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Wouldn't drastically increased competition solve problem one over time?

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Not necessarily. Consumers would prefer the probable lower prices of tiered services. Yet in the long run this would hurt consumers by throwing up barriers to startups and competition among internet services. This is an example of how markets favor short-term interests (lower ISP prices) over long-term.

Another example: advertising-subsidized media. Used to be (100 years ago) newspapers didn't necessarily runs ads. There was a rich working-class press. Then the ad-subsidized model came out and it slashed the price of newspapers, but on the condition that the content was generally business friendly. (Otherwise they wouldn't get many advertisers.) So nobody bought the working-class newspapers anymore because they were too expensive. This had a massive impact on the tone and perspective of published media that persists to this day.

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Quite possibly the opposite: new entrants wouldn't try to compete on general-purpose internet service but would deploy a service that's cheap because it's sponsored by large content providers, and those content providers would get preferential treatment.

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Oh wow, that's a great point. I've always tried to compromise with opponents by agreeing that increased competition should alleviate many of my fears but now that you've mentioned it - I could absolutely see a HULU.net come in, sponsored by various content creators.

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But perhaps that price is all they could afford, and in that case, something is a lot better than nothing.

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This is a bad assumption that any new competition would act differently than the status quo. More competitors would make it harder to have a solid argument of "pay me, or else", but that wouldn't stop some behind-the-scenes collusion.

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No, because telecom specifically has very high barriers to entry (infrastructure, licensing, etc).

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Probably not; ISPs don't do traffic shaping because they're evil, they do it because it saves them money. The average customer probably cares more about the price of their broadband and the big number in front of it, not whether they get full utilization.

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Possibly but it hinges a lot on drastically increased in an often prohibitively expensive commercial sector and it would take a lot longer than enforcing one, and then encouraging competition to bring speeds up and overall cost of bandwidth down for consumers.

And there's been lots of no compete agreements among these ISPs and I'm sure there's other examples out there where the "competition" makes it better for all of them at the expense of consumers.

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well there was one attempt by Clinton to have the gov fund increased capacity... and the telecoms just ended up taking the money without doing anything

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_0026...

I believe the Obama admin tried it again. I don't know the full result, but I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened.

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Originally the answer is No, because shaping reduces costs for overburdened (older) networks, and these these are infrastructure-heavy regional markets so the entry cost is already very high for competition.

But then you have companies like Google who can come in an put in Fiber because they're a tech conglomerate who can subsidize these costs in other ways.

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'Competition' isn't the panacea solving all problems that some make it out to be.

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> Why is Mr. Wilson going out of his way to tell them what it's for?

Free national PR. Besides Wired, I've seen him on documentaries and national news broadcasts.

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"I’ve lived my life in a 'man’s world', receiving a degree in mechanical engineering—which contains the lowest percentage of women compared to any other engineering field at just 7.2%—from an already male-dominated university."

Going on a tangent, I suspect areas like mechanical engineering and computer science are still "boy's clubs" due to one thing: social prestige. I feel that women are more attracted to high prestige areas like law, medicine, politics, or finance. Engineering in general is low prestige. It's akin to being a plumber or electrician plus extra educational requirements (high skill, high pay, low social status). Despite the maker movement, our culture at large still doesn't value science & engineering as much as other fields.

Popular mainstream shows like Big Bang Theory don't help. On a whole shows like this just serve to further old stereotypes of everyone in our fields as being socially inept, ugly, weirdos. Is it a surprise that most females don't want to join our ranks after seeing that?

Are there any quantitative measures on social status by occupation to validate (or invalidate) my guess?

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Mechanical engineering graduate (and 2nd rate programmer) here. And I completely agree, this major is a sinkhole. Maybe 50 years ago when we were still building rockets, planes, and cars to stop the Soviets or what have you, ME was a great major (and maybe 40 years from now when fusion, Mars, and warp drive are all real it will be again). But today in an age of electronics and software, ME is an awful choice for anyone not passionate about cars, engines, or HVAC.

