See You in Hell: Robert E. Lee Edition

20 Aug 2017 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

Greetings from the underworld!

I saw this on Facebook today:

Traveler

First of all, the temperature on that screencap — 81 degrees? That’s the temperature in Los Angeles. The temperature here in Hell is much hotter.

Secondly, Americans are the fattest, dumbest people on the planet. Did you know that 25 percent of them think that the sun goes around the earth?

So most Americans don’t even know who Robert E. Lee was, let alone the name of his horse (it was Traveller, with two l’s).

Once it’s explained to them — who Robert E. Lee was, his horse’s name, what the Civil War was all about — they put it all together: the USC mascot is a racist horse!

Also coming under scrutiny: everyone named Robert or Lee or having the middle initial E.

See you in Hell . . .


USC Village Opens

19 Aug 2017 /

The Reign of Troy continues . . .


Wandering Boy

16 Aug 2017 /

I hope he’s warm and I hope he’s dry
And that a strangers eye is a friendly eye
And I hope he has someone close by his side
And I hope that he’ll come home

Where is my wandering boy tonight?
Where is my wandering boy?
If you see him, tell him everything is alright
Push him towards the light
Where is my wandering boy?

Randy Newman, “Wandering Boy”

American Workplace: Grueling, Stressful and Surprisingly Hostile?

15 Aug 2017 /

Washington (AP) — The American workplace is grueling, stressful and surprisingly hostile.

So concludes an in-depth study of 3,066 U.S. workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles. Among the findings:

— Nearly one in five workers — a share the study calls “disturbingly high” — say they face a hostile or threatening environment at work . . .

If nearly one in five US workers finds their workplace hostile or threatening, that means more than 4 in 5 workers do not find their workplace hostile or threatening.

Assuming these two groups are not in completely separate workplaces, does this finding say something about the workplace or about the people who perceive a hostility that a large majority of their colleagues do not perceive?

Another finding:

— Telecommuting is rare: 78 percent say they are required to be present in their workplace during working hours.

Notice that in this case, 22 percent of workers doing something — telecommuting — is considered “rare,” while less than 20 percent perceiving a hostile environment is considered “disturbingly high.”


10 Reasons That NY Times Chart Might Not Mean What You Think It Means

14 Aug 2017 /

From the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/07/opinion/leonhardt-income-inequality.html
  1. Money is not the only metric for measuring life outcomes. Charts and articles like this seem to reflect an inappropriate obsession with narrowly materialist values.
  2. If you do want to measure your life with money, it looks like the 99th percentile is where you want to be. Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you a CEO? Why aren’t you making a million a year? If you can’t figure out how to get there, don’t begrudge the people who did figure it out. If you don’t have the education, motivation, intelligence or skills to get there, don’t begrudge those who do.
  3. The amount of wealth is not a fixed amount. It’s not a zero-sum game. If it were, it would be concerning that a few people are very wealthy. But it isn’t.
  4. The distribution of income has to be skewed to the right because income is bounded on the low end by zero but not limited on the upside.
  5. If you can’t imagine why income inequality exists, consider that 25 percent of Americans think the sun goes around the earth.
  6. If you can’t imagine why income inequality exists, consider that half the residents of Detroit can’t read.
  7. People who get upset at the realization that some other people have more than they do make excellent targets for politicians who promise, in return for your vote, to rob the people you envy.
  8. Winners may have more money but losers get more hugs.
  9. I see a lot of articles about income inequality but I don’t meet a lot of ordinary Americans who are concerned about it.
  10. There seems to be a confusion of cause and effect. Did income rise the fastest for people in the top one percent or did people get into the top one percent because their income rose the fastest? If that isn’t clear, consider an example: Did Mark Zuckerberg’s income go way up because he was on the right side of that chart or is he on the right side of the chart because his income went way up?

Pug Photos on Flickr

13 Aug 2017 /

Pug

Pugs


Identity Politics = Liberal Suicide?

13 Aug 2017 /

Mark Lilla is professor of the humanities at Columbia University. He’s got a book coming out, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics.

As you might have surmised from his job title, Lilla is a liberal himself. His concern is “the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics” and its negative effect on liberalism in America.

Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt published in the Wall Street Journal:

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X… This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions. . . .

The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.


