One experience I had with my Osakan clients always stood out to me -- I've met multiple businessmen who say they won't make a deal with a vendor they haven't gone drinking with, because the alcohol shows what kind of person they really are.
I mostly approve, but a danger I've found is that people can get stuck in it, even if they don't necessarily become alcoholics.
Hopefully one day Cannabis will mostly supplant alcohol as the social drug of choice.
I hope not. I find the smell of Cannabis to be nauseating (almost like a swamp or distant sewage plant), and I wish people would consider that more often before smoking it in social settings. I realize that alcohol can smell as well, but it usually takes quite a lot of it for me to notice at least.
Another consideration: It's a lot easier for non-participating guests to abstain from alcohol than from Cannabis. Apart from peer pressure concerns, I can abstain or moderate my alcohol intake while still participating in social activities, regardless of the alcohol intake of my friends. When Cannabis is smoked in an enclosed hotbox though, I have to choose between intoxication and leaving.
I don't mind the brownies though.
I found the recent episode of the tv show VICE that focused on the booming entrepreneurship in Colorado around cannabis to be really interesting and it will be interesting to see what comes of that test environment within the US.
> Hopefully one day Cannabis will mostly supplant alcohol as the social drug of choice.
No thank you. I don't like smoke. I'd prefer tea or coffee.
As if it were a way of praying or wishing!
Edit: I think I'm getting some "shoot the messenger" downvotes. Whether or not you agree with the statement, I maintain that a lot of people feel this way.
> I go to IT/comp-sci conferences and often meet people who don't drink, ever. These people won't have a single glass of wine or beer. I had to ask myself why. If someone told me they used to be an alcoholic and completely quit alcohol, I'd have nothing but respect, but this is not what these people are about.
> They'll claim they don't like the effects of alcohol, but the truth is they think drinking is unprofessional. They're afraid of losing control, of looking foolish. To me, this symbolizes conservatism. These are people who are not adventurous. They won't try some unknown dish on the restaurant menu, they won't want to go to a restaurant from a culture they're unfamiliar with. They might think shellfish are disgusting and weird. They'll want to go to some chain restaurant and have a steak with fries.
> I don't like these people. Why? Because they're unadventurous people, who have most likely never tried pot even once in their life. They don't like new ideas. They're afraid that one drink will make their life deviate ever so slightly from the usual boring predictability they crave. If you present them with some new idea, they'll give you nothing but doubt, a long list of reasons why your idea is risky and might not work, and thus isn't worth trying. You shouldn't be developing your own programming language, Java does everything you need, it's Turing Complete. Fuck these people.
One of the big reasons I was curious about the content of the comment is that I have been thinking about comment karma and the utility of deleting comments lately. Comments like this make a strong case against being able to delete comments. In order for karma to be most effective it seems that it must not only quantify a user's positive contributions but also the user's negative contributions. If a user knows they can make potentially dumb/offensive comments and delete them before taking a karma hit they do not need to filter their thoughts before hitting submit. In my opinion clicking submit is an implicit statement that I stand by my comment and that it was submitted in good faith and is a sincere expression of my opinion.
I am not entirely sure what the purpose of delete is. If someone asks "what is the X of y?" and my response is factually incorrect the comment/answer will be downvoted. People that see my downvoted answer will know that it has been judged "unacceptable" by the HN community; so I do not think there is a reason to worry about spreading false information. If the question is not about a factual matter and my opinion is judged unacceptable by the HN community so be it. I made my comment with the best of intentions and should stand by what I said in the comment.
But I guess I'm just one of unadventurous people.
It's not "politically incorrect." It's just kinda dumb.
It is. It's one of those archaic masculinity expectations that hangs around. "Real men" are supposed to eat red meat, be promiscuous (until 30 or so), and be experienced with liquor. Men who don't enjoy getting hammered are seem as "off", unhealthy, or aloof.
We might hate that it is this way, but mainstream business culture (which has successfully colonized the Valley, making that ecosystem a Disneyfied farce of entrepreneurship having little to do wtih true technology) is still heavily invested in gender roles and "real men" nonsense. Being a nondrinker is a pretty serious professional handicap because, ultimately, people give professional favor (promotions, good projects) based on personal affinities that can be hacked with chemistry (specifically, ethanol) but rarely (certainly not reliably) with hard work.
The reality of the Valley has much more in common with my fraternity house in college than anything else really. That's not to say that the hardworking hacker doesn't exist. They absolutely do! They are the ones everyone else in the Valley is taking advantage of.
(I'm not saying it's a bad thing; just something I've noticed)
You forgot watching sports.
Note that in every case, it's actually a subtle matter of one-upsmanship. Eating redder or more meat. Sleeping with more or better-looking women. Drinking harder or larger quantities of liquor.
Writing more lines of code in a more obscure language.
You could find plenty of guys willing to defend sports on their own terms. I don't think, if you let them talk for a day, they'd come out with anything like what you're putting in their mouths. I do think the things they'd tell you about sports are plausible enough as the "real reasons" they're fans. In my (admittedly not deep) experience, analysis of the action is a big thing. Criticizing the performance might rise to the level of a minor phenomenon. People are perfectly happy enthusing over great things that their heroes have done.
