Linky Friday: Love & Robots


Will Truman

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

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148 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    Re5: I’m pretty sure that the site is something like the OnionReport

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Sc2: This article got savaged and LGM and that savaging was well-deserved. Being able to urinate standing certainly hasn’t made me more interested in science.

    Sc3: Most people are linking the story because its amazing and it involves Joe DiMaggio. The woman’s mother does not come across well.

    Te1: There is something very scary about DNA malware hacks.

    Fa1: One reason why the OCP turned out to be a big disaster in China is that Chinese dating can get very materialistic do to a combination of modern Western ideas and traditional Chinese ideas about courtship mixing in a bad way. The man is supposed to supply a lot for the woman to convince her and more importantly her parents of his prospects. Men who can’t do this have problems. Several clients of both genders had all sorts of unwanted experiences because of this. Men had their girlfriends forced to break up with them by their parents, women had to deal with the local high-status men paying undue attention on them.

    Fa3: I think this is universally true of a lot of science beyond genetic engineering. The Luddite argument was basically that factory technology was progressing too fast for humans to ethically keep up with and causing all sorts of misery. Its hard to get scientists and business people who are going to earn billions from technology to slow down though. Nearly impossible actually.

    Fa4: Well, I’m screwed.

    Re1: A paradox though. If the bottom 80% of heterosexual men leave Tinder and similar apps but most women are still on it, how do the the bottom 80% of men meet women? Is a short man with Hollywood looks in the bottom 80% because he is short or in the top 20% because he can pass as a Hollywood star? Dating and romance always favored extroverted and physically attractive people over everybody else. Online dating seems to exasperate this to unbearable levels. Also isn’t this kind of providing evidence for the men skeptical of modern dating?

    Re2: I haven’t found that dating improves when your in your thirties, online dating might be the reason why.

    Re4: If a friend asks you to come out to a bar because they want to introduce you to somebody, is that meeting at a bar, through friends, or both?Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Re2: I’m going to put on my crotchety old-fart hat here: how could online dating possibly not suck? It is a pre-screening process involving stuff that is mostly irrelevant to long-term relationships, thereby eliminating a lot of potential successes. You know what is better? Meeting people naturally, getting to know them, and if the chemistry is right, going out on dates. But how to meet people naturally (by which I mean not in a meat-market setting)? Get out of the house and go to activities that other people attend. My personal history is with the SCA, which has the benefit of being the rare phenomenon of a roughly gender-balanced nerdfest. There any endless other possibilities. Find something you are interested in. Ideally, it should be something persons of the appropriate gender are also interested in. Join a group devoted to this thing. Meet people, preselected to share at least one interest with you. Make friends. Don’t be the creepy guy everyone knows is there to hit on women. That is not “making friends.” But keep your eyes open.

      Which brings us to Re4: I met my wife through the SCA. We met at an activity at a mutual friend’s house. It was a couple of years later that we started dating. Our friend in no sense set us up. She thought we were a terrible match, when we started dating. (We recently celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary–shows how much she knew!) It is not at all clear to me where that falls on that chart. Probably “through friends” as this looks to be the catch-all miscellaneous category.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        There are more than a few people who seem to like online dating and do well at it. If you like the entire cold approach process like how people meet at bars but don’t like anything else associated with bars like alcohol or the noise level than online dating seems custom built for you.

        As to going out to meet other people, the modern rules on when it is and is not acceptable to approach people in your group for dates are as clear as mud. I go out a lot dancing and I can tell you that many women in the partner dance scene want to be asked to dance and not pursued romantically or sexually by men in the scene. They complain about it a bit. Online dating has the advantage of a single’s event. The purpose is to find somebody to date so everybody knows why they are there.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Bars were fine for random hook-ups, but terrible for finding one’s future mate. My understanding is that online dating is pretty similar. As for the dance scene, I have little direct knowledge, but I will go out on a limb and say that they don’t want skeevy would-be pick-up artists who think that the dance scene is easy pickings for any hetero guy willing to show up. I suspect that this is a pretty common problem, leading to the general vibe. This would not necessarily extend to someone who clearly is part of the group because he enjoys dancing, but I can see how it would be a fine line to walk. Is there any socializing beyond the actual dancing? Do people sip beverages and chat while not dancing? Do groups go out for dinner afterwards? That is where the potential lies for relationships beyond the dancing itself. Back in my SCA days there were SCA friends who you saw at events and did event stuff with, and a smaller number of friendships that grew beyond that, involving normal grown-up socializing stuff. There was a subtle form of name-dropping where you refer to someone important in the SCA context not by their SCA name, but by their real name.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            There is socialization beyond dancing. People having side conservations while taking a break or going out for dinner at times like at weekend long events or before the weekly or monthly dance by the local organizers. Even in a big metropolitan area, the number of people who are part of the partner dance scene can be really small statistically and especially so if you divide it up by dance style. West Coast Swing dancers don’t necessarily hang around Argentine Tango or Salsa dancers.

            From what I can tell, there is more in dance dating with Latin dances than Swing dancers but it does happen in both communities. I’ve known more than a few couples that met via dancing but most people do not seem to date in the dance community and get their partners elsewhere.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

              @leeesq @richard-hershberger From the experience of female friends I’ve known, Lee is pretty square on about the swing dancing scene. I don’t think it’s the same for all hobbies, I think it has to do with how much touching there is in partner dancing. People want to be really really clear that they are there for dancing, not for romancing, because otherwise unwanted kinds of touch start to creep in and the signals can get really mixed.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

                Most of the couples I know in the swing dance community are also professionals, meaning they do it for at least partially for a living*, and being a couple is part of their sales package. Among the non-professionals dating does happen but it seems to be rarer.

                *Being of academic bent, I find the socio-economics of the partner dance scene fascinating. Swing is a lot bigger in terms of the number of people who do it than say ballroom or Argentine Tango but there seem to be more people who earn a full time living as a partner dancer in ballroom and Argentine Tango than swing. Some of them could earn some pretty big money to. A lot of swing dance professionals have day jobs or switch to a non-dance job. Than there is the entire near Hollywood celebrity within the swing dance community but ordinary person outside it phenomenon which I find fascinating.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            The dance scene is great — if you like dance. Because you had something in common with the people you met.

            Same for the gym, rock climbing — any hobby, really. It’s a point of similarity that allows for conversation.

            Bars aren’t so great — most people are there to drink, and well — not exactly the trait you want to share in common, yeah? Sports bars are a bit better — if you’re freaking nuts about soccer, dating someone who also loves soccer will help.

            Because people go really nuts about soccer, and it’s only fair to warn people you’re crazy. 🙂Report

            • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Morat20 says:

              The dance scene is great — if you like dance. Because you had something in common with the people you met.

