The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
NYT: "The ‘Benefits’ of Black Physics Students:" Is This a Parody?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

An oped in the NYT:

“The ‘Benefits’ of Black Physics Students”

By JEDIDAH C. ISLER DEC. 17, 2015 696 COMMENTS

LAST week during oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case about the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions policies, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. posed two questions: “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” Followed by: “I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?”

Then Justice Antonin Scalia deepened an already painful wound when he questioned the abilities of black students to succeed at fast-paced institutions, an idea rooted in the widely discredited “mismatch theory.” Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

As a black woman and astrophysicist, I immediately became defensive of my own worthiness, and that of the black students I mentor and support every day. I wanted to scream my credentials from the rooftops: I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

I’ve thought a lot about who winds up in science classrooms and whose perspectives are cultivated. I went from sitting in a classroom full of brilliant black physicists-in-training to one in which I was the only person of color pursuing the same subject.

Of course I deserved to be an astrophysicist, and my achievements prove it; but that’s not the point. I was worthy the first day I walked into the classroom.

I had come from a tiny Christian high school where I didn’t get nearly as much scientific preparation as my dream to be a professional stargazer required. Yet there were people at Norfolk State University who believed in me and welcomed me. When I walked through the doors, my professors asked me if I wanted to understand physics, not what “unique perspective” I might bring. I did want to learn physics, so they told me that I was in the right place.

Isn’t she missing the point? Wouldn’t her having starred in physics at Norfolk State instead of flunking out of physics at Caltech support Scalia’s question?

It would seem that the best rebuttal to Chief Justice Roberts’s query about the “benefits of diversity” is to describe a scene where a black student brought a “unique perspective” that improved the learning experience for everyone.

Okay, so where’s the example?

But the truly insidious part of his argument is not predicated on the need to furnish examples. Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects. The truly damaging part of Chief Justice Roberts’s question is the tacit implication that black students must justify their presence at all.

Black students’ responsibility in the classroom is not to serve as “seasoning” to the academic soup. They do not function primarily to enrich the learning experience of white students.

Actually, the Supreme Court’s pro-affirmative action Grutter decision of 2003 enshrined exactly that justification for race quotas: by providing diversity, underqualified blacks enrich the learning experience of white students.

Black students come to the physics classroom for the same reason white students do; they love physics and want to know more. Do we require that white students justify their presence in the classroom?

Yes. It’s called applying to college.

Do we need them to bring something other than their interest?

Yes. Their high school GPAs and test scores.

Contrary to Chief Justice Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. …

And physics isn’t just about the dry acquisition, memorization and regurgitation of equations. Think about something as basic to physics as Newton’s laws. Before they can be understood, they must be conceptualized.

Instead of stating “force equals mass times acceleration” and moving on, a good instructor will ply her students with real-life examples of how the application of force to a mass produces acceleration. Students must create relatable examples that allow them to practice and perfect their use of these tools before expanding them out into the larger, untested world.

For example, “Calculate the total force experienced by rapper 50 Cents as he got shot by 9 bullets each with a mass of …”?

… Closing that door to students of color unless they can justify their presence is closing the door to the kinds of creativity that can be shown only after a student has mastered basic skills.

A physics class should interrogate and transfer the canon of scientific knowledge.

Have you ever noticed how the word “interrogate” has been a favorite action verb of postmodern academics for at least a quarter of a century? You might think that a word so historically associated with the Gestapo and KGB might be considered kind of “triggering,” but only if you worry that you might wind up being the Whom instead of the Who in an interrogation. Evidently, a lot of academics have no concerns in that regard.

Those students will go on to consider the many unanswered questions at the frontiers of what is known about the universe. …

Jedidah C. Isler is a National Science Foundation astronomy and astrophysics postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University.

It’s not impossible that this piece is a pitch-perfect parody that slipped past the editors. Unlikely, but not impossible …

We can only hope.

 
Hide 206 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Steve wrote:

    It’s not impossible that this piece is a pitch-perfect parody that slipped past the editors.

    Or… based on her “reasoning”in this OpEd, I am guessing that Ms. Isler got into Yale as a result of affirmative action. Competent scientists think more clearly.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    @PhysicistDave

    Physicists are good at that sort of thing.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Dew

  2. A black physicist can argue that Black Holes Matter.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anon

    Devastating and hilarious...more please

  3. I like the idea of young physics students of color “interrogating” the likes of Feynman and Fermi, neither of whom was known to suffer fools gladly. I would be willing to bet that they couldn’t sit through one of Feynman’s world famous “undergrad” lectures, delivered more than 50 years ago, and understand any of the concepts in the lecture.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    @pyrrhus

    Clearly they needed to check their privilege.

  4. Why are these celebrity black physicists always in astrophysics? What about the other subfields?

    In another field, one wonders how many black participants there were at the recent Mochizuki conference at Oxford.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Progressive Matricist

    "Why are these celebrity black physicists always in astrophysics? What about the other subfields?"

    The term gets thrown around alot now. She isn't one really. Her Ph.D. is in Astronomy, and her publications all seem to be in the area of observational astronomy. She's an astronomer. There's nothing wrong with that. It's a perfectly suitable and impressive scientific title.

  5. no black hole jokes!

    • Replies: @Glossy
    @tyrone

    A while ago I learned that the point on a body's orbit around a black hole where the body comes closest to the hole is called perimelasma. It's a beautiful word. I think of it every time I approach the point of my daily commute that's closest to an unsafe neighborhood.

  6. Logic, math, and physics are all closely related. Ms. Isler’s poor grasp of logic raises the suspicion that she is not well-suited to the study of physics. There are almost no logical connections between her statements, just a free-flowing stream of hurt feelings and resentment.

    • Agree: Realist, JEC
  7. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    The very great benefit of Black PHDs in physics for “America” is that the Black PHDs in physics can go onto to being University Presidents at Engineering Schools such as RPI in NYS…get paid 10 million dollars a year+ a brand new on-campus Mansion for cheerleading for a massive increase in H1B-L1B Visa Chinese Legal Immigrant Scab Labor, thereby accelerating the process of destroying-annihilating as quickly as possible thousands of years of acquired Native Born White American acquired scientific and engineering experience.

    And once these thousands of years of acquired Native Born White American Scientific and Engineering Experience is lost-it will be lost forever,for our New Overlords …Chinese Americans…will make it a one hundred percent certainty that NASA will never place another 12 Alpha Native Born White American Males with advanced engineering degrees and experimental jet fighter experience on the Moon ever again. The Blessings of Diversity!!!!!

  8. IOW, “Wow. Just wow”.

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    @Anonymous

    You're being totally unfair. There's also a great deal of "I can't even" here. Come on, now.

  9. @PhysicistDave
    Steve wrote:

    It’s not impossible that this piece is a pitch-perfect parody that slipped past the editors.
     
    Or... based on her "reasoning"in this OpEd, I am guessing that Ms. Isler got into Yale as a result of affirmative action. Competent scientists think more clearly.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    @TomSchmidt

    Tom Schmidt wrote to me:


    Physicists are good at that sort of thing [referencing the Sokal hoax].
     
    Incidentally, Alan Sokal is actually a leftist. But, like any good scientist, his tolerance for lies and BS is rather limited.

    Dave

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    , @Dew
    @TomSchmidt

    Related to this affair is an essential book:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashionable_Nonsense


    Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science (French: Impostures Intellectuelles), published in the UK as Intellectual Impostures, is a book by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. Sokal is best known for the Sokal Affair, in which he submitted a deliberately absurd article[1] to Social Text, a critical theory journal, and was able to get it published.
     
    While what was written in Sokal's hoax article "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" is obvious nonsense, many genuine sociology/cultural/critical theory journal articles are actually worst. They need to seen to be believed.
  10. “I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?”

    I am surprised that a man of his learning would ask such as question. One obvious benefit of having more students whose first language is not physics is that we could get that MLK Memorial Particle Accelerator project funded much sooner.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @iffen

    Also, what about having more students whose first language is not standard English. This Jedidiah article appears to be un upmarket version of TaNahesi Coates's perpetual grievances vs. White America.

    One voice we haven't heard from on this issue that could provide some relevant insight as to whether or not disparate impact, racial profiling vs blacks in the classroom is of course Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm's ability for turning a new phrase to aptly sum up what the Supreme Court Case is really all about. After all, if black consumers in Chicago are being hoodwinked and swindled by nefarious salesmen, perhaps the Man and his all reaching power really does have it in for Coates; Jed; etc.

    Some unique phrase, that only Gladwell could come up with, that would help to focus just what is going on with the court case and how it relates to black folks and their futures.

    What would Malcolm say? How would he comment on such an important issue of the day? Perhaps in his next book we shall find the answer.

    Replies: @iffen

  11. Slightly OT, but related. Recently watched a PBS doc about the LHC/CERN and the search for the Higgs boson. The title was Particles, IIRC.

    The film featured a couple of women: an American post doc and an Italian heading one of the big experiments (who has since been promoted to head of LHC) Also featured an American Jew, an Iranian American, and a Cypriot ex pat. Plenty of other misc Europeans as to be expected. But not a single black person in the film.

    The biggest experiments in the history of physics are somehow taking place without the benefit of many persons of color.

    • Replies: @Progressive Matricist
    @Redacted

    That's what I'm saying!

    Astrophysics? At least two.

    Particle physics? Nada.

    Why is that?

    Replies: @wrd9, @Daniel Williams

    , @AndrewR
    @Redacted

    Physicists are well known for their radical white supremacist views.

    Replies: @Hawkwood, @Wasc

    , @Cracker
    @Redacted

    I think things will be OK...

    , @Wasc
    @Redacted

    I finally went to the trouble of going to see Bridge of Spies.
    Watchable, often amusing, and predictably pro-Abel.
    Bit it was 100% accurate in a way that astonished and delighted me: not one black face to be seen in a position of any importance at all. For those who weren't there: that's the way it was, and it felt entirely right. Hell, we didn't even think about it.

  12. Kind of gives perspective to understanding the concept of dark matter, doesn’t it?

  13. Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak about evolution and now this.

    We sure don’t make scientists like we used to.

  14. To answer Justice Roberts, without black students in physics classes there would be nobody to remind everyone that the terms ‘black hole” and “black body” are unbelievably racist.

  15. @Redacted
    Slightly OT, but related. Recently watched a PBS doc about the LHC/CERN and the search for the Higgs boson. The title was Particles, IIRC.

    The film featured a couple of women: an American post doc and an Italian heading one of the big experiments (who has since been promoted to head of LHC) Also featured an American Jew, an Iranian American, and a Cypriot ex pat. Plenty of other misc Europeans as to be expected. But not a single black person in the film.

    The biggest experiments in the history of physics are somehow taking place without the benefit of many persons of color.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @AndrewR, @Cracker, @Wasc

    That’s what I’m saying!

    Astrophysics? At least two.

    Particle physics? Nada.

    Why is that?

    • Replies: @wrd9
    @Progressive Matricist

    Perhaps astrophysics is the equivalent of "black ethnic studies" in the physics branches.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @jay-w

    , @Daniel Williams
    @Progressive Matricist


    Why are these celebrity black physicists always in astrophysics? What about the other subfields?
     
    I get the feeling that it's the sub-field most forgiving of the kind of "damn, the universe is a crazy place" bloviating that the public appears to crave from celebrity scientists, who they prefer be black or at least have crazy haircuts.
  16. Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren’t admitted or coddled simply because you’re black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    “How can it equal one?” Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. “If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what’s the square root of two? Should be one, but we’re told it’s two, and that cannot be.”

    • Agree: AndrewR, SPMoore8
    • Replies: @Robt
    @TangoMan

    That's pretty crazy stuff, that 1x1=2 business.
    But, apart from that I've always thought that 1 should be a prime number - then everything works much better. For example, Goldbach's conjecture:
    "A Goldbach number is a positive integer that can be expressed as the sum of two odd primes. Therefore, another statement of Goldbach's conjecture is that all even integers greater than 4 are Goldbach numbers."
    Just the fact that the conjecture has to state 'greater than 4 makes the conjecture defective, flawed because it is not all-inclusive.
    However if 1 were a prime number, then all even numbers would be included. And 1 can be made a prime number simply by defining it so. It's entirely arbitrary.

    Replies: @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    , @Anonymous
    @TangoMan

    To be fair to Howard, he's talking about maff, not math. Maff is an entirely different subject altogether from math.

    , @Cloudbuster
    @TangoMan

    There's a fierce competition between stupid and crazy going on in Terrence Howard's brain.

    , @Anonymous
    @TangoMan

    This is truly on the level of "we wuz kangs n sheeit" in its level of mathematical competence. Perhaps we can blame Yakub for stealing black science and math?

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    , @William BadWhite
    @TangoMan

    I don't believe anybody told him the square root of two is two. Unless he took a class from Ms. Isler.

    Replies: @Dirk Dagger

    , @Anonymous
    @TangoMan

    I guess you've missed the revolutions in teaching that encourage teachers even in fields like math, that there are no right answers, and to grade it as correct if it fits their views, particularly for minority students.

    Ebonics was bad enough, but it at least seemed to flop- hopefully that will too.

  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I’m reminded of what Don Barry, astronomer at Cornell, said about Neil deGrasse Tyson when asked, “Has Tyson done any real science? He seems to be a media celebrity, but when I look in the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, I can find no record of scholarly work in science, except for popular books and social commentary. Is he in fact a practicing astrophysicist?”

    Barry replied:

    “Not since graduate school (he did not successfully progress towards a degree at UT/Austin, and convinced Columbia to give him a second try). Aside from the obligatory papers describing his dissertation, he’s got a paper on how to take dome flats, a bizarre paper speculating about an asteroid hitting Uranus, and courtesy mentions *very* late in the author lists of a few big projects in which it is unclear what, if anything, of substance he contributed. No first author papers of any real significance whatsoever. Nor is there any evidence that he has been awarded any telescope time on significant instruments as PI since grad school, despite the incredibly inflated claims in his published CVs. He cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable. It’s just bizarre. To answer Delong’s question, no: he is not a practicing astrophysicist.”

    • Replies: @black sea
    @Anonymous

    "He [Neil DeGrasse Tyson] cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable."

    That's because a great many scientists are pretty clueless about how the real world -- the human world -- actually works.

    Replies: @middle aged vet, @Mr. Anon

    , @Dave Pinsen
    @Anonymous

    I'm not a fan of Tyson, or the SWPLs who idolize him, but I can't really fault him for not doing research. If someone offered you 10x as much money plus widespread adulation to be a popularizer instead of an unknown drone scientist, wouldn't you take it?

    , @Unladen Swallow
    @Anonymous

    I've pointed this out in a previous post during the summer but didn't get a response, but I will throw it out there again: Tyson's CV lists 13 papers last time I checked, and he has never even been an assistant professor anywhere, just a lecturer. That's what makes it so absurd the way the media treats him like he is some kind wizard astronomer. I have had liberal friends talk up his vouching for the movie Interstellar, like his imprimatur matters.

    Kip Thorne was the technical adviser on the film and he was promoted to associate professor right after completing his post-doc at 27, something Tyson has never managed even today and a full professorship at 30 at Caltech, one of the top universities in the world. At the same age Tyson still hadn't earned a PhD and at the age Tyson finally got his PhD, Thorne was already a member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the youngest ever in the history of the organization.

    If you analogized astrophysics to baseball, Thorne would be a MLB first ballot Hall of Famer, and Tyson would be the star high school player who never got beyond single A ball even to double A, much less to the show, but in terms of MSM hype, a scientific non-entity gets attention that dwarfs that of the Hall of Famer, I wonder why that might be?

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Anonymous

    According to the CV at his website, Tyson hasn't published a research paper since 2008, and even his last few ones were letters and supplements. He's a museum director, not a scientist any longer. When he first appeared on the scene as the media-designated public-face of astronomy, I didn't mind, as he seemed to be far less of a jerk than Carl Sagan was. But over time, Tyson seems to have become just another promoter of orthodoxy, and of course a promoter of himself, to "I f*cking love science" types.

    And the thing about the "I f*cking love science" crowd is that they don't really "f*cking love science" - they just f*cking love telling you how much they f*cking love science.

  18. @pyrrhus
    I like the idea of young physics students of color "interrogating" the likes of Feynman and Fermi, neither of whom was known to suffer fools gladly. I would be willing to bet that they couldn't sit through one of Feynman's world famous "undergrad" lectures, delivered more than 50 years ago, and understand any of the concepts in the lecture.

    Replies: @AndrewR

    Clearly they needed to check their privilege.

  19. Question: What word is conspicuously missing from Ms. Isler’s essay?

    Answer: “Thanks.”

  20. The notion that 1 times 1 equals 1 is clearly a concept rooted in cishet whiteness that denies the lived experiences of people of color and non-binary individuals, especially those who have experienced intersectionality. Also, considering that 1 is the loneliest number, that equation is clearly a tool designed to increase societal alienation.

    • Replies: @TangoMan
    @Crank

    The notion that 1 times 1 equals 1 is clearly a concept rooted in cishet whiteness that denies the lived experiences of people of color and non-binary individuals, especially those who have experienced intersectionality.

    Absolutely! We must all stop this hideous practice!

    I searched out my old series on "anti-racist math" and discovered that I've been published here on Unz. Yippee.

    Here is part 1.


    Answer: the new math curriculum, otherwise known as anti-racist multicultural math.

    Between 1999 and 2001, under the direction of Superintendent Young and Assistant Superintendent Wyatt, the math curriculum was redesigned to emphasize "Newton's commitment to active anti-racist education" for the elementary and middle schools. This meant that no longer were division, multiplication, fractions and decimals the first priority for teaching math. For that matter, the teaching of math was no longer the first priority for math teachers, as indicated by the new curriculum guidelines, called benchmarks, which function as the primary instructional guide for teaching math in the Newton Public Schools.
     
    Here is part 2.

    But critics see a deliberate integration of ideological agendas. The architects of NCTM’s 1989 standards declared that social injustices had given white males an advantage over women and minorities in math, and they promised NCTM’s reinvented math would equalize scores. Equality would be achieved by eliminating the “computational gate.”
     
    Here is part 3.

    The class will be divided into assigned groups. Each group will be responsible for the full and complete development and facilitation of a multicultural mathematics display for the public.
     
  21. “black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water “:what an odd thing to say. Is she quite well?

  22. @Redacted
    Slightly OT, but related. Recently watched a PBS doc about the LHC/CERN and the search for the Higgs boson. The title was Particles, IIRC.

    The film featured a couple of women: an American post doc and an Italian heading one of the big experiments (who has since been promoted to head of LHC) Also featured an American Jew, an Iranian American, and a Cypriot ex pat. Plenty of other misc Europeans as to be expected. But not a single black person in the film.

    The biggest experiments in the history of physics are somehow taking place without the benefit of many persons of color.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @AndrewR, @Cracker, @Wasc

    Physicists are well known for their radical white supremacist views.

    • Replies: @Hawkwood
    @AndrewR

    I know, right...


    William Luther Pierce III (September 11, 1933 – July 23, 2002) was an American Neo-Nazi leader, white nationalist, and political activist. He was one of the most influential ideologues of the white nationalist movement for some 30 years before his death. A physicist by profession, he was also an author under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald of the novels The Turner Diaries and Hunter. Pierce founded the National Alliance, a major White nationalist organization, which he led for almost thirty years.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Luther_Pierce
    , @Wasc
    @AndrewR

    When quite sure of the person they are talking to, or in the privacy of "Dear Diary", I have no doubt that the vast majority of them are.

    Replies: @AndrewR

  23. I’ve thought a lot about who winds up in science classrooms and whose perspectives are cultivated.

    I would pay a decent amount of money to hear what the black perspective on astrophysics is.

  24. @Anonymous
    I'm reminded of what Don Barry, astronomer at Cornell, said about Neil deGrasse Tyson when asked, "Has Tyson done any real science? He seems to be a media celebrity, but when I look in the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, I can find no record of scholarly work in science, except for popular books and social commentary. Is he in fact a practicing astrophysicist?"

    Barry replied:

    "Not since graduate school (he did not successfully progress towards a degree at UT/Austin, and convinced Columbia to give him a second try). Aside from the obligatory papers describing his dissertation, he’s got a paper on how to take dome flats, a bizarre paper speculating about an asteroid hitting Uranus, and courtesy mentions *very* late in the author lists of a few big projects in which it is unclear what, if anything, of substance he contributed. No first author papers of any real significance whatsoever. Nor is there any evidence that he has been awarded any telescope time on significant instruments as PI since grad school, despite the incredibly inflated claims in his published CVs. He cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable. It’s just bizarre. To answer Delong’s question, no: he is not a practicing astrophysicist."
     

    Replies: @black sea, @Dave Pinsen, @Unladen Swallow, @Mr. Anon

    “He [Neil DeGrasse Tyson] cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable.”

    That’s because a great many scientists are pretty clueless about how the real world — the human world — actually works.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    @black sea

    There are about two thousand colleges in the world that have enough cash to hire an astrophysicist as a teacher. There are also about two or three hundred rich or monastically intense high IQ people who practice something like astrophysics outside the academic environment, and an equal number of high-prestige astrophysicists who get stipends from exotic places like the egghead village in New Jersey that used to pay Einstein to live there. (there are the defense industries and the billionaire and government funded rocketry and optics hobbyists, as well - that is another story). Take my word for it, or don't -but out of the astrophysicists who work at those two thousand colleges, and including the four to six hundred extra places for astrophysicists in places like the egghead village in New Jersey - 90 to 95 percent are never going to produce any real significant new knowledge. They will try, bless their hearts, but New Knowledge is Amazingly Hard, no matter how high your testable math IQ is. Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted. (his Three Stooges level understanding of medieval scientific history, on the other hand, is certainly something he should be criticized for).

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous, @TangoMan, @Brutusale

    , @Mr. Anon
    @black sea

    "That’s because a great many scientists are pretty clueless about how the real world — the human world — actually works."

    A lot of them understand it - they just don't like it.

  25. Well, Jedidah is a woman and seems to be a real one, not a transwoman. (Pronounced “Je-DIE-dah”, rhymes with “Delilah”, probably has a brother named “Damson”, you can probably guess how he was named.)

    Okay, well, the major logical problem here is that the whole idea of affirmative action is to ignore test scores. No one has ever argued (at least not in 50 years plus) that an African American should be excluded from top schools or whatever if they have top scores. The whole idea is to ignore top scores. The justification for that can either be (a) payback for slavery, or (b) diverse POV’s. So Jedidah actually agrees with us, and SCOTUS, that studying physics has nothing to do with diverse POV’s, but at the same time that’s the only recognized justification for Affirmative Action.

    The rest of it is just the usual chip on the shoulder attitude that black people tend to have. Which I regret, they shouldn’t have that chip on their shoulder and it’s certainly true that it’s there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    There doesn’t seem to be any logic to the piece other than (a) she agrees that diversity has nothing to do with physics, (b) black people’s feelings are easily hurt, so perhaps that’s why (c) she ends up a cheer leading riff about black students blowing physical concepts out of the water.

    Except that at one point she writes:

    Contrary to Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. Nor does the pursuit of scientific knowledge exist completely apart from the social dynamics, attitudes and cultures of those who seek answers. Science is inextricably linked with our shared humanity and distinct experiences.

    By suggesting, and sadly litigating, that diversity — and more important, inclusion and equal opportunity — aren’t paramount to the production of new scientific information, we wrongly imply that the most important part of scientific discovery is in the classroom.

    So apparently diversity does confer some unique perspective. Except that she doesn’t really offer any examples. Also I think there’s a lack of agreement in there.

    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @SPMoore8

    Okay, you nailed it. Except for a minor quibble with


    they shouldn’t have that chip on their shoulder and it’s certainly true that it’s there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.
     
    The reason that they don't move on is because Leftists/Liberals/Democrats (and some Republicans) benefit from milking the resentment.

    There is too much $ involved to let them rise based on ability. The fact that it is corrosive to their sub-population, each individual involved, and the nation at large must take second place to advancing the Leftist agenda to make the millennial reign of Marx a reality.

    No race has done anything near what European-Americans have done for African-Americans. We can't move beyond it because it benefits the dishonest parasites that pass for American leaders.
    , @Bill Jones
    @SPMoore8

    "(Pronounced “Je-DIE-dah”, rhymes with “Delilah”, probably has a brother named “Damson”"

    So shouldn't she be named Selilah?

    , @anon
    @SPMoore8

    (Pronounced “Je-DIE-dah”, rhymes with “Delilah”, probably has a brother named “Damson”, you can probably guess how he was named.)

    I was thinking it was a misspelling of the name Jedidiah. Which is usually a man's name. She could have been named after some old sharecropper ancestor or something.

    , @Percy Gryce
    @SPMoore8

    I guess biblical literacy is not our strong suit here at iSteve:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedidah

    , @Desiderius
    @SPMoore8


    Which I regret, they shouldn’t have that chip on their shoulder and it’s certainly true that it’s there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.
     
    It's there because it works.

    The progs who decide which blacks to promote like them that way, because they make better soldiers in their war on other whites.
  26. @Crank
    The notion that 1 times 1 equals 1 is clearly a concept rooted in cishet whiteness that denies the lived experiences of people of color and non-binary individuals, especially those who have experienced intersectionality. Also, considering that 1 is the loneliest number, that equation is clearly a tool designed to increase societal alienation.

    Replies: @TangoMan

    The notion that 1 times 1 equals 1 is clearly a concept rooted in cishet whiteness that denies the lived experiences of people of color and non-binary individuals, especially those who have experienced intersectionality.

    Absolutely! We must all stop this hideous practice!

    I searched out my old series on “anti-racist math” and discovered that I’ve been published here on Unz. Yippee.

    Here is part 1.

    Answer: the new math curriculum, otherwise known as anti-racist multicultural math.

    Between 1999 and 2001, under the direction of Superintendent Young and Assistant Superintendent Wyatt, the math curriculum was redesigned to emphasize “Newton’s commitment to active anti-racist education” for the elementary and middle schools. This meant that no longer were division, multiplication, fractions and decimals the first priority for teaching math. For that matter, the teaching of math was no longer the first priority for math teachers, as indicated by the new curriculum guidelines, called benchmarks, which function as the primary instructional guide for teaching math in the Newton Public Schools.

