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miketabcdefg
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Topic: The Gender Pay Gap
Posted: 29 Jan 2018 11:49

1. Yes, discrimination exists. It's a problem that needs to be addressed.

2. However, the gender pay gap is also in large part due to statistical games.
a) At the lower end of the economic spectrum (wage jobs) there is little difference in pay. $15/hour is the same for men and women.
b) Discrepancies are more pronounced in salaried positions further up the economic chain - in part (not fully) this is because salaries are more flexible and men are socialized to be more aggressive in negotiating salaries while women are more likely to accept offers without negotiating.
c) Because the pay gap occurs at higher income levels, and women are often confronted with a 'glass ceiling' in which they only rise so far in society, while for (some) men, the sky is the limit, this produces a ridiculous outlier effect that dramatically skews the data. Comparing the wealthiest man to the wealthiest woman in America, you'll definitely see a stark contrast (and yes, that is probably unfair), but you have to keep in mind that these represent less than .0001% of Americans.
d) In some accounts, non-employed men and women are also factored into the statistics, which is problematic since women are socially more likely to stay at home to look after children and the household. While this is definitely a form of valuable work, it tends to be seen in terms of personal responsibility, and is uncompensated. When you factor in 'stay-at-home-moms' vs 'stay-at-home-dads' again you see an artificial inflation of the gender gap in average pay.

3. The term 'pay gap' is misleading. The real issues have to do with discriminatory hiring and promotion practices which limit what kinds of work women are hired for, and how far they can rise within corporate structures. At the lower end of the economic spectrum (where the majority of Americans exist), when men and women are employed in the same jobs, they tend to be paid the same amounts.

4. Where work is gendered (e.g. male jobs like construction work, and female jobs like secretary), pay discrepancies do exist, not within a single field, but between fields of work. It's not that your co-worker is making more or less than you for doing the same job, but someone in a different profession is making more or less. This is as much a product of laissez-faire capitalism as it is of gender discrimination (or more accurately, there's an intersection of forces at work). If we as a society want to address this, we have to decide what value each kind of work actually has, and to compensate it accordingly... but I doubt we'll find the will to totally revolutionize pay structures across the economy - and to deal with the disruptive economic fall-out of such a Marxist redistribution of wealth.

Well encapsulated answer capturing almost all the issues. missing just one perhaps which would slot into the larger point four. Men are almost 20 times more likely to die on the job than women (in australia). It could also be slotted into a wider point about risk taking generally where men are for more willing to risk in many areas including physical, job application, financial risk, etc. On the financial risk side, the upside is that men can make a lot more money if the risk pays off, an the downsides they can incur substantial loses which is less likwey to be represented by a reduced wage but as a job loss/bankrupcy.

I'll also reiterate that there is a pay gap but it's nothing like what's often quoted. The figure I've seen taking into account the above, is about 3%. Not sure what the errors are on that (no time to find the research) but they're sure to be substantial. there are so many variables involved. Note that some of these points doesn't necessarily jusrify the difference. Men being more agressive in appying for jobs will often mean the less capable male will get the job but they are being paid for the position they're doing.

Topic: Michael Moore or Roy Moore?
Posted: 25 Dec 2017 23:45

If I have to choose, Michael, but I much prefer their sister Julianna. The other sister Demi is nice enough but a little too religious and her choice in men makes me feel old.

Topic: do you believe in God?
Posted: 16 Dec 2017 15:05

I don't believe in the conscious, interventionist, concerned, sensitive god(s) of most major religions, but I cannot rule out the existence of something similar to what is often termed Spinoza's god, an unknowable force behind the consistent, predictable laws of the universe (apparently Einstein saw the perfect order of the universe and the very absence of miracles as proof of a god) but also the cause of all causes.

The latter part is actually contrary to Spinoza, but has the most persuasive power. While science demands all that exists must have a cause and that something cannot come from nothing (as in the laws of thermodynamics and Newton's laws of motion for example), logic dictates that, in the beginning, something must have done, otherwise nothing would exist at all. That unknown, ultimate singularity, existing, even for a billionth of a second, outside of and perhaps establishing otherwise perfect, immutable laws of nature, is god. A god with no more claim to be worshipped, or interest in universal affairs, than gravity, but something prior to, and separate from, all else in the universe.

That's my metaphysics for the day.

Einstein had no belief in god. He also didn't like the absolutism of athiesm or some of the fervancy of athiests although he did call himself an athiest at times. But he definately did not see anything as a 'proof of god' Indeed, as a scientist, and especially one with a philosophical approach (theoretical physics does lend itself to that), he would understand that strictly speaking, science can never prove anything, that proofs only exist in the realm of mathematics and are dependant on initial assumptions.

Science also makes no demands on knowledge. Science simply seeks to understand through gathering and interpreting evidence. Some scientists would argue that something can come from nothing, if that nothing is an old concept of nothing such as empty space, which is not actually nothing as it is a vacuum permiated with fields.

