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I'm not really around, sorry; just dropping by :)
But the Pew Survey one: wow, that was surprising. The survey summary shows that the percentage of scientists who identify as Democrat goes down if you look at those who are working not in universities but in private industry (where it's just under the rate found in the general public; see quote below). But for the overall rate to be only 6% Republican: that's so low and so weird!
http://people-press.org/2009/07/09/section-4-scientists-poli... From the section 'Scientists and Politics': Overall, 52% of the public identifies as Democratic or leans Democratic, while 35% identifies as Republican or leans Republican. Majorities of scientists working in academia (60%), for non-profits (55%) and in government (52%) call themselves Democrats, as do nearly half of those working in private industry (47%).
Maybe there are things we can do about this sort of prejudice. Even if part of it is biological (e.g. maybe we subconsciously prefer features that indicate better health or something?), there's clearly a lot which is cultural, and that part is changeable.
... the notion of strong identity was never invented in the Internet. Many people worked on it - I worked on it as a scientist 20 years ago, and it’s a hard problem. - from a Q&A at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival; transcript in Andy Carvin's Google+ post: https://plus.google.com/117378076401635777570/posts/CjM2MPKo...
What was he working on as a scientist 20 years ago?
Is anybody saying that? I think the main problem is that it's a Google site, not just any site, and not just a "site" either: it's endeavouring to be a social network and a platform. I'm not entirely sure what a platform is, by the way, but think it's the foundation on which other webdevs can build things. If so, it will set some initial standards or expectations which everybody else will need to adhere to if they want their apps to work with it.
And something that Google's executive chairman Schmidt said the other day: they think the internet lacks "an accurate identity service". In the context of what he was saying, it seems that maybe Google+ is their way of building that. The transcript is in an Andy Carvin Google+ post if you're interested: https://plus.google.com/117378076401635777570/posts/CjM2MPKo...
Google isn't the entire internet, obviously, but it does have a big influence over what happens elsewhere.
I couldn't decide whether to support that article's ideas or not. Even admitting that I might discriminate (or be discriminated against) because of "ugliness", and the idea that it's an objective category that could be set in law... it's weird. But then, if we humans actually are biased in this way, and these attitudes do have a measurable effect in the world, then maybe a legal category would bring the problem out into the open and we'd have to at least acknowledge we're doing it.
But it does seem like there's a danger it will be pushed out of existence by sites like Facebook and Google+ (where it's who you are and who you know that matters, not what you think and what you say).