November 24, 2007

The summit of the nerd pyramid

A reader writes:

Take a look at the group photo here:

http://lwn.net/Articles/248891/

These people, the core Linux kernel hackers, are among the very best programmers in the world. It is an absolutely ruthless international meritocracy. These people have no common employer (there are nearly as many different employers as the group has members).

IBM and Microsoft have comparable talent on the payroll, of course. But I doubt that you could trust an IBM or Microsoft group photo to so ruthlessly expose the demographic shape of that talent.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

104 comments:

Mary Pat said...

I remember John Linville from college. His response to women with strong opinions (me and my roomie) was to call us lesbians. Class act.

Anonymous said...

I would say it's not just that white men are better programmers (although they are).

Linux is also a group effort that is largely the work of volunteers.

Bill said...

Ah yes. The unlikeliest of heroes. Half the guys look like they'd be right at home picking a banjo and running a still in the Appalachians.

I think we're all indebted to these guys for doing some very difficult work and having the extraordinarily altruistic tendency to give much of the fruit of their efforts away for free.

I'd even go so far as to say that their efforts have contributed to the openness of the Internet. If Microsoft had the same monopoly on servers and network infrastructure that it has on OSs content could well be more limited.

My favorite ISP runs Debian, and they provide very good service.

Milam ommand said...

What a beautiful photograph. Seriously. All these productive, competent people. Unassuming, almost anonymous. And yet they run the world.

"The older I get, the more I admire competence, just simple competence in any field from adultery to zoology." (Mencken)

Muppet said...

In that photo, Christoph Hellwig must be thinking: 'Where did I leave my trousers?'

Peter said...

Sure, they're the very best programmers in the world, but none of them could score in a singles bar to save his (celibate) life.

RobertHume said...

No one seems to be Jewish or Hispanic. Very heavily dominated by European ethnicity with some Asian. Not what those who want to continue the current immigration mix would say is strongly benefiting the US. These folks are basically working for free and don't stand to make a lot of money for their efforts. Just benefiting the community for the excitement of it.

cuchulainn said...

They have to be the ugliest bunch of ill-dressed geniuses I've ever seen. Isn't there supposed to be at least a marginal relationship between looks and IQ?

Anonymous said...

...and they under-reproduce and their talent, if it has a genetic basis, is lost to all subsequent generations.

There should be "affirmative action" for nerds so the genes they carry aren't forever lost to time.

Roger Chaillet said...

Stunning. Almost uniformly European or Euro American, and northern European at that.

But where are the eastern Europeans? Surely there must be some.

Or are the Russians phobic of a Finn's (actually ethnic Swede's)creation?

Anonymous said...

But wait, there's diversity there.

There's a few asians and indians and women (hmmm, but mostly asian and indian women).

Anonymous said...

Despite the presence of East Indians, Asians, and Jews in this group, it would never be considered as truly "diverse."

No one pushing "diversity" would consider the group as "diverse" until it was diluted with low-IQ people of whatever racial background.

Diversity is a poison pill. It is pushed by a captive/colluding government at the behest of cultural marxists upon an organization which they are trying to destroy.

eternal learner said...

Other than the dominant group of people of European descent the only other significant groups are East Asians and Indians. It can be said that this entire population is Eurasian. A similar demography can be obtained in any survey of science and maths departments at academic institutions. Assuming that there was *some* role for natural selection behind this, the more interesting question is what is the degree of convergent and divergent evolution.

Anonymous said...

Eeek! I thought I'd accidentally clicked on the Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians website (http://menwholooklikeoldlesbians.blogspot.com/). That's one seriously unattractive slice of humanity

Ran said...

I sort of expected vastly more Asians to be represented than Indians, but it doesn't seem that this is the case at all. I don't think anyone should be shocked that there are so many White people there. Everybody present is White, South Asian or East Asian it seems to me.

agnostic said...

The over-rep of males isn't surprising, but to someone who doesn't know much about programming, what is surprising is the ethnic backgrounds -- there is a clear over-rep of cultural also-rans, mostly Scandinavians (loosely used) but others too.

Not a lot of French, German, Italian, or Japanese names. There are lots of British names, but they've only done well in the sciences, and even there they ride back seat historically to France, Germany, and Italy. Not to speak of the arts!

Maybe there's a difference in the personality trait Openness to Experience among the first-world countries, such that the less curious populations do well in computer programming while the more curious ones do better in science and art.

There are cross-cultural studies using the Big Five personality questionnaire, but for these purposes, the results are pretty equivocal.

mensarefugee said...

I see 3 women, one white, one indian and one E.Asian.

Anonymous said...

The standard technical field rule of male / female applies as well.

Men named Chris: 3 (plus one Christopher and one Christoph)
Women: 2

Anonymous said...

Steve doesn't realize it, but the picture is very much stereotype-smashing. You see, the stereotypical unix hacker has:

1) A Beard.
2) Glasses.
3) Suspenders.

How many people fit that description None. Notice that the guy who comes closest has nearly all the chicks to himself.

Steve Sailer said...

James Bottomley, the fellow with the bowtie in the back row center, looks like he dropped in on his way to the Yacht Club Dinner Dance.

peewee said...

Avi Kivity is almost certainly Jewish. Avi is short for Avrohom, the modern Hebrew form of Abraham.

Lester Westman said...

I remember John Linville from college.

Did he weigh 300lbs then as well?

No one seems to be Jewish....

Well, Avi Kivity seems like a good candidate, and at a guess (though it's an ungrateful business) I'd suggest Anton Blanchard and Jack Steiner.

michael farris said...

Isn't this counter evidence against the importantance of group membership for IQ?

I thought India was pretty mediocre in terms of average IQ but SAsians (and Caucassians who set the standard for standard IQ) seem to be overrepresented and NE Asians underrepresented.

Evil Neocon said...

Yes of course the men are unattractive. That is what is so interesting about them.

IMHO we are in the midst of a massive shift in sexual selection. Prior to a fairly massive improvement in women's incomes, rights, and control of sexuality, sexual selection centered around questions of fidelity, reliability, loyalty, character etc. because to be alone with children was a reproductive disaster, particularly with sons (who would not have enough status/confidence to attain a preferable mate).

Now, with women in control of their reproduction, good incomes, very little in the way of taboos or sexual mores ("Washingtonienne" from Wonkette and Ana Marie Cox brag about their sexual doings in print and on camera, Washingtonienne wrote a book detailing her sexual relations on Capitol Hill and her being "paid for sex" by a married Congressmen, her assertion that most young female staffers trade sex for money) the nature of sexual selection is quite different.

[I find it remarkable that both Cox and Washingtonienne said in print that they don't care that their parents know of their exploits -- indicating a cultural disappearance of shame as a motivating force -- and the open admission of the latter of trading sex for money.]

What is quite likely is that none of the Kernel developers will reproduce. Women's sexual selection seems to have radically shifted, particularly in the last 15-20 years, to one of physical attributes, social position/status, and current/potential wealth.

A guy like say, "Mystery" or walking STD Kid Rock would do far better reproductively than any of these guys, even the most presentable. Even though some of them might possibly earn more than either of the A-Lister men.

If I were to bet, the long term prospects for technological innovation will stall, largely on the basis of sexual selection. I doubt we'll see that much talent gathered together again. The flip side of Idiocracy is the reluctance of women to have children with non A-Lister men. That's a radical shift in Sexual Selection in the West.

fifi said...

Ouch! The extreme pastiness even among the non whites is blinding. To tell the truth though, these guys don't look much different than a group of pastors and associate pastors from various religious denominations. Not having been told they were programmers, I'd have guessed they were fundamentalist Christians by and large.

David Davenport said...

Steve,

Two questions:

(1) Do you agree that good computer programmers are genetically different from curious, good scientists, as proven by the 5-Point Big Star Magic Mandala Test?

(2) Are most computer techies doomed to be the tools and servants of alpha males, Steve Gates being the exception that, ... you know.

Anonymous said...

No, no this cant be right at all. I know from TV & movies that hackers are bespectacled black youths and hot white chicks and certainly never older than 25. So, clearly, this photo is some kind perverse forgery.

SKT said...

This group is actually better looking and better dressed than most cross-sections of the American public.

Anony-mouse said...

While you're all focused on the races/genders of the people, its interesting to note that with the exception of Steiner, there are no older people in the photo.

This should worry every viewer not suffering from a terminal disease.

Also why are so few of them smiling in the photo?

And why did none of them bring their genius kids along. Unless...

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Moshe Bar, the developer of OpenMosix and Xen, is Jewish.

I am Lugash.

tommy said...

Bill Gates works on the Linux kernel!?!

Oh wait! That's Cedric Le Goater. Never mind.

Linus Torvalds is probably the best looking of the bunch. It looks like Balbir Singh is one of those Sikh Singhs.

Bill said...

They have to be the ugliest bunch of ill-dressed geniuses I've ever seen. Isn't there supposed to be at least a marginal relationship between looks and IQ?

-cuchullain


That's not really fair, because these guys are hardcore programmers, not aesthetes. For one thing, they can't even take good photos for the most part (check out Dave Jones' flickr photos), and they don't know how to dress well.

If they would submit to some basic grooming and get fitted to decent clothes they would look much better, and a competent photographer would help.

I was talking to an artist the other day, and although he is a good programmer he told me that he refuses to describe himself as a programmer, because art and programming are fundamentally different. The amount of work involved in kernel hacking precludes even attention to hygiene; if you care about how you look, you just don't have time for it. And the amount of work involved in producing beautiful art precludes serious programming. As the artist said: "as soon as you let the programmers take over, it becomes a back-end project and presentation takes a lower priority."

Check out some of these guys' websites. Most of them can't even design a decent blog. But how many of us could visualize "linux trees" the way they can? How many of us care to visualize linux trees?

Incidentally, the reason you get so many Europeans as opposed to Asians and Jews is that they have a good balance of linguistic (logical) and visual (spatial) cognitive ability. This kind of work takes both, kind of like chemistry. Jews are at the top of the heap in logical ability, and Asians in spatial, but Europeans have an integration of the two that is well-suited to this kind of work (Niels Bohr, who was half-Jewish, obviously drew from two sources of genius, and I think he was at least as important as Einstein -- some of these half-Jews can turn out to be real treasures). But most important, I'd guess, is the altruistic nature of OS programming, and nobody has a stronger sense of universal altruism than northern Europeans, fools that we are.

Steve Sailer said...

"This group is actually better looking and better dressed than most cross-sections of the American public."

Looking at the picture closely, I'd say that could well be true. Christoph Hellwig's haircut makes him look like an extra in a Mike Judge movie, but there aren't too many others you could say that about.

Anybody want to post links to other group pictures so we can compare?

Anonymous said...

"I doubt we'll see that much talent gathered together again. The flip side of Idiocracy is the reluctance of women to have children with non A-Lister men. That's a radical shift in Sexual Selection in the West."

Whatever, dude. In the future, we will simply utilize genetic engineering to combine the high IQ genes of these geeks to the beauty genes of models to produce better hybrid humans. They will replace the defective models we currently are forced to suffer with.

Long live the revolution!

Long live Godless Capitalist!!

Roger Chaillet said...

Don't know why "Peter" said what he said.

But Linus Torvalds is happily married with three beautiful daughters.

Anonymous said...

Some of you are proceeding from a false assumption. The world is full of programmers who could be "kernel hackers" if they wanted to be. The problem is it you won't get hired by IBM or BEA or any of the others unless you've already put a great deal of time in for free.

You're not looking at a collection of geniuses. You're looking at a group of people who, at one point in their lives, had lots of free time and a passion for operating systems. Or a hatred of Microsoft. The idea this group represents a pinnacle of a meritocracy is ridiculous. Even Torvalds, while certainly no slouch as a programmer, has been much more valuable for his management/motivational skills than his technical skills.

Eric

tommy said...

Dave Jones looks like he would be right at home in a trailer park, I'm sorry to say. I can almost hear the theme song to Beavis and Butthead when I look at the guy.

As for Linville: Thunder Thighs is enough to turn any right-thinking woman into a lesbian.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that most of these "ugliest bunch of ill-dressed geniuses" are probably married, or have girlfriend, and mostly likely have children.

They almost certainly better human beings than the assholes who make comments on this blog (incl. myself).

Anonymous said...

The Samba Team, another open source sortware team.

Anonymous said...

evil neocon, you are so wrong you can't even imagine rightness. Women like Washingtonienne have always existed. Sure, it's different that now they can use mass communications to persuade weak willed women to aspire to be like them. But it doesn't affect reproduction at all because almost none of that category of women will have more than one child. Nerds, on the other hand, get less desirable women in their late twenties without fallopian scarring from STDs and before their fertility takes the second and much larger dive at 35. Those couples have 2-5 children; you see fewer nerdfamilies with 4 or 5 children solely because people in that class don't get married early enough.

Anonymous said...

Re: Other photos.

