Monday assorted links

1. The costs of sports segregation are higher than you think (NYT): “Dr. Eric Vilain, a medical geneticist, helped create the International Olympic Committee’s hyperandrogenism policy, which requires a competitor with the condition to undergo treatment that lowers her testosterone levels.”

2. Why people think Germans aren’t funny.

3. The Price for Lighting (per million lumen-hours) in the UK in British Pound,1300-2006.

4. The effects of common ownership on bank behavior, properly measured, seem quite small.  And newer version of the paper here.

5. “Our results show that participants liked the faulty robot significantly better than the robot that interacted flawlessly.

6. Redux: a 2014 NYT column of mine on women in the workplace.


6. I think of myself as an optimist, but it's not obvious to me that optimists are pulling for the blank slate view here, like Tyler suggests. That doesn't seem to be a promising basket for all of one's eggs.

But of course this is all at the population level. I have a 20 year old daughter that is looking at a tech career (like most people I know, she is an individual and not a statistical distribution), and all this swirling controversy seems kind of beside the point.

I wonder why people don't spend more time defending what seems to me to be the obvious answer - everyone's an individual and individuals deserve to be judged on their own merits.
Just try to hire the best people you can and judge people on their merits instead of on the basis of gender.
Is that so hard?

Yes it is hard because you end up with a group of men. When the economic exigencies cease to be about very smart people doing their best work quickly, then you have the luxury of having a different goal.

That's not really a problem if you're conclusion is not "therefore men are invariably smarter than women, so let's never hire another woman."
Just assume that for the time being women are interested in other things and keep on judging people on their merits.

The problem is the world increasingly mandates equal gender representation regardless of individual merits.

Personally I am in favor of any and all efforts to reach out to women in areas they are underrepresented, as well as efforts to reduce still extant sexism in the workplace (especially tech), but I am against gender-based quotas. Just because a company is not 50/50 male/female doesn't make it sexist. Not that anyone cares what I think.

"you’re conclusion is not “therefore men are invariably smarter than women, so let’s never hire another woman.”"

So, never a problem then?

I've actually gotten into arguments with alt-right types who say that it should be totally cool to just throw all the resumes from people with black sounding names in the garbage, because it's a "cheap heuristic" and it costs too much money to sift through resumes to find black candidates who are worth hiring.

Why the heck would you end up with a group of men if you just picked the best people? It's highly unlikely (unless you are picking for something like strength where men have a physical advantage) that your group of 'best' would be only one gender. Speaking from experience, as a hiring manager in technology, I had a very diverse team (race/sex/national origin) with only the goal of hiring the best people for the position. That's how you actually build a good team.

You wouldn't, derek is one of those guys. You know the type, anonymous internet comment boxes are lousy with 'em.

Yeah, I was going to make that same point, but couldn't think of a good way to phrase it. If you have a big enough group, it's statistically very unlikely there would be zero females in it.

How big? 5? 50? 100? I don't know the answer.

And building a team means you have a broad range of skills for the various jobs that need to be done. If you need two or three IQ 150's and the rest are fine with IQ 120, then whoever fits best gets hired.

"Why the heck would you end up with a group of men if you just picked the best people?"

Because there aren't that many female engineers:

"Engineering is the most male-dominated field in STEM. It may perhaps be the most male-dominated profession in the U.S., with women making up only 13% of the engineering workforce."

"Women make up 20% of engineering graduates, but it’s been estimated that nearly 40% of women who earn engineering degrees either quit or never enter the profession. "

At my company, we tend to work long weeks, 585 hours minimum per quarter. That averages out to 45 hours per week for junior engineers. (Higher for Seniors.) However, it's normal to work at least 1 120 hour 10 day stint per quarter. Travel is 25-33% and it's generally to a factory in the middle of nowhere and 12 hour days while you are there. Most of the time on the factory floor.

Female engineers never stay more than a couple of years. They don't enjoy the long hours, high travel or working conditions. They go find an easier job.

