back to article Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

Right off the bat, let's get this straight: on average, ignorant bigots and well-rounded human beings biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed; they're universal across human cultures. Bigots that should have been castrated at birth but raised by well-rounded human beings often still …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just to clarify

    Did google ever get around to specifying which bits of the manifesto are in breach of the code of conduct and which parts employees are free to discuss?

    Or did they do the standard corporate weaseling and hope the problem would go away?

    1. jgarry
      Mushroom

      Re: Just to clarify

      Put this in your favorite search engine: “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just to clarify

        That's a no then.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Just to clarify

        >To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.

        That wasn't what the document said. He was addressing (recruitment) programs and policies, not individuals. If we know women in general dislike solitary roles, could we not make the roles more social rather than running women-only recruitment programs?

        What he said was: https://diversitymemo-static.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

        I watched the Stefan M Interview too. It was painful. Damore appeared to want to be nice to his host, but S.M. kept trying to push Damore into saying things he really didn't want to say.

        I know El Reg is a red-top but I do expect more journalistic integrity than what was presented in this article. He didn't pile into "what the left does wrong" or say or imply that "protecting women" was "something the left does wrong." He noted the biases on both right and left, not just listing "lefty" biases as the el reg list implies. Despite El Reg's assertion, there was no reason for Google to feel they had no choice but to fire Damore. It was neither hurtful nor offensive unless you are ideologically wedded to the idea that there are no differences between men and women. Damore said nothing about individual performance and explicitly denied that his memo was relevant to that, in the interview.

        Some factual observations we can make from all of this are:

        1. Damore lost his job and has poor judgement regarding interviewers.

        2. Damore's assertion that Google tries to purge dissent rather than accepting or refuting it is confirmed by its action in purging him.

        3. Google (and FB, Twitter and online publications) will make money from Damore being fired and the general outrage.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. elip

            Re: Just to clarify

            I can't +1 this enough. I don't know when Kieren started being 'published' in Reg, but its been fairly recently. I don't know why he's still writing, let alone writing for The Reg. Still waiting on his source list or some evidence from his piece on the "government spying on our purchases". Everything he writes is a superlative-laden opinion piece, and not much else. Please Reg, make it stop!

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: Just to clarify

              I noticed for a while now that I can immediately tell an article is by Mr. McCarthy after the first few words (much like with Mr. Orlowski), and definitely NOT because it's so eloquent and impartial. Nowadays I just save myself the trouble of reading it at all.

              1. kierenmccarthy

                Re: Just to clarify

                As far as I'm aware, no way is making you read these articles. And if they are, you should tell them to stop.

                1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
                  WTF?

                  Re: Just to clarify

                  @ DropBear

                  If you don't read his articles how do you manage to post a comment on one?

                  1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                    Re: Just to clarify

                    "If you don't read his articles how do you manage to post a comment on one?"
                    Why are you picking on DropBear? Not reading the OP doesn't stop ever so many other commentards commenting... Especially when they comment on the comments rather than the OP.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Just to clarify @Keiren

                  No, the comments are about the direction you and El-Reg are taking your articles,

                  Its really not a very good place.

                  'Well, noone is forcing you....' is a crap response. Your stories are attempted click bait, sir.

                  On another note, you mention that the data subject 'dressed up' his LinkedIn account somewhat - whats the crime? How many here haven't stretched somewhat - isn't it what social media is for ?

                  1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                    Re: Just to clarify @Keiren

                    "'Well, noone is forcing you....' is a crap response. Your stories are attempted click bait, sir."
                    Successful rather than attempted I'd say. Four pages of comments and we're still going :-)

              2. Archtech Silver badge

                Re: Just to clarify

                "Nowadays I just save myself the trouble of reading it at all".

                And yet you do go to the trouble of commenting on it. How can you do that sensibly, when you yourself boast of not having read it?

          2. kierenmccarthy

            Re: Just to clarify

            You should relax. And maybe stop reading my articles if they're so upsetting to you.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Holmes

              Re: Just to clarify

              @kieren - "You should relax. And maybe stop reading my articles if they're so upsetting to you."

              The reader said that they already did stop reading: "Nowadays I just save myself the trouble of reading it at all."

              I read it. Not sure why you decided to add the "Trump nuclear weapons tweet" section - completely unrelated. And as others pointed out, Damore did write negatively about the right-wingers as well as the social justice warriors. Seemed like you could have covered that aspect. But, in the end it was an opinion piece instead of a hard news item, and you should most certainly express your own opinion.

              1. NinjasFTW

                Re: Just to clarify

                "Not sure why you decided to add the 'Trump nuclear weapons tweet' section"

                I presume he did it so he can further his narrative by having Trump (who everyone hates) and Damore in the same article so that he can draw an association between the two.

                you know, the way people people like to link someone they want to smear with pedophiles or Nazis even though there isn't a link simply so that someone searching for one associates the name with the other

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Just to clarify

                  "so he can further his narrative by having Trump (who everyone hates) and Damore in the same article so that he can draw an association between the two"
                  Everyone hates Trump? Don't think so. An awful lot of people voted for him and that's hardly evidence of hatred. Then his success has led to a considerable amount of foaming at the mouth from people who do hate him. And for some of us that is a source of considerable amusement. Why would you hate someone who makes you laugh?

                  FWIW I utter the word "covfefe" as I get out of bed in the morning these days, though my son tells me I'm pronouncing it wrong :-)

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Holmes

                    Re: Just to clarify

                    @Pompous - "Why would you hate someone who makes you laugh?"

                    Wall Street loves him and is laughing all the way to the multi-trillion dollar bank.

                    1. Tom Paine Silver badge
                      Boffin

                      Re: Just to clarify

                      Wall St is making easy money while the sun shines and (apart from the dumber funds) quietly diversifying and hedging the hell out of everything.

                      1. Alistair Silver badge
                        Coat

                        Re: Just to clarify

                        @ Tom Paine:

                        "and (apart from the dumber funds) quietly diversifying and hedging the hell out of everything."

                        Well ... we *hope* they're hedging the hell out of everything or we'll be looking at TAARP2/3/4 when things go "PoP" .

              2. kierenmccarthy

                Re: Just to clarify

                I suppose I'd ask them why the reader felt the need to post a comment on a story they hadn't read.

                Re: why include the Trump nuclear tweet? Actually I didn't. I included someone being attacked for referencing Trump's tweet. And I believe I wrote exactly why I included in the actual article.

                Which I suppose links to the first point: you haven't read the article either.

                We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I think you should read an actual article before posting a comment; you don't it. I'm not sure it's a gap we're going to be able to bridge.

                Re: it was an opinion piece not hard news. I believe it has the word "Comment" at the front. That's what that word is there for.

                In fact, here's an idea: may be all future all commenters that haven't felt the need to read the article before posting a comment could append "Non reader" in bold in front of their comment. Greater clarity all round.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Just to clarify

                  "may be all future all commenters that haven't felt the need to read the article before posting a comment could append "Non reader" in bold in front of their comment. Greater clarity all round."
                  Touché :-)

                  Worth noting that there's a lot of opinion all over the place from those who obviously haven't read any of the ten pages being discussed.

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: Just to clarify

          Never accept an interview with a political commentator unless you have years of experience in interviews. It is their job to manipulate their subjects into saying things which will bring in the ratings.

    2. AdamWill

      Optional

      Do you work for Google? If so, why are you asking here, and not...at Google? And if not, why would you care?

      1. AdamWill

        Re: Optional

        Jeez. I thought the point here was pretty obvious: this (the 'clarification' of the code of conduct) can only possibly affect Google employees. So why would it be an issue of public interest?

        I mean, feel free to take a side on whether the guy is some kind of heroic truth teller (sigh) and whether or not he should have got fired. But it seems a bit odd to me that you'd demand Google 'clarify' its code of conduct to people who *aren't bound by it*. Hence my point: if you're a Google employee, then your request is perfectly reasonable, but surely you have better places to ask for a clarification of the code of conduct than a random internet forum. If you're not, it has precisely zero impact on you, so why do you think Google should be obliged to interpret its code of conduct for you, when you have no standing relative to each other at all?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Optional

          "it seems a bit odd to me that you'd demand Google 'clarify' its code of conduct to people who *aren't bound by it*"
          Not really. Codes of Conduct are generally available to the public and for good reason. Let's say the CoC allows employees to swear at customers. Customers then have no grounds for complaint when called a stupid cunt. OTOH is the CoC specifically forbids abusing customers in any way, then customers have grounds to complain to the employer.

          NB I deliberately chose an extreme example, not a real-world one.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Just to clarify

      "Or did they do the standard corporate weaseling and hope the problem would go away?"

      Not quite They hoped that firing him would have sped it on its way.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just to clarify

      In Google's defence I've got a clause in my contract that I can be fired for bringing the company into disrepute. If that manifesto is not bringing the company into disrepute I honestly don't know what would?

      1. pleb

        Re: Just to clarify

        Circulating the memo internally can not, by definition, have brought Google into disrepute. I'm sure Google have the means to know who first copied it to the outside world at large, but they do not seem interested.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Just to clarify

        "If that manifesto is not bringing the company into disrepute I honestly don't know what would?"

        That would depend on who is making the judgement of "disrepute". I'd say that sacking someone for expressing views you don't like is pretty disreputable but I suppose I'm fairly liberal, and in the UK, where liberal is an adjective rather than an obscene interjection.

        It is also pretty stupid, since it has drawn huge amounts of attention to Google's actual performance in this area (which isn't stellar) and at the same time made it impossible to have a reasoned discussion of the policy. (Perhaps they should google for "Streisand effect".)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Just to clarify

        If that manifesto is not bringing the company into disrepute I honestly don't know what would?

        How's about the continued, intrusive, unwanted and secretive use and selling of personal data without ever coming quite clean about what is sold, who to and why. Will that do you?

  2. Captain DaFt

    Now you see

    This is why Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other social sites like them are important.

    The rabid mouth foamers from both sides of any debate happily lock themselves up together in them to engage in mortal and pointless combat.

    Keeps them off the streets and out of my face. ☺

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Now you see

      The greatest crime the "world wide web" has committed, is giving stupid people a voice.

      My view on the existence of social media,

      it puts almost all the stupid people in one place, where they can be conveniently ignored.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now you see

        @the JIm Bloke. Speak for yourself.

        Because people who you consider in your great wisdom and judgement to be stupid should be censored and silenced from expressing an opinion ?

        And who shall judge the judges (the judges themselves perhaps ?)

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Now you see

          You have made Mr Jim Bloke's point for him. He did not say, or even suggest, that anyone should be censored or silenced. He merely said that it was convenient for him that all the stupid people (as he puts it) should be busy on social media, where he can ignore them.

          Or have you decided that ignoring people is also to be a social crime?

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Now you see

            >Or have you decided that ignoring people is also to be a social crime?

            You mean like these people think?

            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/11/twitter-lawsuit-donald-trump-blocking-knight-institute

            1. samzeman

              Re: Now you see

              That's because he's a member of the government. It's not allowed for them to restrict access to themselves. Free speech or something.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Now you see

        How can they be conveniently ignored when most of the population has one of a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Reddit account?

        These are people in the real world with a vote posting things which are read by other people in the real world with a vote.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Now you see

          Because they're not compelled to have an account. If they don't want to read the crap, they can close it.