The ME departments in colleges have caught onto its fall from a popularity and prestige and are doing their best to retard the descent with classes like "Scientific Computing", "Microfabrication", "FEM", "Lagrangian Control", "biomechanics", "business in China", etc., that try to emulate the currently useful skills taught in other disciplines. The result is, of course, us students wind up actually majoring in "Engineering Undeclared" and it land us a hodgepodge sampler plate of introductory knowledge that never truly satisfies any market need. We are inferior to applied mathematicians when it comes to calculations, electrical engineers when it comes to modern machinery, computer scientists when it comes to AI and controls, industrial engineers when it comes to falsifying lab reports, doctors when it comes to biology, etc. And if we focused on traditionally ME fields like heat transfer and combustion? We'd have to Hunger Games ourselves for that one position at the local power plant in ten years when the current engineer retires.

So, unless she is passionate about cars and air conditioning, why should we be trying to encourage our daughters into a major that doesn't earn money like finance, have prestige like computers, enjoy purity like the sciences, help people like medicine / social science, pretty like art / design, satisfy her natural affinity for children and cute stuff like education, or even remain stable like law. In some ways, ME is the Titanic after it was hit the iceberg, it's a "boy's club" not because men are trying to keep women out (every department across the land is actually doing just the opposite), but because the captain and his crew are stubbornly going down with the ship while the women and children are on lifeboats so they can live another day.

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That's an interesting point of view. I've had multiple people tell me they wish they could find a 'traditional mechanical engineer' that knew heat transfer, knew fluids, could build a gear train, and knew some kinematics. I think MEs that graduated 20-30 years ago are in high demand.

Extremely watered down versions of those courses are in my curriculum. Fluid mechanics is nearly all Bernoulli's Equation and Linear Momentum. Heat Transfer is 1D conduction, basic convection, and basic radiation. Machine Design, while heavily focused on gears, was extremely watered down. Kinematics, on the other hand, has been completely dropped from the curriculum! A lot of these courses have been made easier to allow students to spend time on 'lab projects' that consist of filling in the blanks of Arduino sketches. It's a sad state of affairs.

You are spot on by stating that undergraduate ME curriculums are 'Engineering Undeclared' in my experience. I think part of this is because the 'traditional' curriculum that my grandfather and father took is 'too challenging' by today's standards. I'm not half the engineer they were when they graduated from the same department.

I think this can be attributed to several things. When my father graduated, everyone took the FE with plans of becoming a PE. I know maybe 5 other people in my graduating class who plan on taking the FE. He took 3 years of math, I took one and a half. We can't really get into 2D conduction in heat transfer because no one has the math background to handle it! The 'Intermediate Heat Transfer' I'm taking in grad school is the equivalent of the 'Introduction to Heat Transfer' my grandfather took.

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I've had multiple people tell me they wish they could find a 'traditional mechanical engineer' that knew heat transfer, knew fluids, could build a gear train, and knew some kinematics. I think MEs that graduated 20-30 years ago are in high demand.

In my view, a similar lament cuts across disciplines. I wish I could find an electrical engineer who understood low noise design. Most engineers forget most of their math and theory within a few years of graduating, and most design work is done by trial and error.

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I would go further and say... unless she is passionate about CAD.

My background is in science, but I work in a department with engineers of all stripes. It seems like the mechanical engineers are stuck living inside the world of their CAD systems. It's a dreary world, dominated by at most two or three software vendors making giant, expensive, training-intensive tools.

I know other engineering disciplines use tools too, but I don't think they are dominated by their tools to the extent that ME is.

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"We'd have to Hunger Games ourselves for that one position at the local power plant in ten years when the current engineer retires."

While at the same time some politician and businessman is making a speech that we have a desperate shortage of engineering talent and need to open the floodgates.

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Well, when I looked around a bit I found this article <http://readwrite.com/2014/09/02/women-in-computer-science-wh... which links to this study: <http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/09/11/220748057/why-wome... which indicates that rather than being based on prestige, it appears that the disparity can be broken down based on more rewarding but lower paying, vs. more purely mercenary jobs.

I wouldn't call being a teacher more prestigious than being an engineer, nor a social worker, but there are still a lot of women who are more interested in going into those fields than into engineering disciplines.

Other studies also point to other reasons; in computer science especially, there's a very strong effect of computers being seen as boys toys, so men come into the major with more experience and more interest in the field just to begin with: <https://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/project/gendergap/www/papers/s...

The gender gap in engineering disciplines, as a complex social phenomenon, is likely to have many interrelated causes. Between lower encouragement of computers as girls toys at younger ages, the fact that there is still a bit of an expectation that men will be the primary breadwinner in the family and thus women can get these lower paying but more rewarding jobs, the fact that the large existing gender gap makes it less comfortable for women in the major, in the workplace, and so on, it's unlikely that there's going to be one single cause for it.

So, in summary, while from what I found it looks like it's not prestige but how rewarding the job is perceived to be that makes more of the difference, but that's not to say that your hypothesis is wrong, just that I found some evidence to support a different effect that at least appears to be stronger than the effect you describe.

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I think everyone discussing any gender gap should really watch this Norwegian documentary:

Brainwashed: The Gender Equality Paradox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiJVJ5QRRUE

The "social expectations" hypothesis fails to explain why countries with higher living standards have more polarized sectors. The idea that in a perfect world with no "social pressure" we would reach a parity between genders ignores just about all research done on the biological gender differences.

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A hypothesis about why people end up in the jobs they do fails to account for whatever non-causative correlation someone can cook up? Astonishing! Why doesn't every country with a highly gender-segregated economy have a high standard of living?

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Obviously because it is quite reasonable to assume that standards of living partially cause gender distribution by making daycare affordable, allowing more paid leave, etc., whereas gender polarization would not be expected to be a strong enough effect to pull an entire economy significantly in one direction or another.

Causal modeling is a very difficult thing when you cannot perform a controlled experiment. I would be interested in your take on how you would suggest that the authors attempt to confirm or disprove this hypothesis.

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Right. Precisely. Gender polarization isn't a strong enough effect to pull significantly on an economy; sputr is trying to use a spurious correlation with little value in actually predicting whether a country will have a high or low standard of living as evidence that we've all had the wool pulled over our eyes.

Assuming you mean the authors of the documentary, I'll give you a new synopsis highlighting what it's really about: Strawman arguments abound as our intrepid documentarians drag us from interview to interview to assert that it seems people conform very closely to what our stereotypes tell us to expect of them. Obviously this must be the inevitable result of our biology! Our strawman assertion of what "equality" means is defeated! There's no way our stereotypes could be self-perpetuating! People definitely don't continue to believe in the same religions or speak the same languages or eat the same food or celebrate the same holidays just because their ancestors did! Propensity to speak English and believe in the Judeo-Christian God must also be biological destiny!

Per your last question, I have no meaningful suggestion for the authors of the video; they're going to have a miserable confirming or disproving anything as long as they insist on using logical fallacies to do so.

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On the contrary, the difference in living standards explains it perfectly. If you're in a poor country, pragmatism forces you to drop your 'social expectations'. It's either earn enough to eat or hold on to your prejudices. In that environment, people lose their prejudices fast.

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This hypothesis holds no water in any 3rd world country I can think of.

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Sorry, but what planet are you from? Every day we're bombarded with stories and images from the developing world of men, women and children trying to make a living. Villagers migrate to cities seeking work. People work in factories and make a better wage than they could anywhere else without education. Women take micro-credit to start up little businesses like mobile phone call booths, or charging booths, and finance their childrens' education. (Women are seen as better clients for credit because they're less likely to spend the money on drinking and gambling.)