If women represent 13% of the engineering workforce, then in a group of 10, you would expect to see one woman. Of course it will vary somewhat depending on the type of engineering.
In a group of 100 engineers, it would be a littler weird to have zero females.

"I had a very diverse team (race/sex/national origin)"

I work in tech too, and I hear that kind of argument all the time. "Hey, our team is really diverse, we have White men, Asian men, Indian men, and Chang over there is a Chinese citizen." They seen proud of their ability to miss the point. "Ignorance is strength" and all that. Perhaps it's a psychological defense mechanism, a way to avoid cognitive dissonance, or perhaps it's a way to deflect SJW criticism. There's no Asian privilege, is there?

1 woman + 9 men would definitely get you accused of gender bias in today's environment, regardless of how merit based your hiring process is.

I just came from a company where the department I worked in was 97% male. A few people noticed and found it awkward, but AFAIK they were not under investigation by the EEOC.

Tanturn, I can't speak for everyone, but this was our team mug: I'm pretty sure a diversity committee couldn't have done any better. Now this was a development team, and we had analysts & developers, but at least 3 of the women you see there are Senior Developers, vs 4 of the men were at that level. And I realize that silicon valley is not the same as corporate america, but i stand by my statement.

But to be clear, I also have no problem with the Google guy's memo, either. He was bending over backwards to say that diversity was good, there are just better ways to go about it, and that some of the differences in results can be explained as naturally occurring. And he got tarred and feathered , primarily by people too stupid to understand logic, or too lazy to actually read it.

It's hard because it requires impulse control. Your intuitive assessment has to be overruled by your logic center.

It requires effort to be fair and rational, whereas lumping people in sub-groups based on superficial characteristics like color or gender is really easy. And stupid.

My kids are mixed-race. It makes me sick to see this ongoing inversion of King's emphasis on character over color.

You're right. It takes effort. I was being overly flippant.

IMO, being unprejudiced is a trait of good character that needs to be cultivated like honesty and diligence and respect. Some people seem to think that because it's easier, it should be considered natural and normal to be prejudiced towards others. I find that attitude to be disheartening. Just because being a decent person can be difficult and take effort at times doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

I made the comment below that there are two conversations, just as there was in the Quebec where I grew up. The sanctimonious one where oh yes, Mary was a virgin and God is Great, whatever, the other maudit tabernac de chalice.

I actually listened to the second because that is what people actually thought.

Um, conservatives, liberatarians, and reactionaries have been saying that for decades. Bubble much?

Alt-righters are currently saying you should just assume that women are stupider and not hire them, because it's a cheap heuristic and is easier than sifting through resumes.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me one trillion times...

Nobody is allowed to hire the best people, that is a guaranteed discrimination suit.

Water spit out as he turned the plastic knob, the farthest drops shot to the soap bar on the rind. He turned to the mirror and palmed his stomach. The mirror took inventory.

"The costs of sports segregation are higher than you think"

If we look at, say, the 100 meter dash, the fastest woman ever was Flo Jo who still holds the women's record at 10.49 seconds. If we look at the recent competition in London, the man who finished in 8th (last) place clocked in at 10.27 seconds. Doing away with "segregation" at least in this sport would eliminate any chance elite female athletes have of gaining recognition for the foreseeable future. Separating athletes by chromosome and hormone levels is an imperfect system but it is somewhat comparable to the way combat sports are separated by weight class.

And here is the story of Michelle Dumaresq, a Canadian bicyclist who had reassignment surgery and then competed in the women's category:

"The first event Dumaresq entered was the Bear Mountain race held in Mission, BC in May 2001. She entered the novice female class and won. In fact, her finish time was 2.5 seconds faster than the winner of the female professional category. After racing two more races, her license was suspended by Cycling BC due to complaints from female competitors."

Part of the reason the women complained was the cost to them in lost prize money and endorsements.

The article in 1) says that the advantage of extra testosterone is considerably lower than the advantage that men have on women. If that is so, then while that argues against excluding women on the basis of testosterone, at the same time it argues that reassignment surgery plus hormone treatment may not be sufficient to put transwomen on the same basis as those women from birth. Of course no sex segregation is a possible policy as well, but also seems unpopular. (Consider that sex segregated events sometimes appear in sports or contests where there appears to be little inherent advantage, just a different level of interest.)

