Gravity

Gravity

Welcome to a semi-stream-of-consciousness type post wherein you get to see just a little bit of what goes on in my brain when I’m not forced to focus on something mundane. No, I’m not a physicist and I don’t pretend to be. I doubt I could ever hack the math to be one but I find the field interesting and spend an inordinate amount of time reading up on it because I’m weird like that.

Okay, this is not a review of the film because I’ve not seen it and have no plans to do so. No, this is my somewhat errant and wandering thoughts on gravity itself — the force that both binds and repels everything in our universe.


Newtonian gravity: still a better love story than Twilight

Newton, probably the greatest genius that humanity has ever known, was the first to accurately describe the effects of gravity and to deduce that they were caused by mass. The greater mass an object has, the greater its gravitational pull. Also, gravity is actually incredibly weak — two objects are attracted to each other by a product of their mass but by the attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them or F = G(m1 * m2)/r². Einstein later proved that gravity is an attribute of curved space-time which we all know from the whole “put a bowling ball on a mattress — the ball is a big-ass object and the mattress is space-time” thing.


Earth is the bowling ball, btw.

If you never did that, then you had a crappy childhood.

Gravity is also the force that hasn’t yet been unified with the other forces — electo-magnetisim, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear. It’s something that physicist have been having fits over for a while now since quantum theory can handle the other three but gravity seems to throw a spanner in the works. Gravity also impacts time. The closer something is to a heavy gravity field or the deeper in a gravity well an object is, the slower time moves for it.


The secret to immortality? Live on a planet orbiting stupidly close to the event horizon of a black hole.

It’s a fun thing to think about if you’re as whacked in the head as I am.

But what, precisely, is gravity? Yes, it’s a force. Yes, it bends things in space-time. Yes, it has to do with mass and it can screw up time from a local perspective (go watch Interstellar to see what I mean). But what the devil is it? And why is it probably the first force discovered and described but the last to be unified with the rest of the lot (sorry — I’m slipping into British mannerisms because it’s late and I just finished watching The Imitation Game which is awesome and you should go watch it right now).

I’m beginning to suspect that gravity is playing on a much larger field than our universe and that it is not a native force here. It’s more like an invading force that stems from somewhere else. Electro-magnetisim and the nuclear forces are very much natives to our universe. But gravity is the guy from Corsica who comes around, invades places, and makes everyone under his command drive on the right side of the road. Gravity doesn’t just impact time: it’s the cause of it. Without it, we would live in a flat and static universe. Actually, scratch that, we’d live in a flat, static, and unimaginably hot universe and we probably did (we being the tiny quarks that compose everything, including our bodies and the electrical impulses firing between and among our neurons). Then comes gravity and all of a sudden: BAM! Since matter wasn’t uniformly distributed, it had something to screw around with. Clumps formed and attracted more matter to the bigger clumps and crap began spinning and the next thing you know, a few hundred million years go by and we have galaxies and stars and stuff. Gravity also caused space to expand faster than light (the inflationary period which may very well still be on-going and yes, space can go faster than light without violating any laws of physics).


This is your universe without gravity invading it. The other is your universe with gravity being dumb and invading Russia in winter. Any questions?

But gravity didn’t arise here. It’s a force coming from somewhere else in the multi-verse or mega-sphere or whatever it’s called these days. We can detect its influence on our universe but I don’t think we can place it with the three other forces because it’s not just non-local; it’s completely foreign. It’s like it’s part of the bulk that our brane/universe rests on. Maybe like a kind of gel — like the kind you find in an ice pack. Where there’s a lot of matter, it presses down on the gel which, again, thanks to Newton we know will cause the gel to be pushed and bunch up elsewhere.


Crap like this is probably why G shouldn’t be allowed to read anything by Michio Kaku.

And yes. This is the kind of stuff I think about when I’m left to my own. It’s either this or whether or not I could dig deep enough to find something fissionable in my yard and I think that the world would prefer me not to develop my own backyard Manhattan Project.

By the way, you’re welcome for that.

— G.K.

