Tuesday, June 27, 2017

- Taking Gender Fluidity Abroad

It's apropos of nothing, but the Obama girls are in Bali having a grand old time with mom and dad. I've spent several weeks in Bali and learned a little about the people and traditions. And I did notice one small detail about the Obama girls.

In Bali, the Sarong is traditional wear for both men and women, but men tie them differently. In order to preserve modesty, women tie their knot on the side, accentuating their curves and placing a flat portion of the garment in front, while men tie their knot in the center with an elaborate and descending fold, in order to obscure their guy parts. Here are the Obama girls:

This doesn't mean that the less attractive Obama girl is a dude, she obviously isn't. But in this age of gender fluidity, largely heralded in to American culture by her dad, it seems to me to be very colonialist for the young miss Obama to impose this standard on the Balinese people.

Then again, who gives a fat F*** about the Obamas anymore?

Monday, June 26, 2017

- "Gay" Is Almost Mandatory

Thanks to 'Pride' month, this past weekend was a big one in Greenwich Village, culminating in the big pride parade yesterday. With the ascendancy of the LGBTQ (?) movement as our latest cultural masters, it's actually made the parade a bit more sedate and mainstream. The spectators however seem as creative as ever. I only found 1 used hypodermic needle in the gutter when I took the dog for a walk this morning (though my daughter and I found three on the Subway tracks yesterday), so I think it's safe to say that being Gay in America is much less stigmatized.

That discarded needle in my neighborhood is kind of a big deal. My area of the village, just north of Washington Square around University place, is very well off - kind of like Beverly Hills. It's full of old Jews, at least one Baldwin brother, and a number of lesser known actors and actresses. The sidewalks are clean, the police are many, and Medical waste is not the kind of thing you see every day here. Clearly it's a byproduct of the crowds drawn for the parade.

In the Alt-Universe I inhabit, the joke is that we're gonna wait to be gay until it becomes mandatory. Well thanks to a link I found in a Takimag piece, that seems to be one step closer.

Gay men are no longer allowed to have a racial preference.

I personally think who you sleep with is up to the individual and is one of those things that won't change no matter how many protests you hold. But in the end changing who people choose to sleep with is the reason for the 'social constructionist' movement and Feminism in the first place, so I commend them for being so honest about it.

And it's clearly just a matter of time before you're no longer allowed to be straight.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

- A Word On College

Over the last 20 years I’ve hired a lot of recent college grads. Some were really spectacular, and others, not so much. And speaking from the perspective of my role as a hiring decision maker in the private sector - one who has spent his career at some of the most elite and highly selective institutions in the country (all of them much more exclusive and far harder to get into than Harvard), I have something important to say for those of you who are looking to obtain employment after school. By far the most important thing I have to say is this:

Learning about the myriad ways that cis-gendered white males have historically used the patriarchy to oppress, women, minorities, LGBTQ people, and ‘people of color’ simply isn’t that useful in the real world.

Toward that end I can’t give you precise percentages, but many of your college courses are a sham. They are nothing but platforms for your instructors to have a good time imparting their personal political beliefs to you, and will grade you on the degree to which you agree with them at the end of the course. That’s a shame, especially for you who may be paying a lot of money to receive this ‘instruction’. But it’s a fact.

Which courses? It’s hard to say. And it may vary from institution to institution. But certainly anything that casts an otherwise serious topic in a ‘Feminist’, ‘deconstructionist’, ‘post-modernist’, ‘post-colonial’ or ‘critical thinking’ light applies. On those classes you have wasted both your money and your time. Take too many of them, or heaven forbid, choose one of them as your major, and you have sent a signal to potential employers, that you are not to be taken seriously as a job applicant under any circumstances. You announce that your ideas are not your own, and you have no interest in, or are in fact capable of, thinking for yourself.

But before I get too deeply into that, let’s talk about the college you choose.

The Ivy League opens doors, but for people without family connections, it doesn’t keep them open. A degree from Harvard will get you an interview absolutely anywhere, but the Ivy League has been producing over-entitled candidates for long enough that an interview is all it buys you. This isn’t just my personal view. A great many other top tier employers share it. You need to be able to demonstrate in interview that you were at a top tier institution for sound reasons of aptitude and character. And with what’s happened in the last decade in US Academia, that’s going to be harder than it looks.