    Here is part 2.

    But critics see a deliberate integration of ideological agendas. The architects of NCTM’s 1989 standards declared that social injustices had given white males an advantage over women and minorities in math, and they promised NCTM’s reinvented math would equalize scores. Equality would be achieved by eliminating the “computational gate.”

    Here is part 3.

    The class will be divided into assigned groups. Each group will be responsible for the full and complete development and facilitation of a multicultural mathematics display for the public.

  27. I think people honestly are not aware of the extent and size of the preferences involved.

    If you realize this, it’s easier to understand their reactions.

  28. You didn’t mention black bodies?

    • Replies: @Realist
    @Glossy

    "You didn’t mention black bodies?"

    They radiate.

    , @Brutusale
    @Glossy

    I judge the ability of my astrophysicists by albedo. The higher the albedo, the more willing I am to listen to them.

  29. WhatEvvs [AKA "Internet Addict"] says:

    That article might be the single stupidest thing I have ever read. I feel sorry for her students. Meanwhile, she has deprived a deserving Asian or. White of an academic position. Who benefits?

    Can America ever become great again? I doubt it.

  30. @tyrone
    no black hole jokes!

    Replies: @Glossy

    A while ago I learned that the point on a body’s orbit around a black hole where the body comes closest to the hole is called perimelasma. It’s a beautiful word. I think of it every time I approach the point of my daily commute that’s closest to an unsafe neighborhood.

  31. I wonder if the plaintiffs brought up all the research that diversity hurts communities.

  32. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    Do they? I admit, I’m not sure what it means to blow a concept out of the water, but it sounds like she’s saying that black students routinely overturn widely-held beliefs about physics. Frequently. All over the country.

    It seems like I would have heard about this if it was true, but who knows.

  33. @iffen
    “I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?”

    I am surprised that a man of his learning would ask such as question. One obvious benefit of having more students whose first language is not physics is that we could get that MLK Memorial Particle Accelerator project funded much sooner.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Also, what about having more students whose first language is not standard English. This Jedidiah article appears to be un upmarket version of TaNahesi Coates’s perpetual grievances vs. White America.

    One voice we haven’t heard from on this issue that could provide some relevant insight as to whether or not disparate impact, racial profiling vs blacks in the classroom is of course Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm’s ability for turning a new phrase to aptly sum up what the Supreme Court Case is really all about. After all, if black consumers in Chicago are being hoodwinked and swindled by nefarious salesmen, perhaps the Man and his all reaching power really does have it in for Coates; Jed; etc.

    Some unique phrase, that only Gladwell could come up with, that would help to focus just what is going on with the court case and how it relates to black folks and their futures.

    What would Malcolm say? How would he comment on such an important issue of the day? Perhaps in his next book we shall find the answer.

    • Replies: @iffen
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    My opinion:

    Physicists should decide who gets to be in the physics club, not politicians.

    One could make a value judgement that we need our physicists to reflect certain appearances or traits, but we would be making a bad choice there. The only deciding feature should be how well they speak physics.

  34. @TangoMan
    Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren't admitted or coddled simply because you're black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    "How can it equal one?" Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
     

    Replies: @Robt, @Anonymous, @Cloudbuster, @Anonymous, @William BadWhite, @Anonymous

    That’s pretty crazy stuff, that 1×1=2 business.
    But, apart from that I’ve always thought that 1 should be a prime number – then everything works much better. For example, Goldbach’s conjecture:
    “A Goldbach number is a positive integer that can be expressed as the sum of two odd primes. Therefore, another statement of Goldbach’s conjecture is that all even integers greater than 4 are Goldbach numbers.”
    Just the fact that the conjecture has to state ‘greater than 4 makes the conjecture defective, flawed because it is not all-inclusive.
    However if 1 were a prime number, then all even numbers would be included. And 1 can be made a prime number simply by defining it so. It’s entirely arbitrary.

    • Replies: @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    @Robt

    In case anyone is wondering why 1 is not classified as a prime, see
    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PrimeNumber.html :

    The number 1 is a special case which is considered neither prime nor composite. Although the number 1 used to be considered a prime, it requires special treatment in so many definitions and applications involving primes greater than or equal to 2 that it is usually placed into a class of its own. A good reason not to call 1 a prime number is that if 1 were prime, then the statement of the fundamental theorem of arithmetic would have to be modified since "in exactly one way" would be false because any n=n·1. In other words, unique factorization into a product of primes would fail if the primes included 1. A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states "Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable." As more simply noted by Derbyshire (2004, p. 33), "2 pays its way [as a prime] on balance; 1 doesn't."

    Replies: @ben tillman

  35. Mostly OT but vaguely connected via technology.

    Juniper Networks, a maker of very large routers that transfer much corporate and internet data, announced today that they discovered “unauthorized code” in their routers that would allow someone to decrypt data sent over VPNs and also gain access to their devices. This code has apparently been there since 2012.

    They have not said anything about how it could have gotten there. Over on Twitter some are daring to speculate that it was “the Chinese,” some say the NSA. I would guess it’s the Chinese, but not by somebody hacking into Juniper’s systems. No. Bet your bottom dollar that hundreds of Chinese work at Juniper, and one of them did this because he was, of course, loyal to China, or blackmailed, or bribed. But I would bet a million bucks that if they ever find who did it, it will be a Chinese national (maybe an Indian or Russian) working for Juniper because diversity and H-1B (the international corporate spy program).

    I’m curious how “big” this story will play with the media. In reality, it’s beyond huge. It’s absolutely disastrous.

    For those interested, here is the statement from Juniper:

    http://forums.juniper.net/t5/Security-Incident-Response/Important-Announcement-about-ScreenOS/ba-p/285554

    • Replies: @Vinay
    @peterike

    "But I would bet a million bucks that if they ever find who did it, it will be a Chinese national (maybe an Indian or Russian) working for Juniper because diversity and H-1B (the international corporate spy program)."

    Yes, tech companies are real big on diversity and insist on hiring Indians and Chinese even though they can find plenty of white Americans are super excited about working in system software.

    Of course, another reason they hire these foreigners is because they're cheap labor. True, Glassdoor named Juniper the highest payer in the valley for software engineers but what do they know, eh?

    Perhaps Volkswagen was also sabotaged by a Chinese national - why would a German uber mensch engineer ever need to cheat on anything?

    Replies: @Former Darfur

  36. The demeaning paternalism was more than insulting: implied the black students are almost like a lab rats and curiosities inside white classrooms where they don’t belong.

    That this racial condescension still exists in 2015 is rather appalling. Frankly I think this case was specious and should not of been taken up by the court.

    Dr. Isler’s essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for “minorities,” and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present. How demeaning to African Americans — and to everyone, in fact.
    Of course, civil rights advocates have been forced by conservative entrenchment to plead the (very real) benefits of racial diversity in the academy rather than being able to assume that the benefits of openness and diversity and the equality of all are, well, self-evident.
    My prayer for our nation, the answer to which is by no means assured, is that some day the overt racism in Justices Scalia and Roberts’ questioning — and likely ruling — will be as glaringly racist to the vast majority of those of future generations as Supreme Court decisions such as Dred Scott are now.

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    @Tiny Duck

    The "demeaning paternalism" and the "implied" are more in your mind than they are in reality.

    Keep in mind that this was a case brought before the Supreme Court of the United States arguing in favor of maintaining affirmative action quotas -- that is, ignoring test scores -- in order to bring in black students. Affirmative Action is paternalism on its face, because it says, "you cannot get in here on your own merits, i.e., test scores, we have to give you some special consideration."


    Dr. Isler’s essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for “minorities,” and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present.

     

    If you get the test scores, you get in. What you are actually writing is that you think Affirmative Action is "infuriating and frustrating racism." Or perhaps you have some other criterion in mind as to why colleges should have set asides for African American students whose test scores do not qualify for admission?
    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Tiny Duck

    It's real simple, friendo: if they have the intellectual chops, they don't need affirmative action; if they don't have the intellectual chops, it is cynical and damaging to throw them in the deep end of the pool.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    , @Anonymous
    @Tiny Duck

    Derrow, Can't you write your own comments?

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Watham, MA. The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, are from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JEC, @Hibernian, @ben tillman

  37. The top comments selected by the New York Times editors are unanimous: the author didn’t understand Justice Roberts’s line of questioning. It’s possible that publishing such a stupid article was a deliberate decision by the Times editors to discredit pro-affirmative action arguments. What their motivation might be is unclear to me. Maybe they want to head off more racial agitation before the election, or maybe they are worried about the future of science.

  38. rapper 50 Cents

    Steve, you gotta keep it real. As he explained to Seth Meyers, the rapper’s name is 50 Cent. Pronounced “Fity Cen”

    • Replies: @anon
    @Nathan Hale

    Fitty has very poor teleprompter reading skills.

  39. do you know why jewish media is for AA? because once we get rid of AA, the next on the fix list would be 1300%(spitballing here, I am pretty sure I got it wrong) jewish over representation of the ivy league student body.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    @Astuteobservor II

    steve, do you not want my comments to show? if you don't want my comments, say the word bro, and I would leave you alone in your own little world.

    Replies: @William Badwhite

  40. @TangoMan
    Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren't admitted or coddled simply because you're black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    "How can it equal one?" Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
     

    Replies: @Robt, @Anonymous, @Cloudbuster, @Anonymous, @William BadWhite, @Anonymous

    To be fair to Howard, he’s talking about maff, not math. Maff is an entirely different subject altogether from math.

  41. “Then Justice Antonin Scalia deepened an already painful wound when he questioned the abilities of black students to succeed at fast-paced institutions,”

    No mention as to who had suffered the wound.

  42. “If you look at the sun, you’ll hurt yourself.”

  43. A physics class should interrogate and transfer the canon of scientific knowledge.

    Sounds like she minored in deconstructionism.

  44. “rapper 50 Cents”

    I can’t tell if this is sarcastic or a get-off-my-lawn fly by. Either way, it’s awesome.

  45. Trumpenprole [AKA "Haven Monahan"] says:

    As much as she loves astrophysics, Isler is very aware of the barriers that still remain for young women of color going into science. “It’s unfortunately an as-yet-unresolved part of the experience,” she says. She works to lower those barriers, and also to improve the atmosphere for women of color once they become scientists, noting that “they often face unique barriers as a result of their position at the intersection of race and gender, not to mention class, socioeconomic status and potentially a number of other identities.”

    While Isler recounts instances of overt racial and gender discrimination that are jaw-dropping, she says more subtle things happen more often. Isler works with the American Astronomical Society’s commission on the status of minorities in astronomy.

    …So there you go. Her actual job is not studying the universe, but rather a make-work diversity hire to promote more diversity.

    • Replies: @Dirk Dagger
    @Trumpenprole

    From Dr. Isler's Twitter feed:


    So I'm saying --out loud-- that I'm applying to the astronaut core; it may not work. I may not make the cut, but it's important to me to try
     
    Does Dr. Isler mean astronaut corps? (And yes I know the the p and the s are heavily accented when you say it.)

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Triumph104

  46. @Redacted
    Slightly OT, but related. Recently watched a PBS doc about the LHC/CERN and the search for the Higgs boson. The title was Particles, IIRC.

    The film featured a couple of women: an American post doc and an Italian heading one of the big experiments (who has since been promoted to head of LHC) Also featured an American Jew, an Iranian American, and a Cypriot ex pat. Plenty of other misc Europeans as to be expected. But not a single black person in the film.

    The biggest experiments in the history of physics are somehow taking place without the benefit of many persons of color.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @AndrewR, @Cracker, @Wasc

    I think things will be OK…

  47. @Progressive Matricist
    @Redacted

    That's what I'm saying!

    Astrophysics? At least two.

    Particle physics? Nada.

    Why is that?

    Replies: @wrd9, @Daniel Williams

    Perhaps astrophysics is the equivalent of “black ethnic studies” in the physics branches.

    • Replies: @Progressive Matricist
    @wrd9

    That's what I'm wondering. Is astrophysics easier than e.g. particle physics?

    , @jay-w
    @wrd9


    Perhaps astrophysics is the equivalent of “black ethnic studies” in the physics branches.
     
    Could well be. ...
    If you're a Civil Engineer, and you design a bridge, and your bridge collapses on the first windy day; people are going to notice. But if you're an Astrophysicist, and you miscalculate the event horizon of a black hole by a few parsecs, who is ever going to know or care?
  48. @SPMoore8
    Well, Jedidah is a woman and seems to be a real one, not a transwoman. (Pronounced "Je-DIE-dah", rhymes with "Delilah", probably has a brother named "Damson", you can probably guess how he was named.)

    Okay, well, the major logical problem here is that the whole idea of affirmative action is to ignore test scores. No one has ever argued (at least not in 50 years plus) that an African American should be excluded from top schools or whatever if they have top scores. The whole idea is to ignore top scores. The justification for that can either be (a) payback for slavery, or (b) diverse POV's. So Jedidah actually agrees with us, and SCOTUS, that studying physics has nothing to do with diverse POV's, but at the same time that's the only recognized justification for Affirmative Action.

    The rest of it is just the usual chip on the shoulder attitude that black people tend to have. Which I regret, they shouldn't have that chip on their shoulder and it's certainly true that it's there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    There doesn't seem to be any logic to the piece other than (a) she agrees that diversity has nothing to do with physics, (b) black people's feelings are easily hurt, so perhaps that's why (c) she ends up a cheer leading riff about black students blowing physical concepts out of the water.

    Except that at one point she writes:

    Contrary to Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. Nor does the pursuit of scientific knowledge exist completely apart from the social dynamics, attitudes and cultures of those who seek answers. Science is inextricably linked with our shared humanity and distinct experiences.
     


    By suggesting, and sadly litigating, that diversity — and more important, inclusion and equal opportunity — aren’t paramount to the production of new scientific information, we wrongly imply that the most important part of scientific discovery is in the classroom.
     
    So apparently diversity does confer some unique perspective. Except that she doesn't really offer any examples. Also I think there's a lack of agreement in there.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Bill Jones, @anon, @Percy Gryce, @Desiderius

    Okay, you nailed it. Except for a minor quibble with

    they shouldn’t have that chip on their shoulder and it’s certainly true that it’s there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    The reason that they don’t move on is because Leftists/Liberals/Democrats (and some Republicans) benefit from milking the resentment.

    There is too much $ involved to let them rise based on ability. The fact that it is corrosive to their sub-population, each individual involved, and the nation at large must take second place to advancing the Leftist agenda to make the millennial reign of Marx a reality.

    No race has done anything near what European-Americans have done for African-Americans. We can’t move beyond it because it benefits the dishonest parasites that pass for American leaders.

  49. @black sea
    @Anonymous

    "He [Neil DeGrasse Tyson] cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable."

    That's because a great many scientists are pretty clueless about how the real world -- the human world -- actually works.

    Replies: @middle aged vet, @Mr. Anon

    There are about two thousand colleges in the world that have enough cash to hire an astrophysicist as a teacher. There are also about two or three hundred rich or monastically intense high IQ people who practice something like astrophysics outside the academic environment, and an equal number of high-prestige astrophysicists who get stipends from exotic places like the egghead village in New Jersey that used to pay Einstein to live there. (there are the defense industries and the billionaire and government funded rocketry and optics hobbyists, as well – that is another story). Take my word for it, or don’t -but out of the astrophysicists who work at those two thousand colleges, and including the four to six hundred extra places for astrophysicists in places like the egghead village in New Jersey – 90 to 95 percent are never going to produce any real significant new knowledge. They will try, bless their hearts, but New Knowledge is Amazingly Hard, no matter how high your testable math IQ is. Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted. (his Three Stooges level understanding of medieval scientific history, on the other hand, is certainly something he should be criticized for).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @middle aged vet

    Being a popular science popularizer is a good thing and deserves respect.

    Replies: @Maj. Kong, @anon, @The most deplorable one, @Palerider1861

    , @Anonymous
    @middle aged vet

    I don't think Tyson is mocked for his expertise in astronomy (and related disciplines). He's mocked for his cheesy arrogant Smartest-And-Coolest-Guy-U-Know shtick. Even then he's not as bad as Ken Jennings or Arthur Chu, but these bozos do a lot to discredit Science Inc. by ditching their scientific humility for topics about which they know basically jack in exchange for some TV time. Nobody likes an attention whore.

    Replies: @Elmer T. Jones

    , @TangoMan
    @middle aged vet

    Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted.

    In the high stakes world of minority STEM Ph.D students, I don't understand why anyone would presume that they're reading honest scholarship which is solely the work of the student.

    The best way to assess black intellectuals is to weigh their work over time, especially their independent work.

    I can create a "Just So" story to explain what you read. Tyson received help from a professor and knowing that he couldn't perform at the high standard expected, found work as a director of a planetarium and so has never had occasion to duplicate the quality of work which you read in his dissertation because he knew he couldn't.

    I have no idea whether you're correct or whether I am, but this "Affirmative Action Stigma" gives me license to suspect that something is off and this stigma doesn't apply to white or Asian graduates who receive the presumption of competence by virtue of having won their positions honestly and not having an entire academic bureaucracy twisting itself into a pretzel in order to insure that they graduate and look intelligent.

    Replies: @middle aged vet

    , @Brutusale
    @middle aged vet

    Resented more than mocked.

    Steve, Carl Sagan's own coauthor of one of his early papers, chemist Harold Urey, recommended AGAINST tenure for Sagan at Harvard because of his "publicized scientific advocacy". I can see Sagan's advocacy in the age of vast government spending on Big Science, but it was obviously something that the old school felt was beneath true scientists.

    This popularization of science is just the sort of thing that gives the hoi polloidelusions of adequacy. I'm willing to give Tyson a pass, but this woman took the space that didn't go to some under-served but truly intelligent white kid from Flyover Country. We've gone from the best & brightest to okay, close enough.

  50. @wrd9
    @Progressive Matricist

    Perhaps astrophysics is the equivalent of "black ethnic studies" in the physics branches.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @jay-w

    That’s what I’m wondering. Is astrophysics easier than e.g. particle physics?

  51. @middle aged vet
    @black sea

    There are about two thousand colleges in the world that have enough cash to hire an astrophysicist as a teacher. There are also about two or three hundred rich or monastically intense high IQ people who practice something like astrophysics outside the academic environment, and an equal number of high-prestige astrophysicists who get stipends from exotic places like the egghead village in New Jersey that used to pay Einstein to live there. (there are the defense industries and the billionaire and government funded rocketry and optics hobbyists, as well - that is another story). Take my word for it, or don't -but out of the astrophysicists who work at those two thousand colleges, and including the four to six hundred extra places for astrophysicists in places like the egghead village in New Jersey - 90 to 95 percent are never going to produce any real significant new knowledge. They will try, bless their hearts, but New Knowledge is Amazingly Hard, no matter how high your testable math IQ is. Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted. (his Three Stooges level understanding of medieval scientific history, on the other hand, is certainly something he should be criticized for).

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous, @TangoMan, @Brutusale

    Being a popular science popularizer is a good thing and deserves respect.

    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    @Steve Sailer

    So, a court jester?

    , @anon
    @Steve Sailer

    It is. It would be nice if he wasn't quite so obnoxious on Twitter, though.

    Like:

    Dec 4
    Neil deGrasse Tyson ‏@neiltyson
    As climate change reshapes the World’s coastlines, rich people lose their second homes. Poor people lose their only homes.

    I mean, he does realize that the coastlines aren't going to be re-shaped overnight, right? That it's going to happen over the course of decades. People can and do move a few miles away from where they were born. He must realize it, but he says stuff like that anyway, because he's the kind of guy who says stuff like that.

    , @The most deplorable one
    @Steve Sailer

    Well, it seems that there is some some criticism of his work.

    Perhaps he will be remembered as the Stephen J Gould of the 21st century.

    Replies: @5371

    , @Palerider1861
    @Steve Sailer

    Frankly, I don't think respect is particularly warranted:

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/16/another-day-another-quote-fabricated-by-neil-degrasse-tyson/

    Replies: @SPMoore8

  52. • Replies: @Wasc
    @Anon

    The Brits had an exemplary civil service until it was destroyed by the inimitably odious Tony Blair.
    I doubt very much that the German civil service is suffering in quite the same way. The front men, the people who are pushed in front of cameras -maybe. But the people sitting at all those desks are keeping meticulous records and filing them safely away at the end of each day. When sanity returns, and it will, then whoever is in charge will know where everyone is - and will know, too, where to send them.

  53. This whole post along with the comments is an instant iSteve classic. Steve, you oughta publish some kind of “iSteve’s Greatest Hits” collection.

  54. When I was at one of the Public Ivies 45 years ago, I asked my Astronomy TF what classes you need to become an astronomer; more math classes than a math major….Found out you needed a 700+ math SAT to get A’s and B’s in the freshman and sophomore math classes. Had to be 750+ to do the same in the junior and senior math classes. The guys getting masters degrees were off the charts.

    The physics program was just as bad. So to get a Yale PhD in Astro-Physics, you’d be able to inform Hawkings on something he wasn’t too clear about.

    This is blatant AA; I bet you’ll never see her grades or any other scholarly work. Just like the mistake in the WH….

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Dee

    My younger daughter is pretty smart and started a major in physics at Virginia Tech. She did ok, but was gently told early on the she probably did not have what it takes and should switch to math.
    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    So yeah, this babe is pure AA, and bitching about it. She and Michelle should get together and commiserate about what a rotten country the USA is and how mean it has been and continues to be to their poor oppressed selves.

    Replies: @Truth, @Desiderius

  55. @Anonymous
    IOW, "Wow. Just wow".

    Replies: @Dennis Dale

    You’re being totally unfair. There’s also a great deal of “I can’t even” here. Come on, now.

  56. @Steve Sailer
    @middle aged vet

    Being a popular science popularizer is a good thing and deserves respect.

    Replies: @Maj. Kong, @anon, @The most deplorable one, @Palerider1861

    So, a court jester?

  57. @wrd9
    @Progressive Matricist

    Perhaps astrophysics is the equivalent of "black ethnic studies" in the physics branches.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @jay-w

    Perhaps astrophysics is the equivalent of “black ethnic studies” in the physics branches.

    Could well be. …
    If you’re a Civil Engineer, and you design a bridge, and your bridge collapses on the first windy day; people are going to notice. But if you’re an Astrophysicist, and you miscalculate the event horizon of a black hole by a few parsecs, who is ever going to know or care?

  58. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @middle aged vet
    @black sea

    There are about two thousand colleges in the world that have enough cash to hire an astrophysicist as a teacher. There are also about two or three hundred rich or monastically intense high IQ people who practice something like astrophysics outside the academic environment, and an equal number of high-prestige astrophysicists who get stipends from exotic places like the egghead village in New Jersey that used to pay Einstein to live there. (there are the defense industries and the billionaire and government funded rocketry and optics hobbyists, as well - that is another story). Take my word for it, or don't -but out of the astrophysicists who work at those two thousand colleges, and including the four to six hundred extra places for astrophysicists in places like the egghead village in New Jersey - 90 to 95 percent are never going to produce any real significant new knowledge. They will try, bless their hearts, but New Knowledge is Amazingly Hard, no matter how high your testable math IQ is. Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted. (his Three Stooges level understanding of medieval scientific history, on the other hand, is certainly something he should be criticized for).

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous, @TangoMan, @Brutusale

    I don’t think Tyson is mocked for his expertise in astronomy (and related disciplines). He’s mocked for his cheesy arrogant Smartest-And-Coolest-Guy-U-Know shtick. Even then he’s not as bad as Ken Jennings or Arthur Chu, but these bozos do a lot to discredit Science Inc. by ditching their scientific humility for topics about which they know basically jack in exchange for some TV time. Nobody likes an attention whore.

    • Replies: @Elmer T. Jones
    @Anonymous

    And then there's his longtime companion Bill Nye, The Science Asshole.

  59. @Tiny Duck
    The demeaning paternalism was more than insulting: implied the black students are almost like a lab rats and curiosities inside white classrooms where they don't belong.

    That this racial condescension still exists in 2015 is rather appalling. Frankly I think this case was specious and should not of been taken up by the court.

    Dr. Isler's essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for "minorities," and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present. How demeaning to African Americans — and to everyone, in fact.
    Of course, civil rights advocates have been forced by conservative entrenchment to plead the (very real) benefits of racial diversity in the academy rather than being able to assume that the benefits of openness and diversity and the equality of all are, well, self-evident.
    My prayer for our nation, the answer to which is by no means assured, is that some day the overt racism in Justices Scalia and Roberts' questioning — and likely ruling — will be as glaringly racist to the vast majority of those of future generations as Supreme Court decisions such as Dred Scott are now.

    Replies: @SPMoore8, @The Anti-Gnostic, @Anonymous

    The “demeaning paternalism” and the “implied” are more in your mind than they are in reality.

    Keep in mind that this was a case brought before the Supreme Court of the United States arguing in favor of maintaining affirmative action quotas — that is, ignoring test scores — in order to bring in black students. Affirmative Action is paternalism on its face, because it says, “you cannot get in here on your own merits, i.e., test scores, we have to give you some special consideration.”

    Dr. Isler’s essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for “minorities,” and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present.

    If you get the test scores, you get in. What you are actually writing is that you think Affirmative Action is “infuriating and frustrating racism.” Or perhaps you have some other criterion in mind as to why colleges should have set asides for African American students whose test scores do not qualify for admission?

  60. @middle aged vet
    @black sea

    There are about two thousand colleges in the world that have enough cash to hire an astrophysicist as a teacher. There are also about two or three hundred rich or monastically intense high IQ people who practice something like astrophysics outside the academic environment, and an equal number of high-prestige astrophysicists who get stipends from exotic places like the egghead village in New Jersey that used to pay Einstein to live there. (there are the defense industries and the billionaire and government funded rocketry and optics hobbyists, as well - that is another story). Take my word for it, or don't -but out of the astrophysicists who work at those two thousand colleges, and including the four to six hundred extra places for astrophysicists in places like the egghead village in New Jersey - 90 to 95 percent are never going to produce any real significant new knowledge. They will try, bless their hearts, but New Knowledge is Amazingly Hard, no matter how high your testable math IQ is. Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted. (his Three Stooges level understanding of medieval scientific history, on the other hand, is certainly something he should be criticized for).