The ycombinator venture firm is self-consciously youngish and hackerish:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/80819445@N00/sets/72157601547542240/

http://www.paulgraham.com/yctable.html

Slightly more Indian and slightly less female (the one woman in that picture is VC employee).

mnuez said...

I agree with Evil regarding (what I'd consider) the unfortunate shift taking place in sexual selection in Western Civilization. Anyone remember Tevya's daughters serenading Yentl with the plea that she bring them a groom who's "slender and pale"? Traditional Jewish societies (as well as many others, I'd imagine) valued (and still DO value) intelligence, depth of thought and intellectual stamina over "rock hard abs" and other such nareshkeiten.

Female sexuality has nothing at all in common with male sexuality in that it's far more malleable and can lie dormant for many years if not 'awakened' by people and cultures that believe that it ought to be (indeed who actually Teach it - how else to explain 6-year-old girls acting out hyper-sexual, even pornographic, dance moves from the latest rap videos?). The result of which is that our male-dominated culture has convinced women that they're as horny as men and in the same base physical manner.

None of which is to say that women don't have a natural sexual interest in certain male-body characteristics but, in my non-humble opinion, the majority of what women Think that they desire sexually in a man is culture-cultivated rather than naturally pulsating.

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com

Fred said...

"Sure, they're the very best programmers in the world, but none of them could score in a singles bar to save his (celibate) life."

I'm guessing Kristen Carlson Accardi is married, going by the name ("Carlson" is probably her maiden name).

"No one seems to be Jewish or Hispanic."

Judging by the names and looks, I'd guess at least Avi Kivity, Mel Gorman, and Jack Steiner are Jews; probably David Miller too.

Anyone notice something odd about this group -- how many of them can't be bothered to look at the camera during the shot? I count at least eight looking elsewhere. And what's with Jeremy Fitzharding on his cell phone at the precise moment the shot is taken?

Anonymous said...

"IBM and Microsoft have comparable talent on the payroll, of course. But I doubt that you could trust an IBM or Microsoft group photo to so ruthlessly expose the demographic shape of that talent."

Possibly true, but here's an early Microsoft group photo, Bill Gates is in the lower left corner:

http://fun.hit.bg/i/1067BillGates.jpg

Evil Neocon said...

I would not put Gates in "nerd" territory though he looks/acts the part. He was more businessman than programmer.

Are programmers destined to be the "serfs of Alpha Males?" No. Alpha Males generally can't run things very well -- how organizationally adept was Idi Amin or say, Che Guevara. Israel has been blessed by facing armies lead by Alpha Males. Warfare and business are serious business (as opposed to gang leadership) and once you have to build an organization or lead it Alpha Males are a disaster. Like Nasser or Stalin etc.

Programmers unless they develop "soft" skills like Gates (who was mediocre at best in BASIC) don't move up the ladder. Watson was unique in being able to manage/build organizations as well as ground-breaking research. It's unbelievable how RARE that combination is.

But yeah, programming is young man's game. Part of it sadly by culture rather than necessarily physiological issues.

Looking at some of the hottest technology right now, Ruby on Rails, it's a combination of Ruby (Japanese programmer) and the RAILS framework (Danish programmer) with no US involvement. As key competitive advantages in warfare, business, and other areas of life become dependent on information technology innovation (to sort and make sense of the mountains of data available), this is not good for America.

I can't find the Apple II group photo, but aside from the 1970's styles the same kind of guys would appear. If anyone has better google-fu than I (I've seen it somewhere) it would be instructive.

Nick said...

Nerds, on the other hand, get less desirable women in their late twenties without fallopian scarring from STDs and before their fertility takes the second and much larger dive at 35.

Thanks for that mental image. I was eating my breakfast.

Mary Pat said...

To the person who asked earlier: Linville was overweight in college. Maybe not that overweight, but that happened to alot of the people I knew from CATT (a residential theme program at N.C. State, where most of the people joined so they could play nettrek, or nethack.)

My own experience has been that a female geek does not lack for dates, no matter how plain or overweight she is. The odds are in our favor (and not all the geeks are terribly odd, comparatively.) Pretty much all the women I'm still in touch with from CATT are married or in a long-term pairing. Off the top of my head, the women are currently: an actuary (me), a sociology prof (my roomie), a metallurgist (or something. She seems to work in a foundry, and she's dealing with metal processes), a stay-at-home mom, a cop in Montana, and a drug company archivist. Interesting that the women ended up in a variety of careers, while the guys in the program have pretty much uniformly stayed in the computer industry as far as I can tell. A small group from CATT were amongst the founders of Red Hat, one guy is now a CTO of a small telecom, another does network stuff for Alcatel, some work for IBM, etc. Lack of imagination, hmm? ;)

To be fair, none of us chicks were hackers, and I didn't see that many (or any) of us wanted to be sysadmins. We just liked using computers as tools.

Bill said...

Looking at the picture closely, I'd say that could well be true. Christoph Hellwig's haircut makes him look like an extra in a Mike Judge movie, but there aren't too many others you could say that about.

-steve


Hey, my mother-in-law just gave my 15mo girl that haircut Hellwig has. We call it the "mulletbowl" (not in front of grandma), and I think it's kind of cute.

Maybe I'll get her a NASCAR t-shirt to go with it -- that'll get some funny looks from the snooty middle-aged moms I run into at the local co-op.

Steve Sailer said...

You could call that look the Hellwig.

Steve Sailer said...

Anybody have any comparison photos of groups of fairly average people?

Right Wing Hippie said...

I'm not sure I agree that this group is doomed not to reproduce. Perhaps not all will bless the world with the fruit of their loins, but I've known plenty of hard-core programmer geeks who were married and had little geeks of their own.

There is a theory that geek/geek marriages may account for some of the massive rise in Aspbergers/autism cases in recent years, esp. in nerdvanas like Silicon Valley, Seattle and Boston. You have to have a touch of autism to be an effective programmer.

In past times, unattractive people with prodigious intellects and poor social skills usually ended up copying texts in a monastery, or serving as stereotypical nutty university professors. Monks obviously remained single; and the low pay of academic positions meant a sizable number of the professors did as well. Female geeks likewise often ended up sent off to a convent or lived out life as spinsters.

But today, male and female geeks can congregate in places like the halls of MIT or Microsoft, make good salaries, and meet other geeks and reproduce.

That's the theory, anyway. I live in the Boston area and can attest that there are a lot of geeks, and a lot of kids with autism spectrum, so perhaps it's true.

StephenT said...

But how can it be that there's not a single representative of that "vibrant, energetic" mestizo Mexican culture Geo Bush tells us is the savior of our economy, glaring at the camera with a sullen expression of hot-blooded ethnic pride, pectoral muscles thrust out intimidatingly?

Well, at least we now see what kind of work Anglos actually WILL do.

none of the above said...

For other non-AA'd hierarchy pictures, find any academic conference in a hard field (math, engineering, biology, physics, economics, computer science) that has a group picture taken. For most conferences in CS, nobody goes who doesn't have a paper in except the organizers, so you get a quick and dirty measure of merit in the sense that you had to get a paper in someplace.

High school pictures strike me as the best representative sample kind of pictures, since they get a large subset of Americans. Most other group pictures are full of people selected for something or other, and so aren't representative. (That is, the graduating class at Caltech, SJSU, or the local police academy, the pictures of the local SCA chapter, the group picture from the local boy scout troop, the picture of the campaign volunteers for some presidential hopeful, etc., are all selected from unusual subsets of the population.

What other pictures would manage to get a random sample of the population? Mall or airport or train station or metro station surveillance pictures would be biased, but maybe not too skewed.

Peter said...

Women like Washingtonienne have always existed. Sure, it's different that now they can use mass communications to persuade weak willed women to aspire to be like them. But it doesn't affect reproduction at all because almost none of that category of women will have more than one child. Nerds, on the other hand, get less desirable women in their late twenties without fallopian scarring from STDs and before their fertility takes the second and much larger dive at 35. Those couples have 2-5 children; you see fewer nerdfamilies with 4 or 5 children solely because people in that class don't get married early enough.

That's just nerd wishful thinking. Women who don't get snapped up by Alphas by the time they reach their late 20's rarely develop a sudden liking for nerd. More commonly they either resign themselves to sharing an Alpha with another woman (or two, or three ...) or just go on and on harboring increasingly futile hopes that someday, somehow, an Alpha will come along and sweep them off their feet.

As for the nerds, they either (1) learn to accept singleness and celibacy; (2) aim their sights lower and lower, into what Roissy would call warpig territory, or (3) buy mail-order brides, most of whom are con artists.

Basically, over the last generation or so there's been a huge shift in power in the dating and relationships field, with women holding a hugely disproportionate share of the power. I don't know for sure what's caused it, though the rise of online dating (with far too many men chasing far too few women) is a prime suspect.


My own experience has been that a female geek does not lack for dates, no matter how plain or overweight she is. The odds are in our favor (and not all the geeks are terribly odd, comparatively.)

Well of course. The problem is that most geeks (or nerds) are male, and they are total losers in the dating and relationships market.

SFG said...

I think one thing people might be missing here is the political undertones of Linux. Not the software itself, of course, but the programmers, who tend to be libertarian or liberal, two political varieties suspicious of authority (be it government or big business). I can't imagine the Chinese going to that much trouble to stick it to the Man (Microsoft here).

If they're single, I wonder how much of it is lack of interest.

rob said...

How would you know who is or isn't Jewish in the photo?

Would you know Michael Bolton was Jewish if nobody told you?

Anonymous said...

Actually, they look exactly like the guys I used to see at chess tournaments. My brother played in tournaments 30 years ago and I attended some of them. At the time I marveled at the complete and utter lack of male physical attractiveness on display.

That's not entirely true when you get to the top ranks, though. I've seen Kasparov in person and he has a certain sexy magnetism (and, at this very moment, Putin's henchmen may be beating it out of him, since Kasparov has just been arrested in Russia.) Fischer wasn't bad looking back in '72. Now, of course, he looks like the nutter he is.

Katrina

Rosamund said...

"Nerds, on the other hand, get less desirable women in their late twenties without fallopian scarring from STDs and before their fertility takes the second and much larger dive at 35. Those couples have 2-5 children; you see fewer nerdfamilies with 4 or 5 children solely because people in that class don't get married early enough."

There may be some truth to this, but the implication is there is no choice about staying celibate: everyone is, or wants to, fornicate. BTW, we married when he was 19 and I was 21; Thank you, United States Air Force!

My husband is a nerd, I'm not and am attractive, but he is the only person I've been with because of my Catholic beliefs. I'm currently expecting our fifth child. I agree with so much that mnuez said, even though evilcon was a bit overwrought. There has been a shift in the mainstream population, but I don't think it will last nor can endure.

I'm intelligent, and have always been attracted to intelligent men, but our minds complement each other and are nothing alike. One of the most interesting things about his nerddom is this: I literally act sort of as "translator" for when he converses with a woman. A woman will speak to him and before he responds, he looks to me to help him understand her to which I might respond with something like: "she has this concern and that needs to be addressed" or "she's looking for clarification on x" etc.

Ali said...

That picture looks fairly typical of science and engineering academic groups. A lot of average-looking people who couldn't give a crap about how they looked since they don't need to care.

I'm not surprised by the lack of Asians since family expectations lead them to get high-paying jobs as fast as possible rather than spending their working on non-profit activities.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: Anybody have any comparison photos of groups of fairly average people?

This is a little off-topic, but just coincidentally, for the last few days, I've been over at something called "Space Politics", trying to teach those guys about the manifestly fundamental, metaphysically overarching importance of this thing called DEMOGRAPHY when considering the actions of a politician in a "democracy" with "one man, one vote":

Obama: cut Constellation to pay for education
November 20, 2007 at 2:06 pm
spacepolitics.com

And since raw numbers never seem to work in those kinds of quarrels, I thought that maybe some pictures would help to drive home the point to them - namely, that these were the faces of the American electorate, 40 years ago, circa 1967:

history.nasa.gov
history.nasa.gov
viewimages.com

And that these are the faces of the American electorate today, and will continue to be the faces of the American electorate into the future, for as far as the eye can see:

outhouserag.typepad.com
imageshack.us
ozskier.com

The vintage pictures of NASA Mission Control are really stunning.

And, at the risk of sounding like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, it really makes you nostalgic for an era when men had haircuts and wore coats and ties, and, quite frankly, just looked "normal" [not like those "Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians" that somebody linked to above] - when I was a little kid, my Dad used to go off to work dressed like that: Haircut, coat, tie, horn-rimmed glasses, briefcase.

For that matter, look at the old pictures of Shockley, Fairchild, and Intel:

people.seas.harvard.edu
nobelprize.org
images.kbench.com
nobelprize.org

I don't know how anyone can even glance at those pictures and not be filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness at what has been lost.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Mary Pat: Pretty much all the women I'm still in touch with from CATT are married or in a long-term pairing. Off the top of my head, the women are currently: an actuary (me), a sociology prof (my roomie), a metallurgist (or something. She seems to work in a foundry, and she's dealing with metal processes), a stay-at-home mom, a cop in Montana, and a drug company archivist.