With the possible exception of the Princeton Physics department, I would take a candidate from the next tier of schools much more seriously out of the box than almost any Ivy League Candidate. MIT, Cal-Tech, Stanford, and the best of the big State schools would always be my first choice. Those applicants don’t expect the world to be handed to them, and are generally more humble than the Ivy Leaguers. I personally have also had great luck hiring from more conservative ‘Catholic’ institutions, like Seton Hall and Notre Dame. Though others mileage may vary.

Those students all seem to learn humility. And there is a lot to be said for humility because, to quote the film Good Will hunting, when you graduate college “you’ve dropped 150K on an education you could’ve gotten on $1.50 in late charges at the public library’. If your education has been about anything but the absolute basics, then you really know less think you think you do. College is really only a proving ground; an elaborate and expensive sorting mechanism. At it’s best it only gives you the credibility to begin your ‘real’ education.

And that’s what it’s about – like so many other things. It’s about credibility. A serious degree from a good institution buys you credibility. It proves you can take on a big and enduring set of tasks and see them through to fruition. Nothing else. It may teach you some basics skills as well, or familiarize you with the things underlying some businesses. But for the most part it teaches you nothing useful about the industry you’ll be working in. And that doesn’t change no matter which school you go to.

The playing field for University selection levels out very quickly just below the Ivy League regardless of what the institutions will tell you about themselves. I’d rather have a candidate with a good attitude, and a sharp mind from Kansas State or Texas A&M than an average candidate from Duke or Georgetown, even though the latter are slightly more prestigious. But the difference can be made up in course selection. So let’s get back to that.

If you take serious courses that teach serious things, and that teach the basics of the real world, you will be favored over those that don’t. Accounting is a good one. Finance is a good one. They are useful for any industry. English composition is better than Art History. Stem course are better than all of the above. Give me someone who knows the undergraduate basics of Statistics and Probability and I can teach them how to do basic data science (Which you cannot learn correctly in any undergraduate program, no matter what they tell you.) And there is no field in 21st century America more important than that one.

But other applied science course will help too, as will any course of study where math is applied to a non-mathematics discipline. Geologists are in very high demand these days, particularly those who know their way around the data world. At the moment I’m looking to hire someone to work in computational linguistics, which is a blend of science, math, and language, with a window on psychology. (Though I’m looking for a senior candidate with a PHD or graduate level knowledge, so don’t get too worked up about this specific job.)

And here’s a fact that must be obvious to you, especially given the format of this missive. A basic understanding of how computers work is essential in any 21st century job. Any programming course teaches you to think in ways that are useful. Garbage in, garbage out, isn’t just a phrase for programmers, it’s a microcosm of this entire University discussion. Programming teaches you about logic, causality, and the basics of decision-making. All of those are useful skills that too few college graduates can demonstrate these days.

And here’s a word about Graduate school. A Masters Degree in ‘Feminist’ anything condemns you to a life of asking people if they would like fries with their order, or sweetener in their tea. It is evidence that you are unable to think clearly about anything, including yourself. An ‘ethnic studies’ degree may get you a soul sucking job in the booming racial grievance business, professionally ginning up resentment among minorities. But not so for women’s studies because women are actually a majority, and aren’t actually oppressed by anyone except ‘Feminist Theory’ instructors.

If you want to be taken seriously as a candidate, focus on the classics. A popular ‘hip’ major will make you look unserious to a future employer. Remember that the job market is all about supply and demand. And if a major ‘sounds cool’ then lots of unserious people will choose it.

You are better off as a job applicant, being in the middle percentile in Statistics major at Alabama State, than the top 10% of your class in ‘Earth and Environmental Sciences’ or ‘Psychology’ at American University. ‘Sustainability’ isn’t really a thing apart from ‘sustainability policy’, and that’s only true because government is far too involved in our lives. Take away the massive government subsidies it currently enjoys, and the whole ‘industry’ will blow away on the wind. Yes, it’s booming today. But when the political pendulum swings back (as it inevitably will – one way or another) the economics of that entire industry stops working. In that sense it’s an extension of government spending. And that pier is shorter now than it used to be.