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous, @TangoMan, @Brutusale

    Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted.

    In the high stakes world of minority STEM Ph.D students, I don’t understand why anyone would presume that they’re reading honest scholarship which is solely the work of the student.

    The best way to assess black intellectuals is to weigh their work over time, especially their independent work.

    I can create a “Just So” story to explain what you read. Tyson received help from a professor and knowing that he couldn’t perform at the high standard expected, found work as a director of a planetarium and so has never had occasion to duplicate the quality of work which you read in his dissertation because he knew he couldn’t.

    I have no idea whether you’re correct or whether I am, but this “Affirmative Action Stigma” gives me license to suspect that something is off and this stigma doesn’t apply to white or Asian graduates who receive the presumption of competence by virtue of having won their positions honestly and not having an entire academic bureaucracy twisting itself into a pretzel in order to insure that they graduate and look intelligent.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    @TangoMan

    TangoMan - Feel free to disagree with me, but I do not think that my judgment is based on a lack of knowledge of STEM academia (although as a fan of Ben Stein's I have a foolishly soft spot in my heart for Danica McCellar's Euler number, and hope that it is legit...). Let's make some precise statements, feel free to disagree with any of them. First statement. Every year, one out of ten thousand babies is born with the genetic ability to handle modern physics. Not one in a thousand, but one in ten thousand, at best. (Steve Hsu has explained this well on his easily accessible web site). Anyway, plenty of those babies are Jewish, Parsi, Celtic, Slavic, German, Ethiopian, Han Chinese, Japanese and other usual suspects, but when you are talking about (a) tens of millions of babies and (b) at most, one and a half standard deviations - and. more likely, half a standard deviation, between the groups and races with respect to high-M abilities, and an unknowable - believe me, the tail ends are unknowable - arbitrariness at the tail ends of the distribution, plenty of those babies will not be J, P, C, S, G, E, H.C, or J. Nothing I know about Tyson leads me to believe he was not one of those babies, or at least very similar to one of those babies. Second statement. There are about ten really high level math programs in the US (MIT, Caltech, U of Chicago, and Maryland have special classes for the one or two dozen, mostly male, phenoms in each matriculating class - the number never goes above thirty at any given institution). Neil de Grasse Tyson, as far as I know (speaking as someone who, due to a lack of the appropriate focus, would not have succeeded in one of those classes), could have, with the right support, have succeeded in one of those classes. He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain. Third statement. Carl Sagan, Clyde Tombaugh, Gerard de Vaucouleurs, Bart Bok, Descartes, Robert Goddard, and Vera Rubin all made fascinating discoveries or described wonderful theories, but none of them ever wrote a single paper that a competent scientist would have had to read twice to understand, and there are no papers written by anyone in the list I have given (with the possible exception of a few things written by Descartes) that someone as obviously as intelligent as Tyson could not have written under the right circumstances. Sure, Tyson spent at most ten focused minutes on medieval astronomy before putting a stupid ten minutes on the subject into his PBS series (hint: he tried to say insulting things about Christian belief - no surprise there, he must have known where his bread is buttered, as they used to say), and I guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science. Well, Bayesian analysis kind of leads me to believe that it might not be completely accurate to focus only on those subjects I know well when assessing the intelligence of those I overall disagree with. After all, I am certain I have said dumb things about things I don't know much about too, doesn't mean I don't know what I am talking about on those occasions when I am not saying dumb things.

    Replies: @TangoMan, @SPMoore8

  61. @Steve Sailer
    @middle aged vet

    Being a popular science popularizer is a good thing and deserves respect.

    Replies: @Maj. Kong, @anon, @The most deplorable one, @Palerider1861

    It is. It would be nice if he wasn’t quite so obnoxious on Twitter, though.

    Like:

    Dec 4
    Neil deGrasse Tyson ‏@neiltyson
    As climate change reshapes the World’s coastlines, rich people lose their second homes. Poor people lose their only homes.

    I mean, he does realize that the coastlines aren’t going to be re-shaped overnight, right? That it’s going to happen over the course of decades. People can and do move a few miles away from where they were born. He must realize it, but he says stuff like that anyway, because he’s the kind of guy who says stuff like that.

  62. @Trumpenprole

    As much as she loves astrophysics, Isler is very aware of the barriers that still remain for young women of color going into science. “It’s unfortunately an as-yet-unresolved part of the experience,” she says. She works to lower those barriers, and also to improve the atmosphere for women of color once they become scientists, noting that “they often face unique barriers as a result of their position at the intersection of race and gender, not to mention class, socioeconomic status and potentially a number of other identities.”

    While Isler recounts instances of overt racial and gender discrimination that are jaw-dropping, she says more subtle things happen more often. Isler works with the American Astronomical Society’s commission on the status of minorities in astronomy.
     
    ...So there you go. Her actual job is not studying the universe, but rather a make-work diversity hire to promote more diversity.

    Replies: @Dirk Dagger

    From Dr. Isler’s Twitter feed:

    So I’m saying –out loud– that I’m applying to the astronaut core; it may not work. I may not make the cut, but it’s important to me to try

    Does Dr. Isler mean astronaut corps? (And yes I know the the p and the s are heavily accented when you say it.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Dirk Dagger

    Corpse, core, corps, corpses, corpsman, etc.

    Doesn't matter anymore:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1DO388jsf8

    , @Triumph104
    @Dirk Dagger

    Jedidah Isler is overweight, if not obese. That alone should be enough to keep her out of the "corps".

  63. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Recently James Bowman had a list of Guardian headlines from this year that were supposedly real:
    http://www.jamesbowman.net/articleDetail.asp?pubID=2381#11-30-2015

    I know that headline writing is a storied minor art but those evinced Onion-level talent at least. The U.S. Senate one is beyond gold. It’s like trying to distinguish a good parody Twitter account from the celebrity’s actual feed.

  64. @TomSchmidt
    @PhysicistDave

    Physicists are good at that sort of thing.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Dew

    Tom Schmidt wrote to me:

    Physicists are good at that sort of thing [referencing the Sokal hoax].

    Incidentally, Alan Sokal is actually a leftist. But, like any good scientist, his tolerance for lies and BS is rather limited.

    Dave

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    @PhysicistDave

    I recently had my students examine Jane Jacobs' Systems of Survival. jacobs was also a lefty, but an honest one, and more committed to truth than the party line. She describes two moral syndromes by which we live, one being "Trader." traders follow a certain code, but one major difference from Guardians is this: Traders must "be honest" while Guardians may "Deceive for the sake of the task."

    As I asked my students: what do we call a scientist who falsifies data? Not a scientist. Not that it has stopped Michael Mann, but still.

  65. @Tiny Duck
    The demeaning paternalism was more than insulting: implied the black students are almost like a lab rats and curiosities inside white classrooms where they don't belong.

    That this racial condescension still exists in 2015 is rather appalling. Frankly I think this case was specious and should not of been taken up by the court.

    Dr. Isler's essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for "minorities," and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present. How demeaning to African Americans — and to everyone, in fact.
    Of course, civil rights advocates have been forced by conservative entrenchment to plead the (very real) benefits of racial diversity in the academy rather than being able to assume that the benefits of openness and diversity and the equality of all are, well, self-evident.
    My prayer for our nation, the answer to which is by no means assured, is that some day the overt racism in Justices Scalia and Roberts' questioning — and likely ruling — will be as glaringly racist to the vast majority of those of future generations as Supreme Court decisions such as Dred Scott are now.

    Replies: @SPMoore8, @The Anti-Gnostic, @Anonymous

    It’s real simple, friendo: if they have the intellectual chops, they don’t need affirmative action; if they don’t have the intellectual chops, it is cynical and damaging to throw them in the deep end of the pool.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @The Anti-Gnostic


    It’s real simple, friendo: if they have the intellectual chops, they don’t need affirmative action; if they don’t have the intellectual chops, it is cynical and damaging to throw them in the deep end of the pool.
     
    I'll buy the latter, but the former is only the case because the progs have seen blacks as useful. Even there, it's only blacks who act a certain way that is congenial to the prog worldview.

    Conservative blacks are likely to have an even tougher time than other conservatives, intellectual chops or no.

    An affirmative action along the lines practiced by the NFL among coaches isn't obviously suboptimal.
  66. @Anonymous
    I'm reminded of what Don Barry, astronomer at Cornell, said about Neil deGrasse Tyson when asked, "Has Tyson done any real science? He seems to be a media celebrity, but when I look in the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, I can find no record of scholarly work in science, except for popular books and social commentary. Is he in fact a practicing astrophysicist?"

    Barry replied:

    "Not since graduate school (he did not successfully progress towards a degree at UT/Austin, and convinced Columbia to give him a second try). Aside from the obligatory papers describing his dissertation, he’s got a paper on how to take dome flats, a bizarre paper speculating about an asteroid hitting Uranus, and courtesy mentions *very* late in the author lists of a few big projects in which it is unclear what, if anything, of substance he contributed. No first author papers of any real significance whatsoever. Nor is there any evidence that he has been awarded any telescope time on significant instruments as PI since grad school, despite the incredibly inflated claims in his published CVs. He cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable. It’s just bizarre. To answer Delong’s question, no: he is not a practicing astrophysicist."
     

    Replies: @black sea, @Dave Pinsen, @Unladen Swallow, @Mr. Anon

    I’m not a fan of Tyson, or the SWPLs who idolize him, but I can’t really fault him for not doing research. If someone offered you 10x as much money plus widespread adulation to be a popularizer instead of an unknown drone scientist, wouldn’t you take it?

  67. iSteveFan says:

    Isn’t she missing the point? Wouldn’t her having starred in physics at Norfolk State instead of flunking out of physics at Caltech support Scalia’s question?

    You really nailed it with that statement. There are plenty of whites that couldn’t hack physics at Caltech but do just fine at Mizzou. The same goes for other subjects as well. It also goes for athletics.

    The US has a great system in place where one can train at a 2nd or 3rd tier institution and still have the ability to rise to the top. In other nations if you don’t attend the top school you are pretty much relegated to the junior varsity of your field. Given that people develop at different rates and have different abilities, it is great that we have such a range of institutions to suit the needs of so many.

    Even in sports you will see this. Scottie Pippen went to an NAIA school, Central Arkansas, and was almost unknown during his college years. Yet he went on to star as Michael Jordan’s sidekick on the great Bull’s teams of the 1990s. His career far exceeded the vast majority of guys who starred on elite NCAA teams.

    The same goes for academics. There are guys that for some reason or another did not make the cut to get into an Ivy or other elite school. Yet they found a place that enabled them to enter a field and then went on to win a Nobel.

    The trouble is people now seem to look down upon these 2nd and 3rd tier institutions as though they are beneath them. I guess it is similar to how people nowadays look down upon certain jobs even though it is honest work.

  68. @SPMoore8
    Well, Jedidah is a woman and seems to be a real one, not a transwoman. (Pronounced "Je-DIE-dah", rhymes with "Delilah", probably has a brother named "Damson", you can probably guess how he was named.)

    Okay, well, the major logical problem here is that the whole idea of affirmative action is to ignore test scores. No one has ever argued (at least not in 50 years plus) that an African American should be excluded from top schools or whatever if they have top scores. The whole idea is to ignore top scores. The justification for that can either be (a) payback for slavery, or (b) diverse POV's. So Jedidah actually agrees with us, and SCOTUS, that studying physics has nothing to do with diverse POV's, but at the same time that's the only recognized justification for Affirmative Action.

    The rest of it is just the usual chip on the shoulder attitude that black people tend to have. Which I regret, they shouldn't have that chip on their shoulder and it's certainly true that it's there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    There doesn't seem to be any logic to the piece other than (a) she agrees that diversity has nothing to do with physics, (b) black people's feelings are easily hurt, so perhaps that's why (c) she ends up a cheer leading riff about black students blowing physical concepts out of the water.

    Except that at one point she writes:

    Contrary to Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. Nor does the pursuit of scientific knowledge exist completely apart from the social dynamics, attitudes and cultures of those who seek answers. Science is inextricably linked with our shared humanity and distinct experiences.
     


    By suggesting, and sadly litigating, that diversity — and more important, inclusion and equal opportunity — aren’t paramount to the production of new scientific information, we wrongly imply that the most important part of scientific discovery is in the classroom.
     
    So apparently diversity does confer some unique perspective. Except that she doesn't really offer any examples. Also I think there's a lack of agreement in there.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Bill Jones, @anon, @Percy Gryce, @Desiderius

    “(Pronounced “Je-DIE-dah”, rhymes with “Delilah”, probably has a brother named “Damson””

    So shouldn’t she be named Selilah?

    • Agree: SPMoore8
  69. @Anonymous
    I'm reminded of what Don Barry, astronomer at Cornell, said about Neil deGrasse Tyson when asked, "Has Tyson done any real science? He seems to be a media celebrity, but when I look in the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, I can find no record of scholarly work in science, except for popular books and social commentary. Is he in fact a practicing astrophysicist?"

    Barry replied:

    "Not since graduate school (he did not successfully progress towards a degree at UT/Austin, and convinced Columbia to give him a second try). Aside from the obligatory papers describing his dissertation, he’s got a paper on how to take dome flats, a bizarre paper speculating about an asteroid hitting Uranus, and courtesy mentions *very* late in the author lists of a few big projects in which it is unclear what, if anything, of substance he contributed. No first author papers of any real significance whatsoever. Nor is there any evidence that he has been awarded any telescope time on significant instruments as PI since grad school, despite the incredibly inflated claims in his published CVs. He cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable. It’s just bizarre. To answer Delong’s question, no: he is not a practicing astrophysicist."
     

    Replies: @black sea, @Dave Pinsen, @Unladen Swallow, @Mr. Anon

    I’ve pointed this out in a previous post during the summer but didn’t get a response, but I will throw it out there again: Tyson’s CV lists 13 papers last time I checked, and he has never even been an assistant professor anywhere, just a lecturer. That’s what makes it so absurd the way the media treats him like he is some kind wizard astronomer. I have had liberal friends talk up his vouching for the movie Interstellar, like his imprimatur matters.

    Kip Thorne was the technical adviser on the film and he was promoted to associate professor right after completing his post-doc at 27, something Tyson has never managed even today and a full professorship at 30 at Caltech, one of the top universities in the world. At the same age Tyson still hadn’t earned a PhD and at the age Tyson finally got his PhD, Thorne was already a member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the youngest ever in the history of the organization.

    If you analogized astrophysics to baseball, Thorne would be a MLB first ballot Hall of Famer, and Tyson would be the star high school player who never got beyond single A ball even to double A, much less to the show, but in terms of MSM hype, a scientific non-entity gets attention that dwarfs that of the Hall of Famer, I wonder why that might be?

  70. @Dirk Dagger
    @Trumpenprole

    From Dr. Isler's Twitter feed:


    So I'm saying --out loud-- that I'm applying to the astronaut core; it may not work. I may not make the cut, but it's important to me to try
     
    Does Dr. Isler mean astronaut corps? (And yes I know the the p and the s are heavily accented when you say it.)

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Triumph104

    Corpse, core, corps, corpses, corpsman, etc.

    Doesn’t matter anymore:

  71. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @middle aged vet

    Being a popular science popularizer is a good thing and deserves respect.

    Replies: @Maj. Kong, @anon, @The most deplorable one, @Palerider1861

    Well, it seems that there is some some criticism of his work.

    Perhaps he will be remembered as the Stephen J Gould of the 21st century.

    • Replies: @5371
    @The most deplorable one

    If she had kept her mouth shut, she might have continued to appear intelligent.

  72. I majored mechanical engineering in college and did well enough to think I could switch majors to physics. So I enrolled in a couple a physics classes one semester to give it a try. The credits transferred so there was no big downside. There is a difference between being in the top 5 percentile in math and physics and the top 1 percentile, as I soon found out.

    Why torture myself to become mediocre on one subject when I could be above average on another Maybe this is what they mean by ‘white privilege’ – feeling no obligation to represent my race on tasks at which I cannot do well.

    To the complaint:

    I’ve thought a lot about who winds up in science classrooms and whose perspectives are cultivated. I went from sitting in a classroom full of brilliant black physicists-in-training to one in which I was the only person of color pursuing the same subject.

    I attended a state university, trying to go from the top 5% to the top 1% and gave up. Isler attended an all black college and then an Ivy league school, trying to make a quantum leap from the top 10% to the top 0.1%.

    And this:

    Instead of stating “force equals mass times acceleration” and moving on…

    Force is defined to be the rate of change of momentum, not mass time acceleration. Force equals mass times acceleration PLUS velocity times the rate of change of mass.

  73. @TomSchmidt
    @PhysicistDave

    Physicists are good at that sort of thing.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @Dew

    Related to this affair is an essential book:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashionable_Nonsense

    Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science (French: Impostures Intellectuelles), published in the UK as Intellectual Impostures, is a book by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. Sokal is best known for the Sokal Affair, in which he submitted a deliberately absurd article[1] to Social Text, a critical theory journal, and was able to get it published.

    While what was written in Sokal’s hoax article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” is obvious nonsense, many genuine sociology/cultural/critical theory journal articles are actually worst. They need to seen to be believed.

  74. @TangoMan
    @middle aged vet

    Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted.

    In the high stakes world of minority STEM Ph.D students, I don't understand why anyone would presume that they're reading honest scholarship which is solely the work of the student.

    The best way to assess black intellectuals is to weigh their work over time, especially their independent work.

    I can create a "Just So" story to explain what you read. Tyson received help from a professor and knowing that he couldn't perform at the high standard expected, found work as a director of a planetarium and so has never had occasion to duplicate the quality of work which you read in his dissertation because he knew he couldn't.

    I have no idea whether you're correct or whether I am, but this "Affirmative Action Stigma" gives me license to suspect that something is off and this stigma doesn't apply to white or Asian graduates who receive the presumption of competence by virtue of having won their positions honestly and not having an entire academic bureaucracy twisting itself into a pretzel in order to insure that they graduate and look intelligent.

    Replies: @middle aged vet

    TangoMan – Feel free to disagree with me, but I do not think that my judgment is based on a lack of knowledge of STEM academia (although as a fan of Ben Stein’s I have a foolishly soft spot in my heart for Danica McCellar’s Euler number, and hope that it is legit…). Let’s make some precise statements, feel free to disagree with any of them. First statement. Every year, one out of ten thousand babies is born with the genetic ability to handle modern physics. Not one in a thousand, but one in ten thousand, at best. (Steve Hsu has explained this well on his easily accessible web site). Anyway, plenty of those babies are Jewish, Parsi, Celtic, Slavic, German, Ethiopian, Han Chinese, Japanese and other usual suspects, but when you are talking about (a) tens of millions of babies and (b) at most, one and a half standard deviations – and. more likely, half a standard deviation, between the groups and races with respect to high-M abilities, and an unknowable – believe me, the tail ends are unknowable – arbitrariness at the tail ends of the distribution, plenty of those babies will not be J, P, C, S, G, E, H.C, or J. Nothing I know about Tyson leads me to believe he was not one of those babies, or at least very similar to one of those babies. Second statement. There are about ten really high level math programs in the US (MIT, Caltech, U of Chicago, and Maryland have special classes for the one or two dozen, mostly male, phenoms in each matriculating class – the number never goes above thirty at any given institution). Neil de Grasse Tyson, as far as I know (speaking as someone who, due to a lack of the appropriate focus, would not have succeeded in one of those classes), could have, with the right support, have succeeded in one of those classes. He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain. Third statement. Carl Sagan, Clyde Tombaugh, Gerard de Vaucouleurs, Bart Bok, Descartes, Robert Goddard, and Vera Rubin all made fascinating discoveries or described wonderful theories, but none of them ever wrote a single paper that a competent scientist would have had to read twice to understand, and there are no papers written by anyone in the list I have given (with the possible exception of a few things written by Descartes) that someone as obviously as intelligent as Tyson could not have written under the right circumstances. Sure, Tyson spent at most ten focused minutes on medieval astronomy before putting a stupid ten minutes on the subject into his PBS series (hint: he tried to say insulting things about Christian belief – no surprise there, he must have known where his bread is buttered, as they used to say), and I guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science. Well, Bayesian analysis kind of leads me to believe that it might not be completely accurate to focus only on those subjects I know well when assessing the intelligence of those I overall disagree with. After all, I am certain I have said dumb things about things I don’t know much about too, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I am talking about on those occasions when I am not saying dumb things.

    • Replies: @TangoMan
    @middle aged vet

    Here is a report on how Affirmative Action was implemented at the University of Maryland Medical School. One snippet:


    In its 1996 Minority Achievement Report, UMSM notes,“[Minority students] received unlimited hours for tutoring and other support which is perceived by the non-minority student as ‘special treatment.’
     
    Here is how the University of North Carolina treated some black students:

    For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
     
    Here is how black doctorates fare in terms of being hired and then being awarded tenure:

    The researchers looked at about 31,300 doctoral recipients surveyed from 1993 to 2010, examining both their likelihood of obtaining tenure-track positions and their likelihood of obtaining tenure. . . .

    When it came to landing tenure-track jobs in their field, women and members of minority groups considered underrepresented appeared to be at a significant advantage. Black and Hispanic doctorate holders were both quicker and, respectively, 51 percent and 30 percent more likely than their white counterparts to obtain such positions. . . . .

    The picture changed markedly when it came to getting tenure, which tenure-track professors, on the whole, were most likely to receive at about the seven-year mark. Non-Asian minority members and women were slower to receive tenure, and black assistant professors were substantially less likely to ever receive it.
     

    He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain.

    When institutions require diversity metrics be met in order for professors to rise in rank, then this introduces pressures which lead to corruption. Grades are not some neutral metric in such an environment. There is a lot of pressure on professors to not fail minority students.

    If grades were a metric unaffected by corruption and accurately reflected material mastery, then we wouldn't be seeing mismatch all over the place, as in blacks being sought after and hired into tenure track positions and then dismally failing to achieve tenure.

    Affirmative Action corrupts all it touches and so you can't trust milestones like "passing a class" or "earning a degree."

    guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science.

    This is the same dynamic that is the focus of a comment by someone (name escapes me at the moment) who remarked that he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    Tyson is wrong on a subject you know something about but is supposed to be correct on subjects you don't know?

    My point here is on Affirmative Action Stigma - minorities who are recipients of degrees from institutions which practice AA are the beneficiaries of tainted fruit. All the standards have been corrupted and thus impartial observers have no means by which to discern a student who merits his degree and accomplishments from a student who was awarded his degree and accomplishments in order to meet some societal goal regarding equal outcomes for minorities. I have no rational reason to believe that Tyson earned his academic accomplishments due to his abilities. A paper trail demonstrating original thinking and good physics would speak for itself but that's lacking and all that's left are credentials earned from corrupt institutions who practice AA.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @CJ

    , @SPMoore8
    @middle aged vet

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let's just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there's more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There's also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there's a tendency to make too much of IQ. It's not a badge, it's not a medal, it's just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively -- like Feynman -- might be a good or great physicist. It doesn't matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that's the only way to judge.

    Replies: @anon, @Former Darfur, @middle aged vet, @MarkinLA, @cwhatfuture

  75. @Progressive Matricist
    Why are these celebrity black physicists always in astrophysics? What about the other subfields?

    In another field, one wonders how many black participants there were at the recent Mochizuki conference at Oxford.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    “Why are these celebrity black physicists always in astrophysics? What about the other subfields?”

    The term gets thrown around alot now. She isn’t one really. Her Ph.D. is in Astronomy, and her publications all seem to be in the area of observational astronomy. She’s an astronomer. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a perfectly suitable and impressive scientific title.

  76. @Nathan Hale

    rapper 50 Cents
     
    Steve, you gotta keep it real. As he explained to Seth Meyers, the rapper's name is 50 Cent. Pronounced "Fity Cen"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29lUopky_XY

    Replies: @anon

    Fitty has very poor teleprompter reading skills.

  77. @Robt
    @TangoMan

    That's pretty crazy stuff, that 1x1=2 business.
    But, apart from that I've always thought that 1 should be a prime number - then everything works much better. For example, Goldbach's conjecture:
    "A Goldbach number is a positive integer that can be expressed as the sum of two odd primes. Therefore, another statement of Goldbach's conjecture is that all even integers greater than 4 are Goldbach numbers."
    Just the fact that the conjecture has to state 'greater than 4 makes the conjecture defective, flawed because it is not all-inclusive.
    However if 1 were a prime number, then all even numbers would be included. And 1 can be made a prime number simply by defining it so. It's entirely arbitrary.

    Replies: @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    In case anyone is wondering why 1 is not classified as a prime, see
    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PrimeNumber.html :

    The number 1 is a special case which is considered neither prime nor composite. Although the number 1 used to be considered a prime, it requires special treatment in so many definitions and applications involving primes greater than or equal to 2 that it is usually placed into a class of its own. A good reason not to call 1 a prime number is that if 1 were prime, then the statement of the fundamental theorem of arithmetic would have to be modified since “in exactly one way” would be false because any n=n·1. In other words, unique factorization into a product of primes would fail if the primes included 1. A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states “Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable.” As more simply noted by Derbyshire (2004, p. 33), “2 pays its way [as a prime] on balance; 1 doesn’t.”

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)


    A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states “Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable.”
     
    Q: Why is one defined to be an exception?
    A: Because it is defined to be an exception.

    Is this a parody?

    Replies: @Hibernian

  78. @SPMoore8
    Well, Jedidah is a woman and seems to be a real one, not a transwoman. (Pronounced "Je-DIE-dah", rhymes with "Delilah", probably has a brother named "Damson", you can probably guess how he was named.)

