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Comment Not yet (Score 1) 561

47 years old here... I haven't experienced it yet. I know it exists, though, as I personally know some older IT guys who have have difficulty even getting interviews. For me, I think there are several reasons why I haven't fallen victim to that. Not saying I'm immune, as I'm definitely in the age group where one might expect it. First, being female I'll never have the "gray beard" thing going. I do have some gray hair, which someone might notice if they look closely. Also I am in great shape (thanks CrossFit!) and there is definitely something to be said for being healthy and fit, which helps keep me young physically as well as mentally. I really think what we project to others is an important part of it. Also, I'm fairly immature and I like to joke and laugh a lot, so I fit in pretty well with teams where often I'm the only woman. Being a contractor, managers are looking for an experienced developer with specific skillsets who can jump in, learn quickly and get the job done, and not usually as concerned about the whole cultural aspect of it as they would with an FTE. I'm not looking to join a startup (been there, done that) but I love a fast paced environment and learning new things. So I'm not someone who will let my skills stagnate, or get complacent and stay in one place too long. Will this still be the case in 5, 10 years? It's something that I am very mindful of, and maybe I'll start to see some ageism as I get into my 50s. If so, I'll just have to figure out a way to deal with it.

Comment Re:Nerve connections for muscles (Score 4, Informative) 99

Resistance training leads to change in the nervous system, but possibly not in the brain. Relevant research

The studies you mention are from 1988 and 2006, respectively. A more recent study from 2015 concludes otherwise:

This study provides the first evidence for strength training-related changes in white matter and putamen in the healthy adult brain.

Comment Re: Stupid people are stupid (Score 2) 956

When I was a girl, I was interested in Legos and building stuff, astronomy and science. I was made fun of BY MY PARENTS for playing with non-girly toys like little green army men and Star Trek action figures (this was in the 70's) and strongly discouraged from pursuing astronomy as a career because "girls are bad at math." That's a literal quote from my mom when I was in 4th grade and said I wanted to be an astronomer. Little kids believe what they are told by adults. Why wouldn't they? It's a very strong influence that's hard to escape, even with contrary evidence that I was not bad at math at all, for many years I believed it. I was also good at reading/art/music and so was steered toward that. The same type of thing can happen to boys. I had a friend who was nerdy like me and interested in reading, playing chess, etc. His dad forced him to play football, which my friend wasn't interested in at all (his sister had to be a cheerleader, and I don't think she was all that interested in it either.) My mom forced me to take ballet, a short-lived humiliating experience and something my brothers were never required to do. I would have played sports if there had been more opportunities for girls and if my parents would have allowed/encouraged it. So yes, it's probably true that there are things that the majority of each gender gravitates toward. But it's not all nature, at least some is nurture. There are also a lot of people who are pushed away or toward certain activities and interests based on gender alone, and not what they are good at or want to do.

Comment Re:Over 20 million employees? (Score 1) 71

I've never been a government employee, but I am a contractor who worked for a subcontractor on a project that required a security clearance. So I had to submit a form SF-86 and this means that my data is part of this hacking. I've yet to receive any official notification about it.

Comment Re:Unfortunately, it's still on piano (Score 1) 59

You obviously don't know anything about early keyboard instruments or the physics behind temperament. Peforming this on a modern piano, which is *equal* tempered, defeats the whole purpose of the piece, which is intended for a *well* tempered instrument. If you think period instruments sound like shit, then it's likely your ears that are out of tune, dulled by lack of exposure to anything beyond equal temperament.

Comment Re:I was a victim of the stereotype (Score 2) 493

I don't think that's it. She was always very encouraging of anything I did that fit with the stereotypes she had (reading, art, music, etc.) I know there are uber critical parents, but I really think she believed that girls are bad at math and it just didn't occur to her that it might not be true, or what kind of damage it did. She's not the most logical person. Anyway, I just brought it up as an example of how influential that can be on a kid. I fortunately had a lot of good teachers, and some bad ones of course, but I never recall any who discouraged me from pursuing any subject I wanted to learn.

Comment I was a victim of the stereotype (Score 5, Interesting) 493

Unlike the majority of people here, I actually have experience being female. We moved around a lot when I was a kid so I attended several different school systems in 6 states in the 70's and 80's. I was a nerdy kid, very interested in science. I have never been a math genious but always did quite well in the subject, and enjoyed it, when I had a good teacher. I can't remember one time where any teacher, male or female, discouraged me from science or math. In fact, I remember quite the opposite. My mother, though, she was another story. When I was in 3rd/4th grade I decided that I wanted to be an astronomer. Apparently she had taken astronomy class at a community college, and it turned out to be all math. She failed the class and her takeaway from that was that she is bad at math, and therefore all girls are bad at math, so that meant I couldn't be an astronomer, because it's all math. And of course I believed her. Why wouldn't I? Nevermind that I placed very highly on all standardized tests, including math. In junior high they took me out of regular classes, put me in the gifted & talented program, and I took all the advanced math classes all though high school. I took a CS class in high school, had a Commodore 64 and wrote programs in BASIC. I tested out of my math requirement for my bachelors degree and then after grad school took a couple of calculus and astronomy classes just for fun. All that time believing that I was bad at math. It's very hard to overcome that type of bias, no matter who puts it in your head, even in the face of evidence telling you otherwise. Kids really absorb that stuff. I think it wasn't until I was in my 30's that I realized I was never actually bad at math. I'm now a computer programmer. Can you imagine if my mother had been a teacher? Thank goodness I was the only girl she had influence over.

