Laurence Krauss accused of sexual harassment

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In summary: I would not do it either but it is not assault.In summary, Lawrence Krauss is being accused of sexual harassment. He has denied the allegations and many others over the years. The story looks like opportunistic litigation.
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  • #2
Well nuts. Another "good guy" who can't keep in in his pants. He should be banned from more than just the couple of campuses that have banned him.
 
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  • #3
That story made me really disappointed, I liked him as a science informer. Krauss, you should be telescoping, not telegroping.
 
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  • #4
Meh, So he got a bit flirty, he didn't rape anyone,
Feynman and Einstein also had such comments made about them.
Are nerds supposed to totally asexual?
 
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  • #5
rootone said:
Meh, So he got a bit flirty, he didn't rape anyone,
That is genuinely disgusting and repulsive.
 
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  • #6
rootone said:
Meh, So he got a bit flirty, he didn't rape anyone,
Did you read the article? Sure sounds like attempted rape. Sexual harassment at min.
 
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  • #7
It would be if he did rape someone, but as far as I know all that happened is that he said some person was wearing an attractive dress.
 
  • #8
rootone said:
It would be if he did rape someone, but as far as I know all that happened is that he said some person was wearing an attractive dress.

What article did you read? The incident is clearly described in the first several paragraphs.
 
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  • #9
I had better get more information, and I am not a Krauss acolyte.
The story does look at first glance like opportunistic litigation though.
 
  • #10
rootone said:
The story does look at first glance like opportunistic litigation though.
Laurence Krauss of course denied the allegations and many others over the years and we believe in innocent until proven guilty, but I am curious because you bring "opportunity". What is the opportunity? What does the woman gain?
 
  • #11
Fame. That is very important to some.
 
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  • #12
rootone said:
Fame. That is very important to some.
I can only speculate, but to be "famous" for being known as the women who got sexually harassed by a relatively unknown scientist (to the general public) doesn't pass the smell test. You go bigger than that. Not to mention the shame and embarrassment one must feel coming out with it. Who wants to be known as someone who got abused?
 
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  • #13
rootone said:
Meh, So he got a bit flirty, he didn't rape anyone, Feynman and Einstein also had such comments made about them. Are nerds supposed to totally asexual?

That was not flirty - it was close to rape:
Suddenly, he lifted her by the arms and pushed her onto the bed beneath him, forcibly kissing her and trying to pull down the crotch of her tights. Hensley said she struggled to push him off. When he pulled out a condom, Hensley said, she got out from under him, said “I have to go,” and rushed out of the room.

He assaulted her - obviously illegal.

Feynman used to do things like not buy women drinks or respond to their overtures for attention - it's detailed in his book - Surely You Are Joking Mr Feynman. All perfectly legitimate, if not what I would call polite, ways to treat people. This was to upset the plan they had of getting men to buy them drinks etc and be nice to them which was the usual rules of the 'game'. He was told by a barman that hardly ever actually works if your goal is to get intimate. It's not sexual harassment - although I would not do it.

In his younger days Einstein had women throwing themselves at him, he did not have to resort to 'tricks'. As he aged Einstein was more forthright - he would invite women over - open the door in his dressing gown and at the appropriate time let it slip off. If they responded - well good - if they didn't - there were more fish in the sea. Again not what I would do. That may have in fact skirted illegality - I do not know enough about the law - but was not assault.

Harvey Wiensten had a woman he groped, which again is assault and obviously illegal, wired up to catch him in the act. She complained about groping her - he never admitted it, instead kept inviting her into his room to discuss it. That too was pretty yucky - I again would not do it - but inviting a woman to your room to discuss things is not illegal even though in this context is rather 'off' - and when the tape was played everyone that heard it was - well disgusted for want of a better word. They got him on other stuff though.

We have to differentiate impolite/off behavior from things like groping, molestation etc that are, obviously and correctly illegal. There is a grey area in the middle like what Einstein did I am not sure about the legality of - I will let lawyers worry about that one. But simple impolite/off behavior like what Feynman did is within the bounds of a free society.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #14
No one wins when these cases become public.

I find it hard to believe a woman would risk so much for the pain and suffering that she will endure from public scrutiny forever if something serious didn’t in fact happen to her.

