skybrian's recent activity

  1. Comment on A Software Engineer’s Advice for Saving Social Media? Keep It Small in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    It seems like there is more than one way to benefit from the network effect? The way we do it here is by manually creating links to other websites, often copied from other link-sharing websites....

    It seems like there is more than one way to benefit from the network effect? The way we do it here is by manually creating links to other websites, often copied from other link-sharing websites. We benefit from the Web's network effect and, in its way, this is a form of federation. The Web is extremely federated with millions of cross-linked servers.

    Mastodon's model goes further by facilitating conversations and subscriptions across servers.

    I'm skeptical that federated conversations are a good idea, since this results in mixing up separate communities with distinct cultures. On G+, whenever a post went "viral" via the "what's hot" feature, conversation went to hell.

    The way I started thinking about it is "don't cross the streams". The same article can be discussed by different communities but they should talk to each other by default. It seems fine for Hacker News to have one conversation and for us to have a different one. (They might even have some of the same participants, but the cultures are still different.) Similarly, the same link can be posted to different subreddits and they each will have their own conversation.

    On the other hand, perhaps subscriptions could be federated a bit more, via RSS? I don't favor having links show up automatically, but if it were easy to upvote a Hacker News link and have it show up here, it would save the effort of copying the link.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on In a break with convention, the New York Times editorial board has chosen to endorse two separate Democratic candidates for president: Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren in ~news

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Those of us paying attention to the presidential candidates aren't much better, considering that we often talk about the merits of presidential candidates' plans as if they were the ones who pass...

    Those of us paying attention to the presidential candidates aren't much better, considering that we often talk about the merits of presidential candidates' plans as if they were the ones who pass the laws.

    It's not at all clear to me what we should be "interviewing" for.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on A Software Engineer’s Advice for Saving Social Media? Keep It Small in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    It's not in the original title, though. Should Tildes federate somehow?

    It's not in the original title, though.

    Should Tildes federate somehow?

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Acclaimed scientist gets brain surgery for alcohol addiction in ~health

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    As part of a larger argument, Scott Alexander recently wrote about goals versus urges. While still somewhat fuzzy, maybe that's a helpful way of thinking about it?

    As part of a larger argument, Scott Alexander recently wrote about goals versus urges. While still somewhat fuzzy, maybe that's a helpful way of thinking about it?

    1 vote
  5. Comment on Exit, voice, or loyalty… what should we do when things go wrong? in ~misc

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article:

    From the article:

    What is going on? Hirschman pointed to an intriguing case study: railways in Nigeria in the 1960s. Despite poor roads and an 800-mile journey from the peanut farms of northern Nigeria to the ports of Lagos and Port Harcourt, Hirschman observed that trucks comfortably outcompeted the railways. Why?

    One might have expected that as peanut shippers quit trains and leased trucks instead, the railways would have responded. Hirschman argued that the reverse was true. The railways were propped up by the Nigerian state, so exit was no threat. Instead, the threat was voice, in the form of unhappy customers lobbying the government and generally raising hell. But those customers didn’t bother; they quit instead.

    Typically, we think of exit and voice as complementary. Your complaints will be taken more seriously if you can credibly threaten to leave, as anyone who has called to cancel a mobile phone contract can attest. But sometimes exit can silence voice. That is particularly true when “voice” means something more than a mere complaint — taking time-consuming action such as attending council meetings, going on strike or actively campaigning. If you have another option, it is tempting to walk away and take it.

    A similar logic applies to the two-party system that defines the US and remains strong in the UK. Like the Nigerian railways, the dominant parties seem to be a part of the landscape. They are propped up by tradition and the logic of first-past-the-post voting. Exit seems to be no threat to them, especially not to the hardliners who would rather lose than compromise.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Is it really just sexism? An alternative argument for why women leave STEM in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article: [...] [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    So, it seems that sexism can not fully explain why women with STEM PhDs are leaving STEM. At the point when women have earned a PhD, for the most part they have already survived the worst of the sexism. They’ve already proven themselves to be generally thick-skinned and, as anyone with a PhD can attest, very stubborn in the face of overwhelming difficulties. Sexism is frustrating, and it can limit advancement, but it doesn’t fully explain why we have so many women obtaining PhDs in STEM, and then leaving.