Look at the tech sectors in Europe and India and Asia--they don't have all these hang-ups and prejudices and misconceptions about how women's brains 'work differently' or what the biological differences might be or all that pseudo-scientific bull-crap. They just do the work.

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>Every day we're bombarded with stories and images from the developing world of men, women and children trying to make a living.

I bet you are. I've actually lived much of my life in countries you would consider 'poor'. There is plenty of prejudice to go around.

>Look at the tech sectors in Europe and India and Asia--they don't have all these hang-ups and prejudices and misconceptions about how women's brains 'work differently' or what the biological differences might be or all that pseudo-scientific bull-crap.

Sounds like you have a lot of the world left to see.

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You got some citations? Because in most of the countries you are talking about the poor who will do anything to survive aren't getting university degrees and sexist discrimination exists in abundance.

For example in many Islamic countries like Iran women do make up a significant portion of engineering graduates (sometimes even a majority) but few end up working as engineers due to sexism and cultural expectations.

I did some Googling and what I found didn't really support your argument.

https://hbr.org/2014/03/whats-holding-women-back-in-science-...

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> I wouldn't call being a teacher more prestigious than being an engineer, nor a social worker

I would. There's a lot of respect for people that do these things, because they are seen as somewhat selfless (partly because the monetary compensation is so low, partly because the jobs are so essential). Aid workers share in this as well. Prestige is about respect, and there are paths to respect that don't include a lot of money or power.

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Speaking as a Canadian, I'd say that teachers are almost universally reviled here. Students hate them because they're the human agents of the school system; and parents hate them because they 'obviously' don't pay enough attention to and try to understand their 'special snowflake' kids, which is why the kid got a C- instead of the A+ they deserve.

I can't see things being very different in the States.

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Yeah I forgot about social expectations

http://www.npr.org/2014/11/22/365968465/after-backlash-compu...

Still I can't help but feel social prestige is still a stronger factor for females than males

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Why can't you help feel but feel this?

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If you read the npr article that lambda referred to (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/09/11/220748057/why-wome...), it still feels like women choose fields that are cooler and higher prestige as opposed to being higher salary and lower prestige. lambda just refers to this as "rewarding" vs "mercenary"

I'm also going further disagree with lambda. For society at large, I feel that teachers and social workers do have higher prestige than engineers. Of course I realize that all of my opinions are just assumptions without actual data backing it up. However I do know this: the gender discrimination in both the military and finance are either just as bad or much worse, yet more women flock to both as opposed to our industry.

This is an interesting article as well that helps show that gender discrimination is also pretty bad in other industries that attract more women: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/02/...

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You can't compare being a teacher with a career in "law, medicine, politics, or finance" or a programmer. The latter all require very high intellectual aptitude, either logical/mathematical (programming, finance), memory (medicine, law) or social intelligence (finance, politics). In contrast, mostly everybody can be a teacher (and according to comment [1], teachers usually come from the bottom of their class).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9090437

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Perhaps 20 years ago it was the case that anyone could get job as a teacher. That's very difficult from succeeding as a teacher, and it's also not true today.

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Like anyone can be a lawyers or a programmer. There are good and bad ones, and a good teacher will require a lot of skills and 'logical' aptitude as well as empathy. AFAIK, you can't take a 4 week bootcamp and teach high-school math, but you can get a job at a startup after a rails bootcamp.

Can we stop with the 'we are so special/intelligent' arrogance?

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This isn't true - the core skill of controlling classes is pretty hard. It's not an intellectual skill, but a social intelligence one.

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The difference is that you only see you're bad at it when you're already a teacher, teaching a class. If you suck at programming, you see it in the introductory course of first semester of college.

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You don't have to be that smart to be a programmer, and it takes less schooling than being a teacher requires.

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Maybe not smart, but you have to have the ability to do a certain kind of abstract thinking. Like translating concepts into sequences of very precise steps (i.e. algorithms).

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We're all the same social animals. Men are just as status-conscious as women are, so your observation probably doesn't have as much explanatory power as you seem to think it does.