A man might enjoy throwing around a football because of the visceral experience of a solid catch, the nostalgic recollection of doing it with his dad, the anticipation of doing it with his son in the future, the vicarious simulation of a quarterback he looks up to, the amorphous pleasure of exercising, and because he can throw it further than his buddy.
Yes. People from San Francisco want the 49ers to win, because they're representatives of a kind. But there's nothing particularly manhood-affirming in this experience. People don't want their team to win in order to feel more masculine; as you said, it's a tribalism thing. That's why sports-watching is accompanied by other activities, like exclusion, beer-drinking, steak-grilling, and so on.
The reason you watch sports to affirm your manhood is because you feel you know better. You could, in their shoes, stomp the other team into the ground. You could tell your team what to do and they'd do it and they'd win. This isn't tribalism; such people would happily switch sides in order to prove they could win from there, too.
Listen to the content of the conversation. A bunch of guys, sitting around, agreeing with each other on what they would have done instead. If their team loses, the tribally motivated will say, "Better luck next time." Those who are motivated by masculinity say, "Should have done it better." It's indistinct if their team wins; they have nothing to prove because they backed the right horse.
People usually don't watch sports to affirm their manhood. Activities for doing that tend to be active. But when they do, it's not about tribalism.
Nobody ever promised that career progression would be based on coding chops, especially when each jump up the ladder means less time coding and more time people-hacking.
Presumably if they or their family members have struggled with alcoholism they wouldn't tell some stranger at a tech conference about it right after finishing talking about the latest trends in REST-ful API design.
Imagine the exchange.
* "-Yeah hateoas is totally not worth it, we tried it and it was just a pain to implement without seeing any benefits"
* "-Let me get buy you a beer"
* "-Nah, my father was an alcoholic who beat my mom and me growing up, he then left and killed himself. So yeah, I'll just pass".
* "-......<silence>....Yeah, cool, I'll just move over there to meet some friends. Nice talking to you."
Sometimes you won't know the true reason, you'll just hear a socially acceptable light cover. So don't always assume they are just prudish and conservative.
And well, actually there are a lot of people who just don't enjoy drinking. You know like there are some that don't enjoy pizza. They just don't. They like hamburgers better, always.
In fact some of these people would argue that is you the one that's boring, the one that needs of external ideas because you can not come up with them your own, or that you're not brave enough to go in adventures or doing what you call take a risk if it wasn't for the booze/drugs.
Here's some lyrics from "Straight Edge" by Minor Threat
I'm a person just like you
But I've got better things to do
Than sit around and fuck my head
Hang out with the living dead
Snort white shit up my nose
Pass out at the shows
I don't even think about speed
That's something I just don't need
Do you not see the issue with using a single data point about a person to judge them as closed-minded? Do you not see how that in itself is much more closed-minded?
I smoke pot every day. I've tried any natural hallucinogen I can find, multiple times. I'm a raging liberal. I'm a part-time cook that almost certainly could talk and cook circles around you when it comes to cuisine. I promise you I'm very adventurous.
But I often refuse alcohol during the week, and almost always in professional settings. Why?
1. Alcohol makes me excessively nauseous
2. Alcohol makes me excessively tired
3. Being nauseous and tired ruins my day
4. I don't like the implication that in order to be part of a professional setting I should be expected to drink alcohol
And that's it. None of the nonsense reasons you included above. Hopefully at your next conference you'll lose the entitled attitude, realize you know nothing about these people, and try to talk to them whether they drink or not. Or hopefully they'll just be able to avoid you and enjoy a conservation with someone who has a real understanding of people.
What is the problem with people deciding not to drink for philosophical, religious, psychological or other reasons? While I embrace the philosophy "try anything once," I have a number of friends who don't drink for a variety of reasons and it doesn't impede my ability to enjoy their company or respect them as people. Their motivations are different from mine, and that's okay.
You accuse others of being "conservative" and then you proudly mistrust anyone who isn't just like you. Do you see the irony?
I'm a moderate drinker myself, BTW, before you start thinking you're being dogpiled by prohibitionists. I try to judge people on their ability and character, not irrelevant window-dressing.
The irony of being a freakish social outcast amidst a group of nerds is not lost on me.
But, yeah, I've been the non drinker. People don't know what to do with you, and they get annoyed. They project things onto you (like judgment), and don't even try to understand your motivations. It sucks. Groupthink is powerful and pervasive, and nerds have no problem adopting it if it suits them.
We ban people for this kind of thing when they don't have a history as a positive contributor. Your history seems excellent, though, so hopefully the favored penalty here—extremely mild admonishment—will do the trick.
On another note, I'm happy to report that many users flagged this comment. That is a good use of comment flagging. (When you think a comment has no place on HN, you can flag it by clicking on "link" to go to the item page for that comment, and then "flag". We monitor those flags and take action based on them.)
