Friday, May 29, 2009
Thanks for contacting Amazon.com with your concern.
The item you referenced is no longer for sale on our site.
Thank you again for your feedback.
It's pretty cool that they respond to feedback.
This includes using poison gas on the victim, sexually assaulting her and using psychological abuse against her in efforts to make her "love" you. Unbelievable.It should go without saying that Amazon should not support such psychological and sexual abuse of women. The Feministing post encourages people to contact Amazon to tell them it is not acceptable to profit from this kind of thing. I wrote to them and hope you will do the same.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
* I often have this awkward moment where I feel obligated to hug someone I have not seen in a while but then I realize I don't have to, causing us to both stare over each other's left shoulder for a while...
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
They should also be able to agree that the steady advance of single motherhood threatens the interests and happiness of women... There’s no necessary reason why feminists and cultural conservatives can’t join forces — in the same way that they made common cause during the pornography wars of the 1980s — behind a social revolution that ostracizes serial baby-daddies and trophy-wife collectors as thoroughly as the “fallen women” of a more patriarchal age.There are many ways to make women happier; instating social stigma that enforces expectations of responsible patriarchy will not do it. Rather than creating stigma that causes unhappy and unsupportive men to stay with the mothers of their children, society should support these women in raising children alone. One of the reasons working mothers have been increasingly unhappy is the lack of a support network beyond the nuclear family*; perpetuating the cult of the nuclear family to solve the problem of female unhappiness would be missing the point.
* A product of the conservative 1950's, I believe.
This FAQ is targeted at the men who make up the comfortable majority among computer science graduate students, but all may find it relevant. My experience shows that these questions are highly relevant; if you are skeptical please contact me to discuss.
Q: I make fun of my Canadian friends all the time and they don't mind. Why should making misogynist or homophobic jokes be any different?
A: Making fun of Canadians is different from making fun of women/minorities because 1) it is a two-way thing based on a rivalry rather than historically harmful prejudice and 2) the targets of the jokes are not in a position (either due to having fewer numbers of them or not having as powerful of a voice) to stand up for themselves. Making jokes about the intellectual abilities of women or the personal decisions of homosexuals enters much more sensitive territory--it is inappropriate to speak lightly about reasons for which these sgroups have been oppressed/persecuted . Just as mature graduate students should not tolerate glib comments about the Holocaust or slavery, they should not tolerate misogynist, homophobic, or otherwise culturally insensitive comments.
Q: What would be considered a misogynist or homophobic joke?
A: There are many things people say that should be obviously offensive. For example, "Chores? That's what the women are for." There are also more subtle things that are as harmful: any statement that implicitly suggests it is bad to be a woman/gay/other minority is not appropriate. Examples include: "that's so gay" and "stop being such a woman."
Q: Why should I think twice about coming on to women with whom I work?
A: Your co-workers deserve to have a comfortable working environment free from unwelcomes advances. Everyone should be able to have a professional and productive work life.
Q: What if I just like to hit on girls for fun?
A: If you are making them feel uncomfortable, you should stop--and apologize. If someone else liked to joke by hitting you in a sensitive region every day, you would also like to be able to make them stop. This is not appropriate behavior for a work environment; you should discourage this behavior in others as well.
Q: Then how do I get a girlfriend?
A: Do extracurricular activities--there are many women in other departments and in the city/town where you lives. It is not the responsibility of the women in your department to date you just because you don't meet a lot of women. If you are really in love with someone who works with/near you, be respectful and be careful.
Q: Is it appropriate to check out other students? Is it appropriate to check out students if I am a teaching assistant?
A: Put yourself in the shoes of an employee, at say, Google, where you would find it important to maintain a professional relationship with your coworkers. If you are a TA, pretend you are a group leader responsible for evaluations that lead to promotions, etc. Graduate students should be held to some standards of professionalism.
Q: Why should I care so much about making minorities feel comfortable in my department?
A: It doesn't cost you that much and everyone is better off if smart people can do good work without always being made to feel they don't belong. If you're asking this question, I'm assuming people don't give you a hard time for being who you are--return the favor for everyone else. It does not benefit the field to push out those who may be different. Intolerance of homosexuality drove Alan Turing to his suicide; his death is one of the greatest losses in computer science.
Monday, May 25, 2009
One explanation for why promiscuity in women is so much more abhorred than promiscuity in men the evolutionary one*. The story is that early humans were mostly serially monogamous, women had children by several partners, and their current partners would help take care of the children. For a woman it was bad if their partner was spending time with another woman, because it meant time that the man was not contributing his resources to taking care of her children. For men it was bad if their partner was promiscuous, because then they would not be able to tell when they were contributing their resources to a child they did not father. This would explain why men are terrified of promiscuous women. But according to this explanation only men should be terrified of promiscuous women, so the use of "slut" as a blanket slur suggests the dominance of male preferences reflected in language.
Here are some reasons why people need to stop throwing around the term "slut:"
- The use of such a primitive slur against a political candidate suggests they are not taking women seriously. "Slut" is far from a substantive denunciation: a politically inclined person would be embarrassed to put down a male candidate solely by calling him a "prick" or "asshole."
- Using the term "slut" as a blanket insult perpetuates the limitation on female sexual freedom. There is not such a stigma around promiscuous men that people insult men by calling them promiscuous.
