Morning Ed: Society {2016.01.20.W}

Society:

I am fascinated by the prospect of a Dirk Gently TV series, though bummed if it takes place in the USA.

Andrew Stiles is not very impressed with political dating apps. I… can’t work up too much outrage. If it’s a dealbreaker and/or something important to you, go for it. Compatible value systems are important, and if politics is a part of that value system… well, a dealbreaker in a spouse isn’t the same thing as a dealbreaker for friendship.

Things that make me glad I’m not young and single.

According to Harvard Business Review, diversity policies don’t seem to make workplaces fairer, but they make white men feel threatened. So I guess it depends on what the aims are?

Still haven’t seen seen it, but when I do I am going to go back and look at these 142 behind the scenes photos of Blade Runner’s miniature scenery.

The curse of the lottery winner may be overstated, but if people hoping to win are looking forward to a prosperous retirement, they may be disappointed. A story from Texas in 2004.

Meanwhile, Nautilus looks at the mathematics and psychology of the lottery, and Chidike Okeem argues that anti-lottery zealotry is errant, hubristic, and puritan.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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70 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2016.01.20.W}

  1. A lot of internet dating sites and dating apps have the problem of forcing dating habits that work for the most attractive, social, and to an extent sexual of women and forcing them on the rest of us. I’d say this is true for a lot of modern dating in general even if the internet isn’t revolved.

    For lottery winners, I suspect the problem is that many winners do not have the education to really know what to do with really big money. The answer is that you put it in various funds and accounts designed for high amounts of money run by groups like Morgan Stanley and other investment firms rather than an ordinary bank. Real estate would also be a good investment if you come into serious money through a lottery. You buy and rent out a couple of high price condos and housing units.

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    • LeeEsq: A lot of internet dating sites and dating apps have the problem of forcing dating habits that work for the most attractive, social, and to an extent sexual of women and forcing them on the rest of us. I’d say this is true for a lot of modern dating in general even if the internet isn’t revolved.

      except, I’ve seen internet dating work incredibly well for people who aren’t conventionally attractive or conventionally social. Indeed, I think it serves such people the most acutely, since attractive social people were the ones who had the easiest time finding dates in the era immediately before internet dating.

      The people who it doesn’t serve are the dating equivalent of rent-seekers. The ones who got some special (and often deeply disturbing) leg up from the old system. I can think of no better example than Scott Aaronson’s intensely creepy use of “shtetl-optimized”–that is, that Aaronson’s personal traits are best suited for an environment in which he is simply assigned a bride by a 19th century village matchmaker.

      The idea that internet dating & internet dating culture is causing people to lose out on dates relies on the notion that there’s a fixed amount of sex or romance, and that when dating “winners” use it up, that leaves none left for the “losers”. That’s a very false notion, and one that also entails a certain degree of subtle misogyny.

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      • I still think what happened to Aaronson was shameful. It was the near equivalent of breaking into somebody’s house, stealing their diary, and publishing their most secret thoughts to the world. Aaronson published on his blog so he did open himself up to the attack. What happened to him still seems excessive and uncalled for.

        From my experience, I keep dating and dating but keeping running into the wall of “I didn’t feel any chemistry.” There seem to be many other people in my position. This is fair enough. If a person wants instant attraction, chemistry, spark or whatever you want to call it they have a right to it. It took me years of dating simply to get a situation where I can get two dates rather than a rejection after one.

        As to the subtle misogyny of the idea of a finite amount of sex and romance, I can live with that accusation or even worse. As far as I can tell, modern heterosexual dating norms means that it is perfectly acceptable for anybody I date to require me to out chemistry all her other experiences and reject at anytime or any reason. However, I’m not supposed to get even mildly miffed at this or at any past experience or if there are things that I want to but she doesn’t or even if she is giving off the air of going through the motions of being a girlfriend without any great conviction. To me and others in my position, it basically feels like getting the worst of dating before and after the Sexual Revolution with none of the benefits. If I’m supposed to show how I’m different from anybody else she was with than demanding a certain amount of uniqueness back in return shouldn’t be seen as a misogynistic expectation. Not wanting to have to meet every demand, extraction, and test conceivable should not be seen as misogynistic.

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        • I agree on Aaronson. He did not say we should return to the “matchmaker” ways. Instead, he said that it would have been easier for a guy like him. Which is probably true.

          It’s unfortunate how that one post got sucked up into the shitty “gender wars” maelstrom.

          But I’ll insist on one thing: for every feminist who unfairly slagged Aaronson, there were plenty of redpill chucklefucks who tried to weaponize Aaronson’s experience to further their own shitty misogyny. So blah.

          I don’t do so well at online dating, since I really respond to chemistry.

          Except, I met my (now ex) wife on IRC, back in the day. Our marriage lasted 15 years. That’s pretty good. But since her, I’ve really only met people face-to-face. I like meeting people face-to-face.

          My (now ex) wife has met a ton of people online. But on the other hand, her two most serious relationships (since me) are with people she met face-to-face.

          Anyway, the plural of anecdote is blah something blah.

          I think Grindr has ruined the tranny bar scene. Maybe that’s good. Maybe not. I dunno. Whatever. People either like you or they do not like you.

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          • I’m kind of amazed that Aaronson’s comment became the center of the maelstrom. It was one comment deep in a post. Somebody had to be intentionally looking for bait. And yes, the other side used Aaronson to.

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            • Have you read the whole thread? The one comment became the focus of the thread among people who already read his blog regularly — it’s a very popular blog among a certain set —

              — cuz Aaronson is fucking brilliant, and some feminist women are waaaaaay into CompSci, and some sad-lonely men are likewise, and it the thread touched on some ongoing controversy at MIT, which many of the blog regulars were invested in —

              — so no, this was nothing nefarious. It was a big thread with smart people discussing a difficult topic. But it got linked to, cuz those people are on social media. And people read it. So there you go.

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          • Some people are incredibly maladapted to dating, in general.
            I do not include Lee among these people.

            Certain men think of women as fit only for the kitchen and the bedroom. Certain men can’t conceive of having a decent, interesting conversation with a woman, and expect all women to be manipulative pieces of shit.

            So, um, fine, if we don’t want to do the whole matchmaking thing, what do we do with those guys? Because right now they’re getting pretty pissed off, and if we don’t do something, well, the odds of them turning violent are higher than average.

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            • — I mean, after the Eliot Rogers thing a bunch of MRA choads were like, “See what happens when you reject us!”

              Which look, Eliot Rogers was a piece of shit. No woman would want that guy. He was just toxic

              About which, I think the online spaces he hung out in shaped him in really terrible ways. His “manifesto” — those were not new ideas. He picked that up from the redpill and incel forums and so on.

              Maybe if he hung out on different forums… I dunno. The point is, human beings are path dependent. These men are falling into a vortex of terrible.

              On the other hand, it’s a vortex of terrible that they built themselves, and they sustain it with their own nightmarish failure.

              I don’t know what to do. I know this: the men who hang out in those places are terrible, and those ideas are terrible, and I don’t fucking wanna be around them.

              Blah.

              The probably will turn violent, some of them. Which is to say, the things feminists say about these guys are true.

              Which is sad, actually.

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            • Some people are incredibly maladapted to dating, in general. Certain men think of women as fit only for the kitchen and the bedroom.

              Those men actually seem to do all right.

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        • Since when do people have a right to “chemistry”???
          I mean, really, that’s just kind of fucked up.
          You’re saying we ought to do some sort of fucking genetic engineering, so that everyone can find someone else with a “compatible immune system”?

          Bah. That’s just stupid.

          People can want what they want, and that’s fine. But by luck of the draw, or things like that, some people ain’t gonna have chemistry. The extraordinarily unlucky won’t have chemistry with dagnab anyone they could possibly meet (if you’re poor and live in rural China, say…).

          I’m fine with that.

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            • I’ve had many women tell me they’d enjoy spending time with me as “friends”, taking the sex component off the table, after one or two dates. Hell, I still have two of them as pretty decent friends.

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                • Do people use “chemistry” to refer to something other than sexual attraction? I only recall hearing it used in that sense. If it’s sometimes used to mean “we just aren’t compatible at all,” I haven’t heard it used that way.

                  Also, the plural of anecdote is, in fact, data.

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                  • I mean, I’ve seen people use “chemistry” for all kinds of social stuff. It’s complicated.

                    A good rule-of-thumb is this: people seldom really understand why they feel the way they do about people, and will use all kinds of vague language to talk about it.

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                    • I’ve heard it used to refer to groups in a complex way, but in dating I’ve only ever heard it used to refer to sexual attraction. “I really liked him, but we just didn’t have any chemistry,” e.g.

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                      • I think maybe I’m more romance focused than sex focused. I’ll say stuff like, “The sex was good, but other than that there was no chemistry.”

                        But in any case, the idea that it just mean “don’t want to sleep with you” is silly and reductive.

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                        • I can almost hear the word in the sense that v’s using it in, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say it that way…

                          It’s a different word than when it’s meant to be sexual attractiveness — it means people “clicking” and a more generalized sense of compatibility… but it’s also said differently than when someone means sexual compatibility. It’s delivered in a squirrely manner that suggests “I’m trying to come up with the word, but this is the closest I’ve got.”

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    • I think the problem with dating sites/apps (at least based on my experience) is that people will filter on things that don’t end up being that important. My wife and I met more conventionally, but I don’t think there’s a chance in heck that either of us would have chosen each other on a dating site. We have a lot of differences, most of which are superficial, that would have hit as deal breakers, but ended up being fun differences.

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  2. According to Harvard Business Review, diversity policies don’t seem to make workplaces fairer, but they make white men feel threatened.

    Like all areas of compliance there is a degree to which the money and effort spent is there to accomplish something concrete and there is a degree to which it is simply a wealth transfer from shareholders to outside contractors, with management getting to check a box in the “did something” category.

    This is to be expected in areas much less controversial, so I would only expect it to be worse in highly political and ideological areas. Also, there are a non-trivial number of activists around any issue who at some point find a way to monetize their status in the form of corporate consulting.

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    • Yeah, I work in Corporate America, and we have annual mandatory diversity training (basically a glorified PowerPoint presentation). It really blends into all the other mandatory compliance training. I can’t say I’m really surprised that it doesn’t accomplish anything, because glorified PowerPoint presentation, but it also doesn’t even make my list of Top 10 Ways In Which My Job Wastes My Time.[1]

      Also, seriously, speaking as a white dude, the only unsettling thing about it is how frigging anodyne it is. People actually feel threatened by this stuff?![2]

      Compared to white men interviewing at the company that did not mention diversity, white men interviewing for the pro-diversity company expected more unfair treatment and discrimination against whites. They also performed more poorly in the job interview, as judged by independent raters. And their cardiovascular responses during the interview revealed that they were more stressed.

      Of course, looking at the study itself, I gotta say I’m not overwhelmed with confidence in it. Small N, Mechanical Turk, et c. add up to “interesting if replicated” in my book.

      [1] Coming soon to a clickbait site near you!

      [2] From the linked article.

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      • My takeaway from the article was not that we shouldn’t have diversity efforts. Instead, it’s that these efforts need to take into account how stubborn white men are.

        As in this: these programs have failed to convince white men that systemic racism and sexism exist, that they contribute to this, and that they should play a role in changing it.

        Instead they get defensive.

        Figures.

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        • My experience of corporate diversity programs–which I suppose may not be representative, but I would be a bit surprised–is they don’t even touch on things like structural racism and sexism. Instead it’s really basic stuff like, “Don’t tell jokes about gay people,” and, “Don’t make passes at your subordinates.”

          So I’m not surprised it’s useless. I am surprised it makes white men defensive. I mean, I’m a white man, and, “Be minimally professional and use a bit of common sense, and you will avoid being a boorish jackass,” just doesn’t seem like something to get bent out of shape over.

          Maybe I’m unrepresentative because I also don’t find it threatening when people talk about structural sexism and racism. :shrug:

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          • Concur with pillsy, it’s mostly useless, and HR is oftentimes ineffective at dealing with it when it’s an actual problem because of competing concerns.

            Be minimally professional and use a bit of common sense, and you will avoid being a boorish jackass

            The folks I work with are all quite professional, but the stories my wife tells me about some of the folks she works with… I ask her how it is these people haven’t been fired, and it boils down to incidents have to be reported, then the person has to be counseled, and you need X many counselings in Y time period before they can even think about moving to discipline you (firing isn’t even on the table yet), etc. So a boor can game the system pretty well.

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    • jr,
      If HBR was actually looking at places where diversity was the watchword and the bible that people live by in order to get the best employees, I’d be a lot more impressed.

      Instead, i think they’re just asking “did you have diversity training”…

      There are places out there where diversity is the only way you get enough employees to get your job accomplished. Wish we’d study those more.

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  3. If you could do whatever you wanted, you probably shouldn’t.

    Winning the lottery demonstrates this far too often.

    I was saying the other day that I don’t even really daydream about playing until it hits $100,000,000 because significantly less than that involves daydreams that entail going back to work.

    If you win a million bucks, congrats. After the lump sum and paying taxes, you’ve got enough left over to pay off your house, car, and maybe you can shore up your retirement account to where it should have been 7 years ago instead of it languishing where it should have been 12 years ago.

    If you win ten million bucks, congrats. After the lump sum and paying taxes, you’ve got enough left over to pay off your house, car, and shore up your retirement account to where it ought to be by the time you retire and then you can even entertain daydreams about small college funds for the kids/nephews/nieces maybe have enough left over to go out to dinner to a nice place. But you’re still showing up for work next week because you will still have insurance and day to day expenses. Maybe you can finally start taking vacations and stay somewhere other than the Super 8.

    If you want to daydream about calling your boss and giving him two weeks’ notice and spending the rest of your life in leisure, you need a jackpot with 9 figures because, after the lump sum and taxes and college fund stuff, you have enough left over to move to the awesome part of town. You have enough left over to get a fully-loaded car. You have enough left over to live off the interest *AND* pay for insurance. You have enough left over to be (responsibly) irresponsible.

    There are way too many people who win the million and then act like they won the 100,000,000 and then find themselves in the poorhouse. Enough to where you see the point of the puritans.

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    • Ten million dollars is $500k per year for twenty years. Which is to say, it would put you in the top 1% of lifetime earnings, with (I think) no payroll taxes. Take the annual payments (so you don’t have to pay the top marginal rate on 95% of it), save half of each paycheck after taxes (which still leaves you with $150k to spend), and you’re set with a 98th-percentile income for life. If you can’t retire on that, you’re doing it wrong.

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        • Backloaded rather than the same amount each year does a good job of providing a daydream where you take care of the car immediately, the house after a couple of years, and your retirement is taken care of… but you’re still going to work on Monday to deal with insurance and miscellaneous for a while until the yearlies reach a point where you’re safe calling and giving your two week notice.

          A somewhat more exciting daydream, but still not quite worth a couple of bucks.

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          • Even with the backloading, a ten-million-dollar payout is $150,000 pre-tax in year one. If you make less than $150,000 a year—and the typical lottery player makes well under half that—you can quit your job and still come out ahead.

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        • The first thing after winning the lottery is to talk with your lawyer about establishing a blind trust. Do NOT tell a single soul you’ve won, and don’t let the lottery announce your name.

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    • IIRC, around 200 to 250 million is “F*ck you” money. It’s at the point where your income alone is generally more than anyone but the most dedicated idiot can spend, so your principle (and thus your income!) continues to grow.

      250 million is about 5 million a year, conservatively. Unless you’re buying mega-yachts, high-end art, and paying staff for multiple houses….that’s pretty hard to spend. I mean you CAN, but most people can’t sustain that consumption and don’t want to.

      Now, I’m not the big spender sort, so I’m pretty sure 100 million is, indeed, “F*ck you” money for me. Even if I stick with my “save 80%” thought, that’s still between 800k and 1.6 million a year (conservatively) and I have 20 million to do everything from upgrade houses to donate to charities to spend on hookers and blow.

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  4. Most of the dating profiles of women that I’ve read clearly state if they have a political/social deal breaker issue. That’s usually along with “no shirtless selfies”. But I leave relatively near DC so there’s a lot of folks who think politics is the end all around here anyway.

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  5. Mind you, the biggest advantage of the political dating sites is that same advantage any specialist dating site has–It gives you something to talk about, something to break the ice with. No different than any other dating site centered around a common interest (and I suspect they’re a lot more gender-balanced than some of the other common interest sites.)

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  6. The site’s domain registration seems to have expired. For some reason (DNS caching?) I can get here on my phone but get an expired domain page on my desktop.

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  7. OK, so the political dating apps are evidently horrible because… they reflect the (apparent) emerging reality that the really important tribal marker these days is whether you’re on Team Red or Team Blue.[1] Yeah, sure, I suppose I should deplore the fact politics has gotten so polarized and/or ideologically sorted, and this is just another sign of the widening gulf and so on, but the folks who actually want to find someone to date probably want to find someone to date, not solve the broader social ills of our debased age.

    [1] Hey, Slate Star Codex enthusiastically agrees with Vox about this. That’s gotta be worth something, right?[2]

    [2] Am I being sarcastic? I can never tell anymore.

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  8. I am not sure how political dating apps are worse than Jdate or Farmerdate or Christianmingle or whatever other subcategory you are looking at.

    On diversity, I agree with how sensitive and butt hurt and stubborn white guys can be. Lawyers in Ca are required to do CLEs on ending bias in the law and legal practice. I listened to one that was recorded in the Inland Empire. A lot of white guys got very defensive at even needing to think about the idea that whites and blacks might get treated differently by the law. Cognitive psychology is strong here and lawyers are naturally good at splitting hairs for justifications.

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  9. It’s ironic with all the talk about special snowflakes and trigger warnings that it’s white dudes that have the biggest problem with any kind of change, in almost any story about diversity that’s brought up. Maybe it’s old white guys that need a safe space.

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