The main problem with your argument is in your assumption of there being a beginning, why?. Even accepting that you say that in that beginning there was something that 'could do', so clearly it's not a beginning. This also ignores the idea that time itself doesn't have meaning 'before' the big bang when all our physics breaks down.

The whole idea of causality is an infinite regress that gets us nowhere. The question is not 'where did everything come from?' which is illogical by its premise, but 'why is there anything' A question more obvious in it's inability to be answered.

Topic: do you believe in God?
Posted: 16 Dec 2017 15:05

I don't believe in the conscious, interventionist, concerned, sensitive god(s) of most major religions, but I cannot rule out the existence of something similar to what is often termed Spinoza's god, an unknowable force behind the consistent, predictable laws of the universe (apparently Einstein saw the perfect order of the universe and the very absence of miracles as proof of a god) but also the cause of all causes.

The latter part is actually contrary to Spinoza, but has the most persuasive power. While science demands all that exists must have a cause and that something cannot come from nothing (as in the laws of thermodynamics and Newton's laws of motion for example), logic dictates that, in the beginning, something must have done, otherwise nothing would exist at all. That unknown, ultimate singularity, existing, even for a billionth of a second, outside of and perhaps establishing otherwise perfect, immutable laws of nature, is god. A god with no more claim to be worshipped, or interest in universal affairs, than gravity, but something prior to, and separate from, all else in the universe.

That's my metaphysics for the day.

Einstein had no belief in god. He also didn't like the absolutism of athiesm or some of the fervancy of athiests although he did call himself an athiest at times. But he definately did not see anything as a 'proof of god' Indeed, as a scientist, and especially one with a philosophical approach (theoretical physics does lend itself to that), he would understand that strictly speaking, science can never prove anything, that proofs only exist in the realm of mathematics and are dependant on initial assumptions.

Science also makes no demands on knowledge. Science simply seeks to understand through gathering and interpreting evidence. Some scientists would argue that something can come from nothing, if that nothing is an old concept of nothing such as empty space, which is not actually nothing as it is a vacuum permiated with fields.

The main problem with your argument is in your assumption of there being a beginning, why?. Even accepting that you say that in that beginning there was something that 'could do', so clearly it's not a beginning. This also ignores the idea that time itself doesn't have meaning 'before' the big bang when all our physics breaks down.

The whole idea of causality is an infinite regress that gets us nowhere. The question is not 'where did everything come from?' which is illogical by its premise, but 'why is there anything' A question more obvious in it's inability to be answered.

Topic: Presidential offspring - out of bounds or fair game..?
Posted: 20 May 2017 19:46



I don't believe it is man-made. If it is, could somebody please explain to me how we made the last ice age... plus the one before that... plus the bits in between when it wasn't cold. According to science we have been through all this before.



Please point to sometime in the past where humans have dumped enormous quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in ridiculously short periods of time. At any time, not just in correlation with the ice ages. According to the science and basic history, this hasn't happened before, though according to the science CO2 has varied markedly in atmospheric percentages for various reasons associated with increased volcanism, increased weathering, melting of permafrost releasing locked methane (oxidising to CO2), locking away of carbon in limestone, oil and coal deposits over countless millennia, all of which aligned with changes in the earths temperature. At the moment humans are dumping it into the atmosphere. A simple mass balance of the fossil fuels burnt accounts for all of it (plus some because of uptake in oceans and weathering reactions).

The temperature changes aren't always increases when CO2 increases, as the first and most major snowball earth is thought to be caused by life starting to produce masses of oxygen which eventually (once other oxygen sinks were used up) converted methane, a much stronger greenhouse gas, to carbon dioxide.

There are many reasons the climate changes (changing insolation, increasing solar activity, changing volcanism, asteroid impacts, changing atmospheric concentrations even by dumb bacteria let alone supposedly smart humans, changing planetary orbit characteristics, changing continental distribution, etc) and science is doing a pretty good job of understanding them, though the job is never finished. What's clear at the moment is that we are causing it, that it is going to disrupt the planets ecological balance markedly at a time that it's already under enormous pressure from other human activities and that it's happening ridiculously quickly in geological terms and whilst it may appear slow in lifetime terms at the moment, in human societal terms it'll cause serious disruptions.

For the accepted reasons for the ice ages please refer to the Milankovich cycles which relate to the changing orbital nature of the planet. As this forcing isn't enough on its own also refer to how the warming caused by the changing insolation caused other feedbacks dependent on methane locked in permafrost and changing weather patterns from changing glacial topography all dependent on current continental distribution.

What staggers me most about comments such as these is how it is any way seen to be a logical argument in refutation on AGW. If you were in a car crash and were seeking to absolve yourself of blame would you argue that "the car has been crashed before and I wasn't even in it, therefore I can't be at blame this time"?

