Steve Jurvetson

Wow, I hope the allegations aren’t true:

Steve Jurvetson, a partner at a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm that bears his name—Draper Fisher Jurvetson—has left the company amid accusations of sexual harassment. However, he is still listed as a “partner” on the DFJ website.

Jurvetson currently serves on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX, but he has taken a leave as a result of these allegations, according to CNBC.

Weird. I was just talking to him Thursday in Seattle.

Roy Moore

A lot of people are calling him a pedophile. He’s an awful human being, but he’s not that. I got into a stupid Twitter war this morning on that issue.

A pedophile is someone who has a desire for sex with actual children (and by children, I mean people who have not attained puberty, not teenagers). We have seen no evidence of that. But for simply pointing that out, I was accused of being one myself for “defending” him (I’m not, and I didn’t defend him, other than to point out that his attempted statutory rape is not pedophilia). And because I have a mustache.

Contra what so many confidently and ignorantly informed me, pedophilia has nothing to do with the age of the perp. It doesn’t matter how old Moore was when he attempted sex with these young women (and yes, a female who has started menstruating is a young woman, not a “child,” though she may be emotionally). All that matters is the age of the victim.

Moon Versus Mars

Alan Boyle reports on the “debate” in Seattle on Thursday at the space event sponsored by The Economist (which was overall very interesting and worthwhile, other than this). As I noted at the time, it was a false choice based on a false premise.

It started out annoying, and got worse with time. Talmadge said something like (I’m paraphasing) “Before we start this, let’s see if we’ll be able to change some minds. How many think we should go to the moon first.” Hands go up, not mine. “How many think we should go to Mars first?” Other hands go up. “How many think we shouldn’t do either, and should take care of the earth?” Very few, if any hands went up, given the audience. My hand obviously didn’t go up at any of them.

And then they launched into a debate on those three topics, with Naveen Jain making the case for the moon, Chris Lewicki doing the same for asteroids, and poor John Logsdon having to defend the premise that we shouldn’t be doing things in space (something that he doesn’t believe).

So that was the false choice (that is, he didn’t ask the fourth question: “How many people think “we” don’t have to make such a choice, and that some will do one, some will do the other, some will do some other things not mentioned, and some will stay home?”).

The false premise, of course, is that this debate has some relevance to policy, and that unless “we” have a societal “consensus” on what the next step will be, it won’t happen. This is Apolloism.

I think that Chris made the best case, which was basically, we should go anywhere we find useful. And of course, John’s argument isn’t that we shouldn’t settle space, but that we probably won’t. But his example of Antarctica as a harsh environment that hasn’t been really settled (ignoring his arbitrary rule that a settlement requires more than a couple thousand people) fails to persuade because, as Jeff Greason pointed out in audience discussion. On Antarctica, people cannot own the land, they cannot dig the land, they cannot sell the output of their labor, they cannot pass on anything they do there to their descendants.

What he didn’t point out, which I would have, is that the reason for this is the Antarctic Treaty. And if we don’t settle space, a large part of the reason is that the Outer Space Treaty was modeled on it, and it was enforced.

My New Road Computer

Some may remember a couple months ago, when I was in Florida, I was trying an iPad with bluetooth keyboard and mouse, to see if it was acceptable. It turned out that Apple frowns on mice with iPads. Monday, I went out and bought an ASUS ZenPad 10, with Android 6.0, and it seems to be working, but there is a weird problem. The right button on the mouse doesn’t give a menu; it acts like a back button. Which makes it impossible (for example) to open a link in a new tab. Anyone have any idea what the deal is?

The Value Of Argument

Kids, would you please start fighting?

The Wright brothers weren’t alone. The Beatles fought over instruments and lyrics and melodies. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony clashed over the right way to win the right to vote. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak argued incessantly while designing the first Apple computer. None of these people succeeded in spite of the drama — they flourished because of it. Brainstorming groups generate 16 percent more ideas when the members are encouraged to criticize one another. The most creative ideas in Chinese technology companies and the best decisions in American hospitals come from teams that have real disagreements early on. Breakthrough labs in microbiology aren’t full of enthusiastic collaborators cheering one another on but of skeptical scientists challenging one another’s interpretations.

If no one ever argues, you’re not likely to give up on old ways of doing things, let alone try new ones. Disagreement is the antidote to groupthink. We’re at our most imaginative when we’re out of sync. There’s no better time than childhood to learn how to dish it out — and to take it.

Beyond the danger to free expression, this is a large part of the danger of political correctness and groupthink on campus.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!