The other part was that they weren't competing against a woman, but a man.

"Separating athletes by chromosome and hormone levels is an imperfect system"

What is imperfect about it? It is science based.

Bad science - A woman isn't simply a man with less testosterone and more estrogen.

Men have skeletal geometry that allow them to produce more power - Basically females have geometries that allow for childbirth and men have geometries that have evolved to be more effective at athletic pursuits (like hunting wild animals).

A man who transitions into a woman still has all the evolutionary advantage derived from 50,000 years of men who hunt better have more successful tribes/higher reproductive success vs. women who childbirth better have more successful tribes/higher reproductive success.

Buttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt............................ Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player ever! Unconditionally!

*Even though none of her major tournament wins included her contemporaries like Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the same tournament bracket. And Serena never had to win 3 sets to win a match.

Calling someone who places 8th in the world in the 100m dash "last" place is an odd use of language, to say the least. Even among Olympians he's elite, simply by dint of making the finals.

1. I want to see the Olympics remove the weight and sex rules for boxing. Please.

I have even cried yet.

2. The author suggests a big issue is case and gender in German, making it less ambiguous, and thus Germans less able to use ambiguity in humor. But the same applies to every Slavic language, as well as many others. Seems a bit less than compelling.

Why people think Germans aren’t funny....

“I definitely love humour,” she added, “especially involving irony and socio-critical issues.”
Your answer right there.

Also slapstick - it's not funny.

Also slapstick which uptight people pretend is not funny. Also a lot of people, especially the above, wrongfully think all physical comedy is slapstick.

Also a lot of German slapstick has something else going on that is contextual.

Yes. I laughed when I read that quote. And she said it without any irony

It's technically comedy about German's being nice (instead of funny) but I'll leave this right here.

Many people think Slavs are not funny. Russian humor is generally seen as being impenetrably dark, English language Polish jokes are often based on assuming Poles are stupidly literal minded, etc...

The article is silly. It talks about puns not working in German, and then immediately tries to translate a German pun as an example of difficulties of translating jokes. Of course puns don't translate well between any languages because they rely on particular double meanings.

German has no more or less precision than English. The precision has a different focus however. English speakers tend to be far more precise about timing and explicit about how activities relate to other activities, but Germans tend to be more explicit about physical arrangements and positions of things relative to other things. Their precision is more in their nouns. Ours is more in our verbs.

Also #6: That NYT column was about the non-IQ aspects of women's role in the workplace, but IQ is really what the whole Google controversy is about. It's weird. The science is pretty clear: when you're talking about IQ 130, men outnumber women by a whole lot. At 140+ or 150+, which is the pool that tech companies fish in, that disparity only increases, hugely. But decent people aren't allowed to talk about that. Just by way of recent example, an August 2017 study in the respectable journal Personality and Individual Differences found that men outscore women by about 5 IQ points ( But studies like that don't make the news, so it's understandable why people feel so aggrieved when something like the current Google scandal rears its head. Of course, MR is virtue signaling here, but that's totally fine. I'm an anonymous commenter, but people with the courage to put a name to their opinions have a lot more to lose. Sad.

And here I thought 2 might be a link to the story of Germany arresting two Chinese tourists for performing mock Nazi salutes in front of the Reichstag.

Did they ask them for their papers?

See? In English, thats funny. In German, kinda scary.

1. People can't help thinking about the holocaust whenever they hear German's speak. And that just ruins any humor that might be happening.

The German reputation for being literal minded and unfunny long predates the Holocaust.

This is true of all the Teutonic languages, for example the Swedes are widely seen as unfunny even though the Swedish language is ridiculous sounding.

We British find the idea that the Swedes and Germans are not funny extremely funny in itself.

German "humor" is guy slipping on banana peel level stuff. It's really bad.

That's sounds like an observation by someone who does not get the subtleties of German humor.

