, or more about the fact that there is no good reason not to have more diversity in the fields. Race & gender don’t impact the work, so we should remove structural and cultural impediments to participation in those fields.

          Geek culture geegaws do not represent a cultural impediment the way that, say, professional sidelining of women who have children can be.

          Now, if the researcher whose work started all this was to rerun her experiment using a selection of students who had shown more than a passing interest in STEM in high school, and visible geek culture was still a strong turn off, then she might have a point. My claim is that an interest in STEM fields is something that is typically cultivated long before college, and the place you focus efforts* on getting more women into STEM is middle school, or possibly earlier.

          *A good start is to find any adult in the education system who has a preconceived notion that girls just aren’t good at math or science, and you make sure they never have contact with developing youth ever again.Report

          • 95% of the time, the science or engineering is utterly divorced from the gender of the practitioner.

            I have a friend at Intel Research who falls into the other 5%. She’s in their user experience group, looking at how and for what purposes people use high-end processors. Some years back Intel finally figured out that they were ignoring potentially large markets if they excluded women and minorities from that effort.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

              That’s exactly why I left that 5% (it might be bigger than that, actually). There are design concerns where gender/race/etc do factor in, primarily with user interaction/interface.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I suspect it’s considerably more than 5%. When you consider “user interface” broadly to be any interaction between the thing built, and human (or animal) bodies, eyes, thoughts, probably much more.

                At that point, basically any civil engineering project with an above-ground component is full of user interface work, for example.

                “Is this a good intersection design” has considerable demographic considerations. Women will be affected differently from men, minorities from whites, children from younger adults from the elderly, residents of the area from those just passing through, those on foot from those in cars, by every design decision.

                Considering the intersection design “utterly divorced from the gender of the practitioner” probably just means that the practitioner’s assumptions about who they’re designing for, and what those people’s needs are, are going unexamined.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

                It depends on the design. Most things would have an interface that can be informed by the specifics of the user, but the bulk of the design doesn’t care. For instance, the bulk of a cars engineering doesn’t care who is at the controls, but the cabin & controls certainly do.

                The trick (& one of the reasons diversity in STEM is a positive as opposed to a neutral) is figuring out when the design has to take such things into consideration.Report

              • My favorite user experience anecdote (involving multiculturalism) came from some researchers at Stanford. It was in the early days of video-over-IP, and I was working with them on a project where you got a little window with someone offering advice on fixing your problem (my video was ugly, but ran on the hardware of the day without crushing the CPU). At some point, a student from somewhere in Eastern Europe advised them that this was going to be an absolute disaster for many of the people where he came from. There, he said, lots of people still believed at least a bit in “little folks”, and in the local mythology they were mischievous and absolutely not to be trusted. The Stanford folks got a grant to go investigate, and sure enough, people there were surprising nervous about little faces/voices in their computer offering advice. The Stanford people advised their client to include a text-only help option.

                Presumably things are somewhat different now.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Well, at that point, we really need to find out why there aren’t more guys who end up in the Dow Climate Change Division.

          I’m guessing that it has more to do with the want ad in the paper that says “Help Wanted: Intersectional Feminist desired to work in Climate Change lab. Must have Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering and Doctorate in Climate Engineering Science (ABD okay)”

          (Or whatever the ad would say. You get the gist.)

          If the problem is the specific STEM degree requirements, the problem *AIN’T* the fact that the Dow Climate Change Division has a picture of Odo over the coffee machine with a little word bubble saying “Only Ferengi think they don’t have to pay their coffee dues.”Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

        Polluting is popular because it’s cheap — Socialized impact / privatized profit. Hooray for capitalism!

        Were the Clean Air Act / Clean Water Act / Superfund all passed into law because of engineers or because of moral outrage? So, just how are we doing on lead abatement, groundwater restoration, airborne NOx / SOx / VOCs, closure of the ozone hole? Were those always just engineering issues, or did they start as moral ones?

        As to Mr. McDonough, the topic of the SciAm piece, none of the pollution control engineers I’ve met in my life have been stupid. They’re not sending hot dirty gases produced by coal burning into the atmosphere due to a failure of imagination; they’re doing so because converting that waste stream into an asset stream is really hard. So hard, in fact, that it only makes sense to do so when the government imposes such a high cost on that release that capturing it makes economic sense.

