How to stop Asian hate for $12

If you’re passionate about #StopAsianHate, you’ll probably want to invest $11.99 in a “Tolerant” wok from IKEA. Photographed October 3, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida:

#ProblemSolved

I proudly showed a Korean-American friend the above photo and told him of my sincere intention to spend $11.99 plus applicable Florida sales tax on this aluminum pan as part of my personal #StopAsianHate plan. His response to my SayGooding? “If it’s not carbon steel, it’s garbage.”

Separately, it would be good to get an FBI investigation going into IKEA’s ties to Vladimir Putin. Note the “Made in Russia” on this entryway table:

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How did you end up celebrating Latinx Heritage Month?

The Federal government says that today is the last day of National Hispanic American Heritage Month”. What did you do to celebrate?

Why doesn’t the post headline agree with the government’s web site? A TV show from state-sponsored media corrects the name of this celebration to “Latinx Heritage Month”:

(Most of the government-run events linked to from the government’s official site do use the term “Latinx” rather than “Hispanic”. Example:

)

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Uber has given up on the Afghan refugees?

Last month, Uber was 100 percent devoted to helping Afghan refugees (using $2 million from shareholders and customers rather than executive personal contributions, of course!). See Relative importance of getting a ride from Uber versus helping the Afghan refugees for example.

How about this month? An email from Uber today:

The rest of the page:

Uber is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and helping create safe spaces where you can be you. Every moment and every interaction matters. Everyone has the right to move.

(Why only LGBTQIA+ and not 2SLGBTQQIA+? (“Two Spirit, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Asexual Plus”))

This email comes from UberEats rather than Uber in general. The whole point of UberEats is that you don’t leave the house. Is the message from Uber that the only safe space for a 2SLGBTQQIA+ person is at home eating out of a plastic container?

Perhaps the rationale for shifting from Afghan refugee awareness is that the 86 cents/refugee that Uber’s highly paid executives previously arranged to generously scoop out of shareholders’ and customers’ pockets was sufficient and now nobody need worry about Afghans anymore? My Uber app now opens with an exhortation to “Rent a car with Uber” rather than anything about either refugees or the 2SLGBTQQIA+. The only sign of virtue in the app is a “vaccine” icon. There is nothing about National Coming Out Day.

Image
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Follow-up on the Coinbase corporate version of Florida

A year ago, the CEO of Coinbase paid employees who were the most passionate about social justice and political causes to leave. See “Coinbase is a mission focused company” and also “Taking a Stand Against Social Stances” (NYT, 9/29/2020). (If he’d been a Southerner he might have said “Don’t let the screen door hit you on the butt on your way out.”)

In other words, he was trying to create something like the Florida that we’ve experienced. After nearly two months here, I have seen exactly one Black Lives Matter message (bumper sticker on a black (not “Black”) Toyota Prius as we were on an excursion to Miami (IKEA, Guitar Hotel, and Marlins baseball game)). Supposedly there are a lot of people here who voted for either Trump or Biden, but there is no evidence of that from lawn signs or bumper stickers. Bumper stickers are display at perhaps 1/200th the rate compared to in Maskachusetts and the most common type of bumper sticker is school-related.

What happens at a company without on-the-clock activism? Discrimination against those who identify as Black, according to the NYT… “‘Tokenized’: Inside Black Workers’ Struggles at the King of Crypto Start-Ups” (11/27/2020):

One by one, they left. Some quit. Others were fired. All were Black.

The 15 people worked at Coinbase, the most valuable U.S. cryptocurrency start-up, where they represented roughly three-quarters of the Black employees at the 600-person company. Before leaving in late 2018 and early 2019, at least 11 of them informed the human resources department or their managers about what they said was racist or discriminatory treatment, five people with knowledge of the situation said.

One of the employees was Alysa Butler, 25, who worked in recruiting. During her time at Coinbase, she said, she told her manager several times about how he and others excluded her from meetings and conversations, making her feel invisible.

“Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,” said Ms. Butler, who resigned in April 2019. “But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase.”