I know this might take 15 or 20 minutes of your time, but could you tell us how many biological children each of these women have had?

1) Mary Pat, The Actuary

2) The Sociology Professorette

3) The Metallurgist

4) The Stay-At-Home Mom

5) The Montana Policewoman

6) The Drug Company Archivist

This isn't a trick question - I'll go ahead and tell you why I'm interested.

Most demographers believe that a group of people need to make about 2.10 children per woman per fertile lifetime just to break even [apparently you need that extra 0.10 to make up for things like male/female population discrepancies, infant death, etc], so your sample of 6 college gals needs to have made

6 X 2.10 = 12.6 = 13 children

just to tread water demographically.

I'll go ahead and predict a priori that by the time you've all gone barren, you will have made no more than 10 biological children amongst you, and that the final number may be as low as 6.

But here's to hoping that I'm wildly wrong, and that you were - or will be - exceptionally fruitful.

PS: If you want to make it really interesting, then list the political & religious affiliations of each woman.

Udolpho said...

Contra evil neocon, Gates was a pretty good programmer and some of the early code he did is available on the Internet (lol at the clueless suggestion that he worked mainly or at all in BASIC).

He was also ruthless and ambitious, which is a trait that few uber-nerds have. In fact open source is largely a reaction among nerds to the fact that they are too passive and single-minded to take charge in mixed groups.

So they went off and started their own mostly unpaid effort, where no one with business sense or a desire to satisfy user demands will ever tell them what to do. Refactor the minimize button? Go right ahead, Alvin, no one can stop you!

This is mostly to the advantage not of other nerds much less "lusers" (as nerds contemptuously refer to people who bathe regularly) but of large hardware companies like IBM and Apple that basically get free software for their hardware at almost no cost to themselves.

Basically these people are semi-autistic mutants whose obsession with programming makes them suited to this particular task and nothing else. In a Philip K. Dick world they'd be grown in vats and managed by some government agency.

tommy said...

Here is a group of people who work at Georgia Tech's Interactive Media Technology Center. No real lookers (though the woman standing front and center isn't too bad) but a definite improvement over the computer programming crowd and, while not very diverse either, probably more representative of what average white Americans their age look like. These people could probably be a random sample drawn from the cubicles of the telecom company I work for in the summers.

God must have loved the plain people; he made so many of them.

--Attributed to Lincoln, not sure of the sourcing.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe no one has pointed this out. What you're seeing isn't the ethnic face of programming ability; it's the ethnic face of volunteerism. And evilneocon, you're still wrong.

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, many of the guys in Open Source Software have girlfriends or wives and families, and they can get high paying jobs.

It strikes me that remarks disparaging them are mostly sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

When breaking down this group by race, keep in mind that this summit was held in the UK.

It's quite plausible that you'll have a larger number of Europeans, simply because it's easier for them to hop on a short plane/train ride rather than flying half-way across the world.

fifi said...

"Traditional Jewish societies (as well as many others, I'd imagine) valued (and still DO value) intelligence, depth of thought and intellectual stamina over "rock hard abs" and other such nareshkeiten. "


Where angels fear to tread, you'll find Mnuez!

I don't know what Jewish women like but I have to refute most of your conclusions about female sexuality.

Instead of intellectuals or jocks, we tend to prefer the teddy bear types. There's the threat of physical violence and/ promiscuity from the muscle bound types and conversely the threat of mental cruelty from the intellectual, ambitious types. This would be your type, Mnuez.

As for hypersexual dances done by 6 yos, little girls don't always connect sex to their dancing. They have to be exposed to sex explicitly via pornography or through observing their parents. This is where the true danger lies. Parents (especially single parents) who indulge in dysfunctional sexual behavior almost guarantee that their children will mimic them.

Also, I think dormant sexuality can apply to both sexes depending on parental influence. It's not exclusive to females. Men are able to control their sexual urges. It's a question of where they focus their thoughts. The biggest problem that could result is too much inhibition so that the guy doesn't let a potential mate know he's physically attracted to her.

I don't know about computer nerds but the geology majors I knew in college were able to get enough dates that they weren't on any endangered species list. These guys always had lots of female friends and were nice to hang out with b/c they weren't trying to get laid.

The moral: Any guys in a field dominated by males and who didn't get married to someone they met in college will just have to find a way to be around females.

"...the majority of what women Think that they desire sexually in a man is culture-cultivated..."

I'd say this goes for both sexes, Mnuez. Human sexuality seems to have a strong psychological component so much so that I think people submerge what may be true, physical desires in order to pursue what they are told should be desirable by society. This isn't always bad. Looking at Bill Clinton's obviously conflicted desires somewhat makes my case. I think the poor man is a prime example of someone who learned that he needed to repress his inner redneck in order to have a better life. Unfortunately, he went too extreme in the choice of Hillary and in times of stress or boredom the needs of his true nature that drives him to exploit bimbos sexually prevail. Had he made a choice somewhere between the two extremes...

I can't give examples of men who have successfully mediated between their base desires and chosen a less physically attractive mate who will help them have a better life b/c they don't make the news. Fortunately, women don't usually have this disconnect.

That's the difference you see, Mnuez, that women more often mingle these separate desires for good companionship (intellectually and spiritually) and for the physical. It's not innocence but higher evolution. That women who are more like men act like men shouldn't upset any of you.

David Davenport said...

key competitive advantages in warfare, business, and other areas of life become dependent on information technology innovation ...

Kinda defensive about never having been a soldier, eh?

OK, for all I know, some are genetically predestined for the computer room. So maybe you've done the right thing.

Evil Neocon said...

David -- merely stating the obvious:

Net-centric warfare uses decentralized information to act as a force multiplier. A grunt on the ground with proper combat IT can literally guide a JDAM right on top of a building where the bad guys have taken refuge in a firefight, leaving others untouched and more importantly, themselves alive. AQ and particularly, Chechen fighters thought they were fighting the Russians and were unprepared at how hard, fast, and accurate the US forces could hit back. They thought they'd get Grozny and instead got modern IT-driven combined arms.

Or Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart drives it's inventory carrying cost as low as possible (one major component of low prices). Walton invested hundreds of millions in the 1980's in IT and forced suppliers to integrate AND DO THE STOCKING themselves. Thus Wal-Mart generally had items, on the shelves, not sitting in warehouses, lowering costs. Even more important each manager could see buying patterns and return poor sellers for credit and up order levels for big sellers. It's how Wal-Mart beat K-Mart in the 1980's BEFORE cheap Chinese stuff.