              I’ll also add that the scene is great–if you like really, really loud music. When I was in the market, I’d just get overwhelmed by the noise music. Whether I liked dancing or not was almost beside the point. (I kind of like dancing, but not enough to endure the noise.)Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                The club dance scene is very different than the partner dance scene in terms of how loud the music is played. The partner dance scene can get loud because people need to hear the beats to dance on time but I never found it to get obnoxiously loud even when the dance floor is full and big.Report

              • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You’re probably right about that. I should say, though, that I’m extra-sensitive to sound, so something that sounds soft to most people might sound overly loud to me. Of course, that’s me moving the goal posts.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Is a short man with Hollywood looks in the bottom 80% because he is short or in the top 20% because he can pass as a Hollywood star?

      On Tinder? AFAIK there’s no field for height, so I’d say top 20%.

      Dating and romance always favored extroverted and physically attractive people over everybody else. Online dating seems to exasperate this to unbearable levels.

      Attractive, yes. It tends to weaken the extrovert advantage, though.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I’m really sort of puzzled about the recurring importance of height in online dating.

      Is that really a thing? Are women particularly concerned with having someone around who can reach high shelves and change smoke detector batteries?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

        Lots of women like to be with really tall guys it seems. I’m 5’6″ so there are still lots of women who are shorter than me and often significantly. I’ve known quit a few women in the 5 feet to 5 feet 2 inches range that have dealbreakers on dating men below 5’10” or even 6 feet.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Huh. Odd. Maybe my height will make up for my mediocre looks, lousy fashion sense, and repulsive personality!Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to pillsy says:

            It certainly does in my caseReport

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Murali says:

              Didn’t you have an arranged marriage?Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Its arranged, not forced. Our parents knew each other. In particular her mother’s eldest sister happened to be married to my father’s youngest brother.

                She still had to agree to continue seeing me for subsequent dates. 5 minutes into our first date we (or more accurately I) got into a car accident. Either I handled that really well (which is doubtful) or me being really tall helped paper over my personality flaws. Also, I was 100kg when I met her. So I wasn’t that great looking.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Murali says:

                @murali I think you underestimate yourself.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to pillsy says:

            Sorry to hear you may be re-entering the dating world, but if you’re tall that may help. Note, it helps most with girls who are themselves tall. Many are self-conscious about it. So you can get some real points for being taller than they are, and even more points for being taller than they are in heels… but if they’re tall enough they won’t even aim for that.

            (Note, this is not a universal truth or anything like that. Plenty of tall women are perfectly content with a man shorter than they are because they don’t want to eliminate so many men from consideration right out of the gate. But it’s something to keep an eye out for..)Report

            • There was a girl at my high school who was asked to the homecoming dance by my best friend and another guy. She literally chose between them by having them stand back to back and picking the taller one. She was 6’0″.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

              Thanks. I’m past “heartbroken”, but still smack in the middle of “a monastery doesn’t sound so bad”.

              I’m assuming that will pass, too.Report

            • Avatar FortyTwo in reply to Will Truman says:

              I used to hang out with this girl who is 6’4″. One night we were at the bar and a group of about six guys walked in. She told me that the shortest guy would come hit in her. Five minutes later, the shortest guy came over and started macking, so she must have been used to it. She ended up marrying a guy who was about 5’7″.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to FortyTwo says:


                The interesting thing here is that there is an implication that the shortest guy should have known better and not approached her. Maybe he had a thing for women that were taller than him. Is that wrong?Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I thought it meant that the shortest guy was the one most likely to decide to hit on her regardless of whether he was “right” to do it. It’s an interesting observation.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Many short men decide that they know their height is a deal breaker to a lot of women so that they really have nothing to lose by trying to aim at anybody who passes their fancy. I’ve certainly asked many very tall women to dance with me and most say yes.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          This is a great example of pre-screening with irrelevant criteria. Suppose one of those women met a guy who was perfect in every way apart from being a mere 5’9″: smart, funny, caring, lots shared interests, a jack-hammer in bed with mad cunnilingus skills–but under six feet. Would these women regretfully inform him that they would want to have his babies, if only he were three inches taller? Call me an idealist, but I don’t think most people are that shallow. But set up screening criteria for online dating and people come up with an idealized version of their fantasy perfect mate–then are disappointed when examples of such perfection don’t line up at the door.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Based on what I’ve heard and read, height was a criteria in the same way that other aspects of physical attractiveness that men like in women where a criteria before online dating was a thing.Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Sure, but there is a difference between a general preference and a screening criterion that must be met in order to begin the conversation.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                Different aspects of physical attractiveness can serve as screening criteria even without the internet, especially with cold approaches in bars and they might generally not be attracted to people who have an aspect they do not like regardless of how they are approached.Report

          • @richard-hershberger ” smart, funny, caring, lots shared interests, a jack-hammer in bed with mad cunnilingus skills–but under six feet.”

            In my experience with being friends with some of these women, they would never get to “a jack-hammer in bed with mad cunnilingus skills” because they would automatically keep him in the friend category because of the “but under six feet” part. They just wouldn’t be attracted.

            I mean, their loss, IMO. But they do exist, they’re not imaginary. And I’ve *seen* them act according to this rule, so it’s not just something they think they want, either.Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Maribou says:

              Yet how many married people have partners that match their physical ideal? I’m sure there are some–perhaps many–people who insist on their physical ideal and complain that they can’t get a date. But there also are many many people who figure it out. I am nobody’s physical ideal. Fortunately, my wife is a deep person and married me anyway.Report

              • @richard-hershberger Oh sure. I’m just saying, in non-online life, many women aren’t insisting on a physical ideal, they’re just so inculcated culturally about height that they aren’t even attracted to people who don’t meet their height requirement. I find it as baffling as anything else that someone “requires” for physical characteristics! But it seems to be the case nonetheless.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

                Is the height thing merely cultural? There have been enough studies to show that taller men tend to do statistically better than shorter men in all aspects of life and not just dating in nearly every country. Likewise, the preference in heterosexual dating for tall men seems to be common enough and universal enough that it can’t be entirely all cultural?

                I admit that that there is also a lot of cultural indoctrination that men should be tall and that this indoctrination comes from traditional male dominated media, because it helps tall men reinforce their own position, and media aimed at heterosexual women and primary created by heterosexual women, fiction, etc., because that’s who they fantasize about. It can’t be all cultural indoctrination though and I say this as somebody who would be helped if it was entirely cultural.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                I dunno. There’s real space between “not my physical ideal”[1] and “there’s just no attraction” there.

                [1] FWIW, clothes, hairstyle, and bearing seem to be the most important factors for me, rather than more typically physical attributes. So maybe I’m the wrong guy to ask.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Maribou says:

              I do think Richard is on to something here.

              I met my girlfriend online. Our first date was nearly three years ago.

              I am not her physical ideal (but not because of height). She told me that she was strongly considering not going out on a second date with me because she felt date number one was kind of average.

              But she gave me a second chance because of some events and what I think of as really dumb luck. We also went really slowly compared to modern secular couples.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Maribou says:

              Attractiveness criteria can be weird. Scent can be one — I mean way back in the hindbrain. I don’t mean “cologne” or “perfume” (although that can be an issue too), I mean just…the way you smell. In general.