        2. FatGerman

          Re: Now you see

          >> How can they be conveniently ignored when most of the population has one of a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Reddit account?

          I've got two of those and I was completely unaware that this had happened until I read this article. It's not the sites, it's the bits of them you choose to read.

          You do need to develop a rapid mental shit filter to prevent you clicking on obvious crap, but I've not found that difficult to do.

        3. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Now you see

          Well, I for one don't have a Facebook, Twitter or Reddit account. I admit to a LinkedIn account, but that is a quiescent relic. I certainly don't visit or read LinkedIn.

          In fact, I don't have a mobile phone either. In general, I try to do only things that are fun or good for me. The world is complicated enough that it's quite possible to avoid all the bad stuff.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now you see

        Funny but wrong.

        Social media is a filthy breeding ground for stupidity, which spills out into all internet communities, society, and ultimately the voting booth.

      4. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Now you see

        > The greatest crime the "world wide web" has committed, is giving stupid people a voice.

        Yeah, but it has also given us metaphorical ear-plugs.

        Really though, all this noise is a barrier to discourse scratching past the surface of an issue. And of course, breaking the world down into discrete issues is also a barrier to understanding.

      5. Paul 135

        Re: Now you see

        Hard to get someone as stupid as the author of this article.

        Starts off with the old "bigot" line for anyone who disagrees with him - as usual with people who like to throw around this word, the very definition of bigotry itself.

        Then in complete denial that if you want to talk about overall trends in employment then general biological preferences will be relevant.

        1. peter_dtm

          Re: Now you see

          He also failed to read the IMTERNAL memo as well; as if he had done he would have noticed the table about right wing behaviour as well. Unbalanced reporting by the reg does not help anyone. The man went out of his way to balance the memo sp as to be politically neutral and referenced Avery single paper he used to determine his stance. Not liking the conclusion of a peer reviewed paper does not make it extreme or stupid - ask any climate scientist

      6. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Now you see

        It's not a "crime", it's a side effect. Everything has side effects, but you shouldn't let them blind you to obvious benefits.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now you see

      This is why Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other social sites like them are important.

      Only to those foolish enough to bare their lives on them. Otherwise, they are irrelevant.

      If like me, you avoid them like the plague then you life can be a whole lot easier.

      Come on, just say NO to them and basically 'get a life'. There is one outside of Social Media after all we existed for millions of years before Farcebook etc came along.

  3. John Riddoch

    "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

    Probably due to eugenics as a side effect of the slave trade. The slave traders picked the strongest "specimens" from Africa and shipped them to the Americas as slaves. The weaker of those died off through over-work, so only the strongest survived. This meant that blacks in America were from a hardy, strong stock which is well suited to various sports (basketball, sprinting, etc).

    It's benefited them, but it doesn't justify slavery or what was done to them.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

      Or it could be that it was more useful to be a fast runner for humans in Africa than it was for the humans who migrated north. While we all came from Africa if you go back a hundred thousand years or so, to the extent that fast running was more important for survival and having more children (i.e. higher social status) in Africa versus Europe/Asia/Americas the ones who left Africa would stop selecting for it as much. We selected for other traits, like lighter skin to allow getting sufficient vitamin D from the sun, digesting milk when we started keeping cattle, and so forth.

      At any rate, the difference in speed is pretty small on average as well in the elite category. But when the difference between winning and losing is measured in hundredths of a second, it doesn't take much difference for blacks to be overrepresented in the ranks of elite sprinters.

      Which is similar to the difference between men and women that Damore was pointing out. Yes, there's a difference, but it isn't large enough to account for the wide disparity in men and women working in tech. Especially since there is nearly a 50/50 mix in other countries like India and China. The difference in the US is obviously not genetic, unless someone wants to make a case that the difference between men and women in suitability for tech jobs exists only in Caucasians.

      1. jrd

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        "Especially since there is nearly a 50/50 mix in other countries like India and China. The difference in the US is obviously not genetic, unless someone wants to make a case that the difference between men and women in suitability for tech jobs exists only in Caucasians."

        James' argument is that distribution of personality traits differs by sex (this is well supported by science) which leads to different preferences in career. However, women are not equally free in all countries to follow their preferences in career. Women in affluent, egalitarian societies are more free to choose the careers which match their personality traits, which leads to the large gender differences we see in some professions in the West. There is a lot of literature on this subject (also known as the Nordic Gender Equality Paradox).

        There is a good discussion about some of James' points at http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exaggerated-differences/

        1. Aitor 1

          Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

          But dont publish that, or you might be fired....

      2. Stuart Grout

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        "a 50/50 mix in other countries like India and China" will be news to women in those countries.

        The statistics vary depending on exactly what you count as "working in tech" but excluding virtual slave labour assembling iPhones the figure for women is anywhere between 3% to 20%. A long way short of they mythical 50/50.

        Genetics are likely to be a small factor in differences in career choices but it cannot be argued that gender isn't a factor whether the decision is to have a career as a Child Minder, Kernel Coder any of a thousand other career.

        It is actually hard to find many careers where there isn't a difference to be found when it comes to gender balance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

          Curiously, Kenyans - like the Japanese and some Mexican tribes with a traditional of long distance running - enjoy fermented food food stuffs. It isn't just their bodies, it is their fuel too that might impact upon their performance. Life is complex and fascinating.

          In any any case, none of this means anything: anyone from any background is free to qualify for a marathon, and they'll only be judged by their performance. It's a meritocracy, with a clear and simple goal, judged objectively. In this respect a marathon differs to the reality of many jobs.

          1. Tom Paine Silver badge

            Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

            You are Tom Archer and I claim by five pints of Shires.

      3. Hjulenissen

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        One possibility would be that the wealth in the US allows citizens to choose occupation based on preferences, while the people of China and India cannot afford such luxury.

      4. Palpy

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?" -- off-topic on legs, etc

        Yes -- seems to me I read that Neanderthals, stocky and with short legs (and, proportionally, shorter shins in particular), have advantages in hill-climbing and conserving heat in cold climates, compared with long-limbed people.

        I have short, muscular legs. I run poorly, though whether that is entirely due to physiology or whether poor form can be blamed is up for grabs. I jogged for many years, but my thudding gait is now impossible; my lower back is done with it. I can climb a steep hillside just fine, though, even with a pack. Neanderthals is my peeps. (Not really, perhaps, but in spirit!)

        Parenthetically, it's very imprecise to say "blacks" or "Africans" are better runners. Ever see a Mbenga or Mbuti person who is an internationally competitive runner? You won't. These black Africans tend to be less than 5 feet tall. Better be more specific, and say the Oromo and Kalenjin peoples of Africa are sometimes excellent runners. As mentioned, natives of Africa are more genetically diverse than the rest of Homo sapiens combined. (Reffie: BioNews)

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        Huh? You literally just made the argument that, in very highly competitive field (such as sprinting) that a small average difference between groups could lead to a very large bias. And then go on to ignore it when you say "Yes, there's a difference, but it isn't large enough to account for the wide disparity in men and women working in tech." The -whole point- of what you noticed with sprinting, is that a tiny average variation between sexes, when selecting the very best (many standard deviations above the mean) in a mixed pool, will lead to a large bias.

        Let's work through a simplified example. Imagine such thing as a 'computer skills ability index' and when we measure a cohort of programmers, averages out for men at 1005, and for women at 995. That's a 1% difference. A tiny variation.

        But Google only hire the cream of the crop. They will sift through thousands of applicants, and based purely on skill alone, hire the top ten. They'll hire the person with a skill index of 1500, then those with a skill index of 1499, then those with a skill index of 1498. It's only when we get down to the 1490's that women are going to approach the frequency of men in their hires.

        It doesn't mean Google are sexist in their hiring. It's literally just a case of them hiring the very very best, combined with a small (but measurable) variation between the sexes which means those very very best are likely to be male.

        And I'm sorry if you find that offensive, or if it goes against the mantra you've been brought up to believe that everyone is equal, but that's how things work out. And it's really quite disconcerting when otherwise intelligent people are unable to grasp this, as if something triggers in their brain that destroys rationality and the ability to reason, and makes them scream things that conform to groupthink and virtue signal for fear of being singled out or stigmatised. Exactly like what's happened with that guy who was fired.

        Seriously... people at Google are saying things like "If I had to work with him, I'd be unable to stop myself from punching him in the face" and it's -him- that's the problem and not them?

        1. John H Woods

          995 vs 1005

          Very reasonable argument but I would suggest there are two significant complications.

          1st, I don't think even a quite narrow set of skills can be measured on a one dimensional index.

          2nd, I don't think even Google has got hiring practices that ensure they never hire people below the 99 percentile.

          But the principle problem with his manifesto is context rather than intrinsic quality. The guy is not an anthropologist publishing a paper for a research department.

          I could produce some pretty good science to support the Peter Principle and the Denning Kruger Effect but I don't think I'd submit a paper on these if my company asked for my thoughts on how people were selected for promotion!

        2. DougS Silver badge

          @AC - Google hiring "the cream of the crop"

          If Google had no competition in hiring, that might be the case (or rather, they might wish it was the case but no one can be even remotely that precise in measuring the 'best' people for hiring) But it is not the case, there are many companies in Silicon Valley alone that also try to hire the best.

          Besides, the cream of the crop for sprinters are better than one in a million, not 10 in 1500. The guy that finishes last in the Olympics 100m finals is still the 10th fastest on Earth, assuming 10 people compete. Google almost certainly does not employ any of the top 10 programmers on Earth (assuming it was possible to measure that) because he (or she!) probably employs himself.

      6. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        Yet according to some reports, those of East and South Asian ancestry are quite heavily overrepresented in US technical employment. Should we consider this to be evidence that the companies hiring them are biased against hiring white men as well, perhaps, as women?

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

      So what you're saying is America needs to enslave the Whites to weed out their poor breeding stock? Hell yeah! Make America Great Again!

    3. James O'Shea

      Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

      "Probably due to eugenics as a side effect of the slave trade. The slave traders picked the strongest "specimens" from Africa and shipped them to the Americas as slaves."

      Oh, really? So, why, exactly, would it be that be why so many of the top distance runners in the world are East Africans? (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Eritrea...) Hint: the majority of black African slaves in the Americas came from _West_ Africa; slaves in the Caribbean and North America mostly from the Gold, Ivory, and Slave (duh!) Coasts in the Bight of Benin and surrounding areas, while those in South America largely came from what's now Angola as well as the Portuguese areas in and around the Bight of Benin. Still West Africa, though, and while many West Africans and a lot of East Africans are Bantu-speakers, Ethiopians and a good chunk of Kenyas aren't. The Bantu-speaking group is rather like the Indo-European-speaking group: there's a whole lot of 'em, and the ones at the far ends (West Africa, northern East Africa, South Africa) ain't particularly closely related to each other. There isn't, and wasn't ever, a monolithic 'black race', any more than there ever was a monolithic 'white race'; see further 'Indo-European Language Group' and why it's called that. You might want to reconsider your position.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        "There isn't, and wasn't ever, a monolithic 'black race', any more than there ever was a monolithic 'white race'"
        Last time I looked there were 3 major mtDNA haplogroups in Africa and everyone outside Africa belongs to a single haplogroup. Splitters being splitters I imagine there are now many sub-groups to help cloud the issue.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

      So the Ethiopian team must be terrible because they didn't benefit from slavery in the Americas?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

        Well, yes, actually. They are utterly crap at the power events like sprinting and long-jump. I can't think of a single one. Conversely, the descendants of abused slaves aren't so hot at distance running.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

          "Conversely, the descendants of abused slaves aren't so hot at distance running."
          Probably why they became such excellent boxers; they had to survive somehow :-)

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "why Blacks are such fast runners?"