(Wikipedia says Coinbase is “remote-first”, so how do employees know anything about the race IDs of other employees? See Achieve college student skin color diversity via image processing? as well)

How did it go for Coinbase from Management’s perspective? The CEO who wanted people to fight their social justice and political battles on their own time followed up with a Twitter thread:

It’s been about a year since my mission-focused blog post. It wasn’t easy to go through at the time, but looking back, it turned out to be one of the most positive changes I’ve made at Coinbase, and I’d recommend it to others.

We have a much more aligned company now, where we can focus on getting work done toward our mission. And it has allowed us to hire some of the best talent from organizations where employees are fed up with politics, infighting, and distraction.

One of the biggest concerns around our stance was that it would impact our diversity numbers. Since my post, we’ve grown our headcount about 110%, while our diversity numbers have remained the same, or even improved on some metrics.

Several people told me this would never happen when I circulated the original draft internally. It turns out that there are people from every background who want to work at a mission focused company.

If he is putting employees into buckets based on skin color in order to get “diversity numbers”, isn’t he himself engaging in a social justice cause at work? There was no legal requirement for Coinbase to gather these data, right? (Let me guess right now that age is not one of the axes of diversity for which Mr. Armstrong is anxious to get numbers!)

In other diversity news, the guy who stirred up hatred at University of Chicago (see “Geophysical Sciences Grad Students Call on Faculty to Denounce Videos By Department Member” 12/2/2020) got literally canceled at MIT, where he had been scheduled to give a lecture. From the Daily Mail:

…. after outraging ‘totalitarian’ Twitter mob by arguing that academic evaluations should be based on merit not racial ‘equity’

Dorian Abbot was denied the opportunity to give the Carlson Lecture, which is devoted to ‘new results in climate science’ and hosted by MIT’s Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.

The lecture was scheduled to be delivered on October 21, but Abbot learned over the weekend that EAPS would be canceling his talk.

In August, things took a turn when Abbot co-wrote an opinion piece for Newsweek in which he argued that the ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ (DEI) initiative embraced on many college campuses nationwide ‘violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment.’

DEI, according to Abbot and co-author Professor Ivan Marinovic, ‘treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.’

Abbot and Marinovic instead proposed ‘an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.’

(But who decides “merit”?)

It is kind of exciting for alumni when MIT can share a newspaper with Joe Biden’s $2.5 million granddaughter.

What would Dorian Abbot have talked about? He seems to be at least a little interested in Snowball Earth, one of my favorite geology subjects ever since reading an awesome book on the subject. He’s also interested in exoplanets, which fascinate everyone far more than how their Windows 11 computer or iPhone work. Maybe if Professor Abbot can get Elon Musk to blast him off to Gliese 273b (shouldn’t take that long to go 12.2 light-years in a Plaid Edition rocket), his critics will forget about him?

Related:

  • “Tesla must pay $137 million to a Black employee who sued for racial discrimination” (NPR, 10/5/2021), in which we learn that the article doesn’t match the headline. The now-rich elevator operator worked for a contractor to Tesla and was never directly employed by Tesla. (electrek has a more accurate headline: “Tesla is ordered to pay ex-worker $137 million in racial abuse lawsuit, releases blog about verdict”: Mr. Diaz never worked for Tesla. He was a contract employee who worked for Citistaff and nextSource. Mr. Diaz worked as an elevator operator at the Fremont factory for nine months, from June 2015 to March 2016. There was no witness testimony or other evidence that anyone ever heard the n-word used toward Mr. Diaz. Even though Mr. Diaz now complains about racial harassment at Fremont, at the time he said he was being harassed, he recommended to his son and daughter – while they were all living together in the same home – that they work at Tesla with him.)
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A month of not being told how or what to think comes to an end

Compared to Maskachusetts or California, one of the remarkable features of life in our corner of Florida (Palm Beach County) is the lack of folks telling others how and what to think. In the Boston suburbs, I would be reminded every few minutes while driving or walking the dog to (1) have faith in leaky vaccines to end the global COVID-19 pandemic (highway electronic billboards), (2) stop hating Asians, (3) celebrate that Love is Love, (4) agree that Black Lives Matter, (5) welcome immigrants, (6) vote for Democrats, etc.