    Okay, well, the major logical problem here is that the whole idea of affirmative action is to ignore test scores. No one has ever argued (at least not in 50 years plus) that an African American should be excluded from top schools or whatever if they have top scores. The whole idea is to ignore top scores. The justification for that can either be (a) payback for slavery, or (b) diverse POV's. So Jedidah actually agrees with us, and SCOTUS, that studying physics has nothing to do with diverse POV's, but at the same time that's the only recognized justification for Affirmative Action.

    The rest of it is just the usual chip on the shoulder attitude that black people tend to have. Which I regret, they shouldn't have that chip on their shoulder and it's certainly true that it's there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    There doesn't seem to be any logic to the piece other than (a) she agrees that diversity has nothing to do with physics, (b) black people's feelings are easily hurt, so perhaps that's why (c) she ends up a cheer leading riff about black students blowing physical concepts out of the water.

    Except that at one point she writes:

    Contrary to Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. Nor does the pursuit of scientific knowledge exist completely apart from the social dynamics, attitudes and cultures of those who seek answers. Science is inextricably linked with our shared humanity and distinct experiences.
     


    By suggesting, and sadly litigating, that diversity — and more important, inclusion and equal opportunity — aren’t paramount to the production of new scientific information, we wrongly imply that the most important part of scientific discovery is in the classroom.
     
    So apparently diversity does confer some unique perspective. Except that she doesn't really offer any examples. Also I think there's a lack of agreement in there.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Bill Jones, @anon, @Percy Gryce, @Desiderius

    (Pronounced “Je-DIE-dah”, rhymes with “Delilah”, probably has a brother named “Damson”, you can probably guess how he was named.)

    I was thinking it was a misspelling of the name Jedidiah. Which is usually a man’s name. She could have been named after some old sharecropper ancestor or something.

  79. The only good thing about having more blacks in your STEM course is that, after they start failing the classes at catastrophic rates, the professors will be forced to grade on a curve and thus your B will become an A.

    On a more serious note, at what point will colleges declare that “blind grading” is racist/sexist/homo-hating/etc. and do away with it?

    The original purpose was to prevent “white privilege” and teacher’s pets from currying favor with (obviously white supremacist) Professors and getting more lenient grades. So they introduced the blind grading, where you don’t write your name on a test or any identifying information but your SSN/some randomly assigned number, and therefore the professor/t.a.’s must grade on merit.

    But that also prevented lefty professors from giving academic bonus points/leniency to the blacks/women/gays they did favor. Which kept most of the “oppressed” from stepping on whitey’s face. Forever.

    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their “oppressed” position.

    Don’t laugh. If “microagressions” and “gay marriage” and “white privilege” and “hate speech” and other unAmerican nonsense can become a thing, this can too.

    You heard it here first.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @whorefinder


    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their “oppressed” position.
     
    Grades are only a social construct anyway. If you feel your paper was worth an A you should get an A. Because feelings matter. The best system would be to allow women and People of Color to grade their own papers. Why should some evil white cishet male get to impose an oppressive grade on them?
    , @peterike
    @whorefinder


    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their “oppressed” position.

     

    Blind grading is a joke anyway if the test has any essays on it. You think that Obama in a law school "blind grading" test doesn't toss in, "As a black man who grew up overseas, I feel..."

    Bingo. The blind can now see.

    Replies: @unpc downunder

  80. @SPMoore8
    Well, Jedidah is a woman and seems to be a real one, not a transwoman. (Pronounced "Je-DIE-dah", rhymes with "Delilah", probably has a brother named "Damson", you can probably guess how he was named.)

    Okay, well, the major logical problem here is that the whole idea of affirmative action is to ignore test scores. No one has ever argued (at least not in 50 years plus) that an African American should be excluded from top schools or whatever if they have top scores. The whole idea is to ignore top scores. The justification for that can either be (a) payback for slavery, or (b) diverse POV's. So Jedidah actually agrees with us, and SCOTUS, that studying physics has nothing to do with diverse POV's, but at the same time that's the only recognized justification for Affirmative Action.

    The rest of it is just the usual chip on the shoulder attitude that black people tend to have. Which I regret, they shouldn't have that chip on their shoulder and it's certainly true that it's there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    There doesn't seem to be any logic to the piece other than (a) she agrees that diversity has nothing to do with physics, (b) black people's feelings are easily hurt, so perhaps that's why (c) she ends up a cheer leading riff about black students blowing physical concepts out of the water.

    Except that at one point she writes:

    Contrary to Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. Nor does the pursuit of scientific knowledge exist completely apart from the social dynamics, attitudes and cultures of those who seek answers. Science is inextricably linked with our shared humanity and distinct experiences.
     


    By suggesting, and sadly litigating, that diversity — and more important, inclusion and equal opportunity — aren’t paramount to the production of new scientific information, we wrongly imply that the most important part of scientific discovery is in the classroom.
     
    So apparently diversity does confer some unique perspective. Except that she doesn't really offer any examples. Also I think there's a lack of agreement in there.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Bill Jones, @anon, @Percy Gryce, @Desiderius

    I guess biblical literacy is not our strong suit here at iSteve:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedidah

    • Agree: SPMoore8
  81. @peterike
    Mostly OT but vaguely connected via technology.

    Juniper Networks, a maker of very large routers that transfer much corporate and internet data, announced today that they discovered "unauthorized code" in their routers that would allow someone to decrypt data sent over VPNs and also gain access to their devices. This code has apparently been there since 2012.

    They have not said anything about how it could have gotten there. Over on Twitter some are daring to speculate that it was "the Chinese," some say the NSA. I would guess it's the Chinese, but not by somebody hacking into Juniper's systems. No. Bet your bottom dollar that hundreds of Chinese work at Juniper, and one of them did this because he was, of course, loyal to China, or blackmailed, or bribed. But I would bet a million bucks that if they ever find who did it, it will be a Chinese national (maybe an Indian or Russian) working for Juniper because diversity and H-1B (the international corporate spy program).

    I'm curious how "big" this story will play with the media. In reality, it's beyond huge. It's absolutely disastrous.

    For those interested, here is the statement from Juniper:

    http://forums.juniper.net/t5/Security-Incident-Response/Important-Announcement-about-ScreenOS/ba-p/285554

    Replies: @Vinay

    “But I would bet a million bucks that if they ever find who did it, it will be a Chinese national (maybe an Indian or Russian) working for Juniper because diversity and H-1B (the international corporate spy program).”

    Yes, tech companies are real big on diversity and insist on hiring Indians and Chinese even though they can find plenty of white Americans are super excited about working in system software.

    Of course, another reason they hire these foreigners is because they’re cheap labor. True, Glassdoor named Juniper the highest payer in the valley for software engineers but what do they know, eh?

    Perhaps Volkswagen was also sabotaged by a Chinese national – why would a German uber mensch engineer ever need to cheat on anything?

    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    @Vinay

    Because he realized it was a Kobayashi Maru test?

    This is a term from the fictional Star Trek universe, as well described in Wikipedia:



    Notable test takers
    Saavik's test

    The opening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is itself a Kobayashi Maru test, but this is not revealed until after the end of the scene, leading the audience to believe that this is a "genuine" combat scenario involving the U.S.S. Enterprise. The test-taker, Saavik (Kirstie Alley), is in command of the simulated U.S.S. Enterprise. Captain Spock is in his familiar role as science officer and second-in-command with Dr. McCoy standing by on the bridge, Uhura as communications officer, Hikaru Sulu as helm officer, and (as the viewers later learn) cadets filling other roles.

    The scene, using the same set built to represent the bridge of the Enterprise later in the film, is a vehicle to introduce the concept of the no-win scenario as presented to cadets. The main plot deals with James Kirk's response when finally forced to face such a scenario in real life.

    Shortly after the test begins, Saavik orders Sulu to plot an intercept course with the distressed ship. Contact with the ship is lost, and three Klingon battle cruisers appear on an intercept course. Outgunned and in violation of the treaty, Saavik orders a retreat, but the Klingon ships quickly overtake and cripple the Enterprise. Further attacks kill Sulu, Uhura, McCoy, and Spock. Montgomery Scott reports that the Enterprise is dead in space. Saavik orders that a log buoy be launched, and that the crew abandon ship.

    Admiral James Kirk, who had been monitoring the situation from a control room, halts the simulation. All the "deceased" officers rise, and Spock (now revealed as the cadets' instructor) orders the trainees to the briefing room. Saavik protests being subjected to a no-win scenario, opining that it does not properly reflect her command abilities. Kirk explains that the test is meant to reveal how the subject deals with a no-win scenario, and that how one deals with death is as important as how one deals with life. Later in the film, after repeated inquiries from Saavik, Kirk says that the exercise is a true no-win scenario because there is no correct resolution—it is a test of character.[2]
    James T. Kirk's test

    James T. Kirk took the test three times while at Starfleet Academy. Before his third attempt, Kirk surreptitiously reprogrammed the simulator so that it was possible to rescue the freighter. This fact is revealed in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as Kirk, Saavik and others are marooned. Saavik accuses Kirk of never having faced the no-win scenario. Kirk replies that he doesn't believe in such a thing. Despite having cheated, Kirk was awarded a commendation for "original thinking".
     
    The regulations weren't really designed to be meetable or to make sense. At the very least they imply a vehicle with substantially increased price and excessive maintenance costs.

    In real life, the USAF employed a similar test in the selection of SR-71 crews. A candidate, after a successful interview and a T-38 checkride, would be allowed to fly the SR-71 simulator. It was presented as a simple familiarization/orientation ride, but the prospect would be required to fly some relatively demanding profiles. When suitably occupied, a simulator operator would switch off a main power breaker, causing the entire cabin and instrument panel to go dead. An instructor pilot would rush up and ask what the candidate did, acting as if it had never happened before and accusing the candidate of having committed some damaging and uncalled-for act in the cockpit.

    What was being tested for was the reaction. One passed by being genuinely concerned, but not becoming hysterical or trying to "kiss up", nor by a total lack of concern or a wise-ass response. In any event, the departing aviator was made to agree to silence as to the incident for alleged security reasons, in reality so thet word wouldn't get around and the test gamed. As far as I know, no SR pilot ever discussed the event until after Senior Crown was wound down to the press or outside parties.
  82. “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” Followed by: “I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?”

    They could lend their hair to all kinds of experiments.

  83. @middle aged vet
    @TangoMan

    TangoMan - Feel free to disagree with me, but I do not think that my judgment is based on a lack of knowledge of STEM academia (although as a fan of Ben Stein's I have a foolishly soft spot in my heart for Danica McCellar's Euler number, and hope that it is legit...). Let's make some precise statements, feel free to disagree with any of them. First statement. Every year, one out of ten thousand babies is born with the genetic ability to handle modern physics. Not one in a thousand, but one in ten thousand, at best. (Steve Hsu has explained this well on his easily accessible web site). Anyway, plenty of those babies are Jewish, Parsi, Celtic, Slavic, German, Ethiopian, Han Chinese, Japanese and other usual suspects, but when you are talking about (a) tens of millions of babies and (b) at most, one and a half standard deviations - and. more likely, half a standard deviation, between the groups and races with respect to high-M abilities, and an unknowable - believe me, the tail ends are unknowable - arbitrariness at the tail ends of the distribution, plenty of those babies will not be J, P, C, S, G, E, H.C, or J. Nothing I know about Tyson leads me to believe he was not one of those babies, or at least very similar to one of those babies. Second statement. There are about ten really high level math programs in the US (MIT, Caltech, U of Chicago, and Maryland have special classes for the one or two dozen, mostly male, phenoms in each matriculating class - the number never goes above thirty at any given institution). Neil de Grasse Tyson, as far as I know (speaking as someone who, due to a lack of the appropriate focus, would not have succeeded in one of those classes), could have, with the right support, have succeeded in one of those classes. He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain. Third statement. Carl Sagan, Clyde Tombaugh, Gerard de Vaucouleurs, Bart Bok, Descartes, Robert Goddard, and Vera Rubin all made fascinating discoveries or described wonderful theories, but none of them ever wrote a single paper that a competent scientist would have had to read twice to understand, and there are no papers written by anyone in the list I have given (with the possible exception of a few things written by Descartes) that someone as obviously as intelligent as Tyson could not have written under the right circumstances. Sure, Tyson spent at most ten focused minutes on medieval astronomy before putting a stupid ten minutes on the subject into his PBS series (hint: he tried to say insulting things about Christian belief - no surprise there, he must have known where his bread is buttered, as they used to say), and I guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science. Well, Bayesian analysis kind of leads me to believe that it might not be completely accurate to focus only on those subjects I know well when assessing the intelligence of those I overall disagree with. After all, I am certain I have said dumb things about things I don't know much about too, doesn't mean I don't know what I am talking about on those occasions when I am not saying dumb things.

    Replies: @TangoMan, @SPMoore8

    Here is a report on how Affirmative Action was implemented at the University of Maryland Medical School. One snippet:

    In its 1996 Minority Achievement Report, UMSM notes,“[Minority students] received unlimited hours for tutoring and other support which is perceived by the non-minority student as ‘special treatment.’

    Here is how the University of North Carolina treated some black students:

    For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake “paper classes,” and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.

    Here is how black doctorates fare in terms of being hired and then being awarded tenure:

    The researchers looked at about 31,300 doctoral recipients surveyed from 1993 to 2010, examining both their likelihood of obtaining tenure-track positions and their likelihood of obtaining tenure. . . .

    When it came to landing tenure-track jobs in their field, women and members of minority groups considered underrepresented appeared to be at a significant advantage. Black and Hispanic doctorate holders were both quicker and, respectively, 51 percent and 30 percent more likely than their white counterparts to obtain such positions. . . . .

    The picture changed markedly when it came to getting tenure, which tenure-track professors, on the whole, were most likely to receive at about the seven-year mark. Non-Asian minority members and women were slower to receive tenure, and black assistant professors were substantially less likely to ever receive it.

    He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain.

    When institutions require diversity metrics be met in order for professors to rise in rank, then this introduces pressures which lead to corruption. Grades are not some neutral metric in such an environment. There is a lot of pressure on professors to not fail minority students.

    If grades were a metric unaffected by corruption and accurately reflected material mastery, then we wouldn’t be seeing mismatch all over the place, as in blacks being sought after and hired into tenure track positions and then dismally failing to achieve tenure.

    Affirmative Action corrupts all it touches and so you can’t trust milestones like “passing a class” or “earning a degree.”

    guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science.

    This is the same dynamic that is the focus of a comment by someone (name escapes me at the moment) who remarked that he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    Tyson is wrong on a subject you know something about but is supposed to be correct on subjects you don’t know?

    My point here is on Affirmative Action Stigma – minorities who are recipients of degrees from institutions which practice AA are the beneficiaries of tainted fruit. All the standards have been corrupted and thus impartial observers have no means by which to discern a student who merits his degree and accomplishments from a student who was awarded his degree and accomplishments in order to meet some societal goal regarding equal outcomes for minorities. I have no rational reason to believe that Tyson earned his academic accomplishments due to his abilities. A paper trail demonstrating original thinking and good physics would speak for itself but that’s lacking and all that’s left are credentials earned from corrupt institutions who practice AA.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @TangoMan


    he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.
     
    Gell-Mann Effect.
    , @CJ
    @TangoMan

    This is the same dynamic that is the focus of a comment by someone (name escapes me at the moment) who remarked that he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    The Gell-Mann Effect, as explained by Michael Crichton..

  84. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Brits and Germans had exemplary civil service.

    PC is destroying it.”

    The US used to have a very high-quality competitive civil service. Then they got rid of it. Didn’t work in the brave new PC world. (Example, the Apollo astronauts and most of those guys in mission control were civil service.)

    • Replies: @whorefinder
    @anonymous


    The US used to have a very high-quality competitive civil service. Then they got rid of it. Didn’t work in the brave new PC world. (Example, the Apollo astronauts and most of those guys in mission control were civil service.)
     
    The irony is that the U.S. civil service was put in place specifically to destroy ethnic/racial preferences. The progressives spent 60-80 years fighting the Irish/Italian/Jewish hordes from giving Tammany Hall-style graft reward jobs to members of the clan who voted them into power. The civil service exams were designed to stop power brokers from just giving all the jobs to their ethnic backers and at least get some quality people in there.


    Now, of course, the left is about removing such "unfair" and "disparate" stumbling blocks from giving their graft to their ethnic clans. And complaining about piss-poor government work is unpatriotic, racist, and verboten.

    Imagine that: the left actually used to take seriously complaints about the government doing a piss-poor job in many areas and sought to improve and streamline the government. Now they just think throwing more money and expanding the services that are supposed to be done by government and giving more jobs to blacks, Hispanics, women, and gays will magically improve it. And if you complain about it, you're the evil one.

    It's really funny that the left , simultaneously with trying to remove their old safeguards against political/ethnic graft-jobs and handouts , has re-adopted the name "progressive" again---when those old progressives wanted exactly the opposite.

    Wish they could be shamed with quotes from actual progressives of that era demonstrating why their arguments are a betrayal of their own principles. Eh, but who ever knew a lefty with shame?

    Replies: @ben tillman

    , @Hibernian
    @anonymous

    Most if not all astronauts up through the end of Apollo were military.

  85. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I think the real benefit of black students in physics is that the alumni magazine, the advertisements for the school, and any such related material can be filled with pics of classrooms or hallways containing black students. Heck, smiling black students. In the modern world, it just has to look good, not much else really matters.

    I still wonder if it’s all—the whole thing—a Cold War con-game to make the US look good to the rebels in lower equatorial Congo and the like. There was a time such things seemed very very important. Agitprop comes in many forms. Like salesmanship, the best agitprop is probably “true lies”.

  86. LAST week during oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case about the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions policies, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. posed two questions: “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” Followed by: “I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?”

    I seem to be reading this differently from everyone else. The usual narrative is that diversity per se is an overwhelmingly good thing, and while one can make a case for this in the study of History or Literature because diversity introduces different viewpoints, the Judge is quite reasonably asking how this is supposed to work in the hard sciences.

    Of course, it doesn’t work at all: black Americans do not have a different “take” on Physics, in the way that they might have on History. In no way is the Judge calling on black Physics students or graduates to defend their worthiness: he is asking whether they should be treated more favourably simply because they are black.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve met a black American physicist whose intellect was far ahead of mine. I have no doubt that she achieved her honours without any need for race-conscious treatment (probably the opposite, because she would have been educated just after the end of segregation); and I could also add that her teaching was not different in character from that of her white peers.

  87. @SPMoore8
    Well, Jedidah is a woman and seems to be a real one, not a transwoman. (Pronounced "Je-DIE-dah", rhymes with "Delilah", probably has a brother named "Damson", you can probably guess how he was named.)

    Okay, well, the major logical problem here is that the whole idea of affirmative action is to ignore test scores. No one has ever argued (at least not in 50 years plus) that an African American should be excluded from top schools or whatever if they have top scores. The whole idea is to ignore top scores. The justification for that can either be (a) payback for slavery, or (b) diverse POV's. So Jedidah actually agrees with us, and SCOTUS, that studying physics has nothing to do with diverse POV's, but at the same time that's the only recognized justification for Affirmative Action.

    The rest of it is just the usual chip on the shoulder attitude that black people tend to have. Which I regret, they shouldn't have that chip on their shoulder and it's certainly true that it's there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    There doesn't seem to be any logic to the piece other than (a) she agrees that diversity has nothing to do with physics, (b) black people's feelings are easily hurt, so perhaps that's why (c) she ends up a cheer leading riff about black students blowing physical concepts out of the water.

    Except that at one point she writes:

    Contrary to Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact. Nor does the pursuit of scientific knowledge exist completely apart from the social dynamics, attitudes and cultures of those who seek answers. Science is inextricably linked with our shared humanity and distinct experiences.
     


    By suggesting, and sadly litigating, that diversity — and more important, inclusion and equal opportunity — aren’t paramount to the production of new scientific information, we wrongly imply that the most important part of scientific discovery is in the classroom.
     
    So apparently diversity does confer some unique perspective. Except that she doesn't really offer any examples. Also I think there's a lack of agreement in there.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Bill Jones, @anon, @Percy Gryce, @Desiderius

    Which I regret, they shouldn’t have that chip on their shoulder and it’s certainly true that it’s there, not because of slavery, but because of the stereotype in our culture about black people and their intelligence.

    It’s there because it works.

    The progs who decide which blacks to promote like them that way, because they make better soldiers in their war on other whites.

  88. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Tiny Duck
    The demeaning paternalism was more than insulting: implied the black students are almost like a lab rats and curiosities inside white classrooms where they don't belong.

    That this racial condescension still exists in 2015 is rather appalling. Frankly I think this case was specious and should not of been taken up by the court.

    Dr. Isler's essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for "minorities," and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present. How demeaning to African Americans — and to everyone, in fact.
    Of course, civil rights advocates have been forced by conservative entrenchment to plead the (very real) benefits of racial diversity in the academy rather than being able to assume that the benefits of openness and diversity and the equality of all are, well, self-evident.
    My prayer for our nation, the answer to which is by no means assured, is that some day the overt racism in Justices Scalia and Roberts' questioning — and likely ruling — will be as glaringly racist to the vast majority of those of future generations as Supreme Court decisions such as Dred Scott are now.

    Replies: @SPMoore8, @The Anti-Gnostic, @Anonymous

    Derrow, Can’t you write your own comments?

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Watham, MA. The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, are from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anonymous

    That should be, "The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, is from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA."

    , @JEC
    @Anonymous

    Some plagiarists believe if their heart's in the 'right place', it doesn't matter whose ideas they stole.

    , @Hibernian
    @Anonymous

    Maybe Mc Morrow and Bowman are his sock puppets.

    , @ben tillman
    @Anonymous


    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Wa[l]tham, MA.
     
    This is the third sentence:

    Dr. Isler’s essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for “minorities,” and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present.
     
    Wow -- that's horrendous! Isler is not "expressing racism"; she's alleging it. "Need" is the wrong word. Someone might require them to justify their worthiness, but no one needs a justification. She skipped an "in which" or "in". "This" has no conceivable antecedent. "Having" needs an antecedent explicit or implicit possessive adjective, but it has none, and it's a usage error in any case since "having to do" something does not constitute actually doing something.

    Writing like that, she could not get a management degree from the University of Georgia. But she went to Smith, where the standards are lower, apparently. And her LinkedIn page says she's a professional writer!

    Replies: @ben tillman

  89. @middle aged vet
    @TangoMan

    TangoMan - Feel free to disagree with me, but I do not think that my judgment is based on a lack of knowledge of STEM academia (although as a fan of Ben Stein's I have a foolishly soft spot in my heart for Danica McCellar's Euler number, and hope that it is legit...). Let's make some precise statements, feel free to disagree with any of them. First statement. Every year, one out of ten thousand babies is born with the genetic ability to handle modern physics. Not one in a thousand, but one in ten thousand, at best. (Steve Hsu has explained this well on his easily accessible web site). Anyway, plenty of those babies are Jewish, Parsi, Celtic, Slavic, German, Ethiopian, Han Chinese, Japanese and other usual suspects, but when you are talking about (a) tens of millions of babies and (b) at most, one and a half standard deviations - and. more likely, half a standard deviation, between the groups and races with respect to high-M abilities, and an unknowable - believe me, the tail ends are unknowable - arbitrariness at the tail ends of the distribution, plenty of those babies will not be J, P, C, S, G, E, H.C, or J. Nothing I know about Tyson leads me to believe he was not one of those babies, or at least very similar to one of those babies. Second statement. There are about ten really high level math programs in the US (MIT, Caltech, U of Chicago, and Maryland have special classes for the one or two dozen, mostly male, phenoms in each matriculating class - the number never goes above thirty at any given institution). Neil de Grasse Tyson, as far as I know (speaking as someone who, due to a lack of the appropriate focus, would not have succeeded in one of those classes), could have, with the right support, have succeeded in one of those classes. He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain. Third statement. Carl Sagan, Clyde Tombaugh, Gerard de Vaucouleurs, Bart Bok, Descartes, Robert Goddard, and Vera Rubin all made fascinating discoveries or described wonderful theories, but none of them ever wrote a single paper that a competent scientist would have had to read twice to understand, and there are no papers written by anyone in the list I have given (with the possible exception of a few things written by Descartes) that someone as obviously as intelligent as Tyson could not have written under the right circumstances. Sure, Tyson spent at most ten focused minutes on medieval astronomy before putting a stupid ten minutes on the subject into his PBS series (hint: he tried to say insulting things about Christian belief - no surprise there, he must have known where his bread is buttered, as they used to say), and I guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science. Well, Bayesian analysis kind of leads me to believe that it might not be completely accurate to focus only on those subjects I know well when assessing the intelligence of those I overall disagree with. After all, I am certain I have said dumb things about things I don't know much about too, doesn't mean I don't know what I am talking about on those occasions when I am not saying dumb things.

    Replies: @TangoMan, @SPMoore8

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let’s just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there’s more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There’s also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there’s a tendency to make too much of IQ. It’s not a badge, it’s not a medal, it’s just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively — like Feynman — might be a good or great physicist. It doesn’t matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that’s the only way to judge.

    • Replies: @anon
    @SPMoore8

    So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that’s the only way to judge.

    He does write some of it down, on Twitter. Pearls of wisdom such as:

    "Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Neil deGrasse Tyson – Verified account ‏@neiltyson

    “We all came from the sea” — JFKennedy (1962). Back when US politicians understood basic Biology."

    and:

    "Neil deGrasse Tyson ‏@neiltyson
    The @MartianMovie — where the protagonist survives not on Wit, Prayer, or Hope. but by “Sciencing the Shit" out of everything"

    and, of course:

    "Imagine a world where Nations find the search for life in the Universe more interesting than the taking of life on Earth."

    I realize that it's just Twitter, but his entire personality, as far as I can tell, most resembles those comic strips and t-shirts that freshman science students surround themselves with, in an effort to show what a "nerd" they are, before they realize that they are mostly very small fish in a very big pond.

    Which wouldn't irritate me as much as it does if people who know nothing about science didn't constantly re-tweet it, to show off how much they like smart things.

    People call him a "science popularizer", but it seems more like he's just popularizing telling people how much you like science than any actual scientific knowledge.