Silver and Gold

11 Aug 2017 /

I’m gonna go out dancin’ every night
I’m gonna see all the city lights
I’ll do everything silver and gold
I got to hurry up before I grow too old

I’m gonna take a trip around the world
I’m gonna kiss all the pretty girls
I’ll do everything silver and gold
And I got to hurry up before I grow too old

Oh, I do a lotta things, I know is wrong
Hope I’m forgiven before I’m gone
It’ll take a lotta prayers to save my soul
And I got to hurry up before I grow too old


EppsNet at the Movies: The Matrix

11 Aug 2017 /

The Matrix is 75 percent juvenile philosophizing and 25 percent sci-fi action. Someone must have told the Wachowski brothers (now the Wachowski sisters) that they’re a lot smarter than they really are because the movie would have been much better with 25 percent juvenile philosophizing and 75 percent sci-fi action.

Rating:

The Matrix

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves Neo
Laurence Fishburne Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss Trinity
Hugo Weaving Agent Smith

IMDb rating: 8.7 (1,328,936 votes)


We Know We Have to Improve

9 Aug 2017 /

Saw this on a tech company blog (not Google) :

We know we have to improve the diversity of our teams and the balance of representation amongst our colleagues. We do not want to miss out on the contribution of a potential colleague merely because they are in some way different from the rest of our people.

Yes, that seems obvious. Do you want to miss out on the contribution of a potential colleague merely because they don’t improve the diversity of your teams?

Tags:

One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: The Google Memo

8 Aug 2017 /

The now-famous Google memo was first published by Gizmodo under the headline Here’s The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google.

If you’re interested in the topic, you should read the memo yourself, otherwise you’re going to get a terribly slanted second-hand judgment, e.g., “anti-diversity screed.” I’ve read it and I don’t think it’s “anti-diversity” and it’s definitely not what I’d call a screed.

I’ve seen that word — screed — used by multiple sources. That’s one way of dismissing and declining to engage with an opinion you don’t like: give it a label like “screed,” suggesting that the author is angry and irrational and not fit to have a discussion with.

In my reading though, I found the original memo to be academic and clinical, much less screed-like than the responses I’ve seen.

As usual (in my experience), the most intolerant people in the mix are the ones presenting themselves as champions of tolerance, diversity, acceptance and mutual respect. They love people of all genders, skin color, hair color, eye color, etc., but they have no tolerance at all for anyone who doesn’t think exactly the way they do.

If you have an opinion that doesn’t fit the preferred narrative, you are harmful and stupid, you shouldn’t be allowed to hold a job and you shouldn’t feel safe in giving voice to your opinions.

The argument against expressing an opinion like the author of the Google memo is, as I understand it, that it’s considered hostile and unwelcoming to women who might want to work in the field of technology.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in firing the memo author: “The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender.”

If it’s hurtful to judge people based on their “gender,” why isn’t it hurtful to say that the percentage of males working in technology is unacceptably high and should be reduced? (I know nobody says it that way. They say “increase the percentage of women” but it’s the same thing.)

Why isn’t it hurtful to implement policies to reduce the percentage of males working in technology? Why isn’t it hurtful to hire “diversity” personnel whose job it is to reduce the percentage of males in technology?.

Depending on which groups you’re in, you’re either not allowed to be discouraged by anything or you’re entitled to be demoralized by absolutely everything.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Related link: Where are the additional women in technology supposed to come from?

 

Irony alert

“By ‘diverse mix of voices,’ we mean non-white females. Look at the picture. Oh, you thought it meant a diversity of opinions?! Well, in that case, you’re fired.”

 

TL;DR from Google memo

  • Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
  • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
  • The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
  • Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
  • Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
  • Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

EppsNet at the Movies: Superbad

7 Aug 2017 /

This inexplicably gets a good rating on IMDb. I couldn’t get through 10 minutes of it. If your age and/or IQ is somewhere in the teens, you might enjoy it.

My rating would be lower but there was one funny joke.

Rating: 1 star

Superbad

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Michael Cera Evan
Jonah Hill Seth
Christopher Mintz-Plasse Fogell
Bill Hader Officer Slater

IMDb rating: 7.6 (448,001 votes)


More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

2 Aug 2017 /

“Hacks” — when used as a synonym for “advice,” “tips” or “recommendations.” Health hacks, productivity hacks, work-life balance hacks, time management hacks, stress management hacks, creativity hacks, memory hacks, etc. . . .

Tags: ,

Paul Epps, Real Hard-Working American

2 Aug 2017 /

A Real American


World Series Ring

1 Aug 2017 /

Our boy went to Chicago on a business trip . . . I was talking to him on the phone when he texted this picture from a Cubs game.

Cubs World Series ring

“That’s a nice ring,” I said.

“It’s a World Series ring.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“One of the ushers let me wear it for the picture.”

Ushers get World Series rings?”

“Everybody in the organization got a ring.”

I guess if you only win a World Series every hundred years or so, you can afford rings for the entire organization. Although I suspect the rings for the actual players have a little extra bling . . .


