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What's sad is the conformist turn this thread has taken. What happened to the rebelious spirit of the internet generation? People shouldn't make judgments based on somebody's clothing. We are supposed to be beyond the point where one needs to be "pleasurable to everyone" in order to be respected. Also, if anything, shirt-and-tie clothing is quite impractical, how about putting some brains to work to come up with self-cleaning/self-healing clothes?

Another thing: by creating a strong impression of seriousness, jacket-and-tie creates a false , narcissistic sense of self-worth that can limit the true drive to succeed and that's a sad, sad thing when it happens. It's just an appearance after all.

Taleb may have been referring to certain "conference-whores" [1] who dress up like geeks to fit into the crowd. Hopefully, in science and technology, actions matter more than words and dress up, and that's one of the reasons we like it.

[1]http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/10/13/be-careful-not...

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dpritchett 503 days ago | link

Suits are one of the many well-known ways to get (certain) people to like you and respect you. If you've ever failed to reach your goals due to other people's suboptimal reception of your presentation, consider this:

"Your business suit will probably cost about as much as a computer monitor. You only need it once in a blue moon, but when you need it you’ll be really, really, really glad that you have it. Take my word for it, if I wear everyday casual when I visit e.g. City Hall I get treated like a hapless awkward twenty-something, if I wear the suit I get treated like the CEO of a multinational company. I’m actually the awkward twenty-something CEO of a multinational company, but I get to pick which side to emphasize when I want favorable treatment from a bureaucrat." [1]

Now, obligatory suit-and-tie-wearing can certainly be seen as a form of workplace oppression, but the motivation to positively impress business associates is perfectly valid. On the flip side, dressing down and cursing like a sailor can also be a form of calculated personal branding that conveys the desired impression (confident, powerful outsider) to certain prospective clients in certain situations. [2]

[1] http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/10/28/

[2] http://500hats.com

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michaelochurch 505 days ago | link

So, I like wearing the suit and tie and you probably think I'm "conformist". I also tend not to judge people based on how they dress or look. I make active efforts to be as non-biased by peoples' physical appearances as possible. Yet I know (from experience) that it's an unreasonable expectation of other people to hold them to this same status and that, in the real world, appearance matters.

What I've learned, the hard way, is that you have to spend a considerable amount of your work time deciding for other people how they perceive you, and this is a subtle art. If you don't manage your image actively, others will manage it for you. This is as true, if not moreso, in a startup than in a big company. At least the social status rules of large companies (as broken and antiquated as they may be) are documented. In a startup, you often have situations where there are 20 employees who all think they're the alpha dog.

Wearing a suit and tie is a very cheap, efficient way to manage other peoples' impressions of you. Sure, it's silly, but the reward-to-cost ratio is very high. It's a lot cheaper and better than, say, sticking around the office till 9:30 when you finished productive work 5 hours ago.

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zerostar07 504 days ago | link

I didn't make a personal remark, but yes, what you describe perpetuates a certain conformity.

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It's true that our basic needs haven't changed much. We 've become a little more brainy but our basic needs are served by relatively little technology. That's because humans haven't evolved visibly since ancient times. Our way of life will truly change once we start altering ourselves in substantial ways. The future will be very cool in a world where people can grow wings at will.

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jamesjporter 505 days ago | link

Unfortunately, this future is still very, very far away. We're not even close to understanding how a single eukaryotic cell works, much less an entire organism as complex as a human being or a bird.

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zerostar07 505 days ago | link

We don't necessarily need to know all the inner workings, just the important things to do our job. Cavemen didn't know about torques, loads and angular velocities when they invented the wheel. Thus i am hopeful that i will live to see the major breakthroughs in genetics and neuroscience.

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jamesjporter 505 days ago | link

I suppose that's true; its also a good summary of how molecular biology has been done thus far and we've managed to learn quite a bit. Translating it into practical applications has been more of a challenge. I'm skeptical that we'll see any breakthroughs in transhumanism in our lifetime, although naysayers are always being proven wrong— I sure hope I am as well.

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Yet the success of airbnb means that there is strong need to amend or extend these laws. After all, it's a different kind of lodging in which the consumer accepts nonstandard services for a smaller fee. At this point, the airbnb model has gained enough momentum to be unstoppable by local lobbies.

