Links 1/2/15

You get extra Links today because Lambert is traveling and so his Water Cooler will be a variant from his usual formula.

Mario Cuomo, Governor and Galvanizing Orator, Dies at 82 Bloomberg. Nikki singles out this 1984 speech, which she remembered and located int the New York Review of Books archives: Religious Belief and Public Morality

Penny for her thoughts: Puppy heads home after 2,400-mile U.S. road trip Reuters (EM)

Hens, Unbound New York Times (furzy mouse)

Wolf killed in Utah may have been famed Grand Canyon wanderer Reuters (EM)

The Anti-Tolkien New Yorker

Scientists Alter Crops With Techniques Outside Regulators’ Scope New York Times. Charming. More Frankenfood.

Epidemic of Violence against Health-Care Workers Plagues Hospitals – Scientific American (martha r)

Year of birth significantly changes impact of obesity-associated gene variant. ScienceDaily. This points strongly to environmental factors…


Ebola outbreak: 1st case with 2-year-old boy linked to bats CBC (Chuck L)

Exclusive: CDC to hire lab safety chief after Ebola, bird flu mishaps Reuters. EM: “A mere “chief”? When it comes to governmental deck-chair-rearranging, I’m not sure I can take anything less than “czar” seriously anymore.”

In Foiling Gmail, China Foils Itself New York Times (furzy mouse). Editorial. Read with a fistful of salt.

Say Goodbye to ‘Made in China’ Bloomberg

Singapore Home Prices Post Longest Losing Streak in Decade Bloomberg

Japan birth rates slumps to new low BBC

New Year Brings Eurozone Closer to a Lost Decade Wall Street Journal

Merkel attacks rightwing populism Financial Times

Piketty Refuses France’s Highest Honour, Slams Government RT (Margarita)


Russia To Burn More Of Its Currency Reserves, Barclays Predicts Forbes

Russia takes steps to prop up struggling companies Financial Times

The Oil-Crash Diplomatic Mirage Consortium News (Chuck L). Important.

Russians optimistic for 2015 despite it all Associated Press


U.S. sends five Guantanamo prisoners to Kazakhstan for resettlement Reuters (EM)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Beyond the foreign policy lies: Our compliant media and the truth about American exceptionalism Salon. Verbose. but makes some good observations towards the end.

Google generation US Army cyber warriors may be excused combat training Telegraph (furzy mouse)

North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly US Media Still Regurgitate Government Claims Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

WikiLeaks claims employee’s Google mail, metadata seized by US government [Updated] ars technica. Chuck L: “Another instance of the Obama administration’s support of whistleblowers in progress.”

The Real Constitutional Crisis Is Hidden Atlantic

If the Supreme Court tackles the NSA in 2015, it’ll be one of these five cases ars technica (Nikki)

NSA has VPNs in Vulcan death grip—no, really, that’s what they call it ars technica (furzy mouse)

Democracy and Its Discontents Truthout (furzy mouse). The assumptions in this piece are questionable, verging on blaming the victims.


Health Plan Enrollment Numbers Show Importance of Coming Supreme Court Case New York Times

Affordable Care Act Creates a Trickier Tax Season Wall Street Journal

State prison populations down to lowest point in a decade Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Deadly winter storms batter California, chill New Year’s Eve Reuters (EM)

NYPE Soft Coup

De Blasio and the Men in the N.Y.P.D. Who Turn Their Backs New Yorker

The NYPD Is an Embarrassment to the City of New York Gawker

The NYPD’s ‘Work Stoppage’ Is Surreal Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (Michael C). So why are no protestors taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity? Will the police crack down only on “I can’t breathe/Black Lives Matter” protests? If someone were smart, you’d have a day of coordinated protests of different types, large enough scale to be the type that the city would try to stop (experts can correct me, but if you want media attention too, I think you need 1000 each minimum). So how about 5 protests, say two on police brutality in different locations, Occupy Wall Street seeing how long it can occupy Zucotti Park again, and pick your favorite other two crowd-worthy issues (say anti war and anti surveillance, but I’m just making suggestions). Then the NYPD will look like super idiots if they crack down only on the police-related ones, and the protestors win if they make a point by continuing to stand aside.

