Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Most Amazing Photograph In Jazz History | uDiscover

Photographer Art Kane took the most wonderful photograph in jazz history – remarkable for many reasons. In features 57 of the best jazz musicians and the image has come to be called, 'A Great Day In Harlem'.

Kane, a freelance photographer was on assignment for Esquire magazine, and he took the picture at around 10 a.m. on 12 August 1958 at 17 East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenue in Harlem. Esquire published the photo in its January 1959 issue. In 1994 a TV documentary was made as to how this incredible photo came to be taken, one that Quincy Jones calls, "An astonishing photograph."

What makes this photo so extraordinary is that it was Art Kane's first photo shoot; he was an art director for various New York magazines. He was given the chance and it was Kane's idea to take the photo in Harlem, a risk on many levels, not least trying to get everyone together in one place at 10 a.m. in the morning. As Kane said, he had no studio, so he had no choice. Gerry Mulligan didn't believe anyone would show up…it was way too early.

Of the 57 musicians featured only two remain alive – Sonny Rollins and Benny Golson.
Here's the full list of musicians in the photo

Full List of Musicians: Hilton Jefferson, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Wilbur Ware, Art Blakey, Chubby Jackson, Johnny Griffin, Dickie Wells, Buck Clayton, Taft Jordan, Zutty Singleton, Red Allen, Tyree Glenn, Miff Molo, Sonny Greer, Jay C. Higginbotham, Jimmy Jones, Charles Mingus, Jo Jones, Gene Krupa, Max Kaminsky, George Wettling, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell, Ernie Wilkins, Buster Bailey, Osie Johnson, Gigi Gryce, Hank Jones, Eddie Locke, Horace Silver, Luckey Roberts, Maxine Sullivan, Jimmy Rushing, Joe Thomas, Scoville Browne, Stuff Smith, Bill Crump, Coleman Hawkins, Rudy Powell, Oscar Pettiford, Sahib Shihab , Marian McPartland, Sonny Rollins, Lawrence Brown, Mary Lou Williams, Emmett Berry, Thelonious Monk, Vic Dickenson, Milt Hinton, Lester Young, Rex Stewart, J.C. Heard, Gerry Mulligan, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie

Part 1 of the documentary…it's a must see

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Friday, August 11, 2017

What Caused Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse? Socialism.

Yes indeed, a good question!! But is there such a need to blame; an idea, a movement...the whole idea of regulation... Regulation is just a set of rules...and why is regulation, a set of rules implemented, laws even, to govern the game. Like poker, you don't want anyone to cheat so implement rules to govern game play so the game field is truly fair and honest. Imagine poker without rules, everyone would cheat...even with rules players cheat any way... Socialism isn't the real cause but the implementation of a good idea and worse, the mismanagement and implementation of that idea and most surely dependence of one source of revenue that has a very volatile slant...

I totally understand the need to be fair and not invasive with rules but none at all, "let the market work it out"?

A vital lesson, as we confront calls for more regulation and government control in all aspects of our lives.

Nick Gillespie & Todd Krainin | August 10, 2017

The collapse of Venezuela's economy is both horrifying and predictable, and the world needs to understand why.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, and it was once Latin America's richest country. Today, most grocery store shelves are empty, and Venezuelans are so hungry that they're killing zoo animals for sustenance. Toilet paper, diapers, and toothpaste are luxury goods. Venezuelan hospitals have disintegrated, children are dying because they can't get antibiotics, and the infant mortality rate is higher than Syria. The capital city of Caracas is the murder capital of the world, and just 12 percent of citizens feel safe walking alone at night, which is the lowest figure reported in the world.

The government blames slumping oil prices for the desperate situation. The real cause is the socialist economy. The government sets the price of staples such as rice, pasta, and flour, resulting in chronic shortages. Former President Hugo Chavez nationalized industries, confiscated property, and kicked out foreign companies. The government is trying to print its way out of the crisis, resulting in a 700 percent annual inflation rate. After a sham election, President Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Hugo Chavez, is rounding up his opponents and putting them in jail.

