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Comment Re:At least the summary is realistic about Swartz. (Score 4, Insightful) 132

they twist it into "the state" or "the prosecutor" somehow being responsible for what Swartz voluntarily to himself

A prosecutor has the power to really fuck up somebody's life. A criminal defense costs so much that families mortgage their homes -- just to stay out of jail. The defendant has this threat hanging over them for years.

And a prosecutor has complete discretion about whether or not to bring a case. Sometimes they weasel out of it by saying, "I'm simply following the law." Sometimes they admit it and say, "I'm using the law creatively."

America, as you've probably heard, has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and arguably the most punitive "tough on sentencing" system. We send people to jail for 10 and 20 years for minor crimes that used to be misdemeanors before the war on crime.

This is one you can blame on the Democrats and Republicans. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both led the country in tough-on-crime rhetoric, although most incarceration is on the state level.

So yeah, if the cops arrest someone for some bullshit like making a turn without signaling far enough in advance, and the prosecutor decides to prosecute that person for it, and the person gets so depressed in jail that he kills himself -- I think the cop and the prosecutor are directly responsible for that death.

Adam Swartz seemed to be a situation like that. A sadistic prosecutor who just wants to put someone in jail to get notches on her bed.

Comment Re:Keep telling yourself that. (Score 1) 348

If you think "all companies that do this are run by Republicans," you really need to think "the few Republican-run companies that do this are joining the long list of Democrat-run ones."

Silicon Valley has the highest H-1B use in the US, and they're primarily left-wingers out there.

I'd like to use that claim to bash the Democrats. Got any evidence to back it up? I'd be particularly interested in companies run by Democratic executives who are big campaign contributors.

Comment Halter top and a miniskirt (Score 4, Insightful) 264

From TFA:

Evolving interpretations of Title IX have also played a part, in particular a 2011 letter released by the Office for Civil Rights reminding educational institutions of their obligations to both prevent and respond to sexual misconduct, including sexual violence. "Title IX makes it very clear that a beautiful 19-year-old female wearing a halter top and a miniskirt can go check on her fruit flies at night without being touched or made uncomfortable by her professor," Harvard's Johnson says.

If you're the kind of person who will be psychologically traumatized by having your professor acknowledge your sexual attractiveness, I would think that you would be better off wearing something more professional than a halter top and miniskirt to the lab at night. Maybe you should learn something from those fruit flies.

If this is a problem, then you should have a dress code for female employees.

Actually, I used to work at the American Foundation for [deleted], and we had a temp employee come in wearing a halter top and a bare midriff. She made quite an impression, some of it favorable (on her boss) and some of it unfavorable (on the other women in the office). Somebody talked to her about it, and she covered it up, to some disappointment by the men in the office.

If anybody claims that women never dress in revealing clothes to be sexually attractive, they're denying reality.

Comment Rebecca Ackermann shows quite a bit of cleavage (Score 1) 264

Did anybody else think that in the illustration accompanying that story, Rebecca Ackermann had a pretty low neckline?

I know there have been studies of cleavage in women's photos on dating sites, but this seems to be somewhat revealing for a professional setting. Especially for someone who wants to de-emphasize sexuality in academia.

Comment What about all the women who use sex to advance? (Score 3) 264

Maybe it's because I went to school in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but I'm remembering a lot of women who made their career by having an affair with their professors.

In one case, a friend of mine was the first woman to major in a male-dominated field at a big university. All the guys in my circle of friends really looked up to her for that.

Then she once casually mentioned that she was having an affair with her (married) professor.

People have a right to have sex with anybody they want, but I hated it because it confirmed a stereotype that I hated - - "Women will use sex to advance their career."

Last I heard, she didn't go into the field at all, but got a job as a programmer.

I wonder if anybody else here has seen things like that.

Comment Re:'Research assistant' and the free holiday .. (Score 1) 264

Sexually assault is a criminal matter, why not make a formal complaint on the night instead of months later in a roof top bar.

Because if anyone made a criminal complaint that started out with her getting so drunk she doesn't know what happened next, the prosecutors would realize that it would be impossible to prove a case like that in court, file it away and forget it.

And because if the crime consisted of his lying on top of her and groping her under her skirt, the prosecutors would realize that this isn't a real crime and they have more important things to worry about.

Comment Re:"sexual misconduct"? (Score 5, Informative) 264

It means "put his arm around me, and plunged his hand down the back of my skirt all the way to my thighs, and forcefully grabbed my posterior,".

If you gave the whole quote, it would mean something else:

This witness, who admits that she was "properly drunk," wrote that she put her hand around Richmond's waist while he "continued to fondle my bottom." Shortly afterwards, she related, Richmond "pulled me away from the circle" and "kissed me quite passionately," asking her to go to a more remote spot and have sex with him. But she was not interested and declined, slipping away to her friends.

They were standing around a bonfire, they were drinking, she was drinking a lot, he made a pass at her, she responded favorably, he continued, she declined, and he left her alone.

This is normal sexual behavior in modern western cultures.

These are fucking anthropologists. They're supposed to understand mating rituals.

Comment Re:"sexual misconduct"? (Score 2) 264

If it happened as the woman stated then yes, it absolutely is sexual harassment.

The way the woman stated it, they went out drinking, she got "way too drunk," she couldn't find her way back to her Air B&B, she doesn't remember anything after that until they wound up in bed together with Richmond kissing her and groping under her skirt.

There's a lot of things that could have happened between the time her memory blanked out and the time it started again. Like she could have made advances at him.

When she goes to a man's hotel room, it may not imply consent to have sex, but she should be prepared for him to make an advance to find out if she is consenting.

He might be one of those guys who would make an advance at a woman if they wound up in a hotel room together. There are an awful lot of guys like that.

She's supposed to be an anthropologist, for crying out loud. Didn't she ever learn about sage grouse leks?

Comment Re:Basics? (Score 1) 246

How about teaching English, Math, Science and such first? US students are in many cases barely able to read and fail miserably at math. Let's get everyone up to a first world level before we worry about computer science for everyone. CS should be an elective.

Jeff Atwood for Education Secretary.
Learning to code is overrated: An accomplished programmer would rather his kids learn to read and reason
BY Jeff Atwood
Sunday, September 27, 2015, 5:00 AM

  Mayor de Blasio is winning widespread praise for his recent promise that, within 10 years, all of New York City’s public schoolchildren will take computer science classes. But as a career programmer who founded two successful software startups, I am deeply skeptical about teaching all kids to code.

When I became fascinated with computers as a teenager in the early 1980s, computers booted up to a black screen and a blinking cursor. You had to learn the right commands to get them to do anything at all. In other words, you were forced to become a computer programmer in order to be a computer user.

One of the great achievements of modern computing is that we no longer need to be programmers to create, build and get things done with the amazing supercomputers that everyone carries around in their pockets.

That’s a victory we should claim for our kids — rather than purposefully, almost gleefully sending them back to the era before computers became user-friendly tools.

I’m not saying young people should be oblivious to the way the sausage is made, any more than they should be oblivious to where their food comes from. Indeed, in the coming decades, there are thousands if not millions of good jobs waiting for skilled programmers and creative thinkers who understand the logic of programming.

But as someone who’s been immersed in the digital world for most of his life, I can attest: Computer science is less an intellectual discipline than a narrow vocational skill.

If someone tells you “coding is the new literacy” because “computers are everywhere today,” ask them how fuel injection works. By teaching low-level coding, I worry that we are effectively teaching our children the art of automobile repair. A valuable skill — but if automobile manufacturers and engineers are doing their jobs correctly, one that shouldn’t be much concern for average people, who happily use their cars as tools to get things done without ever needing to worry about rebuilding the transmission or even change the oil.

There’s nothing wrong with basic exposure to computer science. But it should not come at the expense of fundamental skills such as reading, writing and mathematics — and unfortunately today our schools, with limited time, have tons of pressure on them to convey those basics better.

I’ve known so many programmers who would have been much more successful in their careers if they had only been better writers, better critical thinkers, better back-of-the-envelope estimators, better communicators. And aside from success in careers, we have to ask the broader question: What kinds of people do we want children to grow up to be?

It’s true. Anyone can learn to code. But very few people can explain why they wrote a line of code, what that code does or convince other people to use it and help them build it. These are all essential human skills that have everything to do with the art of communicating with other people, and nothing at all to do with the writing code that a computer can understand.

Learning to talk to the computer is the easiest part. Computers, for better or worse, do exactly what you tell them to do, every time, in exactly the same way. The people — well . . . you’ll spend the rest of your life figuring that out. And from my perspective, the sooner you start, the better.

I want my children to understand how the Internet works. But this depends more on their acquisition of higher-order thinking than it does their understanding if ones and zeroes. It is essential that they that treat everything they read online critically. Where did that Wikipedia page come from? Who wrote it? What is their background? What are their sources?

Learn to investigate. Be critical. Don’t just accept opinions you saw on Facebook or some random web page. Ask for credible data, facts and science.

I want my kids to experiment with their computers, to collaborate and learn with other people through them. To think of their computers not as special devices and instead leverage their potential.

What will you use it for? What will you do with it?

If you want your kids to have a solid computer science education, encourage them to go build something cool. Not by typing in pedantic command words in a programming environment, but by learning just enough about how that peculiar little blocky world inside their computer works to discover what they and their friends can make with it together.

We shouldn’t be teaching kids “computer science.” Instead, we should provide them plenty of structured opportunities to play with hardware and software. There’s a whole world waiting to be unlocked.

Atwood, a software developer, blogs at

Comment Re:Did anyone actually read the articles? (Score 1) 432

Or how about this one? "Results from a recent AAS survey were reported at the last week's plenary session on harassment, defined as unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Some 82% of astronomers have heard sexist remarks from their peers; 44% heard sexist remarks from supervisors; 9% experienced physical harassment from peers or supervisors."

Those articles do not read like SJWs and the do seem to indicate some sort of a problem.

I read that bullet-point summary cited in the article and they didn't define unwelcome conduct. That can be as innocuous as inviting someone to have dinner after a conference. Or striking up an unwelcome conversation. Or criticizing a scientist's paper. Or anything that anyone subjectively decided was unwelcome conduct.

Anything could wind up in that survey as unwelcome conduct, whether it was reasonable conduct or not.

Comment Re:Fueled by recent change to Twitters TOS (Score 1) 191

Oh, yes, Shurat HaDin, the Israel governent operation that brings frivolous lawsuits against critics of Israel.

This isn't a valid social science experiment, it's just lawyers and hasbara operatives gathering allegations to fill up the documents in what they openly admit are frivolous lawsuits to harass Palestinians and their supporters.

What they've proven is that Facebook is more likely to respond to a threatening picture of an adult with a gun than of a child with a slingshot. It would be interesting to see what kind of results a social scientist would get with matched photos.

I'm sure they know that this is a frivolous lawsuit in the US, where our free speech is protected by the First Amendment.

Of course, you can never tell what a judge or a jury in the Southern District of New York will do. So it does have some intimidation value -- for suppressing free speech.

Palestinians who try to sue the Israeli government for its illegal killings don't get anywhere.

It's like the mice trying to sue the cats with a judge and jury of cats.

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