friday five 1.20.17


1. the real reason women quit tech (and how to address it)

This is, naturally, an issue very close to my heart, and this article confirms that the lack of women in tech isn't due to underqualification or lack of interest or favoritism toward males; it's the culture. The best example of the lack of awareness in tech companies is the belief that "culture" equates to "fun." I don't think women care (as much) about ping-pong tables and free cupcakes or beer; they are more focused on paid maternal leave and upward mobility and not being sexually harassed in the workplace.

This article highlights a lot of well-addressed barriers to women in tech, but also some seemingly insignificant ones, like the fact that an Ivy League study found that men's voices are perceived as "more persuasive, fact-based, and logical" than women's voices, even with the exact same message. It's why female White House staffers invented "amplification," which I think should be a common practice in the workplace.

2. a guide to becoming unstoppable with your money

The first personal finance guide I've read that is actually practical and broadly applicable to other disciplines in life.

3. will racism end when old bigots die?

A good piece on the pervasiveness of racism. A bit depressing, but mostly just interesting that the same kind of bias prevails over generations, and simply evolves rather than disappearing. We have always argued that racism is learned, not inherent, but is it possible that humans are inclined to be prejudiced over one group (racial or otherwise) as a survival mechanism? See: Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches. But I think this piece excellently identifies the problem of institutionalized racism, which isn't as widely recognized or condemned as blatant or outright 

4. how do animals experience pain?

I've always wondered this and the ethics of it, especially in regards to animal testing or eating animals. But I think the notion of "value judgments" of sensory input is the most intriguing part. If animals respond to pain in a more rational way than humans, does that qualify as smarter or dumber?

5. the nihilistic purity of the left will kill us all

I think the most remarkable thing about Bernie in this election is that people supported him wholeheartedly, unlike the other candidates who often came with asterisks ("I like Hillary but...). But I remember talking with Saliq and he said, "Bernie is to the right what Trump is to the left." And I thought that was a good point. He's radical, in a sense, in that he identifies as independent and socialist, and his ideas seem far-fetched to a lot of Americans.

Nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche and defined as "the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless." It's frequently construed as pessimistic, but I think it's more of the acknowledgement that we cannot know anything for certain. But when you immediately ostracize anyone that disagrees with you, it creates a very hostile environment with a "with us or against us" mentality. And that (along with moral/ideological purity in general) is dangerous, divisive, and ultimately unproductive.

In "On Becoming Anti-Bernie," the author writes:

Rejection of compromise is not intellectually honest. Nor it is a workable strategy. It is intellectually dishonest because in the absence of a supermajority, legislation cannot be passed without compromise.

I don't know enough about the specifics of Bernie's policies to talk about them in-depth, but one of the major criticisms of his campaign was that it was too idealistic. And while it is imperative as a leader to be idealistic, assuming moral superiority accomplishes nothing. This article is just a reminder that the far left can be just as radical as the far right, and of the necessity of ideological diversity.