Despite this, Maduro and his predecessor still have their defenders, ranging from Sean Penn to Michael Moore to Naomi Klein, who once signed a petition saying "We would vote for Hugo Chavez" and praised the autocrat in 2007 for creating "a zone of relative economic calm and predictability." In 2013, journalist David Sirota praised Hugo Chavez' "economic miracle," writing that the socialist leader had a "record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

The real lesson of Venezuela's tragic collapse is that real socialism always leads to economic breakdown and political repression. Those of us in wealthier, freer countries need to keep Venezuela in mind as we confront calls for more regulation and government control of all aspects of our own lives.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Camera by Jim Epstein.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Penn Jillette on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, And Why He's All in on Gary Johnson

"How do you think I'm going to die?" asks Penn Jillette, "the larger and louder half" of Penn & Teller, at the start of 'Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales', a book that is every bit as mesmerizing and captivating as the duo's live show.

In fact, Presto! reveals the greatest disappearing act of Penn's 40-plus-year career. Not "The Vanishing African Spotted Pygmy Elephant Act," in which make the duo make a cow dressed like an elephant go poof. This is the trick by which the 61-year-old, who once topped the scales at over 300 pounds, lost one-third of his body weight in a five-month span.

Penn details his diet regimen as laid out by Ray Cronise, a former NASA scientist and entrepreneur who pushes an extremely restricted plant-based diet (essentially, veganism but with little-to-no added salt, sugar, oil, and fat). Like Penn's old "fat fuck" body (his term), Presto! contains multitudes—it's less a diet memoir than a wide-ranging meditation on contemporary American culture and politics, including the 2016 election.

It's also Penn at his very best. Even as he is discussing the life-threatening health conditions that led him to his new eating plan, he's never a page or two away from commenting on how Hillary Clinton is the absolute worst nominee for president...except for Donald Trump, with whom Penn appeared for two seasons on Celebrity Apprentice. "Eating pizza is voting for Hillary," Penn writes (he means that as an insult), while Donald Trump's hair resembles "cotton candy made from piss" (the billionaire's personality is even more off-putting, says Penn). Presto! is filled with anecdotes not just about weight loss but about the loss of loved ones, hosannas to the friends and artists who have inspired Penn over the years, and a tender-yet-barbed condemnation of what he calls "the Standard American Diet," or SAD.

Reason's Nick Gillespie recently sat down with Penn Jillette backstage at Vegas' Rio casino, where Penn & Teller have been in residence for years. The conversation ranged from the 2016 election to what it's like to eat only potatoes for two weeks straight to why Bob Dylan—"he's a freak, not a cheerleader"—is Penn's artistic hero.

About 45 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Cameras by Jim Epstein, Austin Bragg, and Justin Monticello.

How to rob a bank | William Black | TEDxUMKC

William Black is an associate professor of economics and law at UMKC. He has held many prestigious positions, including executive director for Fraud Prevention. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae's former senior management. He is a criminologist and former financial regulator.


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Twitter @TEDxUMKC


In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Google Memo: Fired Employee Speaks Out! | James Damore and Stefan Molyneux

James Damore Fundraiser:
Read The Full Memo:

Why would a successful Google engineer risk his career to make the case against Google’s current diversity initiatives? Former Google employee James Damore describes the intense media backlash to his Google diversity memo, intolerance shown towards political diversity in the company, the importance of discussing gender differences and why he wrote the memo in the first place. 

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I often credit so much else as the origin of who I am today and what I do. I would say that the one thing that defined me and still does is The Library. Yes, the Library; The use of the library.
I stumbled upon this site today ( and realized the genesis of my life was, in addition to a couple of other life branding situations, the Library took precedent.
I was born into a poor Puerto Rican family, unaware of our poverty. First living in a Brooklyn tenement then a Brooklyn public housing Project (Wyckoff Gardens Housing Project – 185 Nevins St, Brooklyn NY 11217) my life, our lives were not one of abject poverty but one of dismal outlook and ne’er around the desire to do or be more; including civil employment, or a one of the many to spend my life earning a basic income and following the traditional trajectory toward publicly funded retirement. Despite finding out years later that we were poor and how poor; I had what I felt was an acceptable life. An absent father who often almost all the time found pleasure in other women, even another whole family instead of us; a younger brother and older sister and brother. It was through my older brother that I discovered the love of the library.

