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Slashback: life-support, petrol, gender, tunes 207

Posted by timothy
from the hey-check-out-the-new-icon dept.
Back for more already? Good. Today's early dinner of information includes humble pie baked by NASA, quantities of penguins rescued from roiling in oil, a morsel about sex discrimination in the computer world, and a take-out order of XF86 for the diners in our Slackware booth.

Absolutely no danger whatsoever at all. Contradicting the BBC story reported last week on Slashdot, NASA officials deny that a 1997 shuttle mission was ever in danger because of communication interruptions. Signal 11 writes: "NASA has a press release out which refuses a previous story from the BBC stating that an unknown 'hacker' was able to disrupt communications between mission control and the shuttle." Aardwolf64 pointed to MSNBC coverage of the NASA denial.

The NASA release reads, in part:

"NASA's Inspector General's office found that during the STS-86 mission in September of 1997, the transmission of routine medical information was slightly delayed due to a computer hacker. However, the transmission was successfully completed.

At no time was communication between NASA and the astronauts compromised. The communication interruption occurred between internal ground-based computer systems."

Fly away little birdies! Fly away! Errr, swim away, little birdies! Swim away! Errr ... come back later! An unnamed correspondent writes: "follow up on recent story about penguins caught in oil spill. After being cleaned, the penguins were flown to Port Elizabeth and released to swim the +/- 800 km's back to Cape Town. This will give enviromnetal cleaners a short space of time to clean the oil from the beaches where they live. Two of the penguins are being tracked. This site tracks their progress via satellite. Can't someone novelize this rescue attempt under the title "Penguin's Progress"?

Sir, please stop hitting me with the 'No Discrimination' sign. fegg writes: "Emmett recently posted a story in which there was a reference to an AP article which discussed gender bias as regards women and computer science. This was put -- I thought cavalierly --i nto the "this-has-nothing-to-do-with-gender-dammit dept." Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that it has everything to do with gender or, at least, how the world is presented to young boys and girls.

This is a rather important topic to me, especially now that I have two daughters (not to mention a wife who is a professional computer scientist). I view this as a must read for anyone who wants to develop a reasonable understanding of why there is such an imbalance of men and women in computing.

The gender bias situation is real, and it has been known for quite a while by many in education and technology circles. I would like to refer the Slashdot community to Ellen Spertus, who, in 1991, wrote "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?" Particularly compelling, IMHO, is the piece therein on stereotyping.

Spertus's "Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering" provides an excellent set of pointers for people interested in this topic."

Isn't this what killed John Belushi? strredwolf writes "If you haven't heard, XFree86 4.0.1 is out in full force, with binaries and docs online. Slackware users can get the "Slackballs" via the Linux Mafia, along with other goodies." (Here's the direct link to the 4.0.1 files, but linuxmafia.org is worth exploring anyhow. Warning: it is an unabashed Pro-Slack Zone.)

This would be worth more than my car. Dredd13 writes "Empeg, Ltd., a UK company, shipped the first of its Mark 2 MP3 car-stereo to customers this past week. This is the same stereo that runs Linux and has won awards. The Mark2 is expected to be a full production run, (as opposed to the initial Mark1, which only had about 300 units) with enough to satisfy ample demand. As a former MkI owner (and one of the guys who got a Mark2 today from Mr. FedEx), I can say its worth every penny!" Slashdot's been following the Empeg saga for a while now; check out this item Rob posted in 1998. I hope they can bring the price down a bit, to better compete with the various mainstream MP3 players now emerging.

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  • Okay, we know M$ stoop to low levels. I can't see why they would want to steal a load of Sharks though?

    Unless you mean Microsoft Sharks - I mean, there were never any other kind? Sharks were always made by Microsoft? I thought everything was made by Microsoft? You don't mean there are other Sharks? They're free? The other Sharks are free? Can you connect to Microsoft Oceans with them? My God! If only I'd known... I'm gonna get me one of those BlueCoat Sharx - I mean, it's... You know...?

    Anyway...

    Mong.

    * ...Student, Artist, Techie - Geek *
  • You lose.
  • Lemme get this straight. Talking about sex and playing basketball are key activities conducted by us insidious men that help keep women out of the CS field? I guess we should have a rulebook listing permitted conversation topics and social activities.

    This may explain a few things, actually. I recall that back at my middle school, a couple of the female teachers kept posters of Kevin Costner and various other actors in their offices. I guess that's why there were fewer male teachers there, right? We should sue!

    --

  • >- Are you here to get your Mrs. degree?

    I got that one once... from a co-worker at a co-op job I had. That was the same co-op job where my unofficial 'job title' was 'the kappa chick' because I calibrated the kappa machine three times a week. (course, they were looking really nervous the first time they called me that...)

    But mostly I get 'chemical Engineering? That sounds *hard*' and surprised looks when I do well. I can't decide whether to find it funny or frustrating. At this point I just shrug and say, 'yeah, it's hard. I like it.'

    But after being told that something is 'really really hard' and then finding out that it wasn't, I've stopped listening to them, except maybe to make sure to pay more attention to what I'm doing.

    From before I started school, my neighbour refused to believe that I could read (because her daughters, who were older than me and in school, couldn't yet) to the other neighbour who told me 'you'll fail grade 4 for sure, it's so hard!' to the gr 10 math teacher (the same one who just handed me the course outline and let me run with it, oddly enough) who convinced me to go into the 'regular' chemistry as opposed to 'honours' - I was bored stiff, transferred into honours 3 weeks into the term, spent a week catching up (and wrote a test on the 3rd day) and found out that I loved chemistry - to the university students that told me that physical chemistry was just evil and most people took the class two or even three times before passing, or that the control systems course was incredibly hard and also needed to be taken multiple times (physical chemistry was interesting and challenging, but not evil, and control systems was a bitch but I learned so much (and did reasonably well) that I'm thinking of focusing on them in my last year at university).

    So now when someone tells me that something is 'too hard' and I shouldn't try it, I do it anyways (if I want to). The fact that I'm stubborn to the point of boneheadedness sometimes helps here, though... :-)

    "When correctly viewed, everything is lewd
    I could tell you things about Peter Pan
  • The worst part is the "being a mother" thing. There are too many women who are only in a career "until i want to have a baby."

    When you hire a man for a job, you don't have to worry about him deciding he doesn't want to hold a job for the rest of his life 6 months after you hire him.

    How many male programmers stay in the same job for more than six months these day anyway?

  • HOMO!!!!!!!! Seriously though, it is an interesting paper. Just think how this applies to race.
  • "Any scientist would read your story and say "Hmmm, that's interesting... maybe we should study this and see if it hold up for an entire population of boys and girls." In fact, that's what scientists are doing all the time! In fact, that's what this article is about! Your story is only useful as a hypothosis, unless you enjoyed telling it (which you seemed to)."

    OK, can you site reputable studies? See Christina Hoff-Summers recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, "The War Against Boys". It documents how the original study by Carol Gilligan (sponsered by the AAUW, the same people who did this recent study) was a fraud, made up, and not re-produceable by other researchers. Hoff-Summers also sites statitistics showing that boys drop out of school more often than girls, commit suicide at a much higher rate, go to and graduate from college at a lower rate than girls, etc. The scientific evidence that we have suggests that is boys, not girls who are being discriminated against in schools.

  • Sorry dude, I just don't buy it.

    This is repeated like a broken record on Slashdot...men are responsible for all of women's problems, including them not wanting to go into this industry. Honestly, I think it's bullshit.

    Everybody's been told they couldn't do so and so their whole life, some people succeed despite it (and some women have proved themselves and succeeded), and some people let themselves be defeated by it. A lot of people I know, male and female, have had parents dismiss their efforts at something, for one.

    Now the on-job descrimination thing, well that could be a different story. A lot of people in this county use that as an excuse, although some are actually victims of it. Still get over yourself and succeed and stop whining 'cause my ears are starting to hurt...
  • Well I've given my 2 cents to just about every other comment here I'll keep this short. I get along better with women (maybe because I look at most men as competition in areas not related to my job, but that's a guess). I have twice the number of female friends than male ones (which frankly can be annoying be because alot of people assume I'm gay for hanging out with women so much). Though I have alot of respect for women in general and don't think of things like calling women 'linux chicks', 'hot programmers', & whatever else people come up with. I'm a rarity though and most guys aren't liek me giving equal respect to both men & women I work with, basing my opinions on more than someones gender...
  • Hey, look at it this way.

    Pros:
    1. I live in Rio.

    Cons:
    1. I'm a geek.
    2. I'm a math geek.
    3. I'm old.
    4. I don't hang around with a lot of girls.
    5. I'm ugly.
    6. I'm overweight.
    7. I'm pale; I never go to the beach.
    8. I've got a beard.
    9. I hate nightclubs, parties and all those other places you go to to get laid.
    10. I refuse to pay for sex.


    As you can see, my situation is very unfavourable... whether I'm in Rio or not :)

  • I have read several comments in regards to how outdated the information/statistics are..so..

    Here is a link that you might find interesting:
    http://www.resnet.wm.edu/~slharr/WomenCsci.html

    I also have a question:
    How many women work for slashdot and what are their jobs?
  • I found the following at the VERY LINK that you posted.

    3. (Gram.) A classification of nouns, primarily according to sex; and secondarily according to some fancied or imputed quality associated with sex.

    Gender is a grammatical distinction and applies to words only. Sex is natural distinction and applies to living objects. R. Morris.


    Dictionaries are lists of meanings, not canonical guides to usage.

    I doubt that you would find a usage and style guide that would recommend this use of the word gender. Actually, perhaps you could in this perverted "PC" version of English that is so popular these days.

    -Peter

    PS: While I am at it, a podium is a thing you stand ON and a lectern is a thing you stand BEHIND.


  • this could be true....my theory is slightly different. Get this - there aren't as many women in IT because - hold on to your hats! - men and women are "different"

    In my own personal experience online and such, the vast majority of the women i've spoken to don't really give a shit about IT. Just about everything i've learned about computers, i've learned on my own. I'm working towards my CCNA, i've got a really great job doing linux system administration, etc. This was all self-taught.

