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Comment: Hold up the vision and they will come (Score 1) 634 634

Of course I knew how this discussion would go as soon as I read the summary but I read through anyway. Near as I can tell the story is several universities started to offer engineering programs that focused on work socially conscious individuals would be attracted to (like previous focuses on 'green engineering' or any number of other incarnations) and in retrospect they find they drew in many more women to try the field than the more traditional programs. So we get this opinion piece that points this out and says all the outreach efforts so often decried here are probably not as important as holding up a vision to people how a field lets them accomplish something they desire. And the frigging crying and whining sets up again. If the glasses are all building Easy Bake ovens and calling it mechanical and electrical engineering I might agree. If they are using the goal of providing clean water to rural third world areas and having to master basic engineering skills to do so then you should all go have a beer and stop worrying some chick is going to be given your job.....

Comment: Mod this up Re:I guess he crossed the wrong people (Score 1) 320 320

Genetic engineering rice to add vitamin A is ass kicking science and haters should kiss off. Being worried about engineering plants to allow huge amounts of pesticides to be applied just might be rational. Sticking in random genes that make plants toxic to the insects that co-evolved with them might boost production but might wipe out whole species. Like every other part of science people get scared when they don't understand it and more importantly when they think money is in control and no one is watching.

Comment: Natural response to perceived rarity of candidates (Score 1) 517 517

If you see two equal candidates in terms of technical credentials but you know one can bring a perspective you perceive to be weakly represented in the field I don't find it unexpected that people might reach for that rare candidate. We are not told what the female census was of these institutions nor what the typical application profile looks like. Sorry I can't get all torn up over this - if we see the same thing once there is some balance in the ranks and all capable girls have role models to encourage them to pursue these fields if they have the talent and inclination to try I will change my view.

Comment: Correlation of antibiotic use and obesity (Score 3, Informative) 152 152

major co-incidence today as my PBS station was putting on it's fundraiser series of every diet plan guy in the world. So much fluff to info, but one person was arguing this same viewpoint (gut biota and tendency to be obese) and showed a startling pair of maps - one with the level of antibiotic prescription and the other with the level of obesity. Startling overlap. Google "antibiotic obesity map" Theory being that the use of antibiotics disturbs the balance or microbes and set more of the population up for obesity. Since the idea is that different bacteria feed on different foods this comes back to skipping refined cards and sugars and eating more vegetables - basically the same kind of prescription they all end up with - and trying to skew the population faster with probiotics. On thing I do now is that every thin person out there is not a paragon of good eating and exercise and not every fat person is a pig with their head in the trough. I was never a skinny person but got progressively more massive with age until one doctor finally thought to test my thyroid which was pretty much crapped out. On the synthetic stuff now and slowly morphing back to - well, something thinner.

Comment: Why do we need women in tech so bad? (Score 1) 479 479

we need a meritocracy - to have that all people need a chance to perform. If we have a culture and a practice of driving half the population away from a field we make both the group and the field poorer. So the idea that we have to have some specific number of women in tech may be faulty but the idea that we should examine how we do things and insure qualified and talented women get a chance to contribute seems pretty sensible. Having some kind of quantifiable target to insure actual effort is made is not unreasonable unless the target itself is. Pushing to get 20% candidates (didn't say hires) doesn't seem wildly off the wall. This is the last step in a chain of education and training that may all need examination but the creation of role models changes cultural expectations.

Comment: Re:It is simple (Score 1) 755 755

"Science doesn't disprove God so much as start by assuming God doesn't exist, and operate within the boundaries of what we can actually demonstrate" Really a great statement - I can't remember the book now but it started by pointing out science is fundamentally about predicting and controlling the future by knowing how to manipulate the physical world. For some people there is a hunger to understand the meaning of reality or the source of existence. That is not what science searches for or teaches. And in the end religion isn't any better at answering these questions - if God created the universe who created God - what does it mean for anything to exist. For the human mind at least it really is "elephants all the way down" (sorry obscure reference alert)

Comment: Todays inventions are not todays products (Score 1) 417 417

Author is confused because he focuses only the ideas in commercial production. How long were lasers or LEDs or transistors or any number of fundamental inventions in existence before they made large commercial entrances that popular culture recognized? He needs to go into the labs and see how many fundamentally new items have been created in the last 10 years that are now in the world of development (and yes invention ) that reduces them to practice and economic accessibility and then tell us the cupboard is bare. Some guy whining about the shallowness of popular acclaim with a shallow assessment of the world.

Comment: it might be another option but not the smart one (Score 1) 689 689

the smart one is to use the fact so many people want to come here to draw on the brain pool of the world and keep the country in a strong technical position that keeps us rich and keeps it such a nice place to be - see how that feedback loop works ? We should make it possible for the talented to stay.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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