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Comment Re:Netflix? Try the studios instead (Score 1) 106

This is another case of the maker suing the distributor for distributing as agreed, but in a way the maker doesn't like.

I strongly doubt it's "as agreed", since I'd be very surprised if it's not by customer geographic area. My guess is that Netflix is hiding behind the "we can't tell" defense, and while it's not criminal, I'd be pretty surprised that in the event that Netflix was sued for breach of contract the court would rule against them. (I do agree, however, that the courts would strongly push the parties into out-of-court arbitration.)

Something released in the US, and nowhere else, will eventually be available everywhere else. That's a fact of the global economy.

First, that's not a fact of the global economy, it's a fact based on globalization and that many humans will comfortably steal something they want if they feel there's no likely penalty. Given the economy usually fails to work when there's enough theft, the economy has little to do with it.

The fact that I own something means that it will almost certainly eventually be stolen. Not too many items hundreds of years old are owned by the descendants of the original owners. That's a fact of reality. However, taking measures to at least slow down the inevitable seems prudent. Moreover, going after those who are clearly profiting from that theft seems eminently reasonable.

Perhaps I just dislike the intimidation tactics. "I pay what I say I pay or I take your stuff anyway." Feels very "pay your protection money or your house burns down. Basic economics." I'd of course be fine with Netflix indicating that they will *only* buy global rights. However, given I don't believe they're paying much for global rights, I suspect they'd lose a lot of shows.

Anyway, piracy may well be reality, but I'd prefer not to join so many others here telling creators, "sell it my way, take the loss, or I'll steal your stuff." Especially when I'm certain that so many here would be deeply angered if it others were making the same threats to them.

As I said, it's not the action - lots of people will steal (sorry, "liberate", no "pirate") when there's no likelihood of being caught. Hell, I did so when I was a kid. However, I didn't pretend that what I was doing wasn't stealing, because it was and I knew it. And that knowledge was why, when I could afford to buy software, I started doing so. It's not the act that bothers me - people can be broke or simply prefer to spend the money on hardware rather than content, it's the moral cowardice and the "but I'm a good person!" whining that seems to accompany it nowadays that drives me nuts.

Comment Re:Netflix? Try the studios instead (Score 1) 106

Ah, I see your point now. An interesting semantic point, but the precedent is pretty clear. With mail order, companies with regional contracts tried to claim that they were serving their customer locally, dropping the package into a local mail box, etc. In commercial (not criminal) disputes, the courts found that the customer's location was the defining point.

Now, the issue with the VPN is muddied in that you are essentially shipping to a forwarder, so you can't be *certain* you are breaking your contract, but should it ever come to a court case, I'm pretty certain the courts would use common sense.

As it is, Netflix recognizes that their free ride is over, and will take the minimal steps necessary to protect themselves against both supplier wrath and possible lawsuits.

And yes, I'd say that knowingly selling digital goods that you have not paid for qualifies as stolen goods. Take the reductive case. I have a manuscript that I want to sell to a publisher. Someone takes a copy and sells it to a publisher first. I still have my original, but the commercial value has been diminished to zero. I think almost anyone would claim that my manuscript was stolen.

By its actions, Netflix reduces the value of the product in markets it has not paid for. Unlike those pressing for the biggest headlines, it's obviously not a 1 lost sale for 1 view, but it is still a commercial loss of some degree, multiplied by literally millions of times.

Comment Re:Netflix? Try the studios instead (Score 1) 106

The studio sold the rights for the US and the viewer is presenting as being in the US, so the studio was paid by Netflix for that viewer.

I'm quite confused. The viewer is being presented as being in the US, but presumably he's *not* in the US. Netflix pays for the right to serve the viewer in his actual area, not his purported area or his account location. My point remains - Netflix is being paid (through the subscription) to provide content for a viewer in an area, but it has *not* paid for the right to distribute that content in that area.

The studio also sold the rights to someone else in Canada, which is why the Canadian user is trying to appear to be in the US, so the studio was also paid for that user.

The Canadian user has *not* paid the Canadian rights holder for access to the content, which presumably lowers what the studios can charge for Canadian rights. Nor has Netflix paid the studio for the Canadian subscriber. The studio has been paid *zero* times for the Canadian subscriber. Once again, Netflix has been paid, but it doesn't own the content. Now obviously it's a pretty good deal for Netflix (get paid for content they don't own), so I think I understand why the studios are pretty annoyed.

