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Engineering is portrayed as a sexist, male-dominated field that is hostile to women. Yet, don't you think the same could have been said of medicine and law just 50 years ago? Women somehow took their place in those fields, and now make the majority of med school graduates. How come the same thing never happened with engineering? Is it because engineering was so much more male-dominated, more arrogant and more hostile to women than medicine and law, or could it simply be that women are less interested in entering the field?
I was raised by a single mother who knew nothing of computers. I had no daddy or other relative to interest me in those things. I only had my passion for machines. I taught myself C++ programming using only my PC and the internet when I was 16. Nobody could have stopped me from pursuing this interest. Young girls, today, are free to pursue this interest as well. From what I can see, not many of them are doing so.
Final disclaimer: I'd like to point out that average differences between men and women doesn't mean women can't be interested in computers. There will always be individuals who differ from the norm. I'll be honored if any daughter of mine wants to know about my trade and skills. I just don't think that less women in engineering is society's fault.
If anything, the brain is one of the most crucial organ to differentiate between both genders, as it directly controls our behavior. The fact is, as StikyPad said, studies have shown that there ARE differences in the brains of men and women, which makes absolutely perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense that men and women would have different preferences for certain tasks. This doesn't make either inferior. It doesn't mean women have to be locked in the kitchen and men kept away from babies. It means maybe *on average* men prefer engineering and women prefer medicine and psychology. Note that I said *on average*. Every human being is different on more than one level.
Now, lots of people will say that if women aren't more in engineering, it's because of the mean evil misogynistic nerd men who are already there, and pushing them out. I beg to differ. Medicine used to be 100% controlled by men. It was a men's field. Women were perceived as incapable of doing it. It was a misogynistic field par excellence. Yet women MADE THEIR PLACE in medicine and now women almost dominate it! There are more female medicine students than male! Women seem to like medicine, and they proved they were capable of doing it. Soon, male doctors might well be the minority... And that's fine. Nobody complains about it.
Back to engineering. I studied computer science at McGill, in Montreal, a very liberal Canadian city. This university prides itself on acceptance. Women were the minority, as they had always been in the field, but the ones who were there seemed generally happy. The guys would have liked nothing more than additional female students. They just weren't joining the program. Furthermore, the women who were in CS, at least all the ones I met, were always more on the mathematical side of things. They all seemed to generally dislike coding and avoid it as much as possible. Could it be that there's something engineering-y about coding that women usually tend to like less? Could it be that the mathematical side of computer science tends to appeal to women more?
I think it's a shame we can't openly talk about these possibilities without being labelled sexist. Shoving our heads in the sand and pretending women and men are exactly the same on every level isn't scientific. It doesn't match everyone's daily life experience... And it isn't what feminism should be about either.
>> Well, there are a bunch of Lisp and Scheme variants that target the JVM, such as ABCL. But yeah, until recently the speedy Lisps have been CMUCL and SBCL, which compile to native code rather than using a JIT in the VM. I think that's because it's pretty recent that VMs using JIT have started to be viewed as offering acceptable performance. (And on Slashdot, you'll still find a lot of people who dispute even that, and still believe in static native compilation as the only way to get fast code.)
What I meant is that in JS you can declare a new variable at any point in a function by writing "var foo =
Another issue was the complete lack of a useful standard library. No hash maps, no sorting function. Even the most basic string functions were lacking. If I'm not mistaken, the Scheme spec doesn't even specify a way to get the numerical code for a character... And then the performance of the code I'd written (pretty straightforwardly) was abysmal.
It should be said though that solar cells are akin to harvesting radiation in space. It's just that the radiation you harvest happens to be in or near the visible spectrum. I don't think the wattage of the invisible radiation in space is anywhere near as "bright" as that of visible, UV and infrared light, though.
Imagine if webpages were not made of HTML+CSS+JS+Images and a bunch of other files, but instead just code. You go to some URL, and each page is an app, that can run in its own window (or even spawn multiple windows). You wouldn't have to install anything, you just go to the URL, it gets downloaded and run. You could give some apps special privileges (e.g.: local file system access, webcam access) if you trust them enough.
The difference with the current web is that the apps wouldn't be constrained by HTML, HTTP, or any of those. Code wouldn't have to be written in some fixed language. It would just have to compile to the VM's low-level language. The VM could expose some low-level APIs for things like file-access, but, in my opinion, they should be kept simple (lowest common denominator) to ease portability. Right now, the JS APIs are way too complex because they're intertwined with the insane complexity of the HTML DOM, which seems unstandardizable.
What I describe sounds alot like Java applets I guess, but without being forced to be part of a browser, and with some low-level API to connect to the server, and perhaps faster loading times.
1. Refused to adopt POSIX standards.
2. Has its own calling conventions for C/C++ incompatible with the GNU ones.
3. Released Direct3D to try and kill OpenGL.
4. Actually had people on the OpenGL board trying to actively stall its development.
5. Tried to release J++ to compete with Java.
6. Maintained its own Java VM for years, slightly incompatible with Sun's.
7. Released C#, to compete with Java.
8. Opposed open document formats.
9. Released it's own API to compete with both CUDA and OpenCL.
10. Has had the least standard compliant web browser for years.
Those are only the cases I know about, but yeah... Sure... Judging from their track record, they'll adopt these web APIs right away... Microsoft loves interoperability...