Techies And Writers And Herds of Cats

Techies And Writers And Herds of Cats

One of my daily reads is Sarah Hoyt’s blog and recently I’ve been going through some of her older entries (I’m looking for a post where she was talking about the review submission process…don’t ask) and I stumbled over several mentions of how getting us writer-ly types to organize and do anything in a uniform fashion is kind of like herding cats. Especially those of us of what she calls the Odd bent (and what I call the “awesomesauce” bent because, yay, more fellow NTs!) I’ve noticed this myself — especially back when I was submitting to agents and traditional publishers before I realized that was a chump’s game and decided to go indie. Each agent or agent house and each publisher has their own guidelines for receiving query letters and manuscripts and none of them are the same.

Considering the uniformity of the end product (mass-market paperbacks have very specific cover and print-set specifications) and the general consistency of editing software and screen-readers, you’d think that there would be some consistency. But you’d be wrong.

The only other area where I’ve encountered such a dizzying array of sheer anarchy is…the tech world. I still keep a foot in that realm (because it’s fun) and anyone who’s actually delved into code very far knows what I mean when I say that reading someone’s code can tell you everything you need to know about them. If it’s not human-readable, you know that they’re using a graphical interface to drag’n’drop elements into place and that they don’t actually know what they’re doing. They might have a cursory understanding but they don’t grasp the fundamentals and the principles. Or, they’re not a coder (and they’re not pretending to be — I had this happen a lot in my professional life) and you get the fun job of digging through a single-line (that is actually several thousand lines) of nested HTML menu items to find the one that isn’t closed properly so you can make the document strict XML compliant.

If the code has function names that are the same as variables, you know you’re deal with someone who has some experience but is still new to the game. Their comments and documentation will tend to be hit-or-miss but at least it will exist. If the code has function names that are purposeful and unique, you know that the commentary and documentation will be fairly good (or they will have outsourced it to someone who will be better at it, you hope) or it will be non-existent. If the function names are vindictive and the documentation has you going in circles, you know that you’re probably better off removing everything and rebuilding from scratch because someone high up pissed this person off and you’re dealing with a BOFH type who has decided to extract a pound (or ton) of flesh. In this case, there’s only one thing to do:

The issue is, some techies are going to be die-hard Perl scripters and everything is going to be in that. Others will prefer Python. Some never moved past C++. You’ve got your K-shell users, C-shell users, Z-shell folks, and then a quick shout-out to my peeps out there in Bourne-Again land (BASH FOREVAH!). There’s the Xwindows folks who are all about some KDE while others are hung up with their Gnomes and the rest of us are wondering why in Torvalds’ name you’re running Xwindows on a server — it’s not secure. People will cling to their text-editors and bitter fights will break out over vi versus emacs versus pico versus nano at which point G.K. boots to Windows (hey, if you’re going to run a desktop, run a freaking desktop) and opens up Scrivener. PHP devs will say you can do everything with PHP and seasoned HTML coders will snort and think about all the times they had to implement HTML/CSS/JS fixes to deal with a PHPlib error. SQL DBAs will laugh at all of them while they work on their next round of fiendishly difficult certifications.

As you can see, though…techies and writers — none of us can agree on how things should be. Oh, we all have our opinions on how they should be. Techies will even form consortiums, conventions, conglomerations, conferences, and write out long RFCs about How Things Should Be. Enough others will agree and we’ll wind up with this situation:

Which, come to think of it, is probably what happened in the publishing world.

Now, do I think that writers are going to eventually get together and decide on a uniform submission process? Hell no! Do I think publishers will eventually decide on one? Nope. What will probably keep happening is what’s been happening. It’s just interesting to see that two groups of people the average Joe Public considers diametric opposites (writers and techies) are actually very much alike.

And it’s cool to be both of them at once, yo.

— G.K.