    [...]

    When you ask women why they left, the number one reason they cite is balancing work/life responsibilities — which as far as I can tell is a euphemism for family concerns.

    [...]

    At no point [before getting tenure] do I appear stable enough, career-wise, to take even six months off to be pregnant and care for a newborn. Hypothetical future-me is travelling around, or even moving, conducting and promoting my own independent research and training students. As you’re likely aware, very pregnant people and newborns don’t travel well. And academia has a very individualistic and meritocratic culture. Starting at the graduate level, huge emphasis is based on independent research, and independent contributions, rather than valuing team efforts. This feature of academia is both a blessing and a curse. The individualistic culture means that people have the independence and the freedom to pursue whatever research interests them — in fact this is the main draw for me personally. But it also means that there is often no one to fall back on when you need extra support, and because of biological constraints, this winds up impacting women more than men.

    [...]

    By and large, women leave to go to a career where they will be stable, well funded, and well supported, even if it doesn’t fulfill their passion for STEM — or they leave to be stay-at-home moms or self-employed.

    [...]

    So what can we do to better support STEM women who want families?

    A couple of solutions have been tentatively tested. From a study mentioned above, it’s clear that providing free and conveniently located childcare makes a colossal difference to women’s choices of whether or not to stay in STEM, alongside extended and paid maternity leave. Another popular and successful strategy was implemented by a leading woman in STEM, Laurie Glimcher, a past Harvard Professor in Immunology and now CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. While working at NIH, Dr. Glimcher designed a program to provide primary caregivers (usually women) with an assistant or lab technician to help manage their laboratories while they cared for children. Now, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she has created a similar program to pay for a technician or postdoctoral researcher for assistant professors. In the academic setting, Dr. Glimcher’s strategies are key for helping to alleviate the challenges associated with the individualistic culture of academia without compromising women’s research and leadership potential.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Evelyn Yang speaks at Women's March about her sexual assault in ~news

    skybrian
    Link
    From the article: [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    Evelyn Yang, wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang, stood before thousands of people Saturday at the Women's March in New York City and talked about being sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN when she was pregnant with their first child.

    [...]

    Yang revealed the assault by Robert Madden in an interview Thursday on CNN. Until then, she had largely remained silent about the attack that occurred when she was seven months pregnant with their first child.

    [...]

    Yang’s attorney, Anthony DiPietro, said 15 women have come forward with allegations against Hadden since the interview aired. Hadden lost his license in 2016 after pleading guilty to a felony count of criminal sexual act in the third degree and a misdemeanor count of forcible touching. At least 19 patients had accused him of sexual abuse over the years.

    In her address Saturday, Yang also indirectly accused Columbia University, where Hadden practiced medicine, of using its “institutional influence and power to set up a plea bargain of the century.”

    [...]

    Hadden struck a plea deal with the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. that spared him any jail time. The same office argued for leniency over registering Jeffrey Epstein as a sex offender in 2011 and did not prosecute Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after sexual abuse allegations surfaced in 2015.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on There is such a thing as too much technology in ~tech

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    What problem do you think the gate is supposed to solve?

    What problem do you think the gate is supposed to solve?

    1 vote
  9. Comment on What's your favorite food that tastes good and is good for you? in ~food

    skybrian
    Link
    Is Mint Chocolate Soylent good for you? I couldn't say for sure whether it's more or less nutritious than the other foods people have mentioned, but it is supposedly "nutritionally complete" and...

    Is Mint Chocolate Soylent good for you? I couldn't say for sure whether it's more or less nutritious than the other foods people have mentioned, but it is supposedly "nutritionally complete" and is pretty tasty.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on USDA proposes new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries in ~food

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Thanks for explaining at length but I still have questions. (Maybe it's not anything you can answer easily; my point is to show gaps in our understanding, or at least in mine.) I do appreciate...

    Thanks for explaining at length but I still have questions. (Maybe it's not anything you can answer easily; my point is to show gaps in our understanding, or at least in mine.)

    I do appreciate that providing lunch for hundreds or thousands of students is a major operation. But it also seems like this isn't new? It's something schools been doing for a long time now, and a core part of what it means to have a school?