Amazon is the big player in the "Long Tail" revolution and uses it's referral service "Other customers browsed/bought ... " to churn sales far more effectively than failed niche players like E-Toys and Pets.com. Want to find an obscure DVD, book, or electronic gadget? Want reviews? Amazon's innovation in IT makes that happen.

I'm shocked you can't see it. IT's advantage is obvious. The more effectively (and faster) you can use data than an adversary, the more likely you are to win. [The Open Source model advocates say their speed of execution particularly "many eyes" bug fixes trumps closed source models like Microsoft.]

Steve Sailer said...

As a comparison picture, here's a group photo of Wal-Mart store employees in the Florida Panhandle who completed a seven-week long first aid course, so they are pretty average Americans, but share the trait of voluntarism with the Linux stars:

http://escambia-emergency.com/cert/

Evil Neocon said...

Anon -- why am I wrong? I can see with my own eyes the dating success of the nerds I work with. The H1-B Indian programmers do alright with girls back home. The native born programmers do poorly as they are in a low-perceived status occupation. They substitute gaming and other diversions for women.

[Real incomes have dropped dramatically. Working men in the 1970's could buy their own houses. Now all they can buy is cheap Chinese electronics.]

Birth rates are low wherever women have more power over their lives. Iran is not exactly feminist central and their fertility rate (check the CIA World Factbook) is less than replacement, around 1.7 IIRC. Women unconstrained by other factors will simply choose the most hyper-masculine man they can. You can see this across race, class, and nationality boundaries. In Tehran, South Central LA, and West LA Yuppies.

I hear a lot about how I'm wrong, but no actual data. For example, among black women nationally, the illegitimacy rate is 75% IIRC. In urban areas it is something like 90%. College educated Brit women will have at least 30% who will never marry and have kids. If that is not a massive shift in sexual selection I don't know what is.

My guess is that relative scarcity of women (Germans call it Frauenmangel) gives women power to select the most Alpha-hyper masculine guys (Sex and the City's Mr. Big) and most other men lose out. Which accounts for the relative instability. China "officially" estimates about 18 million "bare brances" i.e. men who will never have wives because of abortion gender disparity. Usual rule of thumb in PRC is multiply reported bad news figures by five or six. All those unattached men won't substitute forever.

Point taken about cooperative volunteer work informing Linux/Open Source and the ethnic composition of same. So what happens when those genes don't get passed on?

IMHO we are inevitably sliding not to "Idiocracy" but Big Man society of Africa. As cooperativeness is viewed by women as negative, i.e. "faggy" as Mike Judge put it, and hyper-competitiveness is a plus. Sexual selection at work!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11/25/2007 11:37AM:

you'll have a larger number of Europeans, simply because it's easier for them to hop on a short plane/train ride rather than flying half-way across the world."

Fair point, however check out the photo from the 2006 summit, held in Canada. Not demographically different, many of the same people are identifiable.

David Davenport said...

Steve, maybe it's time for you to do a piece on Myers-Briggs and other tests that try to match personalities to appropriate occupations:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality questionnaire designed to identify certain psychological differences according to the typological theories of Carl Gustav Jung as published in his 1921 book Psychological Types (English edition, 1923).[1] The original developers of the indicator were Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. They began developing the indicator during World War II, believing that a knowledge of personality preferences would help the women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time to identify the sort of war-time jobs where they would be "most comfortable and effective."[2]

While many academic psychologists have criticized the indicator in research literature, claiming that it "lacks convincing validity data," [3][4][5] proponents and sellers of the test cite unblinded anecdotal predictions of individual behavior.[6]

The registered trademark rights in the phrase and its abbreviation have been assigned from the publisher of the test, CPP, Inc., to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust.[7]

The definitive published source of reference on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is The Manual produced by CPP,[8] from which much of the information in this article is drawn, along with training materials from CPP and their European training partners, Oxford Psychologists Press.

….

Keirsey Temperaments

David W. Keirsey mapped four 'Temperaments' to the existing Myers-Briggs system groupings SP, SJ, NF and NT; often resulting in confusion of the two theories. However, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter is not directly associated with the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

ISITEJ ISIFEJ INIFEJ INITEJ
Inspector Protector Counselor Mastermind
ISETIP ISEFIP INEFIP INETIP
Crafter Composer Healer Architect
ESETIP ESEFIP ENEFIP ENETIP
Promoter Performer Champion Inventor
ESITEJ ESIFEJ ENIFEJ ENITEJ
Supervisor Provider Teacher Field Marshal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator#The_four_dichotomies

Fred said...

"Walton invested hundreds of millions in the 1980's in IT and forced suppliers to integrate AND DO THE STOCKING themselves."

Wal-Mart did revolutionize electronic inventory control and supply chain management (and data mining to optimize merchandizing), but other large retailers have since caught up. And Wal-Mart's later attempt at IT advancement -- RFID tags -- was resisted as not worth the added cost.

Nevertheless, the economic success of Sam Walton was astonishing.

StephenT said...

Interestingly, and somewhat counter-intuitively, this group of programmers displays a lower incidence of the kind of obvious obesity you would inevitably see in a random sample of today's "average Americans." (of course, there are a few "standouts" as exceptions.)

Maybe that's because so many of them are *not* Americans.

Mary Pat said...

FWIW, I've had three kids so far. The stay-at-home mom has had at least 3 (maybe 4). The sociologist, metallurgist, and cop have had no kids and are highly unlikely to ever do so. The archivist has no kids, but she may be interested eventually.

And, yes, I'm Catholic, the SAHM is Christian of some variety, and the others are irreligious as far as I know. I may have another kid, but I'm closing in on 35 and don't want to be an old mom. My own mother had 3 and was 22 when I was born.

Half Sigma said...

Because of affirmative action, a black guy smart enough to hack Linux will be wooed by investment banking firms where they can make real money.

When a black guy has the same IQ as the white guy, the black guy usually has more "street smarts" relative to the white guy. Working for free is the opposite of street smarts.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Mary Pat: FWIW, I've had three kids so far. The stay-at-home mom has had at least 3 (maybe 4). The sociologist, metallurgist, and cop have had no kids and are highly unlikely to ever do so. The archivist has no kids, but she may be interested eventually.

And, yes, I'm Catholic, the SAHM is Christian of some variety, and the others are irreligious as far as I know.


