Which view of Silicon Valley seems more accurate?

Option A:

Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with diversity in its work force, people here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought — see how Brendan Eich, the former chief executive of Mozilla, was run out of his job after it became public that he had donated to a campaign opposed to gay marriage.


Option B:

In the tech industry, there's a culture of not criticizing anyone publicly. I like that culture, but I'm not part of it, so I'm free to say that Silicon Valley badboy Peter Thiel looks like a bad guy. I'm kind of neutral on the Thiel vs. Gawker war - Gawker definitely had it coming, but having rich people be able to sue newspapers out of existence due to personal feuds seems like a scary precedent. But Thiel's support of Trump, his habit of making a buck off of government surveillance, and his promotion of nasty political ideas combine to make him the closest thing America has to a comic-book evil mastermind. Thiel's sort-of-reactionary ideas are confined to a small minority of techies, but the Valley's friendly culture means that even those who disagree with him are out there publicly singing his praises. I certainly wouldn't mind if tech industry people got more vocal about disagreeing with Thiel's values.

I think that Option A is probably the more accurate one, although I suspect it might depend somewhat on the net worth of the person in question.

Random links

This gross habit might actually be good for you
"Scientists at a number of prestigious universities including Harvard and MIT now say parents should not actively discourage their kids from picking their noses. They claim ingesting boogers can be good for teeth, as well as overall health as they are packed with a “rich reservoir of good bacteria.”"
Explanatory Judgment, Moral Offense and Value-Free Science
"the moral offensiveness of a scientific hypothesis biases explanatory judgment along several dimensions, even when prior credence in the hypothesis is controlled for. Furthermore, it is shown that this bias is insensitive to an economic incentive to be accurate in the evaluation of the evidence"
At Least Bias Is Bipartisan: A Meta-Analytic Comparison of Partisan Bias in Liberals and Conservatives
"Overall partisan bias was robust (r = .254) and there was strong support for the symmetry hypothesis: liberals (r = .248) and conservatives (r = .247) showed nearly identical levels of bias across studies. Several methodological features moderated the degree of overall bias, and the relative magnitude of bias in liberals and conservatives differed across political topics."

The French food of centuries gone by

One of my favourite reads of the past year was Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914. I've been thinking of post a bit more on the subject of rural/urban political divides and the history and current politics surrounding this, but for now I just wanted to offer a few quotes from the book on the subject of food in the 19th century French countryside:

You might need an ax to cut your bread

Bread was baked in large batches to save on fuel: every two or three weeks where fuel was accessible; otherwise every six or twelve months .... Adolphe Blanqui ... himself saw in September a loaf he had helped begin in January. That sort of bread had to be cut with an axe, a hatchet, or an old sword, and you could not count yourself a man until you had the strength to cut your own bread when it was stale and hard. (p. 136)

Beware good tasting food

Yet peasants ate only barley bread, explaining that though white bread would be no more expensive, they would eat it with too much pleasure and hence consume too much. It was a temptation that the poor and even the more fortunate did not want to subject themselves to. "In a good house, hard bread and dry wood," said the southern proverb. (p. 137)

What did they think of the past when new opportunities had come?

Many grieved over the death of yesterday, but few who grieved were peasants. ... Store-bought goods, city styles, baker's bread, were considered superior and probably were. The music, songs, and dances of the city were preferred. (p. 491)

It wasn't exactly a time when people were spending their evenings leisurely sipping glasses of wine over a rich and varied banquet pleasing to the senses. I may have been banging the drum a bit too much over this sort of notion lately, but let me quote Weber:

The "traditions" of the twentieth century are newer than most people think. (p. 474)

People don't always think like you.

Random links

Group Tolerance Linked to Perceptions of Fairness and Harm
To quote one of the researchers: "In essence, I can eat dinner with, date, marry or live close to you even if you don’t believe in the same God or eat the same foods. But I will distance myself from you and your group in these ways if I perceive that you don’t play fair or that you don’t care about others."
Newsworthiness of Missing Persons Cases: An Analysis of Selection Bias, Disparities in Coverage, and the Narrative Framework of News Reports
"the narratives of the reports were framed as cautionary tales and victims were seen as active participants in their disappearance."
How fake are nature documentaries?
"When you’re watching a nature documentary, you notice it right away: there’s something odd about the sound effects. They seem a little too…Hollywood."


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