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· 5 min read

What pay gap, exactly?

“While the official gender pay gap figure is 9.1% for full-time workers, the pay gap between men and women aged 22-39 is negligible [ONS 2017 a]

Between ages 22 and 39, this gender pay rate gap is negligible (between about -1% and +2%). The all-ages ‘averaged’ full time pay rate gap in favour of men (currently a median little above 9%) occurs entirely due to a pay rate differential opening up after age 40 and applies only before tax. For part time workers the (gross) gender pay rate gap is in favour of women by 5.1% (2017). […] Men pay 169% more income tax than women.” [ONS 2017 b]

“There is no pay gap for full-time workers 21-35 living alone. [According to a 2005 study,] among college-educated never married individuals with no children who worked full time and were from 40 to 64 years old, men averaged $40,000 a year and women $47,000.” [Sowell 2011]

“As far back as 1971, single women in their thirties who had worked continuously since high school earned slightly more than men of the same description. As far back as 1969, academic women who had never married earned more than academic men who had never married.” [Sowell 2016]

Women and men in the same circumstances (e.g., same type of institution, discipline, and amount of experience) fare equivalently [Ceci 2011]

· 7 min read

Unos amigos me regalaron este libro por mi cumpleaños en agosto. Como soy tremendamente tiquismiquis en el mantenimiento de the pila y no conocía ni al libro, ni a ninguno de sus autores, ni al grupo al que pertenecen (Descifrando la Guerra), al principio fui bastante escéptico. Pero empecé a leerlo en la piscina por hacer algo «ligero» mientras vigilaba con la otra mitad del cerebro a los niños en sus juegos, y me enganchó.

Portada del libro «La pugna por el nuevo orden internacional: claves para entender la geopolítica de las grandes potencias»

En esencia, es un buen «resumen» de la geopolítica mundial desde la caída del Muro de Berlín y el fin de la Guerra Fría hasta hace apenas unos meses. El tono es riguroso y académico, pero a la vez comprensible para legos.

El relato de todo lo que ha pasado está más o menos dividido por épocas históricas y por regiones, así que es fácil digerirlo a trozos, usar el libro como obra de consulta, o ir solamente a las partes que más le interesen a uno (por ejemplo, en mi caso: Japón, las Coreas, China, y la situación con Taiwan). El libro también hace fácil «compartimentar» en la mente el inmenso ovillo de hilo que es la Historia reciente (o cualquier Historia, claro). Esto seguramente es «malo», porque en realidad todo está interrelacionado y todos los acontecimientos son consecuencia de acontecimientos previos y proyectan a su vez sus reverberaciones en el futuro. Pero es imposible abordar el asunto si uno no intenta mirar por partes a ciertas zonas (p.ej. Oriente Medio) o a ciertos actores (p.ej. la Administración Obama).

· 6 min read

We have come to a point where end-to-end encrypting all your private data and private communications is no longer an ethical option, but an ethical duty.

Imagine a new law was being discussed in your country to make it mandatory that all buildings have glass walls. All houses would be transparent. The (stated) goal of the law is to make it harder for criminals to hide their wrongdoings. It would be difficult to stock up on illegal drugs or to operate an industrial printer of counterfeit money without the police (and, incidentally, some of your neighbours) noticing. Domestic violence and child abuse would be visible through transparent walls. Let's say that the new law will allow you to have a shower curtain, a little folding screen in your bedroom, and blankets on your bed. Except for those meagre provisions, assume that your government (and random passers-by, and potentially anyone) will be able to watch what you do at all times.

An illustration for this post generated by Stable Diffusion

Now imagine you are a regular, law-abiding citizen who can afford to lead a “transparent” life most of the time, and manage to get some limited “privacy” only occasionally. Given how hard it is for individual citizens to steer the behemoth that is the State and its government, and since you personally “have nothing to hide”, you could be tempted to simply give up and prepare to obey the new law.

But you should resist.

You should strongly oppose that bill and help build resistance to it. Most importantly, if such a law ever came into effect you would be morally obliged to disobey, to boycott.

· 10 min read

This epiphany popped into my mind a few days ago, and has been in my head since:

I am mostly happy with the things I've done in my life so far,
but I was late to many of those things.

Photo by https://www.geograph.org.uk/

· 8 min read

My current smartphone, a Moto G5S Plus, is five years and one week old.