    I remember when i first installed a copy of RH5.0 on my box - and i was thinking "what's this crazy as linux shit?" - and from there on out, i was hooked. The last time i checked, however, no retailer was looking at a woman trying to buy a copy of RH or what have you and saying "Ma'am - don't you think you'd enjoy this book by Betty Crocker just a leeeetle bit more?"

    Personally, i feel that a larger percentage of women than men just aren't interested in IT. It's one thing to say "ooohhh that computer is cool looking - i wonder how it works," but it's all together different to actually WANT to fuck around with that box all goddamned night, and go to work the next day (in whatever field) with your co-workers thinking you're stoned cause your eyes are so bloodshot. I don't care what you think...that's not a man thing, that's not a woman thing, that's just a geek thing.(notice to anyone flaming me for being a sexist: i didn't say ALL women weren't interested, i'm just willing to bet that not as great a percentage of women are as interested as men, for whatever reason. BUT OH DEAR CHRIST!!! WE DON'T HAVE A 50/50 DIVISION - THAT'S NOT FUCKING PC!!!!!!)

    If you want to blame men for this ever so frightening trend, don't. That's just foolish to believe that, simply because there's not a 50/50 split in the gender division of any profession, it's somehow upper-class white male's fault. I *will* agree that there is a problem with the division of CEO's and such in this country, indeed - said white male power structure plays a big part there...but to say that women are being forced out of IT is just bullshit, especially because most "IT" companies are currently going to cemetaries digging up corpses to put in seats, AND paying them $80k a year.


    FluX
    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • "I doubt that you would find a usage and style guide that would recommend this use of the word gender. Actually, perhaps you could in this perverted "PC" version of English that is so popular these days."

    Yup, that's just it. The PC'ers have redefined sex and gender, and the usage is starting to seep into the mainstream.

  • by carlos_benj (140796) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @01:41PM (#955433) Journal
    Can't someone novelize this rescue attempt under the title "Penguin's Progress"?

    Forget novelization, I'm working on a screenplay. We'll call it, "Free Chilly Willy".

    carlos

  • I honestly can't say that, from my experience (not very considerable since I'm only 17 and not even in college yet), women haven't had it too rough. At least not in the college admissions process. It seems to me as if colleges (using Carnegie Mellon, #1 in CS) are actually going after those few female future computer scientists. I would have loved to have gone to Carnegie Mellon for CS, but I was waitlisted, and when I was accepted, they couldn't reevaluate my financial package (I still would've had to pay almost $20,000), so I had to choose Case Western Reserve University. Women at CMU SCS (School of Computer Science) are not so rare anymore. They've increased from under 10% of the incoming class in 1995 to almost 40% of the incoming class of 2000. By the way, the national standard is under 10% of women gain engineering-related degrees, including CS. The article [post-gazette.com] which I got my statistics from says that CMU is "bucking the national trend". Now, high school seniors, the last time I checked, can choose their own school. So CMU is somehow attracting far more women than they used to, and more importantly, far more women than the rest of the schools in America. They do this by some good methods: by the Women@SCS Support Group [cmu.edu], set up to nurture women through their four years in the SCS. Men don't have this advantage, but I can see that discrimination might discourage the women...I guess. This is OK. But by offering an exclusive scholarship to women (and another exclusive scholarship to minorities, though that's semi-offtopic), they persuade women in by lowering their exhorbitant $34,000 yearly cost to a reasonable rate...for women. White males are only considered for one third of the available merit scholarships. Contrast this with women, who are considered for more, or all, if they're of minority racial background. This I have a problem with.
    I'm reminded of a statement from a student at the Boston Latin School, one of the most competitive secondary schools in America, and somewhat diverse: "It should be merit only that gets us here, and merit only that lets us stay." That was bravely said by a female minority student. Obviously, it's still possible to be female and smart. Let's just realize that...and realize as well that I am against gender bias at a young age. This is the one place I'm not sure about. But if there are teachers out there telling the little girls, "Why don't you try sewing instead," when they pick up a keyboard, well they should be ready with a response, "My daddy told me that girls can do anything boys can do, and I think they can do it better." My point is, parents, if it wasn't common sense, tell your children that they can do anything, regardless of gender! And give them pride...so when somebody thinks they can't do it, and tries to tell them so, they know that they can, and they will "show them." That's how I was brought up. I'm afraid I can't lend an air of true authority to this story, as I'm just a white male. But I know if I was a girl, I wouldn't let anyone tell me what I could or couldn't do.
    Links:
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article [post-gazette.com]
    Women@SCS [cmu.edu]
  • Hey there! I would just like to say that there is a HUGE lack of females in the Computer Science department at my college [uncc.edu]. I mean, I may have 3-5 women in a class, but they are the same ones I've seen since freshman year and none of them look good.

    So, WOMEN!!! Please join the Computer Science department at your school! Just think, if you do....you have a 50% chance of breeding more female computer scientists.....or something like that.
  • What a steaming pile of wishful thinking.

    Individualism is one of the most dangerous ideas of the 20th century, not because people have it, but because they think they have it and they don't. Girls do what girls do, because that's what girls do; the ones who don't are social deviants.

    Why don't you try a few of these experiments

    • Watch any group of people make up their collective minds about something
    • Look at any social group of teenagers, sports fans, small children, suburbanites, geeks. Observe how they are dressed, how they act, how they live in general, and note the similarities (90% of the students in my 2nd year computer science classes had long hair/beards and played hacky-sack)
    • Watch some childrens' TV; cartoons are good, the crappy cartoons especially. Look at the adverts for toys, and the children portrayed using them.
    • Take a look at the "girls' toys" in a toy store.

    Monkey see, monkey do...

    There are more experiments that you can dream up and try if you're really in an empirical frame of mind, but my guess is that most people won't try them. Most moderately educated people get their wisdom out of books, and so follow the opinions of some philosopher or sociologist without coming to their own conclusions about how the world works. These authors in turn are generally following some sort of trend or ideal, and maybe applying it to a new situation when they write.

    Anyway, individualism isn't nearly as common as people (especially people in the supposedly individualism worshipping US of A) belive or portray in their media. People make the same kind of individualistic choices. Test the hypothesis for yourself.

    When was the last time you indulged in a spontaneous act of free will anyway? Something a bit more than the indulgence of a pre-programmed preference?

  • That's another thing -- perhaps a lot of women avoid tech careers precisely because they are not insane.

    I work between 70 and 120 hours per week. That's just at and on work. I have to cram my own personal venture in there somewhere, too. Over the last six months, I've probably spent 50% of the nights sleeping under my desk, at work.

    I haven't seen a movie in over a year. I haven't watched television in nearly six months. I haven't had groceries in my refrigerator in six months. I don't have time to wash laundry -- I buy more clothes on my way to work. I'm not kidding, I'll just buy some jeans and t-shirts instead of taking the time to wash and dry everything, reasoning that someday I will have some time to just wash my massive pile of worn outfits.

    I went from relationship after relationship (and hot sex after hot sex, I might at!.. erm..) to completely single for the last three years (exactly since I started in this field).

    This career takes a huge toll. If you don't have the stamina and steadfastness to get into this career, despite what people say or do to hold you back, you're not going to have what it takes to maintain this career. Male or female, it doesn't matter. I've seen them fall, repeatedly, by the wayside when they couldn't prove themselves or keep up.

    As far as sexes and their interests -- it doesn't surprise me that most women don't want to be in the tech career. I don't want to be in the child-care, teaching, nursing or domestic-engineer fields, myself. Maybe it's because I'm male. Maybe it's just because I find them utterly without interest to me. Or maybe it's because I was told that boys don't do that sort of thing.

    Which extends to another point -- the opposite of this whole conflict is that while people are "fighting for girls to be in this career", men are simply expected to be in it (or careers like it). As a male, if I were to stay at home (and yes, I was actually a stay at home father for awhile) instead of have a career (note, I dont' say "have a job", because being a homemaker sure as hell is one!), I would be ridiculed. "Look at him riding on that poor girls coat-tails..."

    Also, while I see guy after guy kicked out into the street by his parents when he's 18, I see countless girls who still live with their parents, rent free, not going to school and without jobs, at the age of 20, 22, 24 or even 26.

    This thing goes both ways. And sometimes, to be quite honest, I'm too busy working and trying to keep my head on straight to really give a fuck.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • Bitching is better if you are a karma whore.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We all know about the lack of females in computer science courses and the other sciences (I'm talking about academia here, that is my only experience). What I find interesting is that complete lack of commentary concerning the lack of males in undergraduate arts courses (English, Sociology, Performing Arts, Women's Studies). Isn't the whole point to have equal representation and exposure? Or is there some other more insidious agenda?

    Garth Shoemaker
  • It turns out that sharks don't in fact need to keep moving. They can do active as well as passive breathing, and the are perfectly capable of "sucking" oxygenated water into their mouths to breath.

    Some scientists in Australia proved it by sticking some sharks in a big tank and not letting them swim around. They survived fine :)
  • I'm pretty sure there are conditions, such as specific species of sharks, and unusually oxygenated water.
  • Did someone say they actually had access to the information? or did they just slow down the computer that was sending/receiving such that the information was delayed?
  • > In colder places (such as AK) wouldn't the
    > hard drives freeze in the winter?

    The roads arn't that good in Antarctica, and the country code is aq, not ak.
    --
    mrBlond "Southern exposure"
    Cape Town, South Africa
  • I think we have seen the birth of the new equivalent of greyhound racing for the 21st century. Satellite tracked Penguin races with real time web updates. I mean, just think of the potential when combined with online betting!

    At the moment it looks like Peter's lead is unbeatable, Percy in third place is rapidly catching up on Pamela. But there's always the unexpected like a chance encounter with a leopard seal that could easily upset the form book. Cape Town is still a long way off!

