We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Last night a story broke about a Google employee circulating an email to his colleagues regarding the company’s diversity policies. From skimming it, the email seemed reasonable, i.e. it wasn’t deliberately offensive or insulting. However, some people are appalled that someone working in Google holds such opinions, let alone shares them, and are calling for him to be sacked. Others are urging people not to read the email, as if it were a gorgon’s head.

This is wholly unsurprising. The immediate response from many people when faced with opinions they don’t like is to try, using fair means or foul, to silence that person. This has been going on for years, and the latest weapon in the censors’ arsenal is to try to get the person sacked, and to deprive them of their livelihood.

Tim Newman

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VKEmail this to someone

39 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • rxc

    This is going to be a good test of whether the SJWs will ultimately succeed. The response from the Diversity Director at Google is not a good sign. She pretty clearly implied that she is going to find him and correct his thought patterns…

  • PapayaSF

    Seems like the guy may have gotten red-pilled by Jordan Peterson. The piece was very well-written, well-argued, calm, polite, almost conciliatory. From the SJW freakouts, you’d think it was a “screed” filled with “hate,” but it’s not.

    I would not bet on the guy surviving at Google, but I hope he does.

  • bobby b

    PapayaSF
    August 7, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    “I would not bet on the guy surviving at Google, but I hope he does.”

    I’m betting they give him a raise, place him in charge of his own department (of one employee), and then publicize how accepting they are of diverse viewpoints.

    He’ll have nothing to do, and will eventually quit in disgust, with little to no publicity. Google can’t quietly take over the world if they’re a flashpoint.

  • PapayaSF

    That would be clever, but I don’t think it would work. The SJWs would still scream for his head, and he’d blow the whistle on how he was treated.

  • Chip

    It’s interesting that this call for intellectual diversity – rather than a superficial and meaningless diversity based on race and gender – is described as an “anti-diversity screed.”

    It’s also interesting that an Indian raised in a two-bed flat in Chennai can become CEO of Google, but women and minorities raised in the comfort and security of the wealthiest and freest country in history need hiring quotas to succeed.

  • andyinsdca

    Teh intarwebs (twatter, gab.ai) are reporting he’s been canned

  • Disillusionist

    He’s already been fired. Rumor is that the CEO of gab.ai is looking to contact him.

    All hail diversity!

  • Fraser Orr

    I read this piece on USA Today about it. Reading it is just, to me, surreal. What are people getting so worked up about? I mean why don’t they just, you know, ignore it? The CEO cut short his vaca to do a town hall meeting because some guy wrote a memo that some people didn’t like? I mean, WTF? What the hell is wrong with these people? And moreover how can they possibly call themselves liberal without disappearing in a puff of irony?

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/08/07/engineer-behind-google-anti-diversity-memo-reportedly-fired/547348001/

  • bobby b

    bobby b
    August 7, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    “I’m betting they give him a raise . . .”

    Well, that didn’t take long.

  • Alisa

    We are living in interesting times.

  • This is an effect of Trump’s election. If Hillary had won, the “deal with it quietly” approach of bobby b (August 7, 2017 at 10:12 pm) might have been followed. But every SJW can see this guy probably knows a Trump voter, maybe at least thought of voting for Trump himself – just possibly even actually did!!! That is intolerable. One knows such people exist of course, but to work with one, even for one single more day!!!

    Google can’t quietly take over the world if they’re a flashpoint.

    One hopes that more than just that will be prevented by the self-induced crazy. “Oft evil will doth evil mar.”

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The guy has been fired.

    I have no idea what the commercial impact on Google will be, but it is worth noting that as certain Silicon Valley outfits fall down the social justice rabbit hole, their earnings do too. Twitter has been losing out. Google is more robust but it faces a battery of anti-trust lawsuits in Europe (not that I actually think it deserves to face them) and more of this sort of rubbish is going to take a toll. An organisation run in fear of SJWs isn’t going to be a congenial environment for originality and innovation.

    I would not be surprised if there is a market for buying sell options on Google’s stock price.

  • Mr Ed

    Why the duckduckgo does anyone still use Google?

  • Thailover

    The guy suggests earning by merit rather than by winning a diversity lottery. Oh the horror. The horror. Those that call for diversity always demand conformity. Hypocritiots. This is the same Google that’s going to be censoring YouTube, the largest source of alternative news, by empowering nut job orgs like the ADL. The same ADL that said Pepe the frog meme was an alt-right hate symbol. YouTube is doomed.

