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Links for 2019-12-20

  • Prof John Byrne: the man who turned Ireland into a tech world power

    TK Whitaker may be known as the man who made modern Ireland, but the highly respected civil servant wasn’t the only person who helped make the State what it is today. For those who wonder how Ireland came to excel both at luring the biggest and best tech companies to set up here and at producing a good few homegrown tech heroes, a great deal of credit must go to Prof John Byrne, the man who helped kickstart a revolution.

    (tags: tcd software ireland work history computer-science)

  • Alice Goldfuss clarifies JK Rowling’s “dress however you please” anti-trans comments

    This was a really educational thread for me — demonstrating how these phrases are a symptom, not support

    JK Rowling hates trans people, but I want to talk a little bit about the *way* she hates them so you can recognize it in the wild. She says “Dress however you please” and “Call yourself whatever you like” At first glance it sounds supportive, but it isn’t It’s disengaging She is taking a very real and concrete issue (the acceptance of trans people as humans with full rights and respect in society), minimizing it to some surface level features (appearance and names), and then abdicating any responsibility She is purposefully mischaracterizing trans people as adults playing dress-up and then claiming to be fine with that…at a distance The language she uses is similar to language used to minimize gay people “You can kiss whoever you want behind closed doors!” It’s also similar to the old favorite “I don’t care if you’re black, white, or purple!” Purple people don’t exist, but now they’ve minimized the issue of racism and swept it away while claiming to be supportive All of these phrases add up to the same message: “I support you, as long as you don’t change my experiences or inconvenience me in any way.” And that’s not actual support

    (tags: trans rights jk-rowling gender acceptance racism)

  • Xor Filters: Faster and Smaller Than Bloom Filters

    A new immutable probabilistic set data structure, derived from Bloomier Filters, by Daniel Lemire and Thomas Mueller Graf. Lots of sample implementations, looks very useful!

    (tags: algorithms coding performance bloom-filters xor-filters data-structures)

  • Room to Breathe: My Quest to Clean Up My Home’s Filthy Air

    The air quality in your home is probably terrible, if this is anything to go by :O

    (tags: air air-quality particulates pm2.5 pm10 health paranoia homes)

  • J.K. Rowling’s transphobia is a product of British culture

    Good explainer on why the UK is so TERFy these days:

    Trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) ideology has been helped along in the UK by media under the leadership of Rupert Murdoch and the Times of London for years. Any vague opposition to gender-critical thought in the UK brings accusations of “silencing women” and a splashy feature or op-ed in a British national newspaper. Australian radical feminist Sheila Jeffreys went before the UK Parliament in March 2018 and declared that trans women are “parasites,” language that sounds an awful lot like Donald Trump speaking about immigrants. According to Heron Greenesmith, who studies the modern gender-critical movement as a senior research associate at the social-justice think tank Political Research Associates, gender-critical feminism in the UK grew out of a toxic mix of historical imperialism and the influence of the broader skeptical movement in the early aughts — which was hyperfocused on debunking “junk science” and any idea that considered sociological and historical influence and not just biology. Those who rose to prominence in the movement did so through a lot of “non-tolerant calling-out and attacking people,” Greenesmith said, much like gender-critical feminism. “Anti-trans feminists think they have science on their side. It is bananas how ascientific their rhetoric is, and yet literally they say, ‘Biology isn’t bigotry.’ In fact, biology has been used as bigotry as long as biology has been a thing.”

    (tags: feminism politics terfs trans-rights gender biology uk jk-rowling transphobia)

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