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Comment Re:And Apple (Score 3, Interesting) 189

Just picked up a Moto X to replace my aging Galaxy Nexus. I'm on Verizon, which makes me skeptical I'll see another Nexus phone anytime soon. I like the near-stock Moto X setup, and the little tweaks (active notifications, touchless control, etc) are pretty fun. It's a pretty great phone, and I hope it helps boost Motorola in the Android world. I do think they priced it too high (although I still bought it, so take that as you will..) but I highly recommend the phone to anyone who plays the occasional, not to graphic-intensive games, wants their phone to be quick and responsive, likes stock Android, etc. It's an awesome phone.

Comment Re:nanny-state government ruining our kids (Score 4, Insightful) 478

I'm not sure how that's the fault of a "nanny state government" rather than overprotective parents. Mind you, I agree that - on the whole - kids today are overly sheltered. (Ugh, as someone not even 30 it pains me to write 'kids today.') But as someone who works with middle and high school students, I also don't think the problem is as bad as it is made out to be. It's usually one parent out of ten or twenty who are truly the obnoxious ones. They're just loud enough, and insistent enough, to paint ALL parents as whiney and over-protective, and thus all youth as sheltered.

But there are still kids running through parks and cities, spending money on candy, and going to play at the skate park. You may just not be hanging out with them.

PS - I'm from a major city in the US, which shapes my view. It sounds like, from some of your language, that you're not from the US. I'd be curious how/if things differ elsewhere, but can only speak from my experience.

Submission + - The Planning Fairy Tale (

Esther Schindler writes: Software project management is full of “Let’s pretend.” Let’s pretend we can write a full schedule before we know the requirements; let’s pretend we can estimate how long it will take to solve this unsolved problem; let’s pretend we can predict schedules to the hour or half day, two years in advance

...In any case, people come out of the planning meeting with their initial enthusiasm quenched in the certainty that what was just a stake in the ground on Friday afternoon will be The Plan of Record on Monday morning. And they foresee a significant part of their future will include heroics to meet a schedule date, and endless negotiations to change The Plan as reality impinges upon it. The Plan of Record, the development team is sure, will run into the Two Ineluctable Facts of Project Planning:

1. If you don’t know what you’re going to build, you can’t know how long it will take to build it.

2. You only really know what you’re going to build when you finish it.

Here’s how to spot a “Let’s pretend” schedule and what to do when you find one.

Comment Re:Of course not (Score 1) 470

I think you're honestly on the right track, but that the problem is pinning down how to carry out abstract ideals. We shouldn't ignore our differences, and (as I said in a previous post) a goal of exact and numerical gender equity in science or sports or video games or interior design is both futile and counterproductive. I suspect the desire for a 50/50 split comes out of gains in women's rights over the last century: as women's voices have been heard more and more in decision making processes, it seemed "natural" to try and go for a 50/50 split. But you're right, in many situations a 50/50 split isn't "natural." The problem is that a goal of anything other than 50/50 runs the risk of playing into cultural/institutional/social/etc sexism (or racism, or whatever bigotry is under discussion).

Now, just because it's difficult to figure out a proper gender split doesn't mean we shouldn't try. ("Proper" meaning "what would happen in the absence of cultural/institutional/social/etc sexism and false social pressures pushing people toward or away from certain activities.") I don't pretend do know how to do that, but making sure that there's equal representation in a decision making process - and honest discussions about how and why gender disparities happen - seems like a good start.

One more thing...

Recognizing differences and telling someone they aren't good enough are two completely different things.

This may be picking hairs, but I think recognizing differences and telling someone they aren't good enough are different things, and yet not completely different things. What I mean is that saying "men and women are different" has - historically - often led to "...and men are smarter and better." That's why I think many feminists - myself included - are skeptical of sentences beginning with "men and women are different." It's not because we pretend men and women are identical. (Well, some so-called feminists do, but I think they're wrong.) It's because we think men and women should be afforded the same opportunities. Noting differences is often (although certainly not always) a precursor to trying to enforce such differences, even when it's not warranted. I think that's why some people immediately try to squash any real and legitimate discussions of differences, and where the "everyone must be treated exactly the same" movement came from. That concept is in the right place, just with the wrong tactics.

Does that help explain why someone like VoidCrow might react so negatively to a claim that men and women are "just different?"

Comment Re:Of course not (Score 1) 470

You raise a number of points, some of which I think are valid, and some of which I think are problematic. I'll try to respond where I can.

I don't understand why more people don't accept [that certain fields are more attractive to different genders]. Why is thinking that their is a fundamental difference between the sexes and that they are better suited for different hobbies/challenges/activities so wrong?"

As I said in a previous post, I think the problem is artificial barriers to entry in a field/hobby/whatever. If someone wants to participate in activity/field/hobby/etc outside of their normal gender roles, I think they should be allowed to without getting shit for stepping outside of societal expectations. As a female gamer, my problem isn't as much with a lack of female game designers (although I'll talk about that in a minute) as much as the fact that men often scoff at me for attempting to participate in this 'male' realm. I don't need you (hypotehtical male, not you, np2392) to explain console difference or the history of Diablo when I've been playing video games longer than you've been alive. That's what pisses me off, not that I might be in a situation where, out of 15 gamers, only one or two others are women. I'd love to see more female gamers, because I do think many of the barriers are artificial and not actually having to do with gendered differences, but I don't pretend a 50/50 split is realistic or even desirable.

You are seeing this with video games recently and the complaints that the video game industry is sexist, there aren't enough women in the industry, games are not made equally for men and women, etc. Why is it not okay to just accept that video games are a hobby that have a special appeal for males?

This is where you being to lose me. I think, in this context, "sexist" has come to mean two things: The gender split isn't exactly 50/50 (what I just discussed) and larger false and unnecessary institutional and societal differences in the treatment of men and women. Take Mass Effect. I played through it as femShep and was able to have a lesbian relationship. I played through as femShep and was able to have a straight relationship. I played through as male Sheppard and was able to have a straight relationship. I played through as male Sheppard and was not able to have a gay relationship. That's more homophobia than sexism, but is an example of what I mean: an artificial difference in how characters are presented.

Lets use armor in fantasy games as another example. I have no problem with scantily glad women if the men are also dressed in silly and objectifying costumes. But if the least-revealing outfit selection for a male character includes a full suit of armor and the least-revealing outfit selection for a female character is a corset, that's a problem. That's where I'd say the video game industry is sexist.

Comment Re:Of course not (Score 1) 470

Until half of interior designers are male, interior design remains sexist. Lets break some ground and get more gents in there.

Point well taken, but I I think it's sidestepping a deeper issue. You're right, men and women are different. Looking at physical atributes - height, weight, strength - and it's pretty obvious: both men and women lie along bell curves, and the curves are not identical. To use a specific example, the average woman is going to be shorter and weaker than the average man. But the curves also overlap, so that there are specific men who may be shorter than specific women or specific women who are stronger than specific men. Saying "All men are taller than all women" would be pretty stupid. So would saying "All women are better interior decorators than all men." (I don't think this is what you were saying, I'm just using your example.)

All that means that, in my mind, the goal of reducing gender disparity in STEM fields should not be to ensure a 50/50 split between men and women. Such a 50/50 split may not be realistic for the same reason that expecting a 50/50 split between men and women in a breastfeeding competition is unrealistic: men and women are different. Rather, reducing gender disparity in STEM fields should be about reducing any artificial barriers - of education, socialization, institutional sexism, and outright discrimination - that keep out women who might otherwise love to be scientists. Likewise, we should move to reduce any similar artificial barriers that keep out men who might otherwise love to be interior decorators.

A real-world example: Recently, the US military said it would be allowing women to serve in combat roles. I don't expect that this will result in gender equality in combat roles, nor do I think it should. But It will remove an artificial barrier that prevented women from participating in an area where some might want to be (even if it's at a lower percentage than men).

As a side note, I think one of the major historic failings of feminism (something feminists like myself try to call out) is that sexism limits options for men, too. Sexism isn't just about women, nor is feminism.

The problem is that determining what those barriers are is difficult. Likewise, it may be impossible to objectively determine the 'natural' gender disparity in STEM fields or in interior decorating. A goal of a 50/50 split is easier to understand and can be applied indiscriminately to any situation, which is why I think it comes up so much. Then, it gets labeled as foolish, and rightly so, but without any discussion of the deeper underlying issues. Hopefully, though, we can move forward as a society to a point where there's just as much cultural and social support for a woman to be a scientist as there is for a man, or for a man to be an interior decorator as there is for a woman. At that point, maybe we can be OK with a 9/10 or 60/40 split, or whatever it turns out to be, because we'll be confident the people who want to be there can be there, and do well.