Yes It's a form of social lubrication and it might be pleasant to consume but its efficacy as a form of verifying trustworthiness is tenuous as best. Most high functioning alcoholics would be able to maintain an air of trustworthiness which is why alcohol itself can be such a destructive force.
It's interesting that alcohol is explicitly banned in Islam You could use the approximately 1.1 billion muslim(probably closer to 500-800 million practicising) population as a control abstaining group and look at whether communities that consume alcohol have a higher propensity to trust each other or not.
Edit: At the end of the day I think regardless of any philosophical debates the simplest answer might be that people consume alcohol because being drunk feels good.
Thats a rather modern view for a practice that may be as old as humanity itself. Your comment doesn't explain why Alcohol was popular when cocaine and other opiates didn't carry negative associations.
(Note that you'll find some internet sites claiming this is a myth. I don't find their arguments compelling at all: most seem to argue that water was drunk as well - which is no doubt true.)
I'm not one of those who claim beer was drunk instead of water - I'm just pointing out that the more positive association of alcohol compare to other drugs does have some kind of possible historic and scientific basis.
We've rewritten history to help ignore this, but they were quite popular.
Laudanum used to be heavily used in the US, and even Sherlock Holmes was written to be a regular, casual user of cocaine (Dr. Watson viewed it as "his only vice", such as a smoker of tobacco pipes, but had no medical objection to it).
Actually, he did. Watson tells Holmes early on (in The Sign of the Four, I think) that using cocaine might damage his powers of observation and deduction; and in the stories after Holmes' return, Watson mentions several times that he felt obliged as a medical man to wean Holmes from the drug, and that he gets worried when there is a long period without Holmes having a case because Holmes might be tempted to start using the drug again.
But, consider that cocaine is a "new world" drug, specific to the South American continent, as an indigenous herbal extract, mostly until the 19th century, when highly purified extacts became a popular part of western society.
Meanwhile use of opiates dates back to ancient times, given that Opium is dead simple to produce. But again, it was really in the 19th century when good equipment, and precise measuing tools permitted chemists and drugists to purify highly addictive perparations of the wider variety of drugs. Prior to that, the poppy's medicinal qualities were known and used, but expertise and well-crafted instruments which could readily facilitate powerful extracts weren't as widespread. Otherwise, people were limited to whatever was grown locally, and would be required to cultivate and harvest their own supply, instead of relying on trade.
It's not because it's banned Muslims don't drink it. At least in some places. I have a friend who made numerous trips to Saudi Arabia, where the Muslim Law is supposed to be at its strictest form, yet you just need to drive out of town to find alcohol and access to other forbidden forms of pleasure.
It's just like if you said "so they banned prostitution so it does not exist anymore". People always find ways to access things they want to get.
I think this depends on your definition of "happy" and "success".
Any group has a set of "norms" that, if you deviate from them, it's hard to belong to the group. Go to a heavy metal concert wearing a pink shirt, or a linux conference wearing a tie, or (some) churches wearing shorts, or the 1980's without parachute pants, or any one of a million other things. So if there is a group where social drinking is the norm, when you reject that norm, you stand out. This is not always fatal to group membership but it usually makes it harder.
Seen in this light, in some contexts, someone pushing you to drink may actually trying to be say "I'd like you to be a member of this group", and while you see them as not respecting your values, their motivation is trying to help you belong.
(Hackers as a group tend to claim they reject the concept of "norms" although my personal take is that they just have a different set of norms.)
And my response (like that of logicchains, I expect) would still be "No thanks, I don't think it's my kind of group". So the signaling works fine both ways.
But considering their extensive use of water-boarding you're probably right.
as well as preventing your entire medieval village of dying of cholera, this technology also permitted long ocean voyages (it's said that the Pilgrims only landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer).
now it's entrenched and not going anywhere.
I've come to realize that drunk programmers are just doing their jobs.
Kasper Gutman [to Sam Spade]: I distrust a man who says "when." If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does.
If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he doesn't care to die.
It also highlights the modern dilemma: should I be a person of integrity, or can I just appear to be one so I can reap most of the rewards?
When you go drinking with someone and both make fools of yourselves, you now have a mutual trust built on knowing things that most people don't know. That's also the purpose of hazing rituals in fraternities: you've seen each other do disgusting things, so you trust each other.
Then, there's the nostalgia factor. Being drunk is moderately interesting but it seems to have a high rate at which it produces nostalgia. Even though the after-effects are (for me, anyway) sufficiently bad to counteract any pluses of drunkenness, the sort of nostalgia on which business connections seem to be build is enhanced with alcohol.
I don't know why this is, but if I had to guess, I think that Timothy Leary's "8 circuits of consciousness" theory is, at least to this, relevant. Alcohol causes regression into a childish, emotionally volatile state. It's a time-travel mechanism. It allows people to instill in themselves an illusion that a connection goes back farther in time (and is therefore deeper) than it actually does.
So, please, don't teach a Slavic about booze.)
This is literally in the first sentence.