Civil Disobedience

Anti-brutality activists aim to ‘evict’ St. Louis police from headquarters Aljazeera (martha r)

Fed Up: Florida Crowd Forms Human Shield to Protect Man Police Try to Arrest for Smoking Marijuana Alternet (Nikki, furzy mouse)

The Economist leaves Janet Yellen off its list of most influential economists Guardian. I try hard not to look for sexism as the main explanation for stuff like this, but it’s hard not to see it as the culprit, particularly since economics manages to be even more sexist than mathematics. But one possible sorta justification is that Yellen has a long history of being a classic two-handed economist.

Problems stack up at US Pacific ports Financial Times

Low Oil Prices Drive US Rig Count Down OilPrice. Quelle surprise!

Housing Market Faces Affordability Pressures Wall Street Journal. As Wolf Richter has been saying for a while…

Class Warfare

On Nerd Entitlement New Statesman. Chuck L points out the comments are good too.

What We Know About Inequality (in 14 Charts) WSJ Economics

Where Will All the Workers Go? Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate

The Story Behind Wage Fixing in Hollywood Real News Network

US homeless pin hopes on ‘Bill of Rights’ to end criminalization in 2015 Aljazeera (Nikki)

Antidote du jour (Robert M). This is NOT Photoshopped! And a day late, but evokes Janus. From Science Daily:

No, this bird didn’t dye its feathers. The half-red, half-white plumage of this northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is the result of gynandromorphy. In other words its sex chromosomes did not segregate properly after fertilisation, so the bird is half-male, half-female. Males are usually bright red all over while females are a more subdued white, but due to the developmental quirk, the bird’s colours are split down the middle.

See article for more details.

split color bird links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. MikeNY

      Bill Moyers’s work most certainly speaks for itself. Bless the man for all he has done, and tried to do. I will miss him greatly, but I wish him much happiness in his retirement.

  1. Jim Haygood

    Punctuality … not a virtue that was cultivated in the Choom Gang, where it’s always 4:20:

    The president is required under the law to submit his budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday of February, which in 2015 falls on the second day of the month.

    Obama has repeatedly missed the deadline during his presidency. Last year’s budget came a month late, in March, while the previous year’s was unveiled two months late in early April.

    The president’s budget proposal for fiscal 2016, which begins in October, is likely to include more spending for the Pentagon than originally expected because of the new battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    Any excuse will do, when you need a plausible rationale for pissing away another hundred million or so.

    How is the war news from the eastern European front, comrades?

  2. fresno dan

    this certainly looks like a valid site. Policing as a revenue generator – all the tinfoil hat wearers are saying even if we are paranoid, that doesn’t mean its not true
    The common reaction to a budget crisis is reducing personnel and cutting services. The focus of this article is to provide police agencies with an alternative to personnel and service reductions. This alternative could help the survival of a city and maintain or expand police service through generating new revenue streams as a proactive approach to meet the fiscal crisis of today and the uncertain future of tomorrow.

    Possible New Revenue Streams

    A group of experts in the fields of city government, business, real estate, and entrepreneurship assembled in April 2008 to identify possible new income streams that could be initiated by law enforcement.2 Their suggested new revenue streams serve as an example of ideas that can be generated in a short period of time. Each idea must be weighed against the feasibility of implementation, profit potential, and appropriateness for law enforcement involvement. Their most prominent recommendations were

    • fees for sex offenders registering in a given jurisdiction,

    • city tow companies,

    • fine increases by 50 percent,

    • pay-per-call policing,

    • vacation house check fees,

    • public hours at police firing range for a fee,

    • police department-run online traffic school for minor traffic infractions,

    • department-based security service including home checks and monitoring of security cameras by police department,

    • a designated business to clean biological crime scenes,

    • state and court fees for all convicted felons returning to the community,

    • allowing agency name to be used for advertisement and branding,

    • triple driving-under-the-influence fines by the court,

    • resident fee similar to a utility tax,

    • tax or fee on all alcohol sold in the city,

    • tax or fee on all ammunition sold in, the city,

    • public safety fees on all new development in the city,

    • 9-1-1 fee per use,

    • police department website with business advertisement for support,

    • selling ride-a-longs to the public, and

    • police department–run firearm safety classes.