        Technocracies work great when there is an agreement that a problem exists. When leading Republicans deny the existence of the problem and accuse scientists of corruption and malfeasance, it’s pretty challenging to be talking about reasonable regulatory solutions.Report

  7. Avatar Will H. says:

    People, generally, male and female, who are turned off to a subject, whether science, music, or meditation, due to perceptions of awkwardness or gauche associated with that subject (whether rightly or wrongly), instead holding out for the “right fit,” tend to lack the dedication and enthusiasm to excel in the subject at issue.

    For a woman to abstain from pursuit of a career in STEM due to Star Trek gabble is as (in)sensible as me holding out for a profession filled with Bullwinkle fans.

    I’ll just have to talk Bullwinkle with whoever I can find, and when someone tries to get all Star Trek with me, I can opt to gain the initiative (note the AD&D reference) and go full-bore Bullwinkle on them before they get the chance to get really Treked out.

    I don’t even have crocodile tears for this one.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    In something that is sure to get @jaybird talking about matters of taste v. matters of morality, Slate has an article on older men dating younger women and why it is a problem. Specifically the author says it is a sign of fragile masculinity.

    Each example disgusts me anew in a way that’s probably not entirely defensible: I think I might be angrier about these couples than I am about a good many important political issues. I know, I know: Why care that two consenting adults are canoodling when a demagogue is about to take the White House? (Donald Trump, for the record, is 24 years older than his wife Melania, and each time he’s gotten married, it’s been to a younger woman. But anyway.) It’s just so transparent, watching one of these paragons of fragile masculinity take his male privilege out for a spin and realize he can date someone so young she won’t know how inappropriate it is. High five! Why not father a child you’ll be too old to raise properly while you’re at it? The exact ages and differentials vary, but each one reinforces one important point: Women get less valuable as they age, while men just get to enjoy the ride.

    I gotta say that I largely agree with the article. I do know people whose dads were much younger than their moms. I also saw some older guys around my college dating college-aged women and I generally found it very hard to hang out with these guys especially if they were in their 40s and 50s and still trying to dress like rock stars with long hair, tight jeans, and leather jackets. I always thought what is wrong with these guys for wanting to hang around college students. My girlfriend works at a company where the average age of an employee is 29 and I sometimes find it hard to be in that environment. Her co-workers are cool but I’m not up for staying out until 1 a.m. on a weeknight when there is work the next day. I couldn’t even compete like that in law school when I was 28.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      We should set up some rules for women, telling them who they were allowed and weren’t allowed to date.

      We shouldn’t be letting those men be dating our women.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      In the opposite true? Are older women who date younger men just showing their fragile femininity?Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        No, that’s an example of fragile masculinity needing to be propped up by leeching off the money and success of older women.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        I know the whole cougar thing is supposed to be more common now but I know so few couples where the woman is older than her boyfriend or husband by more than a year or two. The only example I can think of off the top of my head is Megan McArdle and her husband. IIRC (from their Times wedding announcement!) she has 9 years on her husband.

        There is a hotel in Palo Alto that has a weekly cougar night where older women try and meet up with young techies. Never been though. I’ve just driven by the hotel.

        I used to belong to another internet community with a wider demographic base than OT. There were teenagers and middle-aged people in this internet community. I was in my 20s. Every now and then, one of the middle-aged guys would start talking about how one of the teenage girls (quite possibly aged 16-17) was “so wise and mature beyond her years.”

        I found this creepy and transparent. Most of it probably did not come to any fruition but it was still wrong.

        I generally don’t like being at restaurants with old guys flirting with waitresses who are young enough to be their daughters either. Just let her do her job and leave her alone.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Flirting between patrons and waitstaff of the same age is just as unprofessional, though there are of course establishments where that’s the business model.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          King Henry II of England was eleven years younger than Eleanor of Aquitaine. Catherine of Aragon was nine years older than Henry VIII but that might not be the best example.

          Women into the entire Cougar/MILF in real life thing don’t seem to be the type that would be attracted to young techies in hoodies. Its usually flashier young men just like its flashier young women with older men but there might be exceptions.

          The Slate article struck me as both true and wrong at the same time. The ability to have a much younger wife was a big part of power displays in a more sexist times. Old men going after young women can also come across as ridiculous at best and really creepy in bad case scenarios. Sometimes these relationships develop quite naturally though.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I personally know exactly one case of older man, younger woman, and in that case, he should have gone to jail, since she was 17 and he was 39 when he knocked her up (he is my age). The only reason he isn’t in jail is the family was very poor, and had him over enough of a barrel to make sure he stuck around to support the kid and infant.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          My lady friend is 7 years my senior.Report

      • A guy who marries his high school teacher is just plain creepy. Generalizing from one example, anyway.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Are we really going to pretend that this is anything other than cattiness?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It’s the punchline to a Saturday Night Live skit come to life, as the Cut was quick to note; it’s Twilight’s Jacob imprinting on Bella’s vampire baby; it’s that guy on Game of Thrones who marries his daughters.