With all this said, I work with numbers so I am probably placing too much emphasis on them. There are areas where you can work with people and words instead of math and things. But learning to write is more useful than learning to read. Composition is a more useful tool than knowledge of medieval literature. Writing helps you think clearly (it certainly does for me.) And thinking clearly is an asset whatever your choice for work. No one loves Shakespeare more than me, but I was reading Hamlet in the third grade. Surely a college undergrad can do better than that.

My brother has a really great way of stating the metric which I think encapsulates what college should be, but all too often isn’t. What you should be doing in college is taking hard course. Learning difficult things. If a course is easy for you, you’re being done a disservice, and paying a lot of money for it.

College should be a lot of things. And I think it can be. But you’ll only be there for 4 years, and you’ll live the rest of your life with the consequences of those decisions. Choose what you love, but think about your future too. How college looks in the rearview mirror will be very different than how you see it now. And there are many ways to have an interesting, meaningful and happy life in any industry. All businesses involve dealing with people. All trade involves talk. You don’t have to be a math guy to make a good living. And you don’t have to work and an NGO to ‘make a difference’.

Also... profit isn’t evil. Apple and Microsoft are both wildly profitable, but have done more to improve the lives of the poor than all the NGO’s that have ever existed. And they aren’t hiring any “Feminist Art History” majors at Apple.

And here is one final thing that almost no one will tell you.

I went to a second rate State school, and still ended up in one of the most prestigious and high paying jobs, at the most prestigious institutions, in one of the most prestigious industries in the whole world. When people draw a line between rich and poor they say the “New York Hedge Fund Manager” at one end, and the “Kalahari bushman” at the other.

I was the former. And it can be done, no matter where you go to school or what you study. So long as you manage to resist "Intersectional Indoctrination", the decision you make about College will not make anything impossible for you. But it was hard for me. Almost unspeakably hard. I had to do several 'impossible' things to make it happen, and I was forced to make real and powerful enemies in the process. Enemies who did me real financial harm, and effected my future in big ways. But it doesn't have to be that way for you. Everyone can be on your side. And you can make that happen right now, with the decisions you make today.

Hard choices now will make the things you want to do later in life, much, much easier. There is something to be said for taking a longer term view. That isn't 'giving up on your dreams'. It's opening the doors to them. Your dreams can be real. They just have to involve looking at the real world.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

- Founder's Wisdom

This story is all rumon an innuendo which in Washington means F*** all. But it's fun to think about:

The Supreme Court enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus with action expected on the Trump administration's travel ban and a decision due in a separation of church and state case that arises from a Missouri church playground.

The biggest news of all, though, would be if Justice Anthony Kennedy were to use the court's last public session on Monday to announce his retirement.

Imagine that! It would mean that America would be one geriatric chest cold away from conservative domination of the courts for as long a 2 generations. (The betting odds are that Justice Ginsberg isn't as spry as she used to be.)

Just goes to show you. At the moment when the very fabric of our culture is being shaken to the core by the flat earthers who would destroy it, the founder's vision puts up a major roadblock to their ambitions.

That, of course, and Trump.

- Isn't It Funny....

That a piece run in the MSM that's clearly designed to rally horror and disgust of the plebs, is actually the exact thing that makes 4/5ths of the country cheer:

Number of refugees admitted to U.S. drops by almost half

They really don't understand us at all.

Friday, June 23, 2017

- Personality and Political Affiliation

I'm about 30 hours total into Jordan Peterson's impressively prolific youtube contributions. And though I find his connections deeply logical and reasonable, as well as his conclusions for reconciling psychology, philosophy, evolutionary biology, and religion, the thing I'm most impressed with for explicit revelation is his area of direct expertise.