    I kinda like to know what all the taxes I’m already paying for buying…..OH! that’s right – making sure the AIG guys got their bonuses, because they were the only ones who knew how to unscrew the big screw up they caused….

    You know, I just had my rear license plate stolen, and the police just gave me a number. They didn’t come out, and they don’t send a written report. That contradicts the CA dmv that says I need a written police report, but we’ll see. And I get to pay for a new license plate and for the stickers that go on the plates…


    1. Banger

      I believe this is the trend–eventually that will move to solicitation of bribes and tolls and move, as I believe it is beginning to do, towards extortion and theft–and why not? If you give these guys that much power without ensuring that they are connected to the communities they serve they become mercenaries and adopt mercenary attitudes.

      For years they have been seizing cash and property willy-nilly when they “suspect” someone of a drug offense. Communities can stop these things–sadly, communities are still disintegrating though the piece about the community who rallied around the man smoking a joint shows that things may change–very positive story!

      1. Ed

        I’m actually amazed that the police in the US don’t solicit bribes, given that this is pretty common elsewhere in the world. The government has been very successful at keeping them disciplined enough so that they extort only for the government.

        Its getting to the point that the police soliciting bribes personally would be an improvement in many cases, since the bribe would be smaller and involve less hassle than what the government would be requiring.

        Incidentally, I would avoid moving tor visiting the first place that instituted the full program described by fresno dan (though opening the shooting ranges to the public is a good idea), since out of towners and people who just moved to the area would be specially targeted for revenue enhancement.

        1. Banger

          Police sometimes do accept bribes but it has to be from powerful people both within gov’t, industry and organized crime–this has been true here forever–I’ve actually seen it–particularly looking the other way in drugs, gambling and prostitution.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          They don’t need to.

          They can take the money they get from shutting down numbers rackets and not turn it all in, ditto drug busts. That’s common. I was hearing about that 15 years ago from a former DA, the police in his city would wait to crack down on illegal gambling until a night when they were sure the pot would be really large. Much bigger numbers and no risk of asking for a bribe from the wrong person.

    2. James

      Here’s a brief John Robb wrote over at Global Guerrillas in 2007, entitled US Inc. I always thought it was clever and prescient, albeit probably a good deal too conservative in its predictions. Don’t know if he’s updated it since. With regard to emergency services in particular:

      Police and fire services are still in the process of market consolidation. Early efforts at
      privatization created a plethora of new firms formed by former police departments and
      other first responders. By 2023, three major providers have finally reached a scale
      sufficient to offer national coverage and are quickly gaining market share due to their
      ability to offer quick response to member needs regardless of location and a very
      comprehensive set of services (from SWAT to hostage negotiation to HAZMAT cleanup).
      However, much of the country is still reliant on local providers and franchises of
      varying quality although this is difficult to determine with accuracy due to widespread
      corporate purchases of police and fire services for their employees.

      Criminal activity, the last of the major problems encountered, is by far the most difficult and
      intractable problem yet encountered by privatization. This category ranges from civil crime to
      acts of terrorism. Civil crime is still a large and growing problem. Estimates of the criminal
      market’s size are difficult to estimate, given the huge percentage of barter transactions in these
      activities. In short, the high rate of crimes against individuals have fallen drastically among those
      covered by police plans over the past decade. The 45% of the US population still outside of these
      service arrangements still suffer significant rates of crime and vigilante action is rife.

