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Comment: Re:demography & culture (Score 1) 573

by trout007 (#47784459) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

That seems to reinforce my theory on lack of women in STEM. People look at STEM and think this is where the smartest people go. Not entirely true. The people in STEM are smart BUT they are also are not typically social. I don't mean they don't get along with people but that isn't their priority. The work is the priority and working with other people interested in the work is fine.

What the really smart people that are social do are become entrepreneurs, politicians, doctors, and lawyers. Since women will tend to be more social I think that is the reason you don't find as many in STEM. Not only do they have to be smart but not focused on social aspects. Most of the female engineers that I've worked with that actually like engineering tend to act more like a stereotypical engineer. Focus on the work and not on the social aspects. They are nice people but there focus isn't on making you like them but getting the job done.

Comment: Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (Score 1) 110

by trout007 (#47770315) Attached to: CenturyLink: Comcast Is Trying To Prevent Competition In Its Territories

I don't see it as wrong. This is how all technology gets developed. Early adopters pay for the tech and those that wait get the benefits. You can get the latest phone for several hundred dollars or get one 4 years old for a tiny fraction of that. Same with car tech. Every little standard feature on an econobox started as optional equipment on luxury models.

Comment: Big Companies and Government Contracts (Score 2) 210

by trout007 (#47737987) Attached to: Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website

What you get with Big Companies is lots of Lawyers. There is more money to be made doing exactly what the contract says then doing the job correct. If you do exactly what you are asked to do in the worst way possible you get paid once to do this and keep getting paid to support and modify.

Comment: Re:Screwed up Congress (Score 2) 53

by trout007 (#47724867) Attached to: NASA's Space Launch System Searches For a Mission

NASA doesn't build much. The only reason their employees do any engineering at all is so they stay somewhat competent enough to write requirements and evaluate contracts. Most of the money and work has been, is done, and will continue to be done by contractors.
Take Apollo. North American made the command and service module and second state, Grumman made the LM. The Saturn V first stage was built by Boeing with Rockedyne Engines. The third stage was built by Douglass, The avionics by IBM.The escape system by Lockheed.

Now since most of the integration work can be done by industry NASA has started to even back out of the integration role. Let the contractors build the whole thing. This doesn't mean NASA doesn't do anything. SpaceX, Orbital, etc uses NASA technology and experts all of the time. The difference is these companies go to NASA to ask for help where in the past the contractor had to pass NASA design reviews which slowed things down and made everything cost more.

I for one like this direciton. Launching rockets is proven technology. It's time for business to figure out how to make it economical. With these savings NASA can spend more on more payloads. If launch costs go down significantly then the spacecraft costs will drop as well. You don't launch a $10M spacecraft when you have to pay $200M for the rocket. But if the rocket costs $10M then you just might. 20 times the missions even if a bunch fail is still quite a bit of science.

Comment: Re:This actually makes perfect sense. (Score 4, Informative) 117

by trout007 (#47708775) Attached to: Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Actually nothing is loaded into the payload bay in the VAB. That is just where the stack was built up. The ISS payload were installed in the Payload Changeout Room (PCR) on the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) while the shuttle is actually on the Pad. This allows a later integration for the payloads and allows access to them late in the process.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pa...

Comment: Real problem is not understanding customers (Score 3, Insightful) 371

by trout007 (#47689507) Attached to: Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

In the end it is always the customer that pays the bills. If you are selling things to technical people then the engineers may have a better grasp on what the customer wants. I've been in customer meetings where we were selling a machine to the customer and both management didn't really understand the requirements. When I talked with the manufacturing engineer we both understood each other and were able to agree upon some real requirements that could be verified. In this cage management wasn't helping. Luckily they understood this and allowed the technical people to work together.

In other cases when I worked for a company that sold services to the government I had to learn to relize the business wasn't about doing a great job. They have the contract so the business goal was to milk the government as much as possible. This means doing exactly what you were contracted to do even if it wasn't technically correct.

Comment: Re:Technical People (Score 2) 194

by trout007 (#47677163) Attached to: The Billion-Dollar Website

Part of the problem is because of how contracts are awarded. A business is allowed to use their brains and not go with the low bidder because they obviously don't understand the job or have a history of being a pain to work with. The government is not allowed to do this. They have to write a perfect requirements document and put out an open request for bids. If anything in the requirements document is not perfect the contractor is legally allowed to mess it up on purpose and charge for fixing it. This type of behavior doesn't happen as often in the private sector because those firms get a bad reputation and go out of business.

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