Holding (Review)

Unlike apparently everyone else on the internet, I’d never heard of Graham Norton before I picked up Holding. Apparently he’s some sort of comedian, and not really the type you would expect to write a small-town cozy. But Holding is a small-town cozy if ever there was one, and the incongruity of the genre and…

Protesting Too Much

Ellen Pao lost her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins. I take what I understand to be the majority view on that: she successfully demonstrated to me – and to most outside observers – that there was a bit of a sexist culture at Kleiner Perkins, but she failed to meet the legal standard of proof (that…

If We’re Being Honest

The way we all knew early on that Black Lives Matter was a crock was that responding with "All Lives Matter" got you labeled racist. If they’d started with "insensitive," they might have had a point. But they started with "racist." When you pointed out that it’s orwellian to call something its opposite, they’d say…

He Who Bans Nazis

There’s a lot that could be said about the Charlottesville tragedy1. The thing that strikes me the most is that people seem to have forgotten any sense of proportionality. For example, several people in my social media circles posted this infographic, purporting to sketch an argument from Karl Popper2 that tolerant societies shouldn’t tolerate the…

Blut und Boden for Me, not for Thee

The march by white nationalists in Charlottesville has been leading to a lot of unintentional hillarity. There’s the obvious – the way all my friends on Facebook who were cheering when Richard Spencer got suckerpunched are suddenly shocked, SHOCKED! to find anyone using violence at a protest. But there’s also this, which is even funnier…

A Measured, but Failed, Response to Damore

The opposing replies to James Damore’s memo have by and large been pretty terrible. They strawman, they make sweeping and inaccrate claims about the state of the science, they show little engagement with the content of the memo, and they’re negative and emotional to boot. Computer Science professor Cynthia Lee wants to do better. She…

A Dubious Claim

My vote for Best Unintentionally Stupid Sentence of the Day goes to Jeannie Suk Gersen writing in the New Yorker, who says: Because our legal doctrine prohibits racial quotas, it is currently impossible to have an honest discussion of these questions. Please, enlighten me. Why would you need a racial quota to have an honest…

What the Standards are and How We Know

Google employee James Damore was fired three days ago for posting a memo on an internal listserv suggesting that entirely scientifically supported generalizations about sex-based cognitive differences might play enough of a role in explaining why Google doesn’t currently have a gender-balanced workforce that it should rethink some of its diversity initiatives. Predictably, the memo…

Comrade Detective (Review)

Comrade Detective seems likely to finish 2017 at the top of my (purely hypothetical) Best of 2017 list, but just what is it? Not what it presents itself as, that’s fer shure. It frames itself (literally – there are cut-in scenes of the producers making these claims) as a recently- (and at great effort and…