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Etsy Hacker Grants Support Female Programmers

nosilA Re:It's not affirmative action. (211 comments)

Yes. As a female engineer, I absolutely despise applying looser standards to women because it helps perpetuate the stereotype that women are less qualified than men. On the other hand, programs that encourage women to become better at technical fields can help break the stereotype. I can go toe to toe with most men in my field just fine, and I'm even perfectly content to be the only woman in a room with 20 or more men, but it wears me down every time someone I'm meeting with makes the assumption that a male colleague is the right person to direct technical questions to - especially when it continues to happen after both of us have made clear that I'm the technical lead. Then again, I find I have to consciously stop myself from making the same type of assumption when I'm on the other side. More women in technical fields who are in fact qualified to be there is the answer.

Good: Scholarship programs, outreach, mentorship. Bad: lower standards, hiring/admission preferences, token females.

more than 2 years ago

ISOC Hires MPAA Executive Paul Beringer

nosilA Re:He is supposed to be "one of the good guys" (93 comments)

This. Paul is a personal friend of mine and a professional colleague and I will vouch for him as knowledgeable, fair-minded, and a talented lawyer and technologist. I have no doubt that he will perform admirably in the spirit of everything ISOC has done over the years to promote a free and open Internet. Then again, any article that would repeatedly misspell the name of the person being smeared proves itself uninformed and sloppy.

more than 2 years ago

School Swaps Math Textbooks For iPads

nosilA Re:Expensive (439 comments)

If it is, in fact, more effective at teaching students, it could potentially lead to larger class sizes, which could easily pay for the device. I am skeptical that it will be effective, but it could be - that's why they do pilot programs. I'm sure they will quickly begin to use it for other courses, too. I can see it being particularly useful for foreign languages (where being able to hear the text is important). I think the interactive textbook idea can also be really useful in science (especially at the early levels of biology, chemistry, and physics, where animations are so useful), geography (being able to pinch and zoom thousands of old maps, and being able to play games to reinforce learning), civics (being able to actually pull up the essential documents immediately). In fact, it's hard for me to think of a class that couldn't benefit from an iPad.

I think this will really turn out to be best for the students who want to move faster than the class and/or learn the material more thoroughly than required. For those students, this could help counter-balance the modern trend to dumb down the curriculum to produce high standardized test scores, rather than deeply examining the subject and teaching students to appreciate learning and thought. For most students, though, I expect this to be an overpriced toy with little educational value.

more than 4 years ago

2 In 3 Misunderstand Gas Mileage; Here's Why

nosilA Re:The question is still absurd... (1042 comments)

Not really. A typical suburban American family has 2 cars - one sedan and one minivan/SUV and may be looking at deciding which one to replace.

Also, it's not the ratio between the gas mileages - it's the inverse that you have to look at. A car that gets 30 mpg uses 333 gallons for 10,000 miles. A car that gets 40 mpg (a "33% improvement) goes 250 miles - a savings of 88 gallons. A SUV that gets 12 mpg uses 833 gallons but one that gets 15 mpg (a mere "25%" improvement) uses 667 - a savings of 166 gallons.

If you are replacing one car this year, is it the civic or the Yukon?

more than 4 years ago

First New Nuclear Plant in US in 30 years

nosilA Re:Not ready for the responsibility (838 comments)

Wait, you're using something that happened in Russia 23 years ago as a reason why the US is not ready to have nuclear power today? Or maybe you mean Three Mile Island, which was 28 years ago in Pennsylvania, but caused no deaths or injuries? How many people died this year in coal mining incidents?

And then you cite hackable control systems for oil power plants are a reason to avoid nuclear power plants (which are generally far more security-conscious)?

There are issues with nuclear power plants, specifically what to do with the waste long-term.* However, nuclear power plants themselves are actually quite safe, in large part because everyone involved respects the harm that can come if something does go wrong.

[*] - France has largely solved that problem by recycling, something the US refuses to do because it creates weapons-grade plutonium.

more than 7 years ago


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