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Comment: "Empire of the Rising Scum" (Score 5, Insightful) 167

by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (#49168905) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

From a 1990 essay comes the insight
"The ability to get ahead in an organization is simply another talent, like the ability to play chess, paint pictures, do coronary bypass operations or pick pockets. There are some people who are extraordinarily good at manipulating- organizations to serve their own ends. The Russians, who have suffered under such people for centuries, have a name for them-- apparatchiks. It was an observer of apparatchiks who coined the maxim, 'The scum rises to the top.' "

It is as insightful in its own way as "The Mythical Man-Month".

Comment: Would there be a detectable EM pulse? (Score 1) 203

by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (#49125421) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

Poul Anderson pointed out in a 1967 story that a supernova could have devastating electromagnetic pulse effects.

Since then, we've found that supernova explosions are asymmetrical. There is plasma moving at very high speeds near a new neutron star's magnetic field and not in a neat way where the effects cancel out.

How far away would you have to be in order not to have all your electronics fried?

Comment: Hewlett Packard, a generation ago (Score 2) 254

by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (#49045427) Attached to: What Intel's $300 Million Diversity Pledge Really Means

When the company was still run ethically, the ethics included opening the engineering department to women, not just on paper but in real life.

The word spread. Women in engineering schools knew where to apply when they graduated. HP had a larger pool of bright people to choose from, people who were shying away from their competitors.

There's more to being open than sticking the phrase "Equal Opportunity Employer" on the recruiting ads. Get it right, though, and it's sound business.

Comment: Re:Gallium? (Score 2) 260

That's the thing, gallium is not that exotic and has recreational uses. Casting equipment?! A staggering range of uses for thousands of years.

BTW "stabilize" is in the metallurgical sense. If the open literature is correct, and I hope it is full of booby traps for bomb makers, plutonium is less of a nightmare to put into controlled shapes if alloyed with gallium.

Comment: "If a group isn't interested" (Score 1) 333

by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (#46353033) Attached to: Will Peggy the Programmer Be the New Rosie the Riveter?

Groups aren't interested in things, people are, and pre-adult female people get a lot of messages about what should interest them which are outright toxic and which we should compensate for. Getting them some exposure to CS and programming may partially make up for a lifetime that begins with their brothers hogging the computer and which continues with outright anti-intellectualism in school.

Comment: Empirically provably false (Score 1) 333

by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (#46352991) Attached to: Will Peggy the Programmer Be the New Rosie the Riveter?

See the book "Unlocking the Clubhouse" for the results of hundreds of interviews with bright highly motivated female CS students.

> equal opportunity based upon relevant attributes (ie demonstrated interest and aptitude)

That's a good thing to focus on since we're not there yet and have more work to do.

The use of money is all the advantage there is to having money. -- B. Franklin