I don’t recall the first time or who actually took me there, (The Brooklyn Public Library - 25 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217) but I know it’s still there. It was a place I spent a lot of my life at and borrowing from, every two weeks and four to six book at a time. Books and magazine of all kinds, fiction, text books and non-fiction for leisure and research; to read, ingest and get beyond the complacent story I seemed to be destined to be the star. And the only role I imagined for myself required a great amount of knowledge, not just now but forever. And the Library is where I would and could get it…
Today it isn’t just the library, but access to knowledge in general through the internet. Yes, the internet is often just a collection of attic paraphernalia but looking for the right information or collection of information from multiple sources can prove a thought correct and very often the truth to support for an a subject; just as much, reading more than one book or more than one author or source used to allow a search become a successful find…but it all begins in the Library; a place for knowledge that bring to the truth…

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Exclusive: Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google [Updated]

Photo: AP

Update 7:25pm ET: Google's new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance Danielle Brown has issued her own memo to Google employees in response to the now-viral memo, "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." Brown's statement, obtained by Motherboard, can be found in full at the end of this article.

A software engineer's 10-page screed against Google's diversity initiatives is going viral inside the company, being shared on an internal meme network and Google+. The document's existence was first reported by Motherboard, and Gizmodo has obtained it in full.

In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. "We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism," he writes, going on to argue that Google's educational programs for young women may be misguided.

The post comes as Google battles a wage discrimination investigation by the US Department of Labor, which has found that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles.
Gizmodo has reached out to Google for comment on the memo and how the company is addressing employee concerns regarding its content. We will update this article if we hear back.

The text of the post is reproduced in full below, with some minor formatting modifications. Two charts and several hyperlinks are also omitted.

Reply to public response and misrepresentation

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.


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

Background [1]

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it's a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

Google's biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases

  • Compassion for the weak
  • Disparities are due to injustices
  • Humans are inherently cooperative
  • Change is good (unstable)
  • Open
  • Idealist

Right Biases

  • Respect for the strong/authority
  • Disparities are natural and just
  • Humans are inherently competitive
  • Change is dangerous (stable)
  • Closed
  • Pragmatic
Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.
Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I'll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that's required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story.
On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:
  • They're universal across human cultures
  • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
  • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
  • The underlying traits are highly heritable
  • They're exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective
Note, I'm not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are "just." I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there's significant overlap between men and women, so you can't say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

Personality differences

Women, on average, have more:
  • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
  • These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
  • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
  • This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there's overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women's issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
  • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.
Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that "greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men's and women's personality traits." Because as "society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider." We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

Men's higher drive for status

We always ask why we don't see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.
Status is the primary metric that men are judged on[4], pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

Non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

Below I'll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women's representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it's still instructive to list them:
  • Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things
  • We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be and we shouldn't deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).
  • Women on average are more cooperative
  • Allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive. Recent updates to Perf may be doing this to an extent, but maybe there's more we can do. This doesn't mean that we should remove all competitiveness from Google. Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn't necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what's been done in education. Women on average are more prone to anxiety. Make tech and leadership less stressful. Google already partly does this with its many stress reduction courses and benefits.
  • Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average
  • Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men may disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech.
  • The male gender role is currently inflexible
  • Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more "feminine," then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.
Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google—with Google's diversity being a component of that. For example currently those trying to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google's funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The Harm of Google's biases

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:
  • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race [5]
  • A high priority queue and special treatment for "diversity" candidates
  • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for "diversity" candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
  • Reconsidering any set of people if it's not "diverse" enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
  • Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination [6]
These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We're told by senior leadership that what we're doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology[7] that can irreparably harm Google.

Why we're blind

We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the "God > humans > environment" hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren't on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what's being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap[9]. Google's left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we're using to justify highly politicized programs.
In addition to the Left's affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he's labelled as a misogynist and whiner[10]. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women's oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of "grass being greener on the other side"; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.
The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness[11], which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn't harbored the violent leftists protests that we're seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.


