Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gender Neutral Pronouns

It seems the latest thing around the old student union is the idea of using a "gender neutral" pronoun if you don't know the person's "preferred gender pronoun." Some people even suggest that we let people come up with their own genders.

Now, if we're going to go down this road then we really need to agree on what's sex and what's gender.

According to the American Psychological Association your body determines your sex. Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s physical sex. Obviously Gender is not arbitrary and is very heavily influenced by sex. But it is actually distinct. As for sex, the APA recognizes three sexes, male, female and intersex. Intersex consists of a series of physical conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. Intersex folks are believed to consist of about 1,7% of the population. In other words, about as prevalent as people with red hair. Then we get to Transgender. Apparently, the term covers a number of non-conforming psychological cases the best known of which are Transsexuals who feel their gender doesn't match their sex. But apparently there are other definitions which, to be honest, I don't really understand. The famous 51 or 58 or 71, depending upon who you ask, gender options that Facebook provides appear to contain lots of different ways of saying the same thing. For instance Cis Female, Cis Woman, Cisgender Female and Cisgender Woman all mean the same thing; a female who has a feminine gender identity. The latest estimates places the number of transgenders at 0.6% of the population.or about double the previous estimate of 0.3%. The 0.6% number came from a Williams Institute analysis ( Now as I understand it both intersex and transgender types may prefer gender neutral pronouns. I haven't asked all of them so I can't say for sure. Assuming the estimates are correct that would be about 2.3% of the population. According to Pew Research that's greater than the number of Muslims (0.6%), the number of Mormons (1.6%), the number of Hindus (0.7%), the number of Buddhists (0.7%) and the number of Jews (1.9%) in the US so it's not really a minuscule number. Does it seem a little silly? Sure, but I remember people saying the same thing about Ms. back in the 1960s and now it's pretty much standard usage in the business world. Maybe there's a happy medium which isn't completely crazy. The idea of "choose your own pronoun" is obviously nuts but I don't see much of a problem with introducing gender neutral pronouns. If nothing else it will keep me from grinding my teeth when someone uses "she" when the sex is unknown instead of "he" (or they) which are (or were) the traditionally accepted usage in that case.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts on Trump

Here's the fundamental problem. Trump doesn't take rejection well and he takes being outsmarted by someone even worse. His single biggest weak point is that he's too conceited to listen to the experts and that includes Intelligence experts. Putin is smarter than Trump and I think he has a good handle on Trump's personality foibles. The scenario I see is Putin leading Trump around by his nose while Trump remains convinced that he's actually in control. He will hold onto onto that opinion, despite what the Intelligence community is telling him, until it becomes impossible for even him to continue lying to himself. When that day comes it's going to get terribly scary. The basic problem with just about everything Trump has "promised," is that while many are laudable objectives, most have associated with them high risk implementations which could go drastically wrong. I suppose we shall see what we shall see but: - There's isn't going to be a wall. It's too expensive and too controversial.
- Any tax reform will make the already rich richer and do nothing for 98% of the country.
- Manufacturing jobs aren't coming back in any quantity. If he makes it too expensive to build stuff abroad through tariffs, any factories built here will be so highly automated that the number of manufacturing jobs will be minimal. Where the jobs will be is where they are now, high tech and engineering positions to design, build and maintain the robots.
- The vetting of refugees is already extreme. It's much easier to enter the country through any of the various visas.
- You can't repeal Obamacare without replacing it or removing the unfunded mandate that hospitals must treat the sick and injured regardless of their ability to pay which has been in effect since the early 1980s. The big issue with healthcare is the list of "stuff you might have and should be screened for" continues to grow and the cost of the treatments continue to balloon. It's a problem but removing health insurance from 12 million people is probably not the answer.
- Climate change is a real issue and even his Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson acknowledges that it's a problem. Tillerson however believes that it's not progressing as fast as the models indicate and that's it's basically an engineering problem. I hope he's right but the latest research suggests that it may be progressing faster than the models indicate.

As for the maniacs he may appoint to the Supreme Court, we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

College Football Poll Final

No big upsets but as usual some perplexing changes. The final list.

#1 - Alabama (12-0) (beat Florida 54-16)
#2 - Clemson (12-1) (beat Virginia Tech 42-35)
#3 - Ohio State (11-1) (bye)
#4 - Washington (12-1) (beat Colorado State 41-10)

#5 - Penn State (11-2) (beat Wisconsin 38-31)
#6 - Michigan (10-2) (bye)
#7 - Oklahoma (10-2) (beat Oklahoma State 38-20)
#8 - Wisconsin (10-2) (lost to Penn State 38-31)
#9 - Southern California (9-3) (bye)
#10 - Colorado (10-3) (lost to Washington 41-10)

Dropped out of top 10:
#12 - Oklahoma State (9-3) (lost to Oklahoma 38-20)

I find it puzzling that Clemson moved past Ohio State. I can understand Penn State moving ahead of Wisconsin but why also move ahead of Michigan? The real puzzler is why Southern California, by not playing, jumped ahead of both Oklahoma State and Colorado.

Oh well, the top four are set and with the possible exception of wondering why Clemson is #2 rather than Ohio State they seem reasonable except of course one could argue that Penn State, the Big 10 Champion, should be included instead of Ohio State.

On to the playoffs!!! The semi finals will be on December 31st.

Washington will play Alabama in the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. I think I'll go with Alabama.

Ohio State will play Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona. I think I'll go with Ohio State.

The Championship Game will be on January 9th at 8 PM at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida.

Friday, December 02, 2016

College Football Poll week 13

The big game was Michigan at Ohio State. It was a nail biter with OSU winning in double overtime thanks to "the spot." On 4th and one in the second overtime OSU QB J.T. Barrett made the 1st down by half an eyelash. On the next play Curtis Samuel took it 15 yards to win it.

The call was so close that some dude did a pixel analysis on the play and concluded the 1st down was made by three pixels. I saw it; it was close.

#1 - Alabama (12-0) (beat Auburn 30-12)
#2 - Ohio State (11-1) (beat Michigan 30-27)
#3 - Clemson (11-1) (beat South Carolina 56-7)
#4 - Washington (11-1) (beat Washington State 45-17)

#5 - Michigan (10-2) (lost to Ohio State 30-27)
#6 - Wisconsin (10-2) (beat Minnesota 31-17)
#7 - Penn State (10-2) (beat Michigan State 45-12)
#8 - Colorado (10-2) (beat Utah 27-22)
#9 - Oklahoma (9-2) (bye)
#10 - Oklahoma State (9-2) (bye)

So both Washington and Clemson hopped over Michigan while Colorado moved up by playing while Oklahoma prepared for Oklahoma State.

The only other teams from the top ten playing will be in the conference championship games but there are going to be some biggies that could easily shake things up. Week 15 there will be only the Army vs. Navy game (GO Army, BEAT Navy).

#1 Alabama will be at #15 Florida in the SEC Championship
#4 Washington will host #8 Colorado in the PAC-12 Championship
#3 Clemson will be at #23 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship
#6 Wisconsin will be at #7 Penn State in the Big 10 Championship

Now, while one wouldn't think there would be any surprises one never knows. That's why they have to play the game. My guess is the best chance for an upset would be Colorado beating Washington. That could be a real mess if Wisconsin beats Penn State. Who then would be #4? Michigan, Wisconsin or Washington?