The transcript of Donald Trump’s discussion with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull obtained by the Washington Post reveals many things, but the most significant may be that Trump in his private negotiations is every bit as mentally limited as he appears to be in public. At issue in the conversation is a deal to settle 1,250 refugees who have been detained by Australia in the United States. I did not pay any attention to the details of this agreement before reading the transcript. By the time I was halfway through it, my brain could not stop screaming at Trump for his failure to understand what Turnbull was telling him.
On land, countershading is a common trick among animals that need to hide from predators, like deer, antelope, and wild horses. But once prey animals get big enough, their bulk provides them with enough defense—that’s why rhinos and elephants are just uniformly gray. Borealopelta bucks that trend. It’s rhino-sized, and much bigger than any countershaded land animal around today. “The fact that this massive armored dinosaur with these huge spines still had countershading tells us that it was a common meal for the predators of the time,” says Brown. Such predators might have included Acrocanthosaurus, as long as Tyrannosaurus but more lightly built.
Now, the companies (and CEOS) involved in this generally talk about how they’re going to turn things around, how cutting their own research will put things on a better footing, how doing external deals will more than make up for it, and so on. But it’s getting increasingly hard to believe that. We are heading, at speed, for a world in which fewer and fewer useful medicines are discovered, while more and more people want them.
Tolerance is not a moral absolute; it is a peace treaty. Tolerance is a social norm because it allows different people to live side-by-side without being at each other’s throats. It means that we accept that people may be different from us, in their customs, in their behavior, in their dress, in their sex lives, and that if this doesn’t directly affect our lives, it is none of our business. But the model of a peace treaty differs from the model of a moral precept in one simple way: the protection of a peace treaty only extends to those willing to abide by its terms. It is an agreement to live in peace, not an agreement to be peaceful no matter the conduct of others. A peace treaty is not a suicide pact.
Before batteries and household electricity were used to power clocks, most clocks had to be wound by hand to keep operating. Eight-day clocks were designed so they only had to be wound every eighth day and the movement only turned in a clockwise direction. Therefore, someone with an appearance objectionable enough to stop the clock and send the movement spinning in the wrong and opposite direction would be ugly indeed.
All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. It’s true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people’s emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones. It’s a skillset that I did not start out with, and have had to learn through years upon years of grueling work. (And I should add that I’m very much an introvert; if you had asked me twenty years ago if I were suited to dealing with complex interpersonal issues day-to-day, I would have looked at you like you were mad.) But I learned it because it’s the heart of the job, and because it turns out that this is where the most extraordinary challenges and worthwhile results happen.