If I break in to your home and sell the contents to Adam who *knows* I don't own the contents I'm selling, I'm pretty certain you wouldn't hold Adam blameless, even though he did pay for your stuff (to me!).

Look, I'm okay with you and Netflix stealing content because it might not be convenient to watch it on another service (or it might not be available at all). Lots of people feel they have the right to take anything that they want badly enough. But surely you understand that even if you pay money for stolen goods it doesn't mean that you are now a legitimate owner.

Comment Re: Netflix? Try the studios instead (Score 0) 106

You can look at it another way. Without region lock, in non-English speaking countries, those who speak English (usually a more educated/richer segment of the population) could then buy the movies more easily, making the market for the movie translated to that country's language far smaller and thus both rarer and more expensive (as translation costs have to amortized over smaller potential audience.)

By siphoning of the richest segment of the customer base, far fewer movies would be translated, which would otherwise reach the poorer and less educated cohort. (And yes, more expensive, but there is no free lunch, and translation costs are real.)

It's not too hard to imagine that region-locks *benefit* the non-English speaking majority who would otherwise be denied any legal means of purchasing the localized version of the content at all.

Of course in many such country's, the English-speaking elite are quite willing to say to hell with their poorer and less-educated brethren, but it's worth pointing out that regional distribution isn't necessarily a negative for everyone.

Comment Re:Netflix? Try the studios instead (Score 1) 106

And the studios will lose because those who cancel will fall back to piracy.

No, Netflix did not purchase distribution rights to those locations, so the studios aren't being paid for those viewers. From the studio perspective, there is *no* difference between people watching it on Netflix via VPN and the content being pirated via torrent. If they can make it slightly less convenient to pirate via Netflix, then it's no surprise that they use their market power to do so.

Not all who were pirating via VPN are conversant with torrents or, more likely, want to spend the time doing so.

Comment Re:Here we go. (Score 1) 432

Well, if there was a compromise, I'd say it would be the professor recusing himself from the course with all the long-term career damage caused by the incident accruing to the professor, not the student.

But the reality is pretty damn simple.

We expect people in power to be able to maintain professional conduct in *all* circumstances, regardless of their personal feelings.

The punishment for failing to do so tends to vary heavily by its consequences on others. Someone makes you angry and you slug them? Very bad. Someone makes you uncomfortable, and you fail them or make drop a course, affecting their academic career (and quite possibly their long-term career aspirations)? Pretty bad. Someone bursts into tears in the front of the lecture hall because some personal trauma? Pretty awkward, but probably not causing long-term difficulty for the students, so not so bad.

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

We'd be down to bread (unleavened!) and water if we decided to cater to every religion and culture's strictures. Fortunately, we don't, recognizing that the intolerant strictures of various cultures are not a reason to restrict those who do not share those strictures.

My experience is you can do pretty well catering to the say the median 98% of people who have the appropriate skills. Sure, it's less culturally specific, but the company is not home.

My current tech company (in Toronto) is probably 10% Arab, 20% Russian, 15% East Indian, 20% Asian, 15% Anglo, 5% African and goodness knows the rest. Women are about 1/3 of the programmers, and 50% of the staff.

Yes, our Christmas celebration is the "End of Year" celebration, and it's a general buffet. Does the company celebrate things that are important to just one social group? No. Is it hell to work at? Absolutely not, it's one of the friendliest group of people I've worked with. But we're not bound by language, religion, race, gender, culture, or common interests. We're bound by our job. Is that as strong as other bonds? Of course not. But there's not a programmer on the globe (who at least spoke a modicum of English) who would not feel at home here.

And of course employees are free to arrange their own social activities, even in house, within reason. Diwali here was quite spectacular when some of the women brought in 20-odd beautiful Saris that various women wore. I have prayer beads in my cubicle from my co-worker's Haj over Christmas. I've played "Love Letter" and "No Thanks" (card games) in the lunch room. But these are not company sanctioned, and none are so universal that those not participating feel left out.