  • EdMJ

    From his “Reply to public response and misrepresentation” section of the updated Gizmodo post:

    “If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem.”

    That was his fatal mistake, thinking that the left is in anyway interested in having an honest discussion.

    Sounds like a pretty smart guy, PhD in Systems Biology according to this site:
    https://officechai.com/stories/james-damore-resume/

    Am sure some lucky tech firm will snap him up quick. Google’s loss is their gain. I agree with Johnathan, all these SJW infested companies will rot from the inside out and eventually collapse. Is just a question of whether or not they’ll beat larger society to it or not…

  • Alisa

    Why the duckduckgo does anyone still use Google?

    Because it is (yet) not nearly as good. Plus, the times when Google was a mere search engine are long gone.

  • Alisa

    EdMJ, there is no reason to assume that he was addressing the left.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    That was his fatal mistake, thinking that the left is in anyway interested in having an honest discussion.

    SQOTD?

  • bobby b

    Google has become too powerful.

    Society lives on smartphones. If you don’t use an Apple phone, you use an Android phone, which is entirely a Google creation. They have developed their phones to seamlessly combine all of their many products.

    The Google Android OS allows me to check my e-mails (through G-mail, of course), my texts, and my calls. It finds where I am through GPS, maps out my routes on Maps in order to find Google advertisers in my location, delivers sponsored ads to me when I’ve only asked for directory listings, (“where’s the nearest bar?” tells me first where the nearest Google-advertising bar is), filters the news it delivers to me to reflect its favored viewpoints while blocking the sites I prefer, and collects and sells all of the demographic information concerning me to the highest bidders (but gives it for free to the Democratic Party.)

    It knows exactly where I walked, drove, flew, biked, or boated since I bought my phone. It knows who I’ve called, texted, e-mailed, or skyped, and it knows what I said when I did those things, and it sells that data too. It keeps track of everything I’ve ever looked at on the net, and makes a ton of money off of that data.

    When we look to Google to deliver all of our input, we invite Google to choose all of our input. When we trust Google with all of our information, we make all of that information Google’s. When Google decides that we ought not share certain concepts and conversations and thus blocks them, well, we gave them permission to do so.

    So it’s not just a matter of using DuckDuckGo. If we can’t drop smartphones from our lives, or at least start buying non-Google and non-Apple systems, we’re all just Google’s Soylent Green.

  • Paul Marks

    So much for the tolerance of the left.

    In truth they were always like this. The “free speech” movement of the 1960s destroyed “reactionary” books, just as the young Germans (such as socialist and Jew hater Richard Wagner) did in 1848 (for example the works of Karl Ludwig Von Haller were targeted).

    “Freedom of expression” is, to the left, the freedom to be a leftist – not the freedom to not be a leftist.

    “But Paul the people who created Google, and the other left coast internet companies, have real talent”.

    I do not deny it – after all Richard Wagner had real talent, that did not stop him also being a swine.

  • Paul Marks

    “Some other tech firm will snap him up” – do not hold your breath on that one.

    He may well end up a security guard or cleaning toilets.

    Or driven to suicide.

    The left do not play nice.

    And they are very powerful – after all I am using Google right now.

  • Sam Duncan

    Booby: The only real solution to Android, short of switching to something obscure with less functionality, is to root your phone and install an alternative ROM, which isn’t for the faint-hearted, but F-Droid and its repository is a good start if you don’t feel up to it, or it simply isn’t an option for whatever reason. You’ll have to allow the installation of third-party apps in the settings, but F-Droid is trustworthy.

    It’s also perfectly possible to use Android without signing in to a Google account, which helps a bit too, although you’ll lose the ability to install and update apps from the Play Store. Alternatively, go to the “Personal info and Privacy” settings and pause all the “Activity Controls”. There’s no certainty that Google will honour these, but at least it’s something.

    You can install DDG as an alternative search provider, and OSMAnd is a surprisingly good map and navigation app these days, although you’ll need plenty of storage to use its offline maps, and a rooted phone to completely replace Google Maps’ integration with other apps. Search out K-9 mail, for example, to use non-Google email on your phone.