EppsNet Book Reviews: The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch

31 Jul 2017 /

The Sleepwalkers is one of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read, very close to the edge of what can be accomplished with the written word.

I had never heard of either the book or the author — neither seems to have any following here in the States — but Amazon for some reason started recommending me post-WWI Austrian modernists.

(I also read Robert Musil’s A Man Without Qualities, which was extremely tedious.)

I don’t know who to compare Broch with, in terms of language, wit, psychological and historical insight — maybe Nietzsche, if Nietzsche had decided to write historical fiction.

The book chronicles, via multiple overlapping narratives, the moral history of Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the disintegration of values that led to fascism.

And in his fear of the voice of judgment that threatens to issue from the darkness, there awakens within him a doubly strong yearning for a Leader to take him tenderly and lightly by the hand, to set things in order and show him the way; a Leader who is no one’s follower and who will precede him on the untrodden path of the closed circle and lead him on to ever-higher reaches, to an ever-brighter revelation; the Leader who will build the house anew that the dead may come to life again, and who himself has risen again from the multitude of the dead; the Healer who by his own actions will give a meaning to the incomprehensible events of the age, so that Time can begin anew.

Rating: 5 stars


Overheard

30 Jul 2017 /
Chicago

Man reading news story from his phone: “‘A 4-year-old boy is among at least 29 people shot in Chicago this weekend as violence across the city left two dead and more than two dozen others wounded.'”

“Twenty-nine people shot and only two dead? Thank god black people can’t shoot straight.”

“How do you know they were black people?”

“Uh . . . ok, you got me there.”


Where Are the Additional Women in Technology Supposed to Come From?

29 Jul 2017 /

The jobs report for May contained discouraging news: continuing low labor-force participation, now below 63 percent overall. About 20 million men between the prime working ages of 20 and 65 had no paid work in 2015, and seven million men have stopped looking altogether.

In the meantime, the jobs most in demand — like nursing and nurse assistants, home health care aides, occupational therapists or physical therapists — sit open. The health care sector had the largest gap between vacancies and hires of any sector in April, for example.

We hear a lot about a shortage of women in technology jobs but we don’t hear about a shortage of men in traditionally female jobs.

It’s really two sides of the same problem. Unless a lot of women suddenly appear out of nowhere, the only way to get more women into professions where they’re currently under-represented — like technology — is to get them out of professions like health care, which they seem to prefer but in which they are significantly over-represented.

In theory, nursing should appeal to men because the pay is good and it’s seen as a profession with a defined skill set.

But the NYT cites a study from UMass Amherst, showing that not only will most unemployed men resist taking a “feminine” job, but that those men who might have been willing to consider it encountered resistance from their wives, who urged them to keep looking.

So much for diversity . . .

Speaking of which, here is a screenshot of the current board of directors of a nursing organization that I used to work with.

https://www.aacn.org/about-aacn/board?tab=Board%20of%20Directors

Nursing is a white female dominated profession, much more so than technology is a white male dominated profession, but I worked with this organization for about five years and never heard word one about a lack of diversity in nursing.

It’s hard to imagine an organization in 2017 having a 15-member all-white, all-male board of directors without drawing a lot of negative attention but all-white, all-female is okay.

I see a tremendous number of proposals for “empowering” women to get into technical professions that they may just not be interested in, but if the number of women in technology is considered problematic, then the number of women in nursing (and other over-represented professions) has to be considered equally problematic.

Where else are the additional women in technology supposed to come from?

Thus spoke The Programmer.


One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance

27 Jul 2017 /

One of my “progressive” Facebook friends posted:

I’ve always wondered why white people who use the defense “I have black friends” to defend their “I’m not a racist because” arguments, never seem to tag their supposed black friends. Where are they?

Fresh take! Now I’ve always wondered why some people think they have the moral authority and supernatural power to look into the hearts of others and label them racists.

I’m all about tolerance and love and anyone who doesn’t think the same way I do is a racist, sexist, homophobic Nazi!

We seem to be living in a time when the first person to call “racist” is ceded the moral high ground.

I’m not a racist because I called you a racist first!


Remote Work on the Decline

27 Jul 2017 /

According to LinkedIn:

IBM, Aetna, Reddit, and Bank of America are among a growing list of companies slashing remote work policies. It’s not because employees working from home are less productive; rather, many companies think in-person collaboration just can’t be beat.

I get that. It’s easier to work with people in the same room than with people at some distant point in time and space.

But I can’t help noticing that there are more companies willing to hire hordes of itinerant trainees in a foreign land to write important software (i.e., “outsourcing”), than to let employees write software 15 minutes from the office in their own home.


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