As much fun as a weekly company game night or company movie trips? As much fun as having everyone discuss today's XKCD? As much fun as being able to leave geek-references in the code-base? Honestly, probably not. But that's the price of not having the company be a club-house for people like me.

I'm fairly certain that you'd be appalled at a company that chose to privilege one race or gender over another. Why is it moral for a workplace to privilege one culture or interest over another? Especially when the correlation between culture/interest and race/gender is so apparent.

That's weaseling. What exactly are the standards of the profession of software development?

I'm not certain what you're after here. For a software developer, I'd assume the ability to practice software development skills, as well as the concomitant communication responsibilities. General professional standards means basic ethics in dealing with employer, employees, and customers, treating them all with dignity and respect, regardless of personal inclinations. From a company point of view, professional conduct means treating employees with respect to how they perform their responsibilities, rather than how they correlate with the manager's personal inclinations.

Nothing that geeks aren't capable of. Nothing that a lot of people aren't capable of.

And that's one thing that the last 15 years have taught me - sure, there are a lot of geeks that are good programmers, but there's are a lot of regular folk that are *just* as good. It was a hell of a shock when my stereotypes were crushed by reality.

Even now, I find it easy to drift into assumptions not matched by data. (And it's not just me - I found it really sad that the best programmer in a department that I was working in assumed I could answer her question because I matched her conception of the uber-geek programmer when she was twice as knowledgeable and probably smarter. The stereotypes are internalized everywhere.)

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

A female who is just there to pick up a paycheck - am I sexist for not hiring her?

If she's just as capable (as perhaps proven by her track record), then yes. In a professional environment, I expect people to be judged by their actual output, not for how well they conform to your platonic ideal of a techie, which, no surprise, skews heavily male.

Real? Take it up with these people

Many of the people on the forefront of just about any social change (civil rights, abolition, etc., etc.) aren't particularly wonderful people. They are, however, pretty much necessary for social change. And every single time, there will be people be claiming that the the extremity of their position invalidates the whole movement. Except, that every frikken time, there's no movement until the extremists actually do something. Look at abolition, women's suffrage, civil rights, gay rights, workers rights. Every single time.

An adult would simply tell the guys to grow up and leave it at that.

Indeed, that's pretty much what's been done for the last 30 years, and we both know how women's involvement in Silicon Valley has stagnated. I don't think it's coincidence that you find women far better represented in technology in the sort of large companies that *don't* put up with that sort of B.S.

I'm saying equality will never be achieved if a woman is considered competent simply because she is a woman.

And I'd say that expecting women to *be* men is not equality. Men have constructed technological workplaces to fit their culture (and if you believe men and women have identical culture, I'd say you've not met many women). It's perfectly natural. But it naturally excludes a large number of women, and thus it's time for that to change.

The analogy is not exact, but I don't really see this as much different as trying to change the culture surrounding elementary school teachers in which every male is viewed with suspicion. Sure, a young man who's truly devoted to the profession should just be able to ignore the pervasive attitude. But to no one's surprise, they've abandoned the field in droves. (Of course, we have to address real problems like false accusations and arrests, but simple omnipresent distrust? Any strong man should be able to ignore that if they *actually* are interested in teaching children.) And no doubt you'd have someone claiming that her husband is just fine teaching and thus there's no problem with the field. After all, men aren't weak, they can take a little suspicion and fear.

But the point is that they shouldn't have to.

Now, since my field is technology, and I'm a big believer in cleaning one's own house first, I'll worry about the field I'm involved in.

That so completely demeans my wife's rise through the construction industry

No, it indicates that not everyone is as capable and talented as your wife. And that you shouldn't have to be as capable and talented as your wife in order to make it in the field. Thinking of all the men in your wife's field, how many of them match her drive and persistence? I'm going to guess a tiny number. Why should a woman have to be in the 99th percentile to have the same sort of job as the 50th percentile men around her. Because the men have and are being coddled their entire lives by having the entire culture of the industry built around their culture. Sure, it's the *male* version of coddling. But it doesn't make it any less coddling.

Which is why I asked if you were of that faith and a fundamentalist

No I'm an atheist. And the fundamentalist approach is usually "men are incapable of controlling themselves, therefore we cannot have them around women". (Although for some reason they usually miss the obvious next step of locking up the men.) I, on the other hand, *utterly* reject the idea that men are so weak that we cannot control our personal behaviour.