  • Absolutely, ++this comment. The troll lost ;)

    It was rather sad how many of the responses on the original story were the same knee-jerk "aww c'mon, enough of this PC crap, no-one stopping women doing computers if they want to, therefore they don't want / are unable to perform in tech roles" type nonsense. To all the young males out there feeling irritated (threatened?) by the radical paradigm-breaking idea that maybe women DO suffer from discrimination from men -- and not just from classical "corr darlin'" sexist gits, but from apparently well-educated intelligent middle-class types who /just don't think/ about what they're saying and doing.


    Camaron de la Isla [flamenco-world.com] 'When I sing with pleasure, my

  • A woman isn't going to apply for a computer science scholorship and be told by the people who handle her applicant, "Oh, dearie -- don't you think a nice course in domestic engineering would be more suitable to a nice young lady like yourself?"

    Actually, my SO tells me that this happened to her sister in 1990 or so. She lived in semi-rural California and was told that "women shouldn't be taking computer science". To the extent that she never took a class from the person who told her that, it was true. She still got got her EE degree and is working in the industry, but women at that school were strongly discouraged by at least some of the faculty.

  • The EMPEG is quite cool. It's as close as I've ever seen to the "perfect" MP3 player sitting in my brain. Since no one else can (hopefully) see into my brain, here's a brief description of my idea of the perfect MP3 player (this, btw, is the perfect car stereo MP3 player). When I bought my truck two years ago (Dodge Ram 1500, 1998), I purchased the six-speaker sound system and the best stereo to along with it. It's 1.5 DIN, has a CD player *and* a cassette deck, along with an AM/FM tuner. Before you get on me about buying (and praising) a "factory stereo," keep in mind a few things. First, I didn't have to install *squat*. It just appeared along with the truck when it was driven off the delivery truck :). Second, it still trounces most of these after-market stereos all the gang bangers seem to flock to. You could do three things to improve this deck: replace most of the controls (leaving only the round volume knob, which is digital but seems to "feel" better than a push-button volume control) with a touch-sensitive display (bigger than the display currently in the unit), add the ability to dig through CD-ROMs inserted into it searching for playable MPEG audio (while still playing audio CDs, naturally), and finally, stick some brains in. By brains I mean intelligent playlist handling, automatic AM/FM station searching, AM/FM station "killfiling" (there's some religious stations around and some annoying others that never play anything good that always show up while my deck searches for a tunable station), integration with the vehicle's headlights (dim the display or trigger some other behavior when they are turned on/off, etc.) I know, I know. "Build it yourself!" Okay. How? I know the EMPEG guys busted their butts to build the beast, and it's truly a remarkable device. I'm quite sure I don't have the technical skill to actually *build* the thing. I could certainly take a stab at building the UI though. I happen to dabble in LCD stuff anyways (look at my link above ;) and have always wanted an excuse to play with a touch-sensitive one. Speaking of, does anyone know where to find/buy touch-sensitive LCDs? Hopefully with a reasonable interface? (serial is ideal, or parallel, or even I2O)
  • Yeah, well done, we're all very proud of you. You seem rather tense and unhappy though; why do you think this could be?
    Camaron de la Isla [flamenco-world.com] 'When I sing with pleasure, my
  • Told you so [slashdot.org].
    Camaron de la Isla [flamenco-world.com] 'When I sing with pleasure, my
  • Many, many people who have posted on the topic of gender inequality in the last few days have brought up the received wisdom that girls get less attention in school. Read this [uaf.edu] and then think about it some more.
  • "IIRC, the original researcher (Gilligan) *refused* to allow this author to see her research materials. This is highly unusual."

    To say the least. I guess I shouldn't have said that Gilligan made the study up, just that she has presented no evidence to show that she didn't just make it all up.

    There's another good book (a true story) on the sex vs. gender thing called "As Nature Made Him." I don't remember the author. Does anyone know? There was a good interview with him and the subject of the book on NPR's Terri Gross show a few weeks back.

    There was also a show done with Hoff-Summers on NPR's Talk of the Nation a few weeks back; might be available on their web site.
  • because it is less likely to make people think about "sex the activity". Too bad, as this conflation dilutes a useful distinction between the cultural and the physical.

    One story (probably an urban legend) says that the base 16 number system was originally called sexidecimal. This was until IBM got a hold of it and prudishly renamed it hexidecimal.
  • Usage Note: Traditionally, gender has been used primarily to refer to the grammatical categories of "masculine," "feminine," and "neuter";

    You were going along so well, until you said "masculine," "feminine," and "neuter". While those are the common grammatical categories of the languages that most /. readers are likely to be familiar with, there are languages with genders not based abstractly on sex, and languages with many more than 3 genders. An example is the Australian Aborigine language Dyirbal, with 4 genders - Bayi, Balan, Balam, and Bala

    Bayi: men, kangaroos, possums, bats, most snakes, most fishes, some birds, most insects, the moon, storms, rainbows, boomerangs, some spears, etc.
    Balan: women, anything connected with water or fire, bandicoots, dogs, platypus, echidna, some snakes, some fishes, most birds, fireflies, scorpions, crickets, the stars, shields, some spears, some trees, etc.
    Balam: all edible fruit and the plants that bear them, tubers, ferns, honey, cigarettes, wine, cake.
    Bala: parts of the body, meat, bees, wind, yamsticks, some spears, most trees, grass, mud, stones, noises, language, etc.

    Off-hand, I know there's at least one language that had 8 genders, I don't know what the maximum known is...

  • I'll bet money tracking those penguins is all part of that Echelon thing. I knew it all along.

    Conspiracies!

    Dirty tricks!

  • When I hear someone whine about how they are poor at math or science or computers because their teacher didn't call on them enough in school or their teacher didn't instill enough self-confidence in them (pardon me, but isn't self-confidence, by virtue of its name, something that cannot be instilled by an external force?)


    That's rediculous, and I think the only reason you are saying it is to put in some silly joke. For that reason I will, in fact, pardon you. Self confidence can and must be taught. Furthermore, it is fully possible to teach someone to have no self-confidence, especially if we are talking about the developing years of someone's life. You might be born ignorant and full of confidence but given enough frowns, verbal reprimands, positive attention for passive behaviour, etc... you would be as meek as a mouse, regardless of gender. The idea is to look at a society as objectively as possible (which includes the assumption that you might be wrong (which you are :-P ) ).


    Perhaps what makes boys excel more often in science is precisely this same attitude and enthusiasm that is exhibited in grade school. Instead of shutting it down and tuning them out, in favor of shy quiet girls, coax the girls out of their shells.


    Good idea! Unfortunatly this must be done by the parents and teachers, who are also not aware of the messages they are inadvertantly sending. That is one of the reasons girls do better in an all girl school. Not because they "can't handle the competition" but instead because the teachers will not have their own gender bias affect the children as much. They treat all of the girls (mostly) like they would treat boys in a mixed gender school.


    Most of my life in school, I scores in the top percentiles of those SAT tests were sheer luck. Anyone could have pulled it off.

    ...

    I took the time to explain my long -- probably boring -- story, because I'm a nobody who would be lucky to fall into the middle of any category or ranking of anything. But I've done what a lot of people whine that they could never do. And that's bullshit. It's utter fucking bullshit. It's cowardice. It's fear.


    Well... I'm entertained by your story, however it is wholly irrelivant to the issue at hand. I hope you do very well in your position. The point is not to uphold anecdotal stories as facts that gender bias doesn't exist but to determine what is going on in our society. Any scientist would read your story and say "Hmmm, that's interesting... maybe we should study this and see if it hold up for an entire population of boys and girls." In fact, that's what scientists are doing all the time! In fact, that's what this article is about! Your story is only useful as a hypothosis, unless you enjoyed telling it (which you seemed to).

    You want to know a secret? They are finding stuff that you don't want to think about. Think about it. What if they are absolutly, 100% right? What if they haven't even uncovered the half of it yet? Then how would you feel about your suffering and problems? Do you see a confilct of interest here? The sad fact is that everyone has a conflict of interest. Some people are, however, more aware of theirs.

    Sometimes even scientists are biased because they can't stand that a concept that they are attached to and use to define their world-view might be based on an ugly truth.

    -pos


    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • The Super-Penguin Bros. Racing... Who will win, pengio, luipi??

    Dassauly buys Spatial [cadfu.com]
  • by anticypher (48312) <<anticypher> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:35PM (#955463) Homepage
    Last night on the news there was a NASA interview, mostly about some other things, but they also asked the guy about the breakins.

    His response, paraphrased, was "That was completely outside of NASA, the data was being sent from internal machines out to some medical researchers. It was their machine which had the problem, not NASA. The shuttle ground control computers are not hooked to the internet in any way."

    Since this wasn't a spokesdroid, I'd give it a shred of credibility. I know NASA has been employing tiger teams to probe their security, and they've been shopping around for security firms to independantly audit their review of internal security. Sounds like their want to make sure they have an airgap around their life critical systems, so they can clearly dispute such panic mongering headlines as these.

    the AC
  • Unless you mean Microsoft Sharks...

    No joke, the coast of Washington does have the largest shark population [audubon.org]. Coincidence? I think not.
  • by torpor (458) <jayv.synth@net> on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:39PM (#955467) Homepage Journal
    If a woman wants a technical career, she has just as many options -- if not more, than a man. This is the year 2000. It isn't 1950. A woman isn't going to apply for a computer science scholorship and be told by the people who handle her applicant, "Oh, dearie -- don't you think a nice course in domestic engineering would be more suitable to a nice young lady like yourself?"

    She may not be told this by the people who handle her application, but she may very well be told that by the other people in her life that may influence the decision - her parents, her friends, maybe her husband/boyfriend?

    The point of this is not that the attitude is necessarily prevalent in the *industry* (though, the fact that the industry itself is even looking at this at all means that it's somewhat self perpetuated), but that the social condition exists that precludes women getting into highly technical endeavours - because, traditionally, the tech industry is *viewed* and (more importantly) *portrayed* as being male dominant.

    This needs to change, on a social level, not an industrial one, and one of the things that can be done to assist this process by those in tech industries responsible for dictacting how the industry is portrayed (heck, you and I, lowly programmers/non-marketing types, definitely have a modicum of responsibility for this) is to make gender non-relevant in that portrayal.

    i.e. don't even *bring it up* that there is a lack of women/men, but portray it in as gender-neutral a manner as possible. If this means balancing between interviewing male and female computer scientists for such banal things as Discovery channel documentaries on the subject of computer intelligence, etc. then so be it, but even that feeds the problem.