      Probably due to eugenics as a side effect of the slave trade.

      Congratulations, you seem to have a staggering ignorance of: genetics, Africa, the slave trade and statistics, which is what the point was made about.

  4. FelixReg

    Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

    This posting will probably not attract many comments, though. :)

    BTW, you might expand on your note in the profane article as to why Google software people would be male. (Morons and geniuses are male. You noted Google tries to hire geniuses.)

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

      "Morons and geniuses are male. You noted Google tries to hire geniuses."
      Those of us on the Autism spectrum are predominantly male so while males account for ~49% of the human population, they account for considerably more than 50% of those diagnosed as "suffering" from Asperger syndrome for example. Should we start to demand that Aspies be properly represented in the caring professions to which they are singularly unsuited and currently dominated "unfairly" by women? Or should we just accept that different people are attracted to different professions/callings?

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

        Your argument is logical and sensible, Pompous Git, but it cannot be allowed. You see, your argument, if followed through, would result in bias in favour of women being decreased. That is never allowed.

        Similarly, it is an established principle that black people cannot be racist. Only white people can be racist. (The jury seems to be still out on brown people).

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

          Actually, I've found that black and asian people can be just as vile and racist as us white folks.

          To suggest that they cant be is in itself , racist and discrimatory..

          And wtf are we on about in a pointless and boring discussion about sex and race when everyone turns red when you get 5mm inside and if you go any deeper, you find green and purple tubey bits.

          FFFFFSFfsfssssssss and pass me the chanti ....

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

        Although there's a theory that says autism/aspergers is under-detected in females due to females having better social skills.

        And back to the original memo, if he's complaining about women and anxiety, people with autism/aspergers tend to have higher anxiety levels anyway, so that particular point can be safely ignored.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

        @Pompous Git, as the father of two daughters both at different points on the Autism scale I can and do see flaws in the suggestion that it is a male preserve. It has been suggested that those females with milder forms are batter able to hide their situation or that society is less ready to identify the traits. My daughters are somewhat diverse in their ways, one is simply unsuited to caring roles, though loves science and genetics, (she works in the medical field so knows how genetics and treatment plans can conflict), the other has rather bigger issues that limit her abilities more profoundly. Incidentally she has also demonstrated the conflict between her personal genetic make up and some pharmaceutical treatments, for a while she lost the ability to walk.

        The issue here is generalisations, frankly I would make a terrible stunt woman, I would also make a hopeless stunt man, because of the way I am. Simply unsuited to that work because of who, not what I am, but I have done other things for almost 72 years. One thing I have learned to reject is the simple minded belief that individuals can be assessed by looking at a group and guessing.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

          "One thing I have learned to reject is the simple minded belief that individuals can be assessed by looking at a group and guessing."

          You are quite correct in this. That's because individuals vary quite a lot, one to another.

          However this does not stop you being able to look at groups and discerning that individuals in one group are more likely to display some traits rather than those in others. Your group assessment will be better than your individual assessment.

          That's what statistics is all about; ask your scientifically inclined daughter. BTW she will also explain to you what's wrong with the phrase "science and genetics".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

            @ Doctor Syntax: OK perhaps for those of a more simple disposition I should have spelt it out.

            Science in general but specifically the science of genetics.

            Sorry to correct you, group traits are one thing, however they are totally useless for finding the specific profile(s) you might need to perform specific roles. So for insurance companies assessing the likelihood that you as a new customers might have a bad accident profile, statistics are imperfect yet valuable. However, for someone seeking a brain surgeon, random group statistics would lack any semblance of value the statistics would need hugely more care.

            In one country where I worked, the female recruits were infinitely better programmers than their male counterparts, based not upon group based guesses, or doubtful statistics, but upon both training course results (>90% female pass rates vs <35% male pass rates) and work output. Since this was in a country with no history of female employment, (we broke the model) the statistics were simply not available - beyond previously confirming that most previous male recruits did not meet the requirements.

            It is vanishing rare to need a person for a role and simply obtain them from a group assessment as the above example shows.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

              "Sorry to correct you, group traits are one thing, however they are totally useless for finding the specific profile(s) you might need to perform specific roles."

              Which is what you said first time round and with which I agreed.

              The point is that when you've made a series of such individual selections for similar roles you shouldn't be surprised to find your group skewed on some criterion or other as, in fact, you found in the example which you went on to quote.

              Having obtained your result would you then have felt there was something wrong by having a predominantly female programming team?

              1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

                It becomes a problem when women start asserting their superiority has a basis in biology and/or the mark down male candidates before they've been interviewed. (Who wants a pervy man in the work place?)

                1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
                  Trollface

                  Aside: it always surprises me that people on the spectrum are good with computers. I've always thought being good with computers is about empathising with the computer and understanding it's point of view.

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
                    Happy

                    I've always thought being good with computers is about empathising with the computer and understanding it's point of view.

                    Funny, I've always thought that putting the fear of God, or at least hammers, into computers is the way to fix them...*

                    At which point, having less empathy ought to be an advantage.

                    *Oh and swearing. Lots of swearing!

          2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: Kieren, thank you for avoiding profanity this time

            "However this does not stop you being able to look at groups and discerning that individuals in one group are more likely to display some traits rather than those in others."

            I didn't realise Google was hiring groups. I thought they were hiring individuals.

  5. Daggerchild Silver badge
    Terminator

    Google. You may have to up the timetable.

    Hello Google. I know your Secret Project people have their hands full with the Grand Legal Navigation Engine, but it looks like you may have to up the timetable on the project beyond it. Things are beginning to get out of hand.

    I'm talking of course about the Great Internet Argument Engine - a discussion forum where people are only able to exchange viewpoints by assembling digraph structures of basic concepts, and sending them to attempt to adhere to or replace things in a World View. This should collate World Views that actually hold together in a stiff breeze.

    The energy involved in the Brownian motion of Internet Argument at the moment suggests any thought structure is more likely to be bashed apart than crystallise anymore. We may not have much time before the Internet fully ionises, and everything becomes flames.

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    why Asians are such bad drivers? Or why Blacks are such fast runners? No, seriously, it's statistically true. Just look at the stats from the department of transport/athletics federation.

    If I do a quick Google... How much of the thousands of hits are real science and how much BS is unknown. I've heard these for literally decades but then.... I've also heard about cows jumping over the moon too.

    So, should one trust Google or not?

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Having driven in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan, and a few other places in east asia all I can say is that you really have to know your shit because it's a completely different style of driving than we are used to in the west. It isn't that they are bad it's that the cultural expectation for driving is different. Hell when I first came to SoCal from the east coast I was shocked at how bad the driving was but now I know it's just a different set of cultural norms where sweeping across five lanes of traffic and motorcycles whitelining at 95 mph because 70-75 isn't fast enough is more or less normal. The one consistent thing between the east and west coast is that directional are optional although they tend to be more of a last second warning on the west coast when they're used.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      "If I do a quick Google... How much of the thousands of hits are real science and how much BS is unknown."

      Google Scolar lets you filter out a huge amount of bullshit. What's left still has quite a lot of bullshit, but you are far more likely to find correct information than using just a mainstream search application.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        I still can't find any credible evidence to support Kieran's assertion that Asians are bad drivers.

        1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

          @Adam52

          Half the drivers on the road are below average, and in some places it is worse than that.

          1. pleb

            "Half the drivers on the road are below average, and in some places it is worse than that."

            Only if you assume a symmetrical distribution. Much as almost all of us have greater than the average number of fingers on our hands, I suspect the great majority of drivers are above average.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              "Only if you assume a symmetrical distribution. Much as almost all of us have greater than the average number of fingers on our hands, I suspect the great majority of drivers are above average."
              A lot depends on which average you choose to promote your prejudices. By definition, 50% are above the median and 50% below.

              Interesting read I had a couple of weeks ago that I can't link to; it's behind a paywall. I can't access it again either because my free trial subscription expired. Basically, here in Oz, women in STEM earn about the same as men (within 3–4%). Reportage in the MSM compares women's earnings in the public service with men's earnings in private enterprise to maintain the fiction of greater income disparity.

              Also, and this is interesting, women now outnumber men in several STEM occupations traditionally male dominated. More interesting still, the greatest income disparity is in the female-dominated occupations such as nursing and it's in favour of men.

              FWIW, when I was an employer I showed no favour; women were paid exactly the same as men for the same work. I had a personal preference for women, not so much because of their sex, but because they were more reliable. Men would often outperform them, but were much more prone to not turning up for work and that was a royal PITA.

              1. DropBear Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Well yes the biggest problem with concept of "average" is that there are so many different ones (like the mentioned "median"). Yes of course I do realize all of these are actually different things and have perfectly good and rigorously defined mathematical meanings, as long as you admit that laypeople (very much including me in this case) have no clue which one is which, which one they're talking about, which one they would want to be talking about, or even that they're different things at all. Most of us just think of it as "that value in the middle" never bothering to rigorously define either "middle" or "middle of what exactly"...

  7. DainB Bronze badge

    I'm not sure whether author being sarcastic or The Register just joined Facebook, Google and Twitter in my no-go list.

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Been Following

    It seems this is more of a case of 'two wrongs do not make it right'. The issue is conflating what the 'average' man or woman is with the actual person. They are distinctly different. One is a semi-imaginary construct based on 'averaging' observed behaviors (e.g. most women like... while most men like...). However, the individual person will exhibit behaviors that are some mix of 'male' and 'female' traits and behaviors.

    Why women are underrepresented in Silly Valley tech positions is probably due to factors such as the tendency towards an abysmal work-life balance (all work- no life), pointless hyper-competitiveness, and extreme greed of the vultures. The net effect is to create a hostile work place not just for women but also many men who value an outside life. Other companies that value a work-life balance, do not reward pointless hyper-competitiveness, etc. are less hostile environments and there is a greater tendency to have a more balanced work force both in terms of sex and age. In my group (an internal programming group), the last four hires were men and women who were all over 50 complete with wrinkles and grey hair.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Been Following

      "The net effect is to create a hostile work place not just for women but also many men who value an outside life."
      Indeed. Funny thing, feminazis say men are exploiting women who do the housewife thing. For many years, I've been the househusband while Mrs Git went out to work. The feminazis tell me that's exploiting Mrs Git. So I can't win. In the meantime Mrs Git is doing what she prefers while I'm doing what I prefer. Social "engineers" can fuck off if they think we're going to do what they want us to do.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Been Following

        "The feminazis tell me that's exploiting Mrs Git. So I can't win".

        Precisely. That's exactly what they want. Don't worry though - it's not really personal; it's just that they dislike all men on principle.