I do not consider myself particularly anti-sex. However, I do find it disturbing that you seem to equate not being enamored with the typical young male approach and attitude towards sex as being anti-sex. Why do you insist on demeaning a widely-held perspective of believing sex to be an intensely personal and private experience as anti-sex? I find it a bullying-lite version of the game that I've seen played by young males seeking to badger young women into what I'd call sexual circumstances by calling them priggish or prudes or anti-sex because they actually don't enjoy sexualized public situations.

Given the diversity of beliefs in both men and women, surely it makes sense to restrict professional activity to professional activities. Situationally appropriate behaviour is something every child is taught. I think even us men can manage it.

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

I think I might be arguing at cross purposes here.

You made what I assume was sarcastic comment (But no, it's pretty obvious that one dongle joke can cause a young lady who had a driving passion to simply drop it) that implied (at least to my ear) that it was ridiculous that a dongle joke would drive such a person out of the industry.

My reply is that the vast majority of programmers aren't there with a driving passion, and thus, yes, juvenile antics might make them look elsewhere.

I have no idea where you got any claim from me about who was doing the harassing from. Unless proven otherwise, I assume that you are professional in your conduct.

Women are somehow utterly destroyed by Lena Söderberg's face and dongle jokes.

Can we get real here? No one is being destroyed here. But a professional in a professional environment should not have to put up with the juvenile sexual innuendo. There is not a single adult working in the industry who should not be capable of, well, acting like an adult. If they want to let their inner 13-year old go, do it well away from the workplace or related events.

Do you think that you can scrub all sex from every industry?

Frankly, yes. Losing jobs due to one-of puerile behaviour is probably overkill, but the reality is that reacting proportionately has simply meant that the behaviour has hung around decades past it's expiry date. And yes, lots of women aren't going to be offended. Some people don't mind jokes ridiculing their ethnicity. But enduring such should not be requirement for entry in the field.

And as far as you and I are concerned, we are both part of the dominant race, gender, and culture in the tech industry. We'd have to be radically insecure for anything to bother us because our superiority is pretty much assured. But saying that this has bearing on other people is like the millionaire telling the homeless person "Don't worry about having that $10 stolen from you. After all, they stole $10 from me as well." It's just not the same thing.

It all reminds me of when I was about 9 and joined a after-school sports team. There was one guy who basically greeted his team-mates by whacking them from behind. We all hated it, and being a bit of cry-baby, I asked him to stop multiple times. He said that was the way he said hi, and it probably was. I was obviously "weak", and after the 4th or 5th time, I told a parent, who told him to stop. He resumed shortly thereafter, so I told the parent again. this time the kid got yelled at.

Problem solved. Everybody was happier, except for the kid who had to control himself. Was he malicious? From the perspective of hindsight, probably not. He probably had older obnoxious brothers. But in the end, it didn't matter, he was making life miserable for lots of others, and the behaviour had to stop.

Juvenile sexual behaviour makes lots of people uncomfortable and it also provides suitable cover for true predators. Far, far better to have a nice simple line with no ambiguity.

Because if the harassment bar is lowered this far, there is no other cure than a complete separation of males in females, because the females are too weak.

Goodness you have a low opinion of humanity. In 35 years, I've yet to have to deal with sexual "humour" in a workplace environment, and I'm as puritanical as they come. (Admittedly, I've projected "death-of-fun" since I was 20, but the point still stands.) We are all perfectly capable of restraining our personal lives to our personal time, or at least moderating our personal lives on professional time to what won't offend anyone. And change is inevitable. 40 years ago, some companies held sales meetings in strip clubs and some men had pin-ups on their cubicles. It was unthinkable that any real salesman would object. Now the idea is ridiculous. 25 years ago, the workplace could do without anyone who was so weak they couldn't handle the person in the adjacent cubicle smoking. After all, that was what the workplace looked like. It was insanity itself to assume that men weren't going to be men or smokers weren't smokers.

Oddly enough, men can be a lot of things. Smokers turned out be able to adapt. It won't be the end of the world. 20 years from now, we'll be shaking our heads at what women and minorities had to put up with in the work place and wondering what took so long.

That one percent you are in thrall to won't be satisfied no matter how much we try to "help" them.