When we departed the Boston area (see Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children), I said “I’ve paid for my last shopping bag at the supermarket, driven by my last BLM sign in an all-white neighborhood, and read my last governor’s order.” We have yet to see a BLM sign, a Trump bumper sticker or hat, or a Biden/Harris bumper sticker. We haven’t bothered to check what Ron DeSantis is up to in Tallahassee and learn whether a recent order might make one of our daily activities newly illegal. Over the weekend, however, we flew the Cirrus SR20 down to Key West. Some folks were displaying rainbow flags, which didn’t necessarily qualify as educating others regarding the path of righteousness. Unlike our old neighbors (boring cisgender white heteros), the folks in Key West flying rainbow flags might actually have been living an LGBTQIA+ lifestyle. However, we did encounter the following “love comes in all flavors” sign prominently displayed on the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream freezer:

This is consistent with Is LGBTQIA the most popular social justice cause because it does not require giving money? There were no signs in the shop regarding other social justice causes, e.g., poverty or homelessness. That might lead to questions regarding how a “single mom” (who forgot to have sex with a high-income defendant and therefore was reliant on what we no longer call “welfare”) with two kids could afford to pay $14 for two small ice creams. There were no signs reminding customers to boycott Israel. Ben & Jerry’s did not urge us to assist the tens of thousands of Haitians who’ve recently arrived, nor protest the fact that at least some are being deported in violation of international law.

(Separately, let me note for the record that I think Häagen-Dazs is much better ice cream, as long as we’re talking about mass-market. Here in Jupiter, we’ve managed to maintain a reasonable level of obesity, and therefore our coronavirus cross-section, at Matty’s Gelato Factory and Loxahatchee Ice Cream Company.)

Related:

  • Wikipedia: Cohen has severe anosmia, a lack of a sense of smell, and so relies on mouthfeel and texture to provide variety in his diet. This led to the company’s trademark chunks being mixed in with their ice cream. [i.e., the co-founder had COVID-19 symptoms before COVID-19 symptoms were popular!]
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Taking credit for Black accomplishment in “White Papers”

As part of my teaching efforts this semester, I stumbled on https://www.sans.org/information-security-policy/ , which then leads to the organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page:

“terms like Blacklist, Whitelist, and many others will be removed from SANS courseware and replaced with more appropriate terminology”.

Scroll down a bit and we learn that “women” (however that term might be defined) and BIPOC are featured, but “veterans” (see last bullet point above) don’t get a video.

Here’s an illustration of how we all have more work to do

Why is this organization offering “White Papers”? Aside from the inappropriate nature of the term, isn’t it inaccurate? Nobody is interested in a white piece of paper. Nearly everything valuable in a so-called “white paper” is, in fact, Black (i.e., the words).

Is this yet another example of whites taking credit for the accomplishment of Blacks?

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Focusing on race and racism just makes the problem worse. (true or false?)

A friend who works at Mass General Brigham, the largest non-government employer in Maskachusetts, was told that he/she/ze/they (to protect this person’s identify, I won’t specify gender ID) must complete anti-racism training in order to keep his/her/zir/their job:

One or two questions in, he/she/ze/they found the following screen as part of a pre-training screening questionnaire:

Suppose that he/she/ze/they believes it is true that “Focusing on race and racism just makes the problem worse”? It turns out that this is not merely a Deplorable opinion, but is factually incorrect:

What if the Deplorable employee persists in this heretical incorrect belief? The software will not allow him/her/zim/them to proceed to the next question or the rest of the training. In other words, the employee will be fired from his/her/zir/their job if he/she/ze/they refuses to acknowledge that “Focusing on race and racism just makes the problem worse” is false.

Vaguely related… “More Medical Boards Warn Against Spreading COVID Vax Falsehoods” (MedPage Today):

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) and American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) issued a joint statement Thursday supporting the Federation of State Medical Boards, which warned physicians in early August that their licenses could be taken away or otherwise sanctioned by state boards if they disseminated misinformation about the COVID vaccines.

Baron explained that pediatricians publicly saying that vaccines are unsafe for kids is one reason why the boards came together to issue this statement. “That’s a real problem,” he said.

A doctor could be excommunicated if he/she/ze/they doesn’t hide his/her/zir/their copies of English newspapers, e.g., “Teenage boys more at risk from vaccines than Covid” (Telegraph (UK)): “Young males are six times more likely to suffer from heart problems after being jabbed than be hospitalised from coronavirus, study finds”, and “Scientists not backing Covid jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds” (BBC, 9/3/2021).

Not only does a doctor have to follow science in order to keep his/her/zir/their job, but he/she/ze/they must follow American science rather than British science.

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Vaccine-resisting idiots

Before departing from Maskachusetts last month in the Cirrus SR20 (ferry trip to her new home in the Florida Free State), I mentioned to a woman in the old neighborhood that I’d be visiting a family at their oceanfront house as my first stop. “The dad is my friend and he’s the only one who is vaccinated,” I volunteered. “The kids are slender, healthy and in their late 20s so I can understand their point of course, but the wife is around 60 and could perhaps benefit, though she also is slender and fit.”

Neighbor: “They’re idiots.”

Me: “As it happens, they’re Black.”

Neighbor: “Oh, well, ….” (the “idiot” statement was walked back to a discourse regarding why it wouldn’t make sense for Black people to listen to anything that scientists say)

The neighbor’s car (Chevy Bolt with Bernie bumper sticker):

(Bernie wanted her to live in a town where a vacant buildable lot costs $1 million (minimum 2-acre zoning).)

On arrival, I learned that when you have an oceanfront house it seems that you’re going to be quite popular all summer. The unvaccinated kids (late 20s) had about 6 similar-age friends visiting. All of them, as it turned out, were unvaccinated and resented the government’s attempts to coerce them into getting stuck with a medicine that is extremely unlikely to help them unless the mass vaccination campaign breeds a super deadly version of the coronavirus (see Marek’s Disease). I comforted them at dinner (out on the screen porch and following the CDC guidelines that coronavirus cannot spread when unmasked people sit at restaurant tables): “It probably won’t do you more harm than a week of binge drinking.”

(One of the young people had the idea of running a restaurant where students received music lessons and other kinds of education. “If they’re sitting at a table being served food, they don’t need to wear masks, even if the governor orders students in schools to wear masks.”)

My favorite recent Apple News screen, in which a confused grandfather (of a child who yielded $2.5 million tax-free for the smart plaintiff) has lost patience and scapegoats responsible for all of our woes have been identified:

Separately, it seems that the current crop of vaccines may be worthless from a public health point of view (could still be useful for an at-risk individual who stays in his/her/zir/their bunker 99 percent of the time). “Benefit of COVID-19 vaccination accounting for potential risk compensation” (Nature, August 11, 2021):

With very high vaccine efficacy (E = 0.95), substantial benefit is maintained except in situations where there is a very low probability of infection in the population. If the vaccine efficacy decreases to 0.8, the benefit gets eroded easily with modest risk compensation.

Risk compensation needs to be factored carefully when appraising COVID-19 vaccination strategies. The simplified model used here suggests that even negligible risk compensation can eliminate the benefit of a vaccine of low efficacy, and it also takes only 2.5-fold increase in exposures for the benefit of a vaccine of moderate efficacy (E = 0.6) to disappear unless the probability of infection in the population of interest is very high.

(The most familiar example of risk compensation is a person driving 75 mph in a pavement-melting SUV. He/she/ze/they feels invulnerable due to seatbelts, 17 airbags, and 6,000 lbs. of steel. He/she/ze/they would drive only 50 mph, perhaps, in a lighter car without seatbelts or airbags. Since kinetic energy rises as the square of velocity, the risk of death in an accident might end up being roughly the same as if the driver were in a less thoroughly armored vehicle. See “Condoms and seat belts: the parallels and the lessons” (Lancet) for some references.)

In other words, a less-than-perfect vaccine slows down an epidemic only if people don’t change their behavior as a result of being vaccinated. A person who decides that it is okay to travel on commercial airliners once again, for example, is risk compensating. I’ve observed this behavior in New England. The (mostly) vaccinated population ceased wearing masks on the day that the government stopped ordering them to do so (a couple of months later, of course, it was “Simon Says Masks On” and they all complied with that too!). Fauci-following Democrats who refused to meet me outdoors for coffee pre-vaccination would step in for hugs after they’d received the magic elixir.

Let’s combine the above with July 2021 data (i.e., regarding the delta variant) on breakthrough infections. “Resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Highly Vaccinated Health System Workforce” (NEJM), Table 1:

Vaccine effectiveness was only 65 percent in July 2021 and therefore risk compensation by those who’ve been told by Drs. Fauci and Biden that vaccines are valuable will wipe out the benefit of the vaccines.

I was on a Zoom meeting with some folks from grad school. A friend’s wife is a Ph.D. biologist. She has gone back into her bunker, despite being vaccinated. “The reason that people think vaccines are helpful,” she said, “is that they’re combining data from pre-Delta and Delta. With Delta, the infection and fatality rates aren’t that different for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.”

Israel and the Delta variant:

In a country that has vaccinated 80 percent of those eligible, deaths are about 3/4 of where they were in the fall of 2020, when nobody in Israel was vaccinated.

Related:

  • “It may take ‘many, many’ more vaccine mandates to end the Covid-19 pandemic, Fauci says” (CNN, 9/13): “I believe that’s going to turn this around because I don’t think people are going to want to not go to work or not go to college … They’re going to do it,” Fauci told CNN’s Jen Christensen during an interview at the NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, convention Sunday. “You’d like to have them do it on a totally voluntary basis, but if that doesn’t work, you’ve got to go to the alternatives.”
  • “Fauci says he supports a vaccine mandate for air travel.” (NYT, 9/13): Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said … that he would support a vaccine mandate for air travelers. “I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, that you should be vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci [said]
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How relevant is diversity and inclusion to AT&T?

Our Internet provider here in the Florida Free State is AT&T. I was trying to contact them about changing my name on the bill to “Greenspun” from “Greenstun” and somehow landed on about.att.com. Here’s what’s at the top:

If they stand for equality, should we infer that they don’t stand for equity?

As a child of the 1960s, of course I am all in favor of equality, e.g., Equality Feminism. Nonetheless, this is not why I am an AT&T customer. If I scroll down a little, I find out that the company gives equal weight to “Internet & Fiber” and “Diversity & Inclusion”.

I’m assuming that this is a profit-maximizing behavior, but I wonder why. Are American consumers equally interested in diversity and inclusion from an Internet provider as they are in the Internet service itself? Is it that regulators might stumble on this page and a lot of regulators are themselves affirmative action quota-fillers?

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Not everyone in Florida is a Deplorable Neanderthal (children’s section of a Palm Beach County library)

Folks in Maskachusetts tend to be scornful of Florida, dismissing it as a “Red state” with “stupid” residents. But you won’t see a big difference at our local public library (the Jupiter branch of the Palm Beach County system).

Government workers won’t have their pay cut or jobs eliminated no matter how unpleasant they make the customer experience. Thus, in a generally mask-optional state, the librarians don’t have a problem demanding that customers wear the hijab (so both librarians and patrons can catch coronavirus 15 minutes after leaving when they walk into a mostly-unmasked store or restaurant?):

The librarians also sit behind Plexi screens that the New York Times says #Science now disclaims.

How about the featured books in the children’s section?

What if a child wants to read about a white heterosexual cisgender male? He/she/ze/they will have to dig into the stacks! (Keith Haring, above, may have identified as “white,” but was a member of the LGBTQIA+ community until HIV killed him at age 31.)

Children can learn about the female roots of aeronautical engineering:

(Maybe a book about Kitty Hawk could be featured if titled “The Wright Brothers, Sisters, and Binary-resisters”?)

A featured book in the adult section:

(Another way that Maskachusetts residents insult the idea of Florida is by talking about how old everyone in Florida is. (If the Northern Righteous have such contempt for the elderly, why do they put masks on 7-year-olds in hopes of reducing plague deaths among the 82-year-olds?) In fact, our new neighborhood is about 30 years younger than our old neighborhood. Still, it is tough not to love the fact that the librarians expect their elderly customers to still be running Windows 7 (released in 2009). There were no corresponding books about Windows 10 or 11 available. Speaking of Windows 11, will the main reason to upgrade be the ability to point to our PC and say “this one goes to 11”?)

Related:

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