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UnGrounded: British Airways Attempts to Bottle Some Startup Spirit

timothy posted about a year ago | from the brainstorming-dammit-not-barnstorming dept.

Businesses 128

theodp writes "Bill Gates already called dibbs on polio, so British Airways had to settle for tackling the 'global misalignment of talent' problem, putting '100 of the most forward-thinking founders, CEOs, venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley game-changers' on a flight from San Francisco to London to 'innovate and collaborate to find an effective solution to this growing global challenge.' UnGroundedThinking.com showcases the winning concepts, which include Advisher (an online community to help foster women in STEM), INIT ('nutritional labels' to disclose products' 'STEM ingredients'), DGTL (rewards young women with fashionable clothes for completing coding challenges), Beacons in a Backpack (solar powered backpacks pre-loaded with videos, multimedia content, and game-powered educational tools that also serve as mobile hotspots for rural/remote areas), Tech21 (STEM education program aimed at 21-years-and-older post-college grads in the workforce), Certify.me (allows STEM talent from across the globe to audition for potential employers via standardized-quality assessments), and STEAM Truck (a mobile dance lab where STEM art installations teach kids that science is fun and valuable). 'This has the feel of Southby [SXSW],' gushed a Google Ventures general partner. "It's a serendipitous occasion. It's about time we presented engineers to kids as role models — not just firefighters, cops, doctors, detectives. Who knows? Maybe The Internship changes that.'"

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128 comments

Rectum dancer! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038575)

I'm a rectum dancer! I dance with my rancid rectum to attract people who possess fetid cocks! What comes next is a feces fiesta...

Coke and hookers (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44038607)

Didn't they do this last year?

Re:Coke and hookers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038653)

Is it just me or is the summery just plain hard to read? Coke and hookers make more sense.

Re:Coke and hookers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039893)

It was different hookers last year

The B-Ark? (4, Insightful)

linuxwrangler (582055) | about a year ago | (#44038623)

Obligatory Hitchhiker's reference aside, who thinks it's a good idea to stick a bunch of the professed best and brightest together on the same trans-Atlantic plane? Apparantly they are ignoring the lessons learned by corporations that have had their entire leadership killed in a single crash and therefore forbid members of upper management from taking the same flight.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038871)

Obligatory Hitchhiker's reference aside, who thinks it's a good idea to stick a bunch of the professed best and brightest together on the same trans-Atlantic plane? Apparantly they are ignoring the lessons learned by corporations that have had their entire leadership killed in a single crash and therefore forbid members of upper management from taking the same flight.

I think it's a good idea for the same reasons you mention.

Re:The B-Ark? (4, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#44038979)

These aren't the best and the brightest, these are the CEO's and funders of the best and the brightest, so considerably less loss than you imagine.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44039637)

Exactly. Similarly, we need to have special plane excursions for Congresspeople, with as many Congresspeople loaded into a 747 as they can fit. Then maybe that plane will have an unfortunate "accident"....

A crash of a plane full of CEOs and banksters wouldn't be a loss at all, it'd be a net gain to humanity.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44040275)

You are right, people starting new companies shouldn't have to grovel to these idiots. There should be a public fund that goes to worthy companies. And to make sure that we give the money to the right people, we'll put a panel of experts together to judge the merits of these startups. We'll have to pay the panel members extremely well, so that they don't get corrupted or bribed. Now, there's a few powerful congressmen who have some brothers-in-law who happen to be scientists, and they would be a perfect fit for this panel. I'm sure they will be more responsible with this taxpayer money than rich guys investing their own money.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44041429)

There should be a public fund that goes to worthy companies. And to make sure that we give the money to the right people, we'll put a panel of experts together to judge the merits of these startups.

Like Solyndra? Not trolling - really - but if I assimilated one concept from shows like Connections [wikipedia.org] and The Day the Universe Changed [wikipedia.org] , is that it's almost impossible to predict winners and losers for many (most?) ideas, so ensuring money goes to the "right people" is problematic regardless of the expertise of the people evaluating the ideas.

In addition, especially from watching Connections, it's seems difficult to know what idea, especially small, seemingly insignificant ones, may inspire or lay the foundation for other, perhaps larger and/or more important, ideas.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44041585)

I think you need to finish reading my comment :)

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44039189)

That would have been which cooperation?

Re:The B-Ark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039319)

That happened to a helicopter holding several senior UK military people a number of years ago. I believe it happened in Scotland, or very north England. An utterly bizarre risk considering who the people were, unless they were put there on purpose.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44039555)

A number of senior members of the Polish government got wiped out in a plane crash a few years back. Alcoa shares shot up.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year ago | (#44039503)

Taking in account the "solutions" they came up with, it really didn't matter ....
Advisher (an online community to help foster women in STEM),: So that middle aged white male can tell women how they should do "STEAM" because the existing online communities of women will never be able to do it themselves ... right ...

INIT ('nutritional labels' to disclose products' 'STEM ingredients'), : well it could be a good idea, if they could just start by labeling GMO so that I can avoid products having them, ho wait that was not the plan ... oups...

DGTL (rewards young women with fashionable clothes for completing coding challenges), : because Young Women would never code if they cannot have branded fiber .... my daughter would rather have a 3D printer ... (talk about stereotyping ...)

