Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Thursday, 28 September 2017

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, by John Perry Barlow

Filed under: Philosophy, Politics, Principles, Privacy, Technology — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 12:28 AM (00:28)

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

by John Perry Barlow <barlow@eff.org>

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland


NOTES

  1. Original article
  2. On Freenet
  3. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Gab / Google Plus / Liberty.me / Liberty Society / Minds / seen.life / Twitter / VK / WordPress.com
    2. KCUF Media – Facebook / WordPress.com
    3. Extropy UnboundFacebook / WordPress.com
    4. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Google Plus / Twitter / WordPress.com

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise, by “Draketo” / Arne Babenhauserheide

Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise

by “Draketo” / Arne Babenhauserheide

I planned to get this into a newspaper, but it was too technical for the Guardian and too non-practical for Linux Voice. Then my free time ran out. Today I saw Barret Brown report (freenet mirror) on his 5 years court sentence for quoting a Fox news commentator and sharing a public link. Welcome to Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise!

# Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise

A long time ago in a chatroom far away, select groups of crypto-anarchists gathered to discuss the death of privacy since the NSA could spy on all communications with ease. Among those who proposed technical solutions was a student going by the name sanity, and he published the widely regarded first paper on Freenet: A decentralized anonymous datastore which was meant to be a cryptopunk paradise: true censorship resistance, no central authority and long lifetime only for information in which people were actually interested.

Many years passed, two towers fell, the empire expanded its hunt for rebels all over the globe, and now, as the empire’s grip has become so horrid that even the most loyal servants of the emperors turn against them and expose their dark secrets to the masses, Freenet is still moving forward. Lost to the eye of the public, it shaped and reshaped itself — all the while maintaining its focus to provide true freedom of the press in the internet.

Table of Contents

A new old hope

Once only a way to anonymously publish one-shot websites into Freenet that other members of the group could see, it now provides its users with most services found in the normal internet, yet safe from the prying eyes of the empire. Its users communicate with each other using email which hides metadata, micro-blogging with real anonymity, forums on a wide number of topics — from politics to drug experiences — and websites with update notifications (howto) whose topics span from music and anime over religion and programming to life without a state and the deepest pits of depravity.

All these possibilities emerge from its decentralized datastore and the tools built on top of a practically immutable data structure, and all its goals emerge from providing real freedom of the press. Decentralization is required to avoid providing a central place for censorship. Anonymity is needed to protect people against censorship by threat of subsequent punishment, prominently used in China where it is only illegal to write something against the state if too many people should happen to read it. Private communication is needed to allow whistleblowers to contact journalists and also to discuss articles before publication, invisible access to information makes it hard to censor articles by making everyone a suspect who reads one of those articles, as practiced by the NSA which puts everyone on the watchlist who accesses Freenetproject.org (reported by German public TV program Panorama). And all this has to be convenient enough for journalists to actually use it during their quite stressful daily work. As a side effect it provides true online freedom, because if something is safe enough for a whistleblower, it is likely safe enough for most other communication too.

These goals pushed Freenet development into areas which other groups only touched much later — or not at all. And except for convenience, which is much harder to get right in a privacy-sensitive context than it seems, Freenet nowadays manages to fulfill these goals very well.

The empire strikes the web

The cloud was “invented” and found to be unsafe, yet Freenet already provided its users with a safe cloud. Email was found to spill all your secrets, while Freenet already provided its users with privacy preserving emails. Disaster control became all the rage after hurricane Katrina and researchers scrambled to find solutions for communicating on restricted routes, and Freenet already provided a globally connectable darknet on friend-to-friend connections. Blogs drowned in spam comments and most caved in and switched to centralized commenting solutions, making the fabled blogosphere into little more than a PR outlet for Facebook, but Freenet already provided spam resistance via an actually working web of trust — after seeing the non-spam-resistant forum system Frost burn when some trolls realized that true anonymity also means complete freedom to use spam bots. Censorship and total surveillance of user behavior on Facebook was exposed, G+ required users to use their real names and Twitter got blocked in many repressive regimes, whereas Freenet already provided hackers with convenient, decentralized, anonymous microblogging. Now websites are cracked by the minute and constant attacks have made it a chore for private webmasters simply to stay available, though Freenet already offers attack resistant hosting which stays online as long as people are interested in the content.