    , @Former Darfur
    @SPMoore8

    Anyone can "study" anything, but to be at the top tier of physics research as it is currently practiced, earning a Ph.D at a relatively elite school, the idea that 38K out of our 350 million population can-narrowing that further down to being in an age range to start studies in school, etc- is probably within a first order approximation of being right.

    Plenty of 120-140 IQ people can do well in engineering or medicine, earning a very good living and positively influencing life for many people. It is no cause for shame. In fact, 120-140 people are probably much happier on average than 160 IQ people, who often have difficulty dealing with a world in which most people are comparatively stupid.

    , @middle aged vet
    @SPMoore8

    For the 1 in 10,000 figure I should have specified contemporary theoretical physics (that would include the latest theoretical work in high energy physics, quantum physics, loop gravity, string theory, that sort of thing) and it was not my estimate , it is something I read in a series of blog posts by Steve Hsu (maybe I read incorrectly. He usually mentioned Feynman and Caltech in those blog posts). The "astrophysics" ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). Also, I meant Erdos number, not Euler number, in the Danica McKellar reference (she co-wrote a math article with a math professor who co-wrote an article at x degrees of separation from Erdos, who was kind of a Kevin Bacon of math article writers for decades. Euler was prolific too but not so much of a co-writer and he lived much longer ago).

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Old Palo Altan

    , @MarkinLA
    @SPMoore8

    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed. This is probably why Feynman did so poorly for such a huge figure in physics. The IQ test also measures how fast you can come up with the answer as well as you coming up with the answer. However, it isn't a very deep test.

    There is no doubt that somebody with a high IQ should normally do better than someone with a low IQ since the "dumber" guy will take longer to see the answers in the normal coursework needed for training. However, seeing something nobody has ever seen before (the basis for innovation and new paths in science) is more dependent on hard work, doggedness, how deep you can think, and the ability to see the different solution paths (even if they turn out to be blind alleys).

    Of course, if you don't have a very high IQ you probably won't be willing to give up your life studying all hours of the day to gain the basics you need as a student in order to keep up with the seemingly gifted students.

    Replies: @SPMoore8, @Truth

    , @cwhatfuture
    @SPMoore8

    I have met a few persons in my life, including physics and math professors, who just might have a 160 IQ or thereabouts. What I have found is that in certain areas, string theory, or shock waves to think of two specific real examples, they seemed astoundingly brilliant. (I admit it is hard for me to truly judge but that is how it seemed to me and they were tenured professors). But outside of their areas of expertise, they do not seem awe-inspiringly brilliant to me at all. Move the conversation from shock waves to politics or history or finance and you get no great insights and an average amount of foolishness.

  90. @Anonymous
    @Tiny Duck

    Derrow, Can't you write your own comments?

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Watham, MA. The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, are from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JEC, @Hibernian, @ben tillman

    That should be, “The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, is from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.”

  91. @TangoMan
    @middle aged vet

    Here is a report on how Affirmative Action was implemented at the University of Maryland Medical School. One snippet:


    In its 1996 Minority Achievement Report, UMSM notes,“[Minority students] received unlimited hours for tutoring and other support which is perceived by the non-minority student as ‘special treatment.’
     
    Here is how the University of North Carolina treated some black students:

    For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
     
    Here is how black doctorates fare in terms of being hired and then being awarded tenure:

    The researchers looked at about 31,300 doctoral recipients surveyed from 1993 to 2010, examining both their likelihood of obtaining tenure-track positions and their likelihood of obtaining tenure. . . .

    When it came to landing tenure-track jobs in their field, women and members of minority groups considered underrepresented appeared to be at a significant advantage. Black and Hispanic doctorate holders were both quicker and, respectively, 51 percent and 30 percent more likely than their white counterparts to obtain such positions. . . . .

    The picture changed markedly when it came to getting tenure, which tenure-track professors, on the whole, were most likely to receive at about the seven-year mark. Non-Asian minority members and women were slower to receive tenure, and black assistant professors were substantially less likely to ever receive it.
     

    He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain.

    When institutions require diversity metrics be met in order for professors to rise in rank, then this introduces pressures which lead to corruption. Grades are not some neutral metric in such an environment. There is a lot of pressure on professors to not fail minority students.

    If grades were a metric unaffected by corruption and accurately reflected material mastery, then we wouldn't be seeing mismatch all over the place, as in blacks being sought after and hired into tenure track positions and then dismally failing to achieve tenure.

    Affirmative Action corrupts all it touches and so you can't trust milestones like "passing a class" or "earning a degree."

    guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science.

    This is the same dynamic that is the focus of a comment by someone (name escapes me at the moment) who remarked that he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    Tyson is wrong on a subject you know something about but is supposed to be correct on subjects you don't know?

    My point here is on Affirmative Action Stigma - minorities who are recipients of degrees from institutions which practice AA are the beneficiaries of tainted fruit. All the standards have been corrupted and thus impartial observers have no means by which to discern a student who merits his degree and accomplishments from a student who was awarded his degree and accomplishments in order to meet some societal goal regarding equal outcomes for minorities. I have no rational reason to believe that Tyson earned his academic accomplishments due to his abilities. A paper trail demonstrating original thinking and good physics would speak for itself but that's lacking and all that's left are credentials earned from corrupt institutions who practice AA.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @CJ

    he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    Gell-Mann Effect.

    • Agree: TangoMan
  92. “Contrary to Chief Justice Roberts’s implication, science is not some unchanging world of pure objectivity and fact.”

    Humm. This attitude could explain why NASA now only does Diversity and Climate Change, no longer can put a man into space, and it needs the Russians if you actually want to do anything.

  93. @The most deplorable one
    @Steve Sailer

    Well, it seems that there is some some criticism of his work.

    Perhaps he will be remembered as the Stephen J Gould of the 21st century.

    Replies: @5371

    If she had kept her mouth shut, she might have continued to appear intelligent.

  94. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Tiny Duck

    It's real simple, friendo: if they have the intellectual chops, they don't need affirmative action; if they don't have the intellectual chops, it is cynical and damaging to throw them in the deep end of the pool.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    It’s real simple, friendo: if they have the intellectual chops, they don’t need affirmative action; if they don’t have the intellectual chops, it is cynical and damaging to throw them in the deep end of the pool.

    I’ll buy the latter, but the former is only the case because the progs have seen blacks as useful. Even there, it’s only blacks who act a certain way that is congenial to the prog worldview.

    Conservative blacks are likely to have an even tougher time than other conservatives, intellectual chops or no.

    An affirmative action along the lines practiced by the NFL among coaches isn’t obviously suboptimal.

  95. @whorefinder
    The only good thing about having more blacks in your STEM course is that, after they start failing the classes at catastrophic rates, the professors will be forced to grade on a curve and thus your B will become an A.

    On a more serious note, at what point will colleges declare that "blind grading" is racist/sexist/homo-hating/etc. and do away with it?

    The original purpose was to prevent "white privilege" and teacher's pets from currying favor with (obviously white supremacist) Professors and getting more lenient grades. So they introduced the blind grading, where you don't write your name on a test or any identifying information but your SSN/some randomly assigned number, and therefore the professor/t.a.'s must grade on merit.

    But that also prevented lefty professors from giving academic bonus points/leniency to the blacks/women/gays they did favor. Which kept most of the "oppressed" from stepping on whitey's face. Forever.

    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their "oppressed" position.

    Don't laugh. If "microagressions" and "gay marriage" and "white privilege" and "hate speech" and other unAmerican nonsense can become a thing, this can too.

    You heard it here first.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @peterike

    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their “oppressed” position.

    Grades are only a social construct anyway. If you feel your paper was worth an A you should get an A. Because feelings matter. The best system would be to allow women and People of Color to grade their own papers. Why should some evil white cishet male get to impose an oppressive grade on them?

  96. @Glossy
    You didn't mention black bodies?

    Replies: @Realist, @Brutusale

    “You didn’t mention black bodies?”

    They radiate.

  97. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @SPMoore8
    @middle aged vet

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let's just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there's more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There's also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there's a tendency to make too much of IQ. It's not a badge, it's not a medal, it's just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively -- like Feynman -- might be a good or great physicist. It doesn't matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that's the only way to judge.

    Replies: @anon, @Former Darfur, @middle aged vet, @MarkinLA, @cwhatfuture

    So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that’s the only way to judge.

    He does write some of it down, on Twitter. Pearls of wisdom such as:

    “Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Neil deGrasse Tyson – Verified account ‏@neiltyson

    “We all came from the sea” — JFKennedy (1962). Back when US politicians understood basic Biology.”

    and:

    “Neil deGrasse Tyson ‏@neiltyson
    The @MartianMovie — where the protagonist survives not on Wit, Prayer, or Hope. but by “Sciencing the Shit” out of everything”

    and, of course:

    “Imagine a world where Nations find the search for life in the Universe more interesting than the taking of life on Earth.”

    I realize that it’s just Twitter, but his entire personality, as far as I can tell, most resembles those comic strips and t-shirts that freshman science students surround themselves with, in an effort to show what a “nerd” they are, before they realize that they are mostly very small fish in a very big pond.

    Which wouldn’t irritate me as much as it does if people who know nothing about science didn’t constantly re-tweet it, to show off how much they like smart things.

    People call him a “science popularizer”, but it seems more like he’s just popularizing telling people how much you like science than any actual scientific knowledge.

  98. @Vinay
    @peterike

    "But I would bet a million bucks that if they ever find who did it, it will be a Chinese national (maybe an Indian or Russian) working for Juniper because diversity and H-1B (the international corporate spy program)."

    Yes, tech companies are real big on diversity and insist on hiring Indians and Chinese even though they can find plenty of white Americans are super excited about working in system software.

    Of course, another reason they hire these foreigners is because they're cheap labor. True, Glassdoor named Juniper the highest payer in the valley for software engineers but what do they know, eh?

    Perhaps Volkswagen was also sabotaged by a Chinese national - why would a German uber mensch engineer ever need to cheat on anything?

    Replies: @Former Darfur

    Because he realized it was a Kobayashi Maru test?

    This is a term from the fictional Star Trek universe, as well described in Wikipedia:

    Notable test takers
    Saavik’s test

    The opening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is itself a Kobayashi Maru test, but this is not revealed until after the end of the scene, leading the audience to believe that this is a “genuine” combat scenario involving the U.S.S. Enterprise. The test-taker, Saavik (Kirstie Alley), is in command of the simulated U.S.S. Enterprise. Captain Spock is in his familiar role as science officer and second-in-command with Dr. McCoy standing by on the bridge, Uhura as communications officer, Hikaru Sulu as helm officer, and (as the viewers later learn) cadets filling other roles.

    The scene, using the same set built to represent the bridge of the Enterprise later in the film, is a vehicle to introduce the concept of the no-win scenario as presented to cadets. The main plot deals with James Kirk’s response when finally forced to face such a scenario in real life.

    Shortly after the test begins, Saavik orders Sulu to plot an intercept course with the distressed ship. Contact with the ship is lost, and three Klingon battle cruisers appear on an intercept course. Outgunned and in violation of the treaty, Saavik orders a retreat, but the Klingon ships quickly overtake and cripple the Enterprise. Further attacks kill Sulu, Uhura, McCoy, and Spock. Montgomery Scott reports that the Enterprise is dead in space. Saavik orders that a log buoy be launched, and that the crew abandon ship.

    Admiral James Kirk, who had been monitoring the situation from a control room, halts the simulation. All the “deceased” officers rise, and Spock (now revealed as the cadets’ instructor) orders the trainees to the briefing room. Saavik protests being subjected to a no-win scenario, opining that it does not properly reflect her command abilities. Kirk explains that the test is meant to reveal how the subject deals with a no-win scenario, and that how one deals with death is as important as how one deals with life. Later in the film, after repeated inquiries from Saavik, Kirk says that the exercise is a true no-win scenario because there is no correct resolution—it is a test of character.[2]
    James T. Kirk’s test

    James T. Kirk took the test three times while at Starfleet Academy. Before his third attempt, Kirk surreptitiously reprogrammed the simulator so that it was possible to rescue the freighter. This fact is revealed in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as Kirk, Saavik and others are marooned. Saavik accuses Kirk of never having faced the no-win scenario. Kirk replies that he doesn’t believe in such a thing. Despite having cheated, Kirk was awarded a commendation for “original thinking”.

    The regulations weren’t really designed to be meetable or to make sense. At the very least they imply a vehicle with substantially increased price and excessive maintenance costs.

    In real life, the USAF employed a similar test in the selection of SR-71 crews. A candidate, after a successful interview and a T-38 checkride, would be allowed to fly the SR-71 simulator. It was presented as a simple familiarization/orientation ride, but the prospect would be required to fly some relatively demanding profiles. When suitably occupied, a simulator operator would switch off a main power breaker, causing the entire cabin and instrument panel to go dead. An instructor pilot would rush up and ask what the candidate did, acting as if it had never happened before and accusing the candidate of having committed some damaging and uncalled-for act in the cockpit.

    What was being tested for was the reaction. One passed by being genuinely concerned, but not becoming hysterical or trying to “kiss up”, nor by a total lack of concern or a wise-ass response. In any event, the departing aviator was made to agree to silence as to the incident for alleged security reasons, in reality so thet word wouldn’t get around and the test gamed. As far as I know, no SR pilot ever discussed the event until after Senior Crown was wound down to the press or outside parties.

  99. @SPMoore8
    @middle aged vet

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let's just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there's more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There's also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there's a tendency to make too much of IQ. It's not a badge, it's not a medal, it's just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively -- like Feynman -- might be a good or great physicist. It doesn't matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that's the only way to judge.

    Replies: @anon, @Former Darfur, @middle aged vet, @MarkinLA, @cwhatfuture

    Anyone can “study” anything, but to be at the top tier of physics research as it is currently practiced, earning a Ph.D at a relatively elite school, the idea that 38K out of our 350 million population can-narrowing that further down to being in an age range to start studies in school, etc- is probably within a first order approximation of being right.

    Plenty of 120-140 IQ people can do well in engineering or medicine, earning a very good living and positively influencing life for many people. It is no cause for shame. In fact, 120-140 people are probably much happier on average than 160 IQ people, who often have difficulty dealing with a world in which most people are comparatively stupid.

  100. @anonymous
    "Brits and Germans had exemplary civil service.

    PC is destroying it."


    The US used to have a very high-quality competitive civil service. Then they got rid of it. Didn't work in the brave new PC world. (Example, the Apollo astronauts and most of those guys in mission control were civil service.)

    Replies: @whorefinder, @Hibernian

    The US used to have a very high-quality competitive civil service. Then they got rid of it. Didn’t work in the brave new PC world. (Example, the Apollo astronauts and most of those guys in mission control were civil service.)

    The irony is that the U.S. civil service was put in place specifically to destroy ethnic/racial preferences. The progressives spent 60-80 years fighting the Irish/Italian/Jewish hordes from giving Tammany Hall-style graft reward jobs to members of the clan who voted them into power. The civil service exams were designed to stop power brokers from just giving all the jobs to their ethnic backers and at least get some quality people in there.

    Now, of course, the left is about removing such “unfair” and “disparate” stumbling blocks from giving their graft to their ethnic clans. And complaining about piss-poor government work is unpatriotic, racist, and verboten.

    Imagine that: the left actually used to take seriously complaints about the government doing a piss-poor job in many areas and sought to improve and streamline the government. Now they just think throwing more money and expanding the services that are supposed to be done by government and giving more jobs to blacks, Hispanics, women, and gays will magically improve it. And if you complain about it, you’re the evil one.

    It’s really funny that the left , simultaneously with trying to remove their old safeguards against political/ethnic graft-jobs and handouts , has re-adopted the name “progressive” again—when those old progressives wanted exactly the opposite.

    Wish they could be shamed with quotes from actual progressives of that era demonstrating why their arguments are a betrayal of their own principles. Eh, but who ever knew a lefty with shame?

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    @whorefinder


    It’s really funny that the left , simultaneously with trying to remove their old safeguards against political/ethnic graft-jobs and handouts , has re-adopted the name “progressive” again—when those old progressives wanted exactly the opposite.
     
    Maybe you should ask yourself whether this "funny" development might indicate that the people who advocated civil service exams weren't on the "left".

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

  101. I don’t know if it’s ever been posted here before, but Tyson was once asked his opinion of HBD and “the Larry Summers question”.

    http://www.upworthy.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-reveals-that-hes-been-black-his-whole-life-hilarity-and-wisdom-follow?c=gt1

    Basically, he answered it by not answering it, and then telling a story about being followed around in a store.

  102. “Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.”

    This sentence by Jedidah Isler, astrophysicist, may be the stupidest sentence I have ever read. And I strongly suspect Jedidah Isler, astrophysicist, may not even be bright enough to understand why.

    • Agree: Kylie, ben tillman
    • Replies: @Hawkwood
    @Billy Chav

    It just sounds so...black. Like in the next sentence she'll be telling us how the pyramids were built by the nubians to store grain when they wuz kingz.

    , @Dirk Dagger
    @Billy Chav

    Jedidah Isler, Ph.D., hombre.

  103. @SPMoore8
    @middle aged vet

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let's just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there's more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There's also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there's a tendency to make too much of IQ. It's not a badge, it's not a medal, it's just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively -- like Feynman -- might be a good or great physicist. It doesn't matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that's the only way to judge.

    Replies: @anon, @Former Darfur, @middle aged vet, @MarkinLA, @cwhatfuture

    For the 1 in 10,000 figure I should have specified contemporary theoretical physics (that would include the latest theoretical work in high energy physics, quantum physics, loop gravity, string theory, that sort of thing) and it was not my estimate , it is something I read in a series of blog posts by Steve Hsu (maybe I read incorrectly. He usually mentioned Feynman and Caltech in those blog posts). The “astrophysics” ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). Also, I meant Erdos number, not Euler number, in the Danica McKellar reference (she co-wrote a math article with a math professor who co-wrote an article at x degrees of separation from Erdos, who was kind of a Kevin Bacon of math article writers for decades. Euler was prolific too but not so much of a co-writer and he lived much longer ago).

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    @middle aged vet

    Danica McKellar has an Erdős–Bacon number of 6, one of the lowest on record.

    Replies: @James N. Kennett, @Ivy

    , @Mr. Anon
    @middle aged vet

    "The “astrophysics” ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). "

    Astrophysicists ARE theoretical physicists. Kip Thorne and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar are (were) astrophysicists. Neil Degrasse Tyson, the woman in this article, and most of the people who are called "asatrophysicists" by the public, are astronomers.

    , @Old Palo Altan
    @middle aged vet

    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world's leading set theorists.
    So there.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @Academic Gossip

  104. So black students at Mizzou can demand racial segregation because muh feelz but suggesting that they might be better off at schools that actually serve their academic needs is racist.

  105. @middle aged vet
    @SPMoore8

    For the 1 in 10,000 figure I should have specified contemporary theoretical physics (that would include the latest theoretical work in high energy physics, quantum physics, loop gravity, string theory, that sort of thing) and it was not my estimate , it is something I read in a series of blog posts by Steve Hsu (maybe I read incorrectly. He usually mentioned Feynman and Caltech in those blog posts). The "astrophysics" ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). Also, I meant Erdos number, not Euler number, in the Danica McKellar reference (she co-wrote a math article with a math professor who co-wrote an article at x degrees of separation from Erdos, who was kind of a Kevin Bacon of math article writers for decades. Euler was prolific too but not so much of a co-writer and he lived much longer ago).

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Old Palo Altan

    Danica McKellar has an Erdős–Bacon number of 6, one of the lowest on record.

    • Replies: @James N. Kennett
    @Percy Gryce

    The Erdős number makes sense only for Pure Mathematicians. What is her Hubble number?

    , @Ivy
    @Percy Gryce

    True confession: I had a TV crush on Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years!

    Replies: @BB753

  106. @Anonymous
    @Tiny Duck

    Derrow, Can't you write your own comments?

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Watham, MA. The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, are from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JEC, @Hibernian, @ben tillman

    Some plagiarists believe if their heart’s in the ‘right place’, it doesn’t matter whose ideas they stole.

  107. @Anon
    A black physicist can argue that Black Holes Matter.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Devastating and hilarious…more please

  108. Interroger in French is used more widely than in English, basically meaning to ask about something. I always assumed it came from there, yet another bad influence from French philosophy.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @spandrell

    Makes sense.

    Useful tell.

  109. When are the AA people going to go after the NHL?

  110. @AndrewR
    @Redacted

    Physicists are well known for their radical white supremacist views.

    Replies: @Hawkwood, @Wasc

    I know, right…

    William Luther Pierce III (September 11, 1933 – July 23, 2002) was an American Neo-Nazi leader, white nationalist, and political activist. He was one of the most influential ideologues of the white nationalist movement for some 30 years before his death. A physicist by profession, he was also an author under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald of the novels The Turner Diaries and Hunter. Pierce founded the National Alliance, a major White nationalist organization, which he led for almost thirty years.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Luther_Pierce

  111. @Billy Chav

    "Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects."
     
    This sentence by Jedidah Isler, astrophysicist, may be the stupidest sentence I have ever read. And I strongly suspect Jedidah Isler, astrophysicist, may not even be bright enough to understand why.

    Replies: @Hawkwood, @Dirk Dagger

    It just sounds so…black. Like in the next sentence she’ll be telling us how the pyramids were built by the nubians to store grain when they wuz kingz.

  112. If you want more NAMs in STEM, just do like the U of Louisville does. Just tells whites and Asians they aren’t allowed to apply. Presto – problem solved!

    http://www.educationviews.org/university-louisville-job-ad-science-professor-whites-asians-apply/

  113. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @iffen

    Also, what about having more students whose first language is not standard English. This Jedidiah article appears to be un upmarket version of TaNahesi Coates's perpetual grievances vs. White America.

    One voice we haven't heard from on this issue that could provide some relevant insight as to whether or not disparate impact, racial profiling vs blacks in the classroom is of course Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm's ability for turning a new phrase to aptly sum up what the Supreme Court Case is really all about. After all, if black consumers in Chicago are being hoodwinked and swindled by nefarious salesmen, perhaps the Man and his all reaching power really does have it in for Coates; Jed; etc.

    Some unique phrase, that only Gladwell could come up with, that would help to focus just what is going on with the court case and how it relates to black folks and their futures.

    What would Malcolm say? How would he comment on such an important issue of the day? Perhaps in his next book we shall find the answer.

    Replies: @iffen

    My opinion:

    Physicists should decide who gets to be in the physics club, not politicians.

    One could make a value judgement that we need our physicists to reflect certain appearances or traits, but we would be making a bad choice there. The only deciding feature should be how well they speak physics.

  114. @Percy Gryce
    @middle aged vet

    Danica McKellar has an Erdős–Bacon number of 6, one of the lowest on record.

    Replies: @James N. Kennett, @Ivy

    The Erdős number makes sense only for Pure Mathematicians. What is her Hubble number?

  115. @Anonymous
    @middle aged vet

    I don't think Tyson is mocked for his expertise in astronomy (and related disciplines). He's mocked for his cheesy arrogant Smartest-And-Coolest-Guy-U-Know shtick. Even then he's not as bad as Ken Jennings or Arthur Chu, but these bozos do a lot to discredit Science Inc. by ditching their scientific humility for topics about which they know basically jack in exchange for some TV time. Nobody likes an attention whore.

    Replies: @Elmer T. Jones

    And then there’s his longtime companion Bill Nye, The Science Asshole.

  116. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Along these lines NASA has opened up selections for the Astronaut program. I’m guessing that they want to have those they shoot up into space to be as ‘Benetton’y’ as possible. I’m thinking about applying, but my concern is I have so many negative Pokemon points I could wind up down in Gitmo for “re-education”…

    -2 engineering degrees
    -worked offshore in the oil patch for a time
    -design dams for a living
    -have 4 yrs of ROTC (Steve knows the place where this took place)
    -Bone density 20% higher than average even being out of shape!
    -White (German/English/Prussian)
    -Evangelical
    -Gun toting Texan’
    -read iSteve regularly (and enjoy it)

    • Replies: @Daniel Williams
    @Anonymous

    Think I'll be able to go? These are my stats:
    • 250 years old
    • Beady, ratlike eyes
    • Cackling laugh that sends shivers down ordinary people's spines
    • Studied black magick and the Ouija board with Aleister Crowley and the real guy Dracula was based off
    • Hundreds of hit points and A/C 0
    • Have jagged hook in place of one hand
    • Author of a Latinx volume of poetry, Somnia ab Abuelita

  117. @middle aged vet
    @SPMoore8

    For the 1 in 10,000 figure I should have specified contemporary theoretical physics (that would include the latest theoretical work in high energy physics, quantum physics, loop gravity, string theory, that sort of thing) and it was not my estimate , it is something I read in a series of blog posts by Steve Hsu (maybe I read incorrectly. He usually mentioned Feynman and Caltech in those blog posts). The "astrophysics" ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). Also, I meant Erdos number, not Euler number, in the Danica McKellar reference (she co-wrote a math article with a math professor who co-wrote an article at x degrees of separation from Erdos, who was kind of a Kevin Bacon of math article writers for decades. Euler was prolific too but not so much of a co-writer and he lived much longer ago).

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Old Palo Altan

    “The “astrophysics” ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). ”

    Astrophysicists ARE theoretical physicists. Kip Thorne and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar are (were) astrophysicists. Neil Degrasse Tyson, the woman in this article, and most of the people who are called “asatrophysicists” by the public, are astronomers.

  118. @black sea
    @Anonymous

    "He [Neil DeGrasse Tyson] cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable."

    That's because a great many scientists are pretty clueless about how the real world -- the human world -- actually works.

    Replies: @middle aged vet, @Mr. Anon

    “That’s because a great many scientists are pretty clueless about how the real world — the human world — actually works.”

    A lot of them understand it – they just don’t like it.

  119. @Anonymous
    I'm reminded of what Don Barry, astronomer at Cornell, said about Neil deGrasse Tyson when asked, "Has Tyson done any real science? He seems to be a media celebrity, but when I look in the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, I can find no record of scholarly work in science, except for popular books and social commentary. Is he in fact a practicing astrophysicist?"