    Because it's this *portrayal* that allows the social aberration of gender-bias to persist, and it's this aberration that precludes a lot of women from choosing high tech careers.

    In other words: quit complaining that there aren't any hot chick programmers around. You're perpetuating the problem.
  • Good post.

    I think that a lot of the fuzzy headedness in thinking about these things is a poor grasp of the idea of statistical distribution.

    I had this same reaction when The Bell Curve was a big deal. The guys who wrote it were obviously full of s**t, because even if you believed the basic thesis, that blacks are statistically less intelligent than whites, the bell curves overlap so that 40% of the blacks would be smarter than 50% of the whites (as opposed to 50% of the whites being smarter than the other 50% of the whites); furthermore individuals of exceptional intelligence would appear in both races.

    In other words, you still have to judge individuals as individuals. There's not simplistic shortcut to understanding a human being or the problems of a group of human beings.

    Gender stereotypes are more complicated because they are clusters of interconnected characteristics; however on any one characteristic the same kind of statistical dispersion and overlap exist.

    I think the idea that an individual can transcend gender is implicit in this; there is no need to resort to non-negatable hypotheses about subtle social processes. The reason that it's so hard to argue to these po-mo types is that they don't have any criteria by which they would admit that something is not a social construction.

    By the way, I think that the idea gender is partly a social construct is indisputable. Men in non-anglo culture weep, or hold hands with each other, which in anglo culture are exclusively femininine behaviors. However, we can inject a female rat with testosterone and have it act more like a more aggressive male (alternatively a male fish in a stream polluted with estrogen analogs may act like a sterile female). However, the more extreme po-mo types will see the hidden hand of social construction even in these instances. I had a good friend who went away to grad school and came back brainwashed this way.
  • Sorry, but "gender" refering to the maleness or femaleness of persons (or other things, like electrical connectors)is a well-established usage dating from at least the 1950s. And "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun is an emerging standard, IMHO much better than continually using "he or she". (It seems to me not unlike the use of the plural second person as a polite or formal pronoun, like the German Sie or French vous.)

    Anyone who can seriously entertain the notion that "he" is gender neutral needs a whack with the feminist clue stick.

    Natural languages aren't like programming languges. They evolve. Correct grammar and usage is whatever is used by educated native speakers, not what self-appointed grammar cops decide. Deal with it.

    And speaking of standards, when the fuck did question marks replace single quotes? Oh, I get it - you must be using some non-standard HTML.

  • That map where it shows the penguins being tracked back home is pretty cool. I can imagine a new sport like pigeon racing where wild penguins are caught and then raced like homing pigeons.

    I think the smart money in this two-penguin race is on Peter Penguin. Obviously, Pamela Penguin lost valuable race time when she strayed off-course.

    --
  • Except that it was an entirely American ran subdivision--I didn't run into a single Japanese person at this particular office.
  • No; I do mind. And will come after you with a large baseball bat...actually, she also has a black belt and could probably take care of herself. But whatever's left is mine.
  • solely because I'm a 5'11 240lb fit confident male, instead of a 6' 135lb slender and attractive female.

    Hypothesis: Your appearence(sp?)/attitude/demeanor has more to do with the discrimination than your sex.

    My wife told me recently that she has changed how she acts when she goes to night clubs with her friends. According to her, in the past if a male approached her she would respond and make conversation politely while meeting his gaze. Men got the idea that she was on the hunt and would pursue her endlessly, regardless of how many times she said, "I'm MARRIED!!"

    Now, she says, she slumps her shoulders when she enters the room and tries to appear ungainly in high heels. She doesn't look at men when they approach her, choosing to look away instead. She says that it has worked.

    Teleport to the world of business. Anyone that doesn't sit-up straight and look me in the eye during a meeting is considered weak. Who's at fault if my wife forgets she's at a business meeting instead of a night club?

    my mother has (a) been descriminated by a legal arbitrator who told my mother flat out before arbitration that she was going to lose because she's just a "stupid cunt and has no business being in charge of a building site"

    As in many cases of 'discrimination' that I've seen, the arbitrators problem lay in something else and the fact that your mother was female was just an easy difference to capitalize on. He could just have easily used the fact that she was
    a) 'a skinny weakling'
    b) 'too white'
    c) 'too dark'
    d) 'too pretty' (implying low intelligence)
    e) 'too ugly' (implying low intelligence)
    f) etc...

    My point being that the construction industry has more than its fair share of socially maladjusted grunts that exhibit animalistic tendencies to dominate through ritualistic posturing, but the rest of the world has quite a few too. People communicate more than they know through barely noticable actions. I always enjoy watching documentaries on animal rituals and comparing what I see to what you find in a local bar or board room meeting. The similarities are incredible.

  • Well, then perhaps the answer also includes 'making up' for all the time women have lost, by grabbing a random 100,000 of them, giving them a nominal test and grading them on a huge curve, and then employing them in the technical field.

    You will never change individual behavior. These studies and assertions are wholly useless, unless someone wants to pass a law making it illegal for any parent, teacher or co-worker to ever say anything to a woman that may be construed as detrimental to her ego, self-confidence or worth and value as a female.

    No matter how much the rest of us want everyone, including every woman, to have an unfettered chance to do what they desire without being restrained or hampered by crude and unfair comments, it will always be undermind by those few who actually are in positions to say those things at the times which they are most agregious.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • It seems to me that the reason why there are no women in technical fields is that they are conditioned from an early age not only not to find geeky stuff interesting, but to look down on people who do. Face it: the kick-ass programmer with $20 million in stock options and the brand new Aston-Martin convertible was the pimple-faced, scrawny geek throughout grade school. This is not an image most women aspire to.

    The problem is that the very attitude required to excel in a technical field has to be acquired at an early age. At 24, I've been training for my current job for 19 years, though for most of that time it was just a hobby. At 5 years old, most girls are playing with Barbie dolls and their heat-lamp ovens, and aren't terribly interested in putzing around with a television or programming a computer. At 16 years old, while I was busily improving the BBS software I wrote at 14, most teenage girls were shopping, doing their hair, trying on push-up bras, and generally trying to impress oversexed teenage boys.

    Notice: by that age, I already had 11 years of experience programming and generally tinkering with engineering. Considering how intuitive youngsters are compared to adults, this is an insurmountable chasm to cross.

    So, now when we ask, "Why aren't there are more female programmers?", one conclusion at which we must invariably arrive is, "Because they don't have the experience to compete with the males." Sure, there are other reasons, but I believe this one dominates above all others.

    The only remedy I can see is to change society so young girls are given Legos instead of Barbies, TV kits instead of heat-lamp ovens, and computers instead of wardrobes. Encourage young girls to pursue substance over style, intelligence over beauty, and individuality over conformity, and the problem will just go away naturally.

    Until this occurs, all other perceived culprits are merely straw men.
  • My girlfriend (almost) has a Ph. D. in astrophysics. In high school she was turned down for an award in a science class because it would be wasted on her, girls don't go into science.

    The teachers who made that decision still teach at that high school.

    So, yes, people still get told "Oh, dearie -- don't you think a nice course in domestice engineering would be more suitable to a nice lady like yourself?"

  • By a couple days (5? I forget, closed the page).

    Still, its going to be pretty damned cool to watch those guys float up the coast. Never ceases to amaze me how they navigate those sorts of distances...

    What is it that penguins use, anyway, astronavigation or something like waterflow/current recognition? Smell? Geographical landmarks?
  • Lets see how sexy you are.
  • by Thalia (42305) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:51PM (#955516)
    Actually you would be suprised how often we do get exactly that type of language. When I was an engineering student, I got, from a few different professors famous lines like:

    - Are you here to get your Mrs. degree?
    - Women are never any good at circuits.
    - Are you sure you are supposed to be in this class?
    an my all time favorite, on the first day of class:
    - Ah, I remember the good old days, when we didnt' admit women to this school. We flew the flag at half mast when women were first admitted. I don't think they should have been.

    So, yes, women do put up with more BS than men in the field. Which is not to say that women can't make it. It just means that average women can't.

    By the way, you notice that the "researchers" didn't interview boys? I expect you can find plenty of boys that will have similar points of view.
  • So he's had a head start.
  • by Ho-Lee-Cow! (173978) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:53PM (#955518)

    Okay, I was raised in that generation where we were 'struggling' for equality. Or was that carping about the fact that the men wanted to us to serve coffee and look at our tits....

    So, we are told now that our children need us, that the workforce needs us, and that we have to make up for the lack of scientists and engineers that are being pushed out by the HB1A visas.

    Um, you guys don't ask this much of -men-, why are you laying this crap on us girls? The GNP doesn't benefit from me being at home, but the kids do. And if the schools of the world would teach something other than political correctness on campus, people might have more time to study hard sciences.

    Get the social engineering out of the picture and the world comes up downright better. I'm grabbing my rolling pin and going back to the kitchen now. Tata until after dinner!

  • >Although it may have something to do with sex. Remember, "words have gender, people have sex".

    Exactly. More and more people are getting this wrong.
  • I know some people who have used PCs for radio repeater controllers. These are usually installed in unheated shacks exposed to the weather. The big problem is the hard drive. One solution is to put the hard drive in an insulated box to keep it warm and protect it from rapid temperature changes.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:55PM (#955522)
    While I have a moment, I should use it to explain my thinking on this a little further. My original statement may strike one who did not read my posts in the original article as heartless.

    I am not for promoting a specific group of people simply to achieve some sort of equality in statistics, so that Universities, rights groups and government politicians can pat themselves on the back and feel they accomlpished something.

    What I am wholly for, is the increase in educational oppertunities across the board. When I hear someone whine about how they are poor at math or science or computers because their teacher didn't call on them enough in school or their teacher didn't instill enough self-confidence in them (pardon me, but isn't self-confidence, by virtue of its name, something that cannot be instilled by an external force?) or because the "boys were too obnoxious and eager", it makes me want to wretch.