Currently, especially in europe, airbnb seems to be borderline legal for people who don't own licences. Inevitably airbnb will have to find common ground with local authorities, instead of relegating the issue to individual users. After all it's in their interest.

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wwkeyboard 506 days ago | link

How much of that success comes from the existing industries inefficiencies and how much from skirting legitimate costs like insurance, hygiene, inspections, and local government's travel bureau taxes?

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Airbnb provides the infrastructure, withholding much more information than a typical hotel frond desk.

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Facebook is also enforcing new terms for its developers: From December on, applications that run on external domains instead of appearing as an iframe inside facebook will be severely restricted in their access to facebook[1]. This move is supposed to force indie developers to move their games to facebook where they can't use AdSense (it's not allowed by facebook) and can only use facebook's own payments system (it's mandatory).

Zynga could have used this 2 year time window to grow an independent social gaming network, but they failed to do so. It was inevitable that this would happen.

[1] https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2012/09/05/platfor...

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lukasb 506 days ago | link

My reading is that those restrictions are only for games off Facebook, not all applications. Interesting that they would make that distinction.

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That's because geeks like to back their answers with science (or almost science)

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georgemcbay 508 days ago | link

More like geeks like to prove they've already heard of the idea behind something.

Dropping the name Betteridge or Dunning-Kruger or Godwin tells everyone "I heard about this phenomenon before it was cool and even know the name for it".

Basically a geeky way to be a hipster.

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zerostar07 508 days ago | link

I don't think so. Geeks like to win arguments and value facts above opinions. Scientific arguments are generally irrefutable. Of course the only scientific of the 3 is the Dunning-kruger effect.

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potatolicious 508 days ago | link

> "Geeks like to win arguments and value facts above opinions."

I'd rephrase that to be "geeks like to win arguments and like to think they value facts above opinions"

In my experience geeks are no more objective than any other messed up human being on this planet. We just have a giant collective superiority complex about our own supposed factualness.

This is related to the many, many posts you see on HN where programmers belittle professionals of other fields as if they were economists, political scientists, biologists, medical doctors, rocket scientists, architects, structural engineers, or what have you.

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stcredzero 508 days ago | link

"Do geeks always back their answers with science?"

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GotAnyMegadeth 508 days ago | link

"Can all headlines that are questions be answered with no?"

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zerostar07 508 days ago | link

Are 2 data points enough to disprove our theory?

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stcredzero 508 days ago | link

"Does this headline amount to more than linkbait?"

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Her 'findings' are not really related to hackers. In fact, every observation she makes could equally apply to physics geeks of the 50s.

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ebiester 509 days ago | link

True, but the current geek cultures are very much an extension of those departments. Anthropology is the study of men, and men do not often develop entirely new traditions. It would also be worth exploring if similarities between physics geeks and guild societies before that existed.

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sanxiyn 508 days ago | link

There is an ethnography for that(physics geeks) too.

http://www.amazon.com/Beamtimes-Lifetimes-World-Energy-Physi...

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derrida 509 days ago | link

So you've read the book?

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zerostar07 508 days ago | link

I was referring to the interview

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How can they be sure it's not earthly contamination?

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I believe it should be a standard feature on browsers to have some identifier or horizontal line so that when scrolling or page-down, you know where to pick up.

I use highlight to mark the current position that i 'm reading, then mouse-scroll up/down to read some text i missed.

Ideally, i would like to keep the last 2-3 text selections that I made highlighted.

I also hate Nytimes and PLoS for hijacking my selections

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Don't forget the balkans have been destroyed multiple times by nationalistic wars, most recently in the Former Yugoslavia, so nationalistic sentiments may be more prominent.

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majelix 510 days ago | link

It tends to be more about ethnicity than nationalism per se, but yes. Your membership in the Albanian/Serb/Roma/Croat/etc. community is central to your personal identity in the Balkans, far outweighing where you happen to live or where you happen to spend your Sunday mornings/Friday afternoons.

They're all interrelated though, so it gets complicated rather quickly. But yes: Serbs are proud to be Serbs.

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aswanson 509 days ago | link

You guys have got to chill out. You've got beautiful landscapes, mountains, ancient architecture there. Why focus on that divisive ethnic bs? Enjoy your area of the planet.

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