At the time, on 2018-09-01, it cost me my employer €139.75 on Amazon.es. Not because that was the budget I was given, but because I chose that model (I could have easily asked for a more expensive phone). Back then I also bought a plastic case for it, and I think I have a film protecting the screen, too. I reckon I paid twenty euro or less for both accessories. That's a grand total of ~€160 for a phone that was quite good in 2018.

Let us ignore electricity consumption and carrier bills associated with it (those are practically a given, and there is little variance there in quality or price). The total cost of ownership (TCO) of my phone as of today is ~€32/year.

The phone is sturdy, and even more so with the case around it. I have clumsy hands, so I have dropped it on the floor multiple times, and banged it accidentally against other objects and furniture. I have taken it to hikes and runs, and to beaches. It got wet sometimes, and the case is scratched. After five years, I don't seem to be able to break it. If this phone is still in good condition one minute into 2024, its TCO will be ~€30/year.

An illustration for this post generated by Stable Diffusion

· 9 min read

It is very rare that I disagree with Morgan Housel — I identify with his ideas about well-being, learning, and money. But this time, I have to.

A few days ago, he wrote (my emphasis):

“A book you’re not into after 10 minutes of attention has little chance of a happy ending. Slam it shut and move on. You’re not a failure if you quit a book after three pages.”

According to Housel (I haven't been able to verify the quote), Charlie Munger once said:

“Most books I don’t read past the first chapter. I’m not burdened by bad books.”

Admittedly, Housel is in good company: other very smart intellectuals that I like and follow seem to agree with this strategy. Tyler Cowen said (NB: seventeen years ago):

I start ten or so books for every one I finish. I don't mind disliking a book, and I never regret having picked it up and started it. I am ruthless in my discards.

Naval Ravikant says:

“I feel no obligation whatsoever to finish the book. If at some point I decide the book is boring […] I just delete it. […] Don’t feel the obligation to finish any book. Don’t treat it like a linear tome or treatise that has to be read in order and the way the author intended beginning to end.”

Well, I disagree with them all!

Photo of a pile of thick books

· 8 min read

Let's talk about one of my favourite things in life (books) and one of my least favourite things in life (contemporary mainstream feminism).

To do any kind of analysis of the world of books we can start by dividing it into three main areas, or groups of people involved: writers, readers, and publishing houses. The first two groups are self-explanatory. The last group comprises all professional activity bridging the gap between the person who writes and the person who reads: publishers, editors, proofreaders, translators, marketers, etc.

A Girl Writing; The Pet Goldfinch by Henriette Browne

What are the sex imbalances in those three areas?

Let's review some facts.

· 4 min read

Si Vox es «extrema derecha» porque está la derecha del PP, entonces Sumar y UP son «extrema izquierda» porque están a la izquierda del PSOE.

Si Vox es «ultra» porque está en contra de las autonomías (que son parte de la Constitución), entonces Sumar y UP son «ultras» porque están en contra de la Monarquía y también de «la indisoluble unidad de la Nación española» (que son parte de la Constitución).

Si Vox es «ultra» porque tiene elementos abiertamente nacionalistas y veladamente fascistas, entonces Sumar y UP son «ultras» porque tienen elementos abiertamente comunistas y anticapitalistas y veladamente antisistema.

· 20 min read

(Ver mis subrayados en el primer libro.)

Todo lo que he resaltado mientras leía el segundo de los tres tomos que componen los Ensayos de Michel de Montaigne, probablemente la obra de no-ficción más importante de la literatura universal.

Ideas que me hicieron sentir reivindicado en alguna convicción mía previa, ideas que me hicieron gracia, ideas que me inspiraron, o ideas que me espantaron.

Retrato de Michel de Montaigne, fecha desconocida (Wikimedia Commons)

· 2 min read

In this era of advanced technology and AI-powered assistants, it's becoming increasingly important to establish trust and transparency in our digital interactions. That's why I'm excited to share a brand new proposal that aims to revolutionize the way we identify and acknowledge the origin of online content. Say hello to "AI-tiquette" or "AItiquette"! 🌟

The concept is simple yet powerful: every piece of content shared online will end with either "/human" or "/robot" to indicate whether it was created by a person or an AI-powered assistant. By implementing this small but significant addition, we can enhance transparency, foster trust, and embrace a new standard of digital etiquette.