“Mozilla’s anti-gay CEO and conservative First Amendment hypocrisy”

I don’t see defenders of Eich also criticizing the Boy Scouts for excluding gay men because the organization disagrees with their conduct and beliefs.

via Slate

Punishing someone for how they behave is a necessary part of establishing and/or maintaining a healthy culture…but since when is participating in legitimate, legal election activity a punishment-worthy offense?

I think that should be true no matter which way the person is voting (or donating).

If it’s on the ballot, then one has the right to vote for it, donate on behalf of it, or volunteer one’s time toward actions promoting it, without any threat of retaliation, punishment, harassment, intimidation, or other harm coming as a result of one’s participation.

To interfere beforehand or punish afterward would compromise the integrity of the ballot just as certainly as posting armed thugs in front of the ballot box would.

This isn’t about First Amendment rights. It’s about free and fair elections.

And this ought to be common sense, regardless of how one votes – do liberals really want a world where political participation is made public and people can be fired, intimidated, punished, harassed, or mistreated for voting “the wrong way”?

Then again, maybe that’s exactly what they want – at least the ones who are wealthy enough to not care about their pawns, who will get fired for donating to pro-abortion activists.  The sort who are always ‘careless with their tools’, to borrow from Fitzgerald.

“I am the victim of h8 (that is, you having an opinion that makes me h8 you)”

Brendan Eich is gone. The creator of JavaScript and co-founder of mozilla.org has quit as Mozilla’s CEO, forced out by the uproar over a donation he made six years ago to a ballot measure against gay marriage.

via Slate

…or for traditional marriage, since – despite the deliberately misleading rhetoric of the pro-ssm camp – something important in traditional marriage will be destroyed if marriage is redefined.

The distinction is important. Whether or not you believe, personally, that the redefinition of marriage is good or bad, the reality is that there’s only one reason for refusing to acknowledge that marriage is being redefined, and that is to make it sound like the only motive someone could have for voting “against gay marriage” is animus.

Which turns the entire argument into an ad hominem – as the side that openly and unapologetically hates its rivals accuses the other side of being motivated by hate and thus having no argument.

But I digress:

But that wasn’t enough. A revolt among Mozilla staffers, compounded by pressure from software developers, outrage on Twitter and a boycott movement spearheaded by OkCupid, has driven Eich out. Baker, having accepted Eich’s resignation, offers this apology: “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”


It may seem unrelated, but a professor on campus was recently arrested for taking the sign from a pro-life protester and destroying it. The professor said – apparently sincerely – that she had a “right” to be free of their viewpoint:

I asked Miller-Young if she could have behaved differently in this instance. There was a long pause. “I’ve said that I think I did the right thing. But I acknowledge that I probably should not have taken their poster.” Miller-Young also said that she wished that the anti-abortion group had taken down the images when they demanded them to.

Miller-Young also suggested that the group had violated her rights. I asked Miller-Young what right the group had violated. Miller-Young responded, “My personal right to go to work and not be in harm.”

Miller-Young elaborated that one of the reasons she had felt so alarmed by this imagery is because she is about to have the test for Down Syndrome. Miller-Young said. “I work here, why do they get to intervene in that?”

via Washington Post

We appear to have reached a point where identity politics teaches its adherents that they literally have the right to be free of any dissent – free of the presence of dissenters, and free of any unwanted signs of dissent.

The next question will be, is there an upper limit on what may be done to those who dissent “inappropriately”?

But of course, we should not confuse the rejection of Eich’s viewpoint (as a position so extreme it renders an individual unacceptable for prominent employment) as an act of intolerance. As Mozilla tweeted:

@nycconservative We believe in openness & that no one should be persecuted for the beliefs they hold, no matter what they are.— Mozilla (@mozilla) April 3, 2014

via The Federalist

Welcome to diversity. This is what tolerance looks like.


“Doctors on social media share embarrassing photos, details of patients”

Some doctors have misgivings about employing social media in the service of patient care: “What if one finds something that is not warm and fuzzy?” frets resident physician Haider Javed Warraich in a post this week on the New York Times’ Well blog. Despite his reservations, Warraich defends the practice, pointing out that doctors have used online intel to gauge suicide risk, discover relevant undisclosed criminal histories, and contact the families of unresponsive patients.