    2. Dr Stephen Jones

      Hit nail on head

      "probably due to factors such as the tendency towards an abysmal work-life balance (all work- no life), pointless hyper-competitiveness, and extreme greed of the vultures. The net effect is to create a hostile work place not just for women but also many men who value an outside life"

      Damore made this point. If he had said there were cultural reasons for sane, well rounded human beings to avoid working in Silicon Valley no one would have noticed. Instead he tried "because science" and it triggered the lynch mob. I don't think group biological differences should be used to justify prejudice, but then nobody here seriously does - this is a straw man. Damore could have made his point differently.

      So no, Google has not had a good week. But then neither has El Reg.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Hit nail on head

        From my somewhat outsider's perspective on Silly Valley, it appears that institutional problems at Google are mirrored widely in the many organizations there. Plus one other issue I would add about Silly Valley is they focus excessively on the 'latest and shittiest' not on making something work well even if it is few years old. Part of this is their tendency not to hire older employees who would likely bring more maturity and definitely some battle scars with some wisdom they learned over the years. Some of this maturity is the realization that change for the sake of change is stupid. They are more apt to ask more fundamental questions about purpose and want a sounder answer than it is the 'latest and shittiest', Questions like what problems are you try to solve and what is the best way to solve them.

        Uncle Bob Martin noted that in the old days all of the original IT staff were professionals who wondered into IT mid-career. They were more settled and mature and had plenty of work experience to bring to problems. These old-timers knew the business problems and understood that part of the solution was using a computer but part of the solution was making sure employees knew what they were supposed to do with or without a computer.

  9. John Gamble
    Facepalm

    That Whirlwind

    "Even though nuclear weapons and diversity hiring could not appear to be two issues further apart, in the revolving whirlwind that is uninformed opinion online, they felt one in the same."

    Hmm, and continuing that theme, earlier today El Reg had an article on that very subject, with supplementary examples from the readers.

  10. TheElder

    Equal treatment is essential

    No time off for having a baby I presume...

  11. Maty

    Does this firing thing only work one way?

    Two quotes from this article struck me -

    'There's just something about using a long list of stereotypes to argue your pre-decided conclusion that doesn't engender much love in people.' and

    "Using someone’s biological sex to essentialize an entire group of people’s personality is like surgically operating with an axe."

    I've just finished reading an article in the Guardian entitled ' Salma Hayek is right: compared with women, men are lazy and entitled.' And yes, the rest of the article reads as you might expect after that headline.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/11/salma-hayek-feminism-inequality-men-women

    Should we confidently expect feminist writer Julie Bindel to be fired by the end of the week? I'm not holding my breath.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

      "I've just finished reading an article in the Guardian entitled ' Salma Hayek is right: compared with women, men are lazy and entitled.' And yes, the rest of the article reads as you might expect after that headline."

      That's the article that finally pushed me off the Guardian. I was taking a break from my seven-day-a-week working (so that I can take off several months after my child is born), while my partner is on holiday as her job gives her six months off every year, to be told that I was lazy compared to her.

      Go fuck yourself Julie Bindel.

      Let's try that statement with some nouns replaced, shall we?

      Compared with whites, blacks are lazy and entitled.

      Compared with Aryans, Jews are lazy and entitled.

      Compared with straights, gays are lazy and entitled.

      (Those last two are true if one uses evidence the same way Bindel does.)

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

        My God! You were STILL reading the Guardian???

        Some people have unbelievable endurance. Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud walked all the way across Antarctica pulling a bloody big heavy sled, but that feat pales into insignificance in comparison.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

          Whatever you might think of The Guardian, it and The Telegraph are about the last vestiges of proper journalism in England. With both you just have to ignore the extremist views.

          The BBC has drastically scaled back and is worshipping the alter of balance to the point of insanity, The Times has been Murdoch'd, The Independent is in its death throes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

            The Torygraph is but a shadow of what it was 10 years ago. I stil visit, but usually only find one good article a day.

            The main value of the Torygraph and Grauniad is the insights they given into the internal struggles of the Tories and Labour respectively.

            1. PickledAardvark

              Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

              Good articles in the Telegraph? The obituaries are still pretty good and you learn about some really weird posh people.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

            "The BBC [...] is worshipping the alter of balance to the point of insanity"

            Possibly, but that's their insanity rather than yours. In my experience, the BBC is a fairly accurate marker for the median political view of the UK and is therefore a useful resource. It is also mildly entertaining to watch both Left and Right attacking the same organisation for being hopelessly biased against them. (Spoiler: It is biased against both of them, because both extremes are stupid.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

        >That's the article that finally pushed me off the Guardian.

        It's taken you this long to realise that the Guardian is the left wing equivalent of the Daily Mail and equally full of shit ?

        There is conservatism and social liberalism then there is rabid conservatism and rabid social liberalism, the latter two categories befitting the aforementioned publications. Most people sit somewhere between conservatism and social liberalism, it's where I like to sit.

        1. Paul 135

          Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

          The Daily Mail is also pretty PC and liberal compared to reality.

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: Does this firing thing only work one way?

      That anyone would read the entire article on the Guardian site! I was pulling the rip-cord by the time I'd finished the first hackneyed sentence.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Out of Date Discussion

    The craziest thing about this situation at Google is that the very question of "should a company have a diversity policy?" was effectively settled decades ago. Even in America.

    IBM has had in various forms an active and successful policy of employing and promoting strictly on merit since the 1920s (when they started putting ladies into management roles) and especially since the early 1950s. That didn't do them any harm. Whatever one thinks of their corporate performance over the years, one cannot blame episodes of underperformance on their fair minded employment policies. In the same timeframe they have had stellar episodes of over performance.

    So for anyone to think it's necessary to have a debate today, right now, over whether such a diversity policy is necessary, effective, appropriate, fair, acceptable, is dark ages thinking.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Out of Date Discussion

      IBM has had in various forms an active and successful policy of employing and promoting strictly on merit since the 1920s

      The argument is not about whether such a policy is a good idea, but whether you look at a resultant situation where there is a significant disparity in male:female ratios and conclude that therefore we are not promoting strictly on merit and must apply different criteria to male and female candidates in order to rectify the perceived discrimination.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Out of Date Discussion

        AFAIK IBM took (takes?) promising people and trained (trains?) them up to make damned sure they merited their future positions. It paid off handsomely.

        These days you look around and see a lot of bright people from all sorts of backgrounds, and if they're choosing not to work for your company, or worse still not even choosing to specialise in your field of business, learn it at school, etc, that's probably because your corporate culture is unattractive.

        Is changing the promotion / recruitment system a short term fix for the here and now? Partly, but it's definitely a long term play that needs to work, otherwise a competitor may well be getting those people instead. Plus no company, not even Google, can completely ignore their role and influence within the wider society.

        Put it this way. A company like Google needs the best people to grow up wanting to get into technology so that they can work for Google. Google needs them to be yearning from their earliest years to work for Google. It's no use to Google if the best young people don't even bother to get into technology because they see it as having to work with a bunch of scumbags.

        At this precise moment you have to conclude from the press coverage that there's little incentive in California / Silicon Valley to study technology unless you're white and male. Google seem to be trying to do something about that, a portion of their staff don't seem get it. That doesn't play well on the public / international stage, and if they don't sort that out Google may we'll have to get rid of a bunch of people and relocate their creative headquarters elsewhere.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Out of Date Discussion

          "These days you look around and see a lot of bright people from all sorts of backgrounds, and if they're choosing not to work for your company, or worse still not even choosing to specialise in your field of business, learn it at school, etc, that's probably because your corporate culture is unattractive."

          Maybe you should go back and reconsider this paragraph. You're saying that some people will actually avoid a field of study because a particular employer in that field has a corporate culture that they find unattractive. Do you really believe that school children not only have a concept of corporate culture but that they know the corporate culture of a particular employer in that field and take that as a basis for choosing what they study?

          I studied what interested me and what I thought I was good at. There are a number of things I'd like to have done but which I'm comfortable acknowledging I'd be useless at. These are the factors that guide educational choices, assuming choices are available.

          Even as one gets older and comes to grasp the concept of corporate culture why on Earth would one avoid an entire field on the basis of the corporate culture of a single employer within it?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Out of Date Discussion

            You're saying that some people will actually avoid a field of study because a particular employer in that field has a corporate culture that they find unattractive. Do you really believe that school children not only have a concept of corporate culture but that they know the corporate culture of a particular employer in that field and take that as a basis for choosing what they study?

            The school kids themselves, no, not directly, but their elder friends, teachers, parents, siblings, everyone around them does, and consciously or subconsciously that permeates down to the school kids and results in them being interested in and choosing something else. It's hard enough as it is to persuade girls and indeed many boys that taking a science, maths and technology route through education is a worthwhile thing. But reactions like this from some of one prominent company's staff is a real deterrent.

            Google are particularly notable because it's the one of the very few tech companies that everyone from the age of 3 upwards has heard about, sees in the news, etc. Right now there's at least 50% of the learning population who are getting a message that working with Google is not going to be pleasant. That's a massive fraction of the future working population who are making choices right now who somehow have to be persuaded that the tech industry, and maybe even Google, is worth considering.

            Let's talk about the money. The personal consequences for today's workers at Google is low right now, but they're all heavily invested in the long term prosperity of the company. A toxic attitude today can very easily kill / hamstring the company in the future. From where then are their pensions and healthcare going to be paid? Google themselves are already deeply unpopular in large parts of the world (e.g. The advertising boycott that started in Europe). These events are not going help matters.

            It seems to me that there's some people within Google who consider themselves and their futures to be invincibly gilt edged no matter what they say and do, but that is a serious delusion. Everyone is always one bout of terrible publicity away from corporate extinction, even Google. Look at how Uber is imploding up its own arsehole.

        2. Paul 135

          Re: Out of Date Discussion

          You are foolishly making the assumption that just because technology fields do not have a 50:50 male:female ratio that this is somehow unfair. The reality is that men and women prefer different things. Given this fact one could actually argue that a 90:10 male:female ratio would actually be fair - that would actually be more than generous to women in the workplace in many situations e.g. the number of females in my university Electrical Engineering class was in an even lower proportion than that!

        3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Out of Date Discussion

          "Google may we'll have to [...] relocate their creative headquarters elsewhere."

          Why would they have to move their creative HQ? Surely Google can open an office anywhere and use some geeky gizmo to join up the talent. I get that Silicon Valley has an almost unique supporting ecosystem of entrepreneurs and supporting businesses, but Google is no start-up and can stand on its own now.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Out of Date Discussion

      Indeed, IBM refused to build plants in Kentucky and North Carolina while the laws there required racial segregation of the workforce. And at the time, that would have been considered exactly the same kind of leftist, politically-correct interference that Silicon Valley is being accused of now - perhaps, at the height of McCarthyism*, even more so.

      However, there's some very interesting analysis in the Harvard Business Review suggesting that diversity policies often fail to achieve their goals, precisely because people respond badly when confronted with their prejudices and try to subvert the processes they are required to implement.

      Unless your attitude to your customer base is entirely patronising, it's difficult to see why you would not want its composition reflected in your organisation as far as practicable. It's just possible, though, that businesses need to go about it in a smarter way.

      [*The other one...]

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Casual Racism in The Register?

    Briefly, on a tangent, do you know why Asians are such bad drivers? Or why Blacks are such fast runners? No, seriously, it's statistically true. Just look at the stats from the department of transport/athletics federation. I'm just pointing to the facts. Freedom of speech, man!