              Not really a barrier for online dating, but it’s just a fact — your biochemistry can be an absolute barrier to a relationship, and likely neither of you will know that was what made it not “click”.

              People have weird criteria. Some are rooted in personality, some in biology, some in past history. Might only be interested in people who read, or might not want to date brunettes because they remind you of a traumatic ex, etc.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Morat20 says:

                Yes to scent. Like, OMG. I have this one partner, local girl, and it’s just — she has a smell I can’t quite describe. It’s not even a “good” smell. It’s not like flowers or something. It’s almost “sour” maybe. But not really. All I know is OMG OMG OMG. I can just hold onto her and smell it for hours and it’s so fucking weird.

                I love her. I love every inch of her. I love her bones. She makes me light up like starfire.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

              This only happened once but around two Summers ago, I was going home late at night on a very crowded subway and overheard two women complain about one of their friends dating a man they considered too short. I don’t know whether they policed their friend about it in person but they obviously thought it was worth complaining about for entire subway ride.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — grrrrrrrr. Honestly that shit pisses me off. We’re all entitled to our taste, but laying our taste on others is bullshit. It’s alienating and hurtful.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

                As @jaybird notes, many people confuse matters of taste with matters of morality. The women complaining might not have seen this as a matter of taste but as ensuring that at least a certain class of men morally know their place when it comes to romance.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I doubt anyone thinks it’s a matter of morality, so beware bad categories.

                I suspect what is happening here is these women are treating it as a matter of status, and don’t want their collective status lowered by the choices of their friend.

                Needless to say, this is a terrible way to think about relationships and romance, but it is rather common.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

                Yes, that’s probably a more accurate summary of what they were at least implicitly thinking. Theit friends choice might have also made them feel a little shallow because she was dating somebody they can not.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Suppose one of those women met a guy who was perfect in every way apart from being a mere 5’9?: smart, funny, caring, lots shared interests, a jack-hammer in bed with mad cunnilingus skills–but under six feet. Would these women regretfully inform him that they would want to have his babies, if only he were three inches taller?

            We’re talking about Tinder here, which for many users is focused on sexytimes hookups. So yeah, even if the guy is captain jackhammer, a woman may pass him by for a one-night-stand with some other captain jackhammer who is also tall.

            This is hard to explain, but consider: it is all sex. The entire experience, from swiping right, to chatting, to flirting, to meeting, all of it — that’s all sex. It’s not just the bumping genitals. The entire experience is sex.

            It’s not all coitus. I know the difference.

            Sexual attraction is, of course, highly gendered. (This is so obvious we sometimes forget. But there is a reason that male/female/enby + gay/str8/bi are the primary traits according to which we divide dating culture.) The point: most women are attracted to someone masculine. Most men are attracted to someone feminine.

            I’m not saying these tastes are uniform. Obviously different women and men will have different feelings about gender, gender presentation, and attraction. But still, there are broad trends. Many people like similar things.

            Tallness is in general an attractive masculine feature.

            Being with attractive people is enticing. Haven’t you been on a date with someone you just wanted to touch, to taste, all of it? Someone whose everything makes you squirm?

            Maybe a guy can jackhammer — fine. Good for him. But so what? A lot of people can. (I’m actually pretty tip top when it comes to energetic recreational fucking, lotsa hip thrusts and kettlebell swings. Plus, I use a strap-on, so it stays hard, it’s as big as you like, and it vibrates!) But that’s such a small part. And no one competes with a Hitachi for sensation.

            It’s all the other stuff, the beauty, the attraction, the anticipation, the raw chemical desire. Beautiful people can give that. Others cannot.

            So it goes. Be beautiful.Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to veronica d says:

              Are we talking about hooking up or finding a life partner? If we are talking about hooking up, then sure: animal attraction is pretty much the point, and a bunch of other stuff about this person doesn’t matter. If we are talking about finding a life partner, then the priorities shift wildly. This is the old distinction between the girl you date and the girl you take home to meet your parents. For the latter to work over the long haul the attraction needs to be there, but it isn’t the only, or even the most important factor. We all know people who married for lust. It rarely goes well.

              My point about internet dating is that it encourages taking aspects that in a face-to-face setting might be negotiable and making them non-negotiable. She never sees the guy who is three inches too short, and so never finds out that he is perfect in every other way and perhaps those three inches aren’t so important after all. If all she is looking for is a quick fuck, then “perfect in every other way” is irrelevant. If she is looking for a life partner, things are different.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

              My understanding is that Tinder was supposed to be a hook up app at first but quickly evolved or devolved into a regular dating app based on your perspective. It was created by two straight men looking to create a heterosexual equivalent of Grindr. A lot of people do seem to use it as online dating without much in the way of a detailed profile or messaging.

              A big pet peeve of mine when it comes to modern dating and hook up culture is that it seems really cruel to people who aren’t good at it. It seems not exactly right that some people get to have the time of their lives, flings when they want flings and long term relationships when they want that while others are seemingly stuck in the pre-Sexual Revolution era no matter what they want or do.

              I don’t know what if anything could be done about this. You can’t force sexual or romantic attraction but it definitely feels like their is a big party that a lot of people are excluded from. The people in the time of their lives camp thing that with but a few modifications or changes everybody could be in their camp but I’m dubious about that for heterosexual relationships at least.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

        Many heterosexual women seem to believe that height is an important part of what makes men physically attractive. As Saul pointed out, height is defined in absolute rather than relative terms. There has been a lot of ink spilled on this subject.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to pillsy says:

        My understanding is that it is. Apparently two things are true:

        1) If you randomly select a man and a woman, there are lots of times when the woman is taller than the man.
        2) It is much, much rarer to find couples who selected each other wherein the woman is taller than the man.

        Whether that’s driven more by female preferences or male preferences or both, I don’t know.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Troublesome Frog says:


          I’ve gone on a few dates with women who are taller than me. I can’t recall ever going on a second date with a woman who was taller than me.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          Within ethnic/racial groups, men average around six inches taller than women. So, I would start with the assumption that this sexual dimorphism is the initial source of height preference. But just from listening, I think female preference is not just about desired traits in a mate, as it is about how the prospective mate’s height makes a woman feel about her own body.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

            I agree with you on your second point. For some women, when they are taller than a man, it seems to make her feel awkward and very self-concious about her body and that kills a lot of sexual chemistry. For short women, they seem to feel safer and more protected when the man they are dating is much taller than they are rather than only a few inches or even five or six inches taller.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Oh and on the “Tinder experiment guy” — of course he calls them “females”.

      It’s like, dude, do you also wear a fedora in public? Does your real life dating profile include you holding your anime waifu?


      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to veronica d says:

        I feel like we can basically discount that entire tinder “study” as speculation and confirmation bias.

        I am going to create what I believe to be a tinder profile that women find to be attractive, and then ask the handful of women that do find it attractive some stuff about how attractive they find men’s tinder profiles to be…

        I know a couple of women who talk quite a bit about their experience dealing with men in online dating spaces… and the hot/average-looking barrier is definitely not something they seem to focus on. It’s almost always more about the average-looking/unattractive barrier when it comes to actual appearance, but more effort is spent on the polite/jerkface barrier and the unique/boring barrier.