    All that said, it’s one of life’s great ironies that this scandal should blow up just weeks after Canonical abandoned its Ubuntu Phone project.

  • bobby b

    Sam, it’s good to know (and probably too sparsely known) that people are developing alternatives.

    At this point, can anyone successfully develop and market a system that can begin eroding Google’s share, or is their market dominance too complete? Some people have the political motivation to put in the extra effort to avoid Google; the question is, can Google’s competitors capture market share amongst the (vastly more numerous) unmotivated?

    If I think of fifty people I know who use Android, maybe three would be politically motivated to avoid Google, and maybe one would have the technical savvy to do so.

  • PeterT

    I checked the comments at arstechnica,and the guy is getting short thrift there. No surprise I guess.

  • Sam Duncan

    I think the experience of Canonical, plus that of Mozilla, Intel, Nokia, Opera, et al., Palm and HP, and Samsung – not to mention Microsoft’s Windows Phone – suggests Google is going to be hard to shift.

    Indeed, the list of potential Android competitors that have tried and failed over the years is so long it’s hard to conclude anything else. They were all perfectly good operating systems. Even Windows Phone, though it sticks in my craw to say it, was pretty nice to use. And LG is still using Palm/HP’s WebOS on its “smart” TVs, so there can’t be much wrong with that. The difficulty clearly isn’t technical.

    (And I just realised I called you “booby”. Slip of the finger, honest. 🙂 )

    PeterT: Yeah, Ars. Well-named, IMO, although they missed the “e” off the end. It seems to be a bit different over at El Reg.

  • Alisa

    Sam, if the difficulty is not technical, what is it then?

  • Laird

    Mr Ed (and Alisa), Duckduckgo (and its sister Startpage, which is the one I use) are merely anonymizing sites; both use the Google search engine, they just don’t record your searches (at least, that’s the claim).

  • Laird

    Brent Arends is firing Google over this.

  • EdMJ

    @Alisa, I think the main issue is the lure of the app store’s “network effects” at work. Both Apple and Android managed to hit a critical mass of users and apps early enough on to enter the virtuous circle (for them) of:

    10: More apps available on app store
    20: Which attracts more users
    30: Which attracts developers to create new apps
    40: GOTO 10

    Two-sided markets are tricky to start (the chicken and egg challenge of needing one side to attract the other side and vice-versa – for example buyers and sellers on eBay), but once you hit critical mass they’re very difficult to dethrone.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-sided_market

    Most phone app developers have enough trouble supporting both Apple and Android apps without wanting to support all the different new platforms that @Sam mentioned, which is partly why I think they died out.

    About the only hope I can see for escaping this walled-garden on phones in the near-term is the rise of “Progressive Web Apps”, which are basically webpages that offer almost all the benefits of an installed app, but instead of coming from the app store, can be “installed” directly from the webpage of a website instead.

    Ironically, it’s Google which is one of the leading proponents for them, presumably in an attempt to attack Apple.

    https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/

    The benefit of creating these sorts of apps is that creating them is more like making a webpage (e.g. one codebase looks/works largely the same on all the different browsers) as opposed to requiring completely different approaches for each platform (although there are some ways of alleviating this). So instead of needing to make a website, an iOS app, and an Android app, you just make a website and it works like an app on iOS and Android. That’s the theory anyway…

    If they manage to catch on, then it might encourage alternative phone platforms as the switching costs for users would be much lower. Fingers crossed, but wouldn’t hold your breath. Mind you, the story of the tech industry has always been that of seemingly unassailable giants getting overtaken by upstart challengers. Google itself came out of nowhere to overtake Altavista in a surprisingly short space of time.

  • Julie near Chicago

    EdMJ, do I sense a fellow Fortran jock?

  • Laird

    More ancillary effects of the Google firing.

  • Alisa

    Thanks EdMJ, I imagined it must be the apps, but thought maybe I’m missing something. And even more thanks for the rest of the info – very interesting.

  • Alisa

    Laird, I know that. Thing is, effective search does not depend solely on the search engine – Google has several nice extras that make their results much more useful than the bare-bones DDG. I do use the latter whenever I can, but unfortunately for some purposes it just can’t beat the big G :-/

  • bobby b

    Try Bing.com.

    Go here to find out how and why.