      Craster’s Keep was a…different thing than violating the half plus seven rule, but the piece is all about having no sense of perspective.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Guys date appearance
      Gals date status.

      But I doubt the Tony Bennett is even capable of much “frolic-ing”, so WTF cares? Hell, I’d date hotter younger women if given the option, but like Saul says, I can’t keep up. I do not, however, go over 15 years. Few women in their 20s have the financial resources or experience that I prefer–and say “like” waaaay to much. Too much like dating my niece. EwwwReport

  9. Avatar notme says:

    What’s Organic? A Debate Over Dirt May Boil Down to Turf

    It never occurred to me that this would be an issue. However, it seems to come down to money as usual.Report

  10. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    On the STEM argument – let’s say you were interested in French class and somehow, also, knowing French opened up new jobs that allowed you to make a good income.

    Now, imagine that when you go to your 1st French class, there’s a bunch of posters with weird French in jokes you don’t know, almost everybody in the class already knows a lot of French and is wearing French t-shirts that go beyond your surface level understanding, classes are regularly sent off the rails by esoteric discussions between the teacher and students about odd French stuff that seems out of bounds of the class, and you’re regularly asked by both teachers and students why you’re even in this class.

    Obviously, you might just be a tough person, but that would turn off a lot of folks. And among my female friends in STEM, all of the above has happened, but in engineering, computer science, and other STEM courses.Report

    • Now, imagine that when you go to your 1st French class, there’s a bunch of posters with weird French in jokes you don’t know, almost everybody in the class already knows a lot of French and is wearing French t-shirts that go beyond your surface level understanding,

      Like French 1A in college being full of people who took four years of French in high school? Yeah, that never happens.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Again, what school did you go to, because none of that happened in my classes? Maybe in study groups outside of class, you might get some in-joking, but no one had time for that crap in class.

      Also, about the closest parallel I can think of for a French language track in the STEM fields is working through the basic programming classes, or core science & math – all of which attract students from all programs. No one is going to take kinematics or electrodynamics or analytical chemistry on a whim because it’ll beef up the resume, the pre-reqs are too deep.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Hey, I’m just repeating what I’ve heard from my female friends who went to a variety of schools across the country.

        And for them, it happened all the way from Intro classes to really deep classes. Now, obviously, they stuck it out, but somebody shouldn’t have to stick it out to simply receive a degree.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          somebody shouldn’t have to stick it out to simply receive a degree.

          We should also make college free for everybody!Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Part of getting a degree is sticking it out, especially in the STEM fields. Professions have cultures. Most are benign, although some have negative elements we could socially do without (i.e. lawyers being expected to work 80 hours a week, doctors being on call for 72 hours straight, etc.). STEM attracts a lot of geeks for a variety of reasons, so geek culture is going to be prevalent. No one is required to be part of that culture in order to acquire the training (and if that was the case, I would be strongly against such), but if a person wishes to be social active in that space it helps to be conversant in some aspect of it.

          In short, that is geek safe space.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      It would be intimidating but you still have to determine how much of an accommodation must be made. What if the determination was that the best way to get more women into STEM culture was a complete elimination of everything geeky in the classroom or workplace because women generally don’t want to see themselves as geeks but prefer a more mainstream view of themselves. What if the presence of geeky guys themselves is off-putting even though they keep shut on the geek culture. They would prefer more mainstream men. There doesn’t seem to be any give or take but go all the way to me on both sides.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “I visited a lawyer’s office and everybody was wearing really staid clothing like suits and stuff, even if they weren’t customer-facing! My colleagues and I in the intern department have put together a powerpoint where we discuss how we want to be able to wear more casual clothing…”Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I mean, here’s the difference.

        There were plenty of football fans in every class I took, and sometimes even a lot of actual football players, but I can’t remember a time when a significant portion of the class was taken up going over the past weekends action.

        On the other hand, there were more than a few times when as somebody interested in nerd shit, a relatively small chunk of the class dominates the class talking about non-class things while the rest of the class sits around uncomfortable.