Beacons in a Backpack (solar powered backpacks pre-loaded with videos, multimedia content, and game-powered educational tools that also serve as mobile hotspots for rural/remote areas), : so you can fell "good about helping" and not do anything to fix the corruption issues that makes satelite IP expensive, there is ZERO rural issue, the only issue is that the governments do not want people to access an open Internet and need the payback from their local telco....
So powered store and forward hubs are just "feel good" gadgets that distract for the real issues.

Tech21 (STEM education program aimed at 21-years-and-older post-college grads in the workforce), : that might be the only not totally stupid and arrogant idea, although I think in the US it is called "community colleges"....

Certify.me (allows STEM talent from across the globe to audition for potential employers via standardized-quality assessments), : Oh yes please please do some more outsourcing using uterly idiotic form based certifications so that imbeciles can brag how much they paid to Microsoft (or LPI) to fill MCQ and get a piece of paper related to obsolete products without real understanding of the underliying structure..., that will help ....

STEAM Truck (a mobile dance lab where STEM art installations teach kids that science is fun and valuable). : Yet Mobile Dancing, that is the best science can bring ....
It at least it would be a STEAMPUNK truck or even better a SteamPunk Airship ! that would be cool....

With "luminaries" like this, we are curred all is well ....

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44039697)

The whole thing is completely idiotic (esp. that bit about the fashionable clothes; how disgustingly sexist).

If they want to attract more people to STEM careers, the answer is simple: pay more money, and do something about the cost of education which has been skyrocketing in the last couple decades.

It costs a fortune to get a good college degree in science or engineering or math. The careers just aren't there for science and math; at best you'll get pay equivalent to a janitor. For engineers, the pay is decent, but maxes out in 10-15 years of work and after that you're in danger because employers think you're not going to be as proficient with new technology as younger applicants. Worse, you can't ever get a decent raise at one company, so you have to quit and find a job at another company if you want a decent raise.

A bunch of bullshit programs to encourage more people to get into STEM isn't going to fix these problems.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Yahma (1004476) | about a year ago | (#44040079)

Why is it sexist when that is what most women respond to? In the fashion industry, it has been established that women are more interested, spend more time, effort and money on fashion than men do. Just as men are more interested, spend more time, effort and money on engineering/science. Where is the parallel effort to get men to design new fashions and reward them with smartphones, power tools and 3D printers?

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44040213)

So you think all women are interested in overpriced fashion clothes?

I've known lots of women in engineering (and dated a couple). They were definitely NOT the kind of women interested in fashion clothes; even if they wanted some clothes, they'd rather just spend their own money on them, and spend their time doing something more productive or more lucrative. Doing work for non-monetary rewards is always a losing proposition; the people giving away the "free" items are doing it because it's cheaper than just giving out cash.

Male engineers aren't going to design anything in exchange for phones, power tools, etc. They want cash, so they can buy their own stuff.

The women who spend all their time on fashion clothes are not likely to have any interest in coding, no matter how much free stuff you offer them.

Point is to expand group (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44040489)

I've known lots of women in engineering (and dated a couple). They were definitely NOT the kind of women interested in fashion clothes

Yes but remember THEY ARE ALREADY IN ENGINEERING!!!!!!!

I'm not saying this fashion thing is the best way but it's stupid to say that things that don't appeal to the women in STEM today have no value, because if you want the number of women in STEM to increase substantially you have to reach out IN SOME WAY to the women who are NOT in engineering!!

Why can't a woman who likes fashion ALSO be interested in STEM if approached in the right way? Applying technology to the creation of fashion can be fascinating and I think is an excellent way to draw in more women that may have been uninterested in technology otherwise.

Re:Point is to expand group (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44041343)

The point is, women who are highly interested in being fashion consumers are unlikely, IMO, to be interested in getting involved in the nitty-gritty details of technology (e.g. coding). If there were more of a correlation between the two groups, we would have seen it before now: women with such interests would be more commonly seen in technical careers and technical degree programs. What's more, what does being a fashion consumer have to do with creating fashion? Lots of people (most people in the US) buy cars, but that doesn't mean they have any interest in being car designers, automotive engineers, assembly plant workers, or auto mechanics. Even the people who really like cars frequently have no interest in getting that involved in them. You think some guy who drives an Aston Martin or Lamborghini has any interest in designing such cars himself? No? So why do you think some woman who likes Gucci purses has any interest in designing or making them?

If you want to make STEM careers attractive to a larger set of the population, the answer is simple: increase the pay, improve the career prospects and working conditions, and improve the prestige of such jobs. We had a brief time in the late 90s when being a "web developer" was hyped up and paid very well (really, massively overpaid, compared to other technical careers, considering how easy web development is compared to other forms of software development) and everyone and his brother wanted to become a web developer all of a sudden. Of course, then the Slashdot crowd bitched and complained about how all these people were in it only for the money, didn't have any passion for the work, were incompetent, churned out crap, etc. And then after the bubble imploded, and most of these barely-competent people got out of the industry and moved on to something else (like real estate), everyone on Slashdot was cheering that all these people were gone.

But now people on Slashdot, for some odd reason, want to bring more uninterested people into this career field? Why? If they were really that interested in this career field, they would have shown that interest much earlier. If anyone is avoiding the field who would actually be a good fit, they're avoiding it for the reasons I listed above, not because they need some cheap gimmick like a contest with fashion clothes as the prize to get them interested.