    "Asian" includes Japan, and statistically speaking they're better drivers than Americans with less than half the number of fatalities per 100,000 drivers. Saying "Asians are such bad drivers" is indeed a stereotype, a malicious generalisation, a deliberate selectivity which, were one to actually be espousing such a view, would be considered racist. Especially as a Japanese guy won the Indy 500 this year.

    Using stereotypes (and limited statistical "evidence" to justify the stereotype) to advance an opinion of how things are / should be gets peoples' backs up because they're almost always wrong, and easily countered. It's a special kind of stupidity that forces one to question why someone like that is allowed to enjoy the benefits of the society (job, internet connection, freedom of speech, etc) they live in, and be given the opportunity to be rude to their fellow human beings. The fact that such people often seem to be paid more than the people they're insulting is the real stinger.

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

      You missed the point of that paragraph.

      I thought it was pretty clear tbh. I listed clearly racist claims and sought to justify them with claimed stats and then immediately insisted on freedom of speech. You know, like what happened with the Google memo.

      If you think about it, that would be a very odd thing to do were it not making a different point. How many times do you see people having arguments with themselves in the middle of a sentence? Kinds of a giveaway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

        I don't think I missed the point. I deliberately added the phrase, "were one to actually be espousing such a view", because I recognised that you were merely putting forward an example.

        Other people seem to have not realised that you were giving an example, and indeed some other commentators here seem to have gone on to expand on the stereotype...

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

        "I listed clearly racist claims and sought to justify them with claimed stats"

        But they aren't clearly racist (at the group level) if the stats stack up. I know that sometimes the stats pretty much collapse under their own weight as soon as you even ask what they are, but often it is not.

        Freedom of speech is a way of allowing a non-obvious (or just plain unpopular) viewpoint enough time to present supporting evidence and if you have reason to expect that you'll be shouted down almost immediately then calling for freedom of speech at the end of your first sentence is quite sensible. It doesn't imply that you doubt your own arguments, merely that you expect others to doubt them at first.

      3. NinjasFTW

        Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

        OK, but what if the facts you stated were true or positive? is it still racist?

        You only have to look at the result of most marathons to see a host of Kenyan names. I think for all intense purposes you can say that Kenyan people do excel at some sports. I've read (skimmed) papers that talk about them having higher oxygen levels in their blood due to the altitudes they live in and the cultures of the villages there.

        So do I get struck down for saying I think Kenyan runners are amazing? I used to do long distance running so I genuinely do think they're amazing!

        This is where it gets interesting, If we are going to admit that there are differences between Kenyan runners and others, we have to admit that there potentially *average* differences between other races/sexes/demographic groups.

        This certainly doesn't mean that if you were a coach putting together a track team you would discard all non Kenyan athletes but it does mean that even after you do proper selection trials it means that your team is likely to have a skew towards Kenyan athletes

        There would be a number of athletes of other nationalities in your team who excelled and earned their place legitimately but if you said that I had to have only a certain percentage of Kenyan athletes so that I can be diverse then you are not going to win a lot of championships.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

          "OK, but what if the facts you stated were true or positive? is it still racist?"
          Apparently so. I have been called a racist here on El Reg for pointing out that there are genetic diseases commonly suffered by Ashkenazi Jews that are very rare in the general population. They are double recessive so only likely to be expressed when both partners are Ashkenazi Jews. Many are quite nasty so there's a special test called a genetic panel.

          Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

            What about Indian coding?

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Casual Racism in The Register?

              "What about Indian coding?"
              Insufficient information. Is that North American Indians, South American Indians, West Indies Indians, or Indian Indians?

  14. SkippyBing Silver badge

    A 10 page manifesto about his workplace? Seriously, who has the time? If I was that upset about my work I'd find a new job. Although if it afforded me the time time to write 10 pages of drivel I'd probably just keep quiet and take the money...

    1. jrd

      "A 10 page manifesto about his workplace? Seriously, who has the time? If I was that upset about my work I'd find a new job. Although if it afforded me the time time to write 10 pages of drivel I'd probably just keep quiet and take the money..."

      Well, he did it in his own time. So far as I can tell, he really loved working at Google and was trying to do his bit to fix what he thought was wrong with the company (though, obviously, we can only speculate about his true motives). Many hi-tech companies encourage their staff to come up with ideas to improve the ways in which their company works. Was James naive and over-confident? Yes. Was he an idiot? Possibly. Did he expect to get fired? No.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        @jrd

        I have read the full text of Damore's document, including the TL;DR at the front.

        In my opinion he seems to be saying that you recruit someone on individual ability regardless of sex or race. But when you are judging company policies and their effectiveness you must use the science of statistics. Unfortunately, few politicians, managers, lawyers, journalists, or internet trolls understand the science of statistics. He even includes a graph to show how variability in any attribute between group A and group B will lead to both groups existing within an average sample, because of the overlap of the probability distributions. But extreme samples will be dominated by one group. The example I use with that graph is the average height of men and women.

        Damore wrote a sincere, professional, and courteous document. To be fired for writing that is disgraceful, and I hope Google get legally hammered for their misdeed.

        At one time el Reg might have understood his statistical arguments, but those days seem to be long gone.

        1. Graham Dawson

          To me, this feels like the moment private eye jumped on the mmr-causes-autusm bandwagon. Never mind the facts, there's a scandalous narrative to perpetuate! It's frustrating to see a once great publication joining the gurning ranks of the outrage merchants, but it seems to be an inevitable path for every media organisation these days

        2. Suricou Raven

          His fundamental argument may well be valid - equality of opportunity does not imply equality of outcome. But he messed it up by filling the memo with childish political insults as well.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Well, he did it in his own time."

        I thought the Silicon Valley work ethic was that you didn't have your own time. Maybe that's why he was fired.

  15. John H Woods

    Facts and context...

    It is a fact that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the USA. I don't for a moment think it has anything to do with being black, but it's a fact. I would be very against the firing of, e.g., an anthropologist who published some work looking into explaining this fact.

    But, if my employer were to say "our employee diversity doesn't sufficiently represent our country's diversity, let's do something about that" it would be utterly contemptible for another employee to say "I'm not a racist, but blacks commit disproportionately more crime in the USA."

    On a purely technical level, it's irrelevant. As hiring policies presumably address candidates' convictions before inviting to interview, a black candidate or employee is clearly no more likely to be a criminal than a white one. But more importantly, in the *context* of a discussion on employee diversity, expression of this fact is completely unacceptable.

  16. KeepCalm

    Reasonable Trolling

    The problem, Kieren, with writing an article that claims to be decrying the unreasonable outrage and bias that people have been using to talk about this issue.... and writing it in such an obviously biased and outraged way, is that it just comes across as you trolling, and trying to have another go at the people you don't like.

    It's the equivalent of a humble-brag. (Everyone know's you are bragging, but you think you are being humble). This article is a reasonable-trolling - (Everyone know's you are trolling - even though we might agree with you - but you think you are being reasonable).

    x

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Reasonable Trolling

      Well that wasn't the intent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reasonable Trolling

        Neither was damore's intent any of the things you have ascribed to him.

        1. kierenmccarthy

          Re: Reasonable Trolling

          I see what you did there. Very clever. Also rubbish. But it sounded good so let's pretend otherwise.

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: Reasonable Trolling

            So you're not trolling or being sarcastic, just an useful idiot (Google it) and this so called analysis actually passed through The Register's editor filters ?

            Thank you for clarifying, it all makes perfect sense now.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reasonable Trolling

            Facts aren't clever, they just are.

          3. NinjasFTW

            Re: Reasonable Trolling

            ah the equivalent response of jamming your fingers in your ears and going "nanananananana".

            You know who else denies things without addressing the argument? Trump. Why are you such a Trump supporter?!?!?

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Somewhat related: The War on Fake and Oldthink News is Advancing

    Google’s New Search Protocol Is Restricting Access to 13 Leading Socialist, Progressive and Anti-War Web Sites

    Not that I would willingly visit Alternet except for select articles, but still...

    [Insert sponsored message about palm-oil free fair-trade chocolate rations being de-inccreased here]

    Still no deplorable icon. SAD!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Somewhat related: The War on Fake and Oldthink News is Advancing

      "Google’s New Search Protocol Is Restricting Access to 13 Leading Socialist, Progressive and Anti-War Web Sites " and therefore duckduckgo and ixquick's search results too ?

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: Somewhat related: The War on Fake and Oldthink News is Advancing

      Most amusingly, though, if you go and read some of the right-leaning news sites they express equal anger that Google's search engine is not ranking some leading right-wing websites as high as they feel is deserved. The anti-abortion organisation Operation Rescue has gone so far as to accuse Google of censorship after a sharp drop-off in traffic via Google following the last round of algorithm adjustments.

      There's no escaping it: Google is now one of the most indirectly powerful companies in the world, and when you get that big everyone is going to hate you.

  18. PickledAardvark

    You're fired

    When I was at university in the 1980s a first year student was identified for spraying swastikas and anti-semitic slogans on campus. He was a privileged idiot who did not understand the meaning of his offence and was rightly thrown out. He didn't realise that you can be smarter than average and plain ignorant at the same time.

    A few years later he was re-admitted under a different name and after most who had known him previously had graduated. He'd used his privileged background to learn about the world and he apologised honestly for his actions. He was a changed person.

    James Damore sounds rather like the offensive idiot I briefly knew. Damore has been thrown to the wolves by Google management who had the opportunity to talk to him about his manifesto or to suspend publication temporarily whilst he considered further. Google seem to be operating open discussion forums internally and Damore believed his contribution was acceptable.

    Damore's manifesto -- or as much as I can cope with -- is ingenuous. It's the sort of stuff people write when they don't check the veracity or intent of references.

    I know that it seems controversial to extend generosity to the privileged. But surely Google is such a big organisation that it collectively knows that people who have been fast tracked through education and who have always been told that they are special, well, they can be really dumb. They need to be supported like everyone else.

    1. Aitor 1

      Re: You're fired

      If you read his document, you will see it is a mixed bag.. many things he says are true and backed by studies. Others, are not.

      He should have restricted himself to a shorter document with the points that are backed up, and the message would have been the same.

      He would still have been fired... but he could at least better decend himself.

      Anotjer tbing: people are no really critics of the document but of what they think the document means.

  19. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    At the risk of inciting... something..

    People miss the point. Men and women are different in some ways. Races have differences. Individual people are different from each other. (thankfully) Some people epitomize the negative or positive stereotypes of whatever gender, belief system, or ethnic group they are in. If they didn't, stereotypes would die out. Some people find it hard to go beyond these things based on their upbringing or a bad experience with some group or individual that they have become fixated on.

    I fail to see what any difference in gender, race, sexual orientation, or anything else would have to do with an intelligent, competent, reasonably sane person's ability to do their job as a developer, or any other job where a physical characteristic is not required for the job. Eg. you would not hire a paraplegic to be an NFL linebacker. I would assume that all Google employees have to go through a mostly unbiased testing and hiring process, and are hired based on their competency for the job, not superficialities such as race, gender, favorite Kardashian, etc.

