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Comment: Re:What gender gap? (Score 3, Insightful) 224

by haggholm (#48664503) Attached to: Tech's Gender Gap Started At Stanford

Not everything in this world is going to mimic the real demographics of the planet.

No, but human abilities tend to fall along bell curves.

Observation: White males are overrepresented in tech fields when contrasted with non-white, non-male, or neither-white-nor-male workers.

Feminist/progressivist position: The reason behind this overrepresentation is a complex system of biases (consider all the studies that have shown that people whose names, listed, on resumes, sound white and male, are more likely to get called in for interviews), historical factors (such as unequal education opportunities), and cultural factors (for example, unequal participation can form a positive feedback loop because being the odd person out, especially in a very visible way, can be off-putting). Then, of course, there really is a lot of overt misogyny, as five minutes on Reddit can prove not merely beyond doubt, but also beyond hope. All of these things (or rather, the gender-related rather than race-related parts) are what feminists are referring to when they use the term "patriarchy". In my opinion that's a poorly chosen term, implying something less nebulous, more focused, intentional, and planned than is the case; but there you are -- the feminist movement isn't perfect either.

("Privilege" is another term that leads to endless misunderstanding, since it gets thrown around in a manner that can sound pretty accusatory, but that again misses the point. The observation that certain people benefit from certain injustices is not the same as blaming them for those injustices. Maybe you went to Harvard on the family fortune your great-grandfather made by exploiting slave labour, and are therefore better educated than the black guy across town whose great-grandfather was one of those slaves. You hold no moral responsibility for slavery, but your superior employment prospects are still the product not of disinterested meritocracy, but the outcome of slavery.)

Reactionary position: Nah, it just so coincidentally happens that (a) all the smartest people/people with most talent in these (high-paying) fields just happen to belong to the same demographic that's also most represented among business leaders, politicians, &c., and/or (b) the people who take an interest in these fields just happen to belong to that same moneyed and powerful demographic.

Sure.

Personally, I don't expect that the gender balance would be exactly 50% even if none of the above factors were present, as presumably some degree of inclination, and potentially (but not necessarily) some fractional degree of talent for many professions may be causally tied to biological sex, and presumably different jobs would go in and out of vogue with various demographics. (By analogy, from what I hear: Why are all the top-level swimmers in the US white? Because swimming just isn't very popular among African-Americans.) But, with a few exceptions where biological traits matter, as for jobs where men's statistical advantage in physical strength makes them, on average, more qualified, I don't expect the "natural" imbalance to be very large, and unless your company has keyboards with really fucking serious resistance and tactile feedback, such that the average woman could not type without the assistance of a hammer and nail sink, I don't think it's unreasonable to postulate that there's something more to it.

Another way to look at it: Suppose (this may or may not really be the case) that there was at some point horrible discrimination, since resolved, so that women for a long time avoided the field. Therefore, very few women work in the field, and since it ipso facto looks like a field with very few opportunities for women, very few women chose to get relevant educations and degrees. Employers can say, with some justification, that the reason they hire so few women is that there are few qualified candidates: If only the colleges and universities produced more... The colleges, meanwhile, might respond that women tend not to go for it because there's a perception that there aren't a lot of jobs waiting, due to a long history of discriminatory hiring or treatment: If only the companies hired more... In such a scenario, no one currently working at any college or hiring for any company need be guilty of any gender bias, and yet there's a huge gender gap due to discrimination in the past.

(I'm very uncomfortable with "affirmative action" type initiatives, since a pure meritocracy looks fairer, but perhaps they're sometimes needed to clean up after past injustices? And since I am white and male, if I am the innocent beneficiary of past discrimination, I should be a bit suspicious of gut feelings that corrective actions are unfair -- is that gut feeling a sense of justice, or self-interest?)

If they idea is that we're all special snowflakes, we're sometimes going to find some people better suited to certain things than others. Unless there is evidence that the best person isn't being hired for the job, there is no gender gap.

That's a very legalistic view -- "innocent [of gender bias] until proven guilty" -- which outside of the courtroom is a pretty poor view if you care about what's actually true. Do you have evidence that the best person is being hired for all these jobs, and that gender bias -- conscious or otherwise -- does not skew the statistics?

I agree that until there's evidence, no one can be convicted for discriminatory hiring practices, but last I checked, this comment section was not a jury. (Anyway, attempting to point the finger at specific individuals kind of misses the point.)

A gender gap is an artificial construct made by people who can't get past gender in the first place.

Right. If there's anything that's clear in the months after all this #GamerGate bullshit reached its apparent peak, it's that sexism and the bullying/harrassment of women is a fiction whipped up by angry feminists with a persecution complex.

Comment: Re:because (Score 1) 299

by haggholm (#45581315) Attached to: Why People Are So Bad At Picking Passwords

Now I haven't done very much (well any) research into these applications, but I would need something that is compatible with all of those device, and preferably one that I don't need to lug around on a usb key (which can be lost/stolen)

Using your own home-brew security rather than doing research on established solutions is, to a first approximation, always a terrible idea.

There are solutions like SuperGenPass which can generate passwords on the fly by multiple-round hashing and can be trivially accessed from any device. However, I'd argue that if you have access from (multiple!) mobile devices, you don't need any special access from your friend's house, unless your friend has a strict no-mobile policy in place. Once you have a mobile device in place, there are lots of applications -- LastPass, 1Password, KeePass, KeePassX, &c., that will all serve your needs. I use KeePassX (and the compatible KeePassDroid on my phone) and synchronise my password database by storing it in Dropbox, which runs on all platforms I care about, partially because I prefer not to have a cloud password company be in charge of my password data. (I don't regard Dropbox as highly secure, but the odds of anyone breaking into my Dropbox account and subsequently breaking some two million rounds of AES applied by KeePassX...this is not a danger that keeps me awake at night.)