There's nothing subtle about a guy slipping on a banana peel.

Ja, der is.

Der humor is in der peel ... just lying there. Waiting...

6. I listened to two podcasts recently from the tech world.

One was about a group in Israel that encourages women to learn programming. It is about intensive mentoring to give these women a leg up. The interlocutor mentioned that a surprising fact came to light; women from deeply religious communities were over represented among the women who were there.

The second was about a rather elegant solution to a particularly knarly technical challenge. The three interlocutors told of the all night session where they worked out the solutions. Many people will use the solution, and it will be extended, improved by contributions from people using it to solve their specific problem.

I thought it illustrated extraordinarily well the broad differences. The three men are characteristic of the industry; dig through the youtube archives and find the initial presentation of the guy who wrote node.js, again a caricature of the classic awkward young man who given three months writes something that changes the direction of an industry.

I am smart enough to know that I don't have the nimbleness of mind to do what these guys have done. They are on the right hand tail of the bell curve, and I'm somewhere in the middle. There are a few women capable as well, but the bell curve shows that the numbers are fewer; the abilities lie elsewhere.

As the industry matures and essentially stagnates, the skill set required to thrive will change, and it already has. And a different group characteristic will emerge.

My veterinarian, a woman who would be on the right hand tail of any bell curve, says that the classes in Vet school are almost entirely women. The brute strength required for large animal practice is no longer characteristic of the field.

In my industry there are vanishingly few women, and typically they end up being management or support of some kind for the guys in the field. I worked with a crew from a large and successful operation last year, they had a couple apprentices. They were men capable of both the physical demands and the technical smarts required. Few men fit, and even fewer women.

"As the industry matures and essentially stagnates, the skill set required to thrive will change, and it already has. And a different group characteristic will emerge."

I doubt that's the case. Most industries are dominated by manufacturing or service employees. So, if the engineering department is primarily male it doesn't matter, because it's an insignificant number of employees. Software is extremely easy to manufacture, so the software programmers (engineers) are a far larger slice of the work force. Having smarter engineers is a decisive business advantage. If there's an IQ difference among sexes at the high end (which is what the science indicates), then successful companies will be forced to hire accordingly.

That being said, I suspect a large, rich company could selectively pick from the vast pool of foreign females to attempt to force the numbers to be equal. Essentially strip mine the third world pool of very smart females. I suspect there are some pretty smart people at Google, etc that are already considering that option.

Google is an advertising company, and that is where the bulk of their revenue comes from.

I think this is a mistake. Mature established companies can make lots of mistakes. I suspect without knowing that their core revenue departments don't pay the slightest attention to the HR department.

An interesting observation; conversations with high tech people are like conversations with religious people a generation or two ago; when talking about diversity it is all piety and careful language, outside of that sphere they are normal guys.

"Google is an advertising company, and that is where the bulk of their revenue comes from."

That's not exactly correct, but it is a good point. However, can Google maintain it's competitive edge without a highly effective work force? Chinese companies won't hesitate to take advantage of a self enforced handicap.

You speculated on the odds. I would put it at 100% that he 'resigns'. There is a deep and awful enforced conformity, and it won't change until the people who follow him out start hurting their core operations.

It seems to be common practice for Google to get rid of people who say things they don't like.

That's because for everyone asked to leave Google there are hundreds of equally qualified people eager to step in.

Depends for what position.

Not really, no.

I suspect a large, rich company could selectively pick from the vast pool of foreign females to attempt to force the numbers to be equal. Essentially strip mine the third world pool of very smart females. I suspect there are some pretty smart people at Google, etc that are already considering that option.

That would be great for the gene pool too.
But the alt-righters would complain that those third-world females must, by definition, be stupider than white women, because averages. They're incapable of getting the idea of 3-sigma variances.

"That would be great for the gene pool too. "


In isolation, sure. But what if the women brought in their cousins?

"After the law passed, when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.",9171,1999416,00.html

Though as a counterpoint, Indians still appear to have a mean iq which is higher than that of Whites.

"But the alt-righters would complain that those third-world females must, by definition, be stupider than white women, because averages."

You don't seem very familiar with the alt right, but rather very familiar with a concoction made of straw.

alt.righters are far worse than Hazel Meade suggests, but not quite as stupid.

This alt-righter is very happy to see 3-sigma females, or males, brought in from the developing world to drive 6-figure positions.

Can we agree that we need to stop there though and not continue to their zero-sigma cousins?

#2 Humor maybe not, but having sex while talking dirty in German is a massive turn-on. Definitely way better than French. Try it and don't ask me how I know.

#2 Occum's Razor suggests its because Germans are not funny.

5. This seems like TC's oblique way of referencing the diversity dustup at Google. For reference:

The response from the new VP for Diversity is priceless, as it proves the guy's point. How long before he is found out and subjected to public punishment.

In the meantime, enjoy some schadenfreude at the expense of the enlightened class.

+1 Straussian reading. Tyler would like to talk about the subject, but is afraid of the backlash. So, he puts a reference to an old article to let his readers connect the dot, without risking a political backlash.

Should be #6: "Redux: a 2014 NYT column of mine on women in the workplace."

You know what? I get it. Tyler gets a lot of grief here for playing footsie with The Establishment, but outside this bubble, Tyler is walking along the rim, trying not to fall into the Bowl of Deplorables. Out there, some nitwit has just written a book trying to discredit Buchanan, and Tyler get swept up in the "Koch henchmen" net.


Oh I understand why Tyler does what he does.

"trying not to fall into the Bowl of Deplorables. "

Exactly. To be seen as a "Deplorable" might well be the end of Tyler's writing career. It would only take a quiet email campaign to effectively destroy any chance of getting fair reviews on any future books he will almost certainly be writing.

Best way to not fall into the Bowl is to not be deplorable. Tyler is well clear of that IMO.

@msg, sometimes I wonder why top women can't compete against top men in chess. Then I remember that it's all down to social conditioning, and I mop my brow with a kerchief, having narrowly avoided slipping into the bowl myself.

There's degrees of deplorableness. I don't think it's deplorable to note that ON AVERAGE women aren't as accomplished at the higher levels of chess, but it definitely is to wish those broads would shut the hell up about unfair treatment in the workplace because it doesn't exist.

I disagree. Noting that "women aren't as accomplished at the higher levels of chess" without fully attributing this curiosity to the Patriarchy is problematic at best. Let's be careful out there.

The only people you'd have to worry about taking it that way are ineffectual clowns, mostly on the internet, that can be safely ignored, or like in your case made fun of. I get the games we play here, calling out the loony left and the loony (alt)right for their excesses, I enjoy that game myself. But let's not forget it's mostly an online thing, not meatworld. In the real world if you simply must make it known that you think men are on average better than women at chess, just respect your audience or keep it to yourself because no one really cares what you think.

Well, I use my actual name here. You can say whatever the hell you want. Tyler and Larry Summers can't.

Despite the anonymity, you insist on playing games. We are talking about lack of equal distribution in jobs that select from the right tail, so don't give me this shit about what I simply must make known like I'm some kind of clueless autistic. This is the subject under discussion.

Either it's the patriarchy or anonymous you ain't got the balls to say what.

Don't get triggered now, I didn't bring up chess. As far as discussing right-tail hiring disparities, yeah you gotta be careful. No need to get angry at my anonymous pixels.

And ask Barkley Rosser why Summers got canned at Harvard, it wasn't really about the math comment.

Regardless, it ain't a topic Summers has returned to. Maybe he figured out his claims were specious. He certainly learned something along the way.

What do you think, msgkings? Was Summers wrong? It's gotta be 100% social conditioning, amirite? Surely you can take this brave anonymous stand.

Of course it's not 100% social conditioning, but it's not 0% either. And for a given female individual, who cares? Evaluate her on her merits, as Hazel correctly says. Averages aren't people.

Treat individuals as individuals you say? Interesting. If only I had thought of that in my first comment way up top.