        I’m not even getting into your weird belief that women want STEM classes full of Chris Hemsworth types.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Again, I ask where you went to school? I spent almost 5 years in such classes, and the only time a class discussion got derailed by a geek out was when my Satellite Dynamics prof would go on a rant about how bad Hollywood was with presenting science on screen, which took all of 5 minutes of class and usually led to some interesting homework problems.

          Now my ethics & diversity class, on the other hand…Report

          • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            And if a class is being dominated by off-topic chatter, I would say that reflects on the person leading the class more than anything else.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            The only Comp Sci classes I remember getting significantly derailed were taught by a prof who really cultivated a redneck image (which was somewhat legitimate, as he farmed, hunted, was missing a finger from a farming accident, etc.). He went off on hunting stories, shaggy-dog stories about farming and drinking beer and whatnot.

            It was mildly amusing, and generally didn’t take up all that much class time.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

              I had an engineering design prof who would bring his rag mop dog to class. It would walk on the desks, eat the chalk off the floor, and puke on our stuff.

              I think that is probably a bit more annoying than Star Trek in jokes.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Um. Bullshit.
      Nope. I did physics. About as pure STEM as you gonna get.
      About the only remotely awkward thing that happened was when we were looking to see if toilets would have the Coriolis effect, and we went into the boys bathroom.

      … seriously.

      And I HAD teachers who claimed their classes were for sleeping! (and meant it too. homework was a bitch).Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Also, I’d add the article shows relatively simple non-triggering to nerd things that can be done to help out.

      “Culture change isn’t always easy, but it is always possible. The University of Washington’s computer science department has been working hard for the past decade to create a more inclusive culture for women. The department added art and nature posters throughout their building to make it more inviting. Women were appointed as teaching assistants in many courses. Professors sent personalized emails recognizing women who received high grades in introductory courses. These emails defined success as getting good grades, rather than whether one plays video games or knows science fiction references.

      The efforts have paid off. Last year, the proportion of undergraduate computer science degrees going to women at the University of Washington, 32%, was higher than any other public flagship university in the country. The gender gap began to close once women could learn computer science in a culture that signaled they belonged.”

      Also, here’s an article from the SJW dominated Wall Street Journal about how Harvey Mudd changed things and quadrupled its women graduates in 6 years –

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        So here’s the thing about UW’s CS department: It’s closed-admission. Once you’re admitted to the university, you have to make a separate application to the CS department, and not everybody who applies is accepted. I suspect that the sex ratio of CS graduates is largely a product of whom the department chooses to admit.

        Also, UW’s student body is 25% Asian-American, 14% international (mostly Asian), and 7% biracial (again, probably Asian-heavy). Asian (particularly South and East Asian) women are much more likely to go into STEM fields than white women.Report

  11. Avatar notme says:

    Cop Charged in Philando Castile’s Death

    I think he will be found guilty.Report

  12. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    “Nerd Culture” – I don’t quite know what to make of this article: this article . I WANT to say “that’s total BS” but I don’t know.

    I always felt growing up that the nerdy kids had my back, because I was similarly excluded, and a couple of friends of mine were stereotypical nerds. So this guy is saying they were actually closet Brownshirts?

    Again: humans are tribal critters, to Hell with ’em, why not let God or evolution start over again with sentient platypodes or fence lizards and see if it can keep from going wrong THIS time. (Though I’m wondering if it’s “sentience” and not “human” that’s the root of the problem here)Report

  13. Avatar Pinky says:

    I’m with Lee about regional museums. I don’t understand why that isn’t the default model for the industry. How much would it cost a major museum to adopt a dozen partners and loan them some rotating exhibits? And how much would it bring in?

    Does anyone know why it doesn’t happen all the time? I understand that there are some costs, and not every museum has the facilities and expertise, but I can’t imagine that it’s an insurmountable problem.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Pinky says:


      I imagine most of the money on loaning artworks goes to insurance and transportation and every now and then, restoration.

      I don’t know enough about the art world to determine the costs of transporting and insuring invaluable works of art but it is done from one major museum to the next and it can’t be cheap.

      The last major transfer happened when the National received the Vogel collection. The Vogels were a couple of civil servants in NYC (He worked for the post office. She was a librarian) that managed to collect a lot of smaller pieces by the big names in mid-20th century art.