    Maybe my experience as a kid wasn't typical, but as I recall, in elementary school, classes would show up every ten minutes or so, and we'd have a half hour to eat. Some kids would get whatever the hot lunch was that day and others might get "soup and sandwich" or buy some milk to go with a lunch they brought in from home. The tables were very long and the whole class would sit in a line on one side of one table, so you could choose who you sit next to but the other side would be whoever happened to sit there from a different class.

    It seems pretty regimented, in retrospect, probably for good reasons involving the logistics of small children. In high school you had more choices.

    When you say that the government should hold the line on nutrition, I don't disagree but I'm wondering which government. Public schools are government entities too, and there is also state-level regulation. It seems like federal funding is pretty important due to inequality, but I am not sure that it needs a lot of strings attached? Are local schools really going to say "okay, we don't care about nutrition anymore" because the federal guidelines give them more leeway? Do we know that they make worse decisions if given the chance, and if so, why?

    Also, it's true that most food workers are generally not highly paid. Does outsourcing make things better or worse? Also, how do nutritional requirements affect labor issues?

    It seems like if schools make tough decisions because they don't have enough money then this doesn't mean they are bad at making decisions? Maybe they would make better decisions with more money in the budget?

    2 votes
  11. Comment on USDA proposes new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries in ~food

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Well, that sort of proves the point. The federal government put out a lot of information about the food pyramid and schools were able to teach it, and presumably it influenced what they served in...

    Well, that sort of proves the point. The federal government put out a lot of information about the food pyramid and schools were able to teach it, and presumably it influenced what they served in the cafeterias. How is it better if schools are required to do what the federal government says? Federal guidelines could still be wrong due to industry lobbying.

    It seems like a school being able to go its own way, maybe based on better science, would be better? Or is there some value in uniformity?

    3 votes
  12. Comment on USDA proposes new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries in ~food

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    It seems like it wasn't always that way though? Maybe my experience wasn't typical, but there was a cafeteria, an industrial kitchen, and kitchen workers. Buying in bulk gets you cheaper prices,...

    It seems like it wasn't always that way though? Maybe my experience wasn't typical, but there was a cafeteria, an industrial kitchen, and kitchen workers. Buying in bulk gets you cheaper prices, but when buying for a whole school you're already operating at scale.

    I'll also point out that there are many cafeteria-style restaurants that operate at similar scales. Also, there are a lot wholesale food distributors.

    How is it that schools could afford to hire kitchen staff and cafeteria workers before but they can't now? Has some capability been lost? Are budgets lower?

    2 votes
  13. Comment on USDA proposes new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries in ~food

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    It's not clear to me that you need a professional dietician to know what a healthy meal looks like? Especially since schools do sometimes teach kids about nutrition. What do they teach?

    It's not clear to me that you need a professional dietician to know what a healthy meal looks like? Especially since schools do sometimes teach kids about nutrition. What do they teach?

  14. Comment on USDA proposes new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries in ~food

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    But on the other hand If some kids bring their own lunches, that also reduces the scale at which their kitchens have to operate. If the problem is providing lunch at scale then reducing scale...

    But on the other hand If some kids bring their own lunches, that also reduces the scale at which their kitchens have to operate. If the problem is providing lunch at scale then reducing scale should make things easier?

  15. Comment on The economic effects of automation aren’t what you think they are in ~finance

    skybrian
    Link
    Headings from the article:

    Headings from the article:

    1. We automate tasks, not jobs
    2. Humans are not horses
    3. Automation can help or hurt depending on who you are
    4. Automation may be linked to rising inequality
    5. Automation’s effect on your income seems to depend on education
    6. Automation might be increasing wealth inequality
    7. Automation and free trade have similar effects on labor

    TAKEAWAYS:

    • Don’t be concerned about hypothetical future unemployment.
    • Instead, be concerned about low quality job prospects right now.
    3 votes
  16. Comment on USDA proposes new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries in ~food

    skybrian
    Link Parent
    Okay, that sounds bad, but why does it happen? Why don't schools make better decisions about how to provide student lunches? It seems like they could either choose a different vendor or do it...

    Okay, that sounds bad, but why does it happen? Why don't schools make better decisions about how to provide student lunches? It seems like they could either choose a different vendor or do it in-house?

    2 votes