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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do we define sexism?

AmiMoJo writes: Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the low numbers of women in tech, right from early school level to the workplace. Often when steps are taken to try to address this, a number of people claim that they are sexist. For example, special extra computer science classes for girls are welcomed by many, but dismissed as sexist by others because they exclude boys. One argument is that such measures don't harm boys, they only help disadvantaged girls, so they are not sexist, but others seem to think that anything which doesn't include everyone is automatically sexist and discriminatory.

How do we define sexism, and (assuming for the sake of argument that there is a problem) how do we deal with low numbers of women in tech without being sexist? Is any kind of segregation, such as special glasses for gifted students or make-up classes for those falling behind, always wrong and discriminatory?

Submission + - U.S. Education Chief, Tech Giants Exploit Innumeracy to Advance K-12 CS Agenda

theodp writes: Dismayed by how easily the press was misled into spinning low AP Computer Science exam participation in certain states as evidence of gender and racial inequity, Gas Station Without Pumps patiently explained in early 2014 that it is hardly surprising from a statistical standpoint that there are no female or black students test takers in a state if there are no test takers at all. Still, that didn't stop U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday from citing the lack of female AP Computer Science test takers from WY, MT, MS, ND, and AK in 2013 as evidence of how America is still failing K-12 students when it comes to civil rights and equity of access to opportunity. Duncan's remarks (video), which came on the 50th anniversary of the passage of what's now known as the No Child Left Behind Act, parroted those made just days earlier by tech-bankrolled Code.org. Fallacious as the argument may be, this and other sensational-but-innumerate factoids from the K-12-learn-to-code movement — e.g., "only about 10 percent of K-12 schools teach computer science" (how many students?), "25 states still don't allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation" (again, how many students?), "Students have participated in the Hour of Code 110,296,184 times" (what exactly does 'participated' mean?) — nonetheless resonated with lawmakers, who declared computer science a K-12 'core academic subject' in the just-rewritten No Child Left Behind Act, a victory that Duncan alluded to in his speech. Both Duncan and Code.org thanked Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for the No Child Left Behind rewrite.

Submission + - Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins->

vivaoporto writes: As reported by the New York Times, USA Today and other publications, a jury of six men and six women rejected current Reddit Inc CEO Ellen Pao’s claims against her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Ms. Pao’s suit, that allegged employment discrimination based on gender, workplace retaliation and failure to take reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination, asked $16 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages.

The jury decided, after more than two days of deliberation and more than four weeks of testimony, that her formed employer neither discriminated against the former junior partner for her gender, nor fired the complainant because of a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against the firm in 2012.

She alleged that Kleiner Perkins had promoted male partners over equally qualified women at the firm, including herself, and then retaliated against her for raising concerns about the firm’s gender dynamics by failing to promote her and finally firing her after seven years at the firm after she filed her 2012 lawsuit.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Direct programming the sub-$5 ESP8266 WiFi module means Internet for everything->

szczys writes: The ESP8266 boards have been around for a while. They let you add WiFi to any hardware project for under five bucks. But most people are using them with the AT commands firmware which is a bit of a kludge. Since espressif put out a free SDK for them, it's pretty easy to program them directly. Here's an overview of what that takes which really highlights how easy it is to do.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: GPU of choice for OpenCL on Linux?

Bram Stolk writes: So, I am running GNU/Linux on a modern Haswell CPU, with an old Radeon HD5xxx from 2009. I'm pretty happy with the open source Gallium driver for 3D acceleration.

But now I want to do some GPGPU development using OpenCL on this box, and the old GPU will no longer cut it. What do my fellow technophiles from slashdot recommend as a replacement GPU? Go nVidia, go AMD, or just use the integrated Intel GPU instead? Bonus points for open sourced solutions. Performance not really important, but OpenCL driver maturity is.

Submission + - Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature?->

sarahnaomi writes: SimCity players have discussed a variety of creative strategies for their virtual homelessness problem. They’ve suggested waiting for natural disasters like tornadoes to blow the vagrants away, bulldozing parks where they congregate, or creating such a woefully insufficient city infrastructure that the homeless would leave on their own.

You can read all of these proposed final solutions in Matteo Bittanti's How to Get Rid of Homelessness, "a 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the so-called 'homeless scandal' that affected 2013's SimCity." Bittanti collected, selected, and transcribed thousands of these messages exchanged by players on publisher Electronic Arts' official forums, Reddit, and the largest online SimCity community Simtropolis, who experienced and then tried to "eradicate" the phenomenon of homelessness that "plagued" SimCity.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Red Hat Engineer Improves Math Performance of Glibc

jones_supa writes: Siddhesh Poyarekar from Red Hat has taken a professional look into mathematical functions found in Glibc (the GNU C library). He has been able to provide an 8-times performance improvement to slowest path of pow() function. Other transcendentals got similar improvements since the fixes were mostly in the generic multiple precision code. These improvements already went into glibc-2.18 upstream. Siddhesh believes that a lot of the low hanging fruit has now been picked, but that this is definitely not the end of the road for improvements in the multiple precision performance. There are other more complicated improvements, like the limitation of worst case precision for exp() and log() functions, based on the results of the paper Worst Cases for Correct Rounding of the Elementary Functions in Double Precision. One needs to prove that those results apply to the Glibc multiple precision bits.