Another nice feature of KeePassX (which the others may have as well, I'm not sure) is the ability to generate passwords for different sets of rules. If some site irritatingly allows only 10 character passwords with a restricted set of symbols, you can configure its random password generator to satisfy that restriction. I don't think I've come across a site yet with requirements it can't generate passwords for.

Incidentally, key files (on USB sticks or similar) are there to enhance, not reduce, security: you can configure the software to require both a passphrase and the key file, s.t. even a stolen USB stick doesn't severely compromise your security. Of course, very thorough backups would be adviseable...but if you store all the passwords you ever use in one database file, you hopefully back things up thoroughly already.

(The one nuisance is a consequence of shitty websites: my default settings generate superfluously long random strings because why not?, certainly won't hurt, but some sites will silently truncate your passwords to whatever their undisclosed maximum length is. Since they don't necessarily truncate it identically on login as on password registration, this means that long passwords will fail on some shitty login systems. Of course, this would apply equally well to manually generated passwords, if long enough.)

Comment: Actually, they are losing share to nginx (Score 2) 303

The Netcraft article does have statistics that exclude parked domains, and here IIS doesn't look to have an increasing trend at all. The only webserver with a steadily increasing trend is nginx. In the graph of the top million busiest sites, nginx is again growing the fastest, though "other" is also a growing category.

Comment: Re:A lot of these people don't understand... (Score 1) 758

by haggholm (#42483951) Attached to: Anti-GMO Activist Recants
It’s not actually true that genes from widely separated species can never naturally co-occur. Consider horizontal gene transfer (chiefly via bacterial plasmids), and consider the very common case of retroviruses ending up fixed in host DNA. Quite beside the fact that your claim is erroneous, however, I fail to see why GMO specifically deserves such scaremongering. Being “against GMO” seems about as sensible to me as being against electricity: It occurs in some natural forms though humans have a great deal more sophistication; and it’s far too broad and general a term for a statement that it is, on the whole, either good or bad to be sensical. There probably have been instances of GM that deserve criticism, and there surely will be in the future (quite apart from some of the despicable legal trickery surrounding it), but leaping from this to demonising the whole general conceptwell, again—rather like electricity.

Comment: Re:I'm not trying to troll here.... (Score 1) 236

One: With more and more cross-platform games (Windows + Mac), porting efforts would probably be a lot smaller than they would have back in the days when single platform games were the rule. Even if the market segment is smaller, it may still be worth it if the effort is small enough.

Two: Steam is not just a platform for AAA titles, it’s also a delivery vehicle for large numbers of indie titles. Linux may not be a good target for the AAA studios, but appealing to the Linux community for smaller indie offerings (which, since they don’t need the same bleeding-edge performance, can more easily rely on cross-platform libraries) may be a very good idea for some of the indies.

Three: Right now, there’s no serious competition in the commercial Linux gaming space. It’s true that “Linux gamers” is a small market segment, but Steam would pretty much monopolise the whole of it. If it grows (and with Steam on Linux, it might), they’re the first and the biggest, and as has been pointed out, they’re at no real risk here of being elbowed out by an OS vendor run “app store”.

Will it work out? Beats me, I’m not a business guy. But I don’t think it’s quite so devoid of possibilities as the parent suggests.

Comment: The wrong yeast? (Score 5, Informative) 175

by haggholm (#32395202) Attached to: Reproducing an Ancient New World Beer

I haven’t had this particular beer, but I did have the Midas Touch (another Dogfish brand reconstruction), and I rather enjoyed it. It wasn’t nearly as weird or “special” as one might expect; nothing spectacular, but pretty tasty.

However, one thing makes me doubt that either beverage comes anywhere near the original flavour. As per the article, “The fermentation was carried out with a German ale yeast, which is not obtrusive and brings out the flavours of the other ingredients.” The Midas touch certainly tasted like that was the case there, too. However, that long ago there was no such thing as cultivated strains of brewer’s yeast—fermentation was done with wild yeasts (leave the vats open, let naturally occurring yeast spores drift in on the breeze, gaze in wonder as the brew transforms for no reason discernible without a microscope). As anyone who has had a Lambic beer (still made with spontaneous fermentation) can attest, spontaneously fermented beers taste vastly different from beers fermented with cultivated yeast: Wikipedia calls it “bracingly sour”.

Comment: They are indeed (Score 3, Informative) 219

by haggholm (#30926512) Attached to: Dinosaur Feather Color Discovered
Birds are grouped in the same clade as dinosaurs—the same even-narrower clade as theropod dinosaurs, in fact. (Or in Wikipedia's words: “Based on fossil and biological evidence, most scientists accept that birds are a specialised sub-group of theropod dinosaurs. More specifically, they are members of Maniraptora, a group of theropods which includes dromaeosaurs and oviraptorids, among others.”) Squid, octopodes, and nautiluses do not fall into the clade of ammonites (the nearest clade including all of these animals is the class Cephalopoda); therefore (1) they are not ammonites and (2) your analogy is completely off base.

Dynamically binding, you realize the magic. Statically binding, you see only the hierarchy.

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