1. 3

    “lots of wimpy CPUs is just wimpy” is definitely context dependent. I did some work in HPC (a lot of C, C++, and Fortran programs may be considered “legacy” by some) and much involved the Xeon Phi CPUs. These are just “wimpy” 1.4 GHz cores, but with 64-72 cores along with loads of memory on each die, if your application needs lots of communication between parallel threads they aren’t particularly wimpy at all.

    1. 2

      BlueGene and Cell were both comprised of “wimpy” cores and simultaneously very successful in certain HPC applications.

      I think what architects learned from that, though, is that faster single-threaded performance is easier, and therefore more productive, for the vast majority of programmers.

      1. 3

        yes, most desktop/mobile/web software is “wait for someone to press something then do the work for them”, until they get lots of customers when it’s “do this independent work for as many people as possible”. Those benefit from non-wimpy cores and don’t need great synchronisation.

      2. 1

        Tilera has long been in that space, too. Graphics cards used general-purpose could probably count. Adapteva shipped some, too. Moore et all have their Forth chip for doing it low-energy.

        It does depend on context, though.

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        Something clearly got this author’s goat; this rebuttal feels less like a reasoned response and more like someone yelling “NO U” into Wordpress.

        Out of order execution is used to hide the latency from talking to other components of the system that aren’t the current CPU, not “to make C run faster”.

        Also, attacking academics as people living in ivory towers is an obvious ad hominem. It doesn’t serve any purpose in this article and, if anything, weakens it. Tremendous amounts of practical CS come from academia and professional researchers. That doesn’t mean it should be thrown out.

        1. 10

          So, in context, the bit you quote is:

          The author criticizes things like “out-of-order” execution which has lead to the Spectre sidechannel vulnerabilities. Out-of-order execution is necessary to make C run faster.

          The author was completely correct here, and substituting in JS/C++/D/Rust/Fortan/Ada would’ve still resulted in a correct statement.

          The academic software preference (assuming that such a thing exists) is clearly for parallelism, for “dumb” chips (because computer science and PLT is cooler than computer/electrical engineering, one supposes), for “smart” compilers and PL tricks, and against “dumb” languages like C. That appears to be the assertion the author here would make, and I don’t think it’s particularly wrong.

          Here’s thing though: none of that has been borne out in mainstream usage. In fact, the big failure the author mentioned here (the Sparc Tx line) was not alone! The other big offender of this you may have heard of is the Itanic, from the folks at Intel. A similar example of the philosophy not really getting traction is the (very neat and clever) Parallax Propeller line. Or the relative failure of the Adapteva Parallela boards and their Epiphany processors.

          For completeness sake, the only chips with massive core counts and simple execution models are GPUs, and those are only really showing their talent in number crunching and hashing–and even then, for the last decade, somehow limping along with C variants!

          1. 2

            One problem with the original article was that it located the requirement for ILP in the imagined defects of the C language. that’s just false.

            Weird how nobody seems to remember the Terra.

            1. 3

              In order to remember you would have to have learned about it first. My experience is that no one who isn’t studying computer architecture or compilers in graduate school will be exposed to more exotic architectures. For most technology professionals, working on anything other than x86 is way out of the mainstream. We can thank the iPhone for at least making “normal” software people aware of ARM.

              1. 4

                I am so old, that I remember reading about the Tomasula algorithm in Computer Architecture class and wondering why anyone would need that on a modern computer with a fast cache - like a VAX.

              2. 1

                For those of us who don’t, what’s Terra?

                1. 2

                  Of course, I spelled it wrong.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray_MTA

            2. 9

              The purpose of out of order execution is to increase instruction-level parallelism (ILP). And while it’s frequently the case that covering the latency of off chip access is one way out of order execution helps, the other (more common) reason is that non-dependent instructions that use independent ALUs can issue immediately and retire in whatever order instead of stalling the whole pipeline to maintain instruction ordering. When you mix this with good branch prediction and complex fetch and issue logic, then you get, in effect, unrolled, parallelized loops with vanilla C code.

              Whether it’s fair to say the reasoning was “to make C run faster” is certainly debatable, but the first mainstream out of order processor was the Pentium Pro (1996). Back then, the vast majority of software was written in C, and Intel was hellbent on making each generation of Pentium run single-threaded code faster until they hit the inevitable power wall at the end of the NetBurst life. We only saw the proliferation of highly parallel programming languages and libraries in the mainstream consciousness after that, when multicores became the norm to keep the marketing materials full of speed gainz despite the roadblock on clockspeed and, relatedly, single-threaded performance.

              1. 1

                the first mainstream out of order processor was the Pentium Pro (1996).

                Nope.

            1. 3

              Christ, this discussion is way beyond me. I’d still really like to understand it though. Anyone available to compsplain?

              1. 4

                Back in the day, there was a great series of articles by Jon Stokes on Ars Technica that covered a lot of microarchitectural concepts like this. You can find them with google or buy them compiled into a book: https://nostarch.com/insidemachine.htm

                1. 4

                  I managed to find a collection of his explanatory articles, of which the two-part series “Understanding the Microprocessor” seemed to best match what you described.

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                This post follows the rule of headlines perfectly: when a headline asks a question, the answer is always no.

                I am not completely convinced that the article’s stated reason is “the reason”, or that the solution is “the solution”. But it’s a good start. And it’s one of my specific pet peeves, so I’m going to share. My general pet peeve is when people of all stripes behave as though they’re unique snowflakes and the rules that govern all other work does not and can not apply to them. My specific pet peeve is when programmers play this “we do black magic and therefore need to be treated specially” game.

                It drives me nutty.

                The solution presented here is a good start. We should all endeavour to implement this.

                1. 2

                  This post follows the rule of headlines perfectly: when a headline asks a question, the answer is always no.

                  In case you’re wondering, it’s called Betteridge’s law of headlines.

                  1. 1

                    You might consider why this is your pet peeve and it “drives [you] nutty.” Does it bother you when other people ask for understanding and accommodation in how they work because you aren’t getting your needs met at work?

                    Also, I’m downvoting this as trolling and will do the same for any other comment I see on lobste.rs that uses “special/unique snowflake” because we’re all intelligent and articulate enough to communicate without obvious epithets, and the use seems to always precede or be interlaced in some insensitive/dismissive rant.

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                      Interesting. I hadn’t considered “snowflake” to be an epithet necessarily, more tongue in cheek. Thanks for pointing this perspective out; I will keep it in mind.

                      1. 1

                        I should also answer your question, because I think it’s a good one.

                        The reason it drives me nutty is because my (especially recent) experience is the people who are demanding Complete Silence because they are doing Very Serious Work are also doing at least one (but usually both) of the following: 1) over-engineering and making complicated messes of fairly simple things, and/or 2) implying (or worse) that those who do not demand Complete Silence are not doing Very Serious Work.

                        I realize that not everyone will share this experience, but we’re all shaped by our experiences to some extent, and this is mine.

                    1. 4

                      I’m skeptic, but I think they can pull it off.

                      In the end, they only need to reach half of Intel’s performance, as benchmarks suggest that macOS’ performance is roughly half of Linux’ when running on the same hardware.

                      With their own hardware, they might be able to get closer to the raw performance offered by the CPU.

                      1. 7

                        they only need to reach half of Intel’s performance, as benchmarks suggest that macOS’ performance is roughly half of Linux’ when running on the same hardware

                        I’m confused. Doesn’t that mean they need to reach double Intel’s performance?

                        1. 11

                          It was probably worded quite poorly, my calculation was like:

                          • Raw Intel performance = 100
                          • macOS Intel performance ~= 50
                          • Raw Apple CPU performance = 50
                          • macOS Appe CPU performance ~= 50

                          So if they build chips that are half as fast as “raw” Intel, but are able to better optimize their software for their own chips, they can get way closer to the raw performance of their hardware than they manage to do on Intel.

                        2. 7

                          Why skeptic? They’ve done it twice before (68000 -> PowerPC and PowerPC -> Intel x86).

                          1. 4

                            And the PPC → x86 transition was within the past fifteen years and well after they had recovered from their slump of the ‘90s, and didn’t seem to hurt them. They’re one of the few companies in existence with recent experience transitioning microarchitectures, and they’re well-positioned to do it with minimal hiccups.

                            That said, I’m somewhat skeptical, too; it’s a huge undertaking even if everything goes as smoothly as it did with the x86 transition, which is very far from a guarantee. This transition will be away from the dominant architecture in its niche, which will introduce additional friction which was not present for their last transition.

                            1. 2

                              They also did ARM32->ARM64 on iOS.

                              1. 3

                                That’s not much of a transition. They did i386 -> amd64 too then.

                                (fun fact, I also did that, on the scale of one single Mac - swapped a Core Duo to a Core 2 Duo in a ’06 mini :D)

                                1. 1

                                  My understanding is that they’re removing some of the 32-bit instructions on ARM. Any clue if that’s correct?

                                  1. 1

                                    AArch64 processors implement AArch32 too for backwards compatibility, just like it works on amd64.

                                    1. 1

                                      As of iOS 11, 32-bit apps won’t load. So if Apple devices that come with iOS 11 still have CPUs that implement AArch32, I’d guess it’s only because it was easier to leave it in than pull it out.

                                      1. 1

                                        Oh, sure – of course they can remove it, maybe even on the chip level (since they make fully custom ones now), or maybe not (macOS also doesn’t load 32-bit apps, right?). The point is that this transition used backwards compatible CPUs, so it’s not really comparable to 68k to PPC to x86.

                                        1. 1

                                          I of course agree that this most recent transition isn’t comparable with the others. To answer your question: the version of macOS they just released a few days ago (10.13.4) is the first to come with a boot flag that lets you disable loading of 32-bit applications to, as they put it, “prepare for a future release of macOS in which 32-bit software will no longer run without compromise.”

                            2. 3

                              I didn’t know this. Do you know which benchmarks show macOS at half of Linux performance?

                              1. 3

                                Have a look at the benchmarks Phoronix has done. Some of them are older, but I think they show the general trend.

                                This of course doesn’t take GPU performance into account. I could imagine that they take additional hit there as companies (that don’t use triple AAA game engines) rather do …

                                Application → Vulkan API → MoltenVK → Metal

                                … than write a Metal-specific backend.

                                1. 1

                                  I guess you’re talking about these? https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=macos-1013-linux

                                  Aside from OpenGL and a handful of other outliers for each platform, they seem quite comparable, with each being a bit faster at some things and a bit slower at others. Reading your comments I’d assumed they were showing Linux as being much faster in most areas, usually ending up about twice as fast.

                              2. 3

                                The things they’re slow at don’t seem to be particularly CPU architecture specific. But the poor performance of their software doesn’t seem to hurt their market share.

                              1. 17

                                Honest question, if not Stack Overflow, where to get help from? Sometimes I don’t have to post anything, the existing questions already solve my problem. I can’t think of any other community where I can get help from. Reddit works sometimes, but not always. Related IRCs work, but get lost in other noise. So, where?

                                1. 15

                                  That email is from the openbsd-misc mailing list. Lots of open source projects have their own lists where you can get help. C++ people still use usenet (comp.lang.c++).

                                  1. 36

                                    From my experience (not talking about OpenBSD), a lot of those mailing lists don’t provide a user/developer support role, and are often far more toxic than StackOverflow.

                                    and in a lot of cases, mails or posts simply go unanswered in dedicated project support channels.

                                    You can say what you want about StackOverflow, and a lot of the problems mentioned here and in other discussions are real and serious problems, but they still have a huge body of useful information for a lot of problems people encounter.

                                    1. 3

                                      Usually a busy-ish open source project will have several mailing list channels. One is typically dev’s only chatting about patches and the like, one is for announcements only and one is for users to chit chat.

                                      Make sure you choose the right one. If it’s “How do you do this?” type questions always go to the user one.

                                      If it’s a “I think there is a bug in…” make sure you have a good repeatable shortest possible test case in hand and then try the devs list.

                                      Even better than a nice neat repeatable test case, is a nice neat repeatable test case and a (small) patch off the mainline that fixes it.

                                      If you say something like, “Your code is crap. It doesn’t work in my companies million lines of proprietary spaghetti which you can’t look at”… Yup. Count yourself lucky if your question goes unanswered. Sometimes the toxins are there to kill stupid.

                                      Always show some signs that you have, indeed, Read The Fine Manual, such as exists and maybe the unit tests for the functionality you using.

                                      I have pretty much near 99% success rate in getting excellent answers from every open source mailling list I have interacted with.

                                      Be prepared to read code, some of the best answers come in the form, “Ah, I think that’s handled somewhere such and such a file… Have a look at the comments and the test cases for function …”

                                      Be prepared for the answer to be, yup, it’s fixed in version x.y

                                      1. 1

                                        That all sounds like a lot of mental load to get a quick answer that’s blocking my work.

                                        1. 1

                                          He who asks low (or no) effort questions should expect low (or no) effort answers.

                                          However, friction and entropy exist in everything so that should be…

                                          He who asks low (or no) effort questions should expect very low effort answers if they’re lucky, snarks if they aren’t.

                                  2. 4

                                    Stack Overflow is often references more than official documentation, and it’s way way better than what we previously had: Xperts Exchange (which had the answers at the bottom, but was setup so it looked like you had to pay to see them).

                                    They might have their issues, but I still have found the Stack Exchange sites really useful. Until I read this post, I wasn’t even aware of the massive deletion problem. I don’t think any of my posts have been deleted, but there’s no way to know for sure.

                                    1. 29

                                      As someone who was in the position of the child not so long ago - please don’t do this*. Giving children without any explicit interest to learn about these things gifts trying to initiate some interest will fail for both 90% of the time. Sure, most people here would have loved (or were fortunate enough) to have been given technological gifts when they were children, but that’s easy to say now. If on the other hand you would have been giving something you had absolutely no interest in, or unfortunately no capacity to learn at that age, say a dictionary of ancient greek, an introduction to advanced arctic-geology, the collected works of Hegel or socks, and you know on some level that the person giving you the present is hoping for you to be as happy about it as they think they would have been - well that kind of “pressure” (for the lack of a better word) is not really a nice present, even if it was unintentionally. On the other hand, from the side of the person who gave the gift, unless you enjoy disappointment, you won’t feel much better either.

                                      *: I’d like to clarify that I’m not trying to universally condem any gifts with the intention to boost a childs interest in some subject - just be sure that he or she has a potential to understand it, and know her or him good enough to be sure that they are the kind of person to be interested in it. Not every present is appropriate for every child. Thinking about it twice will prevent you from becoming the person who is trying to force his interest on children and your present to just disappear in a cupboard indefinitely.

                                      1. 7

                                        +1 to this, as the parent of a 6-year-old.

                                        We have Robot Turtles (as mentioned in another thread) and we’ve played it quite a few times, and she simply doesn’t find it compelling. This is not intended as a knock on the game, I’m sure it’s great for a lot of kids, but different kids like different things. I bought the card game SET, and she gets it and will grudgingly play it with me but insists that it’s boring and that she’d rather do something else. I bought her “No Stress Chess” and she learned how the game works and how the pieces move but decided she would rather act out little dramas with the king and queen and such.

                                        I’ll keep trying more things, but you can’t force kids into any of this stuff. (Or at least you shouldn’t, is my belief.)

                                        I would love it if she wanted to learn coding, but this year for Christmas she really wants a Barbie that turns into a mermaid and also into a fairy, so that’s what she’s getting. Maybe next year.

                                        1. 2

                                          Edit: Previous comment didn’t really move the discussion forward, so here’s a new one.

                                          Can you make your comment more constructive? Answers to some of the following would really help.

                                          • Was there a certain approach, attitude, or expectation that put you off?
                                          • How was “gift to try and initiate interest” conveyed? If it had been conveyed differently, like “toy that might resonate with deeper interest”, would you have had a better experience? What would each of these approaches look like to you?
                                          • Is there a certain kind of gift/kit/etc that was too complicated/specialized/specifically about learning?
                                          • Was there an interest of yours that had been mistaken for an interest in programming?
                                          • Were there redeeming parts of your experience that could be illustrative for a better approach?
                                          • Any specific input on what “he or she has a potential to understand it” means as it relates to your experience, or that would surprise a casual observer?

                                          Surely there are ways to go about giving gifts that involve learning (not necessarily as a primary focus) that isn’t “pressure”.

                                          I feel like you have an interesting perspective to share, but it’s all hidden behind a dismissive post. Even if your experience was an unmitigated disaster, there is something you could offer beyond “don’t even think about doing this”.

                                          1. 4

                                            Was there a certain approach, attitude, or expectation that put you off?

                                            Not really “put me off “ - but I’d say that there was often an expectation that I already understood more than I did. In my case it was a electronics kit, but I didn’t know (and nobody told me (or at least I didn’t understand if if anyone did)) that electricity needs to flow in a circuit - and why should it? There’s only one wire from the plug hole to a lamp, why would this be any different?

                                            How was “gift to try and initiate interest” conveyed?

                                            To give an opposite example from my previous one - my grandfather, who was a professor of physics, once bought me some game (I can’t remember what it actually was, I was 5 y/o) that had to do with motors, moment and mechanics, etc. And he wanted to explain it all to me, but - not that I didn’t like it per se - but I just wasn’t interested in the physical stuff. There were little cut-out mammoths I found great delight with, and I remember my grandfather being disappointed to put it mildly that I didn’t want to play with the actual things…

                                            If it had been conveyed differently, like “toy that might resonate with deeper interest”, would you have had a better experience?

                                            … so it’s not really a problem of intention, or that’s at least not what I meant (I’m sorry if I was misunderstood). The issue just was that back then, I had e.g more interest in ancient animals than the laws of mechanics. So maybe it would have been different if I had an interest in physics, but for that I would have had to have had a basic understanding of the subject - without that - if all these things stay “mystical”, “magical” ideas beyond comprehension - I believe not much can be done to help the child develop an interest. So again, make sure the child is curious and capable (age and education wise) to engage with subject you want to introduce them to.

                                            Is there a certain kind of gift/kit/etc that was too complicated/specialized/specifically about learning?

                                            I’ve given examples already from my childhood, but for the most part I’d recommend not to give toolkits as first gifts. If one doesn’t have any idea what to do with it, or how to use it, it will either be forgotten or broken before one actually learns to use it properly.

                                            Was there an interest of yours that had been mistaken for an interest in programming?

                                            Well in my case it wasn’t programming, I had to teach myself all of that. Interestingly enough, I did always have a greater interest in things related to computers, but I guess my family were less interested in it, so they didn’t feel like supporting it. So the tip here would be to maybe transcend ones owns interest and actually try to support something the child actually likes.

                                            Were there redeeming parts of your experience that could be illustrative for a better approach?

                                            None of which I could think of spontaneously, I might edit the post later on if I come to think of something.

                                            Any specific input on what “he or she has a potential to understand it” means as it relates to your experience, or that would surprise a casual observer?

                                            “If the toy says ages 9-16, don’t give it to a 5 year old child” would be a good guideline. I’ve already implied it, but I’ll say it again, make sure the child’s first exposure isn’t this toy - 95% of the time this will go wrong, especially with younger children.

                                            Surely there are ways to go about giving gifts that involve learning (not necessarily as a primary focus) that isn’t “pressure”.

                                            Of course, the pressure I was talking about doesn’t (or at least in my case didn’t) come from the presents themselves, but the expectation from the people who gave them to me, to flourish or immediately develop a profound interest in the subject. I guess you could see this more as an attitude problem from the perspective of the gift-giver, but (depending of the child) he or she can feel that too. That’s the uncomfortable part, I really want children to be spared from.

                                            I feel like you have an interesting perspective to share, but it’s all hidden behind a dismissive post. Even if your experience was an unmitigated disaster, there is something you could offer beyond “don’t even think about doing this”.

                                            I apologize if my first commend was a bit too dismissive, I hoped my last paragraph would give the whole thing a positive turn, that’s why I added the footnote after the first sentence. But I hope I could clarify a few things now, and help you and anyone reading this with coming to an informed choice, when thinking about giving gifts with good intentions. Again, if it’s the right gift for the right person, it’s fantastic, but it’s not that easy to make sure that that is the case!

                                            1. 4

                                              if you are lucky enough to be able to work with the child and the gift, or you know their parents will be supportive, then you might create an interest, otherwise @zge comment is unforutnately the likely outcome - unless you know that they already have an interest in that area.

                                              however, if the gift is fun and doable by the child then it can be a real success - although, the age on the tin is not helpful, my youngest is 7 years younger than her older siblings and she has aways played with age inappropriate toys :~)

                                              my 2 pence worth from the perspective of a being a Dad :~)

                                              1. 4

                                                if you are lucky enough to be able to work with the child and the gift

                                                I wish I could edit the OP as this is exactly the case, and there has been expressed interest.

                                                1. 4

                                                  If it’s practical to do so, why not take the child somewhere where sciency toys are on display and see what he/she gravitates towards? I think if the learning is initiated by curiosity in the child then it’s more likely to have lasting effects.

                                                  I started taking guitar lessons when I was five years old because my granddad saw me staring at a guitar and he asked me if I wanted to learn (and I did). I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was just given an instrument as a gift without anyone asking beforehand what I thought about it.

                                          1. 1

                                            I generally agree with the observations except this one:

                                            Second, IT engineers by nature tend to be optimists, as reflected in the common acronym SMOP: “simple matter of programming.”

                                            Maybe I just hang out with the cynical crowd, but I’ve never heard a professional programmer use that phrase in a non-snarky way. How could we get such a genius character like Gilfoyle if IT people are generally optimists?

                                            1. 2

                                              I agree, I’ve only seen SMOP used sarcastically—but there’s still an optimism under it. It might be “we can do that in six months, not two weeks,” but there is always the concept of of course we can do it… underlying it.

                                            1. 3

                                              Really great article. I am reminded of an older post “Taco Bell Programming”[1] that trolls a bit but does a good job of getting the Unix philosophy point across…and can easily lead to the dangers elaborated in this post.

                                              I have indeed committed the sin of parsing stdout and stderr in ways I should not have from programs that were not meant for such things. I have been bitten. But I wasn’t crazy enough to put it in production!

                                              http://widgetsandshit.com/teddziuba/2010/10/taco-bell-programming.html

                                              1. 6

                                                I don’t see it that way. The author never makes a convincing case that Qt Creator hanging has anything to do with passing text between Qt Creator and gdb. You can pass error codes in any number of ways and you can set network timeouts even on command line tools. It seems like there was just an unfortunate bug in QtCreator that set him off on a rant.

                                                Also this:

                                                You see, on UNIX there’s GDB. That’s the debugger. That’s the only debugger. It’s very old and has had a lot of work put into it, and as a result it usually works pretty well, at least in terms of functionality. But on every other metric you measure software by, it kinda sucks.

                                                So by the metrics of completely being open source, costing 0 dollars, and supporting tons of targets, gdb “kinda sucks”?

                                                Despite every computer made in the past 40 years having a graphical display, GDB lives in a parallel universe where the framebuffer was never invented and we all still use teletype printers.

                                                gdb lives in a parallel universe where having a limited debug server that can run on lots of targets is really useful.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I wasn’t arguing that point - gdb is a fine tool. My argument was a bit more general. There are many tools out there that don’t output in a way meant for automated consumption, and the output is subject to change at any moment because a contract was never declared. Unless formalized and specified outright and beforehand, text messages and log data is not an API and should not be treated as such. Those that write software around command line tools that don’t have output specifications available should be wary of using the tools that way. The strange thing as that as even though these tools are rewritten as open source in Linux and BSD, many go untouched and treated as black boxes. Why not crack open ssh and hook into lib calls instead? And if the code is not amenable to that, why not fork it and make it so?

                                                  1. 3

                                                    As mentioned by myfreeweb, GDB does have a full terminal interface (although enabling it is an obscure command I can never remember). Also, GDB has a documented protocol to communicate with it—they don’t parse the text output.

                                                    The post is a rant about bad error reporting, but it doesn’t acknowledge that error reporting is both tedious and hard. For example, a routine to copy a file, given a source filename and a destination file name. First point of failure—can’t open the source file. Second point of failure—can’t open the destination file. Hard problem number 1—if the destination exists, is that an error? Or not? Do you allow the option to overwrite the destination? Okay, still can’t open the destination file, hard problem number two—you need to close the open source file (else you leak an open file descriptor), but the close can fail. If it fails, do you report that error? Or the original failure? Can the language you use even allow multiple error codes to be returned? Hard problem number three—how do you return which file had the error? Can your language do that? It doesn’t matter if your language just does return codes, or exceptions, it’s still the same issue—what if your exception handler throws an exception (and not via an explicit “throw”)?

                                                    And I never did get to the actual copying of data either …

                                              1. 18

                                                Every time I talk to a recent grad I hear a vadriation of the phrase “I know how to code, I can code in anything”.

                                                The other way this fails is languages not derived from ALGOL. I had this attitude a few years into programming when I knew HyperTalk, Visual Basic, PHP, and Python. I was corrected by diving into SQL, assembly, PostScript, Haskell, esolangs…

                                                1. 7

                                                  Algol-derived is a big one, but bigger is whether the language assumes mutable state is the default state of existence, and immutability is either inexpressible or tacked-on.

                                                  For example, Lisp isn’t Algol derived. However, Algol and Lisp are more similar than different on the level of how data moves through a program, because they both assume mutable state is the default, and an unmarked default at that, with relatively weak (if any) support for immutable state tacked on later, if ever. The essential similarity between Lisp and Algol is really pointed up by Scheme, on one side, and Python, on the other.

                                                  OTOH, declarative languages, such as SQL, and functional languages, such as Haskell, really break brains because their model of data is very different. Spreadsheets are another data paradigm: Automated data flow from cell to cell, in an implicitly parallel environment.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    I was surprised when I learned that XSLT is a pure functional language, mainly because I didn’t find it that hard at all (my website is generated from an XML file via XSLT). Verbose, hell yes. Hard? Not really. But in retrospect, I can see the functional nature of XSLT.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      I wonder how hard it is than to switch from Common Lisp to Clojure considering completely different take on mutability.

                                                    2. 3

                                                      APL derivatives, Lisplikes, Autohotkey, LabVIEW, Prolog, Excel… I’ve wondered what it would be like to construct a list of “basis” languages that cover all of the different forms of programming, and if such a list is even possible.

                                                      1. 5

                                                        Have you looked into programming language genealogy? I find the family tree diagrams especially fascinating. http://rigaux.org/language-study/diagram.html

                                                        1. 3

                                                          @xmodem Is there a field of learning with literature for this ? Here is another programming language family tree that I see more often.

                                                          I too am fascinated by genealogy and the events that shape programming languages!

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                                                            Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Programming covers several programming paradigms. There’s a diagram from the book that shows their taxonomy.

                                                          2. 3

                                                            Me too! I created an ascii diagram for fun a few years ago: https://gist.github.com/ChadSki/f0be01dd2556f04753b1

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                                                              Where’s COBOL and BASIC in this? They each had huge impact. Main concept is that programming could be almost as easy as pseudocode for basic applications. A flawed idea but all kinds of people did productive things with it.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                COBOL is on line #4.

                                                                I think I omitted BASIC because it doesn’t influence enough other languages. Wikipedia lists Visual Basic, VB.Net, RealBasic (Xojo), and AutoHotKey. There aren’t any interesting crossovers with e.g. Lisp or ML.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Darn, I don’t know how I overlooked it. Apologies. I guess BASIC could be omitted on that criteria as COBOL already did the Code Like English concept. It’s overall a nice tree of languages. +1 for text art. :)

                                                          3. 2

                                                            My attempt at that was to look at Wikipedia’s list of programming paradigms to find key languages for each. Filter out those that dont have FOSS implementation. Pick the best of them as far as stated complexity vs learning materials available. And you then have close to a list like what you’re looking for.

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                                                              In true Larry Wall style (Laziness Impatience Hubris)
                                                              Care to share your results?

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                                                          If you read in between the lines, it appears that management was complacent to lay problems at Rick’s doorstop, and didn’t care that Rick and/or the team didn’t take time to document the problem and/or resolution.

                                                          …..

                                                          Instead of tackling the root cause of the issue (hey man, whats eating you?), they opted for the quick and easy fix (Hey Rick, GTFO!). Par for the course, as far as I can tell.

                                                          If you read actual text, you’d see that this was something the company already thought of:

                                                          I agree that the situation that came about was also his manager’s fault. He never should have been allowed to take on so much. If it gives comfort to anyone else reading this, the manager went first because ultimately management bears responsibility, always.

                                                          They then followed up with:

                                                          Rick rejected months of overtures by leadership. He refused to take time off or allow any work to be delegated. He also repeatedly rejected attempts to introduce free open source frameworks to replace hard-to-maintain bespoke tools.

                                                          As I mention in a comment on the original post, I’m surprised at how many people are kneejerk defending Rick. In this case, I’m embarassed for this poster who not only kneejerk defended him, but claimed additional insight into the story, all while ignoring the wealth of info provided by the original author.

                                                          Could he have provided this info in the original post? Sure. Why should he have to? What is so special about this particular “we fired a toxic team member” story that everyone is instantly certain they did it wrong? And unwilling to do even the least bit of additional reading about it?

                                                          Why does this story of Rick prompt such irrational, emotional responses?

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                                                            Why does this story of Rick prompt such irrational, emotional responses?

                                                            Explaining why someone was terminated within a company is a really delicate task. Doing so on the internet requires even more tact.

                                                            Comparing the terminated employee with a narcissistic, nihilistic, and downright crazy cartoon character doesn’t demonstrate much respect for the terminated employee or the seriousness of the situation. I think that’s the main reason the original article left a bad taste in my mouth.

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                                                              Thanks @davidholman, it’s bizarre to me that someone could think the comparison or even the title of the original blog post are any acceptable way for a manager to discuss other colleagues.

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                                                              Hey thanks for the reply, I did apparently miss something in the original - likely as it was hidden underneath the blanket of scapegoating. The “actual text” link from you is a completely different article however, that I had not yet seen.

                                                              To answer the question you pose at the bottom: it’s because many of us have been there. Either directly involved or on the sidelines. We’ve seen the personalities and the egos and the mismanagement. It’s a difficult subject. However I wouldn’t call the responses “irrational”. Emotional, yes, but those empathetic enough will relive their own personal experiences and react. I worked for a toxic company for several years, and saw some bad shit. I saw crazy nepotistic owners oversell the world and then fire those that they used after burning them out to the core. Those who survive take away an insight that we shouldn’t need. Ask me how many times a day I get to say “no” to some absurd request now :)

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                                                                The “actual text” link from you is a completely different article however

                                                                It’s a comment on the original article. Medium treats it as an additional document, but it’s eminently findable on the original article page.

                                                                However I wouldn’t call the responses “irrational”.

                                                                How is it rational? A rational response to “somebody I don’t know got fired” might be something like “did he deserve to be fired? I’ll look into that”, or “something sounds fishy about this story. If I feel the need to post my own essay response, it will be asking those questions and examining different ways they could be answered”.

                                                                Not “I’m now going to post a kneejerk rant against imagined management problems, because Rick deserved better!”. That seems textbook irrational to me.

                                                                those empathetic enough will relive their own personal experiences and react.

                                                                I did. I’ve been burnt by Ricks before. I suspect I’ll be burnt by Ricks again. My response is similar to the original article author’s: fix systemic problems where possible, train toxic people when possible, but fire toxic people who insist on remaining toxic.

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                                                                Could he have provided this info in the original post? Sure. Why should he have to? What is so special about this particular “we fired a toxic team member” story that everyone is instantly certain they did it wrong? And unwilling to do even the least bit of additional reading about it?

                                                                The guy who wrote the original article, which is 99% scapegoating “Rick”, is a manager who seriously thinks literally months of 12-hour days 7 days a week is a good idea: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/our-team-broke-up-with-instant-legacy-releases-and-you-can-too-d129d7ae96bb :

                                                                It took eight months of seven-day weeks and twelve-hour days to complete our last legacy system overhaul.

                                                                No wonder “Rick” burnt out.

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                                                                  The title of the story is about firing rick, and being proud of it, not “we fucked up bad and we unfortunately had to fire someone”. The content of the article is 99% about how Rick was to blame for everything. I can’t even find the link you gave off the front page, I assume it’s nested somewhere in the content. So your claim that you just have to read the actual text and everyone is freaking out over nothing doesn’t jive with reality:

                                                                  The author, as management, does not take responsibility in the original post.

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                                                                  Interestingly, this is one of the questions that has a precise mathematical solution (when it is idealized of course). Essentially, if there is a fixed cost associated with owning a thing vs a cost for using it, each time period, you can break even (on average) if you buy the thing just after you have spent sufficient money on rent to have bought it in the first place.

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                                                                    The problem you linked is trading off buying versus renting when the future use is uncertain, but most people expect to either own a home or pay rent every month until they die. The NYT calculator is mainly about calculating the NPV of two streams of payments and trading off the opposing opportunity costs (investing your down payment vs missing out on rising home values).

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                                                                    Stupid question: can I just put the local prices (I don’t live in the USA) there and have some meaningful results? In other words: is there anything US specific?

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      In the US, one can deduct mortgage interest paid on their primary residence from their income. The calculator factors this in, so you could set the marginal tax rate slider to 0% and that should remove it from the calculations if you don’t have an equivalent deduction in your country.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        I mean you can, but I haven’t paid enough interest to justify itemizing for years at this point. I think, like… two or maybe three years of my mortgage generated enough. Another year of my business generated enough. Mostly, though, it hasn’t been worth doing any deductions.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          If you live in a state with state income tax then that deduction alone can put you over the standard deduction to start with, so the home mortgage interest will be added on top even if it’s small on its own.

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                                                                            Wait, you can deduct state income tax? Do you know if online services like TurboTax take that into account when recommending whether you should itemize or not? I’ve never even attempted to itemize because I assumed it wouldn’t be worthwhile…

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                                                                              Every few years, get a CPA to do your taxes. Find out what you’ve been doing wrong. Re-file. Then use the program for a few more years.

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                                                                                Every tax program should handle that.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        Such was the state of C programming tutorials in 2007. Plenty of lies about heap, stack, global variables, and other made-up features not defined in the C spec. No mention of undefined behavior.

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                                                                          But those are all terms that experienced C programmers use commonly. Anyone wanting to learn the language would need to understand this to communicate with people who already know C and have used it for years.

                                                                          Also, a lie is an intentional falsehood. Accusing someone of putting intentional falsehoods in their free tutorial seems like an unnecessarily damning accusation to throw around.

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                                                                            I would have phrased it differently, but I think there’s a big difference between learning C programming as a concept, and then noting there are some practical implications for real world implementation, vs trying to teach a particular implementation. People who focus on “what really happens” ironically seem to make the most mistakes. More chances to go astray I think. For instance, calling static variables heap variables seems very error prone given the common advice to also free heap memory.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              But those are all terms that experienced C programmers use commonly. Anyone wanting to learn the language would need to understand this to communicate with people who already know C and have used it for years.

                                                                              Of course. So instead of abusing terms, what a good tutorial might do is properly explain these terms and how they relate to typical implementations of C. Having explained said terms is no excuse for not also explaining and then using actual defined C concepts such as scopes, storage durations and linkage. There’ll be fewer lies to unlearn.

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                                                                              Where would you point people for a C tutorial relevant in 2017?

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                                                                                I’m not aware of one I’d really want to endorse.

                                                                                “Modern C” gets more things right than your typical C tutorial – which go to the greatest lengths to avoid using standard terminology and make up their own nonsense instead. Unfortunately Modern C is also way more verbose (and makes a poor job of getting to the point) than it needs to be, and comes with plenty of dogma. It’s not entirely free of nonsense either. But it’s probably among the best of the bunch.

                                                                                http://icube-icps.unistra.fr/index.php/File:ModernC.pdf

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                                                                                  I have this one on the queue; it seems pretty clear headed. But you’re right, it is very long winded.

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                                                                                    One approach I’ve recommended to people in the past is to just pick up whatever tutorial they need to get started with (basic syntax and concepts, a few examples), then grab a copy of the C standard drafts and just start working with real code. Look things up as you go. Read the man pages (especially from OpenBSD) for any library function you encounter. Search for dowd_ch06.pdf and read that carefully. Expert C Programming is a decent read too, once you’ve got things rolling.

                                                                                    It’ll take a while to get all the details right, but C is ultimately a fairly simple language. It shouldn’t need a huge exposition like Modern C; and if a newcomer starts by reading one, chances are they’ll forget most of the details anyway, or fail to appreciate their significance. For reference material, one might as well go straight to N1256 (or preferred version).

                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                  Learn C The Hard Way, which is a paid book now :( The online version was taken down… but you can still find it

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                                                                                    I’ve worked about a third of the way through the free version. Shaw is sort of hard to take, especially when I don’t know enough about what he writing about to judge for myself–his opinions on Python 2 vs. 3 soured me on using him as an initial tutorial for, well, pretty much anything.

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                                                                                This isn’t “the hard thing” about software development, as if there were only one.

                                                                                First of all, employers want to make regular coding work a commodity. They’ve succeeded. The race to the bottom, as described in the article, exists. The product is junk, but (a) you can always hire better engineers later, right? and (b) no middle manager gets fired for buying cheap and squeezing down.

                                                                                The issue is that people who are smart enough to solve tough problems (i.e., to do the work that commodity rent-a-coders can’t do) are generally averse to being typecast as business subordinates. They’ll only care about executive-level business concerns if they’re paid and treated at least as well as the execs, if not better (since a half-decent programmer– okay, my bar for “half-decent” might be high and someone else’s “quite good”– is smarter than 95% of non-technical VPs).

                                                                                Employers want contradictory things from programmers. They want them to care about the business and think proactively about the business’s needs, but they also want for programmers to be subordinates. You really don’t get both, not from a smart person.

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                                                                                  It’s not just an unwillingness to be subordinate. Many companies (if not the vast majority) have an openly hostile environment for engineers that want to understand and contribute to the business side of things. Stepping out of line creates drama that many technical people don’t have the emotional self-management skills to tolerate.

                                                                                  This is where strong engineering management matters. If you’re a good EM that protects talented people, then they stick around and grow. If you let them get kicked around by insecure product managers who can’t tolerate anyone else understanding how the business works, then as soon as someone progresses past the junior engineer stage, they’ll be looking for a new job where their opinions matter.

                                                                                  The fact that the author can’t find good senior engineers might say something about the culture he’s immersed in.

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                                                                                  Every single CEO of any IT company wants to build software faster. Time is the most expensive and valuable resource. You can’t waste it on re-work, refactoring, meetings, physical activities.

                                                                                  I have literally never worked for anyone with this belief. Stability, brand reputation, security, and financial correctness have always taken priority over time to market. I am certain there are very, very rare exceptions, but they rarely pass the sniff test.

                                                                                  I think the whole culture around delivery speed is a natural and logical business reaction to the uncertainty inherent in a part-creative discipline like software. Anyone who is realistically concerned about such things is in desperate need of a talented manager.

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                                                                                    Stability, brand reputation, security, and financial correctness have always taken priority over time to market.

                                                                                    Based on what I’ve read and experienced it seems like you’ve had exceptional leadership where you’ve worked. Can you share the company or if there’s some way to identify a workplace like this? You can ask directly in an interview but everyone claims they care about quality…

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                                                                                      the one example I think I can safely share was AMZN. (this was over 7 years ago, so adjust numbers accordingly) when touching anything in the ordering pipeline, the first question was “is this stable” and the last metric viewed was “did the order rate dip”. when you are processing 2k - 20k orders/second and the average user won’t retry after a code 500, a 60 second outage could cost a million bucks.

                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                      Totally agreed. If a CEO wants speed and you explain the trade offs that will be made, if he/she still wants speed, it’s then a matter of strategy. People are not all evil and when you explain them why quality is a cost, they understand it and from my little experience, play with it a few time and find the right gauge.

                                                                                      I listened recently an old Devops café podcast that was talking about this issue, and the interviewee explained that they put a speed scale on the wall for the Product Mangers, explaining that faster is possible, but it has some costs, but let the PMs change the speed. Interestingly, the PM understood pretty quickly that being >80% wasn’t a good idea.

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                                                                                      This article seems written to create a bunch of anxiety without any actual solutions.

                                                                                      Don’t write code just because it’s fun—instead, solve the problem the right way

                                                                                      Ok, what’s the right way? According to the article, sometimes it’s this, sometimes it’s that, but I’m not going to tell you how to pick!

                                                                                      But when you’re working, when you’re trying to get a product shipped, when you’re trying to get a bug fixed: be a professional

                                                                                      I definitely wouldn’t want to be unprofessional if I want to keep my job… what should I do?? The article doesn’t even tell me what professionalism is - except definitely don’t have fun at work!

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                                                                                        I’m sorry this made you anxious.

                                                                                        But here’s the thing: there are no answers. There are no rules. There’s a reason my blog is called “Code Without Rules”: I can’t tell you what to do, because it all depends on the circumstances you’re in.

                                                                                        When we’re just starting out as programmers we get a spec and we implement it. And that’s comforting: we know exactly what we need to do. But beyond a certain point we end up having to design things ourselves, make the big choices on our own. And when we do, there are no rules, no easy answers. There’s only different circumstances with different solutions.

                                                                                        There are principles, yes: “how fun something is shouldn’t be the main criteria when designing something at work” was the point I was trying to get across. And as is the case with every post I write, people here on Lobsters point out exceptions, because—there’s no rules.

                                                                                        Pretty much everything I’ve written over past year is attempt to try to get principles rather than rules across, and it’s hard. Again, I’m sorry if I didn’t do as well as I could have in this case.

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                                                                                          I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have been so snarky.

                                                                                          I fully agree that making good technical decisions in the context of a business is subtle and takes years of experience to learn to do well.

                                                                                          My issue is that the article really adds no value other than pointing out the problem. What makes it worse in my opinion is that the main point is obscured behind moralizing and patronizing language that could make the kind of people who would benefit from the message (young/inexperience) more confused and stressed out than helped.

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                                                                                            I think it’s useful to point out problems, because if you don’t know a problem exists you won’t even think about the solution. In this case simply being aware of the problem seems like it would help solve it, in part. But please share you have suggestions for better solutions, or rather better ways of making the solution easier to follow.

                                                                                            Could you point out specific or sentences that you felt was patronizing/moralizing? Definitely don’t want to do that, so good to know what things came across that way. Well, I guess I do want to come across as moralizing in that I think programmers have a professional responsibility to users and customers. But not in an off-putting way, so examples of where I didn’t do well would be welcome :)

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                                                                                              The two sentences I highlighted are the most obvious offenders.

                                                                                              Don’t tell someone to do something “right” without defining right. In a technical or work situation I would almost never use the expression “right way to do something” because it’s so loaded. Be specific about what you want to be done in what way. Instead of using a right/wrong dichotomy, explain the specific benefits or costs.

                                                                                              “Be a professional” is similar. Calling into question someone’s professionalism is very harsh, particularly as you mention that you’re bringing something up many people might not even have considered before.

                                                                                              What I think would have made this article come off as more helpful would be if you discussed actual tradeoffs you might want to consider when deciding how to solve a problem. E.g., if you use a library, it could save a lot of time, but too many dependencies are hard to manage. Writing tests can be boring or slow development in the short term, but if it saves your coworkers from being at the office on the weekend fixing your mistake, then maybe it’s worth it.

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                                                                                                Thanks!

                                                                                      1. -2

                                                                                        Inclusive is codeword for ‘not white/asian male’?

                                                                                        Every time somebody is hired because the employer goes out of their way to be diverse, somebody else wasn’t hired for that same spot.

                                                                                        Diversity is just a social instead of governmental (but sometimes governmental) way to discriminate against the dominant subgroup for the non-dominant “oppressed” minorities. A perverted way to get people to atone for their original sin (being born to the dominant majority subgroup). Of course when we talk about diversity in tech we rarely talk about asian males, since they don’t seem to have any problem succeeding in this domain more or less.

                                                                                        This is a mind virus. An ideologically driven way to favor some groups over another by claiming that the favored groups are somehow ‘oppressed’ and therefore they are to be favored to balance the scale.

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                                                                                          Group diversity has been shown to correlate with better results in a variety of settings. It’s not just affirmative action; inclusive teams produce better work by anticipating needs and circumventing shitty groupthink.

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                                                                                            Sources/further details please? I am concerned about the conflation of several different definitions of “diversity”. In particular, field-relevant experiential/educational diversity is drastically different from skin color diversity and neither is a good heuristic for the other.

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                                                                                              If this was true then why would there need to be any governmental enforced diversity quota/incentive?

                                                                                              If group diversity is beneficial then we would already see organisations embrace it for its own productive benefits. Instead we see socially mandated diversity and after-the-facts rationalisation.

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                                                                                                If group diversity is beneficial then we would already see organisations embrace it

                                                                                                Doesn’t this strike you as exactly an after-the-fact rationalization? You’re assuming that the best solutions always arise within a particular time interval. For example, travel back in time 10 years and try making this argument. Now try 100. 500. 1000. Which things were worse back then that are better now? Would you still refute the possibility of improvement based on the notion that since the best thing hadn’t arised naturally at that point in time that it therefore never would?

                                                                                                (Note that I am not criticizing your position against “mandated diversity,” but rather, your specious argumentation.)

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                                                                                                  You’re assuming that the best solutions always arise within a particular time interval.

                                                                                                  There are 2 possibilities here:

                                                                                                  1. Diversity is good but the free enterprise system has failed miserably in figuring out that it is good so the mighty government and social engineers need to force people to adopt the superior system of organisation.

                                                                                                  2. Diversity doesn’t really help but the government and its master-ideologues want to impose it on the population at large via media indoctrination and legal imposition.

                                                                                                  Given that many complex organisational system has been developed by business in order to improve productivity, and that so much effort is put into squeezing even 1% increase in some industries, the idea that they have totally missed this grand strategy of just flooding the workspace with one-of-every-animal seems unlikely to be true.

                                                                                                  This is especially since if diversity is a benefit, one has to probably agree that it would be an incrementally increasing benefit i.e. 2-groups would be slightly better than 1-groups and so it would be pretty apparent to at least some people that (n+1)-group is better than n-group, and these people would of course write a bunch of books and we would see that companies that are homogenous get out-competed from the market.

                                                                                                  Instead we have people calling those who disagree racist/sexist/classist/bigot and calls for minorities to be inserted into the most prestigious (ceos, senators) and the recently-cool programming jobs. Meanwhile calls for diversity in the mineral mining sector is quite silent.

                                                                                                  Wouldn’t we get increase in productivity if we plonk down some women in a mine somewhere or as part of a sanitation team?

                                                                                                  Of course the best solution doesn’t always arise at a particular time, this is clearly true since if it arose at time x it didn’t arise at time y. But nobody is claiming that diversity can not possibly be the best solution because it didn’t arise sooner, but because a bunch of people looking around for the best solution didn’t find it to be very promising.

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                                                                                                    Diversity is good but the free enterprise system has failed miserably in figuring out that it is good so the mighty government and social engineers need to force people to adopt the superior system of organisation.

                                                                                                    This has happened a few times before. See: Environmental regulations, financial regulations, health regulations.

                                                                                                    1. 9

                                                                                                      a few times

                                                                                                      This happens constantly. Free enterprise is extraordinarily bad at optimizing, and outright incapable of considering second-order effects (to the extent that economists had to invent a jargon term for it—“externality”—so they could sweep it under the rug).

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                                                                                                        What would you cite as the primary causes of the technological growth in the last 200 years?

                                                                                                        Do you think some externalities could be removed via a more comprehensive system of private property?

                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                          What would you cite as the primary causes of the technological growth in the last 200 years?

                                                                                                          My simplified answer would be: mainly governments deciding to pour large amounts of resources into technology R&D, for various reasons that mostly have orbited around “empire” and “military”. The British Empire’s investments in railroad, mining, energy, and engine technology; the 19th century French and German governments’ big stable of scientist/inventors in their applied-science and engineering institutes (von Humboldt, Carnot, Coriolis, the Curies, etc.). In the 20th century, both the Axis and Allies’ crash R&D programs: V-2 rockets, the Manhattan Project, Bletchley Park; and later the thermonuclear program, ENIAC, the space race, ARPA, and so on.

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                                                                                                            What role did free enterprise play in those developments?

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Implementation assistance and tear-away sustainability plan.

                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                Would said technological improvement have been feasible without free enterprise? If not, what justifies the characterization that it is “extraordinarily bad at optimizing?” If so, what took us so long to make the progress in the first place?

                                                                                                                i.e., Is the rise of (comparatively) free enterprise and the technological boom simultaneously just a coincidence? If you believe that, how do you convince others of that?

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  I doubt you could convince many people they are a unrelated events.

                                                                                                                  The most obvious argument I can see is that technology enabled free enterprise, rather than the other way around. I’d have to think a bit more before I could flesh it out further, though.

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                                                                                                                    That’s reasonable.

                                                                                                                    For the most part, I’m trying to call into question the notion that free enterprise is terrible at optimization. There are plenty of examples where it doesn’t arrive to obviously ideal circumstances, but if you’re going to say that it’s terrible at optimization, then the natural question to ask is: compared to what? IMO, even doing that comparison is fraught with peril and probably so difficult that it’s impossible, which leads me to the conclusion that statements like “free enterprise is terrible at optimization” aren’t particularly meaningful.

                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                        It’s not clear if or to what degree any of those things had a positive effect on humanity. It’s also not really comparable, because adopting good hiring practices is very obviously in a business’s self-interest, whereas environmental regulations are (ideally) more about forcing the internalization of external costs.

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                                                                                                          environmental regulations

                                                                                                          Have you been to China or India? It’s really nice being able to breathe outside.

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            Yeah, I was in HK last week. Air is somewhat worse than the US, but I’m tempted to say it’s worth it given how inexpensive and efficient everything is as a result of less burdensome regulations. Their infrastructure is actually substantially better than ours, believe it or not, despite drastically lower taxes and less government involvement.

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                                                                                                              Hilarious. 1/3 the population lives in public housing. The public transit system depending on a government owned “private” company that (a) owns tons of real estate which it uses to subsidize its transit mission and (b) has regulated fares …
                                                                                                              Compare that to the USA and there is, in reality, substantially more government involvement. The US system is really inefficient though because of the layers of government (federalism) and the enormous cost of pretending that the government is not involved.

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                                                                                                                HK is an interesting example for public housing, because it was not done all that much differently than elsewhere where it has a bad reputation, but in HK it has a reasonably good reputation. The architectural style is pretty much the style now reviled elsewhere: high-modernist concrete tower blocks densely packed together into public housing estates. But they were built on a much larger scale than what the U.S. or most European countries ever built, and overall are reasonably well regarded.

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                                                                                                            It’s not clear if or to what degree any of those things had a positive effect on humanity.

                                                                                                            “ financial regulations”

                                                                                                            You believe it’s unclear whether people getting robbed constantly by crooks or the banks themselves was a net benefit to our society?

                                                                                                            “health regulations”

                                                                                                            You also believe that random people getting sick or murdered less often by lying vendors in medical field isn’t an obvious benefit to our society? If you said lazy or evil folks, I could see someone arguing for them to disappear. Cancer and snake oil salesmen don’t target only them, though. They take out beneficial people, too.

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                                                                                                              Making fraud illegal isn’t a “financial regulation” any more than making murder illegal is a “health regulation”.

                                                                                                              Both of the things you described are just fraud. “Financial regulation” carries the connotation of, you know, specifically addressing the use of certain financial structures.

                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                “Making fraud illegal isn’t a “financial regulation” “

                                                                                                                You’re putting words into my mouth. I said people were getting robbed. It’s conceptually fraud but wasn’t legally fraud in many circumstances. Sometimes it was just an evil thing the majority of banks practiced that benefited them at everyone’s expense. Damage would be done by whatever acts were technically legal in current system or made legal through bribes by banks to politicians. Next round of politics increases regulation to cover those things probably after an outcry from affected voters. It’s then illegal due to the regulations.

                                                                                                                One that they tried to pull on me was not allowing me to pay debts with low-interest until I paid off all with high interest. That let the low-interest keep piling up in event I could only pay small portion. That was made illegal by regulations added under the Obama Administration. There’s lots of sneaky shit like that in finance.

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                                                                                                          Aside from the moral blindness, the most characteristic feature of libertarianism is complete ignorance of how businesses and markets operate.

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            Aside from the moral blindness

                                                                                                            That’s factually incorrect. There are many popular ways to argue in favor of libertarianism, and one of them is a moralistic argument: that the initiation of force or threat of force is wrong. You might disagree with that moral argument, but it’s certainly not “moral blindness.” And morals needn’t end there either, although I admit many libertarians on the Internet may give you the impression that it does. (Which is why I don’t often chum around any online libertarian hangouts.)

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                                                                                                              Libertarians don’t believe that. They believe that force to protect property rights is fine. And they are desperate embracers of a conveniently timed statute of limitations so that property rights deriving from theft and violence are grandfathered in somehow. In 1860 the mortgage value of human beings held in forced labor by state and private terrorism was greater than the entire industrial plant of the United States, yet somehow that and far more recent atrocities are in the moral “never mind” class for Libertarians while tax assessments to pay for school lunch are somehow immoral.

                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                That’s a pretty extreme straw man. Regardless, your characterization of libertarianism as “morally blind” remains factually incorrect. Your musings on the questionable priorities of some of libertarianism’s adherents do nothing to change that.

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                                                                                                                  It’s not a straw man at all. Your claim is that Libertarianism is based on the moral principle that initiation of force is wrong. But that claim involves redefining “force” so that if I peacefully walk out of your store without paying for a loaf of bread, and then an armed agent of the state kicks my ribs in, the libertarian can claim I initiated force! And even libertarians have wrestled with the insolvable problem of the bloody provenance of wealth - Murray Rothbard worked himself into pretzels trying to wiggle around it.

                                                                                                                  1. 0

                                                                                                                    Please read my initial comment more carefully:

                                                                                                                    You might disagree with that moral argument, but it’s certainly not “moral blindness.”

                                                                                                                    So even if you’ve arrived to an interpretation of the NAP that you find objectionable (I also find your interpretation objectionable), then you’ve implicitly admitted that a moral principle exists. You just happen to disagree with it. Therefore, it is a blatant misrepresentation to describe libertarianism as morally blind.


                                                                                                                    I also disagree with your interpretation. I think your example obviously violates proportionality. A proportionate response would probably be to confront the thief. This leads me to question whether you’ve considered proportionality at all in your interpretation of the NAP.

                                                                                                                    If you did indeed neglect proportionality, then you would unfortunately be in good company. I’ve found that many so-called libertarians do the same, and generally use that as a license to say all manner of crazy things. I mean, if the NAP doesn’t have proportionality built into it, then it’s trivially useless. If you find yourself in that position with a well studied philosophy, then it’s a fair bet that you’re probably missing something.

                                                                                                                    And even libertarians have wrestled with the insolvable problem of the bloody provenance of wealth - Murray Rothbard worked himself into pretzels trying to wiggle around it.

                                                                                                                    I’m not here to debate libertarianism with you. That would be foolish. I’m pointing out blatant mischaracterizations of libertarianism. If you don’t represent the thing you’re trying to criticize accurately, then your criticisms aren’t going to be substantive.

                                                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                                                      with the insolvable problem of the bloody provenance of wealth

                                                                                                                      The solution is geolibertarianism.

                                                                                                            2. 3

                                                                                                              Honestly, I feel like you just kind of doubled down on your argument without substantively responding to my criticism. For example:

                                                                                                              But nobody is claiming that diversity can not possibly be the best solution because it didn’t arise sooner

                                                                                                              But this seems to be literally what you said. What other interpretation am I supposed to make of this?

                                                                                                              If group diversity is beneficial then we would already see organisations embrace it

                                                                                                              More generally, I reject your dichotomy. Personally, I think your entire argument is missing something extremely important: the idea of cultural evolution and its impact on business. Culture isn’t a fixed point in time and space. It evolves. In our current bubble, the culture is clearly evolving to be more inclusive of diverse peoples. At some point in time, hanging a sign outside your window that said “Purple people need not apply” was socially acceptable. But today, it would be terrible business sense to do such a thing. Even if you could come up with an argument that said Purple people were, on average, very bad workers, your business would probably fail because the vast majority of your potential customers would probably consider such an explicit act of racism to be vulgar enough to take their business elsewhere. But this wasn’t always true. The same type of thing seems to have been happening on a less overt scale within the less several decades, and pointing squarely at government as the only entity to blame seems a bit of a shallow critique to me.

                                                                                                              With that said, I think there might be interesting arguments around the amplification of progressive cultural norms through States and governments.

                                                                                                        3. 2

                                                                                                          Hey! I think this argument is not a very good one to lead with. The reason being: if the evidence were not there, or changes over time as more studies happen, does that mean someone should not be for diversity? I think that one should still be for supporting diversity because the world I want to live in is based on equality.

                                                                                                          Another problem is what we see in response to your comment: people asking for the studies and wanting to argue over the study rather than diversity.

                                                                                                        4. 10

                                                                                                          Diversity is just a social instead of governmental (but sometimes governmental) way to discriminate against the dominant subgroup for the non-dominant “oppressed” minorities

                                                                                                          Women are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented in IT. So is taking action to try to get more women in to IT about discrimination against the dominate subgroup?

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                                                                                                            Women are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented in IT.

                                                                                                            Men are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented as mothers.

                                                                                                            This reasoning is a rationalisation, because we only see it used to insert women into high-prestige jobs (ceos, senators) and the recently-cool tech jobs, but never see it used to insert women into low-prestige jobs like sanitation or garbage collection.

                                                                                                            Men and women are different. They have different interests and priorities and they make different career choices. The idea that an industry has to be a cross-section of the society as a whole doesn’t really make sense.

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                                                                                                              Men are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented as mothers.

                                                                                                              The definition of mother somewhat precludes that. How about we call that one a mulligan and you try again?

                                                                                                              This reasoning is a rationalisation, because we only see it used to insert women into high-prestige jobs (ceos, senators) and the recently-cool tech jobs, but never see it used to insert women into low-prestige jobs like sanitation or garbage collection.

                                                                                                              There are similar stories from male dominated jobs such a firefighter and police where women have had a difficult time getting into. And let’s not forget, in the US at least, the big fight over if women should be allowed to serve in the military. I think if you look a bit harder you can find examples in many industries of women trying to be involved.

                                                                                                              Men and women are different. They have different interests and priorities and they make different career choices. The idea that an industry has to be a cross-section of the society as a whole doesn’t really make sense.

                                                                                                              I agree, an industry need not necessarily look like a cross section of society. However we have multiple examples of women not being in IT due to the culture rather than interest, so your argument doesn’t really have much merit to it.

                                                                                                              Finally: you didn’t actually respond to my comment but rather changed the topic. You called it discrimination against a dominate group and I pointed out that there is at least one example of a group roughly equal in population but not in representation in an industry. How is that discrimination?

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                                                                                                                In another culture or in times past you could use the same reasoning to imply that women do not belong in sport, education, or should not be trusted with the vote. You can’t draw any conclusions about what women (or other groups) want, or are capable of by the current state of things. We’re all at least partially a product of the environment we grew up in, so if we grow up and see others like us doing one thing, we’re likely to follow. As humans, we’re incredibly adaptable, and I don’t think that trait has anything to do with gender or race. Sure we’re all different, but so much of that depends on culture and I personally think diversity of ideas and viewpoints is worth striving for.

                                                                                                                Also, the men and mothers thing was a bit silly don’t you think :)? I don’t think that’s a very fair comparison somehow.

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                                                                                                                  In another culture or in times past you could use the same reasoning to imply that women do not belong in sport, education, or should not be trusted with the vote.

                                                                                                                  But he is actually arguing against positive discrimination. I don’t think there was positive discrimination for women in sport, education or voting.

                                                                                                                  Also, the men and mothers thing was a bit silly don’t you think :)? I don’t think that’s a very fair comparison somehow.

                                                                                                                  Not really. I see no reason, why men can’t do motherly role in family.

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                                                                                                                    Not really. I see no reason, why men can’t do motherly role in family.

                                                                                                                    Even in that case, a male is generally called a “father” not a mother. Saying that the original comment was really just role based is a pretty weak support.

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                                                                                                                      I’m actually not sure about that. There are some assumptions with the roles a father plays in a family versus the roles a mother plays in a family. I think the argument is fundamentally a miscommunication around what the intention of the word mother is, since to some it’s a biological thing while others is a cultural thing and even that has some implicit meaning that may mean a feminine parent versus a masculine parent.

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                                                                                                                        Take single parents as an example where a father or mother is responsible for providing both roles, we still all them a “single X” where X is the gender-specific name.

                                                                                                                        Or take same sex couples with children, even if one partner is fulfilling what would generally be considered the opposite role of their gender, the default naming convention is the gender specific one.

                                                                                                                        On top of that, as far as I have seen (and I’m happy to be proven wrong) people often self-identify as a father or mother based on gender. In my limited experience, people who which to transcend the traditional role of father and mother tend to just refer to themselves as a parent rather than trying to continue in gender-specific roles. But again, I can probably (and happy to) be proven wrong on that claim as well.

                                                                                                                        This argument that “father” and “mother” is role-based rather than gender-based might be a nice ideal but it’s an weak counter-argument in the context of this discussion.

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                                                                                                                  Men are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented as mothers.

                                                                                                                  That could be the single, most-retarded counter I’ve ever seen on Lobsters. apy points out that the white males in tech hire almost no women despite a ton of talent available. Hell, it was Margaret Hamilton to popularized the term “software engineering” after her team did better than most who were hired on their first attempt. A ton of programmers then were also women, including black women, since it was seen as clerical work. After it was recognized as creative, it was male dominated in short time with it remaining so. Your counter is that men uncapable of giving birth to a child are “underrepresented as mothers?” Huh? You appeared ideological before but that’s just nuts.

                                                                                                                  http://www.wired.com/2015/10/margaret-hamilton-nasa-apollo/

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                                                                                                                    That could be the single, most-retarded counter I’ve ever seen on Lobsters.

                                                                                                                    Okay, let’s consider biological-effect on a role. So it’s a sliding scale between fully female role like a mother, where we never see a male in this role, and fully male i.e father, and right in the middle we see the role of children where male and female can equally fill that role. This scale is based entirely on the biological difference in sex.

                                                                                                                    Why can’t programming exist on this sliding scale and be responsible for the differences in sex in programming?

                                                                                                                    So if biology can preclude entirely men from the role of mothers, why can’t biology preclude proportionally more women from the role of programmers?

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                                                                                                                      The challenge with your mother/father example is that these terms are, for most people, defined in terms of biology rather than an implicit result of biology. For example, take a single parent which is responsible for providing the for the needs as both mother and father, most people still refer to them in terms of their sex, i.e. “Single dad” or “single mom”. I think taking your example seriously is very hard given this. Perhaps you could find a different example that wasn’t so deeply based on biology?

                                                                                                                      Why can’t programming exist on this sliding scale and be responsible for the differences in sex in programming?

                                                                                                                      I brought up the 50% thing so I should clarify a bit. People, including yourself, seem to believe I was making a claim that the breakdown in IT should be 50%. That is not what I meant. Instead, I was trying to call to attention your use of “dominate subgroup” and that the term “dominate” doesn’t make sense in a situation where the group size is about equal. Maybe this means you have some implicit bias towards viewing men in a way different than women? Or maybe I misinterpreted what you mean by “dominate subgroup”? It’s possible you were specifically talking about the subgroup of IT, but then that is a but confusing too since the whole point is that men are more represented.

                                                                                                                      But, even if the natural interest in IT between the sexes is not 50-50, that does not imply that the representation of each sex right now represents the natural interest level, which seems to be what you are implying. And, in fact, we at least have evidence that many women feel like they are not welcomed in IT despite being interested in it.

                                                                                                                      So, we know that women are not near 50% in IT and we have evidence that women who are interested don’t feel welcomed.

                                                                                                                      Given that, here are two questions:

                                                                                                                      1. If what I have said is correct (just assume it is correct for the sake of this question), do you believe that still nothing should be done to make IT more welcoming towards women? If not, why?
                                                                                                                      2. Do you dispute that what I claim is correct? I have not cited any direct evidence so it is not unreasonable to dispute it. These numbers show up in any unconscious bias talk or diversity slideshow so I haven’t really done any effort in finding stats.
                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                        Okay, let’s consider biological-effect on a role.

                                                                                                                        Tons of studies have been done on people starting from children onto workers. The decisions of parents, educators and managers seem to be the greatest factor determining whether people are… going to do or be anything. They literally shape most of their lives. Also, influence whether they are likely to go into certain fields. The managers determine who will stay, leave, or move up. The interesting thing to me is you are hyper-focused on biology when it has had the least impact in empirical studies. The other things have so much impact that we’d have to design experiments to eliminate them… not sure how to even go about that… to see what biological impact remains. We can’t even see the biological impact outside of studies on children since there’s been too much psychological indoctrination and conditioning by adulthood.

                                                                                                                        It might be something you seriously believe although it comes off like propaganda in a way. Here’s why: tons of decisions by biased individuals are shaping children into adults then conditioning them into employees. We’re saying those biases are promoting some and limiting others in specific areas. You show up saying, “Hey, but what if all that had almost no impact and they just biologically were programmed to do everything their parents and bosses were telling them to do? And parents/bosses were just coincidental with biology really explaining things?” And everyone in the room just looks at you confused wondering why you’re ignoring lifetimes worth of data to focus on a biology hypothesis with little data.

                                                                                                                        EDIT: I’ll also add that the biology arguments showed up for blacks, too. They were just biologically designed to be dumb savages with no capacity for understanding or doing white things. That supported inhumane treatment from slavery to the Tuskagee Syphallis Experiment. Then, once laws tackled true issue (social discrimination), eventually many got educated and had a chance in business. Now they’re doing pretty much all the same things white people were doing with some billionaires, getting Noble Prizes, etc. I think we’ll see something similar if we combat social discrimination against women instead of similarly making biology arguments about how dumb, weak, incompatible for jobs, or whatever they are. Actually, we’ve already seen it at smaller scales across the U.S. when they’re allowed to prove themselves. You’re ignoring that data, too, for some reason.

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                                                                                                                      …Is your suggestion really that the underrepresentation in IT is similar to a biological difference?

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                                                                                                                        I’m not the person you’re responding to and I’m also not making a definitive claim, but are you really convinced that human sexual dimorphism has no psychological effects that could manifest as different career tendencies? I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how much, exactly, biological differences influence career choice, but I would certainly guess it’s non-zero. This would be consistent with variances in gender distribution across many fields.

                                                                                                                        Instead of a question, could you explictly state your position on this? It’s hard to construct a useful reply to what sounds more like a moral dismissal than a concrete argument.

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                                                                                                                          I responded to the biology angle here:

                                                                                                                          https://lobste.rs/s/8qmra7/for_inclusive_culture_try_working_less#c_aqyakn

                                                                                                                          Long story short: theres basically no data supporting it, there’s little data to be had outside of children, there’s tons of data saying it’s not biology, and someone’s motives should be questioned if they’re ignoring that to make biological arguments.

                                                                                                                          1. 0

                                                                                                                            https://phys.org/news/2017-05-gender-bias-open-source.html

                                                                                                                            Yes, I am sure that being able to have a baby has no freaking affect and couldn’t possibly explain these results.

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                                                                                                                              Random noise can explain those results.

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                                                                                                                                First off, that study was absolute garbage. I’m not going to re-hash what plenty of qualified people have said, but here’s a link that should help. http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/02/12/before-you-get-too-excited-about-that-github-study/

                                                                                                                                Second off, instead of saying anything substantive you’ve just responded with more snark and outrage. Being able to bear children or not is obviously not the only sexual dimorphism in humans, and you’re acting the fool by pretending otherwise. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16688123/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24374381/

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                                                                                                                        Alternatively, diverse can also include those who cannot drink or eat meat. I’ve seen a few folks who were socially disconnected from the company because they could not attend any of the social functions being Muslim or Indian or Taiwanese where these preferences is much more common. Moreover, diversity can also include those who have timely obligations outside of the traditional Silicon Valley work schedule, like picking kids up after school or volunteering their time at other places. Our corporate environment pretty much does not hire anyone for part time work, and full time work has very flexible hours that can easily be misconstrued to staying at work late else risk giving a bad impression.

                                                                                                                        I can kind of get what you’re saying. However, isn’t turning a blind eye to implicit discrimination a sin of its own? I agree with you that it’s hard to say someone who was born into privilege is a sinner but perhaps if they recognize that and still chose to keep that predisposition for themselves, is that not a sin?

                                                                                                                        Also, you’re assuming that hiring is a zero sum game, where there is only one position and someone has to fill it, and the others will not get that chance. Perhaps including and engaging with a wider more diverse group of people will actually increase the overall cake size without having to force people to have smaller sizes or forgo the cake entirely? This is all purely speculation but what if doing this actually leads to more innovation and engagement by a larger overall population to be leaders and entrepreneurs such that it spurs a larger overall growth of the industry and ends up creating more overall jobs for everyone? Perhaps that is the missing key in our market right now, that we don’t have as many competing ideas and philosophies and prospectives so there really just isn’t as many people engaged in entrepreneurship.

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                                                                                                                          However, isn’t turning a blind eye to implicit discrimination a sin of its own?

                                                                                                                          Of course not, because you have to discriminate. You brain is evolved to collect data of its surrounding then infer patterns from that data so you can discriminate against stuff in the future. You treat a tiger differently from a kitten because they are different even though in many ways they are similar. The only way to not discriminate is to treat everything the same, a non-sensible proposition.

                                                                                                                          Now if you refer to the modern sense of ‘discrimination’ meaning treating people differently based on their inherited properties, which is somehow an unforgivable sin in the modern age (even though everybody does it, but they will say “im not a racist” before they explain what they do), you still have to face the facts that people are not the same. Different sub groups have different abilities, and we see these abilities play out in different outcome.

                                                                                                                          Also, you’re assuming that hiring is a zero sum game,

                                                                                                                          That particular spot is a zero sum game.

                                                                                                                          Perhaps including and engaging with a wider more diverse group of people will actually increase the overall cake size

                                                                                                                          I could say the same about less diverse group. That by being entirely discriminatory, there would be so many jobs that every single minority-person is employed. So this argument by itself works both ways.

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                                                                                                                          Diversity is just a social instead of governmental (but sometimes governmental) way to discriminate against the dominant subgroup for the non-dominant “oppressed” minorities.

                                                                                                                          Depends on whose doing it. Often used that way. Doesn’t have to be, though, as one can get racial diversity by sole focus on performance and/or blind auditions. Mental diversity is more important if one wants higher-quality solutions but harder to select for. People have to be willing to bring in folks they might argue with every day. Most wont no matter what color or gender they are. In my company, it was mostly whites years ago coming in hiring pipeline when whites ran it. That was by biases of employees referring people [like them] and of hiring managers confirming people [like them]. My section is currently black-controlled (almost all women) with mostly blacks coming in the pipeline. Skill level is the same mix of bad, decent, and good as before far as I can tell. I haven’t dared ask if they have any interest in getting a balanced (by area makeup) percentage of whites in pipeline or males in their level of management. They’ll both not care plus be incredibly hostile to the idea like every other time I’ve done it anywhere else. Only exception was a bank that preempted me with quotas on gender where either type might be blocked to achieve their goals.

                                                                                                                          “Of course when we talk about diversity in tech we rarely talk about asian males, since they don’t seem to have any problem succeeding in this domain more or less.”

                                                                                                                          Indian or Far East. And especially under H1-B’s. Let’s not start filtering them for alternative demographics. It might not meet the managerial or compensation goals of the scheming business. ;)

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                                                                                                                            You sound set in your ways and not open to imagining or considering why diversity might be a good thing. I assume you’re in a ‘western’ culture, that you live in a city, work in tech, and that you are in a reasonably comfortable position where you don’t have to deal first hand with any non trivial cultural pressure?

                                                                                                                            Diversity simply brings points of view, attitudes and needs that are impossible to imagine or simulate without first hand representation. This will in most cases significantly improve working practices and products/services. It is ideological, but it is also completely practical.

                                                                                                                            Scale is an important question - you need to have consistency and boundaries within small social groups, but the main case where the need for diversity does not apply is a forcefully maintained large scale monoculture, which to maintain uniformity and stability must remove ‘the other’ from consideration. Is that what you’re going for?

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                                                                                                                              You sound set in your ways and not open to imagining or considering why diversity might be a good thing.

                                                                                                                              I am not at all.

                                                                                                                              What I am against in social, governmental and ideological push to insert whichever-subgroups into places via the logic that their lack of representation there is because of “oppression and xism” when the alternative explanation that they are not there either by choice or by lack of ability is more likely to be true.

                                                                                                                              The word diverse is now being used primarily by people that seek to make such a push so it can be used as a warning sign. But I am not against diversity at all, I am against government and ideological mandate, including mandate for ‘diversity’ especially when it is based on spurious claim that the dominant groups are in a conspiracy to oppress and discriminate against the other subgroups.

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                when the alternative explanation that they are not there either by choice or by lack of ability is more likely to be true.

                                                                                                                                What bases are you making that claim off of, though? There are multiple bits of evidence out there that suggest that women, I cannot speak to other groups, are interested in IT however the culture either makes want to leave the industry or they cannot get in, in the first place.

                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                  that the dominant groups are in a conspiracy to oppress and discriminate against the other subgroups.

                                                                                                                                  “maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery–the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits–a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. “ (Texas statement of seccession)

                                                                                                                                  Up to the 1960’s:

                                                                                                                                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

                                                                                                                                  Recently, after lots of black votes for Democrats, Republicans pass laws curbing their chances to vote:

                                                                                                                                  http://prospect.org/article/22-states-wave-new-voting-restrictions-threatens-shift-outcomes-tight-races

                                                                                                                                  So, this isn’t speculative. There’s definitely groups trying to restrict other groups. It’s sometimes obvious, sometimes indirect. The dominant groups have also always used government mandates to ensure dominance. We see this on the business side where they try to create legal monopolies on land or ideas. This is something that stays happening. So, the solution is to combat it with legislation countering it.

                                                                                                                                  Note: I’m using black history in these examples just because it nicely illustrates the points. That they thought of blacks as less than human meant they were more open about their discrimination, even making it law.