And in reference to a previous comment about snowball earth refuting AGW, how is it logical to cite a theory that is far more contentious in scientific circles because of the far more limited evidence available to support it, to try to refute another (even ignoring it's used incorrectly) that has a staggering amount of evidence to support it that is not at all contentious except in the details.

Topic: Presidential offspring - out of bounds or fair game..?
Posted: 13 May 2017 19:14

Depends on whether you think it's ok to have an affair with a married women, but really, no offense but I think Ivanka at least is out of your league... wait, what was the question again?

Topic: Forgetting your birthday
Posted: 30 Mar 2017 13:02

Could care less about my birthday. In the past, the first time I've remembered it's actually my birthday is when my mum has rung me up to wish me a happy birthday. I don't tell people when it is because it means nothing and I feel fake having to pretend i care when someone gushes over it. There's one proviso, in workplaces in the habit of having a cake everytime it's someones birthday. I guess anything can be justified by cake, but even then I can buy my own cake.

What someone does on every day of the year is far far more important than that one, and i do have a habit of coming to work with sweets for no reason at all now.

Topic: covers: love 'em or hate 'em?
Posted: 12 Mar 2017 23:33



Never knew Stevie Wonder was in Steppenwolf <img src="/images/emoticons/laughing7.gif" alt="laughing6">

He was a member of Steppenwolf but you just couldn't see him ... or was it the other way around.

Not sure what it is about that song but I've made that mistake before and not learnt from it it seems.

Topic: covers: love 'em or hate 'em?
Posted: 12 Mar 2017 13:33

Some covers are better but it's up to personal taste and often it simply depends on on which version you heard first. Also if the cover matches the style of music you're into at the time makes a big difference.

A few good ones mentioned above. And a couple more off the top of my head in vastly different styles...

Higher ground, Chilli peppers, originl steppenwolf.
Can't get used to loosing you, the Beat (or british beat or english beat) original popularised by Andy Williams - not sure who wrote it)
Voodoo People, Pendulum, original prodigy.

Queens of the Stone age did a decent version of Tom Waits Going out West though I still prefer the original and with all the other covers of his definitely. But Tom Waits is a good example of preference, his voice is very much an individual preference and lots of people prefer the covers.

Also lots of trip hop out there that grabs a kernel of a song and turns it into something totally new. Sometimes they almost lift the entire song and put some layers over it, change it around a bit, speed it up - whatever - to turn it into something totally new.
Chinese Man - I've Got That Tune - grabbed an old jazz number (Washboard Rhythm Kings Hummin' to Myself (1932)) and transformed it.
Kid koala on 12 bit blues sampled lots of old scratchy blues and gave them a modern feel but still keeping the old scratchy feel.


Topic: Your thoughts about AI
Posted: 02 Mar 2017 12:51

A agree with seeker..

But I'm not sure it requires quantum computing for intelligence rivaling human intelligence, and to be honest I think we should be aiming higher than that. Much better to create an intelligence that isn't so swamped by so many cognitive bias's. The difficulty will be in identifying whether a truly 'intelligent' machine has been achieved. I put that in inverted commas because mostly people use the term to mean self aware intelligence. I only assume other people are self aware by their similarity to myself (and the negative of this informs bigotry in its many forms). Will we ever be able to assume self aware intelligence in any computer, or only in some sort of anthropomorphised form. Perhaps once we've worked out how to map the human neural networked brain structure into another substrate, perhaps growing a similar biological version with machine connections. A fair way off but certainly not out of the realms of possibility.

When it comes to it, on some measures computers are smarter than us, certainly on any intelligence that requires simple linear thinking. Once upon a time someone who could do calculations very quickly would have been considered very smart, simply because most of us can't. Computers have been great at doing simple sequential calculations very quickly and so we've diminished that in importance. Attempts to get computers to play the more complex games with too many permutations by using simple number crunching brute force showed their limitations. That is all changing now. Computers can now win these games using pattern matching and learning algorithms and are now proving to be better at diagnosing, say, x-rays by being presented with many x-rays with known diagnosis. However they are very limited in their breadth of knowledge and using that information to tie in a broader diagnosis. That will change.

But well before that happens, computers will be able to replace most of our jobs through advances not only in computer processing power but also material science and machine dexterity, they don't need to be that smart to do that. This has been happening for decades but is about to move into many more realms, not the least of which is self driving vehicles. Think of all those truck drivers, delivery drivers out of jobs. Cue serious, but ultimately unsuccessful, protests. Where will it lead? Who knows what the social and cultural impacts will be when so many more of us have leisure time/nothing constructive to do (take your pick). Perhaps we'll be like the Roman elite, and it'll all be gluttony and orgies. The bigger question is who will be in control, and decide on the distribution of wealth. Are we heading towards having a basic human income, many say it'll be the only sustainable way.... Cue, 'but that's socialism', by many, especially in the US.

Detailed pic of Cognitive Biases. In all our inglory.

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