I hope it's clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don't fit a certain ideology. I'm also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).
My concrete suggestions are to:

De-moralize diversity.

  • As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the "victims."

Stop alienating conservatives.

  • Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
  • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
  • Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

Confront Google's biases.

  • I've mostly concentrated on how our biases cloud our thinking about diversity and inclusion, but our moral biases are farther reaching than that.
  • I would start by breaking down Googlegeist scores by political orientation and personality to give a fuller picture into how our biases are affecting our culture.

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

  • These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

  • Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women's representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.
  • There's currently very little transparency into the extend of our diversity programs which keeps it immune to criticism from those outside its ideological echo chamber.
  • These programs are highly politicized which further alienates non-progressives.
  • I realize that some of our programs may be precautions against government accusations of discrimination, but that can easily backfire since they incentivize illegal discrimination.

Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

  • We should focus on psychological safety, which has shown positive effects and should (hopefully) not lead to unfair discrimination.
  • We need psychological safety and shared values to gain the benefits of diversity
  • Having representative viewpoints is important for those designing and testing our products, but the benefits are less clear for those more removed from UX.

De-emphasize empathy.

  • I've heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another's pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

Prioritize intention.

  • Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offense and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.
  • Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn't backed by evidence.

Be open about the science of human nature.

  • Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.

Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

  • We haven't been able to measure any effect of our Unconscious Bias training and it has the potential for overcorrecting or backlash, especially if made mandatory.
  • Some of the suggested methods of the current training (v2.3) are likely useful, but the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown.
  • Spend more time on the many other types of biases besides stereotypes. Stereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests (I'm not advocating for using stereotypes, I [sic] just pointing out the factual inaccuracy of what's said in the training).
[1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries.
[2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.
[3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering.
[4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.
[5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.
[6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.
[7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy."
[8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy.
[9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.
[10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak."
[11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.

Update 7:25pm ET: Google's new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown, issued the following statement in response to the internal employee memo:
I'm Danielle, Google's brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we've seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.
Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I'm not going to link to it here as it's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.
Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, "Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. 'Nuff said. "
Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it's often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that's why I took this job.
Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.
I've been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I've never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves—TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups. I know this conversation doesn't end with my email today. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.

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How Worried Should We Be?

If armed ICBM's begin to cross the sky toward their intended targets, be it New York or Washington or Guam; will it be armed with one or many warheads able to destroy multiple targets. “North Korea said on Wednesday it is "carefully examining" a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury".” Which means what? That 45 is prepared to attack North Korea full on or just retaliate in kind, using a single warhead? I would assume “fire and fury” alludes to more than targeting a comparable target. That should mean more than a single target in North Korea, certainly more than a single target, let’s assume enough to decimate the whole of North Korea.
Now if I recall, there really isn’t any way to contain an explosion or a series of explosions strategically and stay within the borders of a single country that those explosions, if they’re not accurate, will not just hit in North Korea but also hit the country’s close to their borders: South Korea, China, Russia… if you’re looking for a fight, that’s an act that will invariably lead to a global rumble. I can’t imagine any legit nation, nuclear or not, slide without retaliation; and the love just keeps spreading not thru missing targets but in tainted air. You know how a gang fight gets the police involved; but then Klaatu and Gort may not be around to respond to the party…
Who will stop it all? Just aim at Florida and kill two birds with one stone…

Oh no! My niece lives there…

Monday, August 7, 2017

16 Years Ago, William F. Buckley Wrote This About Donald Trump And It's Eerily Accurate

Posted at 1:00 pm on July 24, 2016 by Jay Caruso

There has been a lot of discussion in the last several months over whether not several conservative icons would be supporting Donald Trump for President. William F.  Buckley, the founder of National Review and host of Firing Line said during the 1964 GOP primary that his rule was to support the "most rightward viable candidate." That has often been turned into "the most conservative, electable candidate."