For instance, one thing I've always known but have never heard verbalized so clearly, is that the two big personality categorical differences between liberals and conservatives are in the areas of orderliness, and conscientiousness. Conservatives tend to be orderly, liberals not so much. Conservatives tend to be conscientious, liberals, REALLY not so much. This is useful in understanding relative success since the combination of IQ and conscientiousness are the greatest predictors of lifetime success, and it explains why the boss is always conservative.

Well with that thought in mind I'd like to suggest some changes to our political processes that I think will help things along, particularly for centrist Democrats, the first of which I ripped off directly from Dr. Peterson.

1. All conservative college campus speakers should be scheduled to speak before 11:00 AM. The protesters won't be able to get up in time, and the event will come off without a hitch. A corollary to this is to hold all non elective courses between the hours of 4:00 AM and 10:00, no other times. The earliest hours should be reserved for Women's and Ethnic studies, and the most corrupted of the Social Sciences Education, and Humanities, or those course from other topics which are applying a social justice perspective.

2. For the purpose of easing traffic congestion, all voting from national to local, should be held between 4:00AM and 12:00AM, no exceptions.

3. Any member of congress who misses three consecutive votes without medical emergency, is subject to an immediate special election.

4. All federal employee work hours which don't concern direct interaction with the public, are now shifted from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, to 4:00 to 12:00 noon. Three consecutive late arrivals are grounds for immediate dismissal without appeal.

5. Members of congress can meet with registered professional lobbyists, only between the hours of 4:00 AM and 6:00AM. Any deviation will result in loss of registration. Lobbying without registration is now a Felony which involves a $500,000 fine and 3 years in jail, per offense.

Since none of these issues involves any mention of Race, Sex, gender fluidity or any other bias, they all seem perfectly fair to me. And since we know there are no biological differences between anyone, I don't see any reason for complaint - even from the SJW's who complain about everything. One rule, to rule them all. (grin)

- Zuckerberg As Social Engineer

“Facebook sucks”, is one of the many rallying cries of our day. The degraded narcissistic culture and the endless objectified whining of the social justice warriors (who even liberals seem to have had enough of), are both common complaints. But at the risk of being called a Zuckerberg fanboy, if you think it sucks, it’s only because you don’t understand it. I have the same cultural complaints about it that you probably do. But I don’t blame Facebook for it, and I think we should ‘give the devil his due’.

I’m not a Facebook user myself, at least not personally. But out of necessity I’ve had to learn about it from a technical perspective. And from that standpoint it’s a work of elegant brilliance. It's what I would call a semi-open system. And reminds me of a scene from the brilliant hunting movie “The Ghost and The Darkness”.

In that movie, a work gang building a railroad bridge in Africa for the British, is being attacked nightly by 2 lions who have developed a taste for humans. So they build a wall around their encampment made of thick and nasty looking African thorns. The lions could certainly push, slash and hack their way through the thorns if they really wanted to. But since they have left a portion of the fence open - the portion where two hunters are perched in trees nightly – they know the lions won’t bother.

Facebook is exactly the same.

You could, if you really wanted to, write a program to go to any users page on Facebook, read the combination of CSS and JSON data users see as the Facebook interface, and obtain all their public information. Their likes, their friends, and a variety of other statistics. It would the equivalent of the lion, slashing and hacking through the thorns. But if you do that you run the risk of any change Facebook makes disrupting your code. So it’s no way to do it, if you want it done reliably. Better would be to go through the Facebook API, their official access point for program access, which is remarkably easy to use.

But when you do, there are hunters in the trees.

To access user information through the API, there are a series of structural firewalls that you need to get permission to see beyond. Each of those permissions must be gotten from the user involved, if you want to see what’s what, and even when you do there are FB imposed speed limits. It’s an easy thing to do. Facebook even has videos on youtube that explain exactly how to do it. They make it as simple for you as it possibly can be. But then they also know precisely what you’re up to and have a variety of statistics to monitor you, and keep you from mayhem or mischief.

This is a very simplified description of course, but it will do the trick for the non-technical. And take my word for it, the elegance of this solution goes much deeper than I’m describing here. It’s so lovely that I’m compelled to go to the trouble of writing this piece about it. I quite literally can’t think of any other technical innovation in recent years that matches its poetry. Twitter, by technical comparison, is a dumpster fire that’s constantly plagued by fraud and abuse.