    Companies make a big deal about diversity. If you would have posited how important diversity is to me when I was in my early 20s and found myself in a different 'career' as a restaurant manager in a bad part of town, I would have laughed at you or made some snide comment. But the whole point of hiring diverse people is that the different viewpoints, experiences, upbringing, world views,and cultural differences give different approaches to solving problems and innovating. While companies often push this seemingly more to be perceived as doing the right thing than actually doing so, I do believe this to be beneficial to everyone, as long as there is truly no bias in the process, like requiring quotas of diverse people to the point of denying qualified applicants a job, while people that are less qualified are chosen to meet said quota.

    I have personally worked with people of all races, genders, and cultures. One universal equalizer is that there good people and born assholes across all walks of life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At the risk of inciting... something..

      " as long as there is truly no bias in the process, like requiring quotas of diverse people to the point of denying qualified applicants a job"

      The entire point of damore's thesis was that such bias is entrenched at Google and many other tech companies - and bas ed on the way he was treated by their diversity officer, he wasn't wrong. They're trying to enforce "diversity" at the expense of talent. Recruiting should be blind, not driven by a need to have fixed percentages of female, black, Asian etc.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: At the risk of inciting... something..

        There's the problem, though. If you do use blind recruiting - and it can be done, simply by withholding names and photos from the people who make the hiring decision - what you end up with is not a diverse workforce. What you end up with is a workforce made up mostly of men (who are more likely than women to study computer science) and entirely excluding people from low-income backgrounds (Who can't afford to take a three-year full-time degree course). And, because ethnic group and income correlate for historical reasons, it'll be mostly upper-middle-class white men.

        At which point the HR department does their survey and expresses their great concern that the workforce is not very diverse at all, and that this reflects poorly on the company, and that the only way to address the situation is to deliberately seek to focus hiring and promotion efforts on the under-represented groups.

        Shortly after, those white, male, upper-middle-class employees start to get angry because they notice they are being passed over for promotion in favor of some less-qualified black woman.

    2. I Like Heckling

      Re: At the risk of inciting... something..

      "I have personally worked with people of all races, genders, and cultures. One universal equalizer is that there good people and born assholes across all walks of life."

      For the last 20yrs or so I have often said

      'It doesn't matter what your gender, race, sexuality, religion, culture or politics are'... an arsehole is an arsehole in all of them.'

  20. I Like Heckling

    My whole take on the gender gap is as follows... and I make no assertions into any kind of biological differences at all.

    At this very moment in time, the gender/minority gap isn't going to be resolved... and trying to force it's resolution by hiring people of a specific gender/minority specifically because of their gender/minority status isn't an adequate solution. You hire the best people for the role in question regardless of their gender/minority status.

    The problem lies with a more limited number of people from certain minorities and genders going into those lines of work in the first place... So that's where you have to focus your efforts and that is starting to happen. Far more efforts to encourage minority groups to get involved in STEM roles is being done now than in the last 50 years and that's a good thing... But it will not solve the issue at this present time... that will eventually balance out as efforts to encourage those minority groups to get involved/interested in certain lines of work take effect.

    The rabid fanatics on both sides of this argument are all wrong, and all contributing to the problem. We as a species have allowed the internet to become a place of division, where everyone has a voice and immediately thinks that their voice is more important than anyone else's, especially if their opinion differs from whatever blinkered view they have. It's one of the reason I have withdrawn from nearly all aspects of social media, because it has become nothing more than a bunch of little elitist cliques reinforcing individual idealistic stereotypes that have very little grounding in facts and truth... Each of these cliques seek out only those that reinforce their particular beliefs and use those groups to viciously attack anyone who dares to disagree or offer a different opinion (regardless of truth or reason).

    As for the former googler in question... Did he deserve to be fired... If it was a first offence then no.. he deserved the opportunity to be educated in facts and reason, given the opportunity to learn the realities of the world instead of spouting immature and incorrect stereotypes... But that wouldn't have appeased the rabid fanatics who only want to see heads roll to justify and reinforce their rabid belief systems.

    tl:dr Having policies to hire minorities simply because of their minority status (be it race/culture/gender) is a bad thing, encouraging minority groups to get involved in careers they are historically under-represented is a good thing... and Damore should have had the opportunity to see the error of his ways and learn from his mistakes.. but it's a long term solution and won't fix anything right now. Which wouldn't satisfy the rabid fanatics regardless of which side they're on as they're all morons.

    1. Paul 135

      But why do efforts need to be made to "encourage" women or so-called "minorities" to go into certain fields at all? The fields in discussion shouldn't be advertising on those bases at all. If certain people don't want to enter certain fields then so be it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        " If certain people don't want to enter certain fields then so be it."

        Not good enough. Must have diversity at any cost.

      2. I Like Heckling

        "But why do efforts need to be made to "encourage" women or so-called "minorities" to go into certain fields at all? The fields in discussion shouldn't be advertising on those bases at all. If certain people don't want to enter certain fields then so be it."

        Quick... hide... try under that bridge... I hear some Billy Goats coming.

  21. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    Symptoms of Rabies

    ....has always been culturally offensive. We don't care what color or breed of dog of is even IF it's considered by some to be of a 'diverse' one.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad week for Google indeed, but only because they pushed an ad for The Emoji Movie directly to my phone. They can f**k off now, I'll be buying an iPhone next time round.

  23. TheElder

    Men and women are different

    It is time to face up to a very simple fact. Men and women are not the same. They do not think the same way. Much of this is determined by the amount of testosterone they are exposed to during development before birth. Women have testosterone, just not as much as men. It varies quite a lot. This has a direct impact on how the brain develops. It is a very powerful neurochemical.

    It has very little to do with intelligence although the female brain is slightly smaller on average. Forebrain size does have a mild correlation with intelligence. However brain size is strongly correlated with brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to repair the loss of neurons with time. It is like having spare parts.

    It is my experience teaching people how to use computers that women are far better at understanding the operation of computers. They LISTEN when they are given instructions. They do not jump to false conclusions about how it will work. That is why in every office there are even now women that are running the show behind the scenes. The man in charge dictates something.

    The woman then must create the actual communication to others. She must clean up the messy verbiage and make it somehow readable. The woman is the one that must somehow try to prevent misunderstandings and major problems. It sure would be nice if we could prevent the trumpeter from doing a swan dive.

    There is far more I could say but there is one very simple thing. Men are the killers in history, not women.

    Also, you will never see this with women:

    Naked Men holding thier balls in public

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Men and women are different

      "It is time to face up to a very simple fact. Men and women are not the same. They do not think the same way. Much of this is determined by the amount of testosterone they are exposed to during development before birth. Women have testosterone, just not as much as men. It varies quite a lot. This has a direct impact on how the brain develops. It is a very powerful neurochemical."
      It’s worth considering the import of this further. The default human brain is female. Normally the brain of a male fœtus is created by changes wrought by testosterone in the final weeks before birth. As such, there are things that can go “wrong” and it is this that creates brains that are on the autism spectrum.

      I put wrong in scare quotes because from my POV as a mild Asperger “sufferer”, I’m happy with what I am. I subscribe to my psychologist friend’s prescription for a contented life, the Popeye Principal. “I yam what I yam”. For descriptions of autism in positive terms, rather than the usual negative terms, see Simon Baron-Cohen’s writings.

      Some female fœtuses also undergo the brain transformation that male fœtuses and some of those can also land them in the autism spectrum. Some male fœtuses do not receive the androgens required for possessing a male brain. Thus there is a variety of possible brain types though the different types shade into each other.

      The female brain has on average a much thicker corpus collosum than the male brain. This organ connects the two hemispheres of the brain so females have the advantage over males integrating the differing functions that the left and right hemispheres are responsible for. Neurotypical (NT) brains of both types have more than one area of brain tissue active while processing emotions. Aspies have either only one area active, or much diminished activities in other areas when compared to NTs. That area in both aspies and NTs is activated when doing logical stuff such as mathematics.

      Fairly obviously if you are restricted to using logic and reasoning to and lack the emotional processing ability, you are going to perceive the world in a very different way to NTs. Full-on Aspergers makes life extremely difficult. My oldest son is one such. Milder Aspergers such as myself and my younger son manage to get by pretty well because we can deduce NT reactions in most situations.

      A “cartoon” that illustrates this is where the wife asks: “Does this dress make me look fat?” The typical aspie response is: “Yes!” if it does. Most of us learn pretty quickly that’s the wrong response unless you want to give your wife the shits. In more complex social interactions, the amount of reasoning required to work out the required NT response becomes too much. It’s this that makes the typical aspie more stressed than typical NTs.

      Difficulties arise from not understanding that these brain differences profoundly affect how we perceive the world and behave in social interactions. Telling an aspie all he/she needs to do is “get in touch with your emotions” is quite futile. The aspie is in touch with them. It’s just that the part of the brain that’s generating them is not the specialist machinery NTs possess and consequently very often aspies cannot convey their feelings in words. As Mark Twain noted, you cannot educate iron into gold. And this goes for the other brain-types as well. Telling someone to become superb at mathematics when their brain is oriented toward interpreting the world by dancing, or raising children is equally futile.

      There was some interesting research done many years ago that showed performance in the STEM subjects could be improved by several methods, including segregating male and female students. Performance in non-STEM subjects showed no changes as a result of using those methods.

      Rita Carter’s Mapping the Mind is an accessible though somewhat dated account of these and many other issues related to the human brain.

      1. TheElder

        Mapping the Mind

        I am currently doing Brain Mapping. As for Asperger's, that is directly connected to higher than average intelligence. It should not be considered a form of Autism. There are many who do not agree with the DSM-5 in that respect. It is really just a different way to perceive reality with extreme honesty. Not usually a bad thing. I should mention that I have taught children with both Asperger's and true autism.

        When asked "Do you like my new green dress?" say "It looks good on you" (while thinking especially when you remove it)

        For the most part I do agree with Simon Baron-Cohen’s work. Many people do not but that is a matter of opinion, not so much direct research.

        Asperger's exhibits quite differently in women than in men. It also appears to be far less common in women. That would explain why far fewer women are interested in STEM. That is especially the case in engineering. Those women that do have Asperger's also seem to learn how to hide it far better than men. They still have it but it is not as obvious.

        At the lab I work at the programmer is female. She has a master's in Computer Science. However she has no idea how to write code in Ruby and the Prof tells me neither does anybody else. Yet Ruby is really just Xerox Smalltalk on steroids. It is now being taught to children for Sonification, which I have also been using.

        http://sonic-pi.net/

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well as its seems I the only one here who actually works tech in SF/SV..

    You know Kieren , I've seen it happen before. Brits who back home kept a reasonably self aware attitude towards what they did professionally, in your case a tech-hack, who after a few years in the SF Bubble World of Ten Year Tourists started spouting all manner of bien pensant shite. Because thats what all the people they hung out with thought. And the transitory bien pensant of SF are a profoundly intolerant lot. So all you hear is pure GroupThink. I've had no end of amusement over the decades pointing out, in person, just how ill informed they are about the wider world. Talk about low information people. It seems you can be spectacularly rude to Yanks of this type if you have a British accent. And if you are over six feet tall.

    And what you wrote is pure bien pensant shite. You have never worked in high tech. You have never been on a dev team. You have never hired up a team. You have never been on either side of the table in a business meeting with any (or in my case pretty much most of them) of the dev / tech companies in the Valley. You are quite simply a hack. Someone who mostly rewrites press releases and the occasional drunken gossip picked up at corp shindigs.