Comment 46 y/o independent consultant here (Score 1) 376

I have no interest in doing anything in IT besides programming and closely related tasks. Everything else bores me. I've been in several roles where I've had to wear various hats including BA, some project management, architecture, etc. and I couldn't imagine doing any of that in a full time capacity. I suppose if you're working at a company trying to advance your career, eventually you hit a wall where you can't advance any further in a purely technical role, without either going into project management, management, or possibly becoming an architect. If you want to avoid that, and have an in demand skillset, one good option is to become a consultant. Of course it involves more risk, and a willingness to move around and adapt to different environments. But the advantages (besides more money) include having freedom to determine what projects you want to do, having a lot of variety, not having to deal with corporate politics and HR bs, and generally being able to focus more on the technical aspects of the project. Also consultants tend to be engaged because of their experience, so having been around the block a few times can be advantage. If you have the right personality and circumstances for it, then it's definitely something to consider. If going completely independent is not for you, then there's always the option to become a salaried consultant with an established company. You won't have as much freedom to pick and choose projects, but there's more stability, and you can still maintain that technical focus on a variety of projects.

Comment Re:god dammit. (Score 5, Interesting) 521

I agree with your sentiment, but as someone who volunteers with raptor rehabilitation, I can speak from some experience. Actually more raptors than you might think are killed by cats. There are many raptor species which are quite small and easily taken by a cat. And of course all are vulnerable when in the nest or just after fledging, unable to fly or defend themselves. People always ask me if a raptor would take their pet cat, and I always tell them that the raptor is much more in danger from the cat than the other way around. Also there are many endangered songbirds (grassland species, neotropical migrants, etc), and many cats in both low and high population areas.

That all being said, the environmental impact of these supposed "green" energy sources is significant. The production of biofuels like ethanol has decimated habitat, the dangers of wind power to raptors are well known, and now this. There needs to be more study beforehand rather than after the fact. And green energy apologists need to concede that their industry is just as hypocritical about the environment as any other energy producer.

Comment I wrote about this in 1996 in BYTE (Score 2) 608

I was a music major, worked my way through from undergrad to the PhD level in music theory (my favorite topic.) Fortunately those same logical and analytical skills, appreciation of patterns and attention to detail, transfers quite well into becoming a programmer. After my first year in the PhD program, I suddenly came to the realization that being a professional music theorist wasn't going to pay a lot, and made the switch to software engineering, which I have been doing for the last 15 years. Best decision I ever made.

But I disagree with several points in the article (which I did read.) First I don't think that programming is particularly grueling or requires some elite level of dedication. That's not my experience, and my success as a consultant programmer (clients hire me purely for my skillset) is evidence of that. I think the most important thing is to have a predilection for logical thinking and problem solving. Other fields require different skillsets which might attract people with other strengths and personality types. I see nothing wrong with this. I don't understand why the author thinks that someone spending years to master a skill is a bad thing, or that doing so consumes a person's entire life. When I go leave the office, I pursue other interests that have nothing to do with programming. I don't think one must have a brain disorder to be a programmer.

The author shouldn't assume his personality and experience mirrors as a programmer everyone else's. He says "The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way." I say, it ISN'T this way.

Comment Native bees (Score 1) 143

Native bees are actually better pollinators than non-native, imported honey bees. You don't have to wait for the government to do something in order to help them, you can do something right now in your own back yard. Simply add plants native to your area and the pollinators will come! These aren't usually available at mainstream nurseries, so seek out nurseries specializing in native species. Native insects rely on native plants. The typical suburban yard is basically a dead zone when it comes to inviting any pollinators, with all the chemicals, invasive and exotic non-native plants that people use in their landscaping. I've been on a 7 year journey in my own back yard to eliminate invasive species and replace with natives. It's been a huge learning experience as I am not a knowledgeable gardener. One of the first things I noticed right away was that suddenly there were so many bees!

Comment Re: You don't need a college degree (Score 1) 287

Hey guess what, there are a lot of smart, hard working and self-motivated people who ALSO attend college. We study AND we do. It's possible to have BOTH academic AND real world experience. Imagine that!!

I love how people who haven't been to college put it down as just a "piece of paper" and assume that college graduates don't know anything about the real world, or are in massive debt. Speaking as someone who worked all through high school, and college, and graduate school... and got a job right away in my field right after college. And I've been working in my field (Java programming) for the last 15 years, mostly as a self-employed consultant. So I've got tons of experience on many projects, probably more than most due to being a consultant. And I make very good money at it.

If college isn't for you, I've got no problem with that. I don't assume that people who don't have a college degree are stupid or have an inferiority complex, etc. Although I do have to wonder about people who have such strong opinions about something they've never experienced themselves, and are so willing to spout stereotypical nonsense about it. Don't presume to know what other people "need."

Comment Re:Answer: No. (Score 1) 404

Almost universally in software development, starting from scratch is a stupid fucking idea repeated by inexperienced developers.

Now a bunch of slashdot will tell me I'm wrong, but that doesn't change the previous statement, just reenforces it.

Obviously you've never worked on a project that involved offshore development.

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