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Education

How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers 634

Posted by Soulskill
from the other-than-million-dollar-signing-bonuses dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Lina Nilsson writes in an op-ed piece in the NY Times that she looks with despair at estimates that only about 14 percent of engineers in the work force are women. But there may be a solution to the disparity that is much simpler than targeted recruitment efforts. "An experience here at the University of California, Berkeley, where I teach, suggests that if the content of the work itself is made more societally meaningful, women will enroll in droves," writes Nilsson. "That applies not only to computer engineering but also to more traditional, equally male-dominated fields like mechanical and chemical engineering." Nilsson says that Blum Center for Developing Economies recently began a new program that, without any targeted outreach, achieved 50 percent female enrollment in just one academic year. In the fall of 2014, UC Berkeley began offering a new Ph.D. minor in development engineering for students doing thesis work on solutions for low-income communities. They are designing affordable solutions for clean drinking water, inventing medical diagnostic equipment for neglected tropical diseases and enabling local manufacturing in poor and remote regions.

According to Nilsson, women seem to be drawn to engineering projects that attempt to achieve societal good. She notes that MIT, the University of Minnesota, Penn State, Santa Clara University, Arizona State, and the University of Michigan have programs aimed at reducing global poverty and inequality that have achieved similar results. For example, at Princeton, the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders has an executive board that is nearly 70 percent female, reflecting the overall club composition. "It shows that the key to increasing the number of female engineers may not just be mentorship programs or child care centers, although those are important," concludes Nilsson. "It may be about reframing the goals of engineering research and curriculums to be more relevant to societal needs. It is not just about gender equity — it is about doing better engineering for us all."

Comment: Re:But one major alternative still exists (Score 1) 65

by markkezner (#48754475) Attached to: Wireless Charging Standards Groups Agree To Merge

Wireless charging is ineffective? Do you actually use it? I've used it for months and it charges my phone quite nicely and conveniently.

You could argue that some energy is lost to the ether, but that really doesn't affect me. Sure, It's not as fast as a quality cable charger, but it's still faster than the knock-off chargers that most people use. In any event it's fast enough to get me charged up for a while.

Plugging\unplugging cables doesn't sound like a terrible chore, but when you go wireless, you get very used to it. For example, I have wireless charging installed\hacked into my car. I get into my car and slap my phone onto my magnetic wireless charging mount (which is a Mountek magnetic mount with a Nexus Qi charger attached. The phone is Nexus 5). I don't have to adjust the mount to grab the phone (no grips, just magnets!) and I don't have to plug anything in. Within half a second, the phone is charging and mounted, and it charges at a fast enough rate that even with screen on and GPS active, the phone charge level is ticking upwards. When I leave my car, I just grab the phone. No fussing with cables or the mount. Awesome. Fast. Convenient. I'm living in the future.

I also have a Nexus Qi charger on my bedside table. With this, I never have to retrieve a cable that's fallen to the ground, and never have to drag a cable across the bed over a sleeping partner. It charges my phone all night, I wake up with a full charge, and it's easy, so I don't give a damn if some energy is lost. It's very effective for me.

Comment: Re:Git Is Not The Be All End All (Score 1) 245

by markkezner (#48196091) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Git is perfectly capable of having a repo that is considered the "single source of truth". All you have to do is tell everyone which repository to consider the "main" one.

The reason it's fine to use any random developer's git repository to restore is because the data's integrity is guaranteed by git's design. Let's say you had some disaster and lost your repository. Suppose you found a random developer (that you don't necessarily trust) who has a git repository that is a clone of your old, destroyed repository. You can safely and confidently restore from his copy so long as they have a commit id (hash) that matches exactly with a known hash from the original repository. If the hashes match then his copy at that commit is guaranteed to exactly match, bit for bit, your original repository. Compromising that integrity would be extraordinarily hard.

Of course you shouldn't rely on random developers having copies, just out of pure luck. Make your own backups and keep them safe.

Data Storage

Kingston and PNY Caught Bait-and-Switching Cheaper Components After Good Reviews 289

Posted by timothy
from the genuine-panaphonics dept.
An anonymous reader writes Over the past few months, we've seen a disturbing trend from first Kingston, and now PNY. Manufacturers are launching SSDs with one hardware specification, and then quietly changing the hardware configuration after reviews have gone out. The impacts have been somewhat different, but in both cases, unhappy customers are loudly complaining that they've been cheated, tricked into paying for a drive they otherwise wouldn't have purchased.
United States

Kerry Says US Is On the "Right Side of History" When It Comes To Online Freedom 261

Posted by samzenpus
from the everything-is-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Addressing the audience at the Freedom Online Coalition Conference, Secretary of State John Kerry defended NSA snooping actions saying: 'Let me be clear – as in the physical space, cyber security cannot come at the expense of cyber privacy. And we all know this is a difficult challenge. But I am serious when I tell you that we are committed to discussing it in an absolutely inclusive and transparent manner, both at home and abroad. As President Obama has made clear, just because we can do something doesn't mean that we should do it. And that's why he ordered a thorough review of all our signals intelligence practices. And that's why he then, after examining it and debating it and openly engaging in a conversation about it, which is unlike most countries on the planet, he announced a set of concrete and meaningful reforms, including on electronic surveillance, in a world where we know there are terrorists and others who are seeking to do injury to all of us. And finally, transparency – the principles governing such activities need to be understood so that free people can debate them and play their part in shaping these choices. And we believe these principles can positively help us to distinguish the legitimate practices of states governed by the rule of law from the legitimate practices of states that actually use surveillance to repress their people. And while I expect you to hold the United States to the standards that I've outlined, I also hope that you won't let the world forget the places where those who hold their government to standards go to jail rather than win prizes.' He added: 'This debate is about two very different visions: one vision that respects freedom and another that denies it. All of you at the Freedom Online Coalition are on the right side of this debate, and now we need to make sure that all of us together wind up on the right side of history."

Comment: Re:yeah for dumb posts on slashdot (Score 2) 82

by markkezner (#46367231) Attached to: Github Rolls Out New Text Editor Atom

You're not a real coder unless you write your own OS, processor microcode, support libraries, network architecture and programming language before you make your application. Otherwise, you're just letting other people do the hard work for you!

Do see what a bad place this line of thinking takes you? If you want to get anything done, you have to reinvent the world. Imagine if everybody did that... how slow development would be and how slightly incompatible everything would be.

Go ahead and proceed with your elitist worldview. If you need me, I'll be over here, being productive and shipping actual products.

Transportation

Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-you-better-not-aim-your-car-at-planes dept.
cartechboy writes "Soon, your new car's headlights will be powered by lasers. The 2015 BMW i8 is entering production, and it's the first vehicle to offer laser headlights. These new beams offer a handful of advantages over LED lighting, including greater lighting intensity and extending the beams' reach as far as 600 meters down the road (nearly double the range of LEDs). The beam pattern also can be controlled very precisely. Plus, laser lights consumer about 30 percent less energy than the already-efficient LED lights. Audi is among the short list of other auto manufacturers to promise laser lights in the near future. But the coolest part of all this? When you turn on a set of these new headlights, you'll be able to scream, 'fire the lasers!'"

Comment: Re:Move on (Score 1) 573

by markkezner (#46173209) Attached to: HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

doing things that break browsers that are somewhat out of the mainstream (while avoiding more portable solutions), it's not even a good, well-thought-out solution. If my browser doesn't work right on a given website, it's almost a certainty that the site uses JQuery.

So JQuery doesn't support your esoteric, out of mainstream, unnamed browser, but it works just fine for 99% of the world who do use mainstream browsers. Therefore JQuery is a bad solution? JQuery only has the developer mind\time resources to support only so much stuff. They just can't support everything, as that draws time\attention away from making the mainstream use cases work (read: use cases that are important to everyone else).

Faulting JQuery for not supporting your oddball browser is like faulting Adobe for not bringing Photoshop to FreeBSD; there are precisely 6 people who would use Photoshop on FreeBSD, so they choose to spend their time on other things.

Do you really want to sap the performance of your script by following the JQuery ethos of using expensive DOM-query navigators for every operation instead of simply gathering up an array of element references only once and then using that repeatedly?

Who says you have to query inefficeintly? Just query once and save the result somewhere. Just because it's possible to do something the wrong way doesn't mean JQuery is bad. There are ways to shoot yourself in the foot on every platform ever made.

Comment: Re:Here is the thing. (Score 1) 791

by markkezner (#45131879) Attached to: Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

The lightning connector is nice, but it's limited to only Apple products, thus its usefulness as a technology is limited. To reduce waste and for convenient charging, I wish everyone would agree on a nice reversible connector that is an industry standard, charges quickly regardless of manufacturer, and "just works". I somehow doubt Apple would go for that.

Micro USB is fine except the cables are always upside down (as they seem to exist in 4 spacial dimensions) and the cables break easily if you charge the phone while they're in your pocket, such as when using a portable battery.

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?

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