Patterico's Pontifications


That Time BuzzFeed Stood as the Voice of Reason

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:58 pm

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to Patterico’s earlier post, imagine a world in which BuzzFeed provides much-needed perspective on Big Lazy Media’s latest swoon:

narciso pointed this out in the comments to Patterico’s post, but I wanted to surface it so that we can all collectively marvel that this is happening. Here’s the link to the BuzzFeed article; I wonder if I will ever have occasion to direct us all to that site again.


Bad News: If You Use Uber Then You Are a Sexist Pig

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:00 pm

That’s the only rational conclusion that could possibly be drawn from a study showing that Uber users pay less to female drivers than to male drivers. Well, isn’t it? MIT Technology Review:

Uber’s formula for paying drivers is causing a gender gap

Uber uses a master algorithm to determine how much money its drivers make—and women are ending up with less.

The gap: In a study released today of over 1.8 million drivers on the platform, women were found to earn $1.24 per hour less than men. Women also earned $130 less per week on average…

You’ll never believe this: it turns out there are reasons for this besides sexism!

The story offers several explanations for the pay gap that have nothing to do with gender. For example, here is the entire sentence that I ended with an ellipse at the end of that quote: “Women also earned $130 less per week on average, in part because they tend to drive fewer hours.” And here are the other possible causes noted in the piece:

The cause: The study, which was carried out by researchers at Stanford and Uber and has not undergone peer review, attributed the difference in pay to fact that male Uber drivers:

—Are more likely to drive in higher-paying locations

—Drive faster

—Take on trips with shorter distances to the rider

—Chose to drive longer trips

All of these are variables in the formula Uber uses to calculate driver wages, and the study showed they all tilted in men’s favor (the study claims men earn $21.28 an hour, on average). Women also have higher turnover on the platform, and more experienced drivers tend to get higher pay.

The article doesn’t actually try to claim that Uber’s users are sexist — that was just my sardonic headline. But the article does try to portray this as Uber’s algorithm somehow being sexist, saying the formula is somehow “tilted in men’s favor.” But it’s not as though Uber monkeyed with their algorithm to create sexist variables that are unrelated to user satisfaction. People who use Uber will pay more for drivers in higher paying locations. They will pay more for longer trips. More customers are served when drivers drive faster. And so forth. It’s not a function of sexist algorithms. It’s a function of the way the world works. I can’t tell you why males drive longer trips or drive faster and so forth. But apparently they do.

And so the Uber algorithm turns out to be a microcosm of the world. Yes, there is a pay gap. No, it is not explained primarily by sexism. When factors unrelated to bias against women are controlled for, it virtually disappears. Not totally — but pretty damned close.

This is widely known, but people keep forgetting it. The Obama White House decried the gender pay gap and yet had one of its own. If you decry it, but you are an Uber user, then you too are part of the problem!!!

Men and women are different. Stop saying that the pay gap is because people hate women — unless you’re prepared to turn your ire on yourself.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Media Loves Them Some North Korean Dictators

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:52 am

I guess they’re excited because Kim’s monster of a sister frowned at True Devil Mike Pence or something. Anyway, the signs of the fawning suggested by the headline are everywhere, but the attitude is nicely summed up by this now-deleted tweet by Certified Idiot (I once made the mistake of having a Twitter exchange with him so I know) Jeet Heer:

Heer Jeet Idiot

CNN is joining in with a vengeance. Here is just one ridiculous headline among many:

CNN Idiots

Allahpundit says it so I don’t have to curse:

Tough but fair.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 225

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 7:00 am

It is Transfiguration Sunday. Today’s Bach piece is a motet: is “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing unto the Lord a new song). This is a fun performance of a piece that was reportedly a favorite of Mozart’s. In the video, you can watch the choirs sing:

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 9:2-9:

The Transfiguration

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Here is Jesus’s Transfiguration as visualized by Peter Paul Rubens:

Rubens Transfiguration Small

The text of today’s motet is available here. The second movement, an aria for chorus, contains the words: “Therefore be our protection and light” — reminiscent of the passage in Mark that Jesus’s clothes “became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” during the transfiguration.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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