      By a lot, I mean they imagined to collect nearly 4800 pieces of art. At the end, they donated it to the National in DC who ended up dispersing it to museums across the United States because the National did not have enough space.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Pinky says:

      Aren’t many museum exhibits already traveling? My wife and I saw an exhibit at the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, which then travelled to the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and then to the Smithsonian in DC (which curated the show). From what I gathered this depends a lot on the artist, who lives in Maine and NYC.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to trizzlor says:

        Ah, I see you’re talking about having a sort of inter-library loan for art in storage. I believe this is also common as I see “on loan from Museum X” pretty frequently at single-theme or retrospective shows. What the article seems to be suggesting is that museums should refuse donated work (and/or release old work) if they can’t regularly show it. That is, the work should just stay on the market. I think this misses the point that museums are constantly scrounging for money; that their collection is essentially the only permanent asset they have; and that the value of a work is never settled and can always go up.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Good news, everyone.

    There’s finally an app that will allow you to split the bill at a lunch table so that White Men pay more than Latina Women.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

      I like that, it’s quite clever!

      Also likely to make white dudes who are bound and determined not to get the point good and indignant, which is also a nice feature.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to dragonfrog says:

        It’s a moral victory, I guess.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

        The circumstances under which I can imagine the app being used appropriately (as in: in such a way that will result in people getting the point) strike me as being rare.

        Far more likely to result in “nah, I brought my lunch today” or “the lunch group that uses this app goes to different lunch places than the lunch group that no longer does”.

        I kinda think that “getting together and sharing a meal” is, at this point, a lot more important than the point hitting home about how much less your chicken fingers cost you than her fried scrod cost her.

        But I’m a cis-het white male.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

          More relevant than your being a cis-het white male – you’re totally missing the point of the app.

          The point is not to split restaurant bills, unless a group of people really wants to try it once. The point is to illustrate wage gap data from a different angle than usual – to inform conversations, hopefully in an amusing way.

          I mean, come on, the app won the prize at something called a “Comedy Hack Day”. I think that spells it out right there, but in case you missed it, FTA: For Malbroux and her team, the app is a tongue-in-cheek way to start a discussion about the very serious issue of wage inequality.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

            I imagine it’s funnier in some circles than others.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to dragonfrog says:

            So my boss, a woman, who makes more than me, would have to pay less than me because women make less than men. Except for, um, this specific woman and this specific man, but, y’know, in general.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to DensityDuck says:

              Yes, exactly. Because as is made abundantly clear in the article, the point of the app is not that people would realistically use it to pay their restaurant bill. It is to encourage conversation, based on the existence of the app. It is a piece of art that happens to use publication through the iOS app store as its medium.

              Complaining about how your boss makes more than you but the app would have her pay more is like complaining about how a runway fashion collection wouldn’t make very practical workwear.

              All we’re proving is that if you try really hard not to get the point, you will succeed.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to dragonfrog says:

                “the point of the app is not that people would realistically use it to pay their restaurant bill. It is to encourage conversation, based on the existence of the app. ”

                Oh. So it’s just trolling! I get it now. (And here’s me, feeding the troll.)Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to dragonfrog says:

            “the app is a tongue-in-cheek way to start a discussion about the very serious issue of wage inequality.”

            Yeah…..THAT’S what I want to do when going out to lunch with co-workers….Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon says:

              Well, if you don’t want to have that conversation, at lunch or at any other time, you might try not having it, and let those who do want to have it, have it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Iterate this game for 15 or 16 iterations. “How come those people who we told to not have this conversation are cloistered in their own corner of the building and do the posters in their break room have anything to do with that?”Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                So you propose – what? That we twist Damon’s arm and force him to discuss it? That we bring it up it but only if everyone promise not to smile or joke?

                I thought this app was sufficiently clearly a chindogu, even before reading the article and having my impression confirmed. Apparently I was wrong.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                It’s the same joke as the College Republican Affirmative Action Bake Sale.

                It doesn’t suddenly become insightful when the right person tells the joke.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Jaybird says:

                Sounds like you’re telling people not to have the conversation!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Autolukos says:

                What’s the difference between “let’s have a conversation” and “shut up and let me tell this joke”?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                What’s the difference between “let’s have a conversation” and “shut up and let me tell this joke”?

                A Katie Couric documentary?Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Jaybird says:

                The first one is 4 words, the second one is 8Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                Kind of I guess.

                Except that, if I understand it, the Republican one is closer to “this is the outrageous state of the world, the unfair advantage minorities are receiving, and this bake sale is the red pill to help you see it. Aren’t attempts at righting inequality frightfully unjust?” while the app here is more like “this is something like how it would look if we paid in proportion to our income. That would be weird, huh? When you think about it, it’s also weird that income is that demographically unequal.”