    Barry replied:

    "Not since graduate school (he did not successfully progress towards a degree at UT/Austin, and convinced Columbia to give him a second try). Aside from the obligatory papers describing his dissertation, he’s got a paper on how to take dome flats, a bizarre paper speculating about an asteroid hitting Uranus, and courtesy mentions *very* late in the author lists of a few big projects in which it is unclear what, if anything, of substance he contributed. No first author papers of any real significance whatsoever. Nor is there any evidence that he has been awarded any telescope time on significant instruments as PI since grad school, despite the incredibly inflated claims in his published CVs. He cozied up to Bush and pushed Bush’s version of man to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and now gets appointed to just about every high level political advisory board. To an actual astronomer, this is almost beyond inconceivable. It’s just bizarre. To answer Delong’s question, no: he is not a practicing astrophysicist."
     

    Replies: @black sea, @Dave Pinsen, @Unladen Swallow, @Mr. Anon

    According to the CV at his website, Tyson hasn’t published a research paper since 2008, and even his last few ones were letters and supplements. He’s a museum director, not a scientist any longer. When he first appeared on the scene as the media-designated public-face of astronomy, I didn’t mind, as he seemed to be far less of a jerk than Carl Sagan was. But over time, Tyson seems to have become just another promoter of orthodoxy, and of course a promoter of himself, to “I f*cking love science” types.

    And the thing about the “I f*cking love science” crowd is that they don’t really “f*cking love science” – they just f*cking love telling you how much they f*cking love science.

  120. Dirk Dagger [AKA "Chico Caldera"] says: • Website
    @Billy Chav

    "Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects."
     
    This sentence by Jedidah Isler, astrophysicist, may be the stupidest sentence I have ever read. And I strongly suspect Jedidah Isler, astrophysicist, may not even be bright enough to understand why.

    Replies: @Hawkwood, @Dirk Dagger

    Jedidah Isler, Ph.D., hombre.

  121. @Glossy
    You didn't mention black bodies?

    Replies: @Realist, @Brutusale

    I judge the ability of my astrophysicists by albedo. The higher the albedo, the more willing I am to listen to them.

  122. @middle aged vet
    @black sea

    There are about two thousand colleges in the world that have enough cash to hire an astrophysicist as a teacher. There are also about two or three hundred rich or monastically intense high IQ people who practice something like astrophysics outside the academic environment, and an equal number of high-prestige astrophysicists who get stipends from exotic places like the egghead village in New Jersey that used to pay Einstein to live there. (there are the defense industries and the billionaire and government funded rocketry and optics hobbyists, as well - that is another story). Take my word for it, or don't -but out of the astrophysicists who work at those two thousand colleges, and including the four to six hundred extra places for astrophysicists in places like the egghead village in New Jersey - 90 to 95 percent are never going to produce any real significant new knowledge. They will try, bless their hearts, but New Knowledge is Amazingly Hard, no matter how high your testable math IQ is. Anyway, I have read a little bit of the doctoral thesis of de Grasse Tyson. He is very gifted, and, simply put, does not deserve to be mocked as being ungifted. (his Three Stooges level understanding of medieval scientific history, on the other hand, is certainly something he should be criticized for).

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous, @TangoMan, @Brutusale

    Resented more than mocked.

    Steve, Carl Sagan’s own coauthor of one of his early papers, chemist Harold Urey, recommended AGAINST tenure for Sagan at Harvard because of his “publicized scientific advocacy”. I can see Sagan’s advocacy in the age of vast government spending on Big Science, but it was obviously something that the old school felt was beneath true scientists.

    This popularization of science is just the sort of thing that gives the hoi polloidelusions of adequacy. I’m willing to give Tyson a pass, but this woman took the space that didn’t go to some under-served but truly intelligent white kid from Flyover Country. We’ve gone from the best & brightest to okay, close enough.

  123. And now the NYT’s Public Editor job is opening up again — https://twitter.com/joepompeo/status/677847970650439680 — what are the chances that the post will be filled by a person of color? I say 90%.

  124. @Dee
    When I was at one of the Public Ivies 45 years ago, I asked my Astronomy TF what classes you need to become an astronomer; more math classes than a math major....Found out you needed a 700+ math SAT to get A's and B's in the freshman and sophomore math classes. Had to be 750+ to do the same in the junior and senior math classes. The guys getting masters degrees were off the charts.

    The physics program was just as bad. So to get a Yale PhD in Astro-Physics, you'd be able to inform Hawkings on something he wasn't too clear about.

    This is blatant AA; I bet you'll never see her grades or any other scholarly work. Just like the mistake in the WH....

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    My younger daughter is pretty smart and started a major in physics at Virginia Tech. She did ok, but was gently told early on the she probably did not have what it takes and should switch to math.
    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    So yeah, this babe is pure AA, and bitching about it. She and Michelle should get together and commiserate about what a rotten country the USA is and how mean it has been and continues to be to their poor oppressed selves.

    • Replies: @Truth
    @Jim Don Bob


    My younger daughter is pretty smart and started a major in physics at Virginia Tech. She did ok, but was gently told early on the she probably did not have what it takes and should switch to math.
    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    So yeah, this babe is pure AA, and bitching about it
     
    I'm not sure I get the correlation here. Let me rephrase, with all possible respect; your daughter is "too dumb" to do this sort of work, so that brands this woman "pure A.A"?

    You were a logic major yourself?
    , @Desiderius
    @Jim Don Bob


    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.
     
    That's (one of the things) the high IQ is for: so one can pick up the math that is needed on the fly, and you know, create your own.

    My most exhilarating course I've ever taken was taught at Georgia Tech by Henry Valk, where watching him work out problems on the board was akin hearing a master jazz musician in his element.

    Regrettably in hindsight, the absence of women in that line of work led to a change in majors not long after.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

  125. @whorefinder
    The only good thing about having more blacks in your STEM course is that, after they start failing the classes at catastrophic rates, the professors will be forced to grade on a curve and thus your B will become an A.

    On a more serious note, at what point will colleges declare that "blind grading" is racist/sexist/homo-hating/etc. and do away with it?

    The original purpose was to prevent "white privilege" and teacher's pets from currying favor with (obviously white supremacist) Professors and getting more lenient grades. So they introduced the blind grading, where you don't write your name on a test or any identifying information but your SSN/some randomly assigned number, and therefore the professor/t.a.'s must grade on merit.

    But that also prevented lefty professors from giving academic bonus points/leniency to the blacks/women/gays they did favor. Which kept most of the "oppressed" from stepping on whitey's face. Forever.

    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their "oppressed" position.

    Don't laugh. If "microagressions" and "gay marriage" and "white privilege" and "hate speech" and other unAmerican nonsense can become a thing, this can too.

    You heard it here first.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @peterike

    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their “oppressed” position.

    Blind grading is a joke anyway if the test has any essays on it. You think that Obama in a law school “blind grading” test doesn’t toss in, “As a black man who grew up overseas, I feel…”

    Bingo. The blind can now see.

    • Replies: @unpc downunder
    @peterike

    And don't forget gender differences in writing style. Women usually write in large curvy script while guys tend to have a sharper, rougher writing style.

  126. I was tempted to spoof Scalia, post a fake letter with fake grammatical corrections and fake Scalia commentary just to rub the minority liberal studies students defending the imaginary minority physics students but I HAVE A LIFE.

  127. Do we need them to bring something other than their interest?

    Yes. Their high school GPAs and test scores.

    Also their tuition money. Affirmative action babies don’t usually have to come up with very much of that.

  128. @Percy Gryce
    @middle aged vet

    Danica McKellar has an Erdős–Bacon number of 6, one of the lowest on record.

    Replies: @James N. Kennett, @Ivy

    True confession: I had a TV crush on Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years!

    • Replies: @BB753
    @Ivy

    I hope you weren't an adult back then.

  129. @Progressive Matricist
    @Redacted

    That's what I'm saying!

    Astrophysics? At least two.

    Particle physics? Nada.

    Why is that?

    Replies: @wrd9, @Daniel Williams

    Why are these celebrity black physicists always in astrophysics? What about the other subfields?

    I get the feeling that it’s the sub-field most forgiving of the kind of “damn, the universe is a crazy place” bloviating that the public appears to crave from celebrity scientists, who they prefer be black or at least have crazy haircuts.

  130. @TangoMan
    Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren't admitted or coddled simply because you're black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    "How can it equal one?" Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
     

    Replies: @Robt, @Anonymous, @Cloudbuster, @Anonymous, @William BadWhite, @Anonymous

    There’s a fierce competition between stupid and crazy going on in Terrence Howard’s brain.

  131. @Anonymous
    Along these lines NASA has opened up selections for the Astronaut program. I'm guessing that they want to have those they shoot up into space to be as 'Benetton'y' as possible. I'm thinking about applying, but my concern is I have so many negative Pokemon points I could wind up down in Gitmo for "re-education"...

    -2 engineering degrees
    -worked offshore in the oil patch for a time
    -design dams for a living
    -have 4 yrs of ROTC (Steve knows the place where this took place)
    -Bone density 20% higher than average even being out of shape!
    -White (German/English/Prussian)
    -Evangelical
    -Gun toting Texan'
    -read iSteve regularly (and enjoy it)

    Replies: @Daniel Williams

    Think I’ll be able to go? These are my stats:
    • 250 years old
    • Beady, ratlike eyes
    • Cackling laugh that sends shivers down ordinary people’s spines
    • Studied black magick and the Ouija board with Aleister Crowley and the real guy Dracula was based off
    • Hundreds of hit points and A/C 0
    • Have jagged hook in place of one hand
    • Author of a Latinx volume of poetry, Somnia ab Abuelita

  132. @TangoMan
    Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren't admitted or coddled simply because you're black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    "How can it equal one?" Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
     

    Replies: @Robt, @Anonymous, @Cloudbuster, @Anonymous, @William BadWhite, @Anonymous

    This is truly on the level of “we wuz kangs n sheeit” in its level of mathematical competence. Perhaps we can blame Yakub for stealing black science and math?

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    @Anonymous

    I went to the Met Museum of Art last night. Ridiculous exhibit called "Kongo". On walking in, my eye caught the phrase "reveals the grandeur" on a plaque I didn't read. That is the most pathetic excuse for a collection of cultural artifacts. So sparse, it had to include modern photos of African landscapes and European books about Africa.

  133. @Redacted
    Slightly OT, but related. Recently watched a PBS doc about the LHC/CERN and the search for the Higgs boson. The title was Particles, IIRC.

    The film featured a couple of women: an American post doc and an Italian heading one of the big experiments (who has since been promoted to head of LHC) Also featured an American Jew, an Iranian American, and a Cypriot ex pat. Plenty of other misc Europeans as to be expected. But not a single black person in the film.

    The biggest experiments in the history of physics are somehow taking place without the benefit of many persons of color.

    Replies: @Progressive Matricist, @AndrewR, @Cracker, @Wasc

    I finally went to the trouble of going to see Bridge of Spies.
    Watchable, often amusing, and predictably pro-Abel.
    Bit it was 100% accurate in a way that astonished and delighted me: not one black face to be seen in a position of any importance at all. For those who weren’t there: that’s the way it was, and it felt entirely right. Hell, we didn’t even think about it.

  134. @AndrewR
    @Redacted

    Physicists are well known for their radical white supremacist views.

    Replies: @Hawkwood, @Wasc

    When quite sure of the person they are talking to, or in the privacy of “Dear Diary”, I have no doubt that the vast majority of them are.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    @Wasc

    I imagine most are relatively race realistic but I doubt a single professional physicist could reasonably be defined as a "white supremacist" unless we use Rachel Maddow's definition: "a white person opposed to white genocide."

    Replies: @Desiderius, @Mr. Anon

  135. I saw her article and emailed her yesterday. I linked her to my guest blog post on a PT blog, check out Lee Jussim’s blog if you haven’t yet, he’s doing good work in his field, social sciences, to fight groupthink, see my link below.

    It’s weird to me when people want to encourage wimps into physics. Physics will rip apart anyone who isn’t strong and smart, so why encourage wimps to become physicists? It’s just going to harm them psychologically to go through the hell of graduate school if they aren’t intellectually and psychologically prepared. Part of the reason people have this reaction is they’ve been falsely told that stereotype threat and self-fulfilling prophecy will make people unable to perform well, which Lee shows in his book isn’t supported by the evidence in social psych, since the effects sizes are small. But apparently evidence doesn’t matter to some people.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201510/women-in-science-what-explains-gaps-part-i

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    @Stephanie

    Eileen Pollacks's The Only Woman in the Room is an interesting read. She complains that she didn't get encouragement to pursue her graduate degree in physics. While some complaints are valid, she also comes across not properly adjusted. She was a Marshall Scholar but bailed on that and didn't complete her master's in literature.

    There are programs that encourage people to obtain advanced STEM degrees like the Meyerhoff program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. HBCUs provide the undergraduate education for a significant number of black doctoral candidates. Jedidah Isler went through a master's-to-PhD bridge program at Fisk for those who had low GRE scores or GPAs.

    GRE scores don't predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don't either. Well, how do you select candidates?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/12/17/251957062/a-graduate-program-works-to-diversify-the-science-world
    http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201302/backpage.cfm

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @peterike

  136. @Anon
    Brits and Germans had exemplary civil service.

    PC is destroying it.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2876810/Fury-Home-Office-loses-174-000-illegal-immigrants-Scathing-dossier-reveal-three-quarters-foreigners-refused-permission-stay-UK-vanished.html

    Replies: @Wasc

    The Brits had an exemplary civil service until it was destroyed by the inimitably odious Tony Blair.
    I doubt very much that the German civil service is suffering in quite the same way. The front men, the people who are pushed in front of cameras -maybe. But the people sitting at all those desks are keeping meticulous records and filing them safely away at the end of each day. When sanity returns, and it will, then whoever is in charge will know where everyone is – and will know, too, where to send them.

  137. @middle aged vet
    @SPMoore8

    For the 1 in 10,000 figure I should have specified contemporary theoretical physics (that would include the latest theoretical work in high energy physics, quantum physics, loop gravity, string theory, that sort of thing) and it was not my estimate , it is something I read in a series of blog posts by Steve Hsu (maybe I read incorrectly. He usually mentioned Feynman and Caltech in those blog posts). The "astrophysics" ratio would be more like 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, I think, because astrophysics includes stuff like cataloging and pattern recognition that is much more accessible than advanced pure physics theory. (The smartest math guy in my high school could have become an astrophysicist, there is no way he could have become a successful pure theoretical physicist). Also, I meant Erdos number, not Euler number, in the Danica McKellar reference (she co-wrote a math article with a math professor who co-wrote an article at x degrees of separation from Erdos, who was kind of a Kevin Bacon of math article writers for decades. Euler was prolific too but not so much of a co-writer and he lived much longer ago).

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Old Palo Altan

    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world’s leading set theorists.
    So there.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Old Palo Altan

    "The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world’s leading set theorists.
    So there."

    Gunn?

    , @Academic Gossip
    @Old Palo Altan


    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world’s leading set theorists.
     
    In case you were not aware, set theory is a lower-IQ area within mathematics that attracts philosophaster types. It has been slowly floating further away from healthy areas of research and is surprisingly often taught by Philosophy professors (because math departments have learned not to expect anything useful to come from set theory, and do not fund many positions in set theory). For a short time in the 1960's after Paul Cohen's breakthrough that got the Fields Medal, set theory looked promising and smart people entered the field. That was then, this is now (and has been so for the past 40 years).

    re: Tyson, why the hate? He seems quite good at what he does, as a planetarium director, popularizer and public science figure. Astrophysics has plenty of people doing pseudoscience in high profile academic positions. Tyson is doing things that are more useful.

    @cwhatfuture

    "in certain areas, string theory, or shock waves to think of two specific real examples, they seemed astoundingly brilliant. .... But outside of their areas of expertise, they do not seem awe-inspiringly brilliant to me at all."

    Witten's politics are well known as an example of this, and he is far from the only one (and much more out-of-specialty intelligent than most).

    Replies: @Old Palo Altan

  138. @Jim Don Bob
    @Dee

    My younger daughter is pretty smart and started a major in physics at Virginia Tech. She did ok, but was gently told early on the she probably did not have what it takes and should switch to math.
    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    So yeah, this babe is pure AA, and bitching about it. She and Michelle should get together and commiserate about what a rotten country the USA is and how mean it has been and continues to be to their poor oppressed selves.

    Replies: @Truth, @Desiderius

    My younger daughter is pretty smart and started a major in physics at Virginia Tech. She did ok, but was gently told early on the she probably did not have what it takes and should switch to math.
    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    So yeah, this babe is pure AA, and bitching about it

    I’m not sure I get the correlation here. Let me rephrase, with all possible respect; your daughter is “too dumb” to do this sort of work, so that brands this woman “pure A.A”?

    You were a logic major yourself?

  139. • Replies: @SPMoore8
    @SoCal Philosopher

    Am I seriously supposed to believe that black students have a different of thinking? The one solid point your physicist makes is a sociological one; but that's a very broad point, and I am unsure how operative it would be at the level of undergraduate physics. Remember: we are talking undergraduate physics. We are not talking about "blowing physical concepts out of the water." That comes when they get a job in the patent office, if ever.


    I find that having a diversity of student perspectives within a single class helps to demonstrate directly to all the students different ways of thinking. This helps all the students develop into more sophisticated scientists.
     
  140. Proposition that diversity enriches white students’ experience is a fallback pretext for Affirmative Action after a half-century of meager achievement dispensed with “they’re smart enough to deserve a higher education and the only reason they’re not in MIT is oppressive, ethnically nepotistic, and, of course, racist policies of our criminally white society.” When the enrichment excuse fails after another round of bridge-too-far flailing, another will pop up. …Maybe their barbecue and fried chicken diets will be touted as improvement over colorless, whitebread burgers and corndogs.

    If it’s a parody, it’s a funny one: “Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.” I nearly fell out my chair laughing at that load of dark matter.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @San Fernando Curt


    If it’s a parody, it’s a funny one: “Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.” I nearly fell out my chair laughing at that load of dark matter.
     
    Blow enough sunshine up someone's ass, there's no telling what bullshit comes out the other end...
  141. @TangoMan
    @middle aged vet

    Here is a report on how Affirmative Action was implemented at the University of Maryland Medical School. One snippet:


    In its 1996 Minority Achievement Report, UMSM notes,“[Minority students] received unlimited hours for tutoring and other support which is perceived by the non-minority student as ‘special treatment.’
     
    Here is how the University of North Carolina treated some black students:

    For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
     
    Here is how black doctorates fare in terms of being hired and then being awarded tenure:

    The researchers looked at about 31,300 doctoral recipients surveyed from 1993 to 2010, examining both their likelihood of obtaining tenure-track positions and their likelihood of obtaining tenure. . . .

    When it came to landing tenure-track jobs in their field, women and members of minority groups considered underrepresented appeared to be at a significant advantage. Black and Hispanic doctorate holders were both quicker and, respectively, 51 percent and 30 percent more likely than their white counterparts to obtain such positions. . . . .

    The picture changed markedly when it came to getting tenure, which tenure-track professors, on the whole, were most likely to receive at about the seven-year mark. Non-Asian minority members and women were slower to receive tenure, and black assistant professors were substantially less likely to ever receive it.
     

    He did, after all, get passing grades in lots of difficult classes at places where passing grades were difficult to obtain.

    When institutions require diversity metrics be met in order for professors to rise in rank, then this introduces pressures which lead to corruption. Grades are not some neutral metric in such an environment. There is a lot of pressure on professors to not fail minority students.

    If grades were a metric unaffected by corruption and accurately reflected material mastery, then we wouldn't be seeing mismatch all over the place, as in blacks being sought after and hired into tenure track positions and then dismally failing to achieve tenure.

    Affirmative Action corrupts all it touches and so you can't trust milestones like "passing a class" or "earning a degree."

    guess I should focus on that, since that is something I know more about that him, and I feel bad that he used taxpayer money to say unreasonable and stupid things about an important subject in the history of science.

    This is the same dynamic that is the focus of a comment by someone (name escapes me at the moment) who remarked that he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    Tyson is wrong on a subject you know something about but is supposed to be correct on subjects you don't know?

    My point here is on Affirmative Action Stigma - minorities who are recipients of degrees from institutions which practice AA are the beneficiaries of tainted fruit. All the standards have been corrupted and thus impartial observers have no means by which to discern a student who merits his degree and accomplishments from a student who was awarded his degree and accomplishments in order to meet some societal goal regarding equal outcomes for minorities. I have no rational reason to believe that Tyson earned his academic accomplishments due to his abilities. A paper trail demonstrating original thinking and good physics would speak for itself but that's lacking and all that's left are credentials earned from corrupt institutions who practice AA.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @CJ

    This is the same dynamic that is the focus of a comment by someone (name escapes me at the moment) who remarked that he sees errors in the reporting in the NYT on a subject where he has expertise but then turns the page and accepts the authority of the NYT on subjects where he lacks expertise.

    The Gell-Mann Effect, as explained by Michael Crichton..

  142. @TangoMan
    Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren't admitted or coddled simply because you're black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    "How can it equal one?" Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
     

    Replies: @Robt, @Anonymous, @Cloudbuster, @Anonymous, @William BadWhite, @Anonymous

    I don’t believe anybody told him the square root of two is two. Unless he took a class from Ms. Isler.

    • Replies: @Dirk Dagger
    @William BadWhite

    DOCTOR Isler!

  143. @Astuteobservor II
    do you know why jewish media is for AA? because once we get rid of AA, the next on the fix list would be 1300%(spitballing here, I am pretty sure I got it wrong) jewish over representation of the ivy league student body.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II

    steve, do you not want my comments to show? if you don’t want my comments, say the word bro, and I would leave you alone in your own little world.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    @Astuteobservor II

    "if you don’t want my comments, say the word bro, and I would leave you alone in your own little world."

    Don't give yourself so much credit "bro". Its highly unlikely Steve has an opinion one way or the other on you, more likely is doing other things than sitting around waiting for your comment so he can instantly approve it.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II

  144. @Wasc
    @AndrewR

    When quite sure of the person they are talking to, or in the privacy of "Dear Diary", I have no doubt that the vast majority of them are.

    Replies: @AndrewR

    I imagine most are relatively race realistic but I doubt a single professional physicist could reasonably be defined as a “white supremacist” unless we use Rachel Maddow’s definition: “a white person opposed to white genocide.”

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @AndrewR

    When one gets that far out on the tail, all bets all off.

    Both due to general savantish quirkiness and truths that aren't so comfortable.

    , @Mr. Anon
    @AndrewR

    "I imagine most are relatively race realistic.........."

    Academic physicists? I would guess relatively few. They always struck me as a more-liberal-that-the-average-guy lot. A lot of physicists, including very very bright ones, are rather doctrinaire in their political and social beliefs.

  145. @PhysicistDave
    @TomSchmidt

    Tom Schmidt wrote to me:


    Physicists are good at that sort of thing [referencing the Sokal hoax].
     
    Incidentally, Alan Sokal is actually a leftist. But, like any good scientist, his tolerance for lies and BS is rather limited.

    Dave

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    I recently had my students examine Jane Jacobs’ Systems of Survival. jacobs was also a lefty, but an honest one, and more committed to truth than the party line. She describes two moral syndromes by which we live, one being “Trader.” traders follow a certain code, but one major difference from Guardians is this: Traders must “be honest” while Guardians may “Deceive for the sake of the task.”

    As I asked my students: what do we call a scientist who falsifies data? Not a scientist. Not that it has stopped Michael Mann, but still.

  146. A level playing field really sucks when you are inferior.

    Can we call it Bobbala’s Law?

  147. @spandrell
    Interroger in French is used more widely than in English, basically meaning to ask about something. I always assumed it came from there, yet another bad influence from French philosophy.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    Makes sense.

    Useful tell.

  148. @AndrewR
    @Wasc

    I imagine most are relatively race realistic but I doubt a single professional physicist could reasonably be defined as a "white supremacist" unless we use Rachel Maddow's definition: "a white person opposed to white genocide."

    Replies: @Desiderius, @Mr. Anon

    When one gets that far out on the tail, all bets all off.

    Both due to general savantish quirkiness and truths that aren’t so comfortable.

  149. @William BadWhite
    @TangoMan

    I don't believe anybody told him the square root of two is two. Unless he took a class from Ms. Isler.

    Replies: @Dirk Dagger

    DOCTOR Isler!

  150. @San Fernando Curt
    Proposition that diversity enriches white students' experience is a fallback pretext for Affirmative Action after a half-century of meager achievement dispensed with "they're smart enough to deserve a higher education and the only reason they're not in MIT is oppressive, ethnically nepotistic, and, of course, racist policies of our criminally white society." When the enrichment excuse fails after another round of bridge-too-far flailing, another will pop up. ...Maybe their barbecue and fried chicken diets will be touted as improvement over colorless, whitebread burgers and corndogs.

    If it's a parody, it's a funny one: "Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects." I nearly fell out my chair laughing at that load of dark matter.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    If it’s a parody, it’s a funny one: “Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.” I nearly fell out my chair laughing at that load of dark matter.

    Blow enough sunshine up someone’s ass, there’s no telling what bullshit comes out the other end…

  151. @peterike
    @whorefinder


    I predict that, unless we go into more K-selected times, colleges will remove blind grading and instead openly give blacks/women/gays higher grades based on their “oppressed” position.

     

    Blind grading is a joke anyway if the test has any essays on it. You think that Obama in a law school "blind grading" test doesn't toss in, "As a black man who grew up overseas, I feel..."

    Bingo. The blind can now see.

    Replies: @unpc downunder

    And don’t forget gender differences in writing style. Women usually write in large curvy script while guys tend to have a sharper, rougher writing style.

  152. @Jim Don Bob
    @Dee

    My younger daughter is pretty smart and started a major in physics at Virginia Tech. She did ok, but was gently told early on the she probably did not have what it takes and should switch to math.
    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    So yeah, this babe is pure AA, and bitching about it. She and Michelle should get together and commiserate about what a rotten country the USA is and how mean it has been and continues to be to their poor oppressed selves.