        It’s so weird that we’re talking about some guy’s medium post when okCupid does analysis on their full dataset on the regular.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Alan Scott says:

          The unique/boring barrier kind of gets to me because many women write very generic profiles and trying to find something unique to say for a generic profile is not easy. If these women were men and sought help, they would be criticized for having a boring, generic profile. The assumption that the average woman are more unique than the average man simply by virtue of being a woman needs to die a hard death.Report

  3. Avatar pillsy says:

    [Sc2]: I’m glad that someone has come up with something that competes with Luce Irigaray’s statements about fluid mechanics for utter dumbness. Projectile motion is like three days of an intro to physics class, and people have trouble with combining trigonometry with quadratic equations, not understanding that projectiles move in arcs.

    [Sc4]: Only the abstract is available. Boo! Hiss!

    [Fa2]: That’s a surprisingly interesting rebuttal for such an obviously fatuous argument.

    [Re1]: N=27 and self-reporting add up to me being pretty skeptical. I do a reasonable amount of work with sexual behavior survey results, and people tend to not be very honest about them, and indeed if you take responses from heterosexual men and women at face value you’ll find that they aren’t consistent with each other.

    Or maybe this is just wishful thinking form an average-looking dude who’s probably going to be back on the dating market soon.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to pillsy says:

      and people have trouble with combining trigonometry with quadratic equations, not understanding that projectiles move in arcs.

      I was taught in high school that prior to the Renaissance, it was accepted as truth that projectiles moved in a straight line until they ran out of “impetus,” and then fell straight down, because Archimedes said so. I just kind of accepted this story back then, but in retrospect, I find it hard to believe that people were actually that unobservant. I wonder if it this is more like that myth about how prior to Columbus everyone believed the earth was flat.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        There are many reasons for skepticism, but one that stands out for me is that a lot of people needed to hit things with arrows to survive.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

          Just like how knowing that the world was round was important for being a sailor or how to make alcoholic beverages without understanding the exact chemistry. Our ancestors knew a lot. They might not have been able to explain why they knew these things or how they worked like we can but they did know them.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to pillsy says:

          Arrows would work pretty badly if physics actually worked that way. Imagine instead of having it come down on your enemy in a downward arc, head first, it stopped and dropped lengthwise on his head. Bummer.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

      Re1: There are four types of lies: lies, damn lies, statistics, and sex talk.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to pillsy says:

      Sc4: Here’s a Russian link to an illegal copy of the article. I remain undecided as to whether the Russians are thieves or freedom fighters making academic material available to researchers globally who can’t afford access. For myself, it’s a matter of convenience: my master’s degree from a local private research university came with lifetime alumni library privileges, and when I’m physically in the library I’ve been able to download to a thumb drive every journal article I’ve tried.

      Question for the powers that be: Does embedding that link violate posting policies?Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Michael Cain says:

        When it comes to journal access I’m definitely on the “some heroes don’t where capes” side, even though I have access to a lot of stuff through my employer.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Is OT at war with Russia or not?Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

        @michael-cain Not in my professional opinion as a librarian, all of the good case law says that linking is never illegal.

        But IANAL and @burt-likko may feel differently.

        I wouldn’t necessarily do it in a post, because I’d prefer the posts themselves stay above-board in every way and not venture into even *slightly* gray areas. But while I may be the comment police, I have NO desire to be that kind of comment police, and there’s way too many comments here for me to check every link for legality. If you hadn’t mentioned it I would never have noticed.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Maribou says:

          After my edit window had expired, I was indeed thinking about the gray area this way: Never tempt people with enough money and/or lawyers on retainer to make your life unpleasant by posting a link such that clicking on it breaks the law. That should probably be one of Cain’s Laws™.Report

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Maribou says:

          I’m not as much of a librarian as you are, Maribou, but I’m inclined to say that such linking really is a gray area. Not obviously wrong, but not slam dunk okay.

          As you say, the case law probably supports (or is agnostic about) comment-thread linking. And, like you, I’m not a lawyer. I’m talking ethics more than legalities, and by ethics I’m talking about what I think is right, not what I think one should be allowed to get away with. I’m willing to believe people should be able to get away with certain actions without believing they’re right to do those actions in the first place.

          I’m harping on this because I notice my colleagues seeming to adopt an almost default preference for expanding access to information. I realize that preference is baked into the cake of being a librarian. But perhaps it’s because I’m a contrarian* (and not trained as a librarian) that I’m skeptical.

          ETA: Not that I haven’t linked to things with abandon. I’m guilty of doing that about which I see a gray area when others do it. And I’ll probably keep doing it. But I do worry about whether it’s the right thing to do, and the more I learn about and think about “ownership” of intellectual work, the more I question some of the preferences for increasing access to information.

          *I don’t believe being a contrarian is a good thing.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

            @gabriel-conroy I have a couple of masters’-level courses in copyright under my belt, so I was speaking from that perspective, just about what I think the law is, not from an ethical one.

            I have no beef with your concerns, and you’ll never see me link to a pirate, Russian or otherwise. However, a big part of my ethos around copyright is to not tell people what to do in gray areas, given that some of the players on this playing field have a lot more power than others. By which I mean, the penalties so far outweigh the negative behaviors they are penalizing, that I refuse, ethically, to take the side of those demanding (and receiving) those penalties. This is my little memorial to Aaron Swartz, I guess – he was in the wrong by my books too, but there’s no way he deserved anything like what the prosecutors were threatening him with.

            As for the overall concept of owning intellectual work, I will be a lot more worried about that, ethically, on the day where journal publishers (like the one who published [Sc6]) quit being rapacious profiteers benefiting from the work that people are already being paid to do by their universities and by their grant funders. Sage is far from the worst of them, but that’s also not much of a distinction.

            I could go on at length but I’ve already soapboxed enough. I can certainly see why you have a different perspective on it.Report

            • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Maribou says:

              Our perspectives might not be all that different at the end of the day. And thanks for sharing your background.

              I do agree that Schwartz got a raw deal.

              ETA: I should add that I also don’t want to get into the habit of telling people what they should or shouldn’t do when it comes to such things.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                @gabriel-conroy Yeah, I don’t think they are. Although I didn’t get into my more utopian ideas about a voluntary information economy, and a return to founders’ copyright, you might hit the brakes pretty hard somewhere in there.

                Also, fwiw, I don’t think being “trained as a librarian” is all that important for a library person (I learned a bunch of stuff in my copyright courses, but only 1 of them was in library school…). I took my librarianship degree all the way to… the staff job I was already working, because I think it’s the best job a person could possibly have. (Thank you, funding, for not leaving me with student loans I had to pay off!) And the best, most dedicated, smartest library person I know has 25-ish years of experience and not even an undergrad degree. I’d like her to have room for more education, but not so she could be a proper librarian or something, more just because I’d like to see what she’d do with it.