So. I’ve given credit where it’s due I think. Now let’s talk about Zuckerberg.

He’s a smart kid, of that I have no doubt. But smart doesn’t make you noble. Smart doesn’t give you character. IkaIka had a piece up a few weeks ago describing him as an aspiring Super Villain, and in the comment section I said that my biggest worry where he’s concerned is that he’s never had a failure. He went from Harvard, to CEO and Billionaire, without so much as even a minor setback. His biggest failure in life to date has been that some girl from BU dumped him for being an annoying little bitch.

I just don’t see how that could possibly build the kind of character we need from our cultural leaders.

As women measure men, Zuckerberg is a king. He’s one of the richest men alive, and has all but limitless power of self determination. He can ignore law, ignore custom and ignore tradition. There are so few constraints on him that he’s got more in common with Michael Jackson than the ‘man on the street’. If he decided to populate his Bay area mansion with Giraffes and Ferris wheels, all the appropriate zoning regulations and land use restrictions would be tossed out the window faster than you can say “As you wish Master!” But we all know how that turned out for Michael Jackson.

There is a cultural concern for me too. It’s no doubt that Zuck’s views are far to the left of the American center, and he’s as unlikely to see that as the next liberal. He’s a Jewish kid from a prosperous family on Long Island, who attended Harvard, and only dropped out to become one of the richest men alive. It’s very easy to imagine him strutting around in his ‘this is what a Feminist looks like’ T shirt.

Which is to say that as men judge men, he’s hardly an alpha male. He’s a low beta, with a mammoth checkbook. Women would never admit this, as is their way, but in all likelihood he could get any woman alive to move into his mansion with he and his wife, and build a harem of supermodels. But no man would ever want to be in a Foxhole with him. Except for Lena Dunham, he would probably be the very last human chosen for a task like that.

And he clearly has acquired no wisdom in his meteoric rise to the top. According to him, Facebook now has a new mission:

“For 10 years, we focused on doing everything around connecting people with their friends and family,” Zuckerberg said. “Now I think that there is a whole lot of similar work to be done around communities: Meeting new people, getting exposed to new perspectives, making it so that the communities that you join online can translate to the physical world, too.”

This is silly and obviously transparent code-speech for increased polarization - a polarization controlled by Zuck. He wants to build communities around their biases. This he believes, will give him power to influence the minds of the plebs, and he’s probably right. But I find it very difficult to believe this will be done without imposing a few of Zucks own personal biases as well.

There are better ways to do what he intends, and I’m trying to do one of them. Give me a couple of years. In the meantime, be wary of the new Facebook mission and the new Facebook 'groups'. Because Mark Zuckerberg may have had one transcendently beautiful technical idea, but social engineering is a little harder than I think he imagines it to be.

And he isn't the only smart guy in America.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

- Jordan Peterson Explains National Review

I can't stand long introductions to things like this. I'd recommend starting at the 17:50 mark or so. With that said, Jordan Peterson is explaining what happened to National Review, and the old right in general.

- Why I Read Steve Sailer

I'm not a politico, so I'm not much interested in election mathematics. But tidbits like this interesting little hate-fact are why I ALWAYS read Steve Sailer's Blog at Unz:

I can explain why The Establishment (e.g., the Democratic Party, the media, the Soros-like NGOs, etc.) aren’t pushing Black Lives Matter hard any more in one word, a word not mentioned in this article: Dallas.

BLM followers murdering all those cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge got Donald Trump elected president.

Besides alienating non-blacks by unleashing a huge upsurge in violence in black cities, both riots and black on black homicides, BLM didn’t even boost black turnout.

You can get more useful watercooler 'shut your idiot mouth' points to use against liberals in 10 minutes on Steve's site, than you can from 3 months of reading Fox News and watching Tucker Carlson.

And it feels good to know that facts still matter someplace. Yes, in this case I'm calling attention to Steve's opinion. but I've learned that what usually separates the two is usually just ex-post verification.