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On nutcases who want to ban man-hours

A comparison of men's and women's work, with and without PC

Dilaton has witnessed a rather shocking interaction at the Academia Stackexchange. A user named Jonathan Reez asked whether the author of a laborious paper is obliged to give the raw data to followers. He needed a term to express the idea:

I've recently read... which would normally take thousands of man-hours...
It's all about the man-hour, a unit of human work – the amount that the average worker does in one hour. One man is a unit of "generalized power" analogous to one watt (except that it's some "general energy and work", not "energy in joules", that is being produced) and if you multiply it by one hour, you get the amount of "work" in the generalized sense.

A user named StrongBad felt that ze had to respond to Reez's question at the Academia Meta Stackexchange. Zer complaint was yummy (I use the pronoun "zer" because I guess that zer sexuality is ambiguous in some way):
In my mind, this comment
  • Why man-hours? Is this some dataset that a woman would be incapable of creating for some reason?
is suggesting that gender specific terms should be avoided. I do not know how the community feels. The comment itself was flagged by a user as offensive (which seems extreme to me). Are terms like "man-hours" acceptable, or should we be holding ourselves to a higher standard?
and a discussion, pretty much 50-50 split on whether the server should ban man-hours, got started. Wow, just wow.

Some authors of the answers carefully try to say that "man-hours" should be allowed or that the authors of the questions should have the freedom to express their ideas. Others want to ban them or encourage other users of the server to immediately edit every question or answer containing a "man-hour".

Thankfully, these individuals haven't made it to Wikipedia editors yet. Wikipedia so far defines one man-hour properly, without any significant contamination by the feminist ideological garbage.

The unit of one man-hour has been around for more than a century. It has worked well and no one would ever think that there was something controversial about it. Indeed, at the beginning, it was almost entirely male workers whose work was expressed in man-hours. But the female workers appeared rather soon and their work was expressed in man-hours, too. It's common sense that the "man" refers to a worker and the sex isn't really essential for the concept to be usable. After all, the very word "men" sometimes represents the humans of both sexes.

Have we really entered some era of singular insanity where all things that have worked through the mankind's history (yes, the mankind is probably also non-PC) are going to be replaced by weird convoluted constructs and stigmatized by a network of complicated bans?

How many woman-hours are equal to one man-hour?

As I mentioned, one man-hour has to be defined relatively to some average worker because different workers work at different rates. Famously enough, Alexey Stakhanov was a Soviet miner and innovator who founded the Stakhanovite Movement of people in the communist bloc who worked much more than planned. Stakhanov was said to have done 14 man-hours in one hour. During communism, this man was presented as an ultimate role model.

OK, but when we talk about the "average" worker, we must know what is the ensemble from which the average is computed. Clearly, there are many people who couldn't do the work at all. Those people usually don't do it. My point is that the average is computed from the ensemble of people who actually do the work at some given moment, or in some given year.

So if some work is (mostly) done by male workers, one man-hour really means (approximately) one male-worker-hour. If you have both men and women, you could in principle distinguish person-hours and man-hours (and woman-hours). One person-hour would be the average person's work done in one hour, one man-hour would be the work done by the average male worker, and there could be a similar unit of one woman-hour. Except that no one has ever done it. Only the sex-neutral man-hour (meaning one person-hour) is practical enough. Why?

Simply because if some workers were doing much less work than others, they wouldn't be hired. So it's expected that a female worker does about the same as a male worker. It's expected particularly because she typically wants the same salary – so she should better do the same work, too.

It's not really true and the average female employee's wage is about 75% of the average male employee's wage. I would guess that the gap between the work they do is significantly higher than that but I don't have any quantitative data to support this estimate. At any rate, it's obvious that if you really tried to define the sex-sensitive man-hours and woman-hours accurately enough, they wouldn't be equal. The ratio would depend on the occupation.

In some occupations, one man-hour could be equal to one woman-hour. In a class of occupation, one woman-hour would be greater than one man-hour (although the sex industry is the only example I can think of now). In others, one woman-hour would be 0.75 man-hours. In others, one man-hour could be equal to 10 woman-hours, and so on. But this is not done, as I said, because there's really no good reason to divide the labor force into these two groups. The boundary between these two groups (sexes) is largely useless because it's only weakly correlated with the properties of the workers that matter from the economic viewpoint.

The proposal to ban man-hours is obviously driven by the feminist ideology that has run amok. But let's look at the first question – which was trying to intimidate and terrify other users – as if it were a serious question:
Why man-hours? Is this some dataset that a woman would be incapable of creating for some reason?
I don't know the particular dataset that Jonathan Reez was referring to. But the answer may indeed be either Yes or No or something in between. Even though it's formulated as a rhetorical question whose only purpose is to enforce a terrifying atmosphere incompatible with a free discussion, it may also be understood as a perfectly valid question. As I said, some kinds of work are done equally by men and women, in some jobs, women may have an advantage, but in most others, it's the other way around.

