Misfits

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sheldrake
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Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:24 pm

Dominic Cummings wants to a policy team of some kind with mathematicians, software engineers, project managers and 'weirdos and misfits'. The remit seems to be 'change the way the British state makes decisions'.

His job ad is here https://dominiccummings.com/2020/01/02/ ... d-weirdos/

What are the problems you forsee, and which of you thinks you could do this, and stop it going wrong?

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sTeamTraen
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Re: Misfits

Post by sTeamTraen » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:32 pm

One of the things I've learned over the past 8 years (during which I transitioned from low-level science fanboi to PhD) is just how messy scientific knowledge actually is. Cummings seems to have the level of science enthusiasm of an intelligent Skeptics in the Pub participant, which is clearly to be preferred over the level of science enthusiasm of a supporter of creationism or homeopathy, but doesn't constitute actual profound understanding.

(Cummings is clearly about more than science, but I suspect that this is one aspect of the reasoning behind the "bring on the geeks" idea.)
Something something hammer something something nail

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individualmember
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Re: Misfits

Post by individualmember » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:41 pm

To a certain extent I might qualify as a double-G "Super-talented weirdo" but the last thing I'd want to do is work for cummings.

[please feel free to make up your own joke]


ETA I might possibly also be a candidate for Communications, despite never having been to a university I have a professional interest in propaganda that has been worked out on the job [yeah] and could be tempted to use it for someone's agenda if the remuneration was such that after three years of doing it my family would never have to work again [everyone has a price, that is mine].

sheldrake
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Re: Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:02 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:32 pm
One of the things I've learned over the past 8 years (during which I transitioned from low-level science fanboi to PhD) is just how messy scientific knowledge actually is. Cummings seems to have the level of science enthusiasm of an intelligent Skeptics in the Pub participant, which is clearly to be preferred over the level of science enthusiasm of a supporter of creationism or homeopathy, but doesn't constitute actual profound understanding.

(Cummings is clearly about more than science, but I suspect that this is one aspect of the reasoning behind the "bring on the geeks" idea.)
I half-suspect he is modelling himself on one or more of west-coast tech founders like Musk, Jobs or Bezos but without their entrepreneurial ability.

He managed to help Gove get some contentious education changes through the system, and his Brexit strategies worked, but I'm not sure if he really understands what happens in the type of tech companies he seem to admire and how they operate differently in different stages of growth.

I also find his constant derogatory references to Oxbridge humanities graduates odd. He himself is one.

plodder
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Re: Misfits

Post by plodder » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:08 am

what’s odd about an angry, arrogant nerd with no social skills and a massive superiority/inferiority complex? Surely we’ve all been seen one of them?

sheldrake
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Re: Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:47 pm

I still think the reason you hate Cummings so much as that you recognise him as your evil twin.

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Woodchopper
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Re: Misfits

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:20 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:24 pm
Dominic Cummings wants to a policy team of some kind with mathematicians, software engineers, project managers and 'weirdos and misfits'. The remit seems to be 'change the way the British state makes decisions'.

His job ad is here https://dominiccummings.com/2020/01/02/ ... d-weirdos/

What are the problems you forsee, and which of you thinks you could do this, and stop it going wrong?
It looks like an advert for special advisers (or SpAds). They are usually political appointees who have the right contacts and are on their way to better things. As such, this recruitment by blog is probably a much more transparent and open process than previously existed.

Nothing wrong with putting together a bunch of bright misfits in order to encourage creative thinking. The problem will be implementing any ideas they come up with. It takes real management skill to come in and understand how an organization actually operates and then achieve meaningful change. Whether Cummings and Johnson have those skills remains to be seen.

raven
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Re: Misfits

Post by raven » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:58 am

Well. Policy might fit reality better if it was created with input from a wider range of people.

Take tax credits, for instance. The people who qualified for them were often paid weekly, or had variable wages because of things like overtime. This caused problems with over/under payments, especially as tax credits were weirdly calculated on your previous year's income. Kinda like the way you might claim back mileage for a company car, something the better off can afford to leave to sort out at the end of the tax year.

Which, no doubt, would've worked out fine for tax credits if everyone claiming them was on a monthly salary with some savings to rely on to cover gaps/repayments. Not so appropriate for an essential bit of extra income working families living week to week on crap wages relied on to feed their kids, though. I remain convinced that whoever set tax credits up to be paid that way (Gordon Brown? some civil servant? idk) had very little idea how the other half lived.

See also Universal Credit, six weeks wait for, problems handling months with 5 weekly paydays in them, etc etc.

Citizens assemblies are probably what you want to fix that sort of malarky, though. Sadly, I don't think the weirdos & misfits Cummings is looking for would help bridge that sort of knowledge gap. He seems to be after boffins and mavericks who can find that hi-tech/AI solution to all our woes.

Not sure there is one myself.

sheldrake
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Re: Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:45 am

I have a suspicion there's going to be a lot more D3.js visualisations and brainstorming seminars than there are people patiently upgrading Inland Revenue and DWP systems.

