about that Google “women in tech” screed

I really didn’t want to post about this, because it’s the year 20*checks watch*17 and we are apparently still having this argument. But I’m a guy in tech and apparently his views are wider-spread than I would like to believe, so here goes:

Edit: this article about The e-mail Larry Page should have written to James Damore is way better, just read that instead!

If you haven’t read the essay, I’d recommend doing so. (I debated about whether to even read it, but eventually decided it was better to be engaged) Here it is in full – note that it was posted to an internal Google forum that is apparently available for all employees to read.

It’s a little hard to respond to because there’s a whole tangled mess of points he makes, a few of which are reasonable. I do think conservatives can be alienated in tech circles, and if you think taxes should be lower, then you shouldn’t feel afraid to express that opinion at work. (although why are you talking about politics at work?) But, there’s some pretty bad stuff:
He claims to value diversity, but doesn’t like programs that work to increase diversity – for example:

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.

I…don’t even know what to say to this. Which is weird because later he says

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.

(emphasis added) So…which is it?
Maybe there are fewer women in tech for non-sexist reasons? for example:

We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

I think the best response to this is this chart of the gender representation in Computer Science over time:

Women are biologically different than men! This is true to a very small extent. David just finished a whole book (Brainstorm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences) showing how most of the studies that purport to show differences are way overblown. Even the guy whose research the author cited says he misinterpreted that research.

Ugh, I’m tired. Read this response by an evolutionary biologist and call it a day.

Call your senators: might be a vote on health care this week!

If you want to read up on the Senate bill a bit more, here are some good stories about how it slashes Medicaid and will cause premiums to rise for many people to give a tax cut to the wealthy.

Please call today. You don’t have to get in to policy much, just say something like

Hi, my name is <your name>, and I’m a constituent of Senator <senator’s name>. I’m urging <him/her> to vote against any health care bill that would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their insurance, like the one proposed in the Senate.

If your senator opposed the bill (here’s a handy whip count – note that Senator Cruz is currently opposed!), be sure to say something like “I urge the Senator to stand against the bill even if minor changes are made”, because this is exactly what happened with the House bill – they made some small changes and that gave cover for representatives to vote for it.

Senator Cornyn’s numbers are: (512)469-6034 (Austin office) and (202)224-2934 (DC office)
Senator Cruz’s numbers are: (512)916-5834 (Austin office) and (202)224-5922 (DC office)

Texans: call Senators Cornyn and Cruz to save healthcare!

A few weeks ago, the House passed the AHCA (aka TrumpCare, aka the American Health Care Act), which is terrible for reasons I’ve gone into before. (why it’s bad, why essential health benefits are good) The CBO scored the bill and estimated that 23 million people will lose their health care if the bill passes, and people with preexisting conditions may have to pay higher premiums (like, way higher). It is bad!

The Senate is now working on a health care bill – they say they’re going to “start from scratch”, so who knows what they’ll come up with. Also:

Senators Cornyn and Cruz are both involved in this effort (per item 2 here) – let them know what you think!

I had a hard time thinking about what to say since it’s not as straightforward as “vote/don’t vote for this bill”, but the suggested text from that item is good:

“Hello, my name is [NAME] from [TOWN]. I know the Senator is on the working group of the new healthcare bill. The House’s plan is a disaster. The ACA isn’t perfect, but it has expanded access to coverage to millions of Americans. Does the Senator pledge that the new bill will allow those millions to keep their insurance, and will contain no loopholes for insurers to charge more for pre-existing conditions?”

Senator Cornyn’s numbers are: (512)469-6034 (Austin office) and (202)224-2934 (DC office)
Senator Cruz’s numbers are: (512)916-5834 (Austin office) and (202)224-5922 (DC office)

The Senate is in recess this week so call today!