  3. gonzomarx

    Prince Andrew named in US lawsuit over underage sex allegations

    (also Alan Dershowitz)
    might explain a lot as to why past investigations never went anywhere or the trouble in finding a chair for the current inquiry

  4. Bridget

    If there is anything to that article about obesity and the environment, whither evolutionary theory?

      1. MikeNY


        Factory farming has got to go. Animals are not automata. How Descartes ever convinced himself that they are is beyond me.

        1. OIFVet

          It should, but it won’t if we as a whole keep finding excuses and rationalizations for behaviors that support factory farming by giving it the consumer dollars. Just think about Lambert’s Walmart post recently. Many of the community expressed the sentiment that it comes down to getting the maximum value for their diminishing number of dollars, that they are too poor to afford to make a political statement. I say we are too poor to afford not to make political statements. Actually, it was my fourth-grade educated paternal grandpa who taught me that by saying “I am too poor to afford to buy cheap things”. I have experienced hard poverty as a new immigrant, and I certainly understand what it’s like to count the pennies and wonder what bill to pay and what bill not to. Yet going along with the program is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. In the long run we lose anyway.

        2. nycTerrierist

          Factory farming must go! Eternal Treblinka (yes, I went there, but Isaac Bashevis
          Singer – and after him, Peter Singer – beat me to it).

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The human equivalent (once again):

            Factory workers vs. free-range workers.

            We know which ones are healthier.

  5. Doug Terpstra

    Paul Pillar’s points about the Diplomatic Mirage of sanctions missed at least four examples beyond Russia that prove his thesis quite conclusively: Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Cuba. Iran has been under on/off sanctions for 35 years, which if it’s not already doing so will almost certainly motivate it to pursue nukes. Iraq suffered and many of its kids killed by 12 years of immoral sanctions, but could only be conquered by war; oh wait…that didn’t quite work either. And North Korea and Cuba haven’t capitulated even after 50 years of soltary confinement. Even so, the obsessive commiephobia of the US seens to compel it to pursue Einstein’s futile, rutted route to insanity.

    We’ll soon see about Cuba. Though it would appear that the US has finally capitulated, I don’t for a picosecond take Obama’s opening at face value. More likely, Cuba has discovered new oil reserves or the feudal lords of war and finance are about to launch a more aggressive assualt. I do hope my cynicism is unfounded, but Obama has never failed it yet.

  6. Antifa

    Three million Iowans, and sixty million egg-laying Iowa hens?

    On the next Iowa straw poll, I want to hear the hens’ choices. They live in the straw. They know it better than anyone. I think they’ll recognize chickenshit as well, the moment they see it.

    1. diptherio

      One of many alternatives. I’d like to see this kind of thing more in the US. Co-op conversions here have generally been to workers, but there’s no reason why a business can’t be converted to a multi-stakeholder community co-op as well.

  7. Vatch

    Thanks for the unusual antidote.

    For what it’s worth, all of the female cardinals that I have seen have been tan, not white.

    1. gynandromorph

      I remember reading a scientific article some years ago as part of a genetics course that discussed another half male-half female bird in the wild. The paper was about looking at how the two differently gendered halves of this bird’s brain changed in the course of learning birdsong. It struck me at the time that a mutation like this must be incredibly rare, even seeing one other instance of it makes me wonder if perhaps this condition is somewhat more common in birds.

  8. Banger

    I can “smell” major change in the air–perhaps something along the lines of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall for us is the media narrative that sophisticated propaganda system that is now in the hands of the worst elements of our civilization. Three stories stand out for me here. The first is a story a couple of days ago by Pamela Constable about her recent visit to Kabul which reflected the common understanding that the U.S. project for Afghanistan is finished. This was an “atmospheric” piece that the mainstream allows, often, to be published in lieu of real reporting which it no longer does.

