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Comment Re:Communication skills (Score 3, Interesting) 219

I think I've heard two other reasons for picking female voices over male voices in cockpit instruction recordings. 1. Airplane noises tend to be low pitch and thus lower male voices get drowned out a lot more easily. 2. An authoritative sounding woman's voice is closer to mom's voice, and most people are trained from an early age that when mom sounds like that, you do what she says (even if you're uncertain, freaked out, or disagree but don't have better plans at the moment).

Comment Re:rather have money (Score 1) 524

On top of that why does your employer owe you health insurance in the first place? That also used to be something that was a fringe benefit that people then started to expect and demand like it was owed to them.

Around about the time the healthcare providers started charging individuals 2x and 3x the bill that they would send to the insurance companies (or at least the amount that the insurance companies assert that the services should cost). If you're not in some kind of group plan, you're getting incredibly ripped off.

Comment Re:I am having a vision of the future... (Score 1) 296

It's more than the symbolism. A few things here:

* At least for some people, the CFLs are noticeably worse than the old tubes. Don't know why, but my husband gets headaches really quickly (we're talking about 2 minutes or so) under CFLs, but only finds the big ceiling lights to be sort of annoying (unless the ceiling lights are flickering, those are terrible).
* One could avoid CFLs before, by not buying them for the home, and mostly only going out to restaurants and such that used incandescent bulbs (which most restaurants did, because they are cheap and provide pleasanter ambiance than cafeteria lighting). Now, the list of restaurants we can't go to is ever-increasing, because they are switching. That is an every-week kind of change in life. And legislation is working on making it so that home has to be unpleasant as well . . .

Comment Re:The truth... (Score 4, Insightful) 199

Jobs which slow the economy by discouraging pleasure travel (and all of the nice tourist spending) and business travel (and the kinds of business deals and chance new acqaintances you only get in person). Travel is incredibly important to our economy, it is part of what makes a large country so strong. When people opt out of it, the ripple effects are amazing.

Comment Re:But the real question is... (Score 1) 769

Exasperated is irritated. Exacerbated is made worse.

"The usual peevishness of the Grammar Nazi was exacerbated by viewing the internet, resulting in exasperation."

Sorry. I've been seeing this one on the rise lately from otherwise smart people, so I've started pointing it out. I don't pay attention to media, is there some show or public figure that is providing an incorrect example?

Comment Re:Dumb phone (Score 1) 400

Not quite it, but here's what I've been enjoying:
Virgin Mobile, no contract (buy your own phone), $25 + tax per month, unlimited data & text messages (I haven't been trying to push the limit, and haven't gotten nasty-grams), 300 minutes (no extras on weekends/evenings/whatevers). There are different prices for different numbers of minutes per month. It's the Sprint network, so it's . . . very city-based. Oh and you simple can't roam: if there isn't a Sprint tower available, you don't have a phone (of course there's wireless for data access).

Works for me. I stay in cities. And I want a convenient excuse to not spend hours on the cell phone (see electronic leash arguments above).

Comment Re:Get a refill.. (Score 1) 1141

The increased metabolic rate you speak does exist by the way, just not for the rest of the day, maximum for a half an hour or until you eat something. As long as you breathe heavily after a workout or feel your heart beating faster than usual, that's exactly that increased metabolic rate.

And in fact it goes further than that: the more you exercise & the more weight you lose, the more efficient your body becomes at doing maintenance tasks, and the less it burns during the rest of the day (the heart beats slower, your muscles are hauling less around when you walk, etc.). The math still works out in your favor if you exercise, especially since you'll eventually hit a tipping point where energy expenditure is more pleasant.

Comment Re:The most important lesson in life being taught (Score 2) 663

In some states, it doesn't matter much what the residents of a given school district are willing to pay. It all gets funneled into the state coffers, and distributed evenly amongst all districts. So the quality of local schools has little to do with how much the local taxpayers care about the schools.

Comment Re:Where? (Score 2) 715

There are a few of things going on here:

I've worked and chatted extensively with a couple of female Chinese programmers, so this is at least an anecdote, not just stereotyping.

1. Aptitude does not play much of a role in career selection. The concept of figuring out what you're naturally good at (and then doing _that_ all day) was a revelation to my Chinese gal-pals. So there are probably lots of Asian women who are capable of programming, and better at something else, but go with the programming, while American women decide more often to pursue the thing they are best at.

2. They teach math better in Asia. They just do. The gap is getting worse -- if you would like to get hopping mad at school teachers, just look up "discovery math". So in Asia, fewer people of both genders are math-phobic, and more people of both genders are eligible to work in engineering-type careers. And a combination of this point and (1) gets you lots of programmers of both genders.

3. Immigration selection bias. So if you decide you want to leave China and move to a more democratic country, what's your ticket out? Engineering of some sort, because those companies will sponsor you.

Comment Depends on where you work (Score 1) 715

There are crude, obnoxious shops in every industry. From what I've heard, telecom is much worse than programming in this respect. I am a female programmer, and my workplace has a reasonable mix of people (yes, it's slanted toward male and young -- but that is the biology that's best at visual thinking, working too many hours, and dealing with silly deadlines). If you make sure there are policies that reduce the on-call load and overall unpredictability of work hours, you'll get women and married guys. So you have code reviews; have a real process for moving code out the door; have a process for discovering process failures and fixing them; try to split work into chunks that aren't two full-time jobs per person, etc. And look at that! You've reduced your turnover (even in the young guys), reduced software failures, and increased creativity (partly because your people are awake, partly because of the variety of people). Maybe you're spending more, but it's probably actually worth it for the reduction in risk.

You do some culture-fit checking in the interviews. You don't hire the ones who come close to committing HR violations in the interviews. You have women and less-young men around, and this subtly reminds the young guys to not get bad habits (c'mon, they're reasonably bright, they're trainable, they grew up in an enlightened world, they _do_ know better).

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles