Open Thread and Link Farm, Emerging Face Edition

  1. The Brussels attack is Europe’s new reality – Vox
  2. Study Shows That Pay Drops Universally in Male-Dominated Fields When Women Join En Masse
  3. North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law is unconstitutional.
    I’d really like to read some legal experts weighing in on this question, but when I read about the law, my first thought was that a law like this can’t survive Romer vs Evans.
  4. See also Echidne’s comments on the same topic.
  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates on Nina Simone’s Face, Zoe Saldana, and the Realities of Blackness – The Atlantic
    “But the very fact that there’s such a shallow pool of actors who look like Simone is not a non-racist excuse, but a sign of racism itself—the same racism that plagued Nina Simone.”
  6. The End of the Desistance Myth
    What do we actually know about how many kids diagnosed with GID will be trans people as adults?
  7. Kansas Bill Would Pay Students A $2,500 Bounty To Hunt For Trans People In Bathrooms | ThinkProgress
    I can’t imagine any way this could turn out badly.
  8. A Republican PAC Is Now Running “Vote Against Trump” Attack Ads | Bitch Media
    Trump puts more over-the-top misogyny in what he says, but in terms of policy, the GOP in general is no better.
  9. The Myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women – The Atlantic
  10. Guy Finds Wasp Nest Full Of Dead Spiders In His Wall, Resists Burning Home To The Ground (Via.)
  11. My Feminism Will Be Pro-Sex-Work Or It Will Be Bullshit | Thing of Things
  12. As Predicted, Elsevier’s Attempt To Silence Sci-Hub Has Increased Public Awareness Massively | Techdirt
    Sci-hub is a site where you can find and download most peer-reviewed research for free.
  13. Fatal mistakes – Vox
    “Doctors and nurses make thousands of deadly errors every year. They are reprimanded. Do they also deserve support?”
  14. Donald Trump is counting on an anti-trade backlash that doesn’t appear to exist – Vox
    Polls don’t show much of an anti-trade backlash – although trade deals are less popular with Republicans than anyone else.
  15. 5 WTF Moments All Wheelchair Users Have Experienced At Least Once
  16. Granularity — Strong Towns
    Looking at urban areas in terms of if they are “fine-grained” (lots of different buildings, with different owners, close together), “coarse-grained” (one enormous building taking up an entire square block, for example) or “faux-grained” (one enormous building, but with street-level divisions giving the impression of being fine-grained).
  17. Capital Mobility and Trumpism – Lawyers, Guns & Money
    “The doctrine of unrestricted free trade has been basically bipartisan for many decades now. But no one ever thought hard enough about what this would look like when all the manufacturing jobs were gone.”
  18. Nigerian lawmakers vote down bill protecting women, citing Bible, Sharia law | Episcopal Cafe
  19. Big Fat Science — Is weight loss an effective treatment for Type II Diabetes…
    Argues that – contrary to what I’ve always heard – weight loss doesn’t actually have any proven long-term benefits for people with Type II diabetes, and may even be harmful.
  20. If it’s Trump versus Clinton, what does it Mean for Iran and ISIL Policy?
  21. Some Centrist Democrats Tried to Craft a Policy Response to Bernie Sanders. They Failed. Abjectly.
  22. Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back
    Both Bernie and Trump should start focusing on something that could actually happen. Which means, not manufacturing.
  23. Oprah’s Investment in Weight Watchers Was Smart Because the Program Doesn’t Work
    “My lab reviewed 60 years of clinical trials of diets, and we found that people lose an average of 10 percent of their starting weight on most diets but within two to five years have gained back all but about two pounds.”
  24. Poor People Aren’t People – Seriously?!?
    On Kansas’ latest attempt to control and restrict how people on welfare spend money.
  25. On Passing and Not Trying to Pass
    “When the Rachel Dolezal story broke, it stung. Here was a white woman, posing as black, taking leadership positions in the black community, teaching African-American studies. I felt betrayed and lied to. But more than anything, I felt a pang of jealousy.”
  26. McDonald’s Has Launched A Recruitment Campaign Using Anime
  27. Voter Suppression Works Well – Lawyers, Guns & Money
    “Stanton alleged that, by cutting down the number of polling places, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office unfairly made minorities wait longer to vote.” And yes, claiming this is a pro-Hillary conspiracy (as I’ve seen some Bernie fans on Tumblr do) is silly.

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17 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Emerging Face Edition

  1. 1
    MJJ says:

    You know, people laugh at Trump saying he will make America great again, but his candidacy has already caused comic strips to become great again.

    Sorry, had to get a plug for my favorite strip of all time – now back!

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    On another thread, Itfek wrote:

    My comment is “awaiting moderation”. Huh.

    Your first comment here was (in my subjective judgement) belligerent in tone, and insulting in some of its content. Because of that, you’ve earned being placed on “moderated” status, where all your comments require mod approval. But as long as all your comments follow the guidelines, then all your comments will be approved.

  3. 3
    Lee1 says:

    Holy crap – I had no idea Bloom County was back! It and Calvin and Hobbes are 1 and 1a in my mind, in whatever order. Oh, and Get Fuzzy – those three are like the holy trinity of comic strips in my book.

  4. 4
    Lee1 says:

    Quoted from the Equal Opportunity thread but posted here, because Amp said the moderation thing was off-topic:

    Could we set up some sort of Motivation Jar, where people have to put a dollar in every time they say they’ll get banned for a civil, on-topic response? It seems to happen a lot, and I’m sure all the moderators have bills to pay…

    It’s such a self-absorbed, passive-aggressive comment to make, but it’s amazing how common it is on many blogs with very tolerant moderation policies (like this one). It’s nice when on rare occasion the person who makes such a statement owns up that they were wrong, but it seems like in most cases they were starting from a position of bad faith anyway.
    So what do you think, Itfek? Both your comments were published and Amp explained the “awaiting moderation” thing. Want to own up that you were wrong, and make it more likely that you’ll be welcomed as an intellectually honest contributor here, even if you strongly disagree with many mod positions? This is a very welcoming place for people who try to play fair, even if you run into disagreements with mods.
    (Just to be clear I have no mod authority here at all – just saying what it looks like to me from the outside.)

  5. 5
    nobody.really says:

    2. Study Shows That Pay Drops Universally in Male-Dominated Fields When Women Join En Masse

    The study’s behind a paywall, but here’s the abstract:

    Occupations with a greater share of females pay less than those with a lower share, controlling for education and skill. This association is explained by two dominant views: devaluation and queuing. The former views the pay offered in an occupation to affect its female proportion, due to employers’ preference for men—a gendered labor queue. The latter argues that the proportion of females in an occupation affects pay, owing to devaluation of work done by women. Only a few past studies used longitudinal data, which is needed to test the theories. We use fixed-effects models, thus controlling for stable characteristics of occupations, and U.S. Census data from 1950 through 2000. We find substantial evidence for the devaluation view, but only scant evidence for the queuing view.

    Alas, I would be more reassuring to read that the authors also controlled for traditional factors that influence compensation, such as supply & demand and experience. For example, consider what would happen if the US military decided to get out of the health care business, and suddenly an army of predominantly young male nurses flooded the labor market:

    – I’d expect an increased supply, without a corresponding increase in demand, would drive down wage rates – for reasons wholly unrelated to gender.

    – And I’d expect that a flood of new workers would reduce the average level of experience in the labor pool, which would be expected to drive down average wage rates – for reasons wholly unrelated to gender.

    To determine whether gender is an explanatory variable, we’d want to look at circumstances in which the supply and demand for labor remained constant, but the labor force transitions from male to female. And it’s hard to imagine when such a circumstance would arise. Did that happen with Rosy the Riveter (supply of male workers siphoned away to military service, being replaced by women)? But even then, the transition to a war economy would wreck the analysis.

  6. 6
    Harlequin says:

    That’s an interesting point, nobody.really. I bet I have access to this study via my employer, I will check later today to see if those points are addressed in their modeling–are there any other questions anyone’s interested in when I do?

    (I could see, for example, a definition of “skill” that includes experience, and also controlling for supply & demand as part of “thus controlling for stable characteristics of occupations”, but I won’t know either one until I look.)

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    NR: Also, this is a minor quibble, but in what you just quoted they mixed up which was “former” and which was “latter”; the abstract seems like a particularly unfortunate place to make that error.

    The entire study is available to read on sci-hub.

  8. 8
    nobody.really says:

    7. Kansas Bill Would Pay Students A $2,500 Bounty To Hunt For Trans People In Bathrooms

    How totally awesome!

    “Excuse me, chancellor? I’d like to discuss my proposal for a trans-student scholarship fund. Yes, I know it’s a lot of money. But I think you’ll agree that it will be a big money saver in the long run.

    How? Well, look at this manila folder here. It contains dated photos of me in bathrooms throughout the campus. And it also contains a draft lawsuit seeking $2500 plus penalties for “emotional harm” for each one of these events. And oh, there are so, so many more. And, be assured, I have absolutely no intention of lying about my whereabouts on those occasions. It would be such a shame if this folder were to fall into the wrong hands – wouldn’t it?

    So, about that scholarship fund….”

  9. 9
    Harlequin says:

    Man, sci-hub makes me really uncomfortable. Like–the prices the journals charge are obviously usurious, and those policies need to change; I’m very happy for increased pressure on the journals to do that. And if easily-available free versions puts pressure on scientific journals the way Napster et al put pressure on music companies–to make stuff more easily available, basically, while still preserving some of the functions that journals perform–then I’m all for it. But I’m a little disturbed by the way I see so many people (emphatically not just you, Amp) blithely pointing to a site with no function except copyright infringement.

    My relationship to this is probably a little weird because in my (broad) field, every major journal has succumbed to the fact that the papers are going to be posted for free on the arXiv, often before they’re even submitted for review at the journal. Every paper of mine from the last decade is freely available.

    As a general PSA about paywalls, by the way, if you click on a link and it goes to the journal’s page, don’t assume you have no access without paying the journal price. Multiple-journal repositories such as JSTOR or Project Muse may have the work, and you may have access through eg your local public library. Again, though, there are many problems with pricing and access there, particularly because of the differing availability and funding of public libraries in different communities.

    In sum, I’m glad sci-hub exists as a way of pressuring journals to fix things, but every time I see a link my brain interprets that as “HEY LOOK AT THIS STOLEN COPY.” It weirds me out.

    I did get a chance to look at the article and I’ll have things to say in a bit, but I’ve gotta run for a bus right now!

  10. 10
    Harlequin says:

    Okay. To answer your questions above, nobody.really:

    – experience: Authors attempted to control for this via creating a “years worked” variable that was age – # of years of education – 6 (as most people are 6 when they enter 1st grade). If women spent significant time out of the workforce preferentially to men, then this is not taken into account. (They do on average but I don’t know how big the difference is. Since women are preferentially likely to stay home with children, the average time off work will be higher, even if the typical worker works full time with no parental leave regardless of gender. This likely also varies with occupation.)

    – supply & demand: this is where reading the paper is helpful, as I’ve found popular science summaries often don’t adequately convey the caveats. The authors use a model that assumes a bunch of things about the occupational category are fixed, including skills required to hold it. The authors point out that a reduction in required skills would mimic the effect they see, too, and they can’t tell because the data on required skills isn’t updated frequently enough. I think supply and demand would follow this trait as well, because it is a variable that changes with time, and investigating it would require information they don’t have.

    (I should say that the supply vs demand problem would have to behave oddly to cause this effect, that is, you would have to see more of an oversupply suppression when women started entering a profession than when men started entering a profession, or you wouldn’t get a decrease when women enter but an increase when men enter. It’s possible that’s true because of the occupations in question, but that might be an interesting question on its own.)

    One thing I noticed when reading the paper is that the evidence against the queuing model is stronger than the evidence for the devaluation model. For example, a number of occupations that attracted more women as time went on are relatively high-status and high-skill, which is definitely not something that happens in the queuing model, and isn’t as dependent on some of the other questions that the authors’ model can’t answer. (The queuing model, which I don’t think the abstract explains well, basically says there’s a more-or-less universal ranking of jobs based on compensation, and a more-or-less universal ranking of job applicants based on qualities they have, and people take the highest job in the queue they can obtain, and employers hire the highest people in the employment queue who haven’t taken a better job. If men are preferred to women in the queue, then you would expect women to enter jobs as the jobs become lower-paid. The fact that women enter jobs when they are still highly-paid–while skipping over lower-paid jobs that are still majority male–is fairly good evidence against that hypothesis, or at least against that hypothesis being the sole explanation; women might want those jobs but in the queuing system they wouldn’t get them.)