    And this goes back to the excellent piece in Salon listed above by Patrick L. Smith which, yes, is verbose but it is verbose to a good end. I believe that Smith’s wordiness is more about his struggle and his journey with all this than a desire to obfuscate. People in the media tend to know each other and interact a lot and I’m sure his critique reflects his conversations with the courtiers who pretend to be journalists of his aquaintance. One of the great virtues of Smith’s piece is the mention of Herbert Marcuse, a major influence in my life who now that he mentioned him I may revisit his works, he has this to say of Marcuse’s insights:

    Among his fundamental arguments was that the kind of change we must achieve now requires nothing short of a new consciousness, not a lot of tinkering at the margins, and I can find nothing to counter the theme.

    I believe we are seeing that shift occurring underneath the surface. In addition, I have to add the piece by Greenwald as worth reading–he examines, on the surface, the ubiquitous reporting of blatant gov’t propaganda on North Korean involvement in the Sony hacking scandal based on “sources” and I know, as a very long-term observer of the media, that these sources are always in the intel community mainly CIA which regards U.S. citizens as the primary “enemy” they must tame.

    The sad part is that all this propaganda works for most of the public–but the reason I say we are in a Berlin Wall moment is that this stuff no longer works for most intelligent people and I believe that circle is expanding very rapidly in the comment sections of major media (where it is not censored–and much of it is) and on social media you can see that increasing numbers of the non-ruling elite with some modicum of education (still a minority of the U.S. population) are reacting with skepticism on the official media narrative and this will probably reach a tipping point sometime this year and will deeply effect the next Presidential election. You cannot completely lose the non-apparatchik educated class and hope to rule effectively.

    1. tawal

      For the worlds sake I sure hope you are right! I believe we will likely have to suffer at least four or five more years.

    2. ambrit

      As the Iraq “reconstruction” showed all too clearly, if the Elites can’t rule well, they’ll settle for un-well. Imagine the POTUS ruling select areas of the country with an iron hand and letting his or her State Security Aparat kick a– everywhere else. Diem in Saigon comes to mind, or any State governor today.
      Any time one makes the diminishing returns argument to an elite, the usual retort is that all is well as long as there is any return at all. Then, it’s someone elses’ problem.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Russia…currency reserves.

    In a currency conflict, all nations are on the defensive, except the empire. And the empire can print as much as it wants.

    I don’t see how Russia can win.

    1. Jackrabbit

      China has aleady announced that they would provide currency swaps. China is saving $ on its oil purchases, and Russia needs $.

      H O P

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Scientists alter crops.

    I wonder if scientists can show whether a cat knows, or not, the gender of its human house-servant.

    1. Banger

      I think our cat knows–even though our cat is male (and deaf) he tries to hump my wife’s arm but not mine and we’re both affectionate.

  11. optimader

    I’ll miss Bill Moyer.
    For many years his has been the only current events programming I purposefully set aside time to watch.

    Maybe he can do some charity work by teaching Charlie Rose how to interview. All those guests, so little insight. Moyer’s has always understood that being insightful and polite at the same time are not mutually exclusive.

    I hope he intends on working the occasional documentary/special presentation.. Such a talented well intentioned guy, it’s hard to imagine his entire retirement “schedule” will preclude that.

    1. James Levy

      A lifetime of watching the Charlie Rose’s of this world prosper has led to a true crisis of understanding in my life. I have always fought against the idea that truth and knowledge were social constructs, as my experience of hearing my dad’s stories about WWII and learning about it up to the point of earning a Ph.D. in its history convinced me that reality was way more powerful than any human construct. Hiroshima and the Holocaust are just way too real to be nothing more than social constructs. But with my 50th birthday only a few days off I am nagged by doubts. More and more the things I read and hear strike me as mystifications and inventions, fed to us by an army of smug, self-assured Charlie Roses. I’ve seen our collective memory distorted, flensed, and reconfigured in my own lifetime. Although I continue to believe that things can be known, I’m no longer positive that it actually matters, as the truth about what has happened and is happening seems to have so little compulsory power. It’s all quite disturbing.