    No shame in that. I've known lots of Brit hacks over the years, in my younger years hung out with a bunch of them who are now quite serious muck a mucks on the Street of Shame. Hell, I even married one. So I know exactly how the game is played. I have also worked in the Valley for decades. And have a serious pure science background. To be perfectly blunt a bunch of snarky put downs written by someone with zero science background (Mech Eng does not count) of a screed written by someone with a fairly heavy duty science background makes the snark look look a fool.

    Sure, the nerds screed was unfocused and lacked rigor but it was not written for peer review publication. Sure, the author was a total tool for believing the touchy/feely bullshit from upper management. Whenever upper management start talking about anything, and I mean anything, that does not directly relate to product and customers you can be 100% certain ever single word they say is a complete lie and total bullshit. Its someone in upper / middle management playing politics. So its shutup, say nothing, and watch your back.

    In a normal business situation I would without hesitation fire anyone who put into distribution a document like his. Politics like this, in any form, has no place in a business environment. Its toxic, utterly corrosive and very destructive. But as Googles upper management had recently decided to deliberately introduce the most toxic form of politics into their company its upper management who are completely and totally responsible for this cluster fuck. I hope he takes them to the cleaners for a very large 7 figure sum. Upper management need a visit to the tool shed for a salutatory beating to be reminded to just stick to business.

    Which is a real pity as Google has so far been pretty unique in my personal experience as being the only large company in the Valley that was not infested from top to bottom with nasty back stabbing lying bastards. Post 1997 Apple being by far the worst offender. I've had multiple dealings with various dev teams in MV over the years and they always struck me as pretty nice straight talking people. Not quite as straight dealing as pre 1997 Apple or pre takeover Sun, but never in the I-know-they're-lying-because-their-lips-are-moving catagory as say, Oracle, Cisco and, of course, MS. Googles obsession with exactly one hour and not one second over meetings is rather bizarre though.

    I'm going to enjoy my next visit to the 'plex down in MV. It will be interesting to see what the vibe is. Even though it is a Stanford company they tend to be fast learners. Pretty unique for a Stanford company in my experience. Stanford grads usually are the poster children for the highly credentialized Ivy League Idiot. So kind of like OxBridge people, but without their humility and charm.

    And yes, I'm still a Brit. I was being sarcastic.

  25. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    Ah, my commentard brethren. What a joy you are. Happily slinging muck at Facebook, Twitter, the Internet populace in general, the left, the right, the alt_right. Attacking the smart arses, the idiots, the smug, the amused, all while blithely ignoring the bloody great mote in your own eye. I close my eyes and am transported back to those dreamy days of usenet...Oh humanity, you glorious, monstrous, beast, you never change. Till death do us part...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      those dreamy days of usenet

      That's when the Internet was run by straight white males and crazed hippy kids discovering sex, coding and hacking, also most white males. Good times.

  26. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Google's Terrible Week Getting Terribler

    NYT: Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.

    And also:

    Google Code Jam Won by Male for Umpteenth Straight Time

    where David Brooks from the NYT is cited (no link though?):

    Observation: Google has run a coding competition (Code Jam) since 2003. It attracts tens of thousands of applicants now, Including thousands of woman to compete in a multiple round contest leading up to a feld of 20 finalists. This is a “hard” advance competition – no bonus points awarded for, say, for lacking a penis. Google has used it to identify their best and brightest job prospects.

    There has never been a female finalist. Ever. Unless you count “Code Jam for Women”, rolled out in 2014.

    Probability alone would say that if only 5-10% of entrants were woman, and they were as likely to to have the same skill sets and ability as men, that we should have seen a female finalist by now. The numbers actually match nicely with the list of top Chess players, only which only 1 woman can really say she could/can compete at the highest level. None of this say anything about any individual male or female, other than that testing and real world competition have shown that in (at least) certain mathematical and spatial cognition tasks, there are far more men than women who are above average to the tune of multiple standard deviations. No doubt there are other tasks where men are more likely to appear on the low end. But that is not a useful and employable skill set at google.

  27. Palpy

    Yeah, OK.

    Everybody gets their 15 minutes to feel downtrodden, and angry about it. Beyond that, show some factual evidence of discrimination -- beyond hearsay, anecdotes, personal whinging, internet memes, and fantasy, that is.

    I suspect no one, I mean no one, is better at coding Linux than Torvalds. And if you had a workgroup composed of all Linus Torvalds, I'll bet blood would flow and work would suffer. I believe a heterongenous workgroup is stronger and more able than a homogenous one.

    Workgroups need builders, menders, leaders, water-boys, glue, and a lot of other personality types. Men and women, conservatives and progressives. Mint-flavored and pineapple-flavored. Some grown-ups, some creative kids. Etc. Any good manager has this figured out.

    The chatter about this Google-bro is very boring.

  28. Florida1920
    Facepalm

    Oh, STFU

    Now the New York Times columnist David Brooks has chimed in, declaring Google's CEO should resign.

    When it comes to the genetic differences between male and female brains, I’d say the mainstream view is that male and female abilities are the same across the vast majority of domains — IQ, the ability to do math, etc. But there are some ways that male and female brains are, on average, different. There seems to be more connectivity between the hemispheres, on average, in female brains. Prenatal exposure to different levels of androgen does seem to produce different effects throughout the life span.

    And what are Brooks' qualifications?

    In 1983, Brooks graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in history. His senior thesis was on popular science writer Robert Ardrey.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Oh, STFU

      "Prenatal exposure to different levels of androgen does seem to produce different effects throughout the life span."
      Forgot to mention this in previous comment. Fifty years ago or so some prescription medicines administered to pregnant women profoundly affect androgens and so fœtal development. As well, chicken farmers began administering androgens to the feed of meat birds and these are still present in the end product. Soy products also contain androgen-mimics. It's an interesting experiment...

  29. conel

    Question to Editor

    "Those defending Damore pushed an article published on a website that specializes in promoting controversial views (example lead story: Should We "Stop Equating 'Science' With Truth"?)"

    The first line in that article: "Actually: no."

    The website in question, Quillette published their article in response to a Slate piece titled "Stop Equating “Science” With Truth" (hence Quillette's use of quotation marks). And yes, the Slate author really meant it.

    The Reg's editors should consider if they're ok with this kind of blatant dishonesty.

    http://quillette.com/2017/08/11/stop-equating-science-truth/

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/08/evolutionary_psychology_is_the_most_obvious_example_of_how_science_is_flawed.html

    1. Urh

      Re: Question to Editor

      "The Reg's editors should consider if they're ok with this kind of blatant dishonesty."

      They seem to be. This article is full of dishonesty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question to Editor

      They have been for a while, but this is the nadir.

  30. TheElder

    Should We "Stop Equating 'Science' With Truth"?)"

    That question has a simple answer. What know in science is what we know NOW.

    An example: Ever since neurons were discovered such as the von Economo (spindle neurons) which are the ones we think with mainly in the fore brain it has been maintained that we CANNOT grow new neurons. It now totally established that is nonsense. Simple small amounts of aerobic exercise several times a week can increase the neural density in the Hippocampus by up to 30% in just a few months.

    Think about this. Lack of aerobic exercise = declining brain function. The brain has the most neurons at around the age of three months. Then consider the obesity epidemic in many countries. Also the term Fat Cats take on a new meaning.

    The human body and especially the brain are not yet well understood. Every day something new is discovered. I subscribe to Lancet Neurology and the stories can be incredible.

  31. Urh
    Flame

    "The document was hurtful and offensive as well as openly dismissive and contemptuous of the ad giant's own culture."

    I didn't know that a concise summary of the current state of scientific knowledge about biological differences between men and women was "hurtful" and "offensive." I guess it can only be those things if those facts do not gel with your personal politics. It's sad to see that Lysenkoism is still alive and well in the current year.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      " It's sad to see that Lysenkoism is still alive and well in the current year."

      If it helps, I'm hurt and offended by people who are hurt and offended by concise summaries of the current state of scientific knowledge.

      I think of the millions of people who have suffered horrendous abuse and poverty over the millenia because of bogus beliefs that could have been so easily overthrown by permitting reasoned argument based on objectively sourced evidence. I weep for as-yet-unborn children whenever I hear that the mindless bigots have got a foot-hold on power once again and threaten to take us back to those dark ages.

      (Been crying quite a lot recently...)

  32. TheElder

    Political correctness...

    (man watching screen)

    We interrupt our regular programming for a special report from the politically correct census bureau...

    (people wearing shirts with "It's all their fault" arrows pointing out both sides)

    ... Whose latest analysis of the population concludes that everyone is equally a victim of something today. This means that blame is out and personal responsibility is IN.

    (people dancing in the streets)

    The P.C. age is officially OVER and a new era of common sense has begun! Independence of thought, opinions and speech is the rule of the day! When someone says something you don't like, TOUGH...Deal with it! It's time to wake up!!

    (man talking to psychiatrist)

    Then, unfortunately, That's when I wake up doctor...

    (psychiatrist answers)

    ...sniff.... It's such a lovely dream.... Tell it to me again...

    ────────────────────────────────────────────────

    Note: Cartoon theme by VEY, image not shown, not registered as literary work.

  33. scrubber

    Here's the deal

    IF there's a bell curve, and if men and women are slightly asked on their bell curves, then the fact Google recruits from the top 0.1% means that men will be massively overrepresented in their workforce. But actually not overrepresented at all, just more of them at the same talent level as women so more likely to be hired.

    No judgement. No call on diversity. Just saying how it might have come about.

  34. Nick Z

    Historical context of speculating about human biology

    I think a lot of people here are missing the point of why speculating about women's biology is so upsetting for many people.

    In the past, this kind of speculation was used to deny women the right vote in elections, to inherit and own property, and even to live on their own, without a father, a husband, or some male relative making decisions for them.

    Western women used to be treated almost the same way as women are now treated in Saudi Arabia. The only real difference is that in Saudi Arabia they use religion and culture to restrict women's rights and freedoms. Whereas in the West, they used biological speculation to justify similar treatment of women.

    There is a reason why speculating about the biology of white men doesn't sound nearly as upsetting as speculating about the biology of women, or African blacks, or Asians. And this reason is past history of sexism, slavery, and gross discrimination, all based on biological speculation.

    James Damore might be well educated in Computer Science. But apparently, he doesn't know much about history. He re-opened old wounds and restarted an old battle that has been fought and lost a long time ago.

    I suspect that he didn't fully understand this historical context. And that's why he said what he did, as if it was something new.

    Perhaps a Computer Science degree should include History courses. Or else, this kind of thing will keep happening again and again. We need something new here, instead of having history repeated by people who don't know much about history.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Historical context of speculating about human biology

      "I suspect that he didn't fully understand this historical context. And that's why he said what he did, as if it was something new."
      And since you clearly don't know your history, you're calling for him to share your POV which appears to consist of spouting crap.

    2. shawnfromnh

      Re: Historical context of speculating about human biology

      He did so because he thought that even though they are all supposed to be equal and such that certain genders and races got preferential treatment as in training and mentors which put white men on unequal or dare I say it "sixist/racist" actions by google by discriminating against them by giving others an unfair advantage even though every one is soooooo equally skilled which to me means no one needs or deserves special treatment unless they are not good enough. Seems like this discrimination that abounds in colleges is also alive and well in Google and probably most of Silicon Valley.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    where this is going

    mark my words, this is one more step towards the Sherman Act:

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

  36. TheElder

    Perhaps a Computer Science degree should include History courses.