If I may be allowed to format that for you:

1) Mary Pat, The Actuary
Catholic, 3 children

2) The Sociology Professorette
Irreligious, 0 children

3) The Metallurgist
Irreligious, 0 children

4) The Stay-At-Home Mom
"Christian", 3 [possibly 4] children

5) The Montana Policewoman
Irreligious, 0 children

6) The Drug Company Archivist
Irreligious, 0 children

PRELMINARY TOTALS:
Religious Women: 6 [or 7] Children
Irreligious Women: 0 Children

GRAND TOTALS:
Six College Gals
Total 6 [possibly 7] children
Replacement Rate Fertility: 2.10 Children per Woman
Actual Fertility: 1.0 [possibly 1.167] Children per Woman

You & your college pals are down there around Hong Kong in terms of your Total Fertility Rate:

List of countries and territories by fertility rate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_territories_by_fertility_rate

IQ and the Wealth of Nations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations

PS: If you don't read him already, then I bet you'd get be really interested in Spengler's work, over at the Asia Times.

A few essays which I'd recommend:

Power and the evangelical womb
Nov 9, 2004
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FK09Aa02.html

They made a democracy and called it peace
Mar 8, 2005
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GC08Aa02.html

Why nations die
Aug 16, 2005
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GH16Aa02.html

Deep in denial (or in de' Mississippi)
Sep 7, 2005
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GI07Aa01.html

Of course, in a similar vein, there's also the Steve Sailer classic:

The Baby Gap: Explaining Red and Blue
December 20, 2004
http://www.isteve.com/babygap.htm

Mary Pat: I may have another kid, but I'm closing in on 35 and don't want to be an old mom. My own mother had 3 and was 22 when I was born.

PLEASE consider making a few more babies before it's too late!!!

Death has a very strong hold over this world, and He is growing more powerful every day.

Anonymous said...

Linux isn't the single peak of some mythical "nerd hierarchy", it's made up of participants in one particular enterprise with a heavy investment in a particular political ideology and a number of specific geographic centers from which it spread. In other words, sociological factors are likely to be at least as important as genetic ones in who shows up in this photo. The underrepresentation of Asians and Indians has a lot to do with the visibility and popularity of open-source within the nations of China and India; the overrepresentation of Scandanavians has a lot to do with, well, Linus Torvalds.

once you have to build an organization or lead it Alpha Males are a disaster. Like Nasser or Stalin etc.

Evil Neocon's strategic acuity strikes again. Stalin was a massively successful political and war leader, first defeating Hitler, then conquering half of Europe and forcing the United States to a standstill. Clearly highly intelligent, although he had a wicked problem with paranoia.

MQ

James Kabala said...

Considering that (at least in the U.S.) less than 5 percent of the population never marry, I think the several people who have stated that the great majority of this group will never marry are almost certainly off-base.

fifi said...

"My guess is that relative scarcity of women (Germans call it Frauenmangel) gives women power to select the most Alpha-hyper masculine guys (Sex and the City's Mr. Big) and most other men lose out. "

Do women select alpha males or do alpha males select them? I remember years ago I was introduced to two brothers with the intent that the older more intellectual brother ask me out. What happened was that the younger football playing brother called me as soon as they got home while the other brother was still deciding whether or not he was interested. Now this isn't cut and dried - maybe the older brother wasn't all that attracted to me but maybe something else was at play. There are more assertive, impulsive men who go with their gut instincts and make snap decisions. I'd assume computer programming types are just the opposite so they will lose out unless women go counter to conditioning in a couple of ways. First, a woman has to assume that the guy is going to eventually demonstrate that he is attracted but is just shy. Second, she has to initiate the relationship or at least know how to get the introvert to think he made the first move. She may also have to suspend her fantasies about erotic love i.e. the right guy chooses you b/c of your beauty and charm. Let's face it, it's a bit of an ego buster to have to choose the guy.

There was a time in our culture when women were more adroit at dealing with passive, shy guys and much more concerned about marriage than love. I remember novels describing the whole process. They often involved a strong matriarch in a middle class family directing her daughter on how to set her cap for a shy young man from a good family who had good career prospects. Fast forward to today, women assume that a guy will be direct and assertive if he wants a date. Most probably won't have the patience or self-esteem involved to cultivate a relationship with a guy who hasn't made his attraction obvious. So alpha males will continue to scoop up most of the women and more than their fair share of women. This doesn't mean, however, that women prefer alpha males. But it does mean that that stinky Mnuez is right about most women believing some guy is supposed to sweep them off their feet.

What's easier to change? The behavior of introverted male computer geeks or women's fantasies about love?

Other factors involved include the move away from women going to college as "pre-wed" majors and probably a certain amount of atheism/agnosticism. A fail safe for people who didn't find a mate in college was church. Individualism, intellectualism, ambition, feminism all seem to be conspiring against the computer geeks which will further increase the ratio of ADHD to Asperger's sufferers in the future. ; )

Evil Neocon said...

Good point Fred. Yeah that is the problem with IT, as it becomes more cheap anyone can use it.

One of the innovative things that IT does for both terrorists and counter-terrorists is databases of people. Who can be persuaded to cooperate. Who is an enemy and must be killed. Who is an ally and can be rewarded. Captured AQ computers have found that AQ no less than the US Army have compiled these databases, of course their true bottleneck is mobilizing talented people. Probably the US has more talented people who's resources can be mobilized.

Anonymous said...

Mary Pat points to one open source software person who she had a bad experience with and insinuates that they are all like that.

Talk about broad brush strokes.

Anonymous said...

Sociological factors are all very well but just why is it that Linux emerged from tiny Sweden rather than India with its 100,000s of supposed hot shot programmers.

I suspect that by and large these Indian programmers are hacks rather than hackers.

Anonymous said...

Basically these people are semi-autistic mutants whose obsession with programming makes them suited to this particular task and nothing else. In a Philip K. Dick world they'd be grown in vats and managed by some government agency.

Been reading Yudkowski's early stuff?

Anyway, it's a measure of both ability and the popularity of the project.

I don't think we've gathered too terribly much about programmer fertility, but here in Phoenix, I see things that make me despair for as long as it takes me to remember that germline genetic engineering is on the way.

and
Mary Pat points to one open source software person who she had a bad experience with and insinuates that they are all like that.

Talk about broad brush strokes.


please not so much ad hominem.
We are all anonymous and none of us are anonymous, but this isn't 4chan.

James said...

I'd say a required knowledge of English is one source of bias in this random sample of nerds.

Anonymous said...

