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Bruce Johnson
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Epic. Brian describes what is, to me, broken about the world. We have to evolve past the stupid infectious memes that convince people from a young age to voluntarily handicap themselves with a disempowering worldview.
 
You Are Not Stupid

“So what do you do for a living?” I always cringe a bit when that question comes up among strangers, because when I reveal that I’m an astrophysics professor the response is almost always the same. “Um…wow…. You must be really smart!”

While it’s often intended as a compliment, it really isn’t. Smart didn’t allow me to become an astrophysicist. Hard work, dedication and the support of family and friends did. It’s also one of the most deeply divisive misconceptions about scientists that one can have: scientists are smarter than you. Part of this stems from the idolization of brilliant scientists. Albert Einstein was so smart that fictitious quotes are attributed to him. Media buzzes whenever Stephen Hawking says something about black holes. Any quote by Neil Tyson is a sure way to get likes on Facebook. We celebrate their genius and it makes us feel smart by association. But this stereotype of the “genius scientist” has a dark side.

For one there’s expectation that to do science you must be super smart. If you struggle with math, or have to study hard to pass chemistry, you must not have what it takes. The expectation to be smart when you don’t feel smart starts to foster a lack of self confidence in your abilities. This is particularly true if you’re a girl or minority where cultural biases presume that “your kind” aren’t smart, or shouldn’t be. Lots of talented children walk away from science because they don’t feel smart.

Then there’s the us vs. them mentality that arises from the misconception. Scientists (and fans of science) are smart. Smarter than you. You are stupid. But of course, you’re not stupid. You know you’re not stupid. The problem isn’t you, it’s the scientists. Scientists are arrogant. For example, when I criticized a particular science website for intentionally misleading readers, the most popular rebuttal was that I (as a scientist) was being elitist.

Where this attitude really raises its head is among supporters of fringe scientific ideas. Some of the strongest supporters of alternative scientific ideas are clearly quite intelligent. Presidential hopeful and evolution denier Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. Pierre Robitaille made great advances in magnetic resonance imaging, but adamantly believes that the cosmic microwave background comes from Earth’s oceans. Physicist and Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever thinks global warming is a pseudoscience on the verge of becoming a “new religion.” None of these folks are stupid.

If there’s one thing most people know about themselves it’s that they’re not stupid. And they’re right. We live in a complex world and face challenges every day. If you’re stupid, you can quickly land in a heap of unpleasantness. Of course that also means that many people equate being wrong with being stupid. Stupid people make the wrong choices in life, while smart people make the right ones. So when you see someone promoting a pseudoscientific idea, you likely think they’re stupid. When you argue against their ideas by saying “you’re wrong,” what they’ll hear is “you’re stupid.” They’ll see it as a personal attack, and they’ll respond accordingly. Assuming someone is stupid isn’t a way to build a bridge of communication and understanding.

One of the things I love about science is how deeply ennobling it is. Humans working together openly and honestly can do amazing things. We have developed a deep understanding of the universe around us. We didn’t gain that understanding by being stupid, but we have been wrong many times along the way. Being wrong isn’t stupid.

Sometimes it’s the only way we can learn.
One of the most deeply divisive misconceptions about scientists is that they are smarter than you.
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There's apparently a 14:1 liberal:conservative ratio among (a polled, presumably representative group of) psychologists. I get it. Learning much more about psychology over the past 5 years has been hugely transformative for me in exactly the ways this article describes. It's hard to come to very different conclusions when you read enough about what's now known about psychology and the brain.

Snippet:
"One of social psychology’s most powerful insights is that humans are not homo liberti. Thinking about ourselves in this way is alluring, but also mistaken. We are not radical individuals; we are social creatures. We do not think logically at all times; we take shortcuts. We do not always consider the future. And even when we do, we are biased by the present context."
 
Psychologists are known for being liberal – but is that because they understand how people think?
Is the field of social psychology biased against political conservatives? There has been intense debate about this question since an informal poll of over ...
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Being pithy, I'm not sure microeconomics has views.

In the context of shifting political affiliations, I've never heard of behavioral economics swaying an economist's politics either way. I bet it would only compound them if pushed, ie, libertarian economists would want you to own your irrational economic choices and liberals would want government intervention to attempt to prevent them (somehow). It would fit the pattern.

Staying on topic, I'd be interested in seeing what a poll looks like before and after students' psychology studies. I'd then be convinced of the premise. 

    
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Utterly. It's like a mass, decentralized, purposeless brainwashing cult.

See, shit is shit. Two of shit is still shit. 15,000 of shit is...a lot of shit. More of this is less.
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+Bruce Johnson, many people I know and respect would not say x86 or C++ are “sound” foundations to build on. At least in the case of x86, the platform has evolved and evolved and now is in that position, but the x86 of today is hardly recognizable to people who learned x86 in my youth.

I see a lot of similar progress happening on the JavaScript front. Of course, there are still huge legacy problems. Those probably can't be helped, and are the cost of doing business on the Web (and my deepest sympathies to my pals on the V8 and Firebox teams). It feels to me (as an observing-but-virtually-never-participatory member of ECMA TC39) that there was a big cultural change about 2-3 years ago, where people finally woke up to the responsibility they were wielding. The newer JavaScript work is definitely moving the language in much better directions. So we may just be viewing JavaScript in the same phase change as, e.g., x86 once underwent.

As I'm sure you have, I've built compilers to C. I wouldn't call it a great “foundation”, either. What it provided was ample machine access. Everything else was BYOB (build your own bag-of-tools). If there are N compilers from language X to C, there are N implementations of its standard library, its run-time system, etc. Components like the Böhm GC helped lots of us get off the ground, but then got sloughed off. It's just that that spaghetti wasn't so visible to everyone.