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Not necessarily. There is a lot of anecdotal theories that women care more about how they are perceived by their peers. There might also be some research (a minute of Googling brought up this, although I'm quite sceptical of most sociological/psychological research).

> The researchers concluded that women seek to regain a sense of belonging whereas men are more interested in regaining self-esteem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_rejection#Ball_toss_.2F_...

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I'm not sure why I'm meant to put much weight on "anecdotal theories of women" while staring down the barrel of an 80/20 gender gap that is basically unique to computer science.

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Speculation ahead! This may all be BS (except for the next paragraph, which Googling will turn up decent support for), but could lead to some interesting discussion.

Girls mature emotionally faster than boys, which may result in them starting to care about, and be able to understand and do something about, group status and group power structures earlier than boys do.

Anecdotally, that fits with what I saw as a kid. Going into the teen years, boys tended to have small social circles compare to girls. A boy sleepover was two or three boys. A girl sleepover was half the girls in a class.

Others I've talked to report similar, and this seems to be a common enough observation that it has become somewhat of a stereotype (hilariously parodied in the South Park episode "The List").

Now let's consider how an interest in a STEM field might develop into a career. I think for a large number of kids there is a critical period where an interest changes from a spectator interest to a participatory interest, and I think that often happens around the late pre-teen, early teen years.

(This is probably just a coincidence, but it is interesting that this is around the age that in olden days boys would start apprenticeships).

Note that the kind of participatory STEM things that you can do (outside of organized school activities) as a young teen tend toward solitary activities. Perhaps, then, boys are more likely to do these things because at that critical early teen phase boys are still oblivious to the importance of group status and power structures, and so a potential boy science nerd will spend Saturday night at home hacking alone on the computer, or building a ham radio, and so on.

By the time boys catch up on emotional maturity, and start spending time dealing with group status and power along with the girls, the boys have already set themselves on the road to STEM careers.

It would be interesting to get data on people who choose a STEM major in college, and on people who graduate with a STEM degree, and on people who go on to a STEM career, and break each of those groups down into two subsets. (1) People who decided that (or a closely related field) was what they wanted to major in while still young teens, and (2) those who discovered their interest in that field in college, such as when they took a course in it to satisfy a breadth requirement and found they liked it enough to major in it.

If my speculation is correct, the first subset (people who chose their path while early teens) will be more tilted toward men than the second subset (people who found their serious interest in the field while in college).

Finally, this suggests an interesting topic for one of those "late night, been drinking or smoking dope a bit, kind of tired, let's discuss something really wild" type discussions: will HBO's "Game of Thrones" have an effect on gender ratios in STEM? (Yes, there is a chain of reasoning to support the "yes" case that is good enough to give one a decent chance of defending that position long enough for everyone to get drunk or high enough, or sleepy enough, that discussion ends).

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It's not exact. Man care more about their place in the hierarchy , while women care more about how they're perceived by people around them.

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How convenient it is for us men to believe stuff like this.

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Yeah, top jobs where women dominate are all super high prestige, elementary school teachers, nursing/health aides, secretarial, retail, food service... :)

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You failed to include all the blue collar low-prestige jobs where men are far more common, like construction, factory jobs and warehouse work. For every profession that is low prestige and largely female, there is another profession that low prestige and largely male.

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And for every high-prestige profession dominated by men, there is one dominated by women, natch.

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Sounds like sarcasm? If so, it's unwarranted.

For example, clinical psychology is high-prestige and high-paying, and is dominated by women. Medical research and more generally the biosciences is another (smaller majority, though).

http://www.sheheroes.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Percent-...

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You're missing the forest for the trees (assuming your assumptions are correct).

Business (executives, secretaries) is more respectable than IT (programmers, tech support).