Friday Review: A Demon-Haunted World

Friday Review: A Demon-Haunted World

If you get very deep into sci-fi — especially if you’re an INTJ — eventually you’re going to start getting that itchy-brain sensation where your mind starts going a million miles an hour, your neurons kick into overdrive, you start trying to grasp concepts you’ve got little background for understanding until you finally break down and say “is this really possible or is it a load of complete and utter horseshit?” Your intuition (N) will kick in and tell you most of the time but sometimes your thinking (T) will say “uh, wait, sometimes the counter-intuitive is actually true” and when that particular mind-screw happens the phenomenon of dog-chasing-its-own-tail-ad-infinitum-ad-absurdum really goes into overdrive and…well…if you’re anything like me, you prove that it is possible to go two weeks without sleeping and five days without eating (you live on the staples of your best friends C8H10N4O2 and C10H14N2) until you get enough of a grounding in the subject to determine that yes, it is possible or no, it’s not. Then you crash like Windows 3.1 encountering the Internet.

However, not everyone has the finely-tuned, well-used BS detector that comes built-in to the NT’s brain. Which is why God/Buddha/Fate/the Universe/the Flying Spaghetti Monster/Vectron/Zarqon/*insert whatever here* sent us Carl Sagan who wrote A Demon-Haunted World. This book is great at helping those who lack the BS-detector that comes standard among NTs/Rationals/Analysts to avoid being taken in by the latest hoax du jour or journalistic misunderstanding of a scientist’s finding (of which there are many).

This book is also great for us INTJs and other NTs/Rationals/Analysts because it can help us to understand why so many people get taken in by fads, hoaxes, things that are too-good-to-be-true, tricksters, half-truths, or other things of that nature (crop circles, UFO stories, alien abductions, the Satanic cult scare of the 1980s). And, believe me, if there’s one area where we fail epically, it’s in understanding why other people don’t get what we get so quickly and easily. I mean, for us, it’s normal to be able to figure out that there was no way that the crop circles were anything other than man-made, that Nessy was a trick of photography, that Bigfoot is a myth, that the pyramids really were an Egyptian engineering feat (and Stonehenge was the same for the Britons), that there was a natural explanation for the “canals” on Mars, etc, etc, etc. We’re hard-wired to be skeptics. Having better-than-average recall is an inborn ability for us. Learning new things is just what we do. But for the other 99% of the world, reality is totally different and we have a hard time getting that. We have a hard time walking in their shoes and this book can help us see things from their point of view.

    

Five rainbow-farting zebricorns. Everyone needs this book in their library and should read it at least once a year. If they did, the world would be a much better, more rational place.

— G.K.

Dear Tor: I’m an evil unicorn, not a robot!

Dear Tor: I'm an evil unicorn, not a robot!

Dear Tor,

I am an evil unicorn, not a bot. Love and kisses! G.K. Masterson

I mean, I am an INTJ which, I’ve been told, means I have a sometimes robotic personality but I promise you, I’m a real person.

My mother swears I was actually born in the usual way and not hatched, dropped off by wandering aliens, beamed down as part of a reconnaissance mission, or delivered by a very confused parcel servicebeing operating out of the Corona Borealis supercluster who just took a wrong turn at the Sloan Great Wall. And, given that my niece looks exactly like me, I’m inclined to believe that my mother is telling the truth so I’m definitely human.

I know, I’m a bit disappointed, too, Tor, but we have to deal with reality as it is, not as we which it could be.

Now, I’ve been a pretty avid reader since I was about two and a half years old. And, I’m definitely a geek as these photos will attest.

[wppg_photo_gallery id=”1″]

As you can see, I have quite a few Tor books in my library. Over the years, I’ve massed a sizable collection of Tor books that is worth around about $3000. On average, I purchased about $50 worth of Tor books a month on my Kindle. So, while I’m not going to put much of a dent in Tor’s bottom line by myself, I’ll bet the authors whose books I bought will feel it and they might decide to move to a publisher who doesn’t call their customers neonazis and bots. And, ultimately, if Tor doesn’t have books to publish, they have a problem, don’t they?

— G.K.

Women in Science: Doing Some Research

Women in Science: Doing Some Research

Last week I made the statement that I think that most of the people who choose to go into science are of the Rational (Myers-Briggs NT) temperament. I said that based on population studies of temperament and a gut feeling based on just about every STEM person I’ve known being an NT in temperament (with the odd ST here and there). I believe that, if that is correct, then that explains the lack of women in science much better and more clearly than believing in a sexist conspiracy theory.