Submission + - Experimenting With Motivational Passwords

jones_supa writes: At Mauricio Estrella's workplace, the Microsoft Exchange server is configured to ask thousands of employees around the planet to change their passwords every 30 days. Mauricio often approached the situation with an angry grandpa voice in his head: "The damn password has expired." This input field with a pulsating cursor, waiting for him to type a password that he will have to re-enter for the next 30 days. Many times during the day. Then a lightbulb went on inside his head: "I'm gonna use a password to change my life." His passwords became little motivational snippets, every one being a condensed phrase for a goal or dream. He set his first motivational password to be Save4trip@thailand. Guess where he went 3 months later. Mauricio kept doing this and found the method to work surprisingly consistently for various goals, which he lists in his blog post. To summarize, this might be one way to make your passwords a bit more fun and to remind about good habits. Just for added security he recommends scrambling the passwords a bit more than in his examples.

Submission + - Workaholism in America Is Hurting the Economy->

An anonymous reader writes: Work/life balance is a constant problem in the tech industry. Even though experienced and mature engineers have been vocal in fighting it, every new generation buys into the American cultural identity of excessive work being a virtue. Each generation suffers for it, and the economy does, too. This article backs up that wisdom with hard numbers: "The 40-hour workweek is mostly a thing of the past. Ninety-four percent of professional workers put in 50 or more hours, and nearly half work 65 or above. All workers have managed to cut down on our time on the job by 112 hours over the last 40 years, but we’re far behind other countries: The French cut down by 491 hours, the Dutch by 425, and Canadians by 215 in the same time period. ... This overwork shows up in our sleep. Out of five developed peers, four other countries sleep more than us. That has again worsened over the years. In 1942, more than 80 percent of Americans slept seven hours a night or more. Today, 40 percent sleep six hours or less. A lack of sleep makes us poorer workers: People who sleep less than seven hours a night have a much harder time concentrating and getting work done."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Programming on a Piano Keyboard->

An anonymous reader writes: Here's a fun project: engineer Yuriy Guts built a Visual Studio extension that lets people program using MIDI instruments. You can write code letter by letter on a piano keyboard. Granted, it's not terribly efficient, but it's at least artistic — you can compose music that is also a valid computer program. Somewhat more usefully, it also allows you to turn a simple MIDI input device, like a trigger pad into a set of buttons that will run tests, push/pull code, or other automatable tasks. The extension is open source and open to contributions.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Age discrimination in the tech industry

Presto Vivace writes: Tech industry job ads: Older workers need not apply

It’s a widely accepted reality within the technology industry that youth rules. But at least part of the extreme age imbalance can be traced back to advertisements for open positions that government regulators say may illegally discriminate against older applicants. Many tech companies post openings exclusively for new or recent college graduates, a pool of candidates that is overwhelmingly in its early twenties. ...

“In our view, it’s illegal,” Raymond Peeler, senior attorney advisor at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws said about the use of “new grad” and “recent grad” in job notices. “We think it deters older applicants from applying.”

Am I the only one who thinks that much of the quality control and failed projects in the tech industry can be attributed to age discrimination?

Submission + - NIgerian born UK TV repairman sentenced 16 months prison for 91% reuse-> 1

retroworks writes: The Guardian uses a stock photo of obvious electronic junk in its coverage of the sentencing of Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics. But film of the actual containers showed fairly uniform, sorted televisions which typically work for 20 years. In 2013, the Basel Convention Secretariat released findings on a two-year study of the seized sea containers containing the alleged "e-waste", including Benson's in Nigeria, and found 91% working and repaired product. The study, covered in Slashdot last February, declared the shipments legal, and further reported that they were more likely to work than new product sent to Africa (which may be shelf returns from bad lots, part of the reason Africans prefer used TVs from nations with strong warranty laws).

Director of regulated industry Harvey Bradshaw of the UK tells the Guardian: "This sentence is a landmark ruling because it's the first time anyone has been sent to prison for illegal waste exports." But 5 separate university research projects question what the crime was, and whether prohibition in trade is really the best way to reduce the percentage of bad product (less than 100% waste). Admittedly, I have been following this case from the beginning and interviewed both Benson and the Basel Secretariat Executive Director, and am shocked that the UK judge went ahead with the sentencing following the publication of the E-Waste Assessment Study last year. http://retroworks.blogspot.com... But what do Nerds at Slashdot think about the campaign to arrest African geeks who pay 10 times the value of scrap for used products replaced in rich nations?

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They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.

Working...