Finally, if this is such a great idea, why don't we use a variation of it to bring more men into STEM careers? How about we have coding competitions, but with football tickets or ESPN subscriptions as the prizes? Because all men like football and ESPN, right? And football/sports fans would surely be a great pool of talent for STEM careers, right? Or how about Harley Davidson merchandise (clothing, even a motorcycle) as the prizes? Because all men like that stuff too, right? And 20-something Harley riders would surely make great cubicle workers.

Re:Point is to expand group (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44041527)

"Yes but remember THEY ARE ALREADY IN ENGINEERING!!!!!!!"

That is the point that you just aren't grasping. Women already in Engineering are ... wait for it ... the kind of woman that would be interested in Engineering. We want to attract those kind of woman, rather than the kind that wouldn't be into engineering.

" you have to reach out IN SOME WAY to the women who are NOT in engineering!!"

Yes, but again, the best way to do that is to reach out to the kind of woman who would be interested, not to reach out to Paris Hilton and all her BFFs.

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#44040959)

Actually, I was wondering if they have any classes labeled as being specially targeted to young men, like the ones targeted specifically to young women?

Fair is far, right?

Or...would someone start complaining about that?

Re:The B-Ark? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44041491)

Why is it sexist when that is what most women respond to? In the fashion industry, it has been established that women are more interested, spend more time, effort and money on fashion than men do.

Without arguing your point, because it's silly and sexist, why not just reward the women with more - money - with which they can buy their own high-fashion clothes, if they choose (or not).

what about a bus driver? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44038625)

every kid wants to be a bus driver

and on career day in high school the garbage man had an awesome story. take a test, pick up trash for 2 years and then get some other job with the NY Dept of Sanitation. and the pay was awesome with no student loans

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44038963)

"firefighters, cops, doctors, detectives". These work as role models because kids can easily relate to what these people do, even if they don't understand the details. Engineers? Not so much. Same goes for lawyers, managers and similar professions, but those grow more attractive as kids learn about the pay and social status associated with them. The engineering profession probably grows more unattractive with the years, when kids find it's a long and difficult road to a degree with crap pay and poor career opportunities.

Sure, it's better in some countries than others. Here in NL, people say you have to be mad to choose a career as an engineer. The standing joke amongst students in business schools is that it's good that engineering studies are lengthy with a jam-packed curriculum; by the time the engineers graduate, they'll be groomed and ready to be managed by the business school graduates.

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44039175)

"firefighters, cops, doctors, detectives". These work as role models because kids can easily relate to what these people do, even if they don't understand the details. Engineers? Not so much. Same goes for lawyers, managers and similar professions, but those grow more attractive as kids learn about the pay and social status associated with them.

Yes. That's what they see on TV.

Where are the McGyvers and Montgomery Scotts that show kids that in the end it's the engineers that save the day by making stuff work.

Re:what about a bus driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039401)

Where are the McGyvers and Montgomery Scotts that show kids that in the end it's the engineers that save the day by making stuff work.

On McGyver and Star Trek?

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44039721)

Everyone knows that MacGuyver and Star Trek don't resemble reality in any way, and that real engineers toil away in horrible cubicles all day long doing thankless work that usually means nothing in the great scheme of things.

There's even a movie that accurately depicts engineering careers: Office Space.

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44039873)

But is it any better for the real life lawyer and the real life doctors?

Today, it's "Office Space" for everyone.

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44039973)

It's true, doctors are getting squeezed a lot these days. Not sure about lawyers; I imagine the biggest sociopaths still do great in that field.

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44040007)

Pretty soon, we're going to have a repeat of the fall of the Roman Empire, where specialization of labor goes right out the window because no one sees any real value to specializing, and pretty soon no one remembers how to do anything terribly complex and needing of a lot of domain knowledge. In the Roman Empire, everyone gave up on their specialized careers, moved out of the cities and went to work as farm hands for feudal lords, because it was better than staying in the cities and starving because their vaunted specialized careers just didn't pay any more.

Re:what about a bus driver? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44041525)

Pretty soon, we're going to have a repeat of the fall of the Roman Empire, where specialization of labor goes right out the window because no one sees any real value to specializing, and pretty soon no one remembers how to do anything terribly complex and needing of a lot of domain knowledge.

Idiocracy? [wikipedia.org]

Can Someone Find The Story In These Links?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038655)

Ughh.. another horribly written submission from theodp, its easy to spot when you see dozens of extraneous links that are irrelevant to the main story.

I still don't know what the point this article is.

Theodp needs to be banned from submitting any more stories.

Free publicity (1)

Taantric (2587965) | about a year ago | (#44038657)

Marketing bullshit and nothing more. This is about as useful as tits on a bull.

Re:Free publicity (2)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#44038741)

Though it'd make the bull more attractive.....

Re:Free publicity (1)

N Monkey (313423) | about a year ago | (#44039001)

This is about as useful as tits on a bull.

Though it'd make the bull more attractive.....

Being pedantic, it should really be interpreted as

      "as useful as the tits on a bull".

i.e. they may be there, but do b_gger all.... ...... although YMMV :-)

STEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038659)

STEM STEM STEM STEAM STEM
/Summery

* Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. ... Tell the editor :)

Cut from the list... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44038683)

"STEM: because your outsourced replacement isn't going to train himself"

Re:Cut from the list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039017)

"STEM: because your outsourced replacement isn't going to train himself"

Yeah.

