5 Interesting Links for 02-02-2018

Note: Videos may auto start with sound so be prepared.

Psychology (Prisons)

After being introduced to Norway’s prison system, North Dakota implemented something similar because the success was painful compared to U.S. prison experiences. This is a view of the transition through the perspective of those orchestrating the effort.
http://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2017/07/north-dakota-norway-prisons-experiment/

Photography (History)

A comparison of historical to modern images of New York City to explore how it has changed…or not. The photographs allow you to see cultural changes as well.
https://ny.curbed.com/2017/7/27/16048244/nyc-historic-photos-brooklyn-bridge-times-square

Women (Programming)

This article caught my attention because I have recently started using Duolingo to refresh and improve my Spanish. I’m a firm believer in the value of multiple languages as is the company. However, the reason why I’m including it here is more complex. As a female interested in programming, I faced a lot of hurdles. In fact, I came to programming very late in my path because of illogical bias when I was in junior high, which was more than likely unconscious.

This company has implemented a change in their hiring practices to improve their employee gender ratio not by imposing quotas or changing standards. Instead, Duolingo examined every aspect of their process for unconscious bias against female candidates from the university career fairs they attended to stripping identifying information from applications for the initial steps. I appreciate the approach not just for its success but because it recognizes a path to equality that removes illogical barriers rather than using quotas.

This is at the heart of the problem. Artificially inflating female hires does nothing to address the doubts about female capability and encourages a sense of special treatment. Duolingo chose an approach that identifies how female candidates are not given a level playing field and works toward true equal opportunity. The candidates, male or female, still have to win the job, but the female candidates are no longer forced to do so with a hand tied behind their backs. This approach would also work to address other biases as well.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-duolingo-achieved-5050-gender-ratio-new-software-engineer-sohn/

Teachers (Interesting People)

While not the full intent of this homage to an excellent teacher, reading this account speaks to me about every wonderful teacher I had and the differences they made in my life. It makes me sad that I wasn’t as proactive as Scalzi in keeping in touch so they could know the impact they had on me.
https://whatever.scalzi.com/2018/01/29/meet-keith-johnson/

Resources (Writing)

Need to find a name for a character, check an etymology, or just research something quickly? This is a list of various dictionaries, name generators, and other sites useful for stimulating the mind and helping you as you write. Be cautious, though. It risks falling into the black hole of curiosity that swallows hours.
https://onym.co/

Beneath the Mask is included in this collection introducing you to new romance series. The link below takes you to the “Sweet” category. Find links at the bottom of that page to other heat levels if you want to explore.

This entry was posted in Culture, Heroes, Interesting Links, Interesting People, Programming, Reading, Research, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 5 Interesting Links for 02-02-2018

  1. Linda says:

    The best hiring method I’ve ever seen is how orchestra positions are currently filled. They do blind auiditions. The candidates are behind a screen. They wear soft soled shoes to prevent their footsteps (like high heels) from even hinting at their gender. I worked at one once and when a new candidate was introduced I was instructed to say, “The candidate….” It was the only way the people making the decision would know the person was ready to play their audition.

    They collected resumes and I was the only one who was allowed to look at them until after the candidates auditioned. It wasn’t until they were deciding between qualified candidates that they were allowed to check the resumes. It was an interesting process. And it’s why orchestras are now much more diverse.

    • Margaret McGaffey Fisk says:

      Makes sense to me. It’s almost impossible for people to deny there is bias in hiring situations at this point. There have been too many studies and case studies to show it. It seems like a lot of effort, but what is important is the effort is not being done for the candidates but rather because the interviewers are unable to recognize their own bias in action.

      Maybe someday all this won’t be necessary, but for right now, it’s the right thing to do, both for the candidates and those hiring who would otherwise miss out on some wonderful candidates because they couldn’t see past their bias. It’s an actual win-win situation, and those are very rare.

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