In other words, the frat boys drinking in a bar on a Friday night don’t have to be loud and rowdy. They are responding to the signals sent by their immediate environment—by the pulsing music, by the crush of people, by the dimmed light, by the countless movies and television shows and general cultural expectations that say that young men in a bar with pulsing music on a Friday night have permission to be loud and rowdy. “Persons learn about drunkenness what their societies import to them, and comporting themselves in consonance with these understandings, they become living confirmations of their society’s teachings,” MacAndrew and Edgerton conclude. “Since societies, like individuals, get the sorts of drunken comportment that they allow, they deserve what they get.”
“What distinguished programmers at the top-performing companies wasn’t greater experience or better pay. It was how much privacy, personal workspace and freedom from interruption they enjoyed.” — The Rise of the New Groupthink, New York Times
I keep trying to get this across to non-engineers and folk who work in more “social” sorts of roles. It has, thus far, been a very hard concept to convey.
Before we start: My goal here is to have a reasonable discourse and I hope that you’ll read on in that spirit. I am white and male and fairly privileged, and I try not to let that colour my opinion too much. I also try to be a man of science and reason, and I definitely let that colour my opinion as much as I can. I am not out to besmirch anyone, I don’t hate women, I don’t hate police, I don’t hate anyone (in fact I love most people) and if I go on to offend you, it was probably accidental. Unless you deserved it.
(Because Twitter is a terrible medium for having srs conversashuns)
Background (As I Understand It — Please Correct Me If I’m Wrong)
Some #occupymelbourne protesters were camping in Flagstaff Gardens, and to try and skirt bylaws prohibiting structures (which apparently include tents), they gussied the tents up as outfits. Which I think is commendably clever, but apparently not enough to satisfy the legal beagles.
The police raided Flagstaff, and according to their account gave plenty of warning that tents — whether or not they be worn as clothing — were considered structures for the purposes of certain council by-laws (which largely exist to enforce health and sanitation standards) and would need to go. Again according the police account, protesters were given warning over a number of days.
When the fuzz showed (according to reports) several of the protesters moved along, but one particular protester chose not to budge. The young lady in question was apparently not wearing clothing under the tent. Again according to police reports, she was offered some time to clothe herself. She apparently did not or could not do so. She was (apparently) again warned, and when she refused to comply, had the tent forcibly removed from her person (in a most distressing manner).
Key Points (As I See Them)
Most importantly: Using knives to cut something off a young female protester seems extremely heavy-handed and ill-advised (or, worse, unethical and illegal). I hope that investigations related to the subsequently levelled at the police will bring to light the exact circumstances around this case and that any wrong-doing will be appropriately addressed. However: I was not there, and for most people reading this — neither were you.
I have yet to see comment from anyone who was actually there for the whole series of events. A lot of the commentary I’m seeing on Twitter and blogs seems at best second hand and at worst complete hearsay. People: you don’t get to just pull an opinion out of a hat and argue it vociferously as if it were fact based on something you didn’t witness in full yourself. That’s what the bloody religious right do. We need to establish facts and then discuss those — calmly and rationally. I’m not seeing a lot of facts. Or a lot of rationality.
Think it through. Many of these laws exist for a reason. It’s not because “The Man” is out to get you. Most of the people who made those laws are people very similar to yourselves. Sometimes the laws are fundamentally flawed and should be opposed. I do not believe “no tents in Flagstaff Gardens” qualifies as such a law. We have bigger battles to fight.
In my mind, pitching a tent for days/weeks on end isn’t “peaceably assembling”. It’s camping, which brings with it issues of health and sanitation that need to be addressed.
You can’t just pitch a tent anywhere you want to in Australia. This is (and I hesitate to use the term, but here goes) common knowledge. You can camp in designated camping grounds. This is a sanitation requirement and to me, seems reasonably okay as laws go. Crash on a mate’s couch, come back in the morning! (Right?)
Individuals were (apparently) warned, repeatedly, over the course of several days, that the tents (as the colloquialism goes) would not fly. If this is the case — precisely what was their expectation, and what skill did they display in working around these by-laws?
I’m a little confused as to comments about “institutionalised sexism and misogyny” in regards to this event given that there were male and female officers and council workers present. Having met some female police officers, I would challenge you to call them sexist or misogynist to their faces. In my experience they are not. YMMV, but it seems like a sweeping generalisation with little basis in fact.
