The Dark Empath

Well, there goes my psychological self-defense. Curse you, pseudoscience! Although this recent taxonomical definition does underline my point that I am not a sociopath.

Recent research has found that individuals who boast dark personality traits, such as narcissism, can still retain high levels of cognitive and affective empathy. The study, recently published in Personality and Individual Differences, identifies these types of people as “dark empaths.”

Empathy can be broken up into three categories: cognitive, which describes the intellectual understanding of someone else’s feelings without sensing them; affective, or feeling someone else’s emotions as your own; or compassionate, a combination of cognitive and emotional empathy.

Individuals are considered dark empaths when they possess cognitive and/or affective empathy as well as characteristics from the “dark triad” — a collective term for three dark personality traits: Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism.

Traditionally, researchers have found that those with darker characteristics are often associated with a lack of empathy.

And while this new data, which the researchers gathered from a group of 1,000 individuals, certainly reinforces that assertion, it also indicates a strong presence for the dark empath group.

“As expected, we found a traditional dark triad group with low scores in empathy (about 13 percent of the sample). We also found a group with lower to average levels across all traits (about 34 percent were ‘typicals’) and a group with low dark traits and high levels of empathy (about 33 percent were empaths),” the study’s authors said.

“However, a fourth group of people, the ‘dark empaths,’ was clearly evident. They had higher scores on both dark traits and empathy (about 20 percent of our sample). Interestingly, this latter group scored higher on both cognitive and affective empathy than the ‘dark triad’ and ‘typical’ groups,” they added.

The team said they were not entirely surprised that the dark empaths scored as high as they did in the cognitive and affective empathy sections.

“This makes sense in a way, as to manipulate others for your own gain — or indeed enjoy the pain of others — you must have at least some capacity to understand them,” they explained.

The researchers also found that the dark empaths were more indirectly aggressive than typicals and empaths.

As it has been said, one is advised to most fear the torturer who sheds tears for the pain of his victims.


Various and sundries

First, if you are an investor in Gab but would like to retroactively de-invest for whatever reason, there is a good chance you can still do so. StartEngine has not charged most credit cards, but the cancel button will not work if it has been more than 48 hours. However, if you contact StartEngine support, it is still possible to manually cancel the investment.

Second, the Production Editor of Castalia House is looking for up to four volunteers to help him produce print and ebook editions more rapidly. His list of requirements are as follows:

Basic requirements:

  • Command line experience in Linux or Mac OS X or a BSD, etc.
  • Experience with DVCS. We use Git.
  • Attention to detail. Much of the work involves correcting curly quotes facing the wrong direction, or italics that accidentally include punctuation, etc.
  • Concern for the way text looks, whether in print or in ebook.

For ebooks:

  • Markdown
  • Basic HTML and CSS

For print:

  • LaTeX (for marking up manuscripts, not writing new commands or environments).
  • Familiarity with basic typesetting concepts is preferred.

To help with tool development:

  • Experience writing LaTeX macros and environments
  • Python
  • Advanced Pandoc tricks (filters, custom writers)
  • Lua
  • Docker
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro (we’d like to customize some preflight profiles)

Please only volunteer if you really like doing this stuff and have at least a few hours every week to devote to it. We have a lot to do, we move fast, and our smooth operation relies heavily upon everyone doing what they do without requiring a great deal of communication or cheerleading.

Third, a member of the Dread Ilk is looking to fill some job openings in Alabama. If you want to send your resume to them, email it to me with JOB-AL in the subject and I will forward it to the correct party.

  • Engineer, Analyst, and Programming Positions in Huntsville, AL (JOB-AL)

Change or fall behind

Snidely Whiplash fails to understand why he’s not employed. Crew, who is not only of the Silicon Valley hiring class, but is the #2 Techstar and a member of the Infogalactic Star Council, is unable to set him straight.

Bob: The companies who try to move don’t succeed. They can’t convince their employees to move with them, and they can’t find the people they need in other locations.

Crew: I think this is not true. What you have in Silicon Valley is enormous numbers of H1Bs, some of whom have been laid off in the latest layoff rounds but they vary greatly in quality and putting together a good team can be very difficult.

Crew: Certainly, where I am we need people but we cannot find them and we are in the heart of Silicon Valley, so we do without and things just take longer to do. And the real problem is finding people who know how to balance short-term business needs (implementing what the customer wants to get their business) with longer-term company needs (doing it in a way that is supportable over the long term and doesn’t paint you into a corner.)

Crew: Despite that I still find time to work on Infogalactic and a couple of open source software projects. The reality is that people don’t go for those who have been laid off in most cases. Personally, I would prefer to employ Americans … but Silicon Valley has driven many of them out …

Snidely: And with pathetic attitudes like that, you’re helping to drive them out.

Jack: You still looking Snidely?

Snidely Whiplash: Sadly, yes, Jack. White, laid off, and over 50. Crew up there won’t hire me, no matter my skills or experience, because he’s an idiot.

I suggest that Snidely’s difficulty has less to do with his skills, his experience, or Crew’s purported idiocy than his personality. I’m not at all surprised to hear that he’s unemployed. He complains that Crew wouldn’t hire him, but I wouldn’t be inclined to hire him either. It’s one thing to not play particularly well with others, it’s another thing altogether to pride yourself on your complete inability to do so; even his self-selected moniker is an indication of misplaced pride. It’s not an accident that someone who elects to call himself “snide” reliably goes out of his way to say unnecessarily negative things about almost everything and everyone.

Snidely, that’s your main challenge. Not anti-American discrimination in tech. The moment I hear that negative, superior tone in a man’s voice, I immediately cross him off the list, whether he’s a programmer, an artist, or a writer. Sure, he may be directing it at something we mutually despise now, but I know perfectly well he’s going to be directing it at a co-worker, at the project, or at me before long. My experience has taught that such individuals never prove to be worth their downside, no matter how talented they are.

I’ll give you an example of that negative communication style right in that same thread.

This is how a normal person expresses his opinion: “Hey, it would be great if you would release audio-only versions of the videos. I would prefer to listen to those.”

That is a helpful, positive way to express an opinion. It’s a good idea too. Why not be sure to release the videos in podcast form or make them otherwise available for audio download? I expect we will do just that.

Now, this is how Snidely communicated the same idea: “One thing I would encourage, as it’s probably a make-or-break for me, is to have just the audio portion. Frankly, you’re not that attractive, and both my money and my bandwidth are limited.”

Same idea, different delivery, and it inspires an entirely different reaction: What the Hell? Fuck that guy! One has to read it twice to even register what the relevant opinion is, so distracting is the negativity.

There are three problems in just two sentences. First, the tone is heavily negative (make-or-break, frankly, not that attractive, limited). Second, he twice tries to make the entire subject about him when it isn’t. Third, he insults my appearance, and even worse, he does it without any need to do so in order to make his case. It’s just egregious. Now, I could not care less what some 50-something man happens to think about my appearance, but that sort of comment is not going to go over at all well with the average individual who is vain enough to be making videos.

So, Snidely, why would you EVER say anything like that? You didn’t need to justify your preference for audio over video, because I was openly asking for everyone’s opinions. And why are you whining and complaining about who Crew hires or doesn’t hire? You not only haven’t given him any reason to consider hiring you other than empty public posturing, you’ve given him excellent cause to not even accept you as a volunteer for any of the high-profile projects he manages. That’s not intelligent. That’s self-sabotage.

Now, I understand that this is a very challenging labor environment. It’s stressful for everyone. Even those with seemingly secure jobs know that they could lose them at any time due to an untimely comment overheard by the wrong person, a corporate acquisition, or a corporate move. One friend of mine, long self-employed, was convinced by his wife to take a great job offer at one of the strongest, most successful Fortune 50 technology companies in the world, in the interest of stability. He was even assigned to a mission-critical project. I would have sworn he had some of the best job security on the planet.

Nine months later, the CEO announced that the corporation was shutting down all its activities in my friend’s state. Since my friend was mission-critical, he was given the opportunity to uproot his family and move across the country to a place they knew no one. He wisely declined. So much for stability and job security.

The point is that in this environment, you have to continually up your game. And whether your weakness is on the skills side, the experience side, or the personality side, you have to shore it up. As I mentioned in last night’s Darkstream, video was never my medium. It still isn’t my preferred one, but I have upped my video game, and I am going to continue to increase it because that is what I have to do if I am going to be at all relevant to the 90 percent of the population that is post-literate.

The times always change. We can either change with them or we can fall behind.

Web designer wanted

A print/publishing company in northeastern Indiana is looking for a web designer to fill a space in our digital media department (web, video, broadcasting etc.). Full-time, on-site, entry-level position. Applicants would need to be proficient with Adobe products, HTML and CSS. Additional knowledge of Java, XML, and Flash etc. would be a definite plus.

If interested, email me your CV with WEB in the subject and I’ll forward it to the interested party.


Two things:

1) If you’re the t-shirt guy, get in touch please. I don’t have your email on this computer.

2) If you’re a good keyboardist with your own studio capable of recording and mixing a pro quality song, including percussion, please get in touch ASAP. I have a election-year project in mind. I already have the singer and it is not me.

Help a sister out

Old school Dread Ilk Wendy is running for office.

Hey everyone,

It may have been a long time since you’ve heard from me but I’m reaching out for help.  Some of you may know me as a military supporter and others may know me as a personal friend.

I’m currently running for treasurer of my county.  I’m the most qualified candidate with a double major in math and economics and I’m taking classes to sit for the CPA exam.  I’m close to completing my course work and it adds to my ability to do this job well for my local community.  I have lived in Rock County for over 20 years and like many of you, I had or have a desire to serve the public in some way.  This is how I’d like to do it, by using my knowledge, skills, and abilities to serve Rock County in the Treasurer’s office.  It is going to be a very tough race for me because of the demographics of the county and the strength of the field I’m running against (there are 5 of us going into the primaries in August).

I’m running an online campaign fundraiser.  If you know me well, you know how difficult it is for me to ask for money, but even if you just share my contributions link on any websites you may own, that will help. My website is here.

Below is the link for an interview I recently had, so you can listen and judge for yourself on whether you personally think I’d make a good treasurer for my county, and also the link to my campaign contribution website.  There is also more information about myself at the home page of my website.

My recent interview. My contribution page.

If you’d like to personally donate, any little bit will help if you can do so.  Because of campaign finance laws, we cannot accept donations from businesses or anonymously, but we will keep your information private and all monies will go towards the cost of yard signs, banners, and campaign literature to hand out as I travel across the county and reach out to over 150,000 residents.

I know this might be coming out of the blue and even if you’re not interested in the campaign piece, I’d love to hear from you and catch up.  I’ve had a very busy couple of years, as you can tell, and I haven’t kept up on a lot of relationships but I’m reaching out to you because I regard you fondly and wish you well.  You’re more than welcome to email back and just reminisce about the old days or if you’d like to call and chat, hit me up and I’ll send my cell # if you don’t have it.  I wish you the best.


A few things

If you’re looking for a job and you’re interested in this one, email me with NC in the subject:

Senior Linux Administrator – RHEL preferred by not required. Central NC. On-site only; no remote option.

Okay, so we’re good on Iron Chamber and Existence reviewers, thank you. However, we still need another PHP volunteer or two for a few weeks on Project Big Fork.

Building a big, beautiful fork

And making VP great. Because we’re all about the JOBS here.

Senior Unix Administrator
7+ years experience with Unix/Linux, including significant AIX experience, PowerHA, PowerVM, AIX, Redhat, VMWare, storage experience a bonus.

Senior Storage Engineer
7+ years of experience managing storage in a large enterprise environment.  EMC experience is highly preferred, but possibly not required.  EMC VMAX, VNX, Isilon, Xtremio.

Email JOBS for the two.

Jobs in Texas

Long time reader, member of the Ilk. The positions are in south Texas.  Here are the details:

SCADA Engineer-72-75K Salary
The right candidate for this position would have SCADA experience in: PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) at automobile-semiconductor or water treatment industry.  We are also seeking not just the level of exposure but years of implementation experience, specifically with Rockwell Automation PLC or Control Logix PLC.  Industrial SCADA control system experience is of great importance as well.

Applications Engineer-60-75K Salary depending on experience.
For this position we are looking highly at the Digi RF products experience: XBee WiFi, Xpress Ethernet Bridge, FIPS 140-2 Crypto module.  We are willing to overlook Digi RF if they have the “networking” experience.  Specifically, we want someone with wireless industrial solution products experience.  We are also looking for experience in troubleshooting and implementation, such as contract work, etc.  This position will travel to sites approximately 30% of the time

If you think you might qualify and you’re interested, shoot me an email with SCADA in the title and I will forward it.