(Out of town on the holiday; Monday Miscellany comes to you with a ‘special’ Tuesday edition)
1. On geeks vs. nerds. (h/t Jesse)
2. Calling the Nobel prize winners sounds like an excellent job.
3. Traumatic brain injury: what we’ve learned.
As the scientists continued to track the veterans over the decades, they documented the long-term cognitive repercussions of brain trauma. Before joining the military, the men had all taken the Armed Forces Qualification Test (A.F.Q.T.), which measures several aspects of intelligence. These scores served as valuable benchmarks, giving researchers insight into each man’s cognitive aptitude before his injury. Scientists found that as the veterans aged, they lost cognitive skills more quickly than uninjured vets. But high levels of intelligence were protective; among the wounded vets, those who had scored the highest on the A.F.Q.T. deteriorated more slowly than those who had performed poorly.
4. Therapists can be wrong.
5. An article on secret aircraft has the best lede: “This much we know: It’s not a bird and it’s not exactly a plane.”
6. Following the Zoe Quinn/GamerGate stuff? I’ve found my community’s response infuriating, and this post nicely lays out why:
Social justice does not predict that abusers will not be present in social justice communities. Social justice does not predict that abusers will not gain power in social justice communities. Social justice does not predict that abusers will not do good things. Indeed, social justice predicts that all of these things will happen. It predicts that abusers will be distributed throughout the population, it predicts that they will (essentially) look the same as non-abusers to an outside viewer, and it predicts that they will be willing to manipulate their way to positions of power — and that skilled abusers will often succeed in this manipulation, and will often succeed at hiding that manipulation was occurring.
Here is what questions Quinn’s activist work: The behavior of many social justice communities in response to Gjoni’s outing of Quinn’s abusive behavior. Social justice asserts that it can help deal with abusers. Social justice asserts that it provides insights that help people notice the signs of abuse. Social justice asserts that following its ideology protects people who have been abused. Social justice asserts that it separates abusers from victims (by e.g. ostracization).
This is not what happened with Quinn and Gjoni.
To be fair, this does not surprise me. It is a truly hard problem to detect and deal with abusers. It is a truly hard problem to get a community to turn against one of it’s own members. And when a large number of outsiders started attacking Quinn in super misogynist ways, is it any surprise that groups circled the wagons and correctly protected Quinn without also looking to see if Quinn had, in fact, abused Gjoni?