A trivial example of the latter category was mentioned. Stakhanov was a miner. There were actually female miners in Britain of the 19th century but such hiring practices were considered immoral (but maybe just because the workers were topless). In the 20th century, almost all miners were male again.

These differences in the sexes' relationship to physical work boil down to pretty much universal biological differences. Women may have strong legs and broad hips and things like that. But they have narrower shoulders and their average strength in their arms is significantly smaller than men's. At the end, the differences influence almost all muscles, especially the upper ones. The average woman has about two-thirds of the muscular mass that the average man has, and the force is proportional to that. I suspect that the difference may be higher if you focus on upper muscles, perhaps 2-to-1.

You can easily draw the conclusion that if men and women were working in jobs that are all about the physical power, average women would be fairly expected to get about 67% of the average man's salary. In reality, they get more than that. Why is that? Do women get closer to 100% of men when it comes to their brain muscles, despite their average brain mass close to 80% of the male value? Again, it depends. I am sure that when it comes to some extraordinary activities that require the brain (or some kind of a leadership), the sex gap is much wider than the muscle gap quantified as 2/3. But there are mostly non-physical occupations in between where the gap is much smaller. Women may be stronger as secretaries and in other occupations.

No sensible woman could ever get offended by the fact that the unit of "human work" is one man-hour. It has obvious historical reasons. The unit was used especially for occupations such as that of the miners and other dirty things. And most women are just not dreaming about becoming miners! So it's a highly mixed bag. You can become a miner and your sex is then proudly used in the unit of human work of miners – but it has disadvantages, too. Mining is a dirty job and the workers often have to be removed from the labor force at a lower age than their friends in other occupations.

An intelligent woman knows very well that if someone is talking about man-hours, such a sentence in no way implies that the women should be fired. This is a matter of a basic IQ. So why should she be worried about the terminology? She sees no problem and may use it herself.

If these fanatical feminists (of both genders) really wanted to create their "ideal world" in which all references to the fact that this civilization has been mostly built and is still being mostly built by men were erased, they would have to "fix" thousands of other problems. For example, one man-hour isn't the only unit. We also have other units such as
ampere, kelvin, becquerel, degree Celsius, degree Fahrenheit, degree Rankine, coulomb, decibel, farad, gray, henry, hertz, joule, newton, ohm, pascal, Rayl, siemens, sievert, tesla, volt, watt, weber, biot, buckingham, debye, eotvos, galileo, gauss, gilbert, kayser, maxwell, oersted, poise, rayleigh, stokes, franklin (obsolete), clausius (obsolete), ångström, baud, Bark scale, brewster, centimorgan, dalton, darcy, decibel, Dobson unit, erlang, fermi, hartley, Hounsfield scale, jansky, langley, langmuir, Mach number, neper, degree Öchsle, Rockwell scale, röntgen, Richter magnitude, Scoville units, siegbahn, shannon, svedberg, sverdrup, torr, troland, Planck units, Stoney units, and some additional deprecated ones: Mercalli intensity scale, degree Réaumur, degree Delisle, degree Newton, degree Rømer, degree Baumé, einstein, poncelet, faraday
Almost every unit named after a person was named after a man. As far as I can see, there exist 1.5 exceptions: goeppert-mayer is a unit of a two-photon absorption cross section named after Maria, and one curie is a unit of radioactivity named both after Pierre and Marie Curie. This should be compared to about 78.5 units named after men that I have listed.

Many units are named after people and these units constantly remind us about the fact that something like 98% of the scientific and technological progress, at least in physical sciences, was achieved by males, and as far as I can see, despite the 50 years of institutionalized feminism and affirmative action, the percentage hasn't dropped too much in recent decades, either, if it has dropped at all.

Do the fanatical feminists really want to work on the ambitious task of obfuscating this basic reality? Will they insist on renaming at least one-half of the units in the list newton, ampere, joule, watt? Do they want to resemble the feminists from the Sexmission dystopia who were taught and claimed that Einstein, Copernicus (and even Marie Curie) were women? The trial is around 58:00.

Wouldn't they feel lethally painful if they tried to be this dishonest? Is this kind of lying and intimidation what you call the "higher standards"? Why don't you give it up, bitches? All of your ideology is based upon lies. Instead of trying to blackmail and intimidate scholars and users of servers, you could try to do some research yourself. But it's much much harder, especially for you, isn't it?

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