Camping out doesn’t seem the most effective way to protest, to me. The point of a protest is to get public mindshare, and to do that you get in people’s faces. Personal experience tells me that at 11pm-6am on a Tuesday/Wednesday is a pretty dead time in Flagstaff Gardens and does not accomplish the goals of protesting.
Comments on the Internet are fucking terrible things. Rational people can and should choose to ignore them liberally, because John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory still holds true (and probably always will). Picking and choosing from Internet comments and comments from spokespeople seems slightly disingenous and non-productive (“assholes gunna asshole”).
The police officers and council workers involved thus far seem entirely silent (and will probably remain so given that an investigation is pending). I’m hesitant to base any opinion on just one side of the story, no matter who they are or how well intentioned. (This seems like a rational response to me?)
I’ve deliberately avoided commenting on #occupymelbourne in general and tried to confine my post to this specific event which — again — I was not there for, and except in a notable few cases, neither were you.
To sum up my position: the video is harrowing and the situation seems like a nasty one, and it’s quite possible that a young lady was wronged. It’s also quite possible that she was complicit in the events that transpired by her refusal to obey some fairly reasonable requests. The situation is far more complex and subtle than pundits are giving credit and jumping on the “OMGSEXUALASSAULT” bandwagon seems (to me) unreasonable and ill-advised.
TL;DR: STORMIN A FUCKINGTEACUPGETOFFYOURHIGHHORSESANDLET’S GETSOMEFACTSUPINSPLZ
Over on The Mental Faculty Blog, Drew McCormack expounds on why he thinks native apps are here to stay. He doesn’t see native apps being second class citizens at all and his arguments are pretty cogent.
I’ll add this to his points though: good luck building a HTML5 replacement for an app like Runkeeper. If you’ve not familiar with it, it’s an app for tracking your running — it uses the GPS to record your route, calculate your pace, and gives you updates over the headphones.
Native Apps still have legs. In the future, we might be able to integrate webapps more tightly with our devices, but we’re a long way off giving up on native.
I’ll admit when I first joined Pollenizer, I found the development model a little scary. Pollenizer uses (sort-of, kind-of) outsourced development teams in foreign countries. Outsourced dev teams tend to get a bad rap, often being described as being low-quality, cheap and difficult to work with.
At Pollenizer, these aren’t such issues. The model is slightly different though.
Instead of using elance or freelancer or some similar system to find developers, Pollenizer has a dedicated team in India. They work alongside us on start-up projects from inception to completion. They’re not robotic in any sense — we don’t just throw specifications at them and expect them to complete them. They’re complete participants in the process; their suggestions and ideas are taken on board and more often than not incorporated into the finished product.
I work with four developers as their “bridge” to Australia, and I think the process is a good one. We’re learning from them; they’re learning from us. Every project is making everyone involved in it sharper and more creative. The biggest challenge for me, as a developer, has been letting go and learning to delegate rather than taking everything on myself (I am constantly over-enthusiastic; it is probably my greatest professional flaw. I’m working on it).
If I’m being honest, some of the “outsourced” developers I’m working with are better developers than I am.
I think the key here though is that these are not just random faces at the end of the Internet who I’m tasking with work. They’re people I interact with on a daily basis (we communicate constantly via Skype). I’m concerned when they’re sick. I experience a massive kick when they do something innovative. When something goes wrong, they’re right in there beside me working to fix it. They’re co-workers in every sense of the word.
Anyone who expects to fling code at an outsourcing company — wherever in the world it is — is not going to get good results. Developers everywhere require mentorship and teamwork, peer review and guidance. Gone are the days of the lone hot-shot developer; we’re team players now, and you need to build a team.
If you want to outsource your software development, you have to care about quality, you have to care about the people you work with. You have to find (or build) the right team, engage with them, as people, as a person, and let their strengths shine though. Several of the founders at Pollenizer visit India regularly to touch base and keep everyone together and I can’t see how it could work otherwise.
It’s never going to be simple. It’s software. That’s how it is. (Irreducible complexity)
P.S. To my dev team in Trivandrum, you guys rock. :)
A Tale Of Rollicking Adventure By Andrew R. C. White, BIT, Esq
It all began one marginally hung over Saturday morning — as these things often do — with me rolling roughly out of bed. This would normally be an unremarkable thing to do of a morning, save that my furnishings have yet to arrive in my new apartment. I thus awoke to find my face planted firmly in the floor.