I’m sure you find an exception to this rule but in the vast majority of these cases I’m sure the women are speaking the truth and that the only reason the perpetrator gets away is lack of compelling evidence.
 
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  • #15
Greg Bernhardt said:
Who wants to be known as someone who got abused?

On some occasions women have been caught out doing just that - but it's rare - and the public ridicule they endured would indeed make others think twice. A simple google search will bring up examples. What we must watch out for though, is while these crimes are particularly disgusting and heinous, we do not overreact and throw out the normal rules of evidence etc - that would be the wrong, although entirely understandable, way to go.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #16
I've been uneasy about LK ever since a certain episode of "Adam Hills Tonight" (an Australian "tonight" comedy/talk show). Among the guests were LK, and Kitty Flanagan, a much-loved Australian comedienne. During the show LK seemed to be trying to get "friendlier" and "friendlier" with Kitty. At the start it seemed harmless enough, but as the show progressed Kitty started reflexively leaning away from LK whenever he leaned over towards her.

I thought LK was being a bit icky, beyond the boundaries of humour. :oldruck:
 
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  • #17
bhobba said:
As he aged Einstein was more forthright - he would invite women over - open the door in his dressing gown and at the appropriate time let it slip off.
Oh, YUCK. I did not know that.

Pardon me while I get a bucket...
 
  • #18
rootone said:
Meh, So he got a bit flirty, he didn't rape anyone,
Feynman and Einstein also had such comments made about them.
Are nerds supposed to totally asexual?

The point is that he was abusing his position of authority over those women. Did he ever do this to a woman with more social credibility than himself?

I would hurt his feelings.
 
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  • #19
strangerep said:
Oh, YUCK. I did not know that. Pardon me while I get a bucket...

I have read a number of Einstein Biographies etc. My latest is Einsteins Mistakes. It points out at his summer home in Caputh a virtual harem of women visited him there. He lectured for a while at Cambridge where women would not leave him alone - a rather strikingly good looking society women was particularly smitten. He had an open marriage with his second wife, openly discussing his 'conquests'. He had a torrid affair with a Russian spy who tried to get secrets from him, but found he knew nothing so unceremoniously dropped him. It caught the attention of that sexual deviant, J Edgar Hoover, who thought Einstein a communist and basically hated his guts. It was of course untrue - Einstein was not a communist - but they were the days of McCarthyism.

Then in the early 1980s, Elsa's daughter, Margot, gave almost 1,400 letters to Hebrew University, which Einstein helped found. But Margot directed that the letters not be released publicly until 20 years after her death. She died on July 8, 1986. They make very interesting reading indeed.

That he was human doesn't really worry me, even the yucky behavior I mentioned. He kept it, as far as I can see, within the bounds of of what is allowed in a free society. Modern 'perpetrators' actually seem to believe assault is OK - that's what worries me. It seems to have been going on a while but not in the public eye - its now changing. There will be a backlash - it may be happening now. Like all backlashes there is a chance it will go too far, but then hopefully settle into something compatible with the human rights we all have. You will never stop men chasing women, or even on occasion women chasing men, but there will be a much better understanding of acceptable bounds. What that is I do not know - but it does not include assault.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #20
Fervent Freyja said:
The point is that he was abusing his position of authority over those women. Did he ever do this to a woman with more social credibility than himself? I would hurt his feelings.

I think anyone that is assaulted has the right to hurt more than the assaulter's feelings. The human body has a number of points of vulnerability - I will name one that is very well known - the carotid sinus - but many others exist. I think anyone worried about physical attack needs to go to some self defense lessons and learn them. Believe it or not Tai Chi when taught properly by a person that teaches it as a martial art does just that. Plus it has many other benefits such as relaxation etc. Yes I have learned it. Its primary defensive technique is run away to live and fight another day - it's all a set-up to get out of there as fast as you can.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #21
The weakness though is that it takes a long time to really use Tai Chi effectively as a martial arts. You need to be prepared for counter moves especially.

Most teachers don’t know the martial aspects of it. Most don’t teach or even know push hands or the more complex trapping with hands and legs.

I’ve taken it for many years now and in an assault would more likely fall back on karate techniques than Tai Chi techniques if things went south.
 
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  • #22
bhobba said:
I think anyone worried about physical attack needs to go to some self defense lessons and learn them.
I think it a shows how much of a sad state our society is when the solution we give women is to learn how to fight. Let's just stop acting like total creeps.
 
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  • #23
Greg Bernhardt said:
I think it's a shows how much of a sad state our society is when the solution we give women is to learn how to fight. Let's just stop acting like total creeps.

Absofrgenlutely. How we got into this mess is turning a blind eye - we can no longer afford to do that.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #24
Greg Bernhardt said:
I think it's a shows how much of a sad state our society is when the solution we give women is to learn how to fight. Let's just stop acting like total creeps.
Large majority of the population are benign people. There are just always very few exceptions out there that even we ourselves despise as a man. Unfortunately, there is no country in this world where crime does not happen. who will always seek new and better things for science, I know I am supposed to say more than just "we can't do anything more than that", but I don't think we have a lot of practical options left.
 
  • #25
jedishrfu said:
The weakness though is that it takes a long time to really use Tai Chi effectively as a martial arts. You need to be prepared for counter moves especially. Most teachers don’t know the martial aspects of it. Most don’t teach or even know push hands or the more complex trapping with hands and legs. I’ve taken it for many years now and in an assault would more likely fall back on karate techniques than Tai Chi techniques if things went south.

Sad but true. And those that like me that do push hands rarely go onto full sparing. Fortunately we all began push hands after we had done just half the form.

That said, if you have a good teacher he will teach you some techniques I will not mention because they are dangerous like the carotid sinus strike that can be used until you are more proficient. It's big advantage of course is you are taught both defense and attack as well as deflecting. That gives you the best change to get away quick:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2012/02/best-self-defense-technique-run-away.html

Another quick to learn Martial Art good for protection is Krav Maga. It's disadvantage is it is genuinely dangerous and does not have the relaxation and other advantages of Tai Chi. But a Krav Maga guy I used to know after watching our Tai Chi class many moons ago said immediately you can see the martial applications in the forms. Doing it slow looks funny but the idea is it becomes muscle memory so you react unconsciously when in trouble. He plainly said he could not touch my teacher - but then again my teacher would only spar with him - as you would have guessed he is dead against actual fighting. The story he tells is a very good martial artist he knew had ticked off someone at a bar. As he left the person he ticked off simply walked out with him, pulled a switch blade knife, and opened the spring next to him. Nothing he could do doesn't matter how good you are. His attacker ran and his friend went to emergency.

Just as an aside - that's the trick to grab the rubber or whatever is used from someones hand before they close it. In Tai Chi you learn Chi Gung - forget this Chi rubbish they tell you about - it does not exist - what does exist, and they have measured it, is you are in an alpha state during deep Chi Gung. You try and replicate that state when grabbing the stone. The person closing their hand has to think while you, being in an alpha state, just react. It works, I have taught it to others who didn't believe me and were surprised they could do it too.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #26
bhobba said:
Sad but true. And those that like me that do push hands rarely go onto full sparing. Fortunately we all began push hands after we had done just half the form.

That said, if you have a good teacher he will teach you some techniques I will not mention because they are dangerous like the carotid sinus strike that can be used until you are more proficient. It's big advantage of course is you are taught both defense and attack as well as deflecting. That gives you the best change to get away quick:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2012/02/best-self-defense-technique-run-away.html

Thanks
Bill
Honestly speaking, most of these self-defense things aren't as effective for "the weak". Creeps generally do not target physically larger people, and size difference matter significantly in fights. I have done mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and boxing, but being 5"4 small man, it is very hard to win against larger opponents who are most likely over 5"8 in Japan and well over that in western countries.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a better option if the opponent knows no ground game (this is the reason why Royce Gracie was initially very successful in UFC). Many time will a creep try to put a woman to the ground, but BJJ can be used effectively both when you are on the bottom or on the top. Choke techniques prevents breaking bones or any sort of significant damage as long as you don't choke them for too long, and grants you enough time for you to escape after they are out. Still, it does not guarantee you anything...which is sad.
 
  • #27
Let’s not sidetrack this thread with more martial arts talk and stay focused on the behavior of men who behave badly toward women.
 
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  • #28
Anyway the issue is not whether LK’s creepiness crosses the line into criminal assault where physical self defense might be required, the issue is that he abused his professional position, harassing women aspiring to become either physicists or involved with the skeptic movement.
 
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  • #29
BWV said:
Anyway the issue is not whether LK’s creepiness crosses the line into criminal assault where physical self defense might be required, the issue is that he abused his professional position, harassing women aspiring to become either physicists or involved with the skeptic movement.

Yes and no - is it an abuse of power just asking someone like that out on a date? Assault - absolutely - but where does it stop. I simply do not know. I remember I had this absolutely drop dead gorgeous contractor working in the same office as me. Of course I chatted with her, was pleasant and sociable and professional, but I always felt awkward doing anything more. I felt very uneasy around her I have to say - I was very conscious as a contractor her position was not as secure as mine and any advances I made may have simply been accepted because she didn't want to upset permanent staff. It is really hard sometimes. All my friends didn't make any moves - they thought she was out of their league - I had a bit of that feeling too, but the other one was also there.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #30
The issue is a power differential - putting someone in a position where they have a legitimate concern that not accepting an advance might damage their potential for a career and livelihood
 
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  • #31
BWV said:
The issue is a power differential - putting someone in a position where they have a legitimate concern that not accepting an advance might damage their potential for a career and livelihood

That was my exact concern.

They say managers have a higher proportion of sociopaths so maybe they are not as sensitive to it as they should be. Could be Krauss is in that mold. I have read though that high level functioning sociopaths have qualities suitable in certain situations, just like obsessive compulsive's. This makes it really hard. Anyway will have to leave it for a while - these are weighty issues though and I have no idea of their solution, but I need some sleep.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #32
Greg Bernhardt said:
Let's just stop acting like total creeps.
Easier said than done. The id got wired up for survival over millions of years. The id wants what it wants, and doesn't listen to reason or morals.
 
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  • #33
phinds said:
That is genuinely disgusting and repulsive.
EDIT
No, what's disgusting and repulsive is that many of the accused are judged in the court of public opinion and often lose their jobs and any hope of ever working again _ before_ going to trial. Talk about the hypocrisy of so many of the women's movements who constantly complained that their perspectives/takes were never aired under the (fabled, IMO) patriarchy, yet want to condemn all accused without giving them a chance to ...air their side . And the article , as so many do , does away with the necessary _Alleged_ modifier to statements: "...Several women ..personal accounts of misogyny and harassment..." as if these terms had a clear-cut definition and did not depend, vary, on different people's perspectives/culture/background: different people have different takes on what is misogynistic, what is harassment. Boundaries are nowhere as clear-cut as many in the modern Feminist movement make it out to be. Never mind that thee Feminists ignore the many areas where they (EDIT: meaning women) have it significantly better than men. In case anyone doubts my credentials, I get along perfectly fine with my mother, I received a gleaming recommendation from my female ex-manager and I keep in touch with many female ex-colleagues, so see how you can make me out into a misogynist. My mom worked her way from a humble upbringing into becoming a professional, without the alleged invisible barriers and glass ceiling; so did many of her friends of similarly-humble backgrounds.EDIT: Yes, this is not quite a controlled research study I have done, but this brings out the Pandora's box of much of the research conducted by Feminists in which harassment, discrimination are said to have occurred...when the women subjects declare that it has. So much for subjectivity. There has been an improvement in the level of rigor, but this is very recent, and there has not been enough time for these studies to be conducted independently by other researchers to test whether these results are reproducible, agreeing with the claims in the original, in order to claim that these are conclusive.
The movement is riddled with all sorts of biases, cherry-picking to start with.
This movement has degenerated into a witch hunt. It is difficult to see the legitimate issues behind the bias , hatefulness and hot-air.
 
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  • #34
bhobba said:
They say managers have a higher proportion of sociopaths so maybe they are not as sensitive to it as they should be.

I firmly believe this to be true, I have had the misfortune of working for multiple managers who should never have been promoted due to these tendencies. I have also seen this in academia, multiple college professors/department chairs have been moved within schools I am aware of due to this very behavior.

If LK is guilty, let it be decided in the courts not the court of public opinion. If found guilty, every college campus would find it prudent to ban him from campus and if guilty he'd have to register as a sex-offender and be tracked for pretty much the rest of his life and given that, he'll have a rough time living anywhere in civilized society.
 
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  • #35
Well it's definitely a bad argument that the crime somebody is accused of is so heinousness that that no trial is required.
 

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