  • Sam Duncan

    Everything EdMJ says is correct, but on reflection I think there is a technical problem. A PC is a PC. I can download a Linux CD (or BSD, FreeDOS, Haiku, or whatever), and install it on pretty much any x86 PC I come across. Even really old ones can run recent OSes, just veeerrry slooowwllly. There’s a bit of a barrier between 64-bit and 32-bit, and drivers can be an issue, but basically someone putting together an alternative OS for x86 PCs can build it once, maybe twice, and be sure that 99% of the potential audience can run it at least well enough to kick the tyres and get a general impression. That’s why Linux took off: it was Unix (kinda) for commodity PCs. Anyone (who was interested and nerdy enough) could try it.

    That’s not the case with phones. Anyone who’s ever tried installing a custom “ROM”*, even of Android itself, knows that you need one built for your exact make and model or you’re going nowhere. Even different variations of the same model can have issues. My old phone was a “series 2” of its particular model, and it was a pain to find ROMs. (Series 1 ROMs would fail to switch on the radio, for example, making it basically useless as an actual telephone, and sometimes the display would be upside-down.)

    All of the alternative mobile OSes I mentioned run on very limited sets of hardware. I can’t find an image of any of them for my own phone. And I’d really like to try some of them. Especially now.

    So that’s a problem. Alternative OS vendors need to partner with hardware vendors to produce a phone/OS package. Just making an OS, like Linus Torvalds and the GNU project did, isn’t enough. And – in general – consumers who want to try an alternative out need to buy a whole new phone to do it. Often one from an obscure manufacturer with limited support.

    And I don’t know how to fix that. It’s not in either of the established players’ interests to create a standard hardware platform (if IBM hadn’t done it by sheer accident back in the ’80s, we wouldn’t have one for PCs either), and even if all the smaller ones got together they’d still lack the traction to make it a success. It’s a tricky one.

    *That always annoys me. They’re not ROMs.

  • EdMJ

    @Julie, not Fortran sorry, that was meant to be good old fashioned Commodore 64 BASIC. 🙂 Although now I think of it there were no colons between the line numbers and instructions. Has been a while! Mowed lawns for two years to pay off my C64 when I was 8. Insert tape, start loading, go off and make some toast, come back, wait for psychedelic loading screen to finish, finally start playing game, assuming it hadn’t crashed or the tape hadn’t unspooled…

    Kids today don’t know how lucky they’ve got it!

  • Julie near Chicago

    EdMJ,

    Heh, yes indeedy, C-64 Basic. I told my husband, This really is a pretty good language. He: “It’s not just a toy?” “No. You can do stuff with it, not so different from Fortran. You can get at the machine.”

    We ended up writing an article for Compute! magazine: “The Commodore 64’s Hidden Memory,” I think we called it.

    That was after some years of Fortran IV-G for the IBM 7094, late 60’s. A wonderful language and a wonderful machine. Kodak Moment: I was programming for Columbia U. in New York. The ADP (Administrative Data Processing) Dept. occupied an old house (my office was on the fourth floor) on one side of Amsterdam Ave., and the Computer Centre was on the other side. The route from the one to the other included a pedestrian bridge over Amsterdam (4 lanes of rather thick & fast traffic). The method of transmitting programs from the office to the machine was to walk them over, neatly punched into those neat little do-not-fold,-staple,-spindle,-mutilate,-or-get-wet IBM cards oneself. There came a day when I was carrying a full box of cards that bore the machine-code (binary) program for some project or other. It was quite a gusty day … Walking over the bridge, I got a little bit too close to the guard rail, and the wind grabbed the box and the cards right out of my hands and they strewn all over the pavement amongst the traffic whizzing along on Amsterdam Avenue.

    YIKES !!!

    … My boss, who was ex-IBM himself and a super guy, didn’t murder me when I got up the nerve to face him with this disaster. 😳

    .

    The C-64 was a neat little machine too. Fun to program. Yes, load times were horrendous by today’s standards, but at least you got some toast out of it. ;>)

    .

    Just to prove it, there’s still a reference to the article on-line. The title’s not correct, though, and you can’t read the articles.

    http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/index/index.php?author=Alan+R.+Krauss

  • EdMJ

    “the wind grabbed the box and the cards right out of my hands and they strewn all over the pavement amongst the traffic whizzing along on Amsterdam Avenue”

    Now that’s a Stack Overflow! 😉