Andrew Breitbart in 2011 said of Donald Trump, "Of course Donald Trump is not a conservative. He was for Nancy Pelosi before he was against her." Breitbart was famous shortly before his death in 2012 for his "Two Paths" speech at the CPAC convention. His speech reiterated his support for the GOP nominee, whoever it was, at a time when many conservatives were questioning supporting Mitt Romney.

We can all venture a guess but since both men are dead, we'll never really know if they'd support Trump. Like Andrew Breitbart, Willam F. Buckley wrote something about Donald Trump when he was talking about running for President — in 2000. Buckley, in an essay he wrote for  Cigar Aficionado and said the following about Trump:
Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today's lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America. But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something. So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line.
Wow. He wrote this sixteen years ago. And think about it. Some of our most pressing concerns right now have to do with foreign policy and and national security. Trump's business acumen, however questionable, is worthless in such cases.
And he wasn't finished:
In the final analysis, just as the king might look down with terminal disdain upon a courtier whose hypocrisy repelled him, so we have no substitute for relying on the voter to exercise a quiet veto when it becomes more necessary to discourage cynical demagogy, than to advance free health for the kids. That can come later, in another venue; the resistance to a corrupting demagogy should take first priority.
Finally, he illuminated Trump's narcissism by comparing him with Steve Forbes:
So what else can Trump offer us? Well to begin with, a self-financed campaign. Does it follow that all who finance their own campaigns are narcissists? At this writing Steve Forbes has spent $63 million in pursuit of the Republican nomination. Forbes is an evangelist, not an exhibitionist. In his long and sober private career, Steve Forbes never bought a casino, and if he had done so, he would not have called it Forbes's Funhouse. His motivations are discernibly selfless. . .
Buckley, a New Yorker, had more of an insight into Trump than others. At the time Trump wasn't known to the rest of the country beyond people knew he was some rich businessman. Buckley however, was privy to the nonsense Trump engaged within NYC and Buckley was just well aware of it.

Whatever it was, he had Trump pegged.

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Neither bills nor advancing age can dim the glow of a drummer's dream

By Steve lopez | Photography by Francine Orr

August 5, 2017

Jazz drummer Steve Hideg, 85, gets dressed in his apartment in East Hollywood. "When I was very young I fell in love with jazz and that was all I wanted to do," he said. "I was never interested in money, only interested in playing with American musicians."

Steve Hideg moves through his small East Hollywood apartment with tiny shuffle steps, as if to avoid a fall. His slacks are creased, his shirt pressed. It doesn't cost money, he says, to hold your head high.
Hideg, almost 86, is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. He's carried that burden since a childhood injury, when he and his family took cover in the cellar of their home as bombs thundered down on Budapest. Lately the good eye isn't so good, so he keeps a big magnifying glass handy, but Hideg has bigger challenges than that.

His rent is roughly $1,000 a month, and his Social Security income is about $900 a month.
"It's a total miracle how he exists," says one friend.

The secret is disciplined austerity, occasional help from buddies, and a once-weekly job as a jazz drummer — a job that feeds Hideg's soul. When the DWP shut off his power briefly, Hideg borrowed a camping light from a friend. A $300 gas bill gathered dust until a buddy covered it.

"Hello, my angel," Hideg called out one day to a woman who knocked at his door and delivered a tray of food from St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.
Sometimes, that's his only food in a day.

Steve Hideg, 85, lays out three suits in his apartment in East Hollywood.

Steve Hideg, 85, shaves in the bathroom of his apartment where he has lived for 25 years in Hollywood.

Left: Steve Hideg, 85, lays out three suits in his apartment in East Hollywood. Right: Hideg shaves in the bathroom of his apartment where he has lived for 25 years.

California is robust in countless ways, its economy ranked among those of the richest nations in the world, and yet millions struggle to survive the double blow of flat wages and high housing costs. It's the great Golden State paradox, an escalating calamity and public policy failure with no fixes on the near horizon as the retiree population explodes.

And yet Hideg, unbowed, has risen above it all by remaining faithful to a dream and honoring a different measure of prosperity. As one friend of his put it, in his mind, he's a rich man.