Comment Re:Blood is on the NRA Hands (Score 1) 1862

Undoing moderation to post.

When was the last time the spirit of the 2nd amendment, the "security of a free state", was maintained with a firearm in the US?

Dunno if there are more recent examples, but in 1946 some WWII veterans used guns as private citizens to help ensure free elections. Now, this doesn't address your other questions, of whether or not such protection from (real or imagined) tyranny is worth it. I tend to be somewhere in the middle: I think people should have the right to bear arms, but that requiring licensing, registration, and training do not infringe on those rights.

Comment Re:can someone please explain to me (Score 2) 505

A legit question, and one that deserves an honest answer. I like to think of myself as a moral pirate. I try to buy books, music, and movies from artists I respect, when I can afford it. When not, or when it's something where I don't feel the artist(s) or creator(s) particularly needs my money (an entirely subjective and problematic scale, I know) I pirate it.

I feel justified, able to sleep at night, because Big Media (music, movies, TV, books, etc) have failed to hold up their end of the copyright bargin. Copyright is a deal: You (the content creator) gets a limited monopoly on distribution, and are allowed to place whatever restrictions you see fit. In exchange, I (society at large) eventually get entirely free and unrestricted access, when the work enters the public domain. Big Media has failed to hold up their end of the bargin by continually extending copyright terms beyond "reasonable' (another subjective term, I know), retroactively extending copyright for works that have already been created, and using their lobbying might to continue to push laws in their favor. As such, I see little moral or ethical problems with failing to hold up my end of the bargin; namely, respecting their copyright.

So I infringe. I download TV shows, movies, and books, and seed them back to the Internet at large. Were copyright 14 years, 50 years, or even the life of the creator, I'd like to think I would behave differently. But I'm not holding my breath the length of copyright to be reduced anytime soon.


PS - I do have a problem with people who make money off of the work of still-living artists, by selling pirated copies or movies or books. But non-commercial copyright infringement is morally acceptable in my worldview.

PPS - For what it's worth, I try to practice what I preach. I'm a working artist, making a living off of what I create. Nevertheless, I have my book available for free on my website, along with videos of my shows.

Comment Re:Lost a Friend Yesterday (Score 3, Insightful) 385

Undoing some moderation, but wanted to chime in. I'm also a trans woman, and circumcised. As far as I can tell, my penis always worked fine. (Where 'fine' = 'got erect, ejaculated, functioned well enough for me to deposit sperm.') So far as I can tell, my being trans is unrelated to how well my genitalia does or doesn't function. Let me know if this responds to what you were curious about - I'd be happy to chat more.

Submission + - Help a /.er pay for gender reassignment surgery ( 1

Trillian_1138 writes: "I've been a /. reader (mostly a lurker) for over ten years. Next December, I will be undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and I'm asking for your help. I'm using a Kickstarter-style fundraiser, were there are rewards for various donor levels. Rewards include sex toys, trans-positive porn, artwork from comics like Subnormality and The Devil's Panties, and more. Particularly geeky, I recently went to 3DEA in New York City to have my penis scanned by lasers (relatively SFW link) so that I can offer custom-molded candles, chocolates, and dildos as a reward. I know my goal, $10,000, is ambitious, but every little bit helps. Help spread the word, and thanks!"

Submission + - W3C Finalizes HTML5 Specification (

hypnosec writes: The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced today that it has finalized specifications for HTML5 and that it is ready for interoperability testing. HTML5 hasn’t been given the status of standard yet but it is feature complete now thereby giving developers a stable target to develop their web applications. The W3C while making the announcement said "HTML5 is the cornerstone of the Open Web Platform" and that it provides an environment where cross-platform applications can be developed which can utilize all of a device’s capabilities like videos, animations, graphics and typography. The HTML5 specifications still have a long way to go before they hit the Recommendation status. HTML5 will have to go through a round of testing that looks specifically into interoperability and performance whereby it will be given a Candidate Recommendation title.

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