As jobs become more concentrated due to productivity increases and as companies continually chase after the best and brightest, there's going to be this World wide underclass of above average down to below average talent pool of people. I consider myself in the above average lot - meaning, I'm not smart or talented enough to get the better jobs. Which means I'm destined to be underemployed - working some dipshit retail job, support or something that pays shit and is boring as all hell.

I wish I could make myself smarter - I can learn stuff but increase my IQ or math ability at my 48 years of age? NFW. I had to take Calc I 4 times before I passed it, for example - unfortunately, it doesn't count as 2 years of calculus :-). There just aren't enough jobs in the US to go around for people like me. If I had the ability (and believe me I tried like a mother for a decade!), I would love to be one of the best and brightest that the tech companies want! I can't. Neither can or could ever be a NBA star or rock or movie star.

In other words, there is going to be billions of us average guys who are just going to get poorer and left in the dust. And I'm terrified of what my life is going to be like when I'm old.

Re:Cut from the list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039371)

"STEM: because your outsourced replacement isn't going to train himself"

Yeah.

As jobs become more concentrated due to productivity increases and as companies continually chase after the best and brightest, there's going to be this World wide underclass of above average down to below average talent pool of people. I consider myself in the above average lot - meaning, I'm not smart or talented enough to get the better jobs. Which means I'm destined to be underemployed - working some dipshit retail job, support or something that pays shit and is boring as all hell.

I wish I could make myself smarter - I can learn stuff but increase my IQ or math ability at my 48 years of age? NFW. I had to take Calc I 4 times before I passed it, for example - unfortunately, it doesn't count as 2 years of calculus :-). There just aren't enough jobs in the US to go around for people like me. If I had the ability (and believe me I tried like a mother for a decade!), I would love to be one of the best and brightest that the tech companies want! I can't. Neither can or could ever be a NBA star or rock or movie star.

In other words, there is going to be billions of us average guys who are just going to get poorer and left in the dust. And I'm terrified of what my life is going to be like when I'm old.

Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta.

Yes, it's a Brave New World, Mr. Huxley.

Re:Cut from the list... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44039195)

outsourced = some one who will not ask for OT or a day off and will work 80+ hours a week.

Would anyone care if it crashed? (5, Insightful)

Strider- (39683) | about a year ago | (#44038685)

These are the people that are generally what's wrong with the world, not what's right.

Fill the plane with Engineers, Computer Scientists, Scientists, Technicians, and the other people who actually make the world work, and you might have something. The only problem is that these people are actually too busy making a living rather than leeching off their employees and customers.

All this is is an excuse to fill an airplane with a lot of self congratulatory reacharounds and hot air.

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (-1, Flamebait)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#44038807)

Really?

I'm a cofounder of a very innovative system, I'm a computer scientist and we are looking for VC. I would love to be aboard the original plane. In fact, looking at the startup environment around here (Copenhagen), most companies have at least one or two from your list of professions...

So yeah, fuck you, you are the issue, not the plane filled with success...

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039045)

More like SUCK-cess, AMIRITE? Suck, leeches, GEDDIT?

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44039053)

I'd guess that you'd prefer to have funding, not be wasting time begging for it, and be working on developing or improving your ideas. Just guessing of course.

Success is partly based on attitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039623)

So yeah, fuck you, you are the issue, not the plane filled with success...

Well, with an attitude like that, you should have your money in no time.

Or did I mean, no wonder you are still looking for money?

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44040089)

sounds me like a plane filled of people who need money. you would be better off with having funding than having to spend time doing socializing with people you need money from, then you could be doing the whatever it is that your system does.

anyways. AFUCKING MOBILE DAAAAAAAAAANCE LAB for SCIENCE!?!#!O)=)!=R?

what the fuck.

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44038881)

Fill the plane with Engineers, Computer Scientists, Scientists, Technicians

I work in a software company with many, many of these types. While they're great, clever people and I consider many of them friends, most of them couldn't build a business case to save their lives. Every one of their great ideas fails two basic questions: How much would it cost to make it, and who would buy it?

Or, to put it another way, when I ask "How can we make money with [insert great idea] I just get blank stares."

Even The Great and Powerful Woz had Steve Jobs....

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#44039015)

Fill the plane with Engineers, Computer Scientists, Scientists, Technicians, and the other people who actually make the world work, and you might have something. The only problem is that these people are actually too busy making a living rather than leeching off their employees and customers.

The bigger problem is that shortly before landing, the then-tweaked plane would enter a trans-dimensional rift in search of research funds, and then get caught in an infinite time loop due to an array indexing error.

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44039149)

But that's the point; you don't fill it with people who make the world great. You fill it with people who make the world grate. If the plane crashes, you can then fully comprehend ambivalence.

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44040191)

Fill the plane with Engineers, Computer Scientists, Scientists, Technicians, and the other people who actually make the world work, and you might have something.

Unlikely. People that are good at implementing solutions are not always the same people that are good at envisioning them. My experience is that techies are the worst people to have at a brainstorming session. When an idea is floated, instead of expanding on it, they start nitpicking the technical details. Example: The people on the plane came up with some interesting and provocative ideas, and nearly every comment here is "This won't work because ...."

Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (4, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | about a year ago | (#44040907)

Unlikely. People that are good at implementing solutions are not always the same people that are good at envisioning them. My experience is that techies are the worst people to have at a brainstorming session. When an idea is floated, instead of expanding on it, they start nitpicking the technical details. Example: The people on the plane came up with some interesting and provocative ideas, and nearly every comment here is "This won't work because ...."

But they did not come up with interesting nor provocative ideas. "Education is good"--wow, that's provocative. They came up with boring, politically correct, half-ideas that won't be implemented because no participant can or needs to (they're already rich and successful). In reality, what happened was: Silicon Valley's self-professed "elite" got onto a plane and pitched half-baked "ideas" at each other for hours and saying STEM a lot. By "elite" we mean "people who substitute money for brains and talk for ability". Basically venture capitalists, CEOs, and "founders" taking a few hours to brainstorm ridiculous ideas, unburdened from actually having to fund or build any of it.

Skip the ETLAs please (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44038695)

What on a plane is STEM? And why does anyone think it is a good idea to throw talent to the vultures?

Re:Skip the ETLAs please (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44039091)

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

I still have no idea what

('nutritional labels' to disclose products' 'STEM ingredients')

is supposed to mean though. Now with 50% more Science!

Re:Skip the ETLAs please (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44039679)

Maybe it just means stems. Like asparagus or artichoke.

Student from Iowa State (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038697)

A girl I know from Iowa State University will also be on that flight! http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2013/05/01/williamsungrounded

All it teaches me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038803)

All it teaches me is that women need help because they can't do science on their own and that they should be rewarded with meaningless things, like flashy clothes. Feminists everywhere rejoice.

Missed the Problem (4, Interesting)

Nishi-no-wan (146508) | about a year ago | (#44038859)

It appears that they're all trying to find technical or social engineering methods to get females interested in STEM subject. My daughter is very good at math and science and would like to explore the field more. But with college a couple of years away, the main issue is money. How are we going to pay for her to go to a good school where she can explore STEM subjects more?

She thinks that she wants to go to the U.S. to study, but as soon as recent help for student aid was announced, the prices at most colleges went up to match it, especially for out-of-state / out-of-country students. The in-state tuition was a bit pricy for a good STEM university, even that is crazy now.

Re:Missed the Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038897)

How about getting a job? Just a thought.

Re:Missed the Problem (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44039087)

Why is it (or should it be) any different for a daughter than a son? Lots of other people have the same problems and gender should have nothing to do with it.

Re:Missed the Problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039113)

I'm guessing you're looking at the most expensive universities because you think you get what you pay for. There are still some good schools out there that don't have the super high cost associated with them.

I went to a less expensive third tier school and feel like I was able to make up the difference with my own hard work. I graduated with very little student loan debt and was still able to land a job in a fairly rough job market after graduating at the end of 2009. Having worked with people from Ivy League schools and no-name schools like mine over the last 4+ years, I see little to no correlation between alma mater and technical competence.

Re:Missed the Problem (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44039243)

Yes. Something is broken in a system that values a degree more depending on its cost instead of the work that went into obtaining it.

Re:Missed the Problem (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44039933)

I went to both a lesser state school (first two years), and a top-tier state tech school (transferred). I didn't see much difference between the education: the overall program seemed to be a little better set up at the top-tier school, but not dramatically so; the other school had some good courses, but they seemed rather uncoordinated with each other. The lower-tier state school definitely had a more hands-on approach, with us having to do our own soldering in the sophomore year there, whereas at the top-tier school I didn't see that until an optional radio class in the senior year. But the lower-tier school also wasted our time with a materials science course that was all about steel; for EE students, this wasn't very helpful, unlike the device physics course I had to take at the top-tier school where we learned about semiconductor fabrication.

However, the BIG difference I saw between the two schools was hiring: I tried to get a co-op job while at the lower-tier school, and no companies would touch me, even though I had a 4.0 GPA and was summa cum laude. I transferred to the top-tier school, had a lower GPA (it was a little tough transitioning and my grades suffered a lot), and got a co-op job after only one semester. Getting hired for a real job was also a lot easier with the top-tier school degree on my resume.

While still at the lower-tier school, I even took a trip to an Intel location (as I really wanted to work there at the time) as I happened to be in the area visiting some family. The HR guy was very nice and helpful, gave me a t-shirt, but showed me their official policy document that showed the tiers of schools they hired from, and my school wasn't on the list, and that was why they wouldn't bother to look at me for a co-op job. (Getting a co-op job was pretty important for me BTW; my family didn't have that much money so the co-op job I got was very instrumental in being able to pay for college, particularly at the more expensive state tech school I transferred to.)

So no, those cheaper schools don't always (or maybe even usually) provide worse educations than the top-tier schools, however they absolutely do hold you back from the better jobs, at least for the first 5 years or so.

Re:Missed the Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039939)

Having worked with people from Ivy League schools and no-name schools like mine over the last 4+ years, I see little to no correlation between alma mater and technical competence.

People who do the minimum at a great school may only be marginally better off than those that did the minimum at a not as good school, assuming there are some difference in the courses and graduation requirements. However, if you compare some one who worked their ass off at an ok school to someone who worked their ass off at a great school, and took advantage of opportunities, there will be some large differences depending on the particular field. Otherwise, those types get lost in the noise if just trying to compare graduates in bulk. With a bit of luck or careful research, a lower tier school may have the exact lab and/or mentor you need to excel, although some of the higher tier schools have a lot more options to choose from, which can also be helpful if still figuring out exactly what subfield you are interested in.