I would argue that nurses and teachers have higher prestige than a programmer or engineer in most parts of the country. (Let's not confuse salary with prestige)

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Still comparing apples to oranges. The most common job for women is secretary (which generated countless headlines). The most common job for men is truck driver not programmer. People always focus on CEOs and company founders being all men, but no one brings up all the people working construction, pest control, mining etc...

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I can't prove you wrong, but I find the idea implausible. Perhaps it's because a good half of my friends are PhDs.

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Retail and food service are not dominated by either gender.

Early childhood education has a serious bias against men. Due to social stigmas, parents of both genders are generally more comfortable leaving their young children in the care of a woman rather than a man.

I think most nursing jobs have roughly the same level of prestige as most engineering jobs. It just doesn't look that way here because this place is hyper-focused on the small subset that are high prestige.

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More women than men study medicine, so for example your "nursing/health aides" example really conveys the wrong picture.

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Pharmacists are paid extremely well and have a higher representation of women (56.3) than men.

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Actually, Pharmacy is going to become the new Law. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119634/pharmacy-school-cr...

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I heard an interesting theory on low female attendance in STEM this week: the fact that those fields are stereotyped as nerdy, "low prestidge" men. It keeps a lot of men, at least in the US, out of the field too. When I went through engineering school at least half of my classmates were from countries that have very different attitudes towards engineering.

I'm sure there's some data out there breaking out US STEM graduates by country and see how that compares to other fields like arts and sciences - that'd be a good place to start a conversation around whether or not some Western countries have a cultural / stereotypical problem.

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> I heard an interesting theory on low female attendance in STEM this week: the fact that those fields are stereotyped as nerdy, "low prestidge" men

Can you give me the source?

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No? Literally an idea I overheard in a conversation.

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I found it striking in Big Bang Theory how even the smartest scientist is not deemed worthy to date a waitress. Nothing against waitresses, but I think it said a lot about values in society.

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The reason you're getting blowback has to do with the tone it sounds like you're taking on the issue of gender and prestige with some selective examples.

In regard to your final question: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/Harris%20Poll%2085%20...

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This is the first time I've heard engineering called low prestige.

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Wow... really? It's absolutely viewed as low prestige in my experience. I mean our culture has an ingrained stereotype of the socially awkward, maladjusted engineer, that's definitely out there. The jocks, "cool kids," extroverts, your typical fraternity member etc. are supposed to be in finance or striving to be an executive or something.

I think it's generational to some extend. IMO the baby boomers are particularly bad w/ regards to the stereotype. My parent's friends ask about my work as a programmer, and I suggest that their son or daughter who hasn't figured out what they want to do consider taking it up (code bootcamps make it easy, great market now, etc.), and I just get such cringe reactions from them.

But... younger generations are better, given how startups are now viewed as "trendy," and I do think movies/TV like the Social Network had a big impact.

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Maybe it's because I'm Asian ;) Perhaps engineering isn't glamorous, but it's highly skilled respectable work.

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It's now low prestige, it's just lower prestige than e.g. medicine, law or "investment banking".

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This is more truth-y than true. If occupational prestige drove employment, we'd all be firefighters. And, of course, when you actually look at occupational prestige figures, engineers crush lawyers. Really, there's no axis on which your hypothesis explains anything.

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Which explains why politics - which by definition is full of people who have enough status to set national policy - is full of engineers, while the lawyers are left discussing the finer technical points of voir dire on Lawyer News.

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Not that I'm saying you constructed it this way intentionally, but this argument is the rhetorical equivalent of one of those Highlights For Children "How Many Things Can You Spot Wrong With This Picture" puzzles; including, at least:

* The notion that politicians occupy high-status careers

* The notion that it's the status held by politicians that is the reason they're allowed to set national policy

* The notion that your intuition about status trumps the actual numbers for occupational prestige, which are (a) easily found and (b) immediately refute both the premise and conclusion of this argument

* The notion that most lawyers are on a track to become politicians

* The notion that lawyers would be overrepresented among politicians because people love lawyers that much, and not because the top echelons of law are disproportionately well compensated, or because those people make decades-long careers out of making connections with businesses and power brokers

* The notion that you can evaluate the overall status hierarchy position of a career solely by observing it's top echelon (here: national office-holders, and not city council-people)

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Your primary failure was confusing personal popularity with social popularity with status/agency/influence. You're - mostly - continuing to make the same mistake.