    So, should we punish boys because they're sometimes eager to learn? Rediculous. Perhaps the problem isn't that boys often are louder and demand more attention when it comes to time in class-room, but that females do not demand the same and excersize their same unrestricted ability to raise their hand and shout "ooh! ooh! I know the answer!". You know what this suggests? Maybe there is something different between boys and girls after all. (Oh my gosh! No! That can't be!)

    Perhaps what makes boys excel more often in science is precisely this same attitude and enthusiasm that is exhibited in grade school. Instead of shutting it down and tuning them out, in favor of shy quiet girls, coax the girls out of their shells.

    Even if you don't have a teacher who does this -- for example, if you have a teacher who absolutely refuses to call on a single girl for an entire year and almost completely ignores them (perhaps he's some sort of demented sadist -- ooh! there I am again, assuming the male as the evil on -- oh gosh, I'm so sexist!), you can still achieve amazing things.

    Most of my life in school, I was not one of the loud boisterous ones raising my hand every second to beat everyone else out in answering a question. Hell, after the first couple grades, my scores dropped horribly. A lot of it was due to insane family problems, but a lot of it was boredom. Absolutely, earth-stopping boredom.

    In fact, I didn't exactly even graduate 10th grade. I don't even know that I had enough credits to graduate 9th grade. But I was able to quickly leave school, take my GED and SAT's (scoring in the absolute top percentiles of both) and walk more or less directly into a very high-paying career in the Valley (yes, the silicon one).

    My parents disliked computers and videogames, thinking they were a waste of time and I should be doing yardwork or something. My school didn't know what good their obsolete computers were for other than teaching children how to type. And the only computer we had around the house until I was twelve years old, was a used VIC-20 (it didn't last long).

    My parents eventually graduated to a 386 in 1989 or 1990, but I was almost never allowed to use it. It was a holy grail, used only to play solitaire religiously by my parents (and the occasional MindSweeper).

    No, it wasn't until much much later when I sold most of my worthwhile posessesions as a teenager, that I was able to afford a computer. It was a 286 with a 20mb hard drive and an green monochrome monitor. Couple megabytes of RAM and no sound card.

    I put an advertisement in the paper and within a week had sold this for almost double what I paid for it (I made a few minor improvements to the machine.. *cough*...)

    I took that money and bought a 386 with a CGA monitor, 80mb hard drive and 4MB RAM. I ran my first (and very successful) BBS on this. I learned to write in BASIC on this. I learned to cause innocent trouble with minor security flaws in BBS software packages (such as Remote Access BBS and WWIV).

    I was destined, due to my performence in school and my standing with my parents, to pump gas or work as a stock boy in a grocery store for the rest of my life. I was certain of it. There was no way I'd make anything out of myself.

    I was, in a word, fucked.

    Having a mind-numbing job in the physical labor market scared the hell out of me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that, in my teenage years, I thought of suicide as a possibility if I was going to be stuck in one of those jobs. No offense intended to people who work in those fields, but it isn't for me. I couldn't tolerate the six weeks at a fast food joint when I was sixteen, because it required zero mental ability and provided zero mental stimulation. I wanted to stick my head in the fry-grease and let my brain sizzle.

    Some time ago, I was crossing the street late one night and was struck by a brand new shiny white Subaru. It hit me and kept going for about fifty feet before the driver even considered hitting the breaks. Then it threw me through the air another fifty feet. Thankfully, I landed in the street, on the nice safe asphalt. The car was obliterated and I could have walked away, if the bystanders hadn't insisted I wait for an ambulance. An hour later, I walked out of the hospital. Aside from soreness and pain in my joints for a month (a few visits to the chiropractor and I was back to normal) and picking asphalt and windshield out of my skull, I was fine.

    It shook me somehow, though. Everyone in my family noticed it. I said "fuck it" and knew that I had the skills and dedication to do whatever the hell I wanted, regardless of my history in school. I would make sure that employers saw my ability and my dedication and gave me a shot, without concern of my poor performance in the past.

    I grabbed a job providing tech support at a tech farm (one that does tech support for numerous companies at once). A year and a half later, and I was marketable. I left home and jumped to one of the absolute top technical companies in Silicon Valley (hint: They make a version of Unix).

    Now I'm making more money than nearly anyone in my family, including college graduates with Masters degrees and a Doctor. I work in exactly the field I had wanted, making more money than I expected, learning more than I ever could dream -- and all without the formal education and attention and coddling that people tend to use the lack of as an excuse for their failing -- or their failing to try.

    I'm slow. I have to spend a long time contemplating intellectual arguements and have difficulty parrying with people who are quicker, wittier, more worldly and better educated than me. My scores in the top percentiles of those SAT tests were sheer luck. Anyone could have pulled it off. I took the time to explain my long -- probably boring -- story, because I'm a nobody who would be lucky to fall into the middle of any category or ranking of anything. But I've done what a lot of people whine that they could never do. And that's bullshit. It's utter fucking bullshit. It's cowardice. It's fear.

    Yes, you hav limits -- I couldn't become a neurosurgeon, just because I say I want to be one. But we're not talking about brain surgery -- we're talking about reading some books, playing around on a cheap computer, getting a foot in the door of the tech world via a low-level geek job, and then exploiting that until your whole body is in the door. In that respect, women are no different from men. In fact, as fierce and unwavering as I've known many women to be, there should be less of an excuse.

    The only piece of advice I could give to parents -- especially mothers, is to instill in your daughters the understanding that they need to be outgoing enough to make it known when they are upset or have something to say, share or ask. It won't just help them in school, but in relationships and careers. It isn't the schools job, necessarily, to pamper your little girl and make sure absolutely every little whim and need is catered to, but it is certainly their role to address her questions and curiosities -- so give her the understanding and confidence to make those things known. I knew girls when I was in school -- even grade school, that would but the most fierce boys to shame. Do you know how the boys felt? A bit embarassed, but at the same time, there was this slightly not-understood feeling among all of us. There was something about a really smart and outgoing girl that made is grin and treat her with a little more respect than (as kids) we probably would have.

    So that's all I have to say on this, I think. At least, you hope, right? *grin*.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • A female graduate student had the following experience:

    [A professor] in the introductory part of a guest lecture on robotics to the graduate core AI class: (approximate quote) `Pretty soon we'll have robots that are sophisticated enough to wander around in shopping malls and pick up girls.' I didn't listen to the rest of the lecture, so I don't know what else he had to say.

    I read some of the article, and came to the part on sexism. Above is one of the examples of the fierce sexism in CS (the others are pretty nasty, but I've never seen anything close to them). I have read the above example numerous times but fail to find anything demeaning towards women in it. If anything, it is a joke about simplistic male minds.

  • My three cents (you get an extra cent at 25 Karma):

    While we've all read statistics about the "glass ceiling" until we could barely stand it (women fill less technical, executive, skilled jobs than men), few people have ever heard of the "glass floor".

    But as it turns out, 9 of the 10 ranked "worst jobs" (and, no, I'm not sure who ranks them, but they include garbage collector, etc.) are held almost exclusively by men.

    And while I read all sorts of articles like "Why aren't more women in high-power programming jobs??", I've never seen an article entitled "Why aren't more women taking out the trash??".

    It's my opinion--well, it seems obvious to me--that women go to jobs that they feel suited for, and that the reason is a combination of biology and society. Many women, for one reason or another, feel more comfortable in middle-management than in programming. I don't think this is discriminatory. If a girl who could program Linux walked through our door, we'd pounce on her. Man, we're desperate for those. Some of us are trying to invoke ancient witchcraft to bring Ki [gpf-comics.com] to life.
  • Interesting, but you are wrong to say that the distinction between sex and gender depends upon environmental determinism. It only depends upon the fact that some people's psychology may correspond to their reverse biological gender. There is very strong empirical evidence for transgender.
  • ABCNews has recently has done a series of interesting articles on women in the computing industry(1 [go.com], 2 [go.com], and 3 [go.com]).

    The most recent article (here [go.com]) is on why and how women are steered in a number of ways away from computing careers.

    Mentioned in the article was a study by the American Association of University Women of these pressures in how computers are taught, an executive summary is here as a pdf [aauw.org] and an overview is here [aauw.org].

    The full article must be purchased.

  • by HarpMan (53271) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @02:19PM (#955538)
    You're right, of course -- animals (including humans) are of a certain sex, words have gender.

    But, the poster you responded to is probably referring to the lit-crit, "postmodern", "deconstructionist" re-definitions of these words, where sex is biologically determined, but of no import, and gender is socially determined. According to these theories, masculinity and femininity are completely social constructs, with no basis in biology. If a boy were reared as a girl, he would behave as a girl, and vice-versa.

    For an excellent account just how dangerous these theories can be, read "As Nature Made Him." It tells the story of a boy who was accidentally castrated after birth in a botched circumcision operation, and raised as a girl. To make a long story short, it failed miserably. The kid had all sorts of problems, and persistently behaved like a boy. He eventually (at age 14) was told the truth, and went back to being a boy.

    How does this relate to computer jobs and gender discrimination? Well, nobody knows for certain which traits are biologically vs. socially determined, and to what extents. However, we do know that boys and girls are subjected to different brain altering hormones (testosterone, estrogen, etc.) in the womb, and in puberty. We know that boys and girls are wired differently. So, it's a least possible that part of the cause of the discrepancy between the number of boys and girls who study computer science is biologically determined. Likely, even. An inequality of results does not necessarily indicate social stereotyping. But some people are unwilling to even consider this. This is a most unscientific prejudice.

    Now, I know lots of women who are excellent programmers, and who enjoy their jobs. Letting girls know that programming can be fun and rewarding is a good idea, and might increase the number of girls going into computer related fields. We have a serious worker shortage in the industry, and girls can certainly learn how to program well, so why not encourage them to at least consider computers as a career. But I doubt that percentages will ever be 50/50, unless we live in a totalitarian state, which chooses the careers people go into for them.

