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Comment: "Why not", Father of the engineer-bride (Score 1) 411

by harvey the nerd (#49570543) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers
Her card says development engineer (as in R&D), XX billion $ company. They nominally wanted a PhD chemical engineer. She finished calculus at 15, was touring inside the better medical school classes at 19, after summer research. Aim, MD-PhD. Decided medical school was too rote, went into fundamental medical research for grad school with a nicely titled/paid fellowship. Went to work for a small biotech, decided she wanted to work for a large company. She's not classically degreed as an engineer. Why not?

1. Nicer liberal arts colleges typically don't offer engineering, nominal 3-2 programs not withstanding.
2. Much of engineering is not typically seen as a desirable school/work environment stresswise.
3. In my generation, female engineering classmates largely failed to reproduce, 0-1 kids. Only one I know with 3 kids, was summa cum laude, married a (to be) highly successful doctor, and quit after his med school.

Comment: Re:But seriously now (Score 1) 411

by operagost (#49569505) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers
Yes, it does say to only work on those things women want to work on. It's even in the summary:

if the content of the work itself is made more societally meaningful, women will enroll in droves.

Content == what you're working on. And if we're changing what we're working on to attract more women, it de facto means we're selectively recruiting women.

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 411

by gatzke (#49569271) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

"more societally meaningful" ?! And I don't get it either. My job does not get more societally meaningful; if I don't do my job (Software Engineer, Industrial Automation), you don't get any power to your home, don't drive a car, don't get air condition in the mall and many more things. Sure I am only a small cog in that bigger scheme of things, but without engineers modern society would not exist.

Exactly. Maybe they don't see the bigger picture? Maybe we don't properly motivate with these examples?

If engineers fail at their job, people die. Chemical plants explode, medical devices fail, airplanes crash and burn. How much more impact on society can you have?

I think the problem is the job is too far removed from the feels. You don't have personal direct impact.

And sometimes the conditions are not conducive to family life. I have students starting with a four year degree making over $100k. But they spend lots of time in the gulf on oil rigs. Sometimes people make different life choices.

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 0) 411

by roman_mir (#49568557) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

If it is a higher percentage you are after may I suggest a simple and quick solution to this 'problem'? Just shoot most men engineers, enough to get to 50/50 men to women ratio. You will have to keep shooting to keep the ratio at the same level though but at least it would actually get you to the place you are aiming at.

Comment: Re:File manager without file, edit, view.. (Score 1) 423

by fnj (#49566533) Attached to: Debian 8 Jessie Released

Bullshit. They are HIDDEN. A menu bar that says "File", "Edit", and "View" in plain English or $LOCALIZED_LANGUAGE_OF_CHOICE is not hidden. Something that can only be accessed by knowing a secret location, or by finding a cryptic symbol and determining its purpose, is hidden.

SAA/CUA did not happen, and take over everywhere that mattered, because it was the product of a bunch of masturbating monkeys. It was the end product of research and insight of genuine experts in human interface, including Apple's HIG, and ultimately the innovators behind Xerox Star.

Comment: Re:WTF? It's Methanol (Score 1) 439

by fnj (#49566487) Attached to: Audi Creates "Fuel of the Future" Using Just Carbon Dioxide and Water

CO2 + H2O doesn't only make methanol. It makes hydrocarbon. Via various chemical processes, you can end up with whatever form(s) of hydrocarbon you want. Diesel fuel is good because (1) it is a very efficient and convenient energy storage medium and (2) a vast infrastructure of vehicles already use it. Methanol is an inefficient energy storage medium - quite apart from its toxicity.

Comment: Re:Based on the /. headline... (Score 1) 439

by fnj (#49566455) Attached to: Audi Creates "Fuel of the Future" Using Just Carbon Dioxide and Water

Since burning the fuel returns it back into CO2 and H2O, the amount of energy in the various bonds is irrelevant. All the energy you put in will come out again.

No; far from all of it; not in a useful form. A major part of it comes back, but neither the breakdown processes and the synthesis processes nor the engines consuming the end product are any where near 100% efficient.

Comment: Re:Not enough resourcees (Score 1) 439

by fnj (#49566409) Attached to: Audi Creates "Fuel of the Future" Using Just Carbon Dioxide and Water

The atmosphere has a mass of 5.15×10^18 kg. The concentration of CO2 is about 400 parts per million. That means there is 2.06x10^15 kg[*], or 2.06 trillion tonnes, of CO2 in the atmosphere. That works out to about 294 tonnes for every man, woman, and child in the world. There are also vast amounts dissolved in the oceans.

About 2.4 kg of CO2 is produced per litre of motor fuel burned; hence synthesizing motor fuel from CO2 requires about 2.4 kg of CO2 per litre. That means that the 2.06x10^15 kg of CO2 present in the atmosphere could generate over 8x10^14 litres of motor fuel, or more than ten thousand litres for every man, woman, and child in the world.

So around now, if you are a US driver, you are probably thinking that you do consume on the order of 500 gallons, or 2000 litres, of motor fuel per year, and you will note that there are other vehicles besides personal motor cars to be considered - trucks, planes, ships, etc.

But it seems to me you are utterly ignoring the overriding point. It is a giant closed system! Every kilogram of CO2 you process into fuel gets burned, and every single kg of CO2 you release from burning the fuel goes back into the atmosphere. And the overall loop is very nearly lossless. Sure, some very small fraction of the carbon liberated by combustion gets turned into CO or C particulates instead of CO2, but with modern pollution controls that fraction is very slight.

There are enormous logistical challenges to using the technique at full scale (including where to get the staggering amount of energy to run the synthesis), but running the atmosphere short of CO2 is not one of them.