      1. tawal

        Dear Mr. Levy, You may be disturbed but please don’t be disheartened. You have a mind and voice that is like a Steppin’ Razor. In the world of people, there is truth.
        Never give up the fight for its explication.
        Respect, tawal

  12. Brooklin Bridge

    Obama has officially imposed sanctions on N. Korea. Who needs proof when you’ve got a funny name?

  13. Lisa FOS

    Loved the “On Nerd Entitlement ” article and comments (and Scott Aaronson’s post). Oh my, it is so sad. As ex-male nerd I can remember my own experiences well.

    Reading some of the male commentators go through twisted (and some quite creative) ‘blame the woman’ ‘logic’ is also quite sad. Some seem to think that if Dworkin had never existed then they would have a decent sex life.

    There, with some notable exceptions, is little real self reflection, except self pity and anger. So many of them just can’t understand that they are, in reality, just as sexist as the worst (in US terms) ‘jocks’. Yep, sadly for female nerds, a heck of a lot of male nerds don’t like intelligent women either. Their real complaint is that the ‘conventionally’ attractive female (CAF) is not interested in them. It is a very sad fact that a lot of nerds want the exact same women as the ‘jocks’.

    Over and over again we hear that ‘all’ women are chasing a small number of ‘alpha males’ and the other males get ignored. This is piffle (as spending some time watching real people interact in a pub would tell you). In fact it is mostly the other way around. A large number of males (including nerds) are chasing a small number of ‘conventionally’ attractive women and the other women don’t get a look in (well until the alcohol level gets high enough).

    Every smart female knows how to turn off most males in seconds .. say something intelligent. Some nerds are actually worse than the ‘jocks’ over this. Apart from normal male prejudice, they don’t want any competition for their vaunted ‘intelligence’, they just want an appendage (and sex).

    Fortunately, though we don’t hear much from them (because they are all pretty happy), there are a lot of smart males who (though they might be superficially attracted to the CAF) actually like to spend time with someone they can have a decent conversation with. They want a relationship where they can work as a partnership together which requires some meeting of the minds. Plus they are confident enough in themselves not to be scared of a female with a brain, in fact they prefer them.

    But those self pitying and in some cases angry nerds, complaining all the time about why the super model doesn’t want them, all while completely ignoring the other females who are desperately signalling their interest in them….. well I have don’t have too much sympathy for them.

    Scott’s story is quite sad, but at the same time he could have changed it if he had been a bit more self reflective and self confident (obviously a sufferer from excessive shyness, which inflicts many females too). He was so scared of ‘screwing up’ with females that he was paralysed and unable to just simply relate to them as persons. In other words he was fixated on their ‘femaleness’, rather than their ‘personness’. If he could just have relaxed a bit in those younger days, then he might have noticed the (almost certain) female who was desperately signalling her interest in him, who equally went away feeling bad. Instead of reading and over analysing, spending some time in social situations actually watching others interrelate and learning from that would have done him a power of good. A recommendation I make to all others of this type I might add, forget the books, the usually very dodgy ‘social research’ and so on, go out and watch and learn in the real world.

    Oh and for the male nerds, watch for the nerdy girl, who if you actually just look at for 5 secs is actually pretty cute, is interesting and fun to be with, has a similar sense of (often bent) humour…she’s a keeper. Leave the boring CAFs to the equally boring CAMs.

    1. cwaltz

      It really is sad that looks play such an important part of the whole mating process when the reality is our appearance can and will change as we age. What men and women should be concentrating on is character…..that overall, is more important than nice boobs and a booty(or in a girls case nice pecs, abs and a butt.) It’d solve a whole lot of problems if people considered “personness” and looked at the complete person instead of focusing on superficial stuff like how a person does or doesn’t fill out their outfit.

    2. jrs

      “Instead of reading and over analysing, spending some time in social situations actually watching others interrelate and learning from that would have done him a power of good.”

      Yea but social phobia would have tended to make that not impossible of course, but extremely unlikely. It’s pretty self-reinforcing, it’s why it’s called a phobia. Why look under the streetlight? Why read about social situations instead of entering them?

