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The Standards Wars and the Sausage Factory

SirGarlon Re:Begun they have... (234 comments)

Let's be clear who the combatants are: Dice vs. Slashdot users.

I have yet to hear anyone defend Beta. (If you do, you might want to post AC to preserve your karma. I doubt the moderators will be kind to someone who is so wrong.)

about 6 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

SirGarlon Re:How can we get more men interested in (545 comments)

Do you think women are stupid? They can't figure out what they like or don't like?

No. There must be some explanation for why there is a "leaky pipeline" for women. A certain percentage of women enter, say, CS majors in college. A smaller percentage graduate with CS degrees, and the attrition is higher for women than for men. A certain percentage of women with CS degrees get jobs in the tech industry. *Of the recent graduates with CS degrees*, a lower percentage of women get jobs than men. Of the people who enter the tech industry, a lower percentage of women than men stay for 10 year. A lower percentage of women than men get promoted. A lower percentage of women than men start their own tech companies. And so on.

There are a number of possibilities here. One is that women are just bad at tech, or inferior to men or something. This seems unlikely because women perform well in other professions such as law and medicine, and there is a huge amount of scientific evidence saying there are no differences in IQ, etc., between the genders. Plus, that argument was used for a couple of thousand years to keep women from competing with men in the workplace so it has a lot of baggage, and people are justifiably hostile to the suggestion. So let's call that settled -- no one here is arguing in favor of that proposition (unless Lawrence Summers

is posting as AC).

Another possibility is that women are subject to systemic bias that makes it hard for them to succeed in certain careers. This was the conclusion of the MIT Gender Equity Project. This is uncomfortable for many people to contemplate. You, for example, do not seem like you possess overtly misogynist views and you probably do not see those views in your male colleagues. If men are not opposed to women in IT, then what could be the problem? Well, read the MIT study. A combination of unconscious factors can indeed add up to institutional bias.

There is also a third possibility that we ought to keep in mind. That is the possibility that efforts to get more women into IT are doing more harm than good by coaxing women into a career they're not really committed to, and then find they don't like and easily drop out of. I do not believe this is the case because the MIT study and similar studies adequately explain the phenomena we see. However, it should not be unthinkable to consider that we may be trying too hard to get women into IT, and the question of how to get them into the field is somewhat independent of how to help them succeed once they get there.

Or that without preferential treatment they will go elsewhere?

It's an empirical fact that women leave IT at a higher rate than men, and the causes for their departure are well documented: the incompatibility of an IT career with primary child-rearing responsibilities is a major cause, as is lack of advancement and opportunity. So without some change in workplace conditions, or "preferential treatment" as you put it, women demonstrably do leave IT and go elsewhere at a higher rate than men.

I would add that efforts to address the attrition of women from IT do not have to be "preferential" to women in the sense that men can't benefit from them. A single father faces a lot of the same challenges as a single mother, for example. Men can benefit from mentoring and career coaching, which is one way to help everyone (including women) learn how to achieve high job satisfaction and high productivity.

about 6 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

SirGarlon Re:ah, yes (535 comments)

As one comedian said, they just can't get over the fact that he's black and are bitter that they lost two elections to him.

I'm not sure I would call insinuations of racism "being fair." He's also (fairly) young, he's urban, he's highly educated. All of which may simply add up to being "too different" for the target Republican demographic to trust him.

about 6 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

SirGarlon Re:ah, yes (535 comments)

That gives me an interesting idea. John Boehner vs. Nancy Pelosi in a no-rules cage match, live on pay-per-view!

about 6 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

SirGarlon Re:Whitehouse petition (535 comments)

The editors probably dismissed that story because so many of the Obama administration's "responses" to the petitions are some low-level staffer writing a condescending 200-word essay explaining why the government won't take action on that issue. Yeah, that's a technically a response, but if it keeps up, some day people might start to think the President is not serious about these petitions!

about 6 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

SirGarlon Re:ah, yes (535 comments)

I can't understand why people support the republican agenda.

I understand your frustration, but both parties seem pretty bad in their own ways. I suspect most Republicans are actually just anti-Democrats, and vice versa.

about 6 months ago
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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

SirGarlon Re:If I am overseas as an American... (134 comments)

You'd have to ask the consulate to be sure, but I would be surprised if you'd be denied the same tax breaks residents can get. There are probably some things you can't get if you live overseas, but then, you also benefit a whole lot more from that consulate (for example) than you would if you had stayed in the US.

about 6 months ago
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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

SirGarlon Re:If I am overseas as an American... (134 comments)

If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

about 6 months ago
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Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon

SirGarlon Re:Dubious (202 comments)

The real-world application of this system is to siphon taxpayer dollars into the pockets of Lockheed Martin shareholders, and it seems to be working fine so far, thank you very much!

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

SirGarlon Re:Short answer: Run. (308 comments)

True dat. But, as they say, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." This is the sort of lesson so many people learn the hard way, I can't really say OP should have known better.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

SirGarlon Don't take the fall (308 comments)

The phrase that comes to mind is "set up for failure." Don't be a fool: they dumped this job on a contractor because they knew the project was doomed from the outset. I've been there.

Which is worse: to walk off a job when you find out you've been tricked, or to stay on for the death march all the way to failure, and then get fired? (or, in your case, "contract not renewed," which is the same thing.)

My advice is to get out while you can, and be more circumspect about accepting projects next time.

If your sense of duty requires, you can discuss with your project manager why the job does not look doable any more, and see if he/she is open to major re-planning. But you should be prepared to quit the job on the spot if that meeting does not go your way.

about 6 months ago
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Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

SirGarlon Re:Blah Blah Blah (247 comments)

The point of disagreement between us seems to be some unspoken assumption about the scenario, about what adaptation and accommodation mean, or some such. It's worth trying to get that in the open IMO. Though if you could quit the the name-calling and projecting motives onto me, that would be cool.

So what, according to you, would be the proper way to handle the African intern (let's call him Adam)?

about 6 months ago
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The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

SirGarlon Re:Always looking for passionate programmers (533 comments)

At one point my stepmother was interviewing for a new job and the interviewer stopped her and said, "Hey, wait a minute. You're interviewing *me!*"

To which she replied, without missing a beat, "Don't worry, you're doing fine."

about 6 months ago
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Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

SirGarlon Re:Blah Blah Blah (247 comments)

The expectation that a majority of people should change their behavior to accommodate a few is just as absurd as forcing the few to change their behavior. That's my point which apparently you couldn't see due to your white helm obstructing your vision.

Actually, what you seem to be saying is that those two propositions are not equally absurd -- that forcing the few to change their behavior is perfectly fine, and asking the majority to budge an inch is preposterous. Which is very convenient for you, since you happen to belong to that majority group. If I'm misunderstanding your position, please clarify.

about 6 months ago
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The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

SirGarlon Re:Always looking for passionate programmers (533 comments)

This makes me realize another good retort: "Are you (the hiring manager) passionate about management?"

Are you always looking to drive the project to success? Do you know how to enable your team to meet expectations in a normal, 40-hour work week? Are you committed to professional development for your team members so they can chart their own courses for their careers? Do you consider offering average salary and benefits "not good enough?"

Or you really just asking for more from your people than you are willing to deliver yourself?

about 6 months ago
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Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

SirGarlon Re:Blah Blah Blah (247 comments)

So what you are saying is let the minority of people be them selves while requiring the majority of people to change who they are to accommodate the minority.

Not exactly. Everyone is different from the group in some way. Everyone needs to adapt to fit in. Yet everyone is entitled to be himself. There are limits to how much we can ask people to change their behavior, but either 0% or 100% are unacceptable.

What I really think is that white males have to adapt to the workplace, too. Race and gender are far from the only factors that influence people's communication styles, work habits, mannerisms, and expectations. For some, the experience of having to conform is uncomfortable, and they resent it, and get aggressive and demand instead the world conform to them. Like you're doing. Where did you get so self-entitled?

about 6 months ago
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Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

SirGarlon Re:Blah Blah Blah (247 comments)

For a person that seems to want gender equality you seem to be using a lot of gender stereotypes.

That's the risk one takes when answering a question like "what is the difference between women and men." I said I'm not an expert and only telling you what I remember experts saying. There is a subtle point, though, on which I want to insist: to say there is no difference between population A and population B is the same as saying population B must conform 100% to the expectations of population A. Leaving gender aside for a moment, I think we can agree that someone from a rural upbringing can be expected to be a little different from someone with an urbringing, or someone from the West Coast is probably a little different from someone from the East Coast. Americans who go to work in the UK often struggle to fit in due to cultural differences. I don't think it's insulting or denigrating or sterotyping to try to enumerate what those differences are.

The issue of women in STEM is just a sub-category of the broader issue of diversity in the workplace. It would be great if everyone could be themselves and not have their career suffer for it. I think you and I are coming from the same place on that point. All I'm trying to say is that everyone has to conform a little bit in order to succeed, and the greater the differences between an individual the norm of the group, the harder it is to conform.

That pressure is called life, in other fields women don't have problems competing and STEM fields are no different.

STEM is a little different in that the gender imbalance is stronger -- and that's only true in certain areas of STEM. Biology and neuroscience have more women than engineering.

The difference between you and I is that I think women are more then capable of succeeding with out everyone else stopping what they are doing to help a person that is more then capable of succeeding on their own.

I'm not saying that women need help, actually. I'm saying everyone needs to be judged objectively on performance, and there are unconscious biases that get in the way of that. The more homogeneous the workforce, the more persistent those biases are.

I once had the pleasure of working with a male intern from a certain country in sub-Saharan Africa. Great guy, smart, hard-working, fast learner, funny, and *extremely* polite. For one reason or another, he was very different in his mannerisms from the other males on the team. He was very passive, very deferential. If you gave him any criticism, including constructive criticism, he would avert his eyes and apologize. In order to advance in my workplace, he was sooner or later going to have to learn how to argue with his boss. When I knew him, he seemed a long way off from that point. But the expectation in my workplace was you have to stand up for yourself, and it was clear that in his background and upbringing, he'd not been taught how to do that.

If the attitude of my team had been, "fuck it, he has to act like everybody else because that's how we do it," I think he would have had a lousy internship. But instead what people did was recognize his differences and meet him halfway. Instead of expecting him to butt into a conversation, people would pause and ask him directly, "what do you think?" When he gave a presentation, people didn't interrupt, they held questions till the end. Over the few months he appeared to become more confident, at least more used to our styles of communication, and he fit in better.

That's an extreme example, but it's what I'm talking about. Let people be themselves and be willing to change our behavior a little to help them fit in.

about 6 months ago
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Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband

SirGarlon Re:Sounds like... (430 comments)

Google needs to spend more time buying^h^h^h^h^h^h talking to legislators.

Be careful what you wish for.

about 6 months ago
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Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

SirGarlon Re:Blah Blah Blah (247 comments)

You seem to think that all men are the same, that being a sociopath comes naturally to them, that working long hours and getting stressed is fun for them, that they don't want time with their families?

I can't imagine where you got that idea. It's kind of the opposite of what I think, actually. I guess you don't actually care what I meant, and would rather argue against some imaginary position you assign to me because it's easier to attack. Go play that game by yourself.

about 6 months ago

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