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Affidavit Given in the Court of Public Opinion, June 24, 2017

When I first arrived on Hacker News, it was not uncommon for me to see men say horribly inappropriate, sexualized things to women merely because they were posting as openly female. But I got very little of that.

I don't believe it is because no one finds me attractive. Never mind that I am old and ugly, this does not stop men from reacting to me as a mere sex object for simply being female.

I also don't believe it is because of me being particularly talented at deflecting such comments. Don't get me wrong, I do think I am pretty talented. But the state of the world today is such that men are often horrendously pushy about such things. Women are often not capable of defending themselves, no matter how hard they try.

No, the truth is that I had a shield. There was someone else whose very existence deflected a lot of that for me.

It is a well established fact that men who have zero respect for women will back off if they view a particular woman as some other man's &q…

Negative One Jobs

I spent some time reading articles and watching TV shows with interviews or other data on people who had won the lottery. I was trying to mentally model what typically happens to your life if you get a big influx of money like that.

About two thirds of them are bankrupt within five years.

So, I thought about this a lot. What mechanisms cause people to go bankrupt after winning the lottery?

I am sure there are many factors, but I strongly suspect that a central issue is that many of them believe themselves to be on Easy Street. So, they promptly quit their job.

There are 168 hours in a week. (7x24=168)
We all should be sleeping about 8 hours a night. (7x8=56)
That leaves about 112 waking hours. (168-56=112)
Let's assume about 2 hours per day for eating, showering, and similar. (7x2=14)
That leaves 98 hours. (112-14=98)
If you have a full time job, you will work at least 40 hours a week. Google tells me that average hours worked (U.S.A.) are closer to 47. That leaves…

How Do I Know I'm Number One?

So, for the second time in just a few days (though they deleted their question after I replied to it), I have been asked how do I know I am the top ranked woman on Hacker News. Here was the first:
How do you know (that you are the top ranked woman here)? I mean, it's not like HN profiles have mandatory gender field, and there are higher-ranked profiles than yours that don't link to external profiles or provide real names from which (risky) guesses can easily be made about gender, and whose comment/post history doesn't, on a quick review, give any direct indication of the user's gender.
And this was my reply:
I spent some time gathering data because I was getting what seemed to me to be a fuckton of excess pushback for someone who was a big fat nobody with a paltry amount of karma. There is a quick and dirty summary of the data here: http://micheleincalifornia.blogspot.com/2015/01/some-raw-data-on-prominence-of-women-on.html

I usually couch it in terms of "I a…

UBI: Stuck Behind the Eight Ball

I actually started this stub a few days ago, but I am having a really frustrating conversation on Hacker News. Rather than continue to engage people who seem to have no real respect for me, I think I shall go ahead and just write out what I have been thinking about for a few days.

As mentioned previously, my alimony is a bit over $10k annually. Coincidentally, $10k annually is the figure some articles list as how much we will give people for their UBI.

In 2015, I made something like $2200 in earned income for freelance writing. In 2016, I made something like $3900.

Now, please note this still puts my income well below $20k and I remain homeless. My life is still in the goddamn toilet.

But my earned income from 2015 to 2016 went up something like 75 percent and my total income went up over those two years by around 40 percent, or a bit less. Those are pretty substantial figures, percentagewise.

For me, this has been a significant improvement in my life and it helps keep hope al…

Change is afoot

I closed yesterday's cranky post with the line Because god knows no one listens to a fucking thing I say. And I still feel that way, but...

This morning, I submitted a Forbes piece to Hacker News with an interesting title before reading the entire thing. Sadly, I actually have a long history of submitting half read items to Hacker News. Whether or not I read through the whole thing has zero correlation to how well it does on the site. Some things I never bothered to read all the way through did incredibly well, spending substantial time on the front page and generating substantial discussion.

You people are smarter than me and those articles were actually meaty. I could not cope with wading all the way through some of them, but I thought you would like them and in some cases you did.

But, apparently, that was when things I submitted made it to the front page based on merit alone. I appear to be getting more attention and respect on HN here lately. To my surprise, this piece p…

Feeling Cantankerous

I tried to ask a question on HN and it didn't go so well. Part of what I said was I just don't know how to say this more diplomatically because this is not how YC started and I have trouble with the direction it seems to have taken. The lead mod for HN responded in a manner that has caused me to realize that I need to write about something that has been bugging me. Avoiding it is apparently causing my comments on HN to go weird places.

My remark came across like I have a problem with YC wanting to grow companies to a large size. That isn't really what my problem is. I don't have a problem with the VC model. I am well aware that they need some companies to grow large in order for their investment to pay off. I have zero issue with that.

My real problem is that I don't much like Sam Altman and I worry that the reasons that I don't much like him bode ill for the kinds of companies that YC will produce in the future.

I have already written some about why I do…

The case for well structured 1099 work

In America, 1099 is a tax form used for contract positions. In other words, 1099 workers aren't full time employees with benefits. Many people assume that if you are a 1099 worker, you are basically being exploited. This is often the case, but most of my earned income is as a 1099 worker with an online service. I would actually like to see a lot more 1099 opportunities that are done well. I usually refer to this idea on this blog as "Gig work done right."

Home Hero recently announced that they are shutting down. They provided a marketplace for home care providers who were 1099 workers. Yesterday, I left a comment on Hacker News about my ambivalent feelings about Home Hero.

I don't know a lot about Home Hero or that problem space, but their article announcing their shut down suggests that it is probably hourly work that didn't pay all that well on an hourly basis. This is inherently problematic for the worker. It essentially puts a hard cap on their earnings.…