      By the way what age do you need to be for real self-reflection? I’d put 30 as the absolute MINIMUM. At 20 something you’re just too reactive.

  14. Demeter

    Even the most hopeful of these articles drives me to despair.
    When the best one can hope is that Russia and China manage to destroy the Western economy BEFORE the nukes fly, it’s going to be a rough year.

  15. Lisa FOS

    Demeter sadly a lot of truth in that statement. I’ve been arguing for years that we are on the same trajectory that got us in to the very near misses of ’62 and ’83. In many ways it is worse now because the neo-cons have total dominance in the foreign policy sphere in the US, there seems to be voice of reason within the beltway.

  16. Lisa FOS

    jrs agree about the total social phobic, but a lot of realtively shy and introverted people are not that extreme. And, especially in an university envirnment, it is not hard to get into various social scenes and meet people. School tends to be a bit harder until the later ages at least, but lots of things still go on. Not that hard to find a social scene where there are reasonable numbers of both sexes.

    Scott Aaronson’s post both fascinated and irritated me simultaneously. All that time reading various literature about females and feminism, when, as little bit of observation and common sense would make clear, he was surrounded by many males who found talking to females quite easy and the females really enjoyed it. The ‘common sense’, empirical, approach would be to watch them and see how they do it. Then copy them, or befriend a male like that (which is basically what I did when I was 16/17) and just get used to talking with females alongside with him (good advice for shy females too). Over time confidence builds up and you learn to do it by yourself.

    As Laurie Penny’s article makes clear, for every male desperate for a root and going ‘woe is me’, there is a female doing the exact same thing. Bit tragic when they can’t hook up.

    But, as she alluded to and a lot of the comments made very clear, there is a really nasty and very sexist element in modern ‘nerd’ culture (not all fortunately). A bizarre sense of ‘entitlement’ which when thwarted sometimes turns into anger against females (sometimes it also turns even more tragically into suicide and/or self harm).

    So something is wrong, there are complex cultural issues here and a tragic breakdown in male/female communcations and expectations. You’d think the smarter ‘nerd’ males and females would find it the easiest to hook up of all the main groups.

    1. jrs

      I didn’t read the original Aaronson post, it’s probably horribly sexist and stereotyped (assuming all women want the jocks and so on. But assuming all males nerds want CAF probably is a bit as well). I just found the Penny reply lacking in empathy. I’m not in ANY of those demographics, but I did drop out of a college due to social phobia, I couldn’t even take living away from home and with strangers at the time. The mathbabe reply is better.

      I also wonder how common the socially structured gender discrimination is. At the heights of silicon valley or in MIT I guess, but in a code monkey grinding out another line of business code for big boring corp, I’m not so sure. I wonder if it really trickles down all that much.

      People who project their personal wounds on to politics (sexism is ok because my early life was awful) well all there is to say is that direction supports the destruction of the world. Ok the major destruction may be mostly the 1%s doing, but that is the stuff that provides support for it beyond the 1%. It’s like: “woohoo it’s feeling fest about all my old cr@p, here’s my uncensored hate and resentment! Politics is about the reactivation of my old wounds!”. Yea it’s easy and feels cathartic. But, all such a politics can do is continue h3ll on earth (and it can’t even help with the wounds actually!). No sane politics is about that. But the wounds are often very real nontheless and very deep.

  17. Tom Denman

    I listened to Mario Cuomo’s keynote address to the 1984 Democratic National Convention Thursday night and was struck by his straight talk about inequality and the forceful case he made for government intervention. It’s hard to imagine the Democratic Party allowing a keynote speaker to address these issues so directly at a convention in our time. Certainly Cuomo’s speech stands in stark contrast to Mr. Obama’s vapid “red state-blue state” keynote in 2004.

    Though the elder Cuomo’s deeds as governor did not always match his aspirations, he nonetheless makes the crew who run the Democratic Party in Washington today look like the mental midgets and moral sloths they are.

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