Head aching and dehydrated, I realise with alarm that it’s nearly 8.30am and I’m due to be sea kayaking at 9. A hasty shower and brush of the teeth later and I’m on my way (large bottle of water firmly in hand).
I manage to arrive on time — not even breaking any speed limits — and spend the next hour and a half falling unceremoniously out of my watercraft. Interspersed with my amusing hops out of, and back into, the sea kayak, I manage to keep up a fairly cracking pace. This typically lasts until a boat (usually owned by someone fantastically richer and higher in station than myself) zooms past and upsets the otherwise comfortingly flat surface of Sydney Harbour.
(I’ll take a moment to aside here, in some small degree of self-defense; the vessel I occupied was a V10 racing surf kayak, a fairly unsteady beast. When allowed to pilot instead my mother’s V8 — a much wider-draughted affair — I remain firmly out of the water).
Still hung over, I eventually exit the water and we toddle off to consume morning victuals at a local café (where the coffee is, somewhat surprisingly, of reasonably good standard; gone seem to be the days when Sydney remained a relative backwater of quality beans).
We shop, we rest, we laugh. I purchase, with my first paycheque, some bodyboarding equipment with full-hearted intent to use it that very afternoon, then self-defeatingly have a nap when we return to our friend’s place.
We go snorkelling (with newly purchased equipment) at the South end of Manly beach (a small aquatic reserve known to the locals as Cabbage Tree Bay — I can only assume the name was bestowed upon the bay, which is hardly deserving of even that title, in pure whimsy). In the course of investigating a small flock of cuttlefish, I feel my snorkel detach from my mask. I reach up to try and grab it — too late! — only to see it sink into the stygian depths.
I surface, take a breath, and dive again, almost managing to reach the irritatingly non-floatational device. My fingers gently brush it — pressure pounding in my ears — when … alas and alack, the thin tube of plastic slips between two rocks, and is lost to sight.
The rest of the hour is spent with me “snorkelling” sans snorkel (an activity that is far more laborious than it may at first blush appear).
We pack up, and I head home.
There had been some sort of surf carnival on, and the traffic was thick. I manage to cross the sole bridge in and out of Manly (Spit Rd. Bridge) in fairly good time, keeping ahead of a large surge of traffic. I reach down to adjust my radio (finding old-timey rock not to my taste) when suddenly, the car surges and begins to smoke.
In a word: shit.
I’m ascending the hill on the other side of Spit Rd Bridge, a 3 lane highway with no safe shoulder upon which to pull off.
My car has completely given up the ghost. It’s not moving. I put on the brakes. Smoke continues to pour out. I rapidly disengage the engine as a kindly motorist runs forward to offer me her fire extinguisher. We pop the bonnet — mercifully, there is no fire.
The car, however, is not going anywhere, much as the traffic behind me would very much like it to.
Said traffic manages to hold up my tow-truck by a good half hour — my car planted inconveniently in the leftmost lane, unmoving. We eventually get it back to my apartment complex, only to discover that the tow-truck is too wide to fit down the thin road to the driveway. I pay the good gentlemen (of Egyptian extraction; a sturdy, friendly fellow with a penchant for highly aromatic cigarettes) the whopping sum of $230 for his time and roll my car down the driveway, assisted solely by Newton’s theory of gravitation.
Manoeuvring the car into my parking space proves a significant challenge. Some friendly neighbours assist me with locomotion and we manage to park the distressed automobile, only once chancing to lose the driver-side door (a fate narrowly averted by quick-thinkingly slamming said door shut).
Exhausted and defeated, I pull out a fascinating book on the nature of beaches and waves (Dr Rip’s Essential Beach Book, highly recommended), make it 10 pages in and promptly fall asleep, thumb still marking my place.
I often hear the faithful claim that ‘your belief in science is just faith of another stripe’. I finally found a way to express why that isn’t so:
The scientific method exposes itself to scientific analysis. You can form a hypothesis (that the scientific method works, or does not) and given adequate controls and data (i.e. meta-research), prove or disprove the utility of the scientific method. Science is self-referentially provable or disprovable, by definition.
Of course, the faithful will still refute the validity of science. “God is just not scientifically explainable” is an easy cop-out. It’s still ignorant as hell and morally corrupt, however. If you truly believe God exists, pony up and prove it in a testable and repeatable manner.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.