 

However, right now, there doesn’t seem to be much hard data to support that statement. So…

 

 

I guess I’m going to have to collect the data myself. So, I’ve been hitting up MILO all weekend when I wasn’t working on my NaNoWriMo novel and have dug up some fairly good articles. I’m going to try to contact some of the sites that have MBTI-type quizzes on their sites and ask about their fees for buying one. Then I’m going to set it up here and invite people in the science world to take it and to note down what their job is. Once I have a fairly large data set on that, I’ll invite non-science people to take it and note down their jobs to see if there is any correlation between career choice and temperament. I have a fairly strong feeling that the two spheres giving SJWs headaches — #ShirtStorm and #GamerGate — will have an over-representation of men and women of an NT/Rational temperament compared to what you would find in the population at large.

 

 

Okay, that’s not really science. It’s data collection and statistics. I will be publishing the raw data once this is done so that if there is anything I missed (or mucked up), it can be caught. And, that’s close enough to science for Rose Eveleth and her ilk so (see how “doxing” came to mean “criticized” for her and her lot), in deference to their love of using words they shouldn’t use, I’m calling this shit “science.”

 

— G.K.

Women in Science: Can We Make Science and Math Non-NT Friendly?

Women in Science: Can We Make Science and Math Non-NT Friendly?

I honestly don’t think anyone in their right minds is asking this question. However, when we live in a world where an alleged science and tech writer for a major publication gets more caught up in a guy’s shirt than a major historic event, one can’t assume that they’re dealing with a sane populace. And, given how deeply SJWs have penetrated print and film, it’s probably safer to just assume arguendo that you’re dealing with complete morons who barely register as sapient, let alone sane, from the beginning.

So, can the subjects of math and science be changed to make them more readily graspable by non-NT minds? Short answer: no. Longer answer: sure. Just as soon as theorycrafting various sci-fi shows/movies becomes an Olympic event.


And the Golden Pikachu goes to Sam for winning the “Kirk vs Picard” debate

Science and math are abstract disciplines. Science, at least, has some concrete applications and studies that people without the NT temperament can grasp. People who are Sensors and Thinkers (XSTP, XSTJ) can more easily get into those fields. There are also fields were feelings are important (mostly in medicine) so NFs and XSFXs can participate there. Still, on average, even in these less abstract fields, non-NTs are going to have a harder time grasping the fundamental structures and patterns because their minds aren’t geared to it naturally the way that an NT mind will generally be. Science is a bit more accessible because it has many concrete and inductive aspects, unlike math.

For math — advanced and theoretical math — anyone without a “Thinking” in their temperament can pretty much just not bother. XSTXs can probably hack it if they really are interested but XSFXs and NFs probably won’t want to have much to do with abstract and theoretical mathematics. They might be happy in applied mathematics like finance, banking, accounting, and the like but they are probably not going to be found amongst the Nobel Prize crowd or solving the ultimate core model problem in set theory. Math is completely deductive, artificial, and abstract. Math, unlike science, cannot be “observed in nature.” You’re not going to see two numbers mating and be able to figure out what their product would be.

Or rather, if you do see such a thing, you are probably under the influence of some really fun stuff and you might want to check into a psychiatric hospital just to be safe.


I’m going to factor your brains out, baby.

The big problem comes in with math being applied in science. See, math can produce models that scientists can use to demonstrate, predict, or disprove hypotheses. Math is also a way of measuring distances, times, and references precisely. That’s why to advance high in science, you generally need to understand the mathematical statements that prove (or disprove) the theorems. Most anyone who paid attention to the teacher (instead of what the teacher was wearing — Chris Plante, I’m looking at you and Ms. Eveleth over there) in science knows that Newton’s first Law of Motion can be summarized as “an object in motion tends to stay in motion while an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless an external force acts on them.” That’s good enough if you’re just wanting to understand what the law is and how it might apply to simple real-world things (like how to get water to flow through an irrigation ditch) but if you’re going to try to figure out how to predict the path of an asteroid to see whether or not it’s going to hit Earth, you need to really know Newton’s law which is properly stated as:

ΣF = 0 ⇔ dv⁄dt = 0

Plugging that in with the data you have on positioning, spin, velocity, etc is part of how an objects’ path through space might be known. There probably are cleaner ways to figure it out but they’ll involve math that I can’t find let alone get the HTML code for, so we’re just going to stick with something simple.

Now, if you have a mind/temperament that doesn’t like to deal with abstractions easily and that doesn’t play well with being creative, you’re going to have a bad time trying to be a scientist. It’d be like sticking someone like me (an INTJ) into a counseling office and expecting us to be able to help some overwrought couple make an emotional connection.

In other words, it’s a bad idea all around.

And, while science and math are great — they’re what power the world right now — being good at them is not the only way to be smart. Sure, they’re probably the best way to be smart and do things that will have centuries’ of significance where your name will be remembered by generations untold, but they’re not the only way to be smart. There are ways for NFs (diplomats) to shine — just look at Mother Teresa or Tom Hiddleston. There are ways for SJs to shine — many American presidents have been SJs, after all. Even SPs have their place — most actors and artists are SPs. And these temperaments are not unimportant. They’re necessary. As much as it might seem that the world would be a great place with only NTs, it’d actually get a bit boring and argumentative. Sure, there probably wouldn’t be any wars because NTs are great at finding ways to get what they want even if the other side doesn’t want to cooperate. But, arguing would practically be a spectator sport. There’s also the added minus of the human population undergoing a massive contraction since INTJs and INTPs rarely bother with social interaction beyond our vague (and usually accidental) plans for world domination — which would make getting married and having kids a bit tricky — and the ENTJs and ENTPs would be too busy building their own empires and engaging in spirited debate. Maybe a few of us might engage in sexual intercourse (probably by accident or under the influence of alcohol and hormones) but probably not enough to keep the population booming.

On top of that, our kids would be miserable unless they were Thinkers because NTs are pretty crap at the whole “emotional connection and support” aspect of parenting (we’re also crap at it from the “being the kid” aspect — just ask my mother).

So, you’d have a world with loads of female scientists, yeah, and probably with all kinds of neat gadgets, interstellar flight, off-world colonies, etc…but it wouldn’t have things like Christmas, random barbeques, bars with pool tables, all kinds of different music, romantic comedies, or (and this is probably of supreme importance to Chris Plante and Rose Eveleth) fashion shows with models wearing a plastic Harley-Davidson motorbike front-end for a shirt (yeah, fellow NTs, I’m stumped on why such a thing exists outside of someone really wanting to be a motorcycle for Halloween).


That this actually exists is a bit frightening

Though, on the plus side: in a purely NT world, there would be no SJWs. So, maybe…hmph. I’ll schedule that for next Saturday’s Global Domination Summit meeting with my minions.

— G.K.

Women In Science: Can We Create More Female NTs?

Women In Science: Can We Create More Female NTs?

Ethically and legally? Probably not. But, if we’re looking at just “is this within the realm of probability with current technology” then the answer is “yes, maybe.” Understand, of course, that it’s not going to be something we could start working on tomorrow and that the suggestions on what to do range from mildly terrifying to downright scary. However, if your end goal is more women in science and you don’t care much about the means used to achieve that goal (which probably makes you part of the crowd clutching their pearls and fainting over a shirt), then consider this ground zero for your completely terrible campaign.


Even the Master is horrified by your callousness

The first thing we’ll need to do is figure out what determines and creates the different temperaments. There’s a lot of debate over this. Temperament does seem to be extant from birth and observable in infancy (though, again, that’s somewhat debatable). It’s unknown if temperament is genetic, if it’s encoded into a specific gene or series of genes, if it’s inherited but not genetic, if it’s a result of chemical washes in utero during fetal brain development, or if it’s just the result of something spinning the Wheel o’ Temperament and bam — you get whatever the arrow’s pointing to when you exit the birth canal. It could also be influenced by various environmental and nurturing factors in infancy. So, the first step is to:

  1. Collect several hundred thousand pregnant women of various races, age ranges, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic levels, and marital statuses. Note down who is who and then assign each one a random testing number so that a proper double-blind study can be done.
  2. Monitor maternal food and liquid intake and output, noting the times and frequency of hunger, elimination, and strange cravings. Also monitor maternal emotional levels and stress levels.
  3. Figure out a way to determine the exact hormonal levels being washed over the fetus in utero at each stage of pregnancy and note those down.
  4. If the mother chooses to breastfeed, continue to observe intake-output of maternal nutrients until the child is weaned.
  5. Test each child to determine temperament/personality type at an appropriate age (usually no earlier than 17).

That concludes the first part of this process. Once you’ve determined which children are NTs, go back over the data gathered earlier and try to tease out the commonalities in maternal (and paternal) traits. Did the mothers all experience similar hormonal washes during their pregnancies? Did they tend to eat or crave certain foods as a class? Note down all commonalities among the parents and prepare to proceed to the next step.

  1. Collect males and females with traits most likely to create an NT child (if there are any).
  2. Impregnate the females with sperm carrying only the X chromosome.
  3. Monitor each pregnancy to ensure that the proper foods, drinks, and in utero hormonal washes occur, terminating any that seem likely to be an non-NT temperament.
  4. Ensure that the parents use only child-rearing methods that were found in homes with INTJ children from phase one.

There, you should have a new generation of pure NT females now. Provided, of course, that temperament is determined this simply. If you repeat these steps over the course of enough generations, you might be able to extinguish all of the non-NT temperaments in the human race, leaving a world only of Rationals. Of course, at future steps, you will need to breed some male children (after all, it’s hard to reproduce sexually when there’s only one sex and even if you can, that has its own problems) but you should be able to figure out how to create male NT children and how to ensure that their children will be NTs.

Also, added “bonus:” you should be able to use the data from phase one to determine the commonalities for the other three temperaments so if you decided that one of them needed a greater population, you could selectively breed them.


And if we add more of this, we’ll get a batch of nice ESFPs…

Of course, if you actually try to do this, you’re probably a terrible person. You’re completely eliminating choice and freedom in mating and reproduction for both men and women but you will get more female scientists. If that is your end goal and you don’t care how ethically it’s achieved, then you’ll be okay with placing restrictions on humans having sex with partners of their own choice at times of their own choosing. You’ll get what you want but only at the price of virtually enslaving millions of women and making reproductive decisions on their behalf.

Which probably makes you a feminist and a social justice warrior but almost absolutely precludes you being a Rational.

— G.K.

Women In Science Part III: Can We Force More Women To Become NTs?

Women In Science Part III: Can We Force More Women To Become NTs?

Short answer: no, probably not. Longer answer: are you out of your cotton-pickin’ mind? I have heard some crazy questions in my time but this one…this one takes the cookie, the cake, and gets a special ticket for the short bus. Honestly, I know that it’s impolite to say that a question is stupid but I’m going to have to agree with DI Alec Hardy here and say:

Temperament does change over the course of a life. But, not drastically (absent drastic events) for most people. Most of the time, it’s pretty clear if you’re an I or an E (introvert/extrovert) by the time you start school. By the time you hit middle school, it’s usually clear if you’re an NT, NF, SP, or SJ (though there are arguments that parents can detect temperament in their children by the age of one year). By the time you’re in college, you have the personality type you’ll carry the rest of your life. Sure, you might be able to superficially act like a different type. You’ll be able to work on developing your intuition or your sensing, your thinking or your feeling. But using a cognitive function that is not your default setting will always require a bit of effort on your part. It’s not going to “come naturally” to you no matter how hard you try.

I’m an NT (INTJ). I can take all of the public speaking courses on offer and none of them are going to magically make me draw energy from hanging out with a large crowd of people. I can read all of the touchy-feely frou-frou crap out there and none of it is going to magically make me a feelings-oriented person. I can know how to use my five senses but all of the sensing tutorials on Earth aren’t going to get me to use S instead of N as my primary information-gathering resource. I have always gotten tired hanging out around a lot of people (with a handful of exceptions for relatives). I have always been a person who lives inside her head and is happy there. I have always been interested in seeing the “big picture” of things. I have always been curious, loved to learn things, a voracious reader, and unafraid of questioning anything (even when it got me in trouble. Younger INTJs with non-NT parents are cautioned not to stake a Devil’s Advocate position on the existence of God with your more traditional parents unless you want them to punish you by not letting you read encyclopedias).

I’m pretty sure I must have driven my mother crazy as I grew up. My mother is an ESFJ which is about as opposite INTJ as you can get. Even an ESFP would have been closer because the “P” would have meant she would have been more curious and open than the “J” which means being a bit more structural and wanting things done in a certain (preferably her) way. As an adult, I can deal with my mother better now than I could when I was a kid and, over time, she’s just learned to put up with me. Of course, knowing that she is ESFJ has made it a lot easier for me to figure out how to communicate with her and what things she assigns priority to. However, when I was growing up, my mother wanted to mold me into an ESFJ because, to her, that was the “best” way to be and I wanted to turn her into an INTJ because, to me, that was the “best” way to be. My (I’m guessing here) ISTP father often had to get between us to stop our fights from escalating into the verbal equivalent of nuclear war (at least on my end — my sarcasm was practically inborn).

See, to my mother, my introversion meant that I was “shy” and she kept telling me that “if I would just be more friendly” or “act better” then I would “have a lot of friends” because, to her, having a lot of friends and being well-thought of was important. I, on the other hand, didn’t want “a lot of friends.”* I wanted particular kinds of friends who I could talk to about the weird things I was interested in and who would read books with me. My mother wanted me to be more affable, approachable, warm, and thoughtful when it came to dealing with people whereas I wanted her to be more objective and open-minded and less likely to use “guilt by association” judging my friends (though, to be fair, she was right more often than not when I was a teenager). My mother (and my father) thought that “because I said so” or “because that’s the way it is” were acceptable conversation enders whereas I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what they thought about big events and the big picture (space exploration, could we build colonies on the moon, time travel, would either of them ever sign up to get on an interstellar space ship, what would have happened if the South won the Civil War, should there be a Federation-style global government…) whereas they were both more practical-minded and probably felt that my questions and obsessions were hare-brained and frivolous since none of them could make money, provide security, etc. My mother and I did (and still do, sometimes) a lot of talking past each other because neither one of us had the first clue how the other saw the world or how they thought. Looking back now, there were things my parents could have done to give me the answers I wanted and to stop the fights we had if they had known I was INTJ and what that meant. Also, if I were to be sent back a la Replay, I would have a better idea how to deal with both of them and communicate with them than I did growing up.

Thank God they had my little brother who (again, guessing here) was an ESTP. Otherwise, there might have been a mushroom cloud over our house by the time I’d turned fifteen.

So, I had two non-Rational parents and a non-Rational brother growing up and, despite the pressure, I didn’t magically change temperament. I also grew up in an area (the Deep South — specifically Mississippi) where Rational traits were not desired (not discouraged — just not considered desirable) in a woman (on average). Chances are that I went to school with only a few dozen other Rationals (school population was ~2000) and, despite being constantly around and under peer pressure and social pressure to conform, I stubbornly remained an NT.

Therefore, I doubt that it would be possible to take non-NT girls and somehow change them into Rationals for the purpose of having more women in science. I was unsuccessful in instilling an NT-temperament in my mother. I doubt that my niece (with whom I would have a disproportionate influence due to being an authority figure and “cool”) will be a Rational (she shows a lot of signs of being either an SF or an NF). And, even if there were some way to “force” a temperament change to NT, it probably wouldn’t be ethical or legal since you’d either have to brainwash a child (like Borg assimilation) or you’d have to place someone in severe psychological and emotional distress with development of NT traits being the only way for them to survive.

Now, can we “create” more NT women without violating laws on assault, kidnapping, and torture? Honestly, I’ll have to think about that one for a bit.

— G.K.

*Of course there were points where I wanted to be well-liked and respected. The thing is, I wanted it to be for things I knew or had accomplished, not for things like how I dressed or looked. I wanted to be popular because I wrote a great story or had the coolest science project or something (actually, winning first place in the Science Fair in fifth grade still counts as one of my Top Five Coolest Events from when I was a kid). I wanted to be known for what I had done or learned, not just for status-signaling or something stupid like that.