Who cares? Maybe not me, maybe not you, maybe not Hazel, maybe not MLK, but plenty of people care deeply.

If it's not 100% social conditioning, what else could it be? Aliens?

Probably some combination of preferences (which are surely influenced by social conditioning) and gender-based differences in brain function. But you knew that already, snarky rhetorical guy.

Looks like a submarine. The reason is because it's either money or Debussy. Lists are key. O man i think Mozart as a child was quite silly a scam for my mind's eye thorn.

Yes, clearly Straussian. It's little things like this that remind me that Tyler does have some principles, even if he's too scared to evince them fully.

I think Tyler would do well as one of those celebrated dissidents under a 1970's Soviet regime. He has just the right level of oblique criticism going.

No. Tyler would look down on the wreckers too much and would signal mild dissidence only to demonstrate his knowing superiority during the era when such mild dissidence was safe.


Regarding the 10 page Google memo, it's interesting to note the framing: "Exclusive: Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google [Updated]". Gizmodo is framing the Memo in negative (nearly hostile) terms out of the gate.

I'm curious to what will happen when the author of this memo is "outed". Will Google get rid of the employee quickly, or try and address the underlying issues?

Companies and institutions can look pretty strong just before the collapse starts.

And left leaning organizations go hard left when they hit some bumps.

Is everyone using Bing now or something?

Breitbart is calling on its minions to start using Bing now.

I noticed that, too, and note also the screed writer's ritual statements of allegiance to progressive pieties (e.g, the first sentence "I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes."). This will not save him.

Probably not. But Scott Alexander sometimes wanders pretty close to what the memo was saying (though he's clearly a better writer and thinker). Some of his posts he tags with 'Things I'm going to regret writing', for example:

I thought of that post because the 'more interested in things' vs 'more interested in people' data is raised both cases. I think Alexander is sort of waiting for the midnight-knock-on-the-door/twitter storm from the SJW secret police at some point, but he's managed to avoid it up to now.

And this morning, Alexander addresses the Google Memo situation and is predictably fantastic:

Thanks - that was exactly what I needed to read. I stopped reading slatestarcodex because I got too involved. Regretting that call now.

One of the most thoughtful liberals out there sliding into the bin. The guy has guts.

"The costs of sports segregation are higher than you think"

What's that supposed to mean? Is Tyler advocating that sports not be segregated by sex? Not having separate competitions for women would pretty much be the end of women competing at an elite level. A person would have to be completely crazy to favor female participation in sports and also the end of sex segregation in sports. For example:

Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal

I want to see the 100M dash and other running competitions segmented by weight class too.

I would watch to see who the fastest 300 LB man (or woman) is. It would be pretty impressive as well to see 300LB people run marathons and what kindof training/gamesmanship that would entail.

If you are interested in large people demonstrating extraordinary athleticism, you should check out the NFL.

How about the 1,000 pound class? They could time the race with a sundial.

We'll see if this goes anywhere. But I doubt it.

If I had to bet, I'd put the odds as a) 40% chance the authors identity becomes known to Google's upper management and he's quietly forced out; probably not an immediate firing, just a passive-aggressive "your career ends here"; b) 30% chance the authors identity becomes publicly known and he's fired and c) 30% chance the authors identity becomes publicly known,Google management doesn't fire him and instead uses the opportunity to address the issue directly.

Is there any specific critique of any specific claim made in the memo, or is it straight to the fainting couch?

I think the VP of Diversity will insist that the malefactor be found and subject to ritual disembowelment. Can Google really allow such a purveyor of hatred to run loose in its virtuesphere?

Yep. I'd go with A as the most likely as well -- they won't fire him immediately. But there will be no more promotions, raises, or interesting projects to work on (the latter being the worst punishment of the 3 and the one that will induce him to bail out on his own).

The Soviet Union seemed pretty strong just before its implosion. Will Google stamp out deviationism before its too late? Maybe they need to round all the deplorables up into a Google Goolag (TM).

Someone should set up a betting market.

Too late, he's gone.