                A longwinded way of saying, you don’t need a piece of paper to have important ideas about how libraries should work. And I’m …. 80 percent sure my strong feelings about that aren’t just because I’m a contrarian.Report

              • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Maribou says:

                From what little I know of founders’-era (or at least early republic era) copyright, I’m not really against. I’m thinking of the short-ish default period of 27 years (I might be wrong on the number of years) with an option to renew once, and the initial recognition (in some early court case, or so I’ve heard) of fair use.

                But (and I’m not sure this is part of that era’s copyright or a later development) I do like the idea of creating a copyright claim with the creator from the date of creation. Of course, that introduces a huge can of worms. When, exactly, is a work created? Does creation mean publication? Who is the creator? What do we do with “orphaned” works? How enforceable should a claim be? I suspect the copyright regime in place in the early republic had some answers to those questions, and maybe I’d like those answers. But I just don’t know them or how they’d apply to today’s society/polity.

                Thanks, by the way, for saying a library degree isn’t necessary to be a good librarian. I still don’t think I’m a good librarian yet (not being falsely modest or anything…I just don’t think I’m there yet, and my corner of the library is kind of at a remove from the rest of the library, and my library being an academic library is at a remove from public libraries), but I know at least one staff person who has had some undergraduate courses, but doesn’t have a degree, and counts in my book as an excellent librarian.

                One reason I fear I’m a “contrarian” is that I would probably be on board with most of the ideas my colleagues seem to champion. However, they seem to agree so much that I’m concerned we’re all missing something or not thinking things through fully. (I say this from casual conversations and listserv postings, not from anything they have written for publications, which I assume has more nuance. And to be clear, I like my colleagues a lot and they demonstrate exceptional professionalism.)Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to pillsy says:

      Projectile motion is like three days of an intro to physics class, and people have trouble with combining trigonometry with quadratic equations, not understanding that projectiles move in arcs.

      I was doing a leg press today and realized that you had the machine weight, and then some (but not all) of your bodyweight as you pushed up an incline.

      And then sat there trying to remember how to figure out the forces to determine what I was really lifting and I couldn’t recall how to frame the problem. Physics was 20 years ago, and I know it’s got to do with the angle, but damn if I could frame the problem even as a hypothetical (“Assume a 30 degree angle and I’m pushing two feet along the angle….”).

      Curse you, fallible memory! I used to be able to do those problems in my sleep.Report

    • Avatar Brent F in reply to pillsy says:

      [Re1] My own emperical testing on the matter had me getting Tinder hits reliably in the middle quartiles. I think either I’m in the top 20% for dudes or its not particularly accurate for how things work “out in the wild.”Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Re2: Isn’t dating, just in general, terrible? It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a date (sigh) but I remember them as being fraught with anxiety (for me) and leading me to over think everything he said and I said all evening. And then there’s the thing where a guy you’ve dated a few times just stops calling….Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Preach it sister. There seems to be a decently sized subset of humans that don’t do well dating but because the way society is structured are forced to go along with it.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I suspect in a few thousand years maybe the genes for introversion and perhaps some of the ones for anxiety will be bred out of us, because it seems the anxious, introverted types have a lot harder time with all that kind of interaction…..and so, are less likely to have children than the extroverted types who don’t give a flip about “what did that other person REALLY mean when they said….”Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to fillyjonk says:

          If that were true, wouldn’t introversion have already been bred out?

          I think that there’s a payoff to introversion, or rather, to whatever the neurology that might be associated with it might be.

          I think that it might be that introversion is associated with higher “reactivity”. That is, the same stimulus provokes a more intense response in an introverted person. (By the way, I am such a person.) But exposure therapy is a real thing that works, and over time, stimuli become more manageable, and all that extra sensitivity can be put to good use.

          Which is to say, I know a lot of introverts who are married or in long-term relationships.Report

  5. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    [Sp7] This sounds like it could be a problem for all the sportsballs

    Is there a vein that Chinese doctors can check for that? Does it disqualify one from military service?Report

  6. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Sp1: Home field advantage is a large, cross-sports mystery. There is a tradition of offering with a blast of trumpets some clever explanation that doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. The linked piece seems very much in this tradition.

    I have a list of early baseball research projects that I would like to see done, preferably by someone who isn’t me because I am ample to keep me busy. One of them is a diachronic analysis of home field advantage in baseball. In other words, did the home team have a bigger advantage back in the good old days when pelting the umpire with beer steins was an option, and mob violence was not unknown if you really wanted to express your opinion, than it is in these degenerate times when fans mostly stay in the stands?Report

  7. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [sc4] Well now I don’t know about that. Seems wrong to me.

    Semi seriously though – what would you use for left-wing-politics-incompatible science findings? Even Communists have mostly abandoned lysenkoism.

    They give the example of carbon emissions – if they’re showing conservatives papers that say carbon emissions cause climate change and liberals papers that say they don’t, and each group assesses the credibility of the authors to be low, that says different things about the conservatives and the liberals in their study.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to dragonfrog says:

      I was going to respond to [Sc4] somewhere, I might as well make it here.

      I think motivated reasoning is a thing. And motivated reasoning amounts to spending a lot of energy figuring out how something that doesn’t fit your worldview is wrong.

      I think that it is a general phenomenon, not limited to conservatives. There’s a lot of history of motivated reasoning about trans women in the history of the feminist movement, for instance, because the existence of a trans woman threatens the “blank slate” hypothesis, which states that male and female brains have no differences, and all differences are cultural.

      I’ve had other cites of social science research rejected in conversation with people on the left with the words “social science is a tool of oppression”.

      That said, I was unimpressed by the abstract. It appears that they gave climate data to liberals which was both “true” and contrary to their world view. What on earth would that data be? I have no idea what they did, and why on earth they should think it proves anything at all.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        It appears that they gave climate data

        I think they gave more than just climate data, that was just the example listed in the summary.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Oh I surely do think motivated reasoning is a thing. That was supposed to be the joke I was making in my opening sentence above. Might have fallen flat…Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        The trans analogy is a good example and it goes beyond trans women and feminism. Trans men also question the idea of sex differences being cultural. Its really easy with a google search to find a liberal blog that is both supportive of trans rights but tries to maintain that all gender differences are cultural. However, if all gender differences were cultural than there should not be trans people but only men and women who do not conform to the gender stereotypes of their society. There is also more than a little consistency when it comes to gender roles throughout many different cultures.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

          @leeesq That’s actually not a particularly effective argument for the trans-exclusionary feminists or for anyone else. “Cultural” doesn’t mean “changeable,” any more than “natural” means “unchangeable.” Some “cultural” tendencies are for all intents and purposes immutable (and may transcend parental efforts); some natural tendencies are extremely mutable.

          I mean, I realize that my perspective on this is that of a biologist and not a layperson, but IMO biology-popularizers have done a crappy job of clarifying this distinction, and it causes more political trouble than it ought to, as a result.

          “This is biological” and “This is cultural” and “This is immutable” can, actually exist all at the same time. Or any 2 of the 3 can be true but not the 3rd…

          I realize that wasn’t your point, but it bears emphasis nonetheless.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

            This is me speculating wildly about a subject I know virtually. nothing about because Internet, but I always wonder if people read too much into various brain imaging studies and declaring something “biological” eespecially as opposed to “cultural”. It’s obvious that our brains physically change in response to our environments and experiences (we remember things for one thing), and it’s never been clear why that wouldn’t show up on an fMRI or something.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

              @pillsy Not only do I agree with you, but I think it’s only the tip of the iceberg of how people get confused about that… I won’t speechify about it right now but maybe someday I’ll write a post.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Maribou says:

            @maribou It seems to me that you’re missing the point here. A lot of feminists profess that any cognitive or psychological differences between men and women are due to men being socialized to be men and women being socialized to be women, and dismiss any claims inconsistent with this premise as “essentialism.”

            The fact that homosexual and trans people generally grow up being socialized according to their apparent biological sex presents a major problem for this theory.

            Interestingly, when it comes to straight people, conservatives are essentialist and liberals are social constructionists (very broadly, with exceptions, of course), but when it comes to homosexual and trans people, it’s reversed; it’s conservatives who are more likely to attribute atypical sexual preferences or gender identity to being socialized in a certain way.Report

      • It appears that they gave climate data to liberals which was both “true” and contrary to their world view. What on earth would that data be? I have no idea what they did, and why on earth they should think it proves anything at all.

        Oscar might be right that it’s just one example cited for the abstract. However, the climate science data contrary to a “liberal’s” worldview might be data that tend to contradict the AGW thesis. Even if AGW is a thing (and think it probably is) there have to be some data that put it into question.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Left wing anti-sciencism? Seems easy.

      For the real nuts you have anti-vaxxers.
      Then for the screwy you have the anti-fluoridation folks.
      Then for the less nutty you have the anti-GMOers.
      Then for the merely harmlessly crunchy you have the whole foods/raw foods/juice cleanse folks.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to North says:

        I want those to be so fringey that they’re not really meaningfully associated with the left in politics.

        But you’re probably right.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Probably something about nuclear power. If we’re including social sciences, there are definitely some issues in economics where the lay left is on the wrong side of a bipartisan expert consensus (e.g. rent control). And that’s without getting into the issues in other social sciences where political correctness demonstrably clashes with actual correctness.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            GMOs are probably the other big one, but don’t get that much traction with (American) liberal politicians and, er, thought-leaders. I think I’ve probably seen like seven Voxsplainers about how GMOs are safe.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            OMG, how did I forget nuclear power? I love nuclear power too. Good catch BB.Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to North says:

              Nuclear power is an interesting case. I was pretty familiar with the anti- side back in the 1980s. It was sadly apparent that virtually none of these people had the least idea what the issues were, and in many cases were unclear on the distinction between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear bomb. On the other hand, I knew even then that there were legitimate issues of nuclear waste and little reason to be confident that the plants themselves were as safe as advertised. We still haven’t figured out what to do with the waste. Yes, it is a political rather than a technical problem. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem, and one we haven’t solved (and not just because of those darned lefties). As for plant safety, Three Mile Island was a near miss pretty much entirely due to industry incompetence, and Fukushima is going to be a very long-term and very expensive problem.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                It is, but it’s also a case where the left decided that it was fundamentally evil no matter what the scientists said; directed their political institutions to proceed accordingly and those political institutions obliged.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to North says:

                Speaking as a pretty anti-nuke person, I’d be all for nuclear power in the States, as soon as we outsource the regulation to the French. I don’t have a problem with nuclear power, I have a problem with about half the country having the power to regulate nuclear power.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to North says:

                Is it? It might have been a quarter century ago, but what with climate change I have seen a bunch of lefty think pieces about reevaluating that. It has turned out to be a moot point because the economics don’t work, so we don’t really know, but it is not obvious to me that the left of today is reflexively anti-nuclear.Report

              • We still haven’t figured out what to do with the [nuclear] waste. Yes, it is a political rather than a technical problem.

                Everyone, including the politicians on both sides, agree that it would be safe if it were buried deeply enough (meaning, in geologically stable formations at least several hundred feet below the deepest water tables). Certainly they agree that doing that would be safer than leaving it sit in concrete casks out in the weather. But they all also agree it’s dangerous enough that such a burial site should be far away from their state. There’s a reason the 1987 amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act were referred to as the “Screw Nevada” bill — everyone agreed that was what happened.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to North says:

        And anti-vaxxers seem to be pretty bipartisan.

        Anti-fluoridation? Is that still a thing? Back in the day, it was firmly right-wing paranoia, with fluoridation a commie plot. Hence General Jack Ripper only drinking pure distilled or rain water and grain alcohol. I suppose it is possible that this has resurfaced as a leftie thing, but if so it is obscure enough that I haven’t heard of it.

        Anti-GMOers I will give you, though as others note below they don’t really have traction in the American left. The crunchy crowd is certainly a thing on the left, but it isn’t a litmus test. Lots of the left quietly rolls its eyes.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          I did encounter an anti-vaxxer at our local “Resistance” group, but I argued with him until he left in a rage and AFAIK he hasn’t been back.

          Still feel pretty good about that one.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Anti fluoridation is still a thing. It’s pretty fringey – but fluoridation generally is low enough profile that the anti-fluoridators can score some big victories because not very many people stand up to counter them. I think it’s also fairly bipartisan.

          Alberta recently created a great natural experiment when the wackadoodles won over Calgary city council to stop fluoridating – so now there are statistics from two economically and culturally similar large cities existing under the same health and dental care regimes, etc., where one fluoridated until 2011 and then stopped, and the other continues fluoridating. Yay science?Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

            @dragonfrog Did you see the actually-reputable link Jaybird posted the other day about fluoridation exposure in pregnant women lowering babies’ IQ, within spitting distance of existing fluoridation limits (in the US)? The whole thing came out of China, and there are other reasons to be skeptical (eg correlation/causation), and it definitely *doesn’t* affect anything except prenatally…

            But still it would be ironic if there actually did end up being a link after all this time of it being utterly ridiculous?Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Maribou says:

              I have no trouble accepting that there is both a lower level of fluoridation below which dental health effects become more prevalent, and an upper level of fluoridation above which some degree of neurological harms become more prevalent (not to mention dental fluorosis, the over-exposure condition whose investigation led to the discovery of fluoride’s relation to dental health in the first place).

              If the Chinese study is the one I’m thinking of (the one that’s widely misinterpreted by North American anti-fluoridation folks, and waved around vigorously in Calgary around 2011) then it really proves the above, but nothing about actual fluoridation practices in North America.

              The study’s “low” fluoride exposure groups had fluoride levels of about 0.5 – 1.0 ppm. My city’s utility company fluoridates to increase the river’s natural level of about 0.1 ppm, up to 0.7 ppm – right in the middle of the slightly-higher-IQ “low” fluoride exposure group.