Istvan "Steve" Hideg was hungry, shoeless, scared, brave, a child of war. He was just a boy in 1943, when his father was killed on military duty. Hideg and his mother, brother and sister struggled through bleak, lean years of economic and political upheaval, and a meal often was nothing more than a smear of lard on a scrap of bread.

"We put a little salt and paprika on it," Hideg says. "I kind of learned how to survive."
It's a skill, or maybe a frame of mind, that has endured.

"Even when I have only one meal in a day," Hideg says, "I'm never hungry."
As a teen, Hideg worked at the concession stand of a Budapest movie theater and ducked in, at every opportunity, to catch a glimpse of the films. There, in black and white, was a world he'd never imagined.

Jozsi Baky, left, helps Steve Hideg at the Alpine Village Swap Meet in Torrance to sell some of his belongings for food and medicine. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

"I saw Louie Armstrong!" Hideg says of the jazz giant. "He sang 'Jeepers Creepers' to a horse!"
That was in the 1938 movie "Going Places." Another American classic, the 1941 hit "Sun Valley Serenade," made Hideg ache with desire to become a musician and to escape iron-fisted postwar Hungary. In "Serenade," the Glenn Miller Orchestra played "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and the swinging "In the Mood."

"Whewwwww, that did it for me," Hideg says, still jazzed 70 years later. "I fell in love with this whole country and its music. To me, it was the sound of freedom."

His brother bought him a snare drum like the one Hideg had seen in the village his parents grew up in. There, with no newspapers and scant communication with the outside world, the drum was a siren call to villagers who gathered to hear the messenger deliver the news of the day.

Hideg studied the moves of drummers Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, got a job in an electronics factory and joined all three of the company bands. He later became a full-time musician and worked with a circus band for a while, but the songbook wasn't to his liking and the government deemed Western music the enemy of the people.

In 1956, blood spilled as Hungarians revolted against Soviet control. Hideg and his wife, a pianist, risked execution as they fled Budapest under cover of darkness. They sneaked past Russian infantry and escaped first to Austria and then New York City in early 1957. Hideg got a job as a janitor, and after work he'd race to Birdland and other Manhattan jazz clubs to see his heroes.

In 1961, he and his wife loaded up their old DeSoto and headed west, flat broke, stopping at bars along the way to play for food and gas money, Hollywood or bust.

Steve Hideg, 85, on drums and Tom Pedrini on bass at their Saturday morning workshop in Hollywood on July 29. Hideg gets together with his friends and has a music workshop each Saturday morning. (Video by Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

He hustled, schmoozed, hung out at the musicians' union, started at the bottom.
And he made it.

A young man who had grown up with so many restrictions was playing a kind of music with no rules.
In the good years, there was the Steve Hideg big band and Steve Hideg and The Continentals. When TV game shows had live music, Hideg played in the "Truth or Consequences" band. He toured for several years with Pat Collins, a hypnotist with a popular show. He played in Florida and put in several years in Vegas.

He never made great money or played with big stars. But to his own astonishment, Hideg was living out his fantasy in the city that had manufactured the dream. He developed a talent as a contractor, stringing together bands for all occasions. In his scrapbook is a copy of a check he got after playing a birthday party for Dustin Hoffman.

There were struggles along the way — no musician gets through the grinder unscathed. When Hideg's wife became ill and they couldn't afford to pay for her care, she went back to Europe to live with family in Austria, where she died young. Hideg himself fought through cancer and now battles macular degeneration.

He never married again, which made it easier to grab road jobs when they came up and he was young enough to handle the toll. He has lived in the same apartment now for 25 years, a time in which the market for live music — especially big band and straight-ahead jazz — has withered. Hideg was getting by just fine when he served as live-in manager at his apartment building, but he got too old for the job a few years back, and the bills keep coming.
But his pride is undiminished.

Wearing a suit and tie Steve Hideg, 85, carries his drums into Callender's Grill before his gig in Los Angeles. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

"I did not come to this country to be a burden on the state," says Hideg, who has resisted signing up for many entitlements available to seniors.

He chose the musician's life, he says, and has no regrets. If he has a message for others, Hideg tells me, it's that doing something you love will serve you well. And another thing: Don't hesitate to ask friends for help if you need it.