It's official: Google is evil. Hopefully, James Damore can get a job at a company that allows a bit more free speech like Tencent or Baidu.

Pfft. Has there ever been a company that liked random non-HR and non-PR people moonlighting as HR and PR?

People who craft a company strategy, be it about degree requirements or something hotter like gender bias, are not going to like being upstaged by amateur 10 page memos.

Of course conformity will be demanded.

Imagine a Hobby Lobby employee with a different sort of 10 page dissent.

Raises this question: What other memos were published internally by employees on the topic?

I suspect that his decision to publish in memo form was not ex-nihilo.

Put differently, this guy was in a position where he really should have been more Straussian in his comments.

I knew a guy who hearing "Germans aren't funny" would demand that everyone watch his favorite German comedian. A subtitled movie. Which was funny, both the demand and the movie. I can't remember "Otto?" I remember a cruise German ship crashing into the Statue of Liberty.

Goodbye, Lenin is pretty funny. I have to admit, though, that I'm drawing a blank trying to come up with my second favorite German comedy.

"The Collected Posts of prior_test" is pretty funny

Deutschland 83, while being a serious drama, is also (intentionally) hilarious.

Toni Erdmann is rather good.
And though I've never seen it, Fuck You, Goethe has to be OK, for the title alone.

"Enlightenment Guaranteed", about a couple of brothers from Germany who somewhat unexpectedly find themselves in Japan and staying in a Buddhist monastery has many lighthearted moments.

1. The NYT article makes a fairly big deal about the fact that while higher testosterone was associated with superior performance in a number of events, "hammer throw [4.53 percent]... pole vault (2.94 percent), the 400-meter hurdles (2.78 percent), the 400 (2.73 percent) and the 800 (1.78 percent)", these are "far below the 10 to 12 percent advantage generally recognized as the performance difference between men and women."

Of course, ex ante it is totally plausible that there might be more than one hormone / biological factor behind this difference, but using this to advocate for removing restrictions on hormone levels altogether is rather off-base. In elite sport an advantage often doesn't need to be that large to completely overwhelm all other variation, with only 2-4% between first and last in many Olympic finals. So straight up, the advantages that the paper speaks of are contextually pretty large.

Moreover, a cursory reading of the BJSM article shows that it is almost certainly underestimating the effects on performance of super-elevated testosterone levels associated with hyperandrogenism / intersex athletes. What the paper does is, separately by event, split the sample into the bottom, middle, and top third based on free Testosterone (fT) levels, and compare the mean performance of the top and bottom thirds for each event. However, only a tiny subset of this top third had hyperandrogenic-like testosterone levels - "Among the 1332 female observations, 44 showed an fT concentration >29.4 pmol/L" (compared to a mean of 8.5). For the women above this threshold, scores an order of magnitude large appear common, i.e. roughly in line with the average fT concentration in the male sample of 340 pmol/L (0.34 nmol/L).

By combining a small sample of individuals with highly elevated testosterone (i.e. the "treatment group") with a larger sample with barely elevated testosterone, it's not particularly surprising if the outcome difference from the control group is diminished. Indeed, this general pattern is pretty evident in Tables 3 and 4 of the paper. Some of events don't have any females above the 29.4 pmol/L threshold (and for a bunch more the max is not that far above), and these events typically don't exhibit any outcome differences, whereas in the events where the max fT in the sample is much higher, there is almost always a significant improvement in performance exhibited.

In other words, the fact that a performance difference is only found for some events is likely due to not having enough sample individuals in those events with elevated testosterone. This also explains why the differences found are smaller than the 10-12% male advantage - a much smaller range in testosterone levels is effectively being considered.

I should note that this is very much in line with how the study authors interpret their own results: "If, as the study shows, in certain events female athletes with higher testosterone levels can have a competitive advantage of between 1.8-4.5% over female athletes with lower testosterone levels, imagine the magnitude of the advantage for female athletes with testosterone levels in the normal male range."

