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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders 534

Posted by Soulskill
from the advertisers-driving-culture dept.
gollum123 writes: Back in the day, computer science was as legitimate a career path for women as medicine, law, or science. But in 1984, the number of women majoring in computing-related subjects began to fall, and the percentage of women is now significantly lower in CS than in those other fields. NPR's Planet Money sought to answer a simple question: Why? According to the show's experts, computers were advertised as a "boy's toy." This, combined with early '80s geek culture staples like the book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, as well as movies like War Games and Weird Science, conspired to instill the perception that computers were primarily for men.

Comment: Re:Summary of what ESR is doing (Score 1) 234

by Nimey (#48191873) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Seems like it'd be worthwhile to trial a real computer of similar spec to what he's wanting vs. a virtual server, to see relative speed and relative cost. You can get some pretty stonking powerful VPS instances if you're willing to pay for them, and with Amazon you can optimize for different workloads such as GPU, CPU, or fast IO.

There can't be that many projects on CVS who are sticking with it only because they're waiting for someone else to manage the switch to git, and you'd need a fair number to make this worthwhile, IMO. I think he may be tilting at windmills.

Comment: Re:I'm surprised (Score 1) 296

by Nimey (#48189915) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Poorly, most likely. Enfields manufactured in the subcontinent (India and Pakistan both) aren't well-regarded with respect to quality.

At any rate, rechambering will require replacing the barrel, bolt, receiver, sights, and possibly parts of the magazine. That's most of the gun already, and you're compounding your logistics problems by having a small number of guns with this specific configuration.


The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google 202

Posted by timothy
from the surprisingly-it's-not-I-am-Rich dept. writes Jim Edwards writes at Business Insider that Google is so large and has such a massive need for talent that if you have the right skills, Google is really enthusiastic to hear from you — especially if you know how to use MatLab, a fourth-generation programming language that allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, Java, Fortran and Python. The key is that data is produced visually or graphically, rather than in a spreadsheet. According to Jonathan Rosenberg , Google's former senior vice president for product management, being a master of statistics is probably your best way into Google right now and if you want to work at Google, make sure you can use MatLab. Big data — how to create it, manipulate it, and put it to good use — is one of those areas in which Google is really enthusiastic about. The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. When every business has free and ubiquitous data, the ability to understand it and extract value from it becomes the complimentary scarce factor. It leads to intelligence, and the intelligent business is the successful business, regardless of its size. Rosenberg says that "my quote about statistics that I didn't use but often do is, 'Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it the samurai.'"

Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-we-find-some-dilithium dept.
TheRealHocusLocus writes: Disaster preppers have a saying, "two is one and one is none," which might also apply to 24x7 base load energy sources that could sustain us beyond the age of fossil fuel. I too was happy to see Skunkworks' Feb 2013 announcement and the recent "we're still making progress" reminder. I was moved by the reaction on Slashdot: a groundswell of "Finally!" and "We're saved!" However, fusion doesn't need to be the only solution, and it's not entirely without drawbacks.

All nuclear reactors will generate waste via activation as the materials of which they are constructed erode and become unstable under high neutron flux. I'm not pointing this out because I think it's a big deal — a few fusion advocates disingenuously tend to sell the process as if it were "100% clean." A low volume of non-recyclable waste from fusion reactors that is walk-away safe in ~100 years is doable. Let's do it. And likewise, the best comparable waste profile for fission is a two-fluid LFTR, a low volume of waste that is walk-away safe in ~300 years. Let's do it.

Why pursue both, with at least the same level of urgency? Because both could carry us indefinitely. LFTR is less complicated in theory and practice. It is closer to market. There is plenty of cross-over: LFTR's materials challenges and heat engine interface — and the necessity for waste management — are the same as they will be for commercial-scale fusion reactors. To get up to speed please see the 2006 fusion lecture by Dr. Robert Bussard on the Wiffle ball 6 plasma containment, likely the precursor to the Skunkworks approach. And see Thorium Remix 2011 which presents the case for LFTR.

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.