Re:Missed the Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039851)

Maybe you should talk to a financial aid officer at schools of interest and see how the financial aid works. My family did not have that much income (although still middle class), and I ended up coming out of undergrad without any loans, paying only ~$4k a year, instead of the almost $40k price tag the school has (and we could have paid only $3k, but rejected the $1k in subsidized loans offered). And that wasn't due to scholarships, in fact, scholarships ended up being a waste of time because they only cut into the need based grants the school offered and I wouldn't have seen a change in what I paid unless I managed to get more than $35k in scholarships.

A lot of these schools have insanely high tuition that are only paid by students with rich families, while the vast majority of the student body pays less. Raising the tuition under such a situation doesn't change the price for most students, and only squeezes more out of families with a lot of income. But a lot of people just assume everyone at those schools is paying the full amount or taking out a lot of loans. Besides some of the frustration this caused in muggers assuming all the students were rich at the school I went to... I've bumped into a lot of friends and family that have kids, and lament "Oh, we'll never be able to send them to a good school." I've ended up giving out business cards for a family member who has since became a financial aid officer, and much more often than not they change their mind. If anything, the hardest part was not explaining the options to them or helping them understand the info from a particular school, it was just to get them to call in the first place and not be so defeatist about it.

Additionally, there are a lot of options for other schools that are cheap and good depending on what specific field you are interested in. I've had friends that got great backgrounds in physics and chemistry going to state schools where the out of state tuition was cheaper than some states in state tuition.

Anyway, for STEM typically, there are a lot of options for getting affordable university, and not getting huge loans. It gets even easier in some sense in graduate school in those fields where they will pay you a stipend to attend. The large loans come from those that either didn't try too hard to find options, had other priorities, or pushed through in post graduate work in fields that cost a lot more.

Re:Missed the Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44040951)

STEM is bad choice for anyone with brains.
You are most likely going to work for some fucked up manipulator all your life. You might become "successful" and make a lot of money also but one thing is guaranteed: You are not going to have a relaxed life. You will be competing with people around the world and when you are 45, no one would want to hire you. With STEM, the older you become, the useless you become.

I would rather want my kids to go in healthcare. If they are smart, become doctors. If they are not so smart, become nurses. They have jobs with fixed hours, the age adds to experience and value and they would do some social good, will always be more valuable during time of crisis since there is no Homo Sapien ver 2.0 coming around anytime soon.

A stunning display of creativity (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038877)

So, the "100 most forward thinking buzzwords" came up with a bunch of minor variations on 'if we offer to give people money for doing engineering things, more people will want to do engineering things'.

Pun smarties (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44038879)

"Bottle Some Startup Spirit"... isn't this like "Bottling some desiccated hot water"? You know? The kind of concentrate one puts a teaspoon in a cup, fills it up with tap water and obtain a nice cup of hot water.

(in other words: is the "startup spirit" something that can be taken care by a single flight full of people lucky enough to strike gold or cunning enough to squeeze water from dry stones?)

Is that wise? (1)

Kardos (1348077) | about a year ago | (#44038887)

> putting '100 of the most forward-thinking founders, CEOs, venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley game-changers' on a flight

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Is that wise? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44038935)

> putting '100 of the most forward-thinking founders, CEOs, venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley game-changers' on a flight

What could possibly go wrong?

Ummm... that plane to actually land safely?

The end result? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038933)

more of the same shit as the mess we are in now

Where's Al Qaeda when we need them? (3, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#44038941)

There's a great flight for them.

Seriously, those ideas are about what I'd expect from people breathing low-pressure oxygen on a long flight.

These are the WINNING concepts, folks:
Advisher (an online community to help foster women in STEM) - How about we just give them a decent education, and discourage the modern-media role-modeling of women as only whores and skanks?

INIT ('nutritional labels' to disclose products' 'STEM ingredients') - what? /facepalm.

DGTL (rewards young women with fashionable clothes for completing coding challenges) - sigh. So much for abandoning stereotypes.

Beacons in a Backpack (solar powered backpacks pre-loaded with videos, multimedia content, and game-powered educational tools that also serve as mobile hotspots for rural/remote areas) - right, because I can't think of anything more common than kids gathering in a cow pasture to view some "multimedia content" (the 1980s called, they'd like their vocabulary back).

Tech21 (STEM education program aimed at 21-years-and-older post-college grads in the workforce) - if they're already 21+ and not already interested in STEM, they're lost to you.

Certify.me (allows STEM talent from across the globe to audition for potential employers via standardized-quality assessments): that's actually probably useful benchmarking to make it easier to evaluate and hire STEM students. Sort of a STEM-focused SAT/ACT. Good idea.

STEAM Truck (a mobile dance lab where STEM art installations teach kids that science is fun and valuable): Jesus Christ, this is why we don't let DANCE instructors in on STEM discussions. A mobile DANCE lab to teach science is fun? /facepalm. Didn't Disney's Ludwig von Drake do that better 40 years ago?

'This has the feel of Southby [SXSW],' gushed a Google Ventures general partner. - And I have no doubt that the person genuinely "gushed", parenthetically mentioned the hipster abbreviation, and refers to themselves as a "game changer".

Honestly, if this superficial crap is the best that these "game changers" can come up with to improve/motivate kids to go into STEM, we're fucked.

(FWIW here's my example of the impact of the STEM educational initiative in my local high school:
Suburban MN school. Prides itself for participation in STEM initiative, such that our Senator even visited last spring. Shortly after, my 10th-grade daughter was picking classes for her Junior year. She's been in their accelerated math program since 4th grade, and loves it. However she was told "sorry, no calculus for you as a junior. Just skip math your junior year and take it as a senior." Seriously. After some investigation, we discovered that NO juniors were being allowed to take calc (which is a year ahead of normal) as they only planned for 2 sections of calculus...about 50-60 kids. This is in a school where each grade is 300 kids.
After a pointed discussion with the superintendant, they 'managed' to find a spot for her, but I'm sure none of the students who DIDN'T complain/fight got in, as she said there's only about 4 juniors in calculus this year.

i.e. "STEM initiative!" = really nothing.)

Re:Where's Al Qaeda when we need them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039553)

Anon due to moderation

There is one solution: pay STEM people well. Very well. The market will take care of the rest.

Duhavid

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039713)

Do these jugheads really think that the reason there aren't more women in STEM is because they lack the opportunity or they are being discouraged?

Maybe there aren't more women in STEM because most women aren't interested. You don't see anyone wondering why there aren't more men in literature and the social sciences like psychology.

It's not a matter of ability or opportunity - it's a matter of preference. Does anyone genuinely think we are still living in 1970, and "the little lady" can't hack it except for a hand up?

This sure sounds an awful lot like the soft-bigotry of low-expectations. I guess some people need to have a bigotry boogeyman out there, but are too unaware to realize it's the person in the mirror.

Re:Where's Al Qaeda when we need them? (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about a year ago | (#44039919)

After a pointed discussion with the superintendant, they 'managed' to find a spot for her, but I'm sure none of the students who DIDN'T complain/fight got in, as she said there's only about 4 juniors in calculus this year.

i.e. "STEM initiative!" = really nothing.)

I think you meant poignant instead of pointed. This leads me to my first thought: Are we over compensating by focusing on STEM education over other subjects? Most universities don't make their STEM students take any rigorous retrotic, literature, philosophy, sociology, or arts classes. Why can't we encourage everyone (both boys and girls) to be truly knowledgeable by having a well rounded education? I feel like so many people are missing the point of higher education by trying to encourage everyone to look at college as a training program for your job instead of an opportunity to become educated and informed. Didn't anyone read Pirsig?

Aside from that, I pretty much agree that most of these goofy named initiatives are just gimmicks to make it look like some corporation actually gives a shit.

If someone were to ask me how to encourage everyone ( not just girls) to get into STEM and take science and math seriously in middle and high school (where it really matters for getting on the STEM track) I would say that they need to get some truly talented and knowledgeable math and science teachers in middle and high school. From what I remember about high school, everyone would rather take drama or english lit because the teachers were cool and passionate and it wasn't "boring or dry". None of the science or math teachers could convey why science and math skills and knowledge are actually valuable, that's why every sophomore feels like "I'll never use this stuff" and they zone out and don't take any science or math beyond the minimum to graduate. How do you get talented science and math teachers? Pay them what they would make in the private/government(contractor) sector. I make $70K+ a few years out of college and I have a pretty sweet job that I enjoy. Why would I choose secondary education over engineering? Being a good teacher takes a lot of work, a lot of time outside of the normal work hours is spent planning and preparing. The salary is pathetic compared to what you could make as a software engineer (just picking that because that's what I do). I understand people do it because they have a passion for teaching but they also have to pay the bills. Science and math minds are going to analyze jobs based on objective measurements like quality of life and ability to support themselves and their family. Not surprising that they pick engineering over education which has an even lower level of job security. /rant

Re:Where's Al Qaeda when we need them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44041323)

I am not really an anonymous coward - but wanted to respond quickly as I am at work in an engineering department at a major university in Seattle. I have heard from too many parents that once their kids get to a certain level of math in Jr High/Middle school or High school - it is slim pickins for accelerated math and calculus courses! This is how we reward our best and our brightest? Unrealistic HS decisions like the one you mention above to not offer Juniors a math course in calculus - and then find a spot for only one student - is unacceptable and irresponsible. Especially when most high schoolers need 4 years of accelerated math (and sciences) to get into Engineering majors at leading universities.

renationalise BA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038947)

The reason Britain lacks talent is because everything has been handed over to the private sector to pillage. Universities have become degree mills at undergrad level, and any interesting postgrad projects are quickly spun off into a private company and gobbled up by either a defence leech or a blue chip. Most of the mathematical talent walks into the City, earns a few £100k/year, then retires at 40 with a nice place Cornwall or on the Isle of Skye. At least that's my experience as an ex public school toff.

And, appropriately enough, British Airways is one of the best examples of a company which has languished since going private - a firm which ironically saw its last magnificent positive turnaround under a Tory government, just before ideology took over and forced a sell-off.

You want wonderful new things created? Retain public ownership and nurturing of research projects for far longer. Foster a spirit of productivity for its own sake in the private sector - where profit is necessary, but does not have primacy. Look back to the British microcomputer revolution, glorious until the early '90s, by which time Thatcherite ideology had broken its spirit. Everyone old enough in the US remembers the old HP. That didn't exist to make money. It existed to make stuff which made money. So many other tech firms used to be like that.

