Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What Were They Thinking at Google?

I have a couple of theories on why Google came down on James Damore like the proverbial ton of bricks.

Why there's a crackdown on anything that looks “alt-right” now

The tech industry top people don't actually like feminists (who have a tendency to produce expensive lawsuits) but they made the mistake of surrendering to them (at least verbally) a decade or two ago and it's too late to go back now. They have resolved to not let that happen again.

Meanwhile, opponents of feminism (or left-wing ideology in general) have been saying it's time to imitate left-wing tactics. As a result, the tech industry is trying to stop Feminism II before it starts. It is, after all, very difficult to surrender to two incompatible factions at the same time.

Without the threat of the imitation leftist tactics, disagreeing with company dogma would simply earn a reprimand and a warning to not do that again. With that threat, dissent produces:

JUST DO NOT DO IT. DO NOT DO ANYTHING SORT OF LIKE IT. JUST AVOID THAT ENTIRE CATEGORY OF THING.
The infamous memo might not be “alt-right,” but it can be plausibly claimed to be in “THAT ENTIRE CATEGORY OF THING.”

Was this a false flag?

A conspiracy theory I haven't seen anywhere yet:
Since Google has not actually been promoting that many women, it doesn't look like it is a real feminist-run organization. What if the purpose of coming down on James Damore in such a heavy-handed manner is to provoke such a lawsuit? They might be able to get a court order that they can wave in the faces of the feminists.

If the lawsuit goes the other way, of course, they now have a legal precedent that can be used to fire feminists suing them.

I (and apparently very few other people) noticed that, with a few minor changes, the Zunger response to the Damore memo (including the need to fit in) could be used against feminists.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Identifying Science-Curious but Science-Ignorant People, Part II

The studies I asked for a few months ago are starting, at least as far as brain science is concerned.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Brief Note on Free Speech

Much of what appears to be a violation of freedom of speech is actually a matter of refusing to listen.

Much of the time such a refusal to listen, although not a violation of constitutional rights, is very unwise. If you refuse to listen, you might find that someone you loathe, that you thought didn't have a chance, just got elected President.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Things to Avoid in Health-Insurance Regulation

Any reform of health-insurance regulation must avoid the following:

  1. A death spiral, when people put off buying otherwise unaffordable health insurance until they're sick.
  2. Bankrupting the country, because promises that cannot be fulfilled will not be fulfilled.
  3. Price controls. This includes giving governments the motive, means, and opportunity to institute price controls (e.g., a single-payer system).
  4. A welfare cliff, in which people don't bother looking for a job because you lose more in benefits than the job pays.
  5. Charging people twice for their health care, in which people with private insurance are charged for the government insurance they might be using anyway. (This is based on the fact that families with children in private school still have to pay school taxes.)
  6. (Lest we forget…) Losing the next election.
I suspect this means we're stuck with the individual mandate, at least until the herd of independent minds starts to stampede in another direction.

 
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