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Comment gender/class/ comfort (Score 1) 156

This is interesting. It may be the harsher conditions that limit options, and part of it is likely class. Part of it may be the acceptance of over-the-top misogynistic behavior in some Western tech communities is constrained by tighter constraints on speech overall. The US is doing terribly at inclusion of women in cs and engineering. The percentage of women in engineering and in CS peaked in the eighties and continues to decrease. Microsoft being cool with a rape joke for Xbox One and the widespread acceptance of rape not only as a trope for every female character in gaming but also as a trivializing verb is part of the problem. Gender hate speech in tech culture is a problem in the West, I do not know if it is a problem in tech forums in other languages. The same sexual repression that harms women may have a minor positive secondary effect in the prohibition of the explicitly sexually violent language. In India, for decades nearly half the engineering classes have been female. So there is a significant pipeline issue. If women are 50% of the graduates and 35% of start-ups, well that is better than the numbers here. (About 14% in EE last year, about 3% of start-ups.) Another possible explanation is that these are places where rape is more endemic and there are more women is start-ups. The happy idea that the internet is a gender-free meritocracy is funny to anyone with access to a search engine. However, if some people are actually prevented from traveling alone outdoors, either by law in Saudi or by threat of rape, then doing your own start-up is one of fewer employment options. So women may be driven to this. Constraints on women working with men in some cultures may mean that there can be no situations where one woman gets a team of men. A college education is much more of a luxury good in these countries. A much much smaller percentage of the population has a college degree. Thus, those with those degrees are more likely to have access to capital to have a start-up; even if it is as simple as having housing, health insurance and subsidized Internet. This is interesting. There are many possible explanations. Perhaps we could learn something applicable locally.

Comment tech for aging in place (Score 1) 165

Are you picking a single technology to allow your parents to watch movies? Or are you selecting a control point for your parents as they age in place? If you are selecting one technology, I would go for the Xbox. The gesture control will be manageable for them. Learning to use a game controller is going to be very difficult, and frustrating. The push downloads will be acceptable, they expect magic technology to demand some compliance. The capacity for audio and gesture interaction will generally be useful -- obviously I am advocated for Kinect. If you look at the work at Georgia Tech, IU and U Washington on this you will find that alternative modes of interaction, like audio, tend to be preferred by elders. In part because it makes sense as an interaction, and in part because they end to dislike handheld devices. Ok, this is snark but remote changes and handheld devices can be overly complex: http://gizmodo.com/357331/how-grandma-sees-the-remote A general purpose computer is a bad idea unless you want to engage in some serious security management and tech education. Another driver is what you, as apparently the family technologist, use. If you can provide remote support, that is nice. What is really good is when the technological interactions enhance the interpersonal interactions. One very common fear of elders is that the technology can be a substitute, not a complement, to f2f interaction. So if the technology becomes a source of interaction now, then later adoption of technology (for your peace of mind and their health) will be easier. SO, for example if you want a monitor to text you when the door opens if granddad gets a little early dementia, their experience with this technology has a very high degree of probability of influencing later technology adoptions. Ideally, have them over at your house to interact and if you do not have an Xbox, then take them to Best Buy Work with them. Judge their comfort level with various interactions. Do not tell them it is simple. Please do not tell them that because it being simple will shut down their responses. Show them physical and audio interactions. Talk about this "fit" not better/worse. Now, I am basing this on academic studies in design for elders. Some of those studies can be found in the open access journal Gerontechnology http://gerontechnology.info/index.php/journal/issue/archive and some of the Aging in Place and design for elders. While I love the construct of Aging In Place, I have only very strong disappointment for most of the books that use those terms. Also, many of them are wildly overpriced. You might like "Design and the Digital Divide: Computer Support for Older and Disabled People" by Newell. Remember this is a first tech choice. As they become more vulnerable, their acceptance of tech you choose will be informed by this experience. Patience with them now will pay off later.

Comment Re:PhD's in Germany (Score 1) 123

I take this is a comment from someone without a doctorate from the US. I know nothing about other nations' practices, but in the US you would have been tossed out for plagiarism. Legacy kids are getting bounced from Harvard undergrad for cheating. Yes, professors can be oblivious and there are high profile cases. In the sciences your dissertation also requires publications in the process. This would require that no one notice plagiarism in peer review.

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I THINK THEY SHOULD CONTINUE the policy of not giving a Nobel Prize for paneling. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.