Social networking was also helpful on the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. Doctors near the finish line tweeted accounts of the attack to local emergency personnel six minutes before official announcements were made, giving staff critical time to prepare for the arrival of victims.

But until the utility of online sharing in health care contexts becomes obvious to hospital operatives, they’ll continue to view it the way the rest of us regard twerking—if we ignore it long enough, surely it will just go away. Nearly 60 percent of the health care professionals surveyed by InCrowd report having no social media access in clinical settings at work.

The American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, and other trade groups have tried to soften administrators’ hard line by setting standards for social media use in the workplace. They’ve published guidelines packed with nuggets like “Pause before you post” and “Be aware that any information [you] post on a social networking site may be disseminated (whether intended or not) to a larger audience.”

via Slate

This really isn’t as difficult as Slate makes it seem.

Social media employing any potentially identifying information should be permissable if and only if there is a clear benefit to the patient, and privacy precautions are taken.

It’s really that simple.

There’s no reason why doctors need to be digging around or worrying about patients’ undisclosed criminal history, and there’s certainly no reason why we ought to view privacy violations as inevitable.

The life-saving nature of certain types of tweet (for example, the doctors who seek help in assessing suicide risk) may suggest that some types of privacy violations may seem justifiable, but there is no reason why professionals should not be held to roughly the same standards as other life-saving professional ethical codes with regards to judgment calls, and full privacy protections should only be waived if for some reason adhering to them might cause serious harm.

Professionals who don’t take privacy seriously should lose their license and face criminal charges. If the profession won’t police itself, the entire profession will suffer a loss of credibility – patients will rightfully lose faith and trust in doctors.

The issue seems somehow more complicated than this in the Slate article because they use examples that border on dishonesty: why would they even include the Boston Marathon bombing incident? What possible reason could they have for treating that situation as if it were somehow in the same category as the incident with the nurses who posted private patient photos on their Facebook pages? The Boston Marathon case could not have involved privacy violations, since the tweeters were writing about what they’d observed in a public situation.

Under no circumstances should patient information be uploaded to any site for reasons that are not beneficial to the patient. Nobody should be afraid to seek medical help for fear that he will end up on a Facebook page, ridiculed by the so-called professionals.

A good rule of thumb might go like this:  if you would be embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid of what people might think if the person whose information you posted found out what you did, you are probably committing a crime.

In 1999 the California HealthCare Foundation issued a report titled “The Future of the Internet in Health Care: Five-Year Forecast,” by Robert Mittman and Mary Cain of the Institute for the Future… overall, the forecast proved remarkably prescient. Its conclusions about online privacy foreshadow the equilibrium most contemporary patients and providers have reached: “[T]here will inevitably be several well-publicized incidents of people being harmed by public releases of their health care information—those exceptional cases will shape the debate,” the report predicts. “[I]n the end, people and organizations will have to learn to live with a less-than-perfect combination of technologies and policies.”

There’s “less than perfect”, and then there’s just professionals who aren’t behaving according to professional standards.

Tablets at restaurants: Applebee’s, Chili’s race to eliminate human interaction.

Score one for the machines. On Tuesday, Applebee’s announced plans to install a tablet at every table in its 1,860 restaurants across the United States. Customers will be able to use the devices to order food, pay the bill, and ignore their dining companions by playing video games.

Chili’s unveiled basically the same plan three months ago….

…The restaurants deny that the tablets represent an attempt to replace human employees with computers. Applebee’s is saying that it won’t change its staffing levels when the devices come online next year. And Chili’s is optimistic that the tablets will pay for themselves by bringing in extra revenue from impulse orders and at-the-table gaming. Not only will you not have to talk to a waiter when you want to order something, you won’t have to talk to your kids, either!

Then again, of course these businesses are saying they won’t use the tablets to replace employees. Announcing layoffs along with the tablet move would be begging for a backlash. The fact is, if the tablets work, they’ll make the ordering process more efficient and cut the amount of human labor that these restaurants require. At that point, do you suppose they’ll keep the extra waiters around out of charity?

via Slate

We like our ethics, our beliefs, our values, our philosophies – but then we want to control the outcome.

What Applebees is doing is economically rational. If people accept this as a way of doing business, it will have been the right decision. The solution to the problems presented here are solutions we as a society need to grapple with – starting with, what will we do when (not if, when) automation makes most human work obsolete?

