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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders 44

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:Good, it should be that way! (Score 1) 241

by Mr. Slippery (#48196999) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

The government has no right to a monopoly on any weapon.

However, my neighbor storing atomic weapons in his garage is a reasonable threat to my safety and so should be heavily regulated. If he can meet the same safety standards as the government (maybe some billionaire collector could do this), the state has no legitimate authority to have nukes of its own while denying him one. Or, ya know, maybe nukes are an inherent threat to people and no one, state or otherwise, U.S. or Iran, can have them. But "we can have them, you can't" is not a logically defensible argument.

My neighbor storing machine guns or a typical shooter's supply of ammo in his garage (again, subject to safe storage requirements, no storing a loaded machine gun pointed at my house) is no more a threat to my safety than him having the usual home hardware and chemicals in there. (

Even a tank is not threat -- and indeed, for just $1175 you can spend a day driving one around.)

Comment: Re:Federal govt + cloud computing (Score 2) 84

by lgw (#48196681) Attached to: Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags

Unless things have changed dramatically*, there are rules that make it harder to use commercial cloud computing, as not all can guarantee that the services will only be hosted in the U.S.

Almost everything you do in Amazon is by region - certainly any EC2 servers you use directly are. Scaling up to thousands of servers in a region is easier than you think with the tools available now - EC2 is a mature ecosystem these days. Plus there's this, which you may have heard of.

Want a front-end behind a load balancer that adds servers as load grows, and gives them back when is shrinks? There's hardly any coding involved. If you have non-transactional data, like TFA, you just use their NoSQL DB and, seriously, just type the IOPS you need into a box (though it's hard to make that part elastic). For "year make and model"-indexed recall data, that data will all fit in memory on cache servers, so just stand up some memcached (or something more modern) in front of the DB.

This stuff is only hard if you're on a really tiny budget.

Comment: Re:good (Score 1) 241

by cold fjord (#48196583) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

The National Guard clearly is a militia as both the history and law show. Nothing I quoted claims that it is the only militia. Nothing about the existence of the National Guard as a militia implies that the 2nd Amendment is about hunting. Even your own post recognizes that the National Guard is under the control of the states unless called into Federal service. (Do you think they would obey in the event of a coup?) The National Guard is focused on military missions just as the colonial militias were. There are many defects to your post that invalidate it. Its like you put facts, history, and nonsense in a blender and hit frappe.

Comment: Re:The Orion is totally over designed .. (Score 2) 41

by DerekLyons (#48196511) Attached to: A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

No, that would NOT be much simpler and safer. There's a reason why every orbital space plane has been side-stacked (Shuttle, Buran, X-37).

X-37 is top stacked as was the X-23. On the other hand, both are small enough that they could be encapsulated in a shroud to avoid aerodynamic issues. (And you forgot the X-20 Dyna-Soar, which was also top stacked but was not encapsulated.)

Comment: If only it were that simple... (Score 1) 41

by DerekLyons (#48196413) Attached to: A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

What would have saved Challenger was the first "all-the-way-down" human decision turtle: 15% higher cost for one-piece SRBs instead of the 4-piece propellant sections.

If only the decision was that simple... Sadly, it wasn't.

First there were performance issues; The solid motors need to match to within 5% of each other - which proved essentially impossible to achieve with a monolithic grain as the propellant tended to stratify during the extended pour and the extended curing time. The solid motors needed to have consistent and predictable performance during the burn - which was almost impossible to achieve due to the aforementioned stratification problems. Both problems were also made worse because they couldn't figure out how to safely mix and pour the grains for both boosters in a single batch. Segmented grains, which could be poured in LH and RH segments from a single (smaller) batch suffered from none of these problems.

Next, there's storage and handling problems. The larger the grain, the heavier it is, and the harder it is to prevent it from flowing and deforming under it's own weight. Equally, since the large grains have to be cast upside down they have to be rotated rightside up - and nobody knew how to do that with large monolithic grains. A flex of as little as a couple of millimeters could crack the grain or lead to delamination. Also, segments could be stored individually, reducing fire and explosion risk.

Inspecting the grains with the technology of the time was also several orders of magnitude harder for a large monolithic grain.

Lastly, while there was a only a limited base of flight experience with large segmented grains (via the Titan IIIC)... there was no flight experience with large monolithic grains.

tl;dr version - there were a lot fewer known unknowns with segmented solids than with monolithic solids. A number of the known unknowns for monolithic grains were either outright show stoppers or could result in ruinously expensive R&D programs to discover if a solution was even possible. The known unknowns for segmented grains were all issues of scaling from existing experience.

Comment: Re: Why? (Score 1) 100

by operagost (#48195651) Attached to: China Staging a Nationwide Attack On iCloud and Microsoft Accounts
To be fair, that 5.9 number is after millions of people decided to quit working and either 1. Live with a lower single income in the family or 2. Go on the public dole indefinitely, whether through social security or welfare. The federal government permanently removes these people from the rolls, as if people who aren't even looking for work don't drain the rest of the people who are being productive.

Comment: Re:"makes people FEEL less safe and secure"? (Score 1) 158

by cold fjord (#48194907) Attached to: Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

I think this was unintentionally revealing. It's the feeling of safety and security that Facebook is frantic to defend. Actual safety and security? Well, that's... complicated.

Dealing with the sensibilities of Facebook seems to be like that.

Facebook Finally Deletes the ‘Kill Kendall Jones’ Page

Background: Facebook pulled down the hunting photos of Kendall Jones citing a violation of the social-media site's "community standards," but they allowed the page titled "Kill Kendall Jones" to remain stating that it did not violate their policies. A tad hypocritical, to say the least.

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