That "one percent" is probably one in 10,000. However, they often reflect a general feeling that is utterly ignored for decades. To use a made-up example, sometimes it takes someone threatening a ridiculous lawsuit over the use of the word "girls" for the boss to finally realize that 50% of the workforce was utterly fed up with his use of "the girls in the office". Their quiet, consistent, polite remarks didn't even register for 30 years because he couldn't even conceive that anyone would be offended.

I'm amazed at how often the "ridiculous demand" is simply the expression of a widely felt anger over conditions that management could ignore for decades. It doesn't require malice. We all assume our cultural precepts are universal. So a significant kick is often what's required to actually generate any real change.

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

And this evidence is?

While Silicon Valley technology companies may be overwhelmingly white male, successful technology companies exist across the entire world. The fact that California is highly diverse, but the hiring isn't, yet diverse technology companies exist elsewhere is, to my mind, pretty strong evidence that candidates who would otherwise be successful are being driven out of the field (or more likely, never entering).

I'm certain there's some out-and-out discrimination, but what I see far more often is simply that companies choose to embrace a culture that is highly exclusive of much of the population. And to my mind, that is not a terribly moral position. There's no evidence that companies need to embrace *any* culture to the exclusion of others in order to be successful. (Not to mention the hiring biases that occur when people internalize the idea that good programmer's look and act a certain way which is sadly almost inevitable in the presence of a company-directed culture.)

So you don't think there's a reason geek-friendly companies have, for many years, shared certain characteristics directly opposed to what other professions consider the norm? In particular, an aversion to a formal dress code and set hours.

You may be a few years out of date. Suit and tie and its equivalent has been required in very few non-customer facing positions for decades. As for set hours, most businesses are allowing a wider set of hours in an attempt to be *less* exclusionary, as parents with young children often need somewhat flexible hours. The geek-friendly aspects that relate to doing a job better and more efficiently were co-opted by regular business 30 years ago. What I am talking about is company-sanctioned geek (or really any particular culture) social activities.

And companies are learning. Thirty years ago, there were occasional companies that would a sales function in a strip club. Now, we've progressed to realizing that alcohol at company functions is not really tolerable when many Muslims have religious strictures against its consumption. The Rib-fest is not a good idea when many are Hindus are vegetarians, etc., etc. Its all part of the progression that acknowledges the fact that North America is now home to hundreds of different cultures and languages, and a company choosing to celebrate any particular one to the exclusion of others isn't particularly admirable.

So an outing to see what is currently the #2 movie of all time is not "inclusive" enough? Many indubitably "professional" companies are well known to have golf outings; I suspect golf is rather less popular overall than Star Wars.

Actually, golf has become more or less moribund (a recent boss was wistfully remembering when that was an acceptable means of socializing - now few employees grow up in countries with where golfing is even a recognizable sport.)

I don't know what you mean by "acceptable professional behavior" exactly, but I suspect if you were to articulate it, I'd find clashes with geek behavior.

"Acceptable professional behavior" is pretty simple. While you are in a professional environment (i.e. workplace), you devote yourself to your profession, in a manner consistent with the standards of that profession. In such a fashion, you put everyone who is practicing that profession on an equal footing in the workplace. Personal interests are, in general, restricted to outside hours and workplace.

Not anti-geek at all. However, not pro-geek (and not pro-anything else, either).

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

When the best jobs are something everyone can do, you're either in a utopia or dystopia.

Except the evidence is very strong that these "better" jobs are something a significantly larger proportion of the population can do than feel comfortable in such environments.

However, being intolerant of geeks is a pretty strong disqualifier.

As a moderately hard-core geek, I can assure you that a professional environment is not intolerant of geeks. It *does* mean that much of the geek-specific social aspects of work do fall by the wayside. (No division closing to see the Star Wars movie, etc.) As I said, a lot less fun, but one in which no-one is an "outsider" (or as some might claim, everyone is equally outside). Acceptable professional behaviour is generally a subset of geek (or any other cultural) behaviour. Basic etiquette is not rocket science. Advanced etiquette (remarks that re acceptable only in context dependent situations) is always optional.

But it's OK to make geeks feel excluded because....?