              The study’s “high” fluoride exposure group had fluoride levels generally in the 2-10 ppm range. The EPA’s mandatory maximum safe fluoride level is 4.0 ppm – US cities are required to remove fluoride if they start to come near the mid range of the study’s slightly-lower-IQ “high” fluoride group.


              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

                (Missed the edit cutoff – Canada’s maximum permitted fluoride level is 1.5 ppm, below the bottom of the study’s “high” fluoride group, but above the “low” fluoride group)Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

                @dragonfrog Nah, I screwed up by conflating it with the ones in China. Foolish me.

                This one is new in Mexico, 300 participants, and “The study found a drop in scores on intelligence tests for every 0.5 milligram-per-liter increase in fluoride exposure beyond 0.8 milligrams per liter found in urine.” A lot of US cities get up well over 1.3 ppm which is why it’s of concern.

                I’m not saying it’s conclusive – I’m still about 80/20 toward YAH RIGHT – but it’s a lot less crap than previous claims.

                Here’s the CNN story with links to more in-depth stuff.

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                @dragonfrog And to be extra-clear, even if they’re *right*, I think the solution would be less fluoride in high-fluoride cities / more careful monitoring of fluoride, not aaaaaa no fluoride ever. And my umpteen expensive crowns would agree with that as well.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Maribou says:

                No, I had not been aware of that one. Measurement of fluoride in urine seems an interesting approach. I wonder how the concentration in urine would line up with the concentration in drinking water, and how linearly it would line up…Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Bipartisan, absolutely, on the right primarily for religious reasons and on the left for purity of essence Gaia reasons… err so religious reasons again. But it is on the left.

          Anti-Flouridation is a thing. Ask the Pacific Northwest.

          Look I’m not saying that left wing anti-sciencism rules the roost on the left like it’s brother does to a much greater degree on the right. But something doesn’t need to have a deep grip on the Democratic Party’s operational principles to be counted as “in the left”.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to North says:

            Fair enough, but this leads to nutpicking. It is unremarkable that there are nuts across the political spectrum. There are nuts everywhere, so pointing out that (in this case) “the left” is part of everywhere is not interesting or useful. What is interesting or useful is whether or not the nuts have influence, and if so, how much?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

              Okay well yes, granted, nuts are everywhere and I agree, with great satisfaction, that the political institutional left is not as hijacked by its nuts as their right wing compatriots are. Granted.

              That being said on areas like GMO opposition (mandatory food labelling), Nuclear power (do I even have to bother), fluoridation (ask the Pacific Northwest), Urban Housing (anti-development, etc..) even the institutional political left has its non-scientific contingent. That’s leaving out the nut-nuts and also setting aside the academic left wing institutions which are suffering from, like a fruitcakes’ worth, of nut capture.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          It’s a still thing. Portland, Oregon famously defeated a fluoridation measure a few years ago (as in under five, possibly under three). Like anti-vaxxing, it seems rather bipartisan for me but with weirdly similar yet different reasoning. Lefties object to fluoridation because they see it as making water impure as opposed to being on the best public health measures in human history.Report

        • Avatar FortyTwo in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          KWe had a guy who ran for Soil and Water Conservation District Representative (I believe state level) whose candidate statement said he wanted to investigate the harmful effects of water fluoridation. He made it on the ballot, but lost. I don’t know how many signatures he needed to get on the ballot. Of course, I live in Florida.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

        Democrats and much of the left have not exactly covered themselves in glory in the science surrounding ecigarettes.Report

  8. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Sp5: This is a great story about enlightened self-interest. It would have been very easy for the club to simply demand a refund (unless the screw-up was from their end). Someone was smart enough to recognize an opportunity for good press at minimal cost. This is a rare trait.Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Sc1 – Now let’s see if the rest of the bio/psych/soc/econ/etc. communities keep this in mind. Or perhaps we should focus on the institutional PR departments those communities work with, since they tend to trumpet the statistically insignificant research much more loudly that it deserves.

    Sc2 – HaHaHeHeHeHeHoHoHoHoHoHaHaHaHaHaHaHaaaa!…. *breathe* OMG! Hang on, let me catch my breath here, I promise, I’m done laughing.

    It’s like they think girls don’t ever play with water hoses, or sprinklers, or toss things around. Seriously, if you think there is a significant difference between boys and girls understanding of (extremely basic) physics that is tied to development, you’d get much more traction looking at sports, and how early people start playing ball/catch of some kind or another with boys versus girls.

    Sc4 – not surprising

    Te1A – Ingenious, but it strikes me that you can block this attack by telling the gene sequencer not to accept commands from the genes it reads.
    Te1B – Flexible plastic ‘muscles’ that respond to low voltages are actually old news (like 20 years old). The power to weight ratio is certainly impressive (at least 2 orders of magnitude greater that the last time I saw something about this), but the 3D printing aspect, now that is novel. It would be kind of fun to be able to print plastic muscles at home to use in stuff like RC models (servos can be heavy and hard to place well). Although, after watching the video, and noting the time compression, these suffer from the same problem older ‘muscles’ have – response time is slow, so if you need something to actuate in a hurry, we aren’t there yet – No one is going to be afraid of the slow motion terminator.

    TE6 – Fast Company has this on 5G and the cost of raising antennas (hint – it’s not in the hardware or the labor)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Sc2: I think you are looking at urination from the perspective of first-world modern privilege with indoor plumbing and such. The issue of urination is fundamental aspect of survival skills that shaped the species. As Dr. Freud explained:

      It is as though primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine. The legends that we possess leave no doubt about the originally phallic view taken of tongues of flame as they shoot upward. Putting out the fire by micturating – a theme to which modern giants, Gulliver in Lilliput and Rabelais’ Gargantua, still hark back – was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition. The first person to renounce this desire and spare the fire was able to carry it off with him and subdue it to his own use. By damping down the fire of his own sexual excitation, he had tamed the natural force of fire. This great cultural conquest was thus the reward for his renunciation of instinct. Further, it is as though woman had been appointed guardian of the fire which was held captive on the domestic hearth, because her anatomy made it impossible for her to yield to the temptation of this desire. It is remarkable, too, how regularly analytic experience testifies to the connection between ambition, fire, and urethral eroticism.


  10. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [Sc2] is getting the mockery upthread that it deserves. But it reminds me of a story that has stuck with me. When my father was young (he was born in 1919) he and his brothers used to hang out some with a girl next door, whose family owned a large commercial building in the resort area that both families lived in. (I’m going to be vague, you’ll understand why).

    So the story goes is this one girl once engaged the boys in a contest where they climbed onto the roof of said large (two-story plus) building to see who could pee the furthest off the top of the building. Yes, the girl competed. The story is that she won. I’m not so sure about that, it’s kind of too perfect to believe.

    But she made an impression on my father. I hear that after my mother died, he went and called on her (after a mourning period, of course). Unfortunately, she was with someone else at the time, though apparently she quite liked my father.