    Replies: @Truth, @Desiderius

    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.

    That’s (one of the things) the high IQ is for: so one can pick up the math that is needed on the fly, and you know, create your own.

    My most exhilarating course I’ve ever taken was taught at Georgia Tech by Henry Valk, where watching him work out problems on the board was akin hearing a master jazz musician in his element.

    Regrettably in hindsight, the absence of women in that line of work led to a change in majors not long after.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Desiderius

    Daughter called tonight and said she passed her physics class with a C-. She was relieved; she thought she was going to fail.

    McWhorter is a serious guy; I respect his opinions even when I disagree with them. NGT seems to me to be the Mr. Science version of T'Genius Coates.

  153. @Steve Sailer
    @middle aged vet

    Being a popular science popularizer is a good thing and deserves respect.

    Replies: @Maj. Kong, @anon, @The most deplorable one, @Palerider1861

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    @Palerider1861

    Thanks, I have never seen Degrasse Tyson in action before. Sounds like a 101 lecturer. In contrast, I watched a number of canned lectures by McWhorter on linguistics and they were not only accurate, they were thought provoking and entertaining.

  154. @AndrewR
    @Wasc

    I imagine most are relatively race realistic but I doubt a single professional physicist could reasonably be defined as a "white supremacist" unless we use Rachel Maddow's definition: "a white person opposed to white genocide."

    Replies: @Desiderius, @Mr. Anon

    “I imagine most are relatively race realistic……….”

    Academic physicists? I would guess relatively few. They always struck me as a more-liberal-that-the-average-guy lot. A lot of physicists, including very very bright ones, are rather doctrinaire in their political and social beliefs.

  155. @Palerider1861
    @Steve Sailer

    Frankly, I don't think respect is particularly warranted:

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/16/another-day-another-quote-fabricated-by-neil-degrasse-tyson/

    Replies: @SPMoore8

    Thanks, I have never seen Degrasse Tyson in action before. Sounds like a 101 lecturer. In contrast, I watched a number of canned lectures by McWhorter on linguistics and they were not only accurate, they were thought provoking and entertaining.

  156. @Desiderius
    @Jim Don Bob


    She did and is doing well. She took some more physics courses later on and found that she needed all the math she had been taking just to do the physics.
     
    That's (one of the things) the high IQ is for: so one can pick up the math that is needed on the fly, and you know, create your own.

    My most exhilarating course I've ever taken was taught at Georgia Tech by Henry Valk, where watching him work out problems on the board was akin hearing a master jazz musician in his element.

    Regrettably in hindsight, the absence of women in that line of work led to a change in majors not long after.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    Daughter called tonight and said she passed her physics class with a C-. She was relieved; she thought she was going to fail.

    McWhorter is a serious guy; I respect his opinions even when I disagree with them. NGT seems to me to be the Mr. Science version of T’Genius Coates.

  157. Ms Islet know she deserves to be an astro physicist because of her achievements
    Her biggest achievement appears to be earning a PhD from Yale. Her other one is studying particles emitted from the jet streams of super massive black holes.
    Quite an accomplishment she should be very proud.

  158. Related:

    • Replies: @BurplesonAFB
    @Dave Pinsen

    It's SCIENCE which needs to be told to COME ON. Nothing is the fault of blacks

  159. @SoCal Philosopher
    "Widely discredited mismatch theory" vs. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/12/10/an-emerging-scholarly-consensus-on-mismatch-and-affirmative-action-ideologues-not-welcome/

    Also, here's a physicist defending the idea that intellectual diversity enriches physics classrooms as well: http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/columns/Need-for-college-diversity-That-s-an-affirmative-10462092

    Replies: @SPMoore8

    Am I seriously supposed to believe that black students have a different of thinking? The one solid point your physicist makes is a sociological one; but that’s a very broad point, and I am unsure how operative it would be at the level of undergraduate physics. Remember: we are talking undergraduate physics. We are not talking about “blowing physical concepts out of the water.” That comes when they get a job in the patent office, if ever.

    I find that having a diversity of student perspectives within a single class helps to demonstrate directly to all the students different ways of thinking. This helps all the students develop into more sophisticated scientists.

  160. @SPMoore8
    @middle aged vet

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let's just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there's more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There's also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there's a tendency to make too much of IQ. It's not a badge, it's not a medal, it's just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively -- like Feynman -- might be a good or great physicist. It doesn't matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that's the only way to judge.

    Replies: @anon, @Former Darfur, @middle aged vet, @MarkinLA, @cwhatfuture

    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed. This is probably why Feynman did so poorly for such a huge figure in physics. The IQ test also measures how fast you can come up with the answer as well as you coming up with the answer. However, it isn’t a very deep test.

    There is no doubt that somebody with a high IQ should normally do better than someone with a low IQ since the “dumber” guy will take longer to see the answers in the normal coursework needed for training. However, seeing something nobody has ever seen before (the basis for innovation and new paths in science) is more dependent on hard work, doggedness, how deep you can think, and the ability to see the different solution paths (even if they turn out to be blind alleys).

    Of course, if you don’t have a very high IQ you probably won’t be willing to give up your life studying all hours of the day to gain the basics you need as a student in order to keep up with the seemingly gifted students.

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    @MarkinLA

    I absolutely agree with your position: hard work and doggedness, and a willingness to submerge into the subject at hand, is more important than raw talent (IQ). I also agree that people with a low IQ are less likely to make those kinds of mental and time commitments. But they can.

    I don't know about the timing of IQ tests, but something I have noticed in reading up on physics, and argued by many: Unless you are extremely bright, you will go forward slowly, and the whole issue in elite colleges is that the pace is fast (and not only in physics).

    I think whether a person has an inclination to study, and what they study, is largely a matter of fortune or destiny; I mean who really knows why people get hung up on -- and derive intense pleasure from -- studying this, that, or the other, or physics, or what have you. But some people are like that, but I don't think a specific level of IQ is the determinant.

    , @Truth
    @MarkinLA


    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed.
     
    They aren't timed for the guys who score 160?

    Replies: @Desiderius, @MarkinLA

  161. @anonymous
    "Brits and Germans had exemplary civil service.

    PC is destroying it."


    The US used to have a very high-quality competitive civil service. Then they got rid of it. Didn't work in the brave new PC world. (Example, the Apollo astronauts and most of those guys in mission control were civil service.)

    Replies: @whorefinder, @Hibernian

    Most if not all astronauts up through the end of Apollo were military.

  162. @Anonymous
    @Tiny Duck

    Derrow, Can't you write your own comments?

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Watham, MA. The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, are from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JEC, @Hibernian, @ben tillman

    Maybe Mc Morrow and Bowman are his sock puppets.

  163. @MarkinLA
    @SPMoore8

    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed. This is probably why Feynman did so poorly for such a huge figure in physics. The IQ test also measures how fast you can come up with the answer as well as you coming up with the answer. However, it isn't a very deep test.

    There is no doubt that somebody with a high IQ should normally do better than someone with a low IQ since the "dumber" guy will take longer to see the answers in the normal coursework needed for training. However, seeing something nobody has ever seen before (the basis for innovation and new paths in science) is more dependent on hard work, doggedness, how deep you can think, and the ability to see the different solution paths (even if they turn out to be blind alleys).

    Of course, if you don't have a very high IQ you probably won't be willing to give up your life studying all hours of the day to gain the basics you need as a student in order to keep up with the seemingly gifted students.

    Replies: @SPMoore8, @Truth

    I absolutely agree with your position: hard work and doggedness, and a willingness to submerge into the subject at hand, is more important than raw talent (IQ). I also agree that people with a low IQ are less likely to make those kinds of mental and time commitments. But they can.

    I don’t know about the timing of IQ tests, but something I have noticed in reading up on physics, and argued by many: Unless you are extremely bright, you will go forward slowly, and the whole issue in elite colleges is that the pace is fast (and not only in physics).

    I think whether a person has an inclination to study, and what they study, is largely a matter of fortune or destiny; I mean who really knows why people get hung up on — and derive intense pleasure from — studying this, that, or the other, or physics, or what have you. But some people are like that, but I don’t think a specific level of IQ is the determinant.

  164. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    @Robt

    In case anyone is wondering why 1 is not classified as a prime, see
    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PrimeNumber.html :

    The number 1 is a special case which is considered neither prime nor composite. Although the number 1 used to be considered a prime, it requires special treatment in so many definitions and applications involving primes greater than or equal to 2 that it is usually placed into a class of its own. A good reason not to call 1 a prime number is that if 1 were prime, then the statement of the fundamental theorem of arithmetic would have to be modified since "in exactly one way" would be false because any n=n·1. In other words, unique factorization into a product of primes would fail if the primes included 1. A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states "Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable." As more simply noted by Derbyshire (2004, p. 33), "2 pays its way [as a prime] on balance; 1 doesn't."

    Replies: @ben tillman

    A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states “Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable.”

    Q: Why is one defined to be an exception?
    A: Because it is defined to be an exception.

    Is this a parody?

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    @ben tillman

    The point is that a lot of properties of prime numbers require that 1 has to be an exception; that is, they require a statement that of all prime numbers 1 does not have property x that all other prime numbers have. These statements are not necessary if the definition of prime numbers is changed to exclude 1 as a prime number.

    Replies: @Desiderius

  165. Q: Why is one defined to be an exception?
    A: Because it is defined to be an exception.

    Is this a parody?

    It’s Kurt Gödel’s world; we’re just living in it.

  166. @Anonymous
    @Tiny Duck

    Derrow, Can't you write your own comments?

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Watham, MA. The rest of your comment, except for the very last sentence, are from a NYT Picks comment posted by Lloyd Bowman of Elkins Park, PA.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JEC, @Hibernian, @ben tillman

    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Wa[l]tham, MA.

    This is the third sentence:

    Dr. Isler’s essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for “minorities,” and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present.

    Wow — that’s horrendous! Isler is not “expressing racism”; she’s alleging it. “Need” is the wrong word. Someone might require them to justify their worthiness, but no one needs a justification. She skipped an “in which” or “in”. “This” has no conceivable antecedent. “Having” needs an antecedent explicit or implicit possessive adjective, but it has none, and it’s a usage error in any case since “having to do” something does not constitute actually doing something.

    Writing like that, she could not get a management degree from the University of Georgia. But she went to Smith, where the standards are lower, apparently. And her LinkedIn page says she’s a professional writer!

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    @ben tillman

    Whoops -- sorry, Ms. McMorrow. That was Mr. Bowman's work. Can't let you off the hook for "should not of" and your other mistakes, however.

  167. @Dirk Dagger
    @Trumpenprole

    From Dr. Isler's Twitter feed:


    So I'm saying --out loud-- that I'm applying to the astronaut core; it may not work. I may not make the cut, but it's important to me to try
     
    Does Dr. Isler mean astronaut corps? (And yes I know the the p and the s are heavily accented when you say it.)

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Triumph104

    Jedidah Isler is overweight, if not obese. That alone should be enough to keep her out of the “corps”.

  168. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Most if not all astronauts up through the end of Apollo were military.

    I understand your point. (I think all Apollo astronauts except geologist Harrison Schmidt were military pilots, though Armstrong was an ex-military pilot, working full time as a civil service NASA test pilot). But strictly speaking as Apollo astronauts they were working for the civil service, not for their military service, via what amounted to a sort of extended temporary duty (TDY) arrangement. NASA’s civil service positions needed the best that could be found for this particular job; at the time they happened to be military test pilot types. The need was such that the military services “loaned” them to NASA. The actual astronaut position was a NASA civil service position.

    For instance, http://history.nasa.gov/HHR-32/ch6.htm:

    “HHR-32 NASA Office of Defense Affairs: The First Five Years

    VI. MILITARY DETAILEES

    …President Eisenhower on April 13, 1959, had approved an “Agreement Between the Departments of Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Concerning the Detailing of Military Personnel for Service with NASA.” …to enter into cooperative agreements under which members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps may be detailed by the appropriate Secretary for services in the performance of functions under this Act to the same extent as that to which they might be lawfully assigned in the Department of Defense.”

    …The normal term of duty would be three years; NASA would have the option of requesting one or more extensions of one year each.

    …Either agency could terminate an assignment earlier.

    …Personnel detailed to NASA would be governed by all appropriate regulations and directives of NASA.

    …Detailees would not be assigned additional duties by their parent Services; however, detailed officer personnel could provide liaison between NASA and their respective Military Departments in technical areas of mutual interest.

    …Required military effectiveness reports would be prepared by the NASA supervisors in consultation with officers designated for the task by the Military Departments involved.

    …NASA would reimburse the Military Departments for the military pay and allowances of detailees.

    …The policy promulgated by NASA for guidance under date of October 12, 1964, had been fully concurred in by the Military Services concerned. It provided

    “a. Military astronauts should be detailed to NASA for the regular tour of three years as specified in the basic DOD-NASA agreement of April 13, 1959, but with the understanding that normally an extension of three years would be approved by the parent Service if requested by NASA.

    “b. The normal expectation should be that a military astronaut will return to his parent Service upon completion of his assignment to NASA.

    “c. Any application from a military astronaut for a civilian position with NASA, based on an expressed desire by the astronaut to resign his commission or retire in order to accept such a position, will be considered…

    …As of this writing, Cdr. Scott Carpenter, U.S. Navy, was the only astronaut who returned to active duty with his parent Service. …

    …Meritorious promotions for military astronauts had been causing some dissatisfaction both among the astronaut community and in the Pentagon….”

    Pilots/astronauts were not the only ones so “drafted”. There were USAF “systems” types:

    “…Package of Fifty-five Air Force Officers

    …NASA had not been able to hire persons from non-government sources who possessed the required competence and experience, but Phillips had personal knowledge of individuals in the Air Force who had received training in these skills through involvement in large and complex Air Force weapon systems programs. …

    …The preliminary response was favorable. …

    …a summary which described in detail fifty-five positions desired to be filled by Air Force officers and the order of priority as to need. In many instances, the specific individual desired was identified.”

  169. @whorefinder
    @anonymous


    The US used to have a very high-quality competitive civil service. Then they got rid of it. Didn’t work in the brave new PC world. (Example, the Apollo astronauts and most of those guys in mission control were civil service.)
     
    The irony is that the U.S. civil service was put in place specifically to destroy ethnic/racial preferences. The progressives spent 60-80 years fighting the Irish/Italian/Jewish hordes from giving Tammany Hall-style graft reward jobs to members of the clan who voted them into power. The civil service exams were designed to stop power brokers from just giving all the jobs to their ethnic backers and at least get some quality people in there.


    Now, of course, the left is about removing such "unfair" and "disparate" stumbling blocks from giving their graft to their ethnic clans. And complaining about piss-poor government work is unpatriotic, racist, and verboten.

    Imagine that: the left actually used to take seriously complaints about the government doing a piss-poor job in many areas and sought to improve and streamline the government. Now they just think throwing more money and expanding the services that are supposed to be done by government and giving more jobs to blacks, Hispanics, women, and gays will magically improve it. And if you complain about it, you're the evil one.

    It's really funny that the left , simultaneously with trying to remove their old safeguards against political/ethnic graft-jobs and handouts , has re-adopted the name "progressive" again---when those old progressives wanted exactly the opposite.

    Wish they could be shamed with quotes from actual progressives of that era demonstrating why their arguments are a betrayal of their own principles. Eh, but who ever knew a lefty with shame?

    Replies: @ben tillman

    It’s really funny that the left , simultaneously with trying to remove their old safeguards against political/ethnic graft-jobs and handouts , has re-adopted the name “progressive” again—when those old progressives wanted exactly the opposite.

    Maybe you should ask yourself whether this “funny” development might indicate that the people who advocated civil service exams weren’t on the “left”.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @ben tillman

    "Maybe you should ask yourself whether this “funny” development might indicate that the people who advocated civil service exams weren’t on the “left”."

    Quite true. The original progressives were not left-wing in the marxist sense. Teddy Roosevelt was a 'progressive' - he was hardly a leftist. The left hijacked the term progressive in the 30s, probably to mask their true agenda by harkening back to the progressive good-government movement of late 19th / early 20th century. Then they dredged it back up again in the 90s, after they had thoroughly soiled the term 'liberal', and figured that people had by that time forgotten who it was that was calling themselves 'progressive' in the 1930s.

    Replies: @Desiderius

  170. @ben tillman
    @Anonymous


    The first three sentences of your comment are taken from a NYT Picks comment made by Christine McMorrow of Wa[l]tham, MA.
     
    This is the third sentence:

    Dr. Isler’s essay perfectly expresses the infuriating and frustrating racism inherent in the need for “minorities,” and African Americans in particular it seems, to justify their worthiness in any area they are typically underrepresented, and this is implicitly done by having to justify how their presence benefits the vast majority of European Americans present.
     
    Wow -- that's horrendous! Isler is not "expressing racism"; she's alleging it. "Need" is the wrong word. Someone might require them to justify their worthiness, but no one needs a justification. She skipped an "in which" or "in". "This" has no conceivable antecedent. "Having" needs an antecedent explicit or implicit possessive adjective, but it has none, and it's a usage error in any case since "having to do" something does not constitute actually doing something.

    Writing like that, she could not get a management degree from the University of Georgia. But she went to Smith, where the standards are lower, apparently. And her LinkedIn page says she's a professional writer!

    Replies: @ben tillman

    Whoops — sorry, Ms. McMorrow. That was Mr. Bowman’s work. Can’t let you off the hook for “should not of” and your other mistakes, however.

  171. This NYT article is so outrageous… Although skimming the NYT comments section, there is a split of many who express the obvious criticisms and many who side with the righteous indignation of the NYT author.

    It is baffling that a large fraction of the population actually thinks like the NYT author. Of course, white students must justify their presence in the classroom through the standard admissions process. And or course the judges are questioning what blacks diversity offers that warrants special racial treatment above and beyond an equal opportunity race blind admission system.

  172. “Actually, the Supreme Court’s pro-affirmative action Grutter decision of 2003 enshrined exactly that justification for race quotas: by providing diversity, underqualified blacks enrich the learning experience of white students.” Wrong:http://nilevalleypeoples.blogspot.com/2015/08/how-obama-plays-upon-white-guilt-hilary.html

  173. @Stephanie
    I saw her article and emailed her yesterday. I linked her to my guest blog post on a PT blog, check out Lee Jussim's blog if you haven't yet, he's doing good work in his field, social sciences, to fight groupthink, see my link below.

    It's weird to me when people want to encourage wimps into physics. Physics will rip apart anyone who isn't strong and smart, so why encourage wimps to become physicists? It's just going to harm them psychologically to go through the hell of graduate school if they aren't intellectually and psychologically prepared. Part of the reason people have this reaction is they've been falsely told that stereotype threat and self-fulfilling prophecy will make people unable to perform well, which Lee shows in his book isn't supported by the evidence in social psych, since the effects sizes are small. But apparently evidence doesn't matter to some people.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201510/women-in-science-what-explains-gaps-part-i

    Replies: @Triumph104

    Eileen Pollacks’s The Only Woman in the Room is an interesting read. She complains that she didn’t get encouragement to pursue her graduate degree in physics. While some complaints are valid, she also comes across not properly adjusted. She was a Marshall Scholar but bailed on that and didn’t complete her master’s in literature.

    There are programs that encourage people to obtain advanced STEM degrees like the Meyerhoff program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. HBCUs provide the undergraduate education for a significant number of black doctoral candidates. Jedidah Isler went through a master’s-to-PhD bridge program at Fisk for those who had low GRE scores or GPAs.

    GRE scores don’t predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don’t either. Well, how do you select candidates?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/12/17/251957062/a-graduate-program-works-to-diversify-the-science-world
    http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201302/backpage.cfm

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Triumph104

    "GRE scores don’t predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don’t either. Well, how do you select candidates?"

    I frankly don't believe that or the APS article you cited. That article was talking about the general GRE. They claim that the quantitative portion of the general GRE does not correlate with success in grad school in physics. So? That's a red herring. Have you taken the general GRE? It is designed for ALL prospective graduate students - those entering graduate programs in French, English, History, Sociology, for example, as well as the sciences. The quantitative portion of the exam is about at the level of a high-school Algebra II test. Most everyone applying to grad school in physics is going to score (I would guess) north of the 85th percentile. As the scores of physics students are so compacted at the high end, Yes, I would not expect it to have much predictive power.

    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @Triumph104

    , @peterike
    @Triumph104


    Eileen Pollacks’s The Only Woman in the Room is an interesting read. She complains that she didn’t get encouragement to pursue her graduate degree in physics.

     

    I always love this "I didn't get encouragement" schtick. Who the hell does? As a cisgendered white male, nobody outside of my parents ever gave me a lick of encouragement in my academic pursuits.
    So what? It's my business.

    Where is this "encouragement" supposed to come from? Television? The President? Random strangers? The really cute girl I saw playing the accordion on the subway last week? Seriously, I want to know what these people expect.
  174. @ben tillman
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)


    A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states “Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable.”
     
    Q: Why is one defined to be an exception?
    A: Because it is defined to be an exception.

    Is this a parody?

    Replies: @Hibernian

    The point is that a lot of properties of prime numbers require that 1 has to be an exception; that is, they require a statement that of all prime numbers 1 does not have property x that all other prime numbers have. These statements are not necessary if the definition of prime numbers is changed to exclude 1 as a prime number.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Hibernian


    These statements are not necessary if the definition of prime numbers is changed to exclude 1 as a prime number.
     
    Yeah, 1 doesn't really even belong in the conversation in the first place (zero and -pi aren't prime either), there's just just no familiar set of numbers that excludes it like there is for the others (the natural numbers).

    When you're talking basic operations like iteration and addition, you can do something interesting* things with 1, but for multiplication and beyond it takes two (or more) to tango, so to speak.

    * - yes, identities and completeness can be interesting in their own right, but primes are about something different
  175. @Astuteobservor II
    @Astuteobservor II

    steve, do you not want my comments to show? if you don't want my comments, say the word bro, and I would leave you alone in your own little world.

    Replies: @William Badwhite

    “if you don’t want my comments, say the word bro, and I would leave you alone in your own little world.”

    Don’t give yourself so much credit “bro”. Its highly unlikely Steve has an opinion one way or the other on you, more likely is doing other things than sitting around waiting for your comment so he can instantly approve it.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    @William Badwhite

    HA, steve got a super fan :) grats.

  176. @Ivy
    @Percy Gryce

    True confession: I had a TV crush on Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years!

    Replies: @BB753

    I hope you weren’t an adult back then.

  177. @SPMoore8
    @middle aged vet

    What you are in effect saying is that no one with an IQ less than 160 can study physics. I am skeptical of this. At any rate, that approximates your 1/10,000 number. What that in turn would mean is that there are only about 32,000 people in the United States who can do physics (with normal demographic distribution, adjusted for Flynn). so, let's just call it 1/10 who are even in the range of going to college right now. Surely, there are more than 3,200 college students in the US who can do physics successfully.

    But there's more. Believe it or not, there are a lot of high IQ people who do not study physics. There's also the notorious fact that Feynman had a tested IQ of 125.

    I think there's a tendency to make too much of IQ. It's not a badge, it's not a medal, it's just an indicator of promise. Some guy or gal who works calc problems in their head compulsively -- like Feynman -- might be a good or great physicist. It doesn't matter what their IQ is. So as for Tyson: how does he spend his time? His mental life? Does he write any of it down? Right or wrong, that's the only way to judge.

    Replies: @anon, @Former Darfur, @middle aged vet, @MarkinLA, @cwhatfuture

    I have met a few persons in my life, including physics and math professors, who just might have a 160 IQ or thereabouts. What I have found is that in certain areas, string theory, or shock waves to think of two specific real examples, they seemed astoundingly brilliant. (I admit it is hard for me to truly judge but that is how it seemed to me and they were tenured professors). But outside of their areas of expertise, they do not seem awe-inspiringly brilliant to me at all. Move the conversation from shock waves to politics or history or finance and you get no great insights and an average amount of foolishness.

  178. @Anonymous
    @TangoMan

    This is truly on the level of "we wuz kangs n sheeit" in its level of mathematical competence. Perhaps we can blame Yakub for stealing black science and math?

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    I went to the Met Museum of Art last night. Ridiculous exhibit called “Kongo”. On walking in, my eye caught the phrase “reveals the grandeur” on a plaque I didn’t read. That is the most pathetic excuse for a collection of cultural artifacts. So sparse, it had to include modern photos of African landscapes and European books about Africa.

  179. Article flavor?

    Chocolate academia nut.

    [rimshot]

    • Agree: SPMoore8
  180. @Triumph104
    @Stephanie

    Eileen Pollacks's The Only Woman in the Room is an interesting read. She complains that she didn't get encouragement to pursue her graduate degree in physics. While some complaints are valid, she also comes across not properly adjusted. She was a Marshall Scholar but bailed on that and didn't complete her master's in literature.

    There are programs that encourage people to obtain advanced STEM degrees like the Meyerhoff program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. HBCUs provide the undergraduate education for a significant number of black doctoral candidates. Jedidah Isler went through a master's-to-PhD bridge program at Fisk for those who had low GRE scores or GPAs.

    GRE scores don't predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don't either. Well, how do you select candidates?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/12/17/251957062/a-graduate-program-works-to-diversify-the-science-world
    http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201302/backpage.cfm

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @peterike

    “GRE scores don’t predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don’t either. Well, how do you select candidates?”

    I frankly don’t believe that or the APS article you cited. That article was talking about the general GRE. They claim that the quantitative portion of the general GRE does not correlate with success in grad school in physics. So? That’s a red herring. Have you taken the general GRE? It is designed for ALL prospective graduate students – those entering graduate programs in French, English, History, Sociology, for example, as well as the sciences. The quantitative portion of the exam is about at the level of a high-school Algebra II test. Most everyone applying to grad school in physics is going to score (I would guess) north of the 85th percentile. As the scores of physics students are so compacted at the high end, Yes, I would not expect it to have much predictive power.

    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Mr. Anon


    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.
     
