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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 418

If women choose not to go into computing fields, why should they be forced (or even encouraged) to do so?... How about letting people pick the field(s) they want to go into without telling them what they "ought" to do based on a pointless metric or percentage?

My brain jumped to a few different places when I read these questions. The first is, in pushing for greater inclusion of women, I think there's an implication or assumption that women would like to get into these fields, but are not able to. It doesn't really seem true to me, but maybe some people have other experiences? My experience has been that most of the places I've worked (admittedly doing support, not programming) would have loved to hire more women, and made efforts to do so, but very few women even sent in resumes. But like I said, it's possible that some women could tell stories where they felt discriminated against.

The second thing that went through my head was, it does seem fair to ask the question, "Why are there so few women in tech?" Even if the answer is that women aren't generally interested, it only raises the question, "Why not?" Some people might not like the idea that there's a innate/genetic reason for it, but it also might have to do with our educational system, or something about how technology managers work. It may be a larger societal message, where we're telling women that they're not going to be good at that kind of job. If we had a clear understanding of why women weren't pursuing those kinds of careers, we would then be in a position to say, "That's fine, and not something we want to try to solve." Not knowing what's going on or why, I don't think we can say that it's not something fix. It may even be that women are seeing a problem in the industry that's harming all the workers, and it's a thing that men are just more willing to tolerate. If so, fixing that problem may benefit everyone.

The last thought I had might begin to answer your questions more directly: When you want to hire people who are good at a job, it's good to attract everyone you can and maintain a large and diverse talent pool. It increases your chances of finding the people you need. I'm not even talking about anything related to social justice, but just the practical matter of trying to hire people. You want a big talent pool. As people are fond to point out, it also potentially drives down the cost of labor, but it also increases the changes of finding someone with the exact qualities and skills you're looking for.

Comment Contractors (Score 1) 44

It important to remember that Edward Snowden was a contractor. Why did he work for NSA as a contractor instead of a regular employee? Because he had no degree. Such people are generally shunned by HR managers. But if they have the right skills, hiring managers will often use contractor status to circumvent their own HR dept.

Thanks to a number of lawsuits, most employers have mandatory time limits for contractors, typically 1-3 years. Although many employers promote their best contractors to regular employment, HR often balks at waiving a degree requirement, even for people who are doing excellent work without one.

All contractors know (or should know) how much time they have on the clock. Once they understand the time limit, every contractor needs an exit strategy in case the employer declines to offer full-time employment when the time limit expires.

Whatever Snowden did, he did it with the understanding that his time at NSA was limited, and crossing over to full-time employment was going to be a challenge. In other words, he had nothing to lose.

If employers didn't have to use contract employment to circumvent their self-imposed budget and HR obstacles, you wouldn't see so many contractors with incentives to take secrets put the door.

I'm wouldn't be surprised to see this scenario repeated many times at the NSA.

Comment No surprises here (Score 1) 501

For years, friends and relatives asked me to help with their Windows problems. After it became unbearable to fix my computers and fix theirs too, I switched to OS X. I told everyone that I no longer had a Windows machine and therefore could not help them. I advised everyone to switch when they could no longer tolerate their PC's behavior. Some people switched, some didn't. Those who switched never needed my help again. Those who didn't were on their own. Ultimately, my pro-bono support incidents dropped to ZERO.

Microsoft has made progress in recent years. And Apple has dropped the ball a few times, especially when they punish people who don't upgrade their computers and phones fast enough, or migrate their data to icloud. Even so, if you consider the cost of support labor and the lost productivity while waiting for help, Macs should have replaced PC's in corporate life years ago.

Comment Re:Reason (Score 2) 105

Google doesn't actually want your phone number for security. Google wants your phone number so that they can link the account in their database to other information that contains your phone number.

Correct. It's not Google that wants your phone number linked to your email account -- it's the NSA. Email accounts may be disposable and free, but every phone is costing somebody money. Unless you buy a burner phone and service cards for cash, there is a financial trail behind every phone that leads back to a person. Once the NSA knows the person's phone number, geolocating the phone (and therefore the email account owner) is child's play for the inventors of PRISM.

Even if you buy a burner phone and service for cash, and even if you turn off the phone after setting up your Gmail account, tracking down the account holder is as simple as forcing Google to "screw up" someone's password, forcing them to use the telephone-based password recovery protocol.

Once you understand the loss of privacy that comes from linking telephones to user accounts, it's much easier to understand how the real goal has nothing to do with making your account "secure". The real target is your privacy.


First New US Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years Goes Live ( 342

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: The Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating an event 43 years in the making: the completion of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1973, the TVA, one of the nation's largest public power providers, began building two reactors that combined promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes. The first reactor, delayed by design flaws, eventually went live in 1996. Now, after billions of dollars in budget overruns, the second reactor has finally started sending power to homes and businesses. Standing in front of both reactors Wednesday, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar 2, the first U.S. reactor to enter commercial operation in 20 years, would offer clean, cheap and reliable energy to residents of several southern states for at least another generation. Before Watts Bar 2, the last time an American reactor had fired up was in 1996. It was Watts Bar 1 -- and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost $6.8 billion, far greater than the original price tag at $370 million. In the 2000s, some American power companies, faced with growing environmental regulations, eyed nuclear power again as a top alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. A handful of companies, taking advantage of federal loan guarantees from the Bush administration, revived nuclear reactor proposals in a period now known as the so-called "nuclear renaissance." Eventually, nuclear regulators started to green light new reactors, including ones in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2007, the TVA resumed construction on Watts Bar 2, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The TVA originally said it would take five years to complete. The TVA, which today serves seven different southern states, relies on nuclear power to light up approximately 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar 2, the company's seventh operating reactor, reaffirms its commitment to nukes for at least four more decades, Johnson said Wednesday. In the end, TVA required more than five years to build the project. The final cost, far exceeding its initial budget, stood at $4.7 billion.

Comment LinkedIn recommendations are mostly bogus (Score 2) 48

I have written 100% truthful, positive recommendations for some really good people. And some of those people have written 100% truthful, positive recommendations for me. But in the competitive marketplace, the value of this information is lost as truthful stories are diluted into an ocean of fiction.

The only thing LinkedIn is good for is entertainment. It's fun to visit the profile of known underachievers, just to see who is writing "quid pro quo" recommendations. I have seen stories about accomplishments that never happened, touting various achievements for projects that were spectacular failures.

And all of this is on top of imaginary degrees, fictional job titles at imaginary companies, or sometimes inflated job titles at real companies. Fact-checking this stuff is tougher than it looks. Most employers have a strict "no comment" policy regarding ex-employees. And then there are all the companies (and even colleges) that no longer exist. Even if a person can produce a reference to vouch for their story, it may turn out to be a case of one liar validating another. Background checks are definitely not working. I know of some people with fictional LinkedIn profiles, and somehow they bounce from one employer to the next with impunity.

Comment Re:Not equivelent (Score 1) 212

the iPhone 7 Plus is expected to be the main model benefitting from this transition.

So when they say they're switching to the iPhone 7, they're really saying they're switching from Android to iPhone. The iPhone 7 Plus (5.5" screen) is only a little smaller than the Galaxy Note 7 (5.7" screen), and larger than the Galaxy 7 (5.1" screen).

The Internet

Anti-Defamation League and Pepe the Frog's Creator Are Teaming Up To Save Pepe From Hate-Symbol Status ( 379

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: Matt Furie, the creator of the widely known "Pepe the Frog" meme, is joining forces with the Anti-Defamation League to reclaim the symbol from the alt-right and make it a "force for good," according to a press release. Furie and the ADL plan to start a social-media campaign by creating "a series of positive Pepe memes and messages" and promoting them with the hashtag #SavePepe, according to the release. The ADL declared "Pepe the Frog" to be a hate symbol in late September. "It's completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate, and that racists and anti-Semites are using a once peaceful frog-dude from my comic book as an icon of hate," Furie said in a column for Time magazine. While fiercely condemning the "racist and fringe groups" that use Pepe to propagate divisive views, Furie said Pepe was meant to "celebrate peace, togetherness, and fun." The meme, which originated from a 2005 cartoon, has been hijacked by the alt-right movement in the past several months. Members of the movement have used the meme to convey often racist and anti-Semitic messages. The messages prompted the ADL to add Pepe to its "Hate on Display" database, which documents anti-Semitic hate symbols. According to the ADL's press release on the #SavePepe campaign, Furie will speak at its "Never Is Now" summit against anti-Semitism on November 17 in New York City. The panel will focus specifically on online hate campaigns. Furie published a new Pepe cartoon on Monday detailing his "alt-right election nightmare," which depicts a sad Pepe morphing into a frog that resembles Donald Trump and then a monster. Pepe appears trapped in the mouth of the monster. The next panel depicts a nuclear explosion. Pepe then awakes and hides under his mattress.

Comment Re:A little perspective (Score 1) 435

The Electoral College isn't particularly helping Clinton here. If anything, it's probably going to end up helping Trump in that it skews political power *toward* less populous states. For example, Wyoming will go to Trump. While Wyoming accounts for only .6% of the electoral vote, but if it were a popular vote, it would account for less than .2% of the popular vote. (Pretty sure my math there is right, but admittedly I just googled some numbers and plugged them into a calculator)

The Electoral College was designed to prevent populous areas from exerting too much control over the federal government, and given that populous areas tend to be more liberal, it usually works in favor of the Republicans.

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