"He's not a shy guy, but it's not easy for him" to accept money, says Hideg's longtime buddy Laszlo Cser, a retired musician and L.A. City College professor. "Lately he's more willing to go along."
Louis Kabok, a local bass player who knew Hideg in Hungary, fled at about the same time. He says his friend's high spirits in the face of hardship and advancing age don't appear to be an act.
"To tell you the truth, I never met another person in my life who has his kind of attitude," says Kabok. "He just has an idea of the way he wants to live his life, and he's doing it.
Indeed, for all his troubles, Hideg glows. His silver hair is as thick as his Hungarian accent. His grin is young, timeless and broad, the grin of a man who's in on a secret.

Whatever day it is, the weekend is coming soon, and Hideg lives for Friday and Saturday.
He can't bang the skins in the quiet environs of his apartment building, so every Saturday, he stays drummer fit with a two-hour workout at Stein on Vine in Hollywood, the legendary music shop where he jams with gray-bearded buddies and it's the 1950s all over again.

Better yet, Hideg's Friday night gig is coming up, and he knows, without doubt, that the music he loves will live forever.

Sometimes, a tray from St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is his only food for the day. But Hideg has stayed faithful to a different measure of prosperity.

I can't believe I m still doing what I love, says Hideg, carrying his drums out of his apartment as he heads to a gig. He lives for Fridays and Saturdays.

A woman walks past Steve Hideg's drums sitting outside in front of Callender's Grill in Los Angeles.
Top left: Sometimes, a tray from St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is his only food for the day. But Hideg has stays faithful to a different measure of prosperity. Top right: I can't believe I m still doing what I love, says Hideg, carrying his drums out of his apartment as he heads to a gig. He lives for Fridays and Saturdays. Bottom: A woman walks past Hideg's drums sitting outside Callender's Grill in Los Angeles.

Phillip Williams, a pianist and singer, met Hideg at a party eight years ago and asked if he wanted to sit in with his band on Friday nights at Callender's Grill. That's a high-end, mid-city Marie Callender's with live jazz several nights a week.

Hideg has been with Williams ever since.

The Hungarian octogenarian they call "Cool Cat" is old school in his respect for the art and the audience. Before his gig, Hideg showers and shaves, puts on a suit, cinches the tie and arranges the pocket square hanky just right, like one of the pros in the big bands he once saw in the movies.
"I love getting ready, I love carrying the drums, I love setting them up, I love everything about it," Hideg tells me.

He drives to work in a 1992 Mazda van that Williams gave him when his old Aerostar conked out, and he is smiling when he walks into the restaurant and begins setting up.

Typically, several terrific local musicians drop by and sit in with the band. Williams knows the lyrics and music to hundreds of songs and plays what strikes him, from pop to serious jazz, and he generously features each of his sidemen. He likes calling "Satin Doll" because there's a short solo in it for Hideg, who is twice the age of the others in the band and always seems to be having twice the fun.

On an up-tempo number, Williams motions for me to circle behind the piano so he can whisper me something.

"Look at this guy go," Williams says as Hideg taps out an elegant patter, never loud, never showy, riding the groove just right and always in the service of bandmates and the music.
"This is adding minutes to his life," says Williams. "I feel like I'm his doctor."

Hideg plays jazz drums at Callender's Grill in Los Angeles. "I love getting ready, I love carrying the drums, I love setting them up, I love everything about it," Hideg said.

Enrique Mendoza, 6, left, talks with Hideg during a break Friday night at Callender's Grill in Los Angeles.

From left, Bill Melendres, Gary Urwin, Hideg, center, and Allan Walker on sax play jazz Friday night at Callender's Grill in Los Angeles.

Top: Hideg plays jazz drums at Callender's Grill in Los Angeles. "I love getting ready, I love carrying the drums, I love setting them up, I love everything about it," Hideg said. Bottom left: Enrique Mendoza, 6, left, talks with Hideg during a break Friday night at Callender's Grill in Los Angeles. Right: Bill Melendres, Gary Urwin, Hideg, center, and Allan Walker on sax play jazz Friday night at Callender's Grill in Los Angeles.