    In addition to "As Nature Made Him" (sorry, forgot the author's name), see recent books and articles for Christina-Hoff Sommers, on the dangers of politically correct and extreme feminist thinking re gender stereotyping, etc.

  • At the University of Victoria [www.uvic.ca], there are nearly two girls per guy on campus. They have an excellent engineering department, one of the best co-op programs in the country, and 3 girls in my engineering class.
    3! In a class of more than a hundred! Does that strike you as odd in a school where the normal distribution is 60:40, or greater?
    That said, they tend to be much better students on average than the guys. No I'm not implying women are smarter than us (I'll say that outright!), but a large percentage of the guys are interested primarily in making a slough of money. The girls who are in engineering (in my class at least (yes, I know, the sample size is statistically invalid)) are there because they really want to be. That's always the segment of the student body that performs best. Therefore, they're among the best of our crew, compete for the best job-ops, and get them as often as their hairier peers.
    As for the up and comers-- I've got a little cousin being tutored in a Montessori school, who's quite the independant sort. Only 9 year old I ever met who could cogently explain to me what an engineer was, what they did, and what school she's going to for training to be one. My dad's a PEng, and all I knew at that age was his explanations of simple math problems made my head hurt...
    Maybe the women are more inclined to do what they actually like than as money-hungry idiots? Oh, that's right... I like my mind-destroying soul-eating enervating stultifying tendon-inflaming desk job... forgot.

  • The question isn't so much "Why can't girls who really want to be computer scientists be successful?" but rather "Why don't girls want to be computer scientists?". Many of the efforts address the first question, and yes, it is now a lot easier for a woman to pursue and be successful in a technical area. But they address the first in order to help the deeper second problem.

    Nobody's trying to make young girls do things they don't want to do, but I do believe that the popular images and role models still around today often keep girls (and boys) away from things which might interest them. (On stayinghomewiththechildrendot.org, no doubt, they have a thread: Why aren't boys more interested in being homemakers?) And unfortunately, these images and role models are self-perpetuating. Affirmative action programs (and less despised practices) attempt to undo this imbalance, hoping that the next generation will be influenced more fairly.

    Certainly, there are plenty of arguments to be had about how best to do this (or whether to do it at all), but I think you're missing the point.
  • by Stickerboy (61554) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @01:00PM (#955548) Homepage

    It's not really anybody's fault that girls tend not to pick technical fields - as my sociology professor put it, popular boys play with toys, and popular girls play with boys. Indirect pressure from media, culture and peers creates a push for girls and boys to play different roles. No one's forcing girls to play with Barbies, or boys to play with GI Joes, but girls and boys do look around to see what their friends are playing with.

    Intelligent girls and boys who think for themselves can and will buck the cultural trend, if they so desire. There isn't any kind of real glass ceiling anymore (except the occasional old boys' network here and there), there just isn't a desire in boys and girls in general to break their respective social stereotypes. Heck, the article might as well have been about the repression of boys from joining the forces of happy homemakers cooking for the spouse and caring for the kids.

    And as a side note, sex means the physical differences between men and women. Gender signifies the different social roles that men and women undertake. At least according to my psychology textbook.
  • Sharks have to constantly keep in motion, even while sleeping, in order to pass enough water over their gills to breathe.

    Therefore, a Microsoft Shark would last about three minutes until it had to pause while it rebooted.
  • What I want to know is that the odds are in Vegas that Pamela will catch up and win the race.


  • First of all, of course the word gender can be applied to people; I don't know where everyone got the mistaken impression that doing so is grammatically incorrect. In it's academic sense it usually refers to a social construction rather than a biological one (some cultures will, in certain circumstances, assign male roles to females or female roles to males), but in this instance that's kind of irrelevant; in the US sex and culturally defined gender are almost always the same.

    Secondly, I think a lot of the gender bias outcry began when computer science became recognized as an important field, as computers became more and more a part of daily life. How many articles do you see claiming men are driven away from the humanities? It all comes down to a value judgement, where certain disciplines are considered more important than others. The article "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?" reiterates this point by mentioning early gender stereotyping involving toys, where girls are encouraged to play with dolls while boys are encouraged to play with toy cars. Both are discouraged from playing with the other's toys; why does this automatically disadvantage girls but not boys? Why are toy cars better than dolls? Why is computer science better than English? A lot of the argument seems to come down to economics, in that computer science is more lucrative, but personally I find that a contemptible way to base an ethical system on.

    The fact is women are more likely to go to college than men. They're more likely to get higher grades than men when they get there. Yes, there's a gender bias in the sciences, and yes, corrections should be made, but putting it all in terms of victims vs. victimizers just oversimplifies the problem.
  • The funny thing about "gender discrimination" is that we have only recently begun to define gender as an appropriate descriptor for sex.

    gender (jndr)
    n. Abbr. g., gen.

    Grammar.
    A grammatical category used in the analysis of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and, in some languages, verbs that may be arbitrary or based on characteristics such as sex or animacy and that determines agreement with or selection of modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms.
    One category of such a set.
    The classification of a word or grammatical form in such a category.
    The distinguishing form or forms used.
    Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture

    SEX is the proper term to define the architecture of one physical anatomy which determines MALE / FEMALE.

    but now adays SEX is not PC - so we have rewritten, see:

    Usage Note: Traditionally, gender has been used primarily to refer to the grammatical categories of "masculine," "feminine," and "neuter"; but in recent years the word has become well established in its use to refer to sex-based categories, as in phrases such as gender gap and the politics of gender. This usage is supported by the practice of many anthropologists, who reserve sex for reference to biological categories, while using gender to refer to social or cultural categories. According to this rule, one would say The effectiveness of the medication appears to depend on the sex (not gender) of the patient, but In peasant societies, gender (not sex) roles are likely to be more clearly defined. This distinction is useful in principle, but it is by no means widely observed, and considerable variation in usage occurs at all levels.

  • From Webster's New World Dictionary (ISBN 0-446-31299-1):

    gender (jen' der) n., the classification by which words are grouped as masculine, feminine, or neuter.

    You see, the correct word is sex. I realize my dictionary is slightly outdated (circa 1984), and I also realize that new dictionaries have a different definition than the one above. And yes, I realize that it's natural for a language to change and grow over time.

    However, it makes me sick to witness this change in this particular case. Why? Because the language was successfully manipulated by the Politically Correct.

    Remember: those that control your language control your thoughts.
  • What's the factor that makes women less attracted to the academic career than males? I wonder.

    To paraphrase Bob Weir, "oh yes, the women are, SMARTER!"

    Speaking as an academic, I'd have to say that to do this you have to work twice as long and twice as hard to have half as much income and half as much job security as someone in a financial or other professional career. My wife and daughters are not that dumb.

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • Although it may have something to do with sex. Remember, "words have gender, people have sex".
    --
  • by Ellen Spertus (31819) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:08PM (#955561) Homepage
    Thanks for the links to my documents/sites on gender and computing. The most comprehensive site is actually The Ada Project [mills.edu].
  • I still can't find where my cat hides all afternoon

    He's playing with the sock that you lost in the dryer.

  • > [Nasa, Medical]

    I never really believed it anyway. I thought "There is NO way any kid can gain access to this via the .net". However, the official press release still leaves a *tiny* amount of room for speculation... Scary.

    > [MP3, in car]

    This is cool. I worry that having so many tunes at your disposal, all on a cool toy, could lead to (ahem) "mishaps".

    Note: Schumacher once blamed a car crash on "I was adjusting the radio". If it can happen to him...

    > [Penguins]

    Poor little *&%$!!!'s - They get covered in oil, then get told "And now you have to swim 800kms back home". Ain't Mankind just the greatest?

    > [Women, Comp Sci]

    Sorry guys - In the UK at least. Geeks are still geeks. Albeit with nice salaries, cars, homes... But still. At Uni, my friend had ONE woman on his computer science course.

    Anyway, I'm spent now...

    Mong.

    * ...Student, Artist, Techie - Geek *
  • by Kaufmann (16976) <rnedal.olimpo@com@br> on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:12PM (#955568) Homepage
    Hey, I'm a person, and I haven't had sex in ages! Stop the discrimination!

    Maybe I should start an organisation called "GUFOGEL" (Geeks United For the Objective of Getting Laid)...

    It might as well be a for-profit org. :)

    Ah well.

  • by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3@noSPAm.phroggy.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @07:17PM (#955569) Homepage
    An important detail that I think a lot of people have missed: the difference between a programmer and a geek. A programmer can be someone who shows up at the office at 9am Monday morning, writes code all day, leaves at 5pm and gives little thought to their work until 9am Tuesday. A lot of people are being taught how to do this these days, both male and female. Sure, it's a male-dominated industry, but women can do it too, obviously. The key is, there's no drive to go beyond what needs to be done - no drive to explore the how or why of something.

    That is not a geek. For a geek, work is life. You don't stop work at 5pm, just because it's the end of the working day. If they make you go home, you go home, and as soon as you recover from the inconvenience of having to interrupt your work long enough to make the commute home, you work on your project some more. Not because you're getting paid for it, but because it's what you live for. Maybe you don't actually write code at home, but you think about possibilities, figure out how to do something, maybe read some documentation, discuss a problem online. It's the drive, the passion, that makes a geek.

    Geeks are a rare breed, and female geeks are even more rare. I've known a few, and they're impressive - most moreso than many of the male geeks I know, probably in part due to the fact that they've had to work harder to get to where they are (due to social stereotyping and discrimination and such). These are the people we need more of, in both sexes. This is what needs to be encouraged.

    <tread on="thin ice">
    As someone else said, popular people don't like geeks, and often male geeks don't like female geeks. Why? One of the possible reasons: guys generally place more importance on physical appearance than women do, and geeks are frequently not that physically attractive, partially because the intensity with which they devote themselves to their work leaves little room for fashion and hygiene. There are always exceptions, but most of the female geeks I've known have not been particularly attractive physically. Does physical appearance really matter, when you're just talking about hacking C code? No, but as you'll recall from Pulp Fiction, neither is a foot massage sexual.
    </tread>

    Flame away.