Why are you wrong, neocon? Dating success isn't reproductive success. It doesn't matter if your nerdy coworkers aren't getting laid every weekend and your testosterone-poisoned ones have a harem. That behavior is irrelevant to reproduction. You need to look at family formation because that's what provides the framework for reproductively successful grandchildren. Nerds get married and have families.

Fred said...

"Considering that (at least in the U.S.) less than 5 percent of the population never marry, I think the several people who have stated that the great majority of this group will never marry are almost certainly off-base."

James Kabala is right, Evil Neocon. These tech savvy folks aren't pandas; you don't have to worry about them reproducing. One thing you may learn as you get older is that a lot of women are attracted to different things than the subset of girls you see on The Pick Up Artist (which was a fun show to watch, btw). That's why it's long been a cliche to ask, "How'd he end up with a girl like her?" There are plenty of happily married men in America who would like right at home in that photo.

Antonio said...

"Isn't there supposed to be at least a marginal relationship between looks and IQ?"

In my experience, this breaks down somewhere below +2 sigmas. The girls at my undergrad were hot and I could tell the other guys were attractive too. My undergrad had an average IQ ~+1sigma. Here at Duke, the average girl has to be at least 1 sigma below the average at my undergrad. The girls in Chapel Hill aren't any better. My #1 is often the hottest girl on the dance floor here, but the clubs near our undergrad were full of girls like her.

Joe said...

I'm rather surprised by the proclamations of many here about the people in the photo. Based on my own experience, most smart people of all variety are married, are relatively stable and have children. The average person of is just that--average. (To get a group of better than average looking people, you have to find models and/or actors.)

Put all the people in the photo in suits and you wouldn't have a clue what any did for a living.

Incidentally, the notion that these people are altruistic is utter hogwash. The vast majority are paid to work on Linux--many work directly with Torvalds. In the software engineer sphere, I find them pretty average in intelligence though too left brained for my taste (they lack a right-brained creativity that Linux sorely needs.)

PS. Of course, most stereotypes about software engineers are wrong. They don't have bad hygiene and are as diverse a bunch of people as any other group. (The most annoying group I've ever associated with are liberal arts academics.)

Anonymous said...

You're all full of shit re appearance. That photo could just as well have been a group of federal public defenders or North Face cashiers.

tommy said...

Sociological factors are all very well but just why is it that Linux emerged from tiny Sweden rather than India with its 100,000s of supposed hot shot programmers.

Errr...Finland.

Anonymous said...

The software geeks I've known may not have the hottest looking wives in the universe, but they aren't the group of reproductive losers that some make them out to be. Usually those guys will end up with somebody that makes them happy. Their women probably skew towards the middle/lower end of the attractiveness spectrum, but higher on the IQ spectrum.

Starting salaries in software aren't all that high anyway. So I wouldn't expect tech geeks to be all that rich in general. It's usually the alphas with the finance degree, smooth personality, and family connections that end up making the big money as investors/managers and marrying the trophy wife. Your typical tech geek is middle class. So in the absence of money/alpha personality/muscles, they get the women they're capable of.

Too Cool For School said...

I live in the Vancouver area and know several people who do game programming and other tech work for Electronic Arts. Most of them are married and a notable number of the guys who work there have wives who stay home. I've wondered why that is and asked a couple of them about it. The consensus answer is that they make enough money so that their wives can afford to stay home, and a lot of them do.

Re the Linux coders ... I do not buy that these are the world's greatest programmers. They may be the world's greatest Linux programmers. They wouldn't be Linux programmers if they weren't ideologically and socially oriented to want to be Linux propeller heads. They don't want to work for Google or Bill Gates or Citibank or Electronic Arts or Raytheon or to start their own company or do consulting. They want to be Linux nerds.

Anonymous said...

Tommy - re Torvalds Finland/Sweden. Ooops! I was just reading something about Sweden, curse my poor multi-tasking skills!

The point still stands though.

none of the above said...

It's just an interesting snapshot of some people at the top of a demanding field.

The university picture has better-looking people, but I suspect that's mostly youth and the fact that a lot of them are looking for a mate. If you're single and looking, you damned well do care more about your looks than if you're married with a couple kids.

The thing to understand with the fertility numbers is that the problem isn't that none of the smart people are getting married and having kids--most seem to, if they're interested in that. It's that they're getting married later and having fewer kids, and that the subset that doesn't want kids (particularly, gays/lesbians and folks who just don't want to buy a cow when milk is cheap) is not having any, while the remainder of that group isn't having enough kids to make up for them.

Among my (very smart, math/engineering/hard science) coworkers, it seems like most are married or looking for a mate, a lot of the married folks have kids, but the biggest family I can think of is three kids. That's not enough to make up for the eternally single guy, the couple of gay guys who probably would be okay dads, but don't have much interest in making babies with a woman, the very smart, driven couple with one lavishly raised and cared-for kid, or the couples who never got around to having kids.

SFG said...

Re geek mating: are there really enough female geeks to make assortative mating an effective source of kids with Asperger's? I'm just wondering.

John said...

What we have so far on this thread are opinions and anecdotal evidence. To come to any valid conclusions we need good statistics.

hey steve said...

To come to any valid conclusions we need good statistics.

There are lots of guys wearing sandals in the photo and that is a statistical deviation from mainstream society...unless your society is a Roman Legion.

By the way, Spartacus can be identified by his cavernous chin-divot.

hey steve said...

Newsflash: With two more comments this thread can pass hit the coveted century mark.

hey steve said...

Here is comment #100! And they said it couldn't be done!

Watch out, Little Green Football fruitloops. Step aside, you annoying Freepers.

It's iSteve or bust!

Udolpho said...

Computer geeks do lack social skills and usually have weird, disconcerting appearances and personality tics that make them off-putting. Also they are passive and you have only to see one of them "on the prowl" to realize that their only hope is to land a subpar woman (overweight, unpleasant personality, etc.) Now there are plenty of programmers who do not fit this description but then that is what makes them other than geeks and surprise, surprise they tend not to hang out at open source gatherings and Ron Paul meet-ups.

Cue sputtering protestation from a self-described Linux guru, etc.

James Kabala said...

Hey steve: I think that it has happened before.

Udolpho: Personally, I have only a vague idea what Linux even is and can't comment on how nerdy or geeky those involved with it inevitably are, but I was just saying that statistically, I think it is likely that most of these men will end up married. Statements that NONE of them will marry, which some people (not you) made, strike me as very unlikely.

Anonymous said...

I use Linux, crazy not to - hint: it's free, and it works.
Any of these guys could do a three day course in Game and be screwing any wench up to a 10. Getting the hamster going isn't rocket science.