    Getting back to science education, the idea that doing math is incompatible with the conventional female identity is something that is much bigger than college physics, math, or computer science departments. But I think physics departments would do well to look at how Maria Klawe reorganized introductory computer science classes in a way that boosted the number of female CS majors quite significantly. Basically she segregated the intro class into two different classes, one for people who were “already into it”, and another for people who were trying something new and different. The key is that the latter class was not a dead-end, but something that would get them up to speed.

    There’s a lot of social context in an intro class, and it can carry a non-verbal message of “you don’t belong here”. The trick is to kill off that message at a critical time. Eventually, they will have to compete, but the structure gives women, and certain kinds of men, the chance to fall in love with the subject first.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      There’s a lot of social context in an intro class, and it can carry a non-verbal message of “you don’t belong here”.

      My first Computer Science class was An Introduction to Object Oriented Programming. It was taught as if the student already understood how to write programs in a non-OOP language (and thus understood basic things like variable declaration, how to use a compiler, etc.) rather than assuming you were coming in cold. This was not something noted in the course description. I couldn’t keep up and had to drop, and it scared me away from CS classes for a couple of years. Luckily my next CS class was much more of an actual introduction.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        That was probably a fail with regard to writing the course description. But it might have been a fail with regard to the instructor being bored with teaching all that stuff, and thinking, “nobody taking this class doesn’t know that”.

        What’s really pernicious is when the students carry that message. I remember one guy in my CS classes who had done some stuff outside of class and was constantly asking the sort of question that is actually irrelevant to the topic of the lecture, but showed off that he knew stuff. That also carries a message of “you don’t belong here”, and that’s the stuff that it’s vital to kill off. We finally got a professor that would tell him his question wasn’t relevant, and would he please stop wasting our time.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          In this case, it wasn’t just the instructor. I was the only person who did not have some kind of background in CS (who stuck around past the first week). The other students were not welcoming to the neophyte.

          In contrast, the class I took a few years later was taught by an awesome TA who loved teaching the class, and our final project for the class was to program a very simple version of Space Invaders, where the ‘invaders’ were thumbnails of all the Comp Sci TAs. It was a fun class and it got me excited to learn more.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        It seems like there are a remarkable number of ways to mess up teaching intro CS.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to pillsy says:

          There very much are. Might first C class was done right. The man started with “I am going to harp on, every time this comes up, the difference between variable name, variable value, and variable address. You’re going to get sick of it. I’m going to keep asking you to tell me which is which, over and over. Because if you don’t grasp that the name points to the address which holds the value, you’re never going to get pointers right, and that’s foundational to stuff you do later”.

          Your intro to programming class needs to cover, IMHO, the concept of pointers (address versus value), decision trees (if-then-else, switch statements), loops (while, for), recursion, and the basics of data structures. In the course of that, you should be introduced to something like the STL so you can understand how to use objects and get a basic idea of how they should work.

          That’s pretty easy, though — work with characters, the character arrays, then show std::string and demonstrate where each makes sense.Report

  11. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [Sc3] That’s a pretty great story, for sure. I love how it illustrates how sexism is internally transmitted from mother to daughter. And from father to son, to be sure. And my male identity was policed by my mother much more than by my father. Fighting sexism is hard. The temptation to divide up into Boys vs. Girls is strong.

    [Sc1] is pretty much the best possible response from a scientist and science writer to the Replication Crisis. He doesn’t say “the conclusions are wrong” because they haven’t been proven wrong. He just says, “The results are a lot weaker than I made them out to be”, which is accurate. It’s striking to me that priming, or at least, lots of priming related phenomena are on the “can’t replicate” list, since there are very few people that think priming isn’t a thing at all. We might end up with a much better understanding of what’s going on, and that’s a credit to the scientific method, which pretty much is designed with human fallibility in mind.Report

  12. Avatar Maribou says:

    [Re1] “There are broader lessons here: Why not-hot men should probably just skip Tinder” *cough* straight men *cough* :D. Sorry, couldn’t resist teasing. But also, all of my anecdotal evidence suggests that LGBTQ people are finding Tinder a lot more appealing, regardless of gender, than straight people. They also seem to be constructing their profiles differently though (pics of them with their puppy dog, etc…). Would love to see some research on that, and with a bigger sized n.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Maribou says:

      Well, let’s face it, in person meeting/hooking up/relationship forming was fraught for LGBTQ people in a manner it wasn’t for straight people and those difficulties began dissipating at exactly the same time online dating began arriving so it’s no wonder that LGBTQ migrated online like crazy, there wasn’t that much anchoring them into meatspace in the first place.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Maribou says:

      What subsets of LGBTQ people?

      I’m wondering if the reason that some people are finding Tinder so appealing is that the potential matches that would make the experience unappealing are all using Grindr or similar instead.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Alan Scott says:

        @alan-scott It’s possible, but most of the people I’ve heard from directly are lesbians, bi (of different genders) or nonbinary. which I think makes it less likely?

        If there’s a commonality it’s that they’re mostly under the age of 35.Report

  13. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    [Te7]Nope nope nope. I can’t handle any computer keyboard that doesn’t have a number padReport

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott says:

      I used to feel the same way, but enough of my work moved to laptops that now that some laptops have the number pad I still don’t use it.Report

      • Will it have the same sort of durability that the Thinkpads used to be noted for? I have an old X60 here that I literally retrieved from someone’s trash can some years back, replaced the battery, and installed Debian Linux. I use it to run my club’s annual fencing tournament, for writing out on the deck (with file system from my Mac mounted), and drag it around for this and that. It gives the impression of being indestructible.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

        The only thing I really miss about my old W520 was the number pad. Too bad you practically needed a forklift for it to be portable.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

        My first and so far only laptop came with a numpad. It’s a bulky thing, but I still sort of treat it as an especially portable desktop so I don’t mind in the slightest. And I’ve been using 10-key cash registers professionally for my entire adult life.

        I guess to me it’s almost existential. If you’re not typing numbers into your computer enough to justify a dedicated number-input section of the keyboard, why would you even need a computer at all?Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Sc2: My amateur experimentation with acoustics has a great deal to do with my love of belching (which does go back to my infancy). It grew through the years and it finally culminated when I started being barred from Home Depots for setting up metal garbage cans in such a way that a single belch could then reverberate through the store by my being approached by a local audio/video company for a job. I thought about it… but when you start taking money for this sort of thing then it stops being a hobby and, next thing you know, you dread it instead of being absorbed by it to the point where you’re thinking about it when you’re pounding a Diet Rite in the shower and wondering what kind of tile you need to upgrade to.Report

  15. Sc5 [peer review newer than we think]: I’d really like to see a study that traces the history of one important humanities or social science journal to see how its practices of editorial and peer review have evolved over, say, the last 50 years or so. I suspect such a study would support the author’s initial thoughts on the matter.

    The argument in that blog post is one of those things that I, as someone trained in history, should have taken as a given. Still–after all these years–I am still sometimes surprised when someone treats something as “historical” that I hadn’t thought to treat that way.Report