    --

  • Is that the biomed systems are considered sensitive and confidential. The only ones who are supposed to have access to that information are the flight surgeon and designated family members. In other words, the biomed systems are supposed to be more secure than the "ordinary" telemetry data, which are also supposed to be secure.

    I still have trouble believing that someone could hack into NASA's MCC (mission control center) systems. Perhaps these biomed systems are not within the primary protection ring at the MCC. I'm not sure which idea bothers me more -- that someone could hack into the MCC, or that biomed data isn't as protected as it should be.

    --Jim
  • Perhaps you don't realize how much you can affect the world around you. You say you are making more money than the rest of your family.... You say you are working for a successful corporation... Great!

    You are in a position to say those things at the times which they are most agregious. (I sound a little like eliza don't I?) Are you going to say them? Will you even know it if you do?

    No seriously, I think that you would be surprised how much more effective leading by example is than preaching to the masses (or even slashdot!). Live a good life, learn about your learned biases, encourage others to live a good life (don't force them)... and then educate all those around you in a passive manner. Sure you wont see it happen all at once but you can make huge changes in people with small pushes.

    lead.

    -pos

    P.S. I think it was nice that Ellen Spertus included the advantages [mit.edu] that she saw that women have.

    I respect that because it shows to me that she is secure in knowing that she has made a good argument and can point out the other side. She expects to be speaking with an open-minded, intelligent crowd. Nice touch.


    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:13PM (#955574)
    After skimming through "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?", I have to say that I'm still not convinced. Even the terminology used to discuss this topic puts me off.

    The typical language used is such to suggest victimization, inequality, unfairness -- a need to be encouraged, given a nudge, coddled.

    Look, I'm sorry that there isn't one women for every man in the technical work force. That's just too bad. But when, in stories such as that previously exampled, illustrates reasons such as "who wants a stuffy 9 to 5 job?" and "you have to be, like, so precise and stuff with computers" and "let Bill Gates do it all -- why should I have to?", a great deal of empathy and sympathy is lost.

    If a woman wants a technical career, she has just as many options -- if not more, than a man. This is the year 2000. It isn't 1950. A woman isn't going to apply for a computer science scholorship and be told by the people who handle her applicant, "Oh, dearie -- don't you think a nice course in domestic engineering would be more suitable to a nice young lady like yourself?"

    There are hundreds of thousands of extremely successful women out there who made the system work for them, just like men have to. To suggest that a woman can't make it becuase of the big bad sexist teachers, men and society is ludicrous. I know it seems mean-hearted and politically off-the-deep-end to say things like this, but people need to grow up. You get what you get, and it isn't handed to you. If you're going to make it in a career, it's going to be because you work your ass off to attain it, not because your fifth grade teacher called on you more often than someone else when it came to answering an algebra question.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • by coyote-san (38515) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @02:29PM (#955578)
    *augh* That's a joke based on the fact that "sex" can be a verb or an adjective.

    As other people have pointed out, words change their meaning over time as social needs change. We are a *long* way from the time when "sex-as-a-verb" meant a man porking his wife (always man-on-top, vaginal only, etc.) For several generations the most pressing social question involving "sex" wasn't "are you an innie or an outie", it was "do you sleep with your girlfriend?" (premarital sex, cohabitation), "do you sleep with your buddies?" (homosexuality), and the like.

    If you're in a grammar class and really, really need to follow the archaic rules people have sex. If you're in a psychology (or sociology?) class people have sex and act out their gender. Anywhere else "sex" is what people do with the parts of their anatomy that give them "gender."
  • by w3woody (44457) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @01:05PM (#955580) Homepage
    This is the year 2000. It isn't 1950. A woman isn't going to apply for a computer science scholorship and be told by the people who handle her applicant, "Oh, dearie -- don't you think a nice course in domestic engineering would be more suitable to a nice young lady like yourself?"

    Wanna bet?

    My wife and I work together on web site programming. She has a masters in theoretical physics; I have a BS in mathematics, both from the same school (Caltech). Yet when we go to a job site to talk about development issues, she is asked to go fetch coffee for the boys, or asked to take notes, or otherwise treated as my personal secretary, not my business partner. Once, I even had someone ask me a question about physics (as part of a game), and I turned and asked my wife--after all, she's the one with a master's degree in physics. Everyone in the room stopped cold and looked at me like I grew a horn or something--after all, why should I ask my pretty, stupid, coffee fetching wench for something that only men would understand?

    There are hundreds of thousands of extremely successful women out there who made the system work for them, just like men have to.

    I don't know what planet you've been on, but here on planet Earth, while there are thousands of highly successful women, the vast majority of programmers, heads of corporations and leaders are men. And not because men are somehow biologically superior--but because from birth, women are told they cannot.

    I know it seems mean-hearted and politically off-the-deep-end to say things like this, but people need to grow up.

    My mother is a successful architect. My wife, a successful programmer. In both cases I can report first hand the additional barriers they've had to face that I, as a successful programmer, have not.

    My mother can now curse and swear like a sailor--and has been known to tell contractors on a job site to go fuck themselves because any self-respecting woman would never do so. Even so, she constantly has to remind people on the job site that she's in charge. Even so, in the last two months, my mother has (a) been descriminated by a legal arbitrator who told my mother flat out before arbitration that she was going to lose because she's just a "stupid cunt and has no business being in charge of a building site" (dispite having 15 years experience), (b) been assulted by a male who thought she had no business being on a job site (even though she was > the construction through her company. In the past she's been sexually assulted by a building inspector, threatened, and otherwise harrassed, all because she's a woman in a male dominated industry.

    My wife has had to face similar issues. She's asked to fetch coffee, ignored during meetings with socially ill-equipped males who cannot stand the idea that a female is more mathematically competant than they are, and otherwise degraded repeatedly. In the > I've never had to deal with any of these issues--solely because I'm a 5'11 240lb fit confident male, instead of a 6' 135lb slender and attractive female.

    If you're going to make it in a career, it's going to be because you work your ass off to attain it, not because your fifth grade teacher called on you more often than someone else when it came to answering an algebra question.

    If you think sexual descrimination comes from "[some] fifth grade teacher [calling] on you more often than someone else", you're sadly mistaken.
  • Gender has to do with language. People do not have a gender, words do.

    The word "she" is feminine. (gender)
    The person Susie is a woman. (sex)

    So, the article and nothing to do with gender, it had to do with sex. (The characteristic, not the activity.)

    A proper response to "Did you see the person who walked through here?" is "I did not see him." Even it the person is a woman. Both "person" and "he" (in this instance) are gender neutral.

    Note that "they" and "them" are always plural. ALWAYS! If you are only talking about one person say "he" or "him" if you don't know the persons sex.

    Before you go "aww, who cares? pete-classic sux." ask yourself, would you take the same caviler attitude towards the rules of C or perl? (Okay, maybe perl people would. There is more than one way to speak English (incorrectly) ;-)


  • by mong (64682)
    Slightly confused as to the point you are trying to make?

    I meen, if this is your way of "coming out", announcing it to the world, I can think of better ways to do it.

    I mean - Do your close family and friends read Slashdot? Do you think they'd realise you go by the name of "FraggleMI - The Anonymous Coward", when you turn your tricks on a Saturday night?

    No. I'd suggest the old fashioned "Dad, I got something to tell you... argh! No, put the gun down, put the gun down you homophobiiiiargh!".

    Ahem,

    Mong.

    * ...Student, Artist, Techie - Geek *
  • by Lxy (80823) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:17PM (#955594) Journal
    In colder places (such as AK) wouldn't the hard drives freeze in the winter? I've debated building a car MP3 player but the winter temperatures around here made me decide otherwise.
  • In the UK, various companies and Universities run schemes to give financial incentives to female students to enroll on technical and scientific courses. A while back, the government used to even offer lump sums (1000UK per year) to female students who got good college grades, and went on to study something "Techie" at Uni.

    Like I posted elsewhere, it still wasn't enough - On my friends CS course, they had ONE female student.

    Mong.

    * ...Student, Artist, Techie - Geek *
  • by DonkPunch (30957) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @12:20PM (#955602) Homepage Journal
    How is it we're able to track two penquins in the ocean on a webpage via satellite, but I still can't find where my cat hides all afternoon?
  • One would think an education at Caltech might include rudimentary English instruction.

    You would think that, wouldn't you? But of course you'd be wrong. Besides, it has been my experience that those who resort to being critical about english usage generally have little else to contribute to the conversation.

    This certainly adds a new dimension to the word fit. I understand tho'. I was in a similar spot 30 lbs. ago.

    Don't lift weights, do you? I claim to be fit only because I have a black belt in Taekwando, and run 5 miles a day as well. Fitness is not a function of weight, but of overall conditioning.

    Bottom line: woe is you, your mom, and your wife. We're susposed to feel sorry for an architect and two programmers. All the strawberry pickers in the state will, I'm sure, shed a tear for the three of you.

    Where did you get that from my message? I don't claim "woe unto my wife and mother because they're mistreated." I only claim that additional burdens have been placed upon them that no-one would ever dream to place upon me simply because I have a dick and they have vaginas.

    Did you actually read the link that was referenced in the original article? Given what was presented as "research," the original poster's comment was on target. Most of the "evidence" presented in the link involved children.

    In fact, I did read the link that was refered to in the original article. And yes, I'm aware of the fact that in that particular research study much of the evidence presented involved how children are discriminated from birth towards predefined gender roles which preclude women from technically related arenas. However, in my experience, sexism doesn't stop at the age of 4. While it's only ancidotal, there is plenty of other ancidotal evidence in the daily papers and in the lives of most of the women around you--enough that it should suggest a trend to all but the most thick skulled.

    I was addressing the original poster who suggested that discrimination does not exist. I wish you would have addressed my post rather than making fun of my weight without knowing if that's an extra 40 pounds around the waist or 40 pounds around the shoulders and upper body...
  • but how does that relate to IT?

    Which? The part where my wife was asked in a meeting with a prospective client over a programming issue was asked to fetch coffee? Or the part where her advise on physics in a game was dismissed due to the fact that she's a woman?

    I covered two industries for the price of one.

    I'll bet (I'm guessing here) that most if not all of the customers you deal with are not high tech companies.

    The particular episode I was refering to occured at a Japanese multinational whose name I won't give out here but whose name starts with an "S". Chances are, they made your television set and your VCR as well...
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @02:31PM (#955607) Homepage Journal

    She may not be told this by the people who handle her application, but she may very well be told that by the other people in her life that may influence the decision - her parents, her friends, maybe her husband/boyfriend?

    Yeah, and if she listens to them, that's her problem. Yes, I know this is going to get me flamed. No, I don't care. People tell other people all the damn time that they can't accomplish their goals. Me, I listened to my mommy :) when she said that I could be anything I wanted to be, if I worked at it hard enough.

    The amazing thing here is that it's just not that hard to become a programmer, or if you like, a Computer Scientist. It's even easier to become a UNIX admin or MIS specialist or whatever else you want to do in computers.

    I'm totally willing to accept that women are in fact discriminated against in the field. As has been pointed out by intelligent people since, well, probably ever since we had a word for discrimination, even people who think they aren't predjudiced often are. Just because you strive to avoid acting in a predjudiced fashion against someone else doesn't mean you succeed.

    The point of this is not that the attitude is necessarily prevalent in the *industry* (though, the fact that the industry itself is even looking at this at all means that it's somewhat self perpetuated), but that the social condition exists that precludes women getting into highly technical endeavours - because, traditionally, the tech industry is *viewed* and (more importantly) *portrayed* as being male dominant.

    So what you're saying is that these women believe everything they read, right? Or hell, that the men do. Personally, I think that anyone with that attitude should stay the hell out of the buisness, because a lot of bad documentation is going to get them into a lot of trouble.

    This needs to change, on a social level, not an industrial one, and one of the things that can be done to assist this process by those in tech industries responsible for dictacting how the industry is portrayed (heck, you and I, lowly programmers/non-marketing types, definitely have a modicum of responsibility for this) is to make gender non-relevant in that portrayal.

    I agree with this point. When you try to con women into going into the field even when they're not interested, all you're going to do is make them paranoid, or you're going to get women into the field who aren't passionate about it and they'll dissuade others from going into the field. The first ingredient to a successful tech worker is someone who's actually interested in the technology for one reason or another. What got me into it was games, but I ended up enjoying writing my own code a great deal. Of course, as I got older and wanted to do more complicated things, the relative obscurity pushed me away, and I went the path of the BOFH^H^H^H^HSystems Administrator.

    i.e. don't even *bring it up* that there is a lack of women/men, but portray it in as gender-neutral a manner as possible. If this means balancing between interviewing male and female computer scientists for such banal things as Discovery channel documentaries on the subject of computer intelligence, etc. then so be it, but even that feeds the problem.

    What you're talking about here is the same issue as affirmative action. The best thing to do is just to interview the top people. If they're men, well, they're men. If they're women, then they're women. It's important not to let gender come into these things, just like when you're hiring someone. It's not appropriate to hire someone BECAUSE they are a woman, or a Minority, or whatever else - You hire people for their skills.

    Because it's this *portrayal* that allows the social aberration of gender-bias to persist, and it's this aberration that precludes a lot of women from choosing high tech careers.

    In other words: quit complaining that there aren't any hot chick programmers around. You're perpetuating the problem.

    Well, actually, I agree. We need more hot chick programmers, because I would like to get one into bed. Why I should stop complaining about something I find undesirable (IE, the lack of hot chick programmers) is beyond me. Of course, whining about it probably won't do any good, but let's face it -- If women never rose up against sexism, they still wouldn't be allowed to vote. If they're not willing to go to bat for themselves, then I don't think they see a problem like we do. I've known a number of woman who would see that as a reason to get into the field and then either never give a geek a glance, or to flirt with them shamelessly and then marry a carpenter. However, if the industry is short by enough people, I think the rising incentives will draw more women in solely for the money...

    Of course, that will provide psuedopositive role models for little girls who were thinking about getting into the same job. It'd be a slow correction, but I see a lot of possibility there.

    Also remember that sexism can go both directions. Women have this tendency to see computer careers as "Men's Work" -- Something distasteful to any properly raised female. Why should women do something so "pointless" and pedantic, they have been known to ask, when men will do it for them? I don't mean to imply for a second that this is an appropriate view, nor that every woman or even a majority of women believe this, but I've heard it more than once. I think the biggest issue keeping women out of that workplace is the way they were raised as children, not what horny geeks are saying today. This has more to do with the media and their parents than some lonely, lecherous nerds.

  • Lets see its in the trunk of a car, that's pretty hot in many places.
  • by homebru (57152) on Wednesday July 05, 2000 @01:32PM (#955614)
    Pamela and some of the other lady penguins stopped for lunch. Afterwards, there was a protracted discussion of who had had which dish, who owed how much, and why hadn't anyone remembered to bring their coin purse and do you think that the establishment will take a charge card?

    When they couldn't find the headwaiter, they remembered where they were and got back in motion.

  • Take a look at the satellite track. Pamela (the yellow track) has aparently gotten lost.

    Read the text above the satellite track! Pamela spent a day feeding before turning for home. She's not lost; she's just late.

    --Jim
  • this could be true....my theory is slightly different. Get this - there aren't as many women in IT because - hold on to your hats! - men and women are "different"

    The question, though, is why are women different than men in this regard? Is it because the penis attached to your nether regions has an innate desire to install Linux, while a vagina makes you desire the wisdom of Betty Crocker? Is it because biologically you are wired from birth to want to play with computers, while a woman would be wired from birth to want to play with pink laced dolls?

    Or is it because the people in our society presume that from birth, boys want to play with guns and girls want to play with dolls?

    If you want to blame men for this ever so frightening trend, don't.

    The issue here is not if men have subjugated women and reduced them to some sort of "second-class status" of confinement to pink lace and aprons covered with cookie dough. The question is if our innate prejudices in our society, shared by both men and women, cause us to want to raise the next generation of women to be as technologically stunted as the next generation of men will be emotionally stunted.

    ...but to say that women are being forced out of IT is just bullshit, especially because most "IT" companies are currently going to cemetaries digging up corpses to put in seats, AND paying them $80k a year.

    It's only this accute shortage that has created the opportunity my wife now enjoys to get involved. Odd thing is: now that companies are listening to her rather than dismissing her, they find that she has a lot more to contribute than our society would have us expect.
  • And so which part did you not buy? The

    "...while there are thousands of highly successful women, the vast majority of programmers, heads of corporations and leaders are men."

    part? Or the

    "And not because men are somehow biologically superior--but because from birth, women are told they cannot."

    part?

    It would help to focus the conversation.
  • There seems to be a steadily growing number of those. At the last course I took (a summer two-monther on linear algebra), at least half of the 80-student class was female.

    OTOH, in my department, out of around 50 PhDs, only two are women.

    What's the factor that makes women less attracted to the academic career than males? I wonder.
  • So what is this about? Why are you picking on us, programmers and IT workers?

    Actually, I'm not picking on anyone, except the original bozo who suggested that discrimination doesn't occur. I have seen it occur on a fairly regular basis. I've watched how people treat me, verses how they treat my wife, who frankly, is smarter than I am about a great many things.

    I am saddened, however, by a society who believes women are only good for "fuzzy, fluffy" non-technical things. I'm saddened by a society who took my wife, who was by all accounts a competant assembly code hacker in high school, and repeatedly drilled into her head by example how she was only worthwile if she showed her tits to some boob, and not because she could hack the OS inside an Atari to hook in additional features that it wasn't designed to do.

    And it's not just men that I think share the blaim. Women also shoulder about half of this. Take the ex-girlfriend who thought I was a sissy because I can whip up the best tasting batch of brownies around, or who can bake chocolate chip cookies without refering to a cookbook. Or the neighbors who thought my parents were so sick and perverted that my brother and I should be turned over to child protective services because my mother would mow the lawn while my father would cook dinner. (True story--never grow up in a fundamentalist town if you can help it.)

    I have little patience for sexism. But it isn't IT workers, or the geeks of the world, who are at fault here--though they do shoulder their share of the blaim.
  • ...pardon me, but isn't self-confidence, by virtue of its name, something that cannot be instilled by an external force?

    Actually, self confidence is something that is both postiviely and negatively reinforced due to external stimuli.

    If I tell you "Now Seumas, stop being a sexist pig," and others around you tell you the same thing, then eventually started shutting you out of the discussion, then your girlfriend left you because she thought you were a sexist pig, don't tell me this series of events wouldn't at least tarnish your self-confidence. Most people, after being pecked to death by ducks, will eventually at least stop sharing their ideas--that is, their confidence will stop being very strong.

    Therein lies the problem that some women have faced. This constantly being shut down, told to stop asking questions, "go behave like a good girl and go play with your dolls"--this doesn't exactly help self-confidence in the technical arena. So by the fifth grade, the girls may not speak up because they've been constantly reminded in subtle and not so sublte ways to sit down and shut up.

    So, should we punish boys because they're sometimes eager to learn?

    Obviously not, but that's not the question. The question is why are girls less likely to pipe up, and if it is cultural (as I suspect it is, at least partially), then can we counteract those cultural stereotypes enough to allow women to be at least thought of as worthwile scientists, technicians and hackers while they are still in their formative years?

    In that respect, women are no different from men. In fact, as fierce and unwavering as I've known many women to be, there should be less of an excuse.

    While I have tremendous respect for your personal story, the problem is that most people aren't as mindful to their circumstances or as willing to change them as they should. And to that I think it's a crime that everyone doesn't fight the good fight as you have.

    However, what I'm replying to is the assertion that the only thing that counts is the good fight. Suppose instead of landing a job in Silicon Valley, the person you interviewed with decided that you weren't worth hiring you because you're black. Or because you're latino. Would you have fought harder to succeed?

    Should you have to fight harder to succeed?

    I think it's unfair to place additional burdens on people due to their gender or skin color, simply because we're too lazy as a society to get over these prejudices. People already have enough burdens to shoulder due to their family situation, environment, or other circumstances.

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