    Finally, the authors point out that since their data starts in 1950, they’re not able to probe the effects of the founding of most occupations, which likely also strongly contributes to later compensation differences.

  11. 11
    closetpuritan says:

    #10–Not long ago, I think fall 2015, I was outside and saw a small object moving erratically in my peripheral vision. My thought process went something like, What am I looking at? Two yellow jackets fighting? No, a yellow jacket trying to carry away a spider about the same size as it, not yet successful enough to go wherever it is trying to go.


    Black mailman handcuffed by NYPD while delivering packages

    This group of cops seems to have been throwing their weight around because they could. The part about them driving recklessly and almost striking the Postal Service employee seems especially plausible after reading this:

    The driver, who had turned around to taunt him, hit the vehicle in front of them, Mr. Grays said, causing him to bang his shoulder against the front seat.

    In a televised interview with CBS on Monday, Grays said he wanted the officers involved to be disciplined, but “I don’t want them to be jobless. They might have families, kids they have to support.”

    It’s nice to see someone who’s calling for employment-related consequences stopping short of calling for the people involved to lose their jobs. These don’t seem to be the most deserving guys, though. I’d like to see them get a different job where it’s not so easy to abuse their authority.

    I suspect, based on this and at least one other video that I’ve seen, that officers define “resisting” as not cooperating (passive) in addition to attempts to escape or attack (active) and the general public only thinks of the active kinds as “resisting”. Perhaps it should be considered jargon that is best not used to communicate with the general public–“Put your hands behind your back” [instead of in front] would get the point across better. But that’s a pretty minor point in the context of this incident given that, from all appearances, they shouldn’t have been arresting him.

    You Gon’ Learn Today: On the revocation of white privilege in North Korea
    Parts of this demonstrate the ways social justice culture can go wrong.

    -Where I agree with the author–It IS mind-boggling that this student presumably intellectually knew that this kind of thing could happen in North Korea, but, I guess, couldn’t quite believe it. And “rules don’t apply to me because privilege” seems like a good theory to explain it.

    -The author stops short of saying that she feels sorta-happy the way her mother did in a similar situation, but the lack of empathy compared to when she was younger feels tragic to me. Granted, he’s not the easiest guy to empathize with–he seems like an entitled, inconsiderate jerk, the kind of guy who would also steal street signs and such–but he doesn’t have to be a perfect victim for me to be appalled at the idea of one more person put in a North Korean prison.

    -This reinforces my belief that people who go through suffering are actually less likely to be empathetic to other people going through suffering, not more. Their attitude often is either “I had to go through this, if everyone else has to, too, at least it will be fair then! And I survived, so it’s not that bad, stop whining!” Or else “How dare you compare [group that I’m bigoted against] to my group!”
    I wonder if the reason that so many people seem to expect people who’ve suffered to be more empathetic is a secular version of the Christian idea that suffering is ennobling. I don’t generally think there’s a “silver lining” to suffering.

    –“As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.”

    No, you don’t get it. If you haven’t actually been sentenced to hard labor you do not get it. Even if you’ve been in an American prison for 15 years, you do not get it. I do not get it. None of us get it. You are no longer punching up.


    #Berniemademewhite–I think the reason for this phenomenon is a combination of two types of lazy thinking–thinking of “nonwhite” as “black and maybe Latino”, and rehashing the dominant political narratives.

  12. 12
    Mandolin says:

    -This reinforces my belief that people who go through suffering are actually less likely to be empathetic to other people going through suffering, not more.

    I’m not sure how you test that experimentally to support a less/more across populations.

    Certainly, it can be true for some people.

  13. 13
    closetpuritan says:

    @Mandolin–I don’t think you can. I think we’re left with our experiences/observations and gut feelings.

    But I do see plenty of people asserting the opposite. So although I’m trying to describe my observations as best I can, some contrarianism could be sneaking in there. And I do kind of go back and forth between “less empathetic” and “no difference”. There could also be some kind of non-linear relationship where a certain amount of suffering creates a “sweet spot” of empathy, and either less or more suffering results in less empathy.