Re:renationalise BA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039317)

If I had mod points, you'd get +1 insightful

BUT you're arguing against the Slashdot mindset so prepare to be consigned to oblivion

Wrong choice of vehicle (1)

BForrester (946915) | about a year ago | (#44039025)

A jet aircraft? What a waste of energy. With all hot-air spouting blowhards on board, a balloon or blimp would've made the trip under passenger power.

Pay Your Taxes (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#44039171)

The solution is to pay your taxes and leave these decisions to the experts who understand the issues. Otherwise every initiative will just be another PR stunt funded by crooked money.

Re:Pay Your Taxes (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | about a year ago | (#44039275)

I wish I had some mod points; I laughed so hard I almost spilled my drink. Someone mod this one Funny.

Set to simmer and stir until the bullshit congeals (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#44039261)

So, lemme boil that down for you. The plans so far, for "tackling the global misalignment of talent problem:
-Push women into being geeks.
-A backpack that helps turn aboriginals and people without grid power into geeks. Via videogames. Because people without electricity love videogames.
-Push adults into being geeks.
-Push women into being fashionable geeks.
-Push kids into being geeks.
-A job board.
-And a standard that helps inform geeks about their products... ok that one sounds like a pretty good idea.

It's not that the rest aren't good things, it's just that they're not particularly innovative. Holy shit, the world could use more geeks, so tell people to go be geeks. It's not that hard. I guess connecting people with money to the basic idea is a good thing? I dunno though, it seems like our dreams have gotten so small.

Re:Set to simmer and stir until the bullshit conge (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44039903)

Yup. And the backpack is basically a Pirate Box with a solar panel. That is only innovative to patent lawyers.

Re:Set to simmer and stir until the bullshit conge (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44040103)

Lots of people would probably like to be geeks. However with the costly educational requirements, the lackluster compensation, the crappy career path and working conditions (for what's supposed to be a high-end career), and the rampant ageism in the industry (not to mention sexism), it's just not a very attractive career. People smart enough for engineering will do better in medicine or finance.

Yes -- engineers as role models (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039297)

So kids can learn that you too can work mandatory overtime for peanuts making a few C-level executives rich and famous. I'd take this shit a little more seriously if they were teaching young engineers how to be successful entrepreneurs.

You mean the airborne slave labor forum? (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44039379)

Most of what was discussed seems to be training third world children to be the $5/hour engineers of the future.

WTF? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year ago | (#44039407)

What the fuck is this about? I can't parse the summary!

I hear Oceanic Airways was considering a similiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039413)

proposal. Though their flight safety leaves something to be desired.

Better idea (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44039415)

Why not take them to a conference center and then burn 150,000lbs of Jet A in the parking lot for spectators while they work their intellectual magic. Same effect, except they won't get the normal elevated dose of radiation, but I'm sure we could throw together something to zap them while they think deep thoughts.

Re:Better idea (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44040069)

That's a terrible idea. How about we take them to a conference center, and zap them with X-ray machines, using energy equivalent to the energy contained in 150,000 lbs of JetA?

Re:Better idea (1)

mvdwege (243851) | about a year ago | (#44040799)

Still a bad idea.

Take them to a conference center, dump the jet fuel inside, then lock the door and light 'em up.

I pray for turbulence (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44039585)

Please, let there be severe storms and turbulence, or a plague of Geese flying in front of the plane.

Re:I pray for turbulence (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44039855)

A "plague" of geese? I was under the impression that multiple geese were known as "flocks." Or was this some sort of biblical reference? Did Egypt suffer some kind of big honking avian illness?

Re:I pray for turbulence (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44039921)

If you haven't been around 20 to 30 of them in a park, then you won't understand the term "Plague." They poop everywhere and bite you when you're not looking. It's not a flock, it's a plague.

Re:I pray for turbulence (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44040113)

Hmm. They sound suspiciously like my neighbor's children.

Re:I pray for turbulence (1)

Strider- (39683) | about a year ago | (#44041053)

I always thought that "Canada Geese" should really be called "American Geese"... They're loud, obnoxious, and leave shit everywhere. ;)

No misalignment of talent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039983)

There is no misalignment of talent, there is a misalignment of companies. Instead of trying to offshore the jobs from the US, try moving the companies to Silicon Valley, where the greatest concentration of talent exists. If more headcount is needed in Silicon Valley, and if cost is an issue, then build high-rise housing like crazy. That would welcome additional new talent and also decrease the high cost of living in the Bay Area.

All on ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44040091)

.. one flight? After the crash, EA's [forbes.com] prospects might turn around.

I love DGTL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44040277)

DGTL (rewards young women with fashionable clothes for completing coding challenges).

This sounds so like providing the right kind of incentive for intellectual challenges.

What's the ultimate goal? Arm candy that does not blank out when discussing how to turn database queries into O(n lg n)? Do they have to shed some clothes when their code crashes?

polio? (1)

Maj Variola (2934803) | about a year ago | (#44041265)

Polio was almost extinct before the US decided to use polioworkers as a ruse to catch UBL. Now, polioworkers are killed in pakistan and polio is back. Enjoy. And I thought B&MG were malaria-afficionadoes, not polio.
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