And, no, simply passing laws to make businesses behave in an economically irrational factor is not a solution. As near as I can tell, there are only two solutions (though I’d love to learn about or figure out others): to directly subsidize – with taxpayer, not corporate, cash – the cost of hiring workers instead of machines, or to open up some new economic frontier – some new technological innovation that requires human workers, or some physical, literal new frontier, like colonizing the ocean or the moon.

Which isn’t as crazy as people like to think, given how concerned we are about overpopulation, global warming…and resources in general.

A few centuries ago, there were just a few widely used materials: wood, brick, iron, copper, gold, and silver. Today’s material diversity is astounding. A chip in your smartphone, for instance, contains 60 different elements. Our lives are so dependent on these materials that a scarcity of a handful of elements could send us back in time by decades.

If we do ever face such scarcity, what can be done? Not a lot, according to a paper published in PNAS. Thomas Graedel of Yale University and his colleagues decided to investigate the materials we rely on. They chose to restrict the analysis to metals and metalloids, which could face more critical constraints because many of them are relatively rare.

via Ars Technica.

I am just very bummed personally because I happen to like Applebees, and I have a funny feeling I won’t be enjoying their food so much now.

“Female academics pay a heavy baby penalty”

Female academics pay a heavy baby penalty. – Slate Magazine.

The most important finding is that family formation negatively affects women’s, but not men’s, academic careers. For men, having children is a career advantage; for women, it is a career killer…

…Female graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have babies while students or fellows are more than twice as likely as new fathers or than childless women to turn away from an academic research career…

…Before even applying for the first tenure-track job, many women with children have already decided to drop out of the race. They have perceived a tenure-track job as being incompatible with having children.

…We have found that a good proportion of those toiling as adjuncts and part-time lecturers do eventually get tenure track jobs. On the other hand, single, childless women get those first jobs at higher rates than wives, mothers or single men—almost at the same rate as married fathers….

Here’s my personal favorite:

What makes academia so difficult for mothers? In large part it is because it is a rigid lockstep career track that does not allow for time out and which puts the greatest pressure on its aspirants in the critical early years. Most Ph.D.s are achieved and tenure granted in the critical decade between 30 and 40, the “make or break decade” as we call it. It is also the decade in which women have children, if they have them at all. Low fertility is not a coincidence among tenured women; they believed they must wait to get tenure (average age around 40) before beginning a family.

Three ways this article could have been better titled:

  1. Female Researchers Confuse Discrimination, Lack of Commitment

    A female researcher, confusing female lack of job commitment with “discrimination”, made females everywhere look bad…

  2. Waiting Until You’re Old To Have Children Still Stupid, Researcher Finds

    The idea that women should wait until they’re old to have children took another hit today, as researchers found yet more proof that having children before rather than after your career takes off is the only way mothers can manage both being committed parents while also having a career arc otherwise similar to what men experience. Female researchers blamed “discrimination” rather than acknowledging that differences in biology might be responsible….

  3. Discrimination Against Conservative Values Hurts Women In Academia

    New research by ideologically committed academic fails to differentiate between genuine discrimination and personal preference, thereby leaving women unable to know the real reason why academics apparently don’t value Women’s Studies teachers as highly as physics or math teachers…

    …The lack of ideological diversity in American schools, however, does leave the women who do enter the field both more likely to be the sort of person who thinks “Queer Gardening” is a legitimate academic subject, and more inclined to attribute personal failure to external sources, thus leaving the most probable reasons for anti-female discrimination a taboo subject….

Also in the news: committed workers valued more than multitasking ones regardless of gender.

In the professional pecking order, baby-raising knocks you down a few notches. Women have known this forever. Thank you, millennia of patriarchy. Hello, glass ceiling.

But guys who take on primary caregiving responsibilities feel the pain, too, though not as much as women who choose to prioritize work over child-rearing.

An about-to-be-published study led by Professor Jennifer Berdahl of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found that middle-class dudes who assume traditionally female child-care roles get harassed and talked down to more at work than those who stuck to typical family gender norms.

It’s totally lame that that adults act like such sexist bullies against guys open-minded enough to step up their game at home. And yet, even in this scenario, working moms have it worse off.

What’s “totally lame” (!) is that people think they ought to be able to bring their home life into the office and yet be treated with the same seriousness as the people who are capable of keeping their mind on their job. If you’re there to do a job, then do your job; if you aren’t volunteering irrelevant personal information at work, nobody can harass you about it.