  14. 14
    Mandolin says:

    Well, I hear you, but your inner contrarian might want to remember some of us are in the category you’re discussing. Maybe you are, too, and are good with the idea, but it sort of seems like kicking people when they’re down.

  15. 15
    Mandolin says:

    But maybe, having suffered yourself, you lack empathy for us. ;)

    (I don’t really believe that.)

  16. 16
    Ruchama says:

    On #15, I’m not a wheelchair user, but I am sometimes visibly disabled (I wear an ankle brace all the time, but it’s usually hidden by my pant legs during the winter, and I sometimes use a cane or a walker, depending on how I’m feeling that particular day.) I’ve gotten all of those reactions. I’ve also gotten baby-talk a few times, and had no clue how to respond — random people who come up to me and say things like, “Oh! You have a boo-boo!” in the sort of voice that you’d use to talk to a two-year-old. (That happened to me several times when I was living in Appalachia, but never anywhere else. Random people telling me they’d pray for me, or that I should accept Jesus, or that their wife’s cousin’s husband’s mother was cured by the energy from crystals was weirdly common on public transportation when I lived in DC. So far, in the medium-sized midwestern city where I’m living now, I haven’t gotten any of that, but people do rush to open doors for me. Which is helpful, as long as they don’t hold the door open by standing in front of it, because that doesn’t leave me enough room to get past with my walker, and then it just gets awkward and I start wishing that they hadn’t even bothered, because that door has a button to open it and it’s so much easier to press the button than to try to figure out how to say, “Thank you for holding the door for me, but you’re actually blocking me from going through it.”)

  17. 17
    closetpuritan says:


    I think, like most people I guess, I’m not at either extreme on the How Much Have You Suffered index. :) So for me, the “sweet spot” theory would be the most self-interested theory. I think “no relationship until proven otherwise” would probably be the most intellectually defensible position. I care most about what is true, but it would probably, in the end, also be the most beneficial to sufferers, since it would both reject the idea that suffering has a tendency to make people less empathetic, and reject the idea that suffering is ennobling–the latter idea might seem beneficial to sufferers, but I think it leads to less urgency to stop the suffering. Also, the times that people have said “X made you a stronger person” (granted, slightly different than “less empathetic”) to me it made me feel kind of condescended to and like the person was trying to get away from feeling uncomfortable about my experiences. So I definitely don’t think “suffering tends to make you a better person” is any better for sufferers than “suffering tends to make you less empathetic”. You could make a case that the “better person” theory is beneficial for the already-suffered but bad for the potential-sufferers, but in the case of identity-related reasons for suffering such as race, class, sex, etc the suffering is not a discrete event and the two types of sufferers have nearly 100% overlap.

    Hard to figure out through introspection what the net effect of my suffering has been on me. It’s perhaps made me more empathetic towards victims of very similar suffering and way less empathetic towards perpetrators of very similar suffering. For example, not only would I be happy to hear that the guy who was my primary middle-school bully had died (perhaps while attempting to stab someone in the abdomen, which last I checked he is currently in jail for), I couldn’t bring myself to care much if someone died who I knew did a similar thing. (I guess if would bother me slightly more to hear that they were in a Korean prison, though.) But it’s hard to analyze how/if it’s affected empathy towards victims of only somewhat similar suffering. I guess at a gut level I think there’s sort of a dead spot in my feelings, but I’m only sure of its effects on my feelings towards people like my bully. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing if I’m lower in empathy, though; I’ve always been on the more sensitive side, and I sometimes think that Lovecraftian “knowing the full truth about the universe leads to madness” is a metaphor for knowing about all the suffering going on in the world.

    I guess the most prominent evidence in my mind for the idea that people who’ve suffered a lot tend to be less empathetic, other than the article I was discussing (and a recent internet comment I happened to read about a Holocaust survivor relative, which isn’t worth much as evidence; and various incidents of people in X group not wanting to be compared to people in Y group, though that should probably count as equal empathy) is that such a huge source of the anti-fat-acceptance people that show up on fat acceptance sites seems to be formerly-fat people or, maybe even more, people who soon expect to be formerly fat.

    I meant to mention when I originally posted that piece from Kinfolk Kollective–Dylan Roof was NOT taken to Burger King. Police did bring him food from Burger King. This seems to have been simply the most convenient way to get him a meal rather than some special favor to Roof to get him special food.