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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 507

I wasn't being facetious.

'Real Interest' whether it is through internal, external, intrinsic, etc. does not matter. Those 'outside factors' you speak of are probably parents, counselors, peers, etc. Whatever the reason and influence...Your dictionary definition did nothing to explain what you think those outside factors are.

What matters is- do they have a real interest? Is programming something they WANT to do?

I honestly don't really care if a girl was told that 'computers are for boys' when she was 8 years old. She was also told a million other things that led her to become the person that she is. Maybe she is a nurse now. Or a marketing director.

If that previous counseling caused her not to have an interest in programming- then move along. Devote your time to what your interests are and become successful. Your parents may or may not have made a good choice in which direction to steer you.

It is not the responsibility of those currently in the industry to attempt to cultivate an interest in programming within those people who were not encouraged earlier in life. In that case, we'd probably end up getting 1 in 500 or so of these unfortunates who actually develops an interest after our experiment with exposure.

I don't go around to other industries knocking on their doors demanding to be let in...despite the fact that I was never given an opportunity to develop an interest. In some cases I was dissuaded from entering into highly paid careers.

My grandfather was a big influence on my life. He hated two groups of individuals: the rich and the highly educated. My late-in-life and substandard education can be traced back to the conversations he and I would have in the afternoon after school. "If a doctor is so smart, why does it take them 10 years to get through school?" I was programmed not to become a doctor- one of the highest paid and most respected professions.

This doesn't mean that society owes me a foot in the door toward a medical career. I don't think we need to be concerned about these nebulous reasons that females don't prefer programming as a career. We don't need to go back in time and right the wrongs of our ancestors.

Moving forward? Sure, that is a different story. Treat the kids equally. But by the age of 25, I had spent at least 10,000 hours on computer programming. Yes, I had an advantage over a person who was not encouraged in that direction. That doesn't mean we need to be stupid and erase that history and put me on the same footing as someone who started programming in the 3rd year of college. I had an interest, and I exploited it.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 507

I started programming about 37 years ago at the age of 9. Did it for a hobby.

During these 37 years, I've maybe spent 9 where programming was not a primary focus of my life.

Yes, I like the fiddly crap. I enjoy it. Give me a problem and I'm happy. My employer can talk about a business process, and in my mind I'm thinking data organization- it's just how my brain works. My employer benefits from this greatly.

I can't imagine what it would be like if I entered into this career because someone told me that "It's a good job that pays well". I think I'd just absolutely hate every day. This is the most abstract, arcane, tedious job I can imagine. But luckily, I love it.

I have absolutely no problem working with someone else, male or female, who has an interest in this. But if I was partnered with someone who didn't have the interest, I'd know in a few hours. And I'd hate working with them.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 507

Obviously you are going to define this as a problem that society has foisted upon women. No matter what the other arguments may be.

The opportunity is there. There are tons of programs to support women in IT. If there has been some boogeyman out there keeping women from programming, then we can't really do anything about that.

My daughters have had their interests supported as much as my sons. Even more so. I have never seen a 'get your BOYS interested in STEM' while my daughters have been exposed to many of those programs.

Those 'outside factors' you speak of are the boogeymen. You are putting the entire burden on us proving that women don't have these factors. But if the goal is to have equal access to these careers, it exists now.

You are asking us to prove a negative.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 507

I feel very, very bad for the people who are 'encouraged' to go into programming, if it was not their real interest. That is a person being set up for a very dis satisfactory career.

Programming is insanely boring to people who do not have a very high drive/interest in it. I can't think of many worse ways to spend your day, if you are not truly interested.

I work at a University. 70% female enrollment. Female chancellor, female leadership, etc. etc. If the computer science department is 85% men this is not a case of a 'boys club', this is a case of people being drawn to what they are interested in.

The Gender Studies department is about 95% female. They are very active and visible on campus. They spend a lot of time on 'outreach', yet they still can't crack 6% on male involvement. The computer science department also does outreach, and their numbers remain the same, year after year. The women's resource center has special programs to assist women in does the computer science department. There is so much support for women in technology it is amazing.

Yet still they have a hard time getting women to graduate with a degree in computer science.

I wouldn't push the males into gender studies, and I wouldn't push the females into computer science. I would push them to study what truly interests them, and where they think they will excel.

At this point, on this campus, women are not avoiding computer science because they are being treated poorly. They are avoiding computer science because they don't have an interest. Pretending otherwise is avoiding the truth.

Comment Re:Signal triangulation = GPS (Score 1) 174

Even without any atmosphere, the diffraction-limited resolution of a 2.5 m optical system watching from a 200 km altitude is limited to ~5 cm. Is that sufficient for reading the plates? (Even that number is only for watching from straight above, which sort of doesn't work for vehicle license plates - Pythagoras then applies for diagonal lines of view.)

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