The martyrdom of St. Googlebro

Bobo says the Google CEO should resign for firing Googlebro because science:

When it comes to the genetic differences between male and female brains, I’d say the mainstream view is that male and female abilities are the same across the vast majority of domains — I.Q., the ability to do math, etc. But there are some ways that male and female brains are, on average, different. There seems to be more connectivity between the hemispheres, on average, in female brains. Prenatal exposure to different levels of androgen does seem to produce different effects throughout the life span.

In his memo, Damore cites a series of studies, making the case, for example, that men tend to be more interested in things and women more interested in people. (Interest is not the same as ability.) Several scientists in the field have backed up his summary of the data. “Despite how it’s been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate,” Debra Soh wrote in The Globe and Mail in Toronto.

Geoffrey Miller, a prominent evolutionary psychologist, wrote in Quillette, “For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate.”

Why does Bobo think he knows anything about what the mainstream view is in any area of science? He has no training as a scientist. Quillete and Globe and Mail are both right-wing publications, not scientific journals of any sort. Soh has a PhD but is not a researcher, she writes for Globe and Mail and for Playboy. Geoffrey Miller is not a prominent researcher — there is no way you can call a 1993 PhD who is now an associate professor at UNM “prominent”. And he’s best known for this:

On June 2, 2013, Miller posted a tweet on Twitter stating: “Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth”.

Update. By the way, I don’t think it matters whether what Googlebro said is true or not. Most job situations are such that if you wrote a 100% accurate memo out about your co-workers you can would (rightfully) be fired immediately. (If you had to write a memo about your co-workers, you’d be much better off lying.) This is a very good point from a former Google employee (h/t commenter Walker):

What you just did was incredibly stupid and harmful. You just put out a manifesto inside the company arguing that some large fraction of your colleagues are at root not good enough to do their jobs, and that they’re only being kept in their jobs because of some political ideas. And worse than simply thinking these things or saying them in private, you’ve said them in a way that’s tried to legitimize this kind of thing across the company, causing other people to get up and say “wait, is that right?”



HR incentives and the Mooch

I’ll stomp on Betty for a moment:

Scharden should be freuded here.

Unless someone is in uniform and is receiving a direct order to serve at the White House, why would anyone work for Trump. The competent have mostly disqualified themselves by signing multiple never-Trump letters during the campaign. The hacks are being forced out by Bannon. And now the boot-lickers see that boot licking is not enough if they are manifestly incompetent.

This is not normal.



WTF but his e-mails edition

I just can’t figure out what is out there that makes releasing this tweet a good idea. Read about 3/4ths of the way down:

Update 1: A respected NatSec attorney’s reaction:



Degrading the public sphere (data edition)

Hannah Recht is one hell of a data visualizer and story teller on healthcare. She is assembling the bare county maps for Bloomberg and then she tweeted the following on Wednesday:

She goes on to explain how and why the government map is fundamentally wrong. It is a combination of people not being familiar with the data and an intent to deceive through malice or laziness.

American public data resources are an incredible asset. They are being degraded as we speak. This is why everyone who could yank a file from November 9-January 20, 2017 yanked files. We feared that there would be massive data degradation. And the solution of archiving public resource files on non-government servers is a reasonable solution to the feared problem of forgetting the past. It does nothing for the ongoing fear that current files will not be collected, corrupted or hideously and deliberately mis-interpreted.

This is just one small example in a domain where I have knowledge and passion. We know it is happening elsewhere such as the EPA and voting rights too. I think the safe assumption is that it is happening everywhere.



He can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart

I have a question about the Bobo column that Tom eviscerated: what’s the purpose of saying there’s nothing there this early in the investigation? There’s no way to guess what exactly Mueller will turn up. All I can think is that Bobo is helping to lay down justification for eventually firing Mueller.

I also wonder what made Bobo decide he had to start carrying water for Trump. The vast majority of mainstream conservative pundits aren’t — Douthat isn’t, Stephens isn’t, no one at WaPo is except Thiessen. My guess is that Bobo wants to be careful to protect the conservative part of his “reasonable conservative” brand. Without it, he’s just an ostensibly straight version of Frank Bruni, wanking about college admissions and what extracurricular activities build character. That’s not going to pay his alimony. With it, he’s “hey there’s a conservative who supports funding for after school music programs”, to put it in totebaggerese.

To benefit from the lowered standards applied to conservative opinion writers, you have to maintain some amount of conservative cred. That means that if Trump wants to drop nuclear bombs, you have to at least support dropping conventional bombs. Otherwise you’re just another pinko.

We’ll probably see more and more conservative pundits work their way around to being anti-anti-Trump. It pays the bills.



Why wingy can’t read

The last two Republican presidents, Trump and W, are among the worst in American history. I’d say that in terms of qualifications and intellect, they are probably the two worst candidates to be nominated by a major party since World War II. There’s no way a Democrat like Trump or W would ever be nominated, let alone elected.

The Republican health care bill is a joke, and it was designed by the man the media holds up as the leading intellectual light of the Republican party. If the Democrats put a bill that bad, they’d be crucified.

How much of what’s going on with the Republican party is the result of the low standards they’ve been held to for the last 25 years (or longer) by establishment media? I don’t have the most generous view of human nature, and I think that if people can skate by with bullshit and shoddy work, they usually will.

I realize the dynamic is somewhat complicated. Democrats became the party of reality-based policy making, so of course most journalists end up favoring Democratic policies. Then they bend over backwards to be nice to Republicans to prove they don’t have teh bias. And then on top of that you have a conservative media that is totally unhinged that Republicans can run to if they get asked tough questions by regular media, and that makes regular media double down on lowering its standards for Republicans.

Is there anyway this turns around anytime soon? I just don’t see it.








When their eloquence escapes you

For some reason, friends of mine have been talking about Sting online recently, and when I talk about his album The Tepid Heart, they can’t tell that I’m kidding! I guess that’s because if someone told you there was a Sting album called The Tepid Heart and you didn’t google it, you’d just assume it was real. Anyway, that’s caused Sting to be on my mind, and now whenever I read a column by Sting’s fellow baby boomer soft-rocker David Brooks, I can hear Fields of Gold playing in the background.

But I’m not sure “tepid” even does this one justice:

As the impeachment investigation proceeds, it’ll be important for us Trump critics to not set our hair on fire every day, to evaluate the evidence as if it were against a president we ourselves voted for. Would we really throw our own candidate out of office for this?

Jesus, this one is easy: “YES”. Let’s suppose that Lanny Davis continued to take money from the Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea without telling anyone while working on Hillary’s campaign. Let’s suppose the Ivory Coast hacked Republicans’ email during the campaign. And then let’s say that Hillary made Lanny Davis her National Security advisor, and that Lanny Davis then had inappropriate phone calls with the Ivory Coast and made a strange foreign policy decision favored by the dictator of Equatorial Guinea. And then let’s suppose that when the FBI investigation of Davis was heating up, Hillary asked Comey to end the investigation, then fired him when he wouldn’t.

Would anyone (other than possibly Peter Daou) be saying Hillary shouldn’t be impeached and removed? I don’t think so.

In fact, I can’t possibly think of a worst example of trying to see things from the “other side’s” point of view. In fact, I think the main difference here is that many liberals, myself included, are ambivalent about impeaching Trump right now (for political reasons), whereas we would not be ambivalent at all about impeaching Hillary under the hypothetical scenario I described above.