If no-one is part of a work-related social community, then no-one should feel excluded. I will say that it can get a little more difficult when non-company organized social activities end up making people feel excluded ("Quake" nights (dating myself here) were fun, but made the few non-participants feel quite left out.)

Labeling the particular set of standards you prefer as "growing up" is just a rhetorical trick

You may be correct. However, it seems like an apt metaphor for the understanding that usually occurs when you grow up and realize that you have social responsibilities that extend far beyond maximizing personal happiness. "It works for me and my friends. Why should I have to worry about the rest of the world?" is an attitude associated with childhood.

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

Indeed, there are multiple axes of inclusiveness and I've certainly seen companies that bind on "geekiness", which can cross religious and racial lines.

But do you consider it moral when a significant segment of the best jobs are essentially exclusive to a small sub-set of humanity? It was one thing when such jobs were an infinitesimal portion of the better jobs out there, but at this point, programming is one of the larger pools of upper middle-class professionals. And for the vast majority of such jobs, being a geek is not a requirement to doing an acceptable job. (We tend to look at the uber-code geeks, but that's not 98% of the programmer population.)

I feel at this point, making any significant group (say more than 1%) feel excluded because of company culture is not particularly acceptable.

The problem with success is that eventually having your company be your clubhouse (and I mean this in a fun, good way) is no longer morally acceptable. It's a bit sad, but that's the cost of growing up to be a responsible member of *all* of society, not just your niche.

Comment Re:Summary insufficient, click through the link. (Score 1) 786

But no, it's pretty obvious that one dongle joke can cause a young lady who had a driving passion to simply drop it, and leave that bin of sexist and harassing male pigs in IT, and go for a job in a clean field like Law or business.

I think you want to look at this a little more statistically.

The *vast* majority of competent programmers are *not* the incredibly obsessive uber-geeks with a driving passion. They are simply people with reasonable amounts of talent and ability that could comprise the 20-80th percentile of programmers. They are people who probably have a wide variety of job choices and for whom job environment is as important as the actual job task.

And yes, seeing the sort of juvenile antics that are utterly inappropriate to any modern workplace *is* going to discourage them. In fact, it *has* discouraged a lot of women from entering the field. And again, sure, there are some who *can* survive that culture, but there's absolutely no reason they should *have* to do so.

So if you want to see the effect of a behaviour, you look at the margins, not the leaders. That's where's there's measurable impact.

In general, it's time to professionalize the field. And yes, that does mean removing the "fun" bonding that is available to a monoculture where you don't have to accommodate the a wide range of expectations of behaviour, interests, taboos, etc.. A professional workplace *is* somewhat colorless, and it's that way for very good reasons. It's called growing up, and that's what the field is slowly progressing towards and needs to progress further.

(And before someone chips in that there's somebody who's *always* offended, professional behaviour is meant to allow the median 98 or 99% to work together. If you're behaviour (or heaven help us, humour) is going to offend more than 1% of the population, it has no place in the workplace.)

Comment Re:One Woman's Experience (Score 1) 786

> You seem to assume I tolerate "staff members unable to handle female techie".

Not at all. I presume that anything you personally witness you'll deal with appropriately.

My comment was your willingness to discount other's experience when it doesn't mesh with your own. That's entirely different, and almost unrelated. It probably has nothing to do with sexism at all. It's the assumption that since I haven't see it, it must not exist.

And just to be clear - there's a world of difference between "acting on uncorroborated experiences" and "publicly claiming that such experience didn't exist". I don't expect the former, I do expect people and especially leaders to refrain from the latter.

> Maybe it's different in Silicon Valley but I see competent female techies all over the place and they all get respect for their abilities.

I haven't seen out and out sexism except among the young, and that rarely. I have seen a lot more subtle sexism that has far more to do with cultural differences between men and women. That's harder, because it's not sexist per se (men who fail to speak up, interrupt each other when they have a real point, don't present as geeks, etc. get ignored as well), but the reality is that it means that women's contribution in general can get discounted. Much more subtle and much harder to address.

> Predominantly it's been women demeaning, harassing, devaluing or otherwise underestimating men.

I'm not going to discount your experience, but I have to say, it *so* doesn't match my own. Maybe I've been lucky enough in the last 35 years to mostly work with mature individuals of both sexes.

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