All these developments happened in a private microcosm, where new and strange ideas could form and hatch; an incubator where reality could be rethought and rewritten to reestablish privacy in the internet. The internet was hit hard, and Freenet evolved to provide a refuge for those who could use it.

The return of privacy

What started as a student’s idea was driven forward by about a dozen free time coders and one paid developer for more than a decade — funded by donations from countless individuals — and turned into a true forgotten cryptopunk paradise: actual working solutions to seemingly impossible problems, highly detailed documentation streams in a vast nothingness to be explored only by the initiated (where RTFS is a common answer: Read The Friendly Source), all this with plans and discussions about saving the world mixed in.

The practical capabilities of Freenet should be known to every cryptopunk. But a combination of mediocre user experience, bad communication and worse PR (and maybe something more sinister, if Poul-Henning Kamp should prove to be farsighted about project Orchestra) brought us to a world where a new, fancy, half finished, partially thought through, cash-cow searching project comes around and instead of being asked “how’s that different from Freenet?”, the next time I talk to a random crypto-loving stranger about Freenet I am asked “how is Freenet different from X which just made the news?” (the answer which fits every single time is: “Even if X should work, it would provide only half of Freenet, and none of the really important features — friend-to-friend darknet, access dependent content lifetime, decentralized spam resistance, stable pseudonyms, hosting without a server”).

Right now, many years of work have culminated in a big step forward for Freenet. It is time for Freenet to re-emerge from hiding and take its place as one of the few privacy tools actually proven to work — and as the single tool with the most ambitious goal: Reestablishing freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the internet.

Join in

If you do not have the time for large scale contribution, a good way to support freenet is to run and use it — and ask your friends to join in, ideally over darknet.

freenetproject.org

Since the focus of Freenet has been on the big goals, there are lots of low hanging fruit; small tasks which allow reaping the fruits of existing solutions to hard problems. For example my recent work on Freenet includes 4 hours of hacking the Python based site uploader in pyFreenet which sped up the load time of its sites by up to a factor of 4. If you are an interested software developer and want to join, come to #freenet @ freenode to chat, discuss with us in the freenet devl mailing list and check the github-project.

Welcome to Freenet, where no one can watch you read.


NOTES

  1. Original article [text-only version / PDF version]
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook / Gab / Google Plus / Liberty.me / Liberty Society / Minds / seen.life / VK / WordPress.com
    2. Extropy UnboundFacebook / WordPress.com
    3. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Google Plus / Twitter / WordPress.com
    4. New Mexico Libertarians Facebook group

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

No iPhone X for Me, Thank You Very Much

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 2:08 AM (02:08)

The last time I used anything made by Apple (one of the early Macintosh models) back in April, 1994 — the “Eject” command (Cmd-E) didn’t work after four or five tries, so I pulled my 3.5-inch floppy disk out of the drive with a Leatherman multitool. Amazingly, the disk still worked fine when I tried it at home on a PC-style desktop.

Add that to the fact that Apple keeps a lock on what software MacOS will run that makes Windows look like a FOSS free-for-all. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard that iOS is similarly locked up.


NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Gab / Google Plus / Minds / seen.life / Twitter / VK / WordPress.com

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, by James Damore

Filed under: Politics, Reading, Technology — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 9:25 PM (21:25)

FULL TEXT OF JAMES DAMORE MEMO

Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber

by James Damore

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.

TL:DR

  • 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.

Suggestions

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./li>

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.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. British Journal of Guidance & CounsellingWomen, careers, and work-life preferences by Catherine Hakim [Article linked to in the original document by J. Damore]
  2. PDF version (also here)

NOTES

  1. Published at The Libertarian EnterpriseNumber 935 – 13 August 2017

Thursday, 22 June 2017

An Umbrella as a Self-Defense Tool ?

Filed under: Preparedness, Resistance, Self-Defense, Technology — Tags: , , , — mikewb1971 @ 5:07 AM (05:07)

Have you ever considered using a collapsible umbrella as an improvised weapon self-defense tool ?

No? (I’ll admit I never have, either.)

See the embedded clip below —

Even better — The Unbreakable® Umbrella !

Yes, I want one, but the 150-300 price tag is a bit off-putting for “just” an umbrella.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Is World-Wide Satellite Broadband Coming Soon?

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 4:14 AM (04:14)

It seems as though Elon Musk (of SpaceX fame) is pushing for a new way to do satellite-based communications.

Instead of placing a few large satellites in geosynchronous orbit (22,300 miles up), he wants to put up lots — 800 to start, 4225 in the end — of small satellites (about 850 lbs apiece) in lower orbits (about 700-850 miles up).

The goal of this project is to offer gigabit-level bandwidth all over the Earth’s surface. Which is a damn sight better than the current wired services (I usually get somewhere around 54 Mbps on Comcast, using copper wire for the last mile).

Each end user will get a “low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs.”

Chances are that the “low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs” will use a standard electrical plug that connects to the outlets found in residential and commercial buildings . . .

And since adapters that allow you to connect those plugs to a car’s cigarette lighter or electronics jack, the “low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs” can just as easily be mounted on the roof of your RV or SUV. Or your everyday four-door sedan.

Mobile broadband that’s faster than what’s available over the wired services? Sounds like a decent deal to me.

Another aspect of this is that it could put the traditional satellite providers (Direct TV, Dish, HughesNet, etc.) out of business. Why would you bother with them when you can get YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu or Vimeo anywhere in the world? And the cherry on top — you won’t have to pay extra for watching porn.

Now we’re waiting on Musk to get approval for this from the FCC and its international relative, the ITU (can’t have this project giving the Chinese a way around the Great Firewall, can we?) to sign off on it. Which means Musk will have to engage in some legalized bribery lobbying, because the Political Classholes simply can’t approve it without their palms being sufficiently greased in some manner.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. Science Alert – SpaceX wants to surround Earth with an internet service that’s 200 times faster by Dave Mosher
  2. Ars Technica – SpaceX plans worldwide satellite Internet with low latency, gigabit speed by Jon Brodkin

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 10.9
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – App.net / Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Gab / Galaxy2 / Google Plus / Liberty.Me / Minds / seen.life / Tea Party Community / Twitter / VK / WordPress.com
    2. Extropy Unbound Facebook page
    3. The Weekly Sedition Facebook page

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Back Into Blogger, but for How Long?

Filed under: Frustrations, Life, Technology — Tags: , , , — mikewb1971 @ 11:43 PM (23:43)

Over a week ago (Tuesday, 1 November 2016, about 1:00 PM MST), I tried to log into Blogger from my Toshiba Satellite laptop (running Linux Mint 17 and Firefox) to post an article to the LPNM blog, and the Google login screen prompted me for my phone number for verification purposes.

So I put my cell number in and clicked “Submit.” A few seconds later, I received a code like this: “G-123456” (not the real code, obviously).

Then I typed in the verification code, but the screen for it would only allow me to imput the first four numbers: “G-1234.” Clicking “Submit” gave me an error message, as I also received when I tried “G12345” and “123456.” A few tries of that and I was locked out.

So I tried again, with my Dell desktop running MS Windows 7, and got the same web-based song and dance. This time, at the end of it, up popped a screen telling me that my account was locked for an alleged terms of service violation, but that was it – no word as to what that violation was. So I typed in my email address, along with a request for some enlightenment as to what I had done wong, and clicked “Appeal.”

In the same time frame, my Gmail account (another Google product) was also locked up. I was able to access that a few days later, and it seems that they were in the process of upgrading the Gmail software.

Just a few minutes ago (Friday, 11 Novemner 2016, 10:49 PM), I tried once more to access my Blogger account.

This time I was surprised that the admins actually let me in, after over a week of denying me access without telling me WHY they were denying me access.

(I realize that Google and its subsidiaries are in the private sector, and my use of them is subject to their rules. More on that below.)

This is what I found —

Here’s the full text of it —

Libertarian Party of Mora County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of McKinley County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of Hidalgo County, New Mexico — [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of Harding County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of Guadalupe County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of Grant County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of De Baca County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

Libertarian Party of Curry County, New Mexico [ Permanently delete ] [ Appeal ]
Your blog was locked for violating Terms Of Service. If you wish to request a review of your blog, edit its content and click ‘Appeal’. This blog will be permanently deleted within 79 days unless you request a review.

The other 26 county affiliate blogs were presumably free from Terms of Service violations, and are thus unlocked (at present).

Still, Google (or Blogger) won’t tell me the specific nature of the alleged violations. Which is rather shitty of them — wouldn’t you want to know if you were violating someone’s rules for their property, and how exactly you were violating those rules?

Luckily, there’s nothing on the affected blogs that I don’t already have backed up, so losing them won’t really be a loss.

Still, it was a bit of work on my part to set them all up.

With that, I’ll be downloading the archives to my hard drive(s) here, and moving them to the LPNM’s WordPress install.

Fuck it, I like WordPress better anyway.


NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – App.net / Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Gab / Google Plus / Liberty.Me / seen.life / Tea Party Community / Twitter / WordPress.com

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

John McAfee: Security is an Illusion

Filed under: Preparedness, Security, Self-Defense, Technology — Tags: , , , — mikewb1971 @ 11:01 PM (23:01)


  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – App.net / Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Gab / seen.life / Tea Party Community / VK / WordPress.com
    2. Albuquerque Liberty Forum Facebook page
    3. Extropy Unbound Facebook page
    4. The Weekly Sedition Facebook page

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

Monday, 11 July 2016

No TOR for the Masses?

Recently Techspot India reported that the NSA doesn’t want us civilians using the TOR technology —

NSA classifies Linux Journal readers, Tor and Tails Linux users as “extremists”

Funny how TOR was originally developed by the Naval Research Laboratory and furthered by DARPA. Now that it’s out of the bag, they want to put it back under their exclusive control. Sort of like the internet itself.

Of course, the govvies probably won’t mind too much if political figures with ties to George Soros and the Saudi royal family use it. At least they didn’t seem to mind when a certain former senator turned Secretary of State mishandled classified information on a private home-based server, so I’m guessing that they’ll sign off on corrupt use of the TOR tech as well, just so long as it’s the “right people” using it.

H/T Seth Anderson Bailey


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. Wikipedia page for Tor
  2. Wikipedia page for TAILS
  3. Wikipedia page for Dark web

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 11.7
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Google Plus here and here / Liberty.Me [blog / profile] / Minds / seen.life / Tea Party Community / tsu / Twitter / WordPress.com
    2. Extropy UnboundFacebook / WordPress.com
    3. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Twitter / WordPress.com
    4. Libertarian Party –
      1. New MexicoLPNM Blog / LPNM Official Facebook page / LPNM Official Facebook group
      2. Bernalillo County, New MexicoLPBC Blog / LPBCNM Official Facebook page / LPBCNM Official Facebook group

Copyright © 2016 Libertarian Party of New Mexico, Libertarian Party of Bernalillo County, New Mexico and Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

Friday, 17 June 2016

My First Toehold on the Darknet

Filed under: Dark Side, Fun, Politics, Preparedness, Principles, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 3:48 AM (03:48)

Instead of just clicking on the picture (you won’t be able to see the site with a standard browser), first install TOR Browser, then copy the URL from here and paste it into the address bar on TOR Browser.

Now I’m in the market for a decent VPN. Any suggestions? What should I look for? What should I avoid?


  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Google Plus / Liberty.Me [blog / profile] / Minds / seen.life / Tea Party Community / tsu / Twitter / WordPress.com

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

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