                Which, I might be unfamiliar with “affirmative action bake sales” and how they are framed, as Canadian university campuses are largely devoid of Young Republicans’ clubs.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to dragonfrog says:

            The point is to illustrate wage gap data from a different angle than usual – to inform conversations, hopefully in an amusing way.

            Well, no. The point is to misinform conversations. The raw numbers of the wage gap are the most simplistic and least accurate way to look at the issue. And that’s exactly how the left likes it, because the better your analysis gets, the farther it pushes you away from the preferred narrative of evil employers discriminating against women and (some) minorities.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Jaybird is tight. Calling out people rarely works as advocacy because that is not how human psychology works.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

          To be honest I didn’t think I was calling Jaybird out, as I didn’t catch his indignation (assuming he was at any point actually indignant about it, which I still don’t know to be the case).

          I do get the impression though that he had missed this point – that the main purpose of the app is mainly the conversations that happen about its existence and nature, rather than that it should in practice be used to divvy up a bill.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

            I meant that the app was for the purposes of calling people out. The Social Justice/Identity Politics movement places a lot of stock in having conversations in the hope that a great understanding will take place. Then they get angry when people bring up points against them and don’t automatically agree.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Well, I kind of thought it was clever and gentle, since it’s so obviously a silly toy.

              This conversation seems to be proving that you are right and I am wrong, and it’s really difficult to discuss stuff like this without a lot of people feeling personally called out and getting uncharacteristically mirthless.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to dragonfrog says:

            Thats exactly the problem. With whom is this supposed to stimulate conversations? People that are just going to miss the point? Or people that are already in agreement with point anyway?

            How does it succeed by strategic communications standards if the target audience either doesn’t get the message and/or is actively hostile to it, due to the manner in which the message is presented?Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to dragonfrog says:

        This is very progressive and enlightened, unlike affirmative action bake sales, which are horribly racist and sexist.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

      In all honesty, I’d like an app that splits the bill based on your (hidden) income so you can go to nice restaurants and not worry that someone is being put out.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to trizzlor says:

        That’s an interesting idea too.

        To maintain the privacy aspect, I’d think it would have to incorporate payment through the app itself, so the amount paid by each diner is concealed – otherwise the output would probably be pretty easy to reverse to the inputs.

        I can see it working well with buffet restaurants where the restaurant receives the same amount per diner. A la carte ordering would be trickier – how you weight each person’s incomes, vs. the cost of the menu items they chose to order, vs. the degree to which they were constrained by allergies or religious dietary restrictions from ordering the cheap items – those would all require additional value judgements…Report

        • Avatar trizzlor in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Yes, that’s what I was thinking. The app would essentially be a black box meta credit card that takes in all the individual payments secretly and pays the bill in full, so each person only knows what they paid. Agree that it’s tougher when you’re not splitting evenly, but I think you could solve a system of equations that finds some middle ground between the % you owe and the % you make.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      White guilt got you down? There’s an app for that! You don’t even need to actually talk to anyone, now, to deal with your woke worriedness about privilege; just pay what the app tells you to pay and bam, done, you’re an ally and you’ve got the receipt to prove it.

      Please tell me that this app is named “Indulgr”.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird says:

      I remember when I was working one summer on the campus where my dad worked, he invited me to come out to lunch with several other profs in his department.

      I wound up being the designated money-collector to take the cash up to the check-out to pay the bill. When I got up there, I found out someone had shorted me $5 – which, out of embarrassment, I paid out of my own pocket. (Had this happened now, I would have gone back to the table and said, “Very funny, who stiffed the college intern by $5?”).

      Later, I told my dad, thinking he’d make it good. Nope. He just looked at me and said, “You learned something today.”

      Since then, I have never collected the money for ANY split check on anything. (And I also learned that geologists are cheapskates)Report

  15. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Now here’s an interesting contrast.

    Please read this TPM article that discusses a Rutgers Professor being taken to a Mental Hospital after allegedly threatening to kill people.

    Then please read this Popehat post that discusses True Treats vs. Protected Speech and also discusses this very Rutgers Professor.

    Which brings me to the topic of whether the Legacy Media has lost some degree of credibility in the last decade or so and whether it has earned that lost credibility.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:


    I’m going to need advice on how to talk to my relatives about politics this Thanksgiving.Report