A joke from a German site, Deutschenwitze. My translation:
An American, a French guy, and a German are in a bar when Jesus walks in. The American goes up to him and asks if miraculous healing is on the agenda. Jesus agrees, and the American asks for a healing of a painful knee. Jesus touches the knee, and instantly the American is genuflecting in gratitude. The French guy steps up and asks for his severe back pain to be healed. Jesus touches his back. Bam, he is able to deeply bow to his Lord with deep respect. Jesus then turns to the German. The German backs away, "Don't touch me. I just got six weeks of sick leave."

That's actually not bad, certainly no worse than English-language jokes of the same type.

I guess I'm the only one who downloaded the csv file describing the cost of lighting in the UK over time, yet doing so was not very, umm, enlightening.

For example, it shows that the cost of lighting was almost five times higher in the UK in 1938 than it was in 1954, yet this seems improbable (or not, depending on what one is measuring: is it the most efficient lighting available, or some sort of average cost?).

The cost of lighting in these years would reflect the cost of fuel used to generate electricity, the efficiency in converting the energy in that fuel into electricity and the efficiency of converting that electricity into light. So what changed to account for such a dramatic change?

The only change I can think of over this period that might account for such a dramatic change would be the introduction of fluorescent lighting (which is more efficient than incandescent lighting but no more so than mercury-vapor lighting, which was available in 1938). But how much fluorescent lighting was actually in use in 1954?

For that matter, the measure is "the British Pound," but I don't even know if that's a constant-value pound, or one that changed over time.

So, that's a nifty graph, but, not only is the graphical representation unusable after 1900 or so but, really, it's not even clear what is represented. Are we just supposed to say "Wow, lookit that!" and marvel and just leave it at that?

From my glance at the "sources" chart, it looks like electrical use was still climbing, with gas lights lasting longer than we might expect.

What I noticed is the substantial decrease in costs in the 1300s and 1400s, almost a 40% decrease in each of those centuries. What was causing lighting prices to fall so much? The Black Death happened in the mid-1300s; did candlewax become more abundant relative to demand? Improvements in harvesting whale oil?

And then after two centuries of steep decreases, from 1500 to about 1750 we see a Great Stagnation with basically no decrease in lighting costs. WTH? The glimmerings of the Industrial Revolution were coming on, there were substantial improvements in ships, and somehow lighting costs failed to fall?

Without some good explanation (e.g. some improvement in lighting technology from 1300-1500 that ceased to happen after 1500, or warfare disrupting production after 1500), I suspect bad data or even fake data. I can't think of a story where that graph makes sense.

Regarding #3 - if cost of lighting has been so cheap (5 pounds or under since 1970) you have to wonder what the big deal with incandescents was.

My lighting bill has apparently been reduced from $160ish in 1970 to approximately $100 now - so where did the massive efficiency gains (and the reduction in my electric bill) go? Because it looks like at least half the $60 drop is due to normal production efficiency increases (both in manufacture of bulbs and manufacture of electricity) which leave me saving $30 in electricity - offset by a massive increase in bulb costs.

It's the CO2 offset, not reflected (no pun) in the incandescent bulbs.

Bonus trivia: could Ben Franklin's old country maxim "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise" be related to the high cost of nighttime lighting? Not to mention the possibility of catching pneumonia when you're not in bed when it's damp and cold.

What nationality is supposed to be funny? I can't think of one outside the English speaking world. The Spanish, Italians? Chinese? This isn't a German issue.

I was thinking that too, that the English and Americans and Aus/NZ are the humorous ones, but I thought maybe that's because English is my native language.

But really, I bet it's true.

That was quick. Somehow I don't think this is going to work out for Google.

What does "work out" mean here?

"What does “work out” mean here?"

Reduce internal conflict, have better employee morale and Not Be Evil.

The best article related to #6 or the James Bradmore's google "antidiversity screed" that I have seen is:

Too many, really too many, great points made here.

P.S.: The reaction to google fiasco is why I find Alex so much nicer in comparison - he makes it a point to unequivocally condemn the suppression of ideological diversity, instead of divert attention to a gynocentric redux.

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