    Similar situation with the MCAT.

    Replies: @Triumph104

    , @Triumph104
    @Mr. Anon


    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.
     
    No one has bothered to look so we will never know. One would think that most "scientists" would be concerned about whether the Physics GRE is a measure of ability or not but one would be wrong.

    Meg Urry, Yale professor and president of the American Astronomical Society, is an exception who wants to limit the use of the GRE and Physics GRE in admissions to graduate astronomy programs. https://aas.org/posts/news/2015/12/presidents-column-rethinking-role-gre

    Replies: @Truth, @Mr. Anon

  181. @ben tillman
    @whorefinder


    It’s really funny that the left , simultaneously with trying to remove their old safeguards against political/ethnic graft-jobs and handouts , has re-adopted the name “progressive” again—when those old progressives wanted exactly the opposite.
     
    Maybe you should ask yourself whether this "funny" development might indicate that the people who advocated civil service exams weren't on the "left".

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    “Maybe you should ask yourself whether this “funny” development might indicate that the people who advocated civil service exams weren’t on the “left”.”

    Quite true. The original progressives were not left-wing in the marxist sense. Teddy Roosevelt was a ‘progressive’ – he was hardly a leftist. The left hijacked the term progressive in the 30s, probably to mask their true agenda by harkening back to the progressive good-government movement of late 19th / early 20th century. Then they dredged it back up again in the 90s, after they had thoroughly soiled the term ‘liberal’, and figured that people had by that time forgotten who it was that was calling themselves ‘progressive’ in the 1930s.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Mr. Anon


    The original progressives were not left-wing in the marxist sense.
     
    Nor was the original left-wing. That name came from the seats where the petite bourgeoisie were seated in the French National Assembly preceding the Revolution.

    Didn't take long for the proto-Marxists to horn in on that action either. Then as now, they were failed sons (and lately, daughters) of the ancien regime, wolves in sheep's clothing looking to undermine the common good in a vain effort to get back in daddy's good graces.
  182. @Old Palo Altan
    @middle aged vet

    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world's leading set theorists.
    So there.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @Academic Gossip

    “The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world’s leading set theorists.
    So there.”

    Gunn?

  183. @Triumph104
    @Stephanie

    Eileen Pollacks's The Only Woman in the Room is an interesting read. She complains that she didn't get encouragement to pursue her graduate degree in physics. While some complaints are valid, she also comes across not properly adjusted. She was a Marshall Scholar but bailed on that and didn't complete her master's in literature.

    There are programs that encourage people to obtain advanced STEM degrees like the Meyerhoff program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. HBCUs provide the undergraduate education for a significant number of black doctoral candidates. Jedidah Isler went through a master's-to-PhD bridge program at Fisk for those who had low GRE scores or GPAs.

    GRE scores don't predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don't either. Well, how do you select candidates?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/12/17/251957062/a-graduate-program-works-to-diversify-the-science-world
    http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201302/backpage.cfm

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @peterike

    Eileen Pollacks’s The Only Woman in the Room is an interesting read. She complains that she didn’t get encouragement to pursue her graduate degree in physics.

    I always love this “I didn’t get encouragement” schtick. Who the hell does? As a cisgendered white male, nobody outside of my parents ever gave me a lick of encouragement in my academic pursuits.
    So what? It’s my business.

    Where is this “encouragement” supposed to come from? Television? The President? Random strangers? The really cute girl I saw playing the accordion on the subway last week? Seriously, I want to know what these people expect.

  184. @MarkinLA
    @SPMoore8

    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed. This is probably why Feynman did so poorly for such a huge figure in physics. The IQ test also measures how fast you can come up with the answer as well as you coming up with the answer. However, it isn't a very deep test.

    There is no doubt that somebody with a high IQ should normally do better than someone with a low IQ since the "dumber" guy will take longer to see the answers in the normal coursework needed for training. However, seeing something nobody has ever seen before (the basis for innovation and new paths in science) is more dependent on hard work, doggedness, how deep you can think, and the ability to see the different solution paths (even if they turn out to be blind alleys).

    Of course, if you don't have a very high IQ you probably won't be willing to give up your life studying all hours of the day to gain the basics you need as a student in order to keep up with the seemingly gifted students.

    Replies: @SPMoore8, @Truth

    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed.

    They aren’t timed for the guys who score 160?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Truth


    They aren’t timed for the guys who score 160?
     
    For guys who score 160, the time-limit often functions as a test of character.

    I.e. can he make himself take the second half of the time to check his work?
    , @MarkinLA
    @Truth

    That isn't the point. The point is that people like Feynman were probably considered "dumber" by putting a time limit on the test. They cannot see the correct answer fast enough to beat the clock not that they can never see the correct answer. Or alternatively on questions where there are two very close answers those people will waste an inordinate amount of time double checking their answer and the time will run out on them for the whole test.

    Is somebody dumber because they can correctly answer all the questions on the wonderlic test but only if they take 14 minutes instead of 12? Given that some questions are easy for some people and others are hard, there is an element of luck in getting a high score. You see this in the verbal reasoning verbal questions. If the main words in the passages you read are in your vocabulary the question takes about 10 seconds max to answer. If not, you have to think about the entire passage and the context clues and it may take a lot longer to remove the obvious wrong answers and come to a best guess. This is the randomness of such tests. Is somebody dumber because they don't know what a particular word means? At the higher levels of testing you are talking about only a few misses from one group to another.

  185. @Hibernian
    @ben tillman

    The point is that a lot of properties of prime numbers require that 1 has to be an exception; that is, they require a statement that of all prime numbers 1 does not have property x that all other prime numbers have. These statements are not necessary if the definition of prime numbers is changed to exclude 1 as a prime number.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    These statements are not necessary if the definition of prime numbers is changed to exclude 1 as a prime number.

    Yeah, 1 doesn’t really even belong in the conversation in the first place (zero and -pi aren’t prime either), there’s just just no familiar set of numbers that excludes it like there is for the others (the natural numbers).

    When you’re talking basic operations like iteration and addition, you can do something interesting* things with 1, but for multiplication and beyond it takes two (or more) to tango, so to speak.

    * – yes, identities and completeness can be interesting in their own right, but primes are about something different

  186. @Truth
    @MarkinLA


    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed.
     
    They aren't timed for the guys who score 160?

    Replies: @Desiderius, @MarkinLA

    They aren’t timed for the guys who score 160?

    For guys who score 160, the time-limit often functions as a test of character.

    I.e. can he make himself take the second half of the time to check his work?

  187. @Mr. Anon
    @ben tillman

    "Maybe you should ask yourself whether this “funny” development might indicate that the people who advocated civil service exams weren’t on the “left”."

    Quite true. The original progressives were not left-wing in the marxist sense. Teddy Roosevelt was a 'progressive' - he was hardly a leftist. The left hijacked the term progressive in the 30s, probably to mask their true agenda by harkening back to the progressive good-government movement of late 19th / early 20th century. Then they dredged it back up again in the 90s, after they had thoroughly soiled the term 'liberal', and figured that people had by that time forgotten who it was that was calling themselves 'progressive' in the 1930s.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    The original progressives were not left-wing in the marxist sense.

    Nor was the original left-wing. That name came from the seats where the petite bourgeoisie were seated in the French National Assembly preceding the Revolution.

    Didn’t take long for the proto-Marxists to horn in on that action either. Then as now, they were failed sons (and lately, daughters) of the ancien regime, wolves in sheep’s clothing looking to undermine the common good in a vain effort to get back in daddy’s good graces.

  188. @Mr. Anon
    @Triumph104

    "GRE scores don’t predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don’t either. Well, how do you select candidates?"

    I frankly don't believe that or the APS article you cited. That article was talking about the general GRE. They claim that the quantitative portion of the general GRE does not correlate with success in grad school in physics. So? That's a red herring. Have you taken the general GRE? It is designed for ALL prospective graduate students - those entering graduate programs in French, English, History, Sociology, for example, as well as the sciences. The quantitative portion of the exam is about at the level of a high-school Algebra II test. Most everyone applying to grad school in physics is going to score (I would guess) north of the 85th percentile. As the scores of physics students are so compacted at the high end, Yes, I would not expect it to have much predictive power.

    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @Triumph104

    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.

    Similar situation with the MCAT.

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    @Desiderius

    The MCAT doesn't correlate too well with success, so medical schools generously practice affirmative action. The graduation rate for medical school is over 95% while most graduate programs are about 50%.

    A black medical school applicant with a 24 MCAT and a 3.2 GPA has about a 50% chance of getting into medical school. An Asian with those same scores has a 6% chance.

    https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/factstablea24.html

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

  189. @Old Palo Altan
    @middle aged vet

    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world's leading set theorists.
    So there.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @Academic Gossip

    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world’s leading set theorists.

    In case you were not aware, set theory is a lower-IQ area within mathematics that attracts philosophaster types. It has been slowly floating further away from healthy areas of research and is surprisingly often taught by Philosophy professors (because math departments have learned not to expect anything useful to come from set theory, and do not fund many positions in set theory). For a short time in the 1960’s after Paul Cohen’s breakthrough that got the Fields Medal, set theory looked promising and smart people entered the field. That was then, this is now (and has been so for the past 40 years).

    re: Tyson, why the hate? He seems quite good at what he does, as a planetarium director, popularizer and public science figure. Astrophysics has plenty of people doing pseudoscience in high profile academic positions. Tyson is doing things that are more useful.

    “in certain areas, string theory, or shock waves to think of two specific real examples, they seemed astoundingly brilliant. …. But outside of their areas of expertise, they do not seem awe-inspiringly brilliant to me at all.”

    Witten’s politics are well known as an example of this, and he is far from the only one (and much more out-of-specialty intelligent than most).

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    @Academic Gossip

    He entered that field in the '60s. We are not all young whippersnappers here.
    But I'll ask my pure mathematics friend (Harvard PhD; numerous prizes and professorships) what he thinks, and report back.

  190. @Dave Pinsen
    Related:
    https://twitter.com/ishaaran/status/677963597377613824

    Replies: @BurplesonAFB

    It’s SCIENCE which needs to be told to COME ON. Nothing is the fault of blacks

  191. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It was quite cruel of the NYT to publish Ms. Isler’s oped.

    Now, anyone who googles her name will come upon this oped and take her for a thin-skinned, high-self-esteem, mildly delusional, affirmative-action academic unable to form a few coherent or honest thoughts into a short essay.

    This will not do her any favors among employers or colleagues who care about ability.

    The NYT has staff writers much more experienced at writing this sort of dishonest political piece, and they could have assigned one of them to do it instead.

    I guess it is possible Ms. Isler knows her essay is incoherent, and she is signalling her desire for a sinecure in the racial grievance industry, but I don’t think so. I’m guessing she is young enough and indoctrinated enough that she genuinely believes she is as capable as everyone tells her.

  192. @Truth
    @MarkinLA


    The basic problem with IQ tests (and somebody can correct me) is that they are timed.
     
    They aren't timed for the guys who score 160?

    Replies: @Desiderius, @MarkinLA

    That isn’t the point. The point is that people like Feynman were probably considered “dumber” by putting a time limit on the test. They cannot see the correct answer fast enough to beat the clock not that they can never see the correct answer. Or alternatively on questions where there are two very close answers those people will waste an inordinate amount of time double checking their answer and the time will run out on them for the whole test.

    Is somebody dumber because they can correctly answer all the questions on the wonderlic test but only if they take 14 minutes instead of 12? Given that some questions are easy for some people and others are hard, there is an element of luck in getting a high score. You see this in the verbal reasoning verbal questions. If the main words in the passages you read are in your vocabulary the question takes about 10 seconds max to answer. If not, you have to think about the entire passage and the context clues and it may take a lot longer to remove the obvious wrong answers and come to a best guess. This is the randomness of such tests. Is somebody dumber because they don’t know what a particular word means? At the higher levels of testing you are talking about only a few misses from one group to another.

  193. @Mr. Anon
    @Triumph104

    "GRE scores don’t predict success in earning a PhD, some argue that undergrad GPAs don’t either. Well, how do you select candidates?"

    I frankly don't believe that or the APS article you cited. That article was talking about the general GRE. They claim that the quantitative portion of the general GRE does not correlate with success in grad school in physics. So? That's a red herring. Have you taken the general GRE? It is designed for ALL prospective graduate students - those entering graduate programs in French, English, History, Sociology, for example, as well as the sciences. The quantitative portion of the exam is about at the level of a high-school Algebra II test. Most everyone applying to grad school in physics is going to score (I would guess) north of the 85th percentile. As the scores of physics students are so compacted at the high end, Yes, I would not expect it to have much predictive power.

    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.

    Replies: @Desiderius, @Triumph104

    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.

    No one has bothered to look so we will never know. One would think that most “scientists” would be concerned about whether the Physics GRE is a measure of ability or not but one would be wrong.

    Meg Urry, Yale professor and president of the American Astronomical Society, is an exception who wants to limit the use of the GRE and Physics GRE in admissions to graduate astronomy programs. https://aas.org/posts/news/2015/12/presidents-column-rethinking-role-gre

    • Replies: @Truth
    @Triumph104


    That isn’t the point. The point is that people like Feynman were probably considered “dumber” by putting a time limit on the test. They cannot see the correct answer fast enough to beat the clock not that they can never see the correct answer.

    Is somebody dumber because they can correctly answer all the questions on the wonderlic test but only if they take 14 minutes instead of 12?
     
    Yeah, that's kind of the whole point of scoring people, isn't it?

    Replies: @MarkinLA

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Triumph104

    "Meg Urry, Yale professor and president of the American Astronomical Society, is an exception who wants to limit the use of the GRE and Physics GRE in admissions to graduate astronomy programs. "

    Yeah, that's probably because the GRE doesn't yield the race and sex diversity that she would like to see. A quote from that article:

    "Research by the Education Testing Service (ETS), and more recently by Miller & Stassun (2014),[12] demonstrate that GRE scores correlate with demographic characteristics unrelated to potential for graduate study, such as gender, race and socioeconomic status."

    She is assuming the result that she already believes in. Who says that "demographic characteristics" are "unrelated to potential for graduate study". The actual results of who gets admitted to graduate school in physics and astronomy and who ends up getting degrees in those fields argues otherwise.

  194. @Desiderius
    @Mr. Anon


    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.
     
    Similar situation with the MCAT.

    Replies: @Triumph104

    The MCAT doesn’t correlate too well with success, so medical schools generously practice affirmative action. The graduation rate for medical school is over 95% while most graduate programs are about 50%.

    A black medical school applicant with a 24 MCAT and a 3.2 GPA has about a 50% chance of getting into medical school. An Asian with those same scores has a 6% chance.

    https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/factstablea24.html

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Triumph104

    "The MCAT doesn’t correlate too well with success, so medical schools generously practice affirmative action."

    You don't seem to understand what you are saying. That sentence should probably be rendered:

    The MCAT doesn’t correlate too well with success, because medical schools generously practice affirmative action

  195. @Triumph104
    @Mr. Anon


    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.
     
    No one has bothered to look so we will never know. One would think that most "scientists" would be concerned about whether the Physics GRE is a measure of ability or not but one would be wrong.

    Meg Urry, Yale professor and president of the American Astronomical Society, is an exception who wants to limit the use of the GRE and Physics GRE in admissions to graduate astronomy programs. https://aas.org/posts/news/2015/12/presidents-column-rethinking-role-gre

    Replies: @Truth, @Mr. Anon

    That isn’t the point. The point is that people like Feynman were probably considered “dumber” by putting a time limit on the test. They cannot see the correct answer fast enough to beat the clock not that they can never see the correct answer.

    Is somebody dumber because they can correctly answer all the questions on the wonderlic test but only if they take 14 minutes instead of 12?

    Yeah, that’s kind of the whole point of scoring people, isn’t it?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    @Truth

    I am not sure of what your point is but the purpose of scoring people is not to declare them dumb or smart but to try and determines someone's potential in order to help that person achieve as much as they are possible. The problem is that potential isn't easily measured only things like how fast can you determine what a box with some dots on each side looks like when it is rotated 90 degrees on the X and Y axis. These things do correlate with intelligence and a large group of smart people will likely achieve more than an equally large group of dumb people but there is significant overlap in terms of achievement between the groups.

  196. @Triumph104
    @Desiderius

    The MCAT doesn't correlate too well with success, so medical schools generously practice affirmative action. The graduation rate for medical school is over 95% while most graduate programs are about 50%.

    A black medical school applicant with a 24 MCAT and a 3.2 GPA has about a 50% chance of getting into medical school. An Asian with those same scores has a 6% chance.

    https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/factstablea24.html

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    “The MCAT doesn’t correlate too well with success, so medical schools generously practice affirmative action.”

    You don’t seem to understand what you are saying. That sentence should probably be rendered:

    The MCAT doesn’t correlate too well with success, because medical schools generously practice affirmative action

  197. @Triumph104
    @Mr. Anon


    But what about the Physics GRE? That is the test score that admissions committees at physics departments really look at. And I would bet that does correlate pretty well with success in graduate school.
     
    No one has bothered to look so we will never know. One would think that most "scientists" would be concerned about whether the Physics GRE is a measure of ability or not but one would be wrong.

    Meg Urry, Yale professor and president of the American Astronomical Society, is an exception who wants to limit the use of the GRE and Physics GRE in admissions to graduate astronomy programs. https://aas.org/posts/news/2015/12/presidents-column-rethinking-role-gre

    Replies: @Truth, @Mr. Anon

    “Meg Urry, Yale professor and president of the American Astronomical Society, is an exception who wants to limit the use of the GRE and Physics GRE in admissions to graduate astronomy programs. ”

    Yeah, that’s probably because the GRE doesn’t yield the race and sex diversity that she would like to see. A quote from that article:

    “Research by the Education Testing Service (ETS), and more recently by Miller & Stassun (2014),[12] demonstrate that GRE scores correlate with demographic characteristics unrelated to potential for graduate study, such as gender, race and socioeconomic status.”

    She is assuming the result that she already believes in. Who says that “demographic characteristics” are “unrelated to potential for graduate study”. The actual results of who gets admitted to graduate school in physics and astronomy and who ends up getting degrees in those fields argues otherwise.

  198. I’m working from a sample of two relatives by marriage, both in hard theoretical physics, one a string theorist at Berkeley and Harvard, the other an Institute for Advanced Studies fellow in some area of QED.

    Both clearly 160 IQ types, charming as all hell in person, massive right-brain skills, limericks, jokes, short stories, human EQ/empathy skills.

    I assume that most of the time they are relating to people over a 30 point IQ gap on average, if not more.

    So the stereotype of ” brilliant, but only in his field” may not hold up…

    A sample of two South Asians, though.

  199. @William Badwhite
    @Astuteobservor II

    "if you don’t want my comments, say the word bro, and I would leave you alone in your own little world."

    Don't give yourself so much credit "bro". Its highly unlikely Steve has an opinion one way or the other on you, more likely is doing other things than sitting around waiting for your comment so he can instantly approve it.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II

    HA, steve got a super fan 🙂 grats.

  200. @Truth
    @Triumph104


    That isn’t the point. The point is that people like Feynman were probably considered “dumber” by putting a time limit on the test. They cannot see the correct answer fast enough to beat the clock not that they can never see the correct answer.

    Is somebody dumber because they can correctly answer all the questions on the wonderlic test but only if they take 14 minutes instead of 12?
     
    Yeah, that's kind of the whole point of scoring people, isn't it?

    Replies: @MarkinLA

    I am not sure of what your point is but the purpose of scoring people is not to declare them dumb or smart but to try and determines someone’s potential in order to help that person achieve as much as they are possible. The problem is that potential isn’t easily measured only things like how fast can you determine what a box with some dots on each side looks like when it is rotated 90 degrees on the X and Y axis. These things do correlate with intelligence and a large group of smart people will likely achieve more than an equally large group of dumb people but there is significant overlap in terms of achievement between the groups.

  201. @Academic Gossip
    @Old Palo Altan


    The smartest math guy in my high school is today one of the world’s leading set theorists.
     
    In case you were not aware, set theory is a lower-IQ area within mathematics that attracts philosophaster types. It has been slowly floating further away from healthy areas of research and is surprisingly often taught by Philosophy professors (because math departments have learned not to expect anything useful to come from set theory, and do not fund many positions in set theory). For a short time in the 1960's after Paul Cohen's breakthrough that got the Fields Medal, set theory looked promising and smart people entered the field. That was then, this is now (and has been so for the past 40 years).

    re: Tyson, why the hate? He seems quite good at what he does, as a planetarium director, popularizer and public science figure. Astrophysics has plenty of people doing pseudoscience in high profile academic positions. Tyson is doing things that are more useful.

    @cwhatfuture

    "in certain areas, string theory, or shock waves to think of two specific real examples, they seemed astoundingly brilliant. .... But outside of their areas of expertise, they do not seem awe-inspiringly brilliant to me at all."

    Witten's politics are well known as an example of this, and he is far from the only one (and much more out-of-specialty intelligent than most).

    Replies: @Old Palo Altan

    He entered that field in the ’60s. We are not all young whippersnappers here.
    But I’ll ask my pure mathematics friend (Harvard PhD; numerous prizes and professorships) what he thinks, and report back.

  202. I doubt that anybody but you will see this Steve, but it is interesting in itself: my “pure mathematics friend” replied to my question about set theory as follows:

    “Set theory could reasonably be considered the boundary between mathematics and philosophy, so, inferior may not be quite the right word, but it’s certainly viewed as sui generis”.

    I shall be seeing him over Christmas and will probe for more, particularly in response to the idea that the practitioners of set theory are at the lower end of the spectrum of mathematical intelligence.

    • Replies: @Academic Gossip
    @Old Palo Altan

    @Old Palo Altan

    Thanks for following up. I'd be interested in what your friend says.

    In addition to the IQ selection by filtering along the path to becoming an academic mathematician, there is also some compression of the IQ range between fields compared to what is needed to do research. This is because the people who want to enter easier fields still have to compete with all the stronger students until they reach the tenure-track. So if it takes (inventing the numbers just to give an example) IQ 120 to do research in set theory and 145 to do algebraic topology, the averages for people in tenured research positions might be 140and 150, which is a smaller difference, especially from the point of view of their friends and neighbors who are closer to the population mean. Research in most areas of math and physics doesn't require all that much intelligence once background material has been learned, it's the competition and time pressure of the training process that leads to the IQ cutoffs. The result is similar to hedge funds, where very smart people do things that only need somewhat smart people.

    There are a couple of issues with the field of set theory that relate to its IQ levels. One is that it has had low status for a long time, so it doesn't attract its share of top dogs. Another is that the cognitive abilities tested sharply in other subjects, such as computation, estimation, and visualization are not used nearly as much in set theory. There is also an unusual amount of flexibility to define new concepts for basic analysis, so there is less of the mental adaptation to an alien landscape one can't alter, and more of exploring one's personal intuitions. I suspect the second activity is less demanding on the brain, for the same reason that philosophy is easier than physics.

  203. @Old Palo Altan
    I doubt that anybody but you will see this Steve, but it is interesting in itself: my "pure mathematics friend" replied to my question about set theory as follows:

    "Set theory could reasonably be considered the boundary between mathematics and philosophy, so, inferior may not be quite the right word, but it's certainly viewed as sui generis".

    I shall be seeing him over Christmas and will probe for more, particularly in response to the idea that the practitioners of set theory are at the lower end of the spectrum of mathematical intelligence.

    Replies: @Academic Gossip

    Thanks for following up. I’d be interested in what your friend says.

    In addition to the IQ selection by filtering along the path to becoming an academic mathematician, there is also some compression of the IQ range between fields compared to what is needed to do research. This is because the people who want to enter easier fields still have to compete with all the stronger students until they reach the tenure-track. So if it takes (inventing the numbers just to give an example) IQ 120 to do research in set theory and 145 to do algebraic topology, the averages for people in tenured research positions might be 140and 150, which is a smaller difference, especially from the point of view of their friends and neighbors who are closer to the population mean. Research in most areas of math and physics doesn’t require all that much intelligence once background material has been learned, it’s the competition and time pressure of the training process that leads to the IQ cutoffs. The result is similar to hedge funds, where very smart people do things that only need somewhat smart people.

    There are a couple of issues with the field of set theory that relate to its IQ levels. One is that it has had low status for a long time, so it doesn’t attract its share of top dogs. Another is that the cognitive abilities tested sharply in other subjects, such as computation, estimation, and visualization are not used nearly as much in set theory. There is also an unusual amount of flexibility to define new concepts for basic analysis, so there is less of the mental adaptation to an alien landscape one can’t alter, and more of exploring one’s personal intuitions. I suspect the second activity is less demanding on the brain, for the same reason that philosophy is easier than physics.

  204. I’ll believe they belong there as much as a white or asian student when they have to meet the same stringent criteria to be there.

  205. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @TangoMan
    Their questions left many black scientists, myself included, reeling from the psychological blow.

    Reeling from the psychological blow. First there was Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors when she choose to listen to Larry Summers speak.

    I have physics degrees from two historically black universities and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from an Ivy League institution.

    No one trusts that you earned your degrees or accomplishments because in an environment defined by the presence of Affirmative Action, no one believes that you weren't admitted or coddled simply because you're black and your professors and colleagues were instructed to increase diversity at all costs, regardless of merit.

    Obviously, black students march into classrooms all over this country and blow physical concepts out of the water with their individual intellects.

    I know, right. Terence Howard was on such a path with his math revolution, but then heard the siren call of acting:

    The future actor was studying chemical engineering at Pratt — but dropped out when he realized that he fundamentally disagreed with his professors about the basics of math. The argument focused on the simple equation of one times one.

    "How can it equal one?" Howard asked Rolling Stone, and the universe. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
     

    Replies: @Robt, @Anonymous, @Cloudbuster, @Anonymous, @William BadWhite, @Anonymous

    I guess you’ve missed the revolutions in teaching that encourage teachers even in fields like math, that there are no right answers, and to grade it as correct if it fits their views, particularly for minority students.

    Ebonics was bad enough, but it at least seemed to flop- hopefully that will too.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS