1. The Real Reason the Poor Go Without Bank Accounts - Lisa J. Servon - The Atlantic Cities →

    I found this article fascinating.  For most of us, the assumption that the alternative financial industry preys upon the financially weak is assumed.  However, it would seem that the reality is, as always, far more nuanced and complex.

  2. In response to Lawrence Khong’s “Truth” on Homosexuality (link omitted)

    "Zero Proof"
    This displays a misunderstanding of the scientific method, commonly displayed by religious figures.  Science moves forward through preponderances of evidence and not proof.  At the moment, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the notion that to some extent, human sexuality is inborn. Unlike the article, here are some references regarding fraternal birth order: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1626369/  http://classes.biology.ucsd.edu/bisp194-1.FA09/Blanchard_2001.pdf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation .  Furthermore, some physiological differences are generally accepted arguments in the scientific community to show biological determinism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation#Biological_differences_in_gay_men_and_lesbians .  Also, while genetic factors may not account for these differences, other factors can explain biological determinism in the absence of genetic determinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation#Criticisms .  Is the question of determinism “proved”?  No, neither is evolution, General Relativity, or non-existence of Russell’s Teapot.  However, like the later question there is strong evidence in favor of those claims and to say “no proof” displays a shocking ignorance of the scientific method.

    "Every ex-homosexual is proof that people are not born this way."
    Again, a gross misunderstand of the scientific method.  It is generally accepted that Human Sexuality is a a continuum rather than discrete poles - the Kinsey Scale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale .  Having experienced sexual arousal from homosexual situations and then experiencing arousal from heterosexual situations is less an indication of “conversion” than that someone’s sexuality lies near the middle of the continuum.  Given the continued bigotry that so-called Christians continue to show to their homosexual brethren, the peer pressure to “claim ex-homosexuality” and to claim to not be aroused by homosexual acts is so large it is impossible for the entirely anecdotal claims of “ex-homosexuality” to be taken very seriously.

    Regarding the status of homosexuality as a mental disorder.  According to wikipedia, “A mental disorder or psychiatric disorder is a psychological pattern or anomaly, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development in a person’s culture.”  Given that sizable minority populations, across all cultures have similar incidences of homosexuality http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality#Demographics it is impossible to claim that it is abnormal.  In the absence of persecution, there is no link between homosexuality and any distress and disability.  Ergo, it cannot be a disorder. 

    Of course, the point of this post is the potential elimination of Section 377A of the Singapore code.  Personally, I think biological determinism is completely orthogonal to this question.  Whatever the reason, if two adults love each other, what is gained by making love illegal?  377A is clearly never enforced which leads to another point, keeping unenforced laws on the books is a malpractice of law and only dilutes the power and legitimacy of the law.  The point of the law is not to enable those in power to selectively prosecute individuals whom they find disagreeable but to establish a uniform set of rules that ALL people must follow.  If a law is being regularly flouted, there are only two moral actions - enforcement or amendment.  Given that I don’t see even the conservative Singapore population countenancing roundups and mass imprisonment of 10% of its population that only leaves one choice. 

    Lastly, remember that, especially in conservative circles, many homosexuals feel compelled to live in the shadows and hide their true feelings from even their closest friends.  When you look around your church and family, remember that all statistical evidence would indicate that 2-10% of those individuals are struggling with being told on a daily basis that they are less than human and that their love is the only love that does not count in the eyes of your god.  While I do not subscribe to your faith, my understanding of its progenitor, based on extensive reading, would suggest that he would take a dim view of the continued persecution of these people.  Furthermore, I believe it seems he would feel that each of us has an unending list of personal flaws or sins that we should focus on before going on to persecute others.

  3. My View on the Titstare controversy

    As a rationalist, I find expressions of faith to be particularly offensive and especially harmful to children and demand that all tech conferences be devoid of any expressions of faith, including jewelry.

    On a serious note, I find it as guilty of poorly delivered lines and poor comedic form as anything else.  This violates the cardinal rule of edgy humor - if you’re gonna be potentially offensive, you have to crush your set.

  4. gawker vs. reality - paul graham’s xenophobia edition

    According to Gawker (link omitted because fuck them), Paul Graham is a xenophobe that hates foreigners.  According to the fact that all of the y-combinator founders I know (5 of them, including 2/3 of their home run companies) are foreigners with noticeable accents, he does not.  Also, fuck Gawker.

  5. Texas keeps up its perfect streak of being on the wrong side of history and showing that it really doesn't believe in free and competitive markets. →

  6. startup idea #4315: slap a logo on firefox or chrome and sell to enterprises for $250/seat/year

    Enterprises love paid, supported software and browsers do not exactly qualify.  Just add something like centralized upgrade and SSL CA management and you’re good to go.

  7. /var/null: Don't Fly During Ramadan →


    A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to take a trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles on JetBlue. Every year, my family goes on a one-week pilgrimage, where we put our work on hold and spend time visiting temples, praying, and spending time with family and friends. To my Jewish friends, I often…

  8. Love this! In California, a Champion for Police Cameras →

    Rialto, Calif., has become the poster city for using cameras to police the police, backed by data showing that complaints against officers fell by 88 percent after they began wearing the technology in 2012.

    I really think this is a great thing.  If you’re in public or interacting with an officer there is no reasonable expectation of privacy almost by definition.  Seems like the PDs involved are all establishing somewhat reasonable policies around the data.  This could be a very good thing.

  9. Why Silicon Valley Funds Instagrams, Not Hyperloops | Jerzy Gangi →

    Some vast oversimplifcations to be sure but overall a good piece.  Nothing new is mentioned but it does address the a nagging feeling that I’ve been having about Silicon Valley and US innovation more broadly. 

    I’m not sure what the solution is, but I do intend to write about it more.

  10. Maybe @ptshih should allow himself more than 30 seconds before going with his gut instinct.. →

    Whatever you think of his original post, he’s a complete idiot if he expected any reaction besides what he got.