[*] I spent a fair amount of time researching and could not readily determine whether the oft-quoted figure of 400 ppm is by volume or by mass. My math assumes that it is by mass. That actually leads to lower figures (pessimistic to my point) than if it is by volume, as it probably is. This is because CO2 is substantially higher density than air.

Comment: Re:Since when (Score 1) 577

by Obfuscant (#49566371) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

but I know that I am one of the lucky few who gets to enjoy an adverse reaction to aspartame. From a purely anecdotal view,

It's not an anecdotal situation. Aspartame contains phenylalanine, which some people cannot process. This results in a condition known as phenylketonuria, or PKU. If you overload the phenylalanine hydroxylase metabolic pathway, you can suffer from mild forms of PKU even if you are not totally deficient in that enzyme.

The levels of aspartame normally consumed shouldn't be a problem except for PKUs, unless you switch to sugar-free koolaid and drink gallons of the stuff. If it's giving you problems in diet drinks, then you probably can't eat a bucketload of turkey without feeling it, either. Turkey meat is high in phenylalanine, too.

Comment: Re:danger vs taste (Score 1) 577

by Obfuscant (#49566303) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Whoa - throw away all of the scientific data, there's an anecdote here involving an TV show about an uncontrolled experiment whose data we can't see and whose name you can't even remember!

This is slashdot. It's filled with anecdotal evidence. This is no worse than any of the "evidence" from people who tell their personal tales that you accept that supports your position. This one doesn't.

I find it humorous that you are ranting about me for "anecdotal evidence" when you just challenged someone to "prove me wrong right now in just a couple weeks" by using the same kind of evidence. I guess they can't prove you wrong because they can't do the rigorous scientific studies that you rely on for your information, either "right now" or "in just a couple weeks".

The human digestive system does not throw away energy from digestible substances.

Uhhh, yeah, it can. Maybe there's more to this than you know? Ok, the digestive system may not, but the excretory system can.

It's energy in vs. energy out.

It is this simplistic view of the system that leads to vitriolic statements about those "fat bastards" who just need "to eat less". For your reference, here is just one link to the hatemonger who tried to prove how easy it was to lose weight and failed. Not even her friends could meet her goals for them and she was riding them pretty hard.

Yes, some evidence is anecdotal. But if something doesn't work for someone that might mean that the science that says it is supposed to might be wrong or incomplete. I think there's enough variance in humans that no single answer will be correct. That's why drugs come with side-effect warnings -- different people will react to different things differently. ACE inhibitors make me cough. They don't make everyone cough. I can switch into ketosis in a couple of days while it takes some people a week or more.

It is lunacy to proclaim one answer fits all for all humankind.

Comment: Re:danger vs taste (Score 1) 577

by Obfuscant (#49566177) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Boy you're a really clever one aren't you, catching onto secret calories in stevia that nobody else did?

Thank you, but I said nothing about calories. Did I? I don't see it anywhere. I commented that a sugar SUBSTITUTE actually has more sugar than substitute in it. I think that's fascinating. As someone who would buy stevia only to avoid the carbs, finding a mainline carb as the largest constituent of the sugar substitute was a bit, ummm, surprising.

So yes, the dextrose has calories - but it's far outmatched in terms of sweetness by the stevia therein, so you only need to use a very small amount (depending on the ratio of the blend).

In the US, the FDA content reporting laws say that the ingredients must be listed in order. That means "most first". (That's why it isn't Kraft "Cheese and Macaroni", because there's more macaroni than cheese.) By listing dextrose first that means there is more dextrose than stevia. It doesn't need to be there AT ALL if the stevia is so good a sweetener. They could use something else that wasn't a digestable carb instead.

It's like selling an "alcohol-free beer" that has had its alcohol replaced by ... alcohol. Or a "30% less sodium salt" that has fluffed-up salt instead of normal crystals, so each tsp has 30% less salt, and you use 30% more to get the same taste. Yes, the package was 30% lighter, and cost 30% more.

basically, what the stevia is blended with is mostly air.

No, it would seem that it is mostly dextrose, according to the FDA mandated labels. I don't believe they have to list air.

Hahaha, Food Babe? Are you joking?

No. I pointed you at her site because she had the pictures of the labels that I did not. I was talking about ingredients in Stevia products; she has the documentation. What's the problem?

Or her microwave rant,

Right. Ok. Whatever. I don't think I told you to believe everything she's ever said, did I?

Yeah, I think I'll stay over here in the real world and not get my information from a living joke, thanks.

I got my information from the federally mandated food content labels, which is about as "real world" as it needs to be. Sorry I upset you so much and confused you about the calorie issue, which you brought up, not me. And how most of stevia is air -- well, if you shake the box, I suppose so, but there's still more sugar in stevia than stevia. Do you see nothing at all odd about that? Is it ethical marketing to sell a sugar substitute that has more sugar than it needs? I don't think so, but I only live in the real world and not the world of xkcd.

Comment: Re:danger vs taste (Score 1) 578

by Obfuscant (#49565231) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame
Just imagine how much cheaper everything would be if everyone was dixonpete and did only what dixonpete did and liked only the things dixonpete liked. The costs of stocking all those other items would go away and stores could concentrate on carrying only dixonpete-approved foods and clothes and stuff. Coffee plantations and soda makers would go out of business because nobody would drink coffee or soda anymore, but tea plantations and artificial peppermint flavor chemical plants would boom.

Yeah, just a "habit" that people like things other than water or peppermint tea.

I tried going caffeine free for a few weeks. I had to give it up because water and all the other caffeine-free drinks were just so pathetically boring or tasteless. The habit of caffeinated drinks wasn't hard to break, it was the habit of wanting something that tastes good was the killer.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.