- Even if men are inclined to fear promiscuity in women, this does not mean men are justified in calling women sluts. Men are also naturally inclined to go around naked when it is sufficiently warm, urinate in public, fight other men to the death etc. Last I checked, these behaviors were illegal and not socially acceptable. Fortunately humans are cultured animals; we should take advantage of this quality. Also, many "natural" inclinations are maladaptive with respect to our society and people should just get over them--for instance, xenophobia.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
...researchers at the University of British Columbia studied people who had undergone genetic testing to determine their risk for developing the neurodegenerative disorder known as Huntington’s disease. Those who learned that they had a very high likelihood of developing the condition were happier a year after testing than those who did not learn what their risk was.
Why would we prefer to know the worst than to suspect it? Because when we get bad news we weep for a while, and then get busy making the best of it. We change our behavior, we change our attitudes... But we can’t come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.
What Gilbert says makes a lot of sense.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Always considerate, Dell has designed a totally cute new site/product just for women! Since I primarily look to computers for complementing my accessories, for allowing me to gossip via e-mail, and for helping me sum my caloric intake, I am going to run out of my office screaming "OMG" and purchase one immediately.
View the awful Della website here*. ( abominable, alarming, appalling, atrocious, deplorable, depressing, dire, disgusting, distressing, dreadful, fearful, frightful, ghastly, grody, gross*, gruesome, grungy*, harrowing, hideous, horrendous, horrible, horrific, horrifying, nasty, offensive, raunchy, repulsive, shocking, stinking, synthetic, tough, ugly, unpleasant, unsightly )
Sorry Dell, but being patronizing does not encourage me to buy your products? In fact, if I didn't have work to do I would go home right now and throw my Vostro 200 out of the window? (It's a piece of crap anyway. Plus, it's not pink.)
To make my complaints more specific: 1) the product is poorly marketed with little understanding of its target demographic and 2) the website is patronizing, assuming that women use computers for e-mail and as a looks-enhancing accessory. While I am not against having a "cute" computer, color and size do not provide adequate specification. Not only can women handle having full specification of the memory size and processor speed of a computer, but (gasp!) they may even shop for a computer based on its performance. I mean, when I do learn to use Microsoft Word I'm going to want it to be fast, right?
The good thing is that the sensible women of the internet are already speaking out. Here is a comment from the Tech Tips section:
...This is a load of fluff that only serves to provide insight into how Dell perceives my demographic. Essentially, we women will buy anything if it comes in pink and fits in our purse.
Come on Dell! Treat us like intelligent consumers and not like trained monkeys....
Here is another great comment from the site which sums my attitude as well:
HAI I ARE WOMEN AND I THINK THESE TIPS ARE GRATE!!!! THANKS U FOR HELPING ME IMPROOVE MY LIEF WITH THESE HELPFUL HINTS. LOFLCON!!!!
* Can't have any positive words surrounding the link; otherwise Google might get the wrong idea.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
PG: I am so much more important than you that I will subsume you on Google. I will show up before you when people search "Jean Yang."
JY: You can't beat me.
Though in regular search he shows up on the second page, by some accounts he shows up earlier in personalized searches. From an e-mail from a mutual friend: "When I search for 'Jean Yang' on my google account, his page comes up second, which surprised me, but then I tried searching for 'Jean Yang' without being signed in, and he's on the second page of results."
* My friend at Stanford who mentors at me.
** In case you are reading this after he has taken it down, his webpage currently says "My name is Philip Guo (also search for me as Jean Yang, Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)."
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
1986 - Brad Cox and Tom Love create Objective-C, announcing "this language has all the memory safety of C combined with all the blazing speed of Smalltalk." Modern historians suspect the two were dyslexic.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
- "Languages should have classes and inheritance," she said objectively.
- "I would like a data structure with O(1) insertion," she said listlessly.
- "Monads are a pain," she stated.
- "Mutation is important," she said effectively.
- "I may have lost all my work," he said noncommitally.
- "Here are some parentheses," he lisped.
- "Let's evaluate this," she schemed.
- "How do I know if my program is correct?" he inquired dynamically.
- "I wish my number representation could handle this," he said longingly.
- "I have a seg fault!" she exclaimed freely.
- "What kind of seeds do you have?" he asked randomly.
- "Do this while I'm gone," she said imperatively.
- "We should retrace our steps," he declared logically.
- "Register allocation is not so hard", she said optimistically.
- "Remember that the time bounds are only defined over nonnegative integers", she told him discreetly.
- "Type systems have nothing to do with math!" he exclaimed categorically.
- "Theorem proving is easy with the right tools", he replied automatically.
- "I wish there were a way to prevent memory access violations in C", she complained stormily.
- "What if you just used streams?" she suggested lazily.
- "My algorithm will always terminate", he decided.
- "We can fill in the rest of the weights by symmetry", she remarked distantly.
- "How will you know who I am without asking for my password?" he challenged.
- "Literate Haskell programs are just easier to work with", she commented prosaically.
- "I unclogged the drain with a vacuum cleaner," Tom said succinctly.
- "I might as well be dead," Tom croaked.
- "They had to amputate them both at the ankles," Tom said defeatedly.
- "Who discovered radium?" asked Marie curiously.
- "I dropped the toothpaste," signaled Tom, crestfallen.
- "Have I been emasculated?" Tom demanded.
- "Dat's de end of April," said Tom in dismay.
- "Here's someone who can't speak!" exclaimed Tom dumbfoundedly.
- "I'd like chicken soup with matzo balls and gefilte fish," said Tom judiciously.
- Boys are doctors. Girls are nurses.
- Boys are Presidents. Girls are First Ladies.
- Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed.
- Boys can eat. Girls can cook.
- Boys invent things. Girls use what boys invent.
- Boys build houses. Girls keep houses.
- I'm glad you're a girl! I'm glad you're a boy! We need each other.