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jimbob
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Re: Misfits

Post by jimbob » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:45 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:02 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:32 pm
One of the things I've learned over the past 8 years (during which I transitioned from low-level science fanboi to PhD) is just how messy scientific knowledge actually is. Cummings seems to have the level of science enthusiasm of an intelligent Skeptics in the Pub participant, which is clearly to be preferred over the level of science enthusiasm of a supporter of creationism or homeopathy, but doesn't constitute actual profound understanding.

(Cummings is clearly about more than science, but I suspect that this is one aspect of the reasoning behind the "bring on the geeks" idea.)
I half-suspect he is modelling himself on one or more of west-coast tech founders like Musk, Jobs or Bezos but without their entrepreneurial ability.

He managed to help Gove get some contentious education changes through the system, and his Brexit strategies worked, but I'm not sure if he really understands what happens in the type of tech companies he seem to admire and how they operate differently in different stages of growth.

I also find his constant derogatory references to Oxbridge humanities graduates odd. He himself is one.
Yes.

The advert looked like a cargo cult of some of the stranger and less-pleasant Silicon Valley ideas, crossed with Ayn Rand
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

sheldrake
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Re: Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:21 pm

In what sense are the ideas 'less pleasant' ?

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Misfits

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:15 pm

raven wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:58 am
Well. Policy might fit reality better if it was created with input from a wider range of people.

Take tax credits, for instance. The people who qualified for them were often paid weekly, or had variable wages because of things like overtime. This caused problems with over/under payments, especially as tax credits were weirdly calculated on your previous year's income. Kinda like the way you might claim back mileage for a company car, something the better off can afford to leave to sort out at the end of the tax year.

Which, no doubt, would've worked out fine for tax credits if everyone claiming them was on a monthly salary with some savings to rely on to cover gaps/repayments. Not so appropriate for an essential bit of extra income working families living week to week on crap wages relied on to feed their kids, though. I remain convinced that whoever set tax credits up to be paid that way (Gordon Brown? some civil servant? idk) had very little idea how the other half lived.

See also Universal Credit, six weeks wait for, problems handling months with 5 weekly paydays in them, etc etc.

Citizens assemblies are probably what you want to fix that sort of malarky, though. Sadly, I don't think the weirdos & misfits Cummings is looking for would help bridge that sort of knowledge gap. He seems to be after boffins and mavericks who can find that hi-tech/AI solution to all our woes.

Not sure there is one myself.
These are good points. However, at least with Universal Credit those "problems" are 100% intentional features of the system, not accidents. The sharp rise in homelessness that accompanied the UC rollout is just Tory policy functioning as intended.

I'd be surprised if they care much about tax credits for low-income people either, as they don't seem to care about people on low incomes in general.

No tech or clever lateral thinking is needed to solve the major problems most people would identify with the status quo, because loads of other countries already manage to find solutions.
THINK BIG AND UPEND THE SYSTEM

#ShowYourStripes

cvb
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Re: Misfits

Post by cvb » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:21 pm


sheldrake
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Re: Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:01 pm

cvb wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:21 pm
Not allowed to just hire wierdos
The Guardian article is about rules for hiring civil servants. He is allowed to hire SPADs

raven
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Re: Misfits

Post by raven » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:00 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:15 pm

These are good points. However, at least with Universal Credit those "problems" are 100% intentional features of the system, not accidents. The sharp rise in homelessness that accompanied the UC rollout is just Tory policy functioning as intended.
I generally give even people I disagree vehemently with the benefit of doubt. Hence I don't think that most Tories actually set out to leave children reliant on food banks to eat for six weeks, it's just that in their world everybody has enough savings/the ability to go overdrawn/relatives who can help out, and they don't understand that for many people on UC none of those options exist.

Ignorant rather than malicious, in other words.

Some of them are malicious, yes. But there's bad apples in every barrel.

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Gfamily
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Re: Misfits

Post by Gfamily » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:32 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:01 pm
cvb wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:21 pm
Not allowed to just hire wierdos
The Guardian article is about rules for hiring civil servants. He is allowed to hire SPADs
No he can't.
SPADs are civil servants.
Ministers can hire SPADs. SPADs can't hire SPADs
https://www.webcitation.org/5qfgYobKC
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
Meta? I'd say so!

sheldrake
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Re: Misfits

Post by sheldrake » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:00 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:32 pm
sheldrake wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:01 pm
cvb wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:21 pm
Not allowed to just hire wierdos
The Guardian article is about rules for hiring civil servants. He is allowed to hire SPADs
No he can't.
SPADs are civil servants.
Ministers can hire SPADs. SPADs can't hire SPADs
https://www.webcitation.org/5qfgYobKC
do you think he might be deeply involved in the process of advising the PM on who to hire and how to hire them, GFamily ?

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Stephanie
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Re: Misfits

Post by Stephanie » Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:49 pm

just bumping this for the lols
"I got a flu virus named after me 'cause I kissed a bat on a dare."

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Grumble
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Re: Misfits

Post by Grumble » Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:56 am

Misshapes, mistakes, misfits
Raised on a diet of broken biscuits
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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