As for the JavaScript library ecosystem (which is only a small part of what your cartoon was about), I see that as the inevitable, slow maturing of a group of programmers with virtually no training. The kind of person who stepped into JavaScript was fundamentally different, I'm certain, from the kind that stepped into, say, Java. Furthermore, JavaScript (after its rebirth about a decade ago) soon became “a medium to do cool things” while Java soon (after everyone got over the dancing bean applet) became “a medium to do serious things, seriously, inLotsOfCamelCase”. I view what has happened since as the inevitable consequence of these two different angles of attack. When I was talking about building reactive languages atop JavaScript in 2006 [http://flapjax-lang.org/], the developer audiences we talked to were genuinely baffled. In 2014, reactive languages are suddenly the new cool thing. It just takes time.

As someone who's worked on about four compilers of other languages to JavaScript, the biggest problem is in making the output performant while still offering reasonable user experiences. That's the one thing C did: it let you take control of the stack and heap as much as you wanted. Of course, there's a fundamental tension in letting that happen with JavaScript. But the result is that we run through extraordinary hoops (delimited continuations everywhere) to get something reasonable, and are constantly having to make usability-performance tradeoffs that you wouldn't have to on almost any other widely-used platform.

I guess, at the end of the day, I have no choice but to be optimistic, for two reasons. First, I'm inherently a pessimist so it's healthy to try the alternative (-:. Second, with Pyret [http://www.pyret.org/], we've bought into JavaScript for what it is. We've got to ride out that bear and hope to not be eaten by it.
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This article is a great example of why I love Google's approach of doing what makes sense rather than letting the momentum of the status quo dominate their perspective. It's a very special company because it has people who really grok that way of being...and it really helps that they have a cool-as-hell CIO.
The new approach represents a shift away from the idea of a secured corporate network perimeter and virtual private networks.
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I mean, no, it isn't funny. It's just that the density of insane stuff in this one article is over the top. And that's what made me laugh. Honest. I actually feel horrible for the cat, the owner of the cat, and even the culprit herself, who must be unusually immature and/or emotionally vacant.
A Texas veterinarian was fired after a Facebook photo showing her with her "first bow kill" -- a local cat -- went viral. Dr. Kristen Lindsey bragged online that she killed a "feral" cat in her neighborhood in Brenham. She post...
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It occurs when people sublimate their anger at other people and take it out on animals instead.
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Should somebody tell Ted Cruz that Ayn Rand was a flaming atheist?

Nah. More fun to let him find out on his own, ideally at a very awkward time, like in a debate.
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Jeb's going to look like the voice of reason next this nut job.
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Bruce Johnson

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It's surprisingly easy to find serious UX problems in your web apps with this new round of search features in FullStory. Worth a look unless you hate things that are awesome.
 
Happy to announce shipping this :). It is just the tip of the iceberg. Barely getting our toes wet with this stuff. But it's already super high leverage.

Give it a shot!

http://blog.fullstory.com/2015/07/moar-magic-announcing-rage-error-and-dead-clicks/
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Shut up and take my money (after you turn this into a business).
Pitmasters, this will be hard to swallow: Some of the best smoked brisket comes out of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Companies have increasingly focused on becoming data-driven over the past several years. Although that's a great thing, I've often worried about what effect this trend has on product and UX teams' ability to craft and maintain a world-class user experience. It's easy for the reality of real-world human experience to get lost in a sea of numbers.

I tried to capture the essence of this concern in today's blog post.
If you're reading this, perhaps it's because we asked the provocative question “Do user metrics make you heartless?” You naturally wanted to know the answer. Who wouldn't? I'll tell you who wouldn't: Daniel Falko. But we're not really going to talk about Daniel Falko.
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+Bruce Johnson It wasn't boring! And I don't like business-speak, either.
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It's worth watching this video. What's going to be funny, now that these sorts of laws are facing the light of non-insular scrutiny by the larger world, is how boorish the GOP presidential candidates (who came to Pence's defense before Pence backpeddled) will look after the "law" is gutted. 
Gov. Mike Pence pledges to modify Indiana's religious freedom law to clarify that it "does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone."
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I can't imagine why anyone thinks this law has anything to do with refusing to serve gay customers.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/04/indiana-pizzeria-yelp-bombed-after-saying-no-pizzas-for-gay-weddings/
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As if we couldn't smell it coming for years...

I can't think of anyone I would prefer to not have as president more than this "person".
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+Margaret Donohoe​ Very nice that you spent time in Canada but I don't understand what you mean by ''guess what they spoke english'', curious
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Founder at FullStory. Founded and led Google Atlanta engineering for 7 years. Co-creator of Google Web Toolkit, Speed Tracer, and related technologies to help make web apps faster and more usable. 

I'm also super-interested in education and psychology (and I'm a physics fanboy). We should start teaching kids logical thinking skills and how to apply the scientific method at a much earlier age. We should also introduce them to evolutionary psychology and warn them about cognitive distortions as early as possible, so that they have a better opportunity to build a worldview based solidly in reality and a deep understanding that they need not be slaves to their emotions and knee-jerk reactions. Then, one day, we can all have, y'know, legitimate discourse.
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    COO, Co-founder, 2012 - present
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    Atlanta Engineering Site Director, 2005 - 2012
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    CEO/Founder/Janitor, 2001 - 2005
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    Director of Product Development, 1999 - 2001
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Predictably Irrational
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The paradox of choice
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Why zebras don't get ulcers
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Physics for Future Presidents
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The Halo Effect
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Flashed Face Distortion Effect: Ugly Optical Illusion - Technabob
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Sean Murphy was looking at sets of faces for one of his experiments when he observed something really freaky. Skimming fairly rapidly throug

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Fooled by Randomness
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The Science of Fear
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Thinking, Fast and Slow
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