In the quiet of his apartment, I had asked Hideg if he worries about anything. What if the rent goes up? What if his good eye can't be saved? What if he can't drive much longer?
"I live my life by three principles I learned as a Boy Scout. Faith, hope and love," he said before reminding me he has everything he ever wanted.

"And I can't believe I'm still doing what I love."
His struggle is real, said Hideg.
"But it's a beautiful struggle.
Hideg looks though papers in his apartment in East Hollywood. He gets by on disciplined austerity, occasional help from friends and his once-weekly job as a drummer.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Foreign investors are snapping up US farms

American farmland is becoming popular with overseas investors—and that's making people nervous.


Who owns America's farms? Not always Americans. US farmland is becoming a target for international investors, according to a handful of recent reports. The amount of foreign-owned US farmland has roughly doubled between 2004 and 2014—with Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany owning the most—the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered in June. And a New Food Economy report released Monday shows that figure is increasing.

The most recent US Department of Agriculture data, from 2011, revealed international buyers own more than 25 million acres of US farmland, about 2 percent overall. But since the USDA report was published, New Food Economy found that Italian buyers have purchased 102,000 acres, New Zealand has bought around 18,000, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have gone in on more than 15,000 acres.

Italian buyers purchased 102,000 acres, New Zealand bought around 18,000, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates went in on more than 15,000 acres.

The report didn't specify what kinds of farms each country bought, though it did note that China seems especially interested in the US hog industry. The country now controls more than 400 farms, 33 food processing plants, and one out of every four hogs in the United States. This is largely due to the 2013 deal when a Chinese company dubbed Shuanghui (now called WH Group Limited) nabbed the largest US pork producer, Smithfield Company. The estimated $4.72 billion sale secured Chinese buyers with more than 100,000 acres of US farmland, among other things. (My colleague Tom Philpott analyzed the deal—and China's cozy relationship with the US pork industry—back in 2013.)
So why are foreign countries buying up American farms? One reason might be that agricultural land is simply a good investment. Here's how a 2014 piece in the Economist explained it:
Farmland has been a great investment over the past 20 years, certainly in America, where annual returns of 12 percent caused some to dub it "gold with a coupon." In America and Britain, where tax incentives have distorted the market, it outperformed most major asset classes over the past decade, and with low volatility to boot. Those going against the grain warn of a land-price bubble. Believers argue that increasing demand and shrinking supply—as well as urbanisation, poor soil management and pressure on water systems that are threats to farmland—mean the investment case is on solid ground.
What's more:
[Farmland] is uncorrelated with paper assets such as stocks and bonds, has proven relatively resistant to inflation, and is less sensitive to economic shocks (people continue to eat even during downturns) and to interest-rate hikes. Moreover, in the aftermath of the financial crisis investors are reassured by assets they can touch and sniff.
The influx of foreign farm owners has drawn strong criticism. Some politicians and rural advocacy groups argue that foreign control of farms is a threat to national security. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a bill this year—the Food Security is National Security Act of 2017—that aims to keep farmland and agricultural businesses under US ownership. "As we think about the future and the growing global population, it's important to consider who will control the food supply," Grassley said in a statement.

Another potential drawback: As American farms become more desirable, land prices are increasing—which is bad news for American farmers and their communities. Often, when a foreign investor buys up land, the local population loses farming rights, which can lead to people losing their homes, livelihoods, and access to resources like water.

Some states, like Iowa, have outlawed selling farmland to foreign buyers to protect their resources. But Lindsey Shute, director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, warns that states without such laws may soon face a dilemma. The median age of the American farmer is 55, and it is anticipated that in the next five years, about 92,000,000 acres will go up for sale. Shute is concerned that the rising prices will push out farmers, paving the way for investors: "With two-thirds of our nation's farmland set to change hands in the next few decades, we cannot afford to see the price of farmland driven up beyond what a working farmer can compete with."

This story's description of the Shuanghui deal to acquire Smithfield Company has been corrected.

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