    As I have said I speak Danish. I am of viking decent.

    Looking at the history of the vikings is interesting. Women were largely treated as equals. They could work at any level they chose including high levels in government. While the Vikings did take some women as slaves they usually became a wife. That was to insure genetic diversity.

    If they wanted to pick up a sword and do battle that was also just fine.

    Some women rose to a particularly high status. One of the grandest burials ever found in Scandinavia from that period belonged to the Oseberg “queen,” a woman who was buried in a sumptuously decorated ship along with many valuable grave goods in A.D. 834. Later in the ninth century, Aud the Deep-Minded, the daughter of a Norwegian chieftain in the Hebrides (islands off northern Scotland) married a Viking king based in Dublin

    The Byzantine-era historian Johannes Skylitzes did record women fighting with the Varangian Vikings in a battle against the Bulgarians in A.D. 971. In addition, the 12th-century Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus wrote that communities of “shieldmaidens” dressed like men and devoted themselves to learning swordplay and other warlike skills, and that some 300 of these shieldmaidens held the field in the Battle of Brávellir in the mid-eighth century.

    Viking Women

    Heh. I also happen to be in The Thirteenth Warrior...

    I am in this pic

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps a Computer Science degree should include History courses.

      Pissing in the wind I'm afraid TheElder. I mean, everyone knows women were utterly suppressed prior to the Enlightenment. Take that Doctor of the Church* Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179). She only managed to write three great volumes of visionary theology, write the Ordo Virtutum (69 musical compositions, each with its own original poetic text and at least four other works), medicinal and scientific writings, and invent an alternative alphabet. One imagines that she might have achieved something of real importance if she hadn't been so suppressed.

      * Doctor of the Church = saint recognised as having been of particular importance

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yawn.

    Dead horse, flogged.

  38. TheElder

    Pissing in the wind I'm afraid

    I always piss downwind. I am also a sailor. I have fired canons...

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Pissing in the wind I'm afraid

      "I have fired canons..."
      You're a bishop then... ;-)

  39. shawnfromnh

    No alt right

    There is no alt right. Its just a name the liberal rags and MSM gave to conservatives because it made it easier for their readers to hate them instead of calling them Workers or the Working Class conservatives. Its all bullcrap narrative that has been pushed and pushed like the Russian hack story made up to cover for an insider giving Wikileaks the emails from the DNC.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: No alt right

      er, no it's not. The term was coined by someone from that world. Bleeding heart liberals like me generally dislike it because we prefer to call fascists, fascists.

  40. TheElder

    You're a bishop then... ;-)

    Definition:

    adjective: canonical

    according to recognized rules or scientific laws.

    relating to a general rule or standard formula.

    Fired: Past tense of firing canons at people

  41. TheElder

    Its just a name the liberal rags and MSM gave to conservatives

    I am very conservative. I totally believe in conservation.

    noun: conservation

    the action of conserving something, in particular.

    preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife.

    preservation protection safeguarding safekeeping care guardianship husbandry supervision upkeep maintenance repair restoration ecology environmentalism

    preservation, repair, and prevention of deterioration of archaeological, historical, and cultural sites and artifacts.

    prevention of excessive or wasteful use of a resource.

    the principle by which the total value of a physical quantity (such as energy, mass, or linear or angular momentum) remains constant in a system.

    ───────────────────────────────────

    verb: conserve

    protect (something, especially an environmentally or culturally important place or thing) from harm or destruction.

    prevent the wasteful or harmful overuse of (a resource).

    preserve protect save safeguard keep look after sustain prolong perpetuate store reserve husband

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Its just a name the liberal rags and MSM gave to conservatives

      "I am very conservative. I totally believe in conservation."

      Have one of these ------------------------------------>

      1. John Jennings

        Re: Its just a name the liberal rags and MSM gave to conservatives

        I am a conservative. I totally believe in conversation.

  42. DrM

    Dynamic?

    What if Google fired a bunch of make employees, hired female replacements to get the numbers (politically) correct.

    And then a number of the female hires announced they now identified as males. Would they have to fire them and get more genuine females?

    Could they just offer a bonus for any male employees willing to identify as female whilst at work? That would fix things.

    Such nonsense.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Dynamic?

      "Such nonsense."
      Oh I dunno. I think your suggestions have much merit.

    2. AdamWill

      Re: Dynamic?

      ....what the hell? You can 'win' any argument by coming up with some spectacularly ridiculous 'what if' scenario. What if it turned out James Damore was actually a Time Lord who was Genghis Khan, Robespierre, Hitler *and* (okay, fuzz the timelines with me a bit here, it's nothing the BBC hasn't done...) Mao in his former incarnations? Would you support him THEN?!?!? Huh? Huh?

      I mean, jeez.

  43. DaddyHoggy

    Spent the last two weeks on holiday with my family and a sickly mobile phone.

    No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

    It was blissful.

    I've always been very pro Social Media, but I'm beginning to realise that I spend my time mostly being angry/sad/stunned when using them.

    I'm kinda a glad I wasn't online when all this kicked off as I know I would have ended up being part of the problem...

  44. Fursty Ferret

    Sources?

    Briefly, on a tangent, do you know why Asians are such bad drivers? Or why Blacks are such fast runners? No, seriously, it's statistically true. Just look at the stats from the department of transport/athletics federation.

    Quite brave to post a statement that claims to have a solid statistical backing and then completely fail to reference said sources.

    1. TheElder

      Bad Driving

      It seems that bad driving is genetic. If so then it is very likely to be exhibited differently in various ethnic groups.

      Bad Driving Is Genetic

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bigots that should have been castrated at birth

    I always wondered if women could be bigots or whether it was just men. It seems it's just men. Thanks for setting the record straight, Kieren.

  46. sabba

    Ok, perhaps I am missing the point but are we now saying that there are not any biological differences between the male and female elements of the human species that might make that gender better suited for some tasks than their counterparts? Things like for example, greater muscle mass in men (and strength to weight ratio), greater empathy in women. Have all of these things now been disproven? Just curious.

  47. ritey

    "Bigots that should have been castrated at birth"

    A phrase that an obviously well rounded individual would say.

  48. clayusmcret

    What really sucks for consumers is when you run searches in google, say for hotels and restaurants in an area, and you get back lists so devoid of what is actually in the area. We were just in Shelby, NC for the American Legion World Series, ran a search for restaurants and got "some" hits. However, driving down the street to the responses we saw soooo many more. In another search, we were going to Lancaster, PA and searched for hotels. We got back a very small response list when compared to the actual number of hotels were drove past once we reached the area. I don't know if they only give you the names of businesses willing to advertise with Google or what, but their responses are severely lacking.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      " I don't know if they only give you the names of businesses willing to advertise with Google or what, but their responses are severely lacking."
      I just did a search on "restaurants near me" (Southern Tasmania). In the first three pages, there were only two irrelevant links; one to an interstate chain and one to a newspaper article. There were only four hits that were ads. Maybe you're doing something wrong.

  49. Sherrie Ludwig

    Suggestion

    As a cis gendered female, I am d*nmed TIRED of being told what I do well or ill is dependent on my gender. I suggest that if a company wants to hire IT workers, they audition them like musicians. In the not too distant past, symphony musicians were overwhelmingly male. Then, the auditions started to be conducted with a screen between the musician and the judges, and symphonies started to gain more women. For each applicant, pose a problem in the area being hired for, and ask the applicant what steps that person would take to begin to solve it. Do this online, before meeting the person, and have members of the department being hired for judge whether the applicant had the necessary knowledge for the task at hand. Weeds out the b.s. merchants, gets you a look into their analytical skills, and then you can interview to see if the personality is a good fit for the team.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Suggestion

      It's a nice idea, but it can be difficult to accurately assess everything that's involved in most jobs in that way. The handy thing about the symphony orchestra case is that you really only need someone in a symphony orchestra to be good at one thing: playing the music. Which is pretty easy to assess in exactly the way you described. Most jobs are not so singularly-focused, and involve many different tasks, and different people in the same job might actually go about doing it differently. How do you account for all those things?

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Suggestion

        "The handy thing about the symphony orchestra case is that you really only need someone in a symphony orchestra to be good at one thing: playing the music."
        Not really. They also need:

        * To be able to follow the direction of the current conductor

        * To turn up to work. I am minded of when the brass section of the LSO decided to spend the afternoon in the pub when Frank Zappa hired the orchestra

        * To get along with their fellow musicians. A tympanist who tells the first violinist she's a cunt who couldn't play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star if she tried might not be a welcome addition...

        1. AdamWill

          Re: Suggestion

          Well, sure. I figured that was pretty obvious, so I thought it'd be a waste to go over it. Pretty much *any* job requires all those basics, and we have pretty well-established methods for dealing with them. My point stands, though: the requirements for most jobs are much more complex (not more *difficult*, I have a huge degree of respect for musicians!), and it's much harder to come up with a close-to-perfectly 'fair' technique like this for evaluating applicants.

          (though from the stories I've heard, I am somewhat sceptical that all musicians actually *do* get along with their fellow musicians...it sometimes sounds like the authorities need to ensure the pub where the brass section goes and the pub where the strings go are not within screaming distance of each other...:>)

    2. TheElder

      Re: Equality

      No two humans are the same, not even "identical" twins. Every person looks different, thinks different, lives to a different age and behaves differently.

      The old concept of Nature versus Nuture is finally settled. It is NATURE. The genes determine who we are. Nuture is of course important, no question there. Genes are far more important.

      Genetically men and women are different. There is no way to change that, even with gene editing. The human brain has hundreds of genes that must be involved with intelligence. So far we have been able to determine that maybe 50 or so are involved. That is not well confirmed. There are clearly some important differences between men and women.

      One in particular is the ability to perceive colours. It now seems that at least some women may have a very unusual ability to see colours that men cannot see. It is gender specific. The stereotype of women always being more sensitive to colours than men is not a stereotype. It is science.

      Tetrachromacy Allows This Artist To See 100 Million Colors

      This also applies to everything that has to do with the brain. I am currently doing brain mapping at the local university. I have access to hundreds of medical records and am able to see it with my own eyes. I have working on this project for nearly a year and my work is close to being done in this area. The professor I work with has been showing it at conventions in Europe. The post grads are using my posters for conventions here. I have created 3D videos complete with sonification to assist those with poor vision.

      I studied computer science and psychology at UC Berkeley. I have done medical engineering including mammography. I have worked with many women for many years. There are very clear differences between men and women and especially how they think. This not a bad thing as I very much prefer how women approach most difficult problems. While it is different for every person in medicine it is always about averages.

      There are areas where women are better. There are areas where men are better.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Equality

        "The stereotype of women always being more sensitive to colours than men is not a stereotype. It is science."
        It also no doubt gets you called a sexist. I know this because when I point out that "As a group, the Aborigines have significantly better visual acuity than the Europeans" I'm called a racist.

        [sigh]

  50. This post has been deleted by its author

  51. kraftdinner

    Time for a fart joke...

    1. TheElder
  52. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Headmaster

    Will All This Help?

    ......as Google prepares to enter the sex bot business big time.

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