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Comment Re: As long as they're still allowed to use data.. (Score 1) 149

There is generally far more variation within groups of people than between them, though. For the most part, measured differences between different groups have proven to be due to research that didn't fully account for researchers' and society's biases.

Simple example: there's a stereotype that girls are bad at math. It's been demonstrated that merely reminding girls of the existence of that stereotype causes them to do worse on math tests. This is an example of stereotype threat, where the existence of the stereotype itself causes a cognitive burden: even knowing that the stereotype is bullshit doesn't prevent it from causing harm. You can bring girls' math scores back up by creating an environment where the stereotype is minimized. And, of course, if that stereotype is enforced during school for a few years, those girls will end up definitely worse at math than their male peers just because later math builds on earlier math.

So in essence, you can't be sure that most any measured difference between two groups of people is a real difference, rather than just a difference imposed by society.

Comment Re: As long as they're still allowed to use data.. (Score 1) 149

Bigotry in general is more about the systems that society has in place that combine to make it so that people with certain backgrounds are disadvantaged with respect to others. These systems are extremely varied and reinforced by a variety of societal traditions, personal prejudices, business practices, government practices, and more.

At an individual level, bigotry involves supporting and continuing those systems of oppression, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Comment Re:As long as they're still allowed to use data... (Score 1) 149

Sure it can be. It depends upon the data and the questions being asked.

Learning algorithms match input data to output variables. They are trained by using a set of "known" relationships between the input data and the output variables (e.g. images that have already been classified as containing a dog or a cat or neither). If the training data is skewed as a result of prejudice, then the learning model will reflect that prejudice.

For example, there is today copious evidence that police are far more likely to arrest black people for the same crime as they are to arrest white people. So if we have data that uses arrest rates to measure how often crimes are committed, it's going to claim that black people commit crimes more often even if the only difference is police bias.

Comment Re:I'm fine with it.. (Score 1) 369

"Completely politely"? What universe are you living in? Gamergaters participated in sustained harassment of multiple women, including death threats and publishing of personal information (e.g. addresses). Women who dared criticize them, no matter how mildly, became the subject of targeted harassment themselves (e.g. when Felicia Day posted that she had been fearful of saying anything at all on the subject, her home address was posted within minutes).

Comment Re:Questions to Hillary's fans (Score 0) 375

During the debate, Secretary Clinton threw some (what she believed to be) barbs at Mr. Trump, which left me puzzled:

He said, "employee's pregnancy is an inconvenience for the employer".
A woman leaving her position at a company for weeks/months? Her work needs to be spread to her colleagues, and no permanent replacement can be hired... Of course, it is inconvenient! How is this in any way controversial?

Putting aside the context mentioned elsewhere, it is profoundly unfair to discriminate against women at the workplace because of their biology. Today, women are denied jobs over the possibility of getting pregnant, or fired for getting pregnant. By contrast, men who father children frequently end up doing better in the workplace than before. By stating that this is an inconvenience to employers, Trump is stating that this unfair state of affairs should continue. That's unacceptable.

"Birther lie" was racist!

Leaving aside, whether or not it was a "lie" or who was the first to bring it up, how is it racist? McCain's eligibility was questioned in 2008 — he presented his birth certificate and that ended it. This year Trump questioned Cruz's eligibility — correctly or not, nobody said, it was "racist"?..


Yes, it was extremely racist. It was racist primarily because there was absolutely no basis in fact, and yet it was promoted as a major issue by certain conservative elements (including Trump) for many years. The racism in this issue was apparent in particular with how it was presented: people claimed, despite contradictory evidence, that he was born in Africa and was a Muslim, as if either condition disqualified him from being a US citizen (they don't: he still has a US citizen for a mother).

Comment Re:Makes more sense (Score 1) 222

The problem is the particular business model they use: impose a specific cap based upon the plan, and then charge large overage rates if you go over.

If it were just a matter of paying a base charge and then paying per GB (or similar) used, then it might make sense. Those overage rates, however, make the model problematic at best. Especially when they fail to notify customers that they're getting close to their quota.

Comment Insufficient evidence (Score 1) 134

I think that there's a good probability that this claim is true, but all that this shows is that people who pirate or don't pirate believe it to be the case that having legal options for accessing content is a better deterrent. Unfortunately, humans very often do not understand their own motivations.

What you'd need to do to actually tease out the causation here is to do actual policy trials. This is exceedingly difficult, unfortunately, as it's not so easy to just mandate that some number of people be given access to legal content: there's a lot of infrastructure work involved, and it requires licensing agreements. I don't think it's completely impossible, just hard.

In the mean time, I think it should be natural to accept the conclusion of the OP article until evidence against it is presented.

Comment Re:what a load of shit (Score 1) 233

Yup! What's more, in this particular case very roughly half of the people who said they would ride in a self-driving car said they would do something else. This doesn't indicate that there would be no productivity gain. It indicates that there would be none for some people (and I'd bet nervousness would decline over time).

Comment Patently absurd (Score 1) 495

I can understand removal of the headphone jack from a phone (to some extent): modern phone design is extraordinarily tight and removing every little piece can help the overall design. But on a laptop? There's no design reason to do this. The cost of the jack is tiny. The utility isn't huge for all users, but it's definitely useful for a large number of them.

Why would they even need to field a survey for this? If Bluetooth or other wireless headphones become ubiquitous, maybe. But not until then.

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