Of course status is defined by caste power and social agency. What else would it be defined by? Facebook likes?

The fact that no one much likes lawyers is irrelevant. So is the fact that lawyers individually may fail to make a living from lawyering, or even that a few outliers have a social conscience.

Let me know when an engineer becomes president of the US and we can talk about the other details.

>not because the top echelons of law are disproportionately well compensated, or because those people make decades-long careers out of making connections with businesses and power brokers

This confuses cause and effect. The point of becoming a certain kind of lawyer is exactly because it's the best way to gain status and self-serving influence through that kind of activity.

Writing a compiler will never get you that kind of status, no matter what gender you are.

Nor will making a cool app.

Becoming a billionaire might. But tech billionaires tend to become billionaires because they act in aggressively self-serving ways in business and/or are well-connected, not because they're rewarded purely for being brilliant engineers.

Engineering brilliance on its own will get you GitHub stars and conferences and maybe a job or two. But no more than that.

Still don't believe me? Ask a few thousand people outside tech who their favourite engineer is.

That's how high-status engineering is.

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Hoover was a mining engineer, so there's one.

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  Obama - Law
  Bush - Business 
  Clinton - Law
  Bush - Business
  Reagan - Actor
  Carter - Nuclear Engineer & Farmer
  Ford - Law
  Nixon - Law
  LBJ - HS Teacher
  JFK - Econ 
  Ike - Military
  Truman - No degree
  FDR - Law
  Hoover - Engineer
  Coolidge - Law
  Harding - Journalist
  Wilson - Law Prof
  Taft - Law
  Teddy Roosevelt - History & Politics
Law is clearly the modal occupation for presidents, but there's some diversity.

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Or politics is filled with lawyers because most politicians are legislators and their main job is to pass laws...

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> It's now low prestige, it's just lower prestige than e.g. medicine, law or "investment banking".

Software developer and data scientist are both at the top of the list of best careers in America right now, and more people aspire to be startup CEOs than movie stars or pro athletes.

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Have data for that startup CEO's? Because unless you are talking about a very narrow group of people, it hasn't been my experience at all (sure, if you ask 20-30 years old, they will say startup CEO, mostly because that is the only thing they believe they still can be, but ask 12-16 year olds and the results). Also, most people don't know what a startup CEO's really does and just expect a lot of money and ruling over the company while meeting clients at a golf course while most startup CEO's are partly broke and work 12 hours a day

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Maybe they are "best careers" (although I highly doubt it - e.g. traders are way better careers), but we're talking about "prestige" here - the wow factor when you tell people what you do. When I say I'm a programmer, many roll their eyes (while acknowledging that it's easy for me to get a job). Granted I'm not a lawyer or a doctor, but let me know when they start making series about programmers like they did about lawyers (Boston Legal) or doctors (House, Grey's Anatomy).

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Where I went to university the engineering students had their own jokes category, usually about them never getting laid.

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You don't think it could have anything to do with attitudes toward women in each respective field?

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You don't think there can be other reasons except attitude?

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I'm not saying that the current culture doesn't factor in this. I'm just saying that there may be a stronger factor at play. Business and medicine used to be just as bad, but the large numbers of women entering those fields changed that despite the preexisting toxic professional atmosphere. I feel that it would be the same for tech and engineering, if only it were more attractive for more women.

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May be, but women(and men) make their decisions before entering the field.

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[deleted]

I'm not saying he's right, but "we're all social animals" ignores the entire discipline of evolutionary psychology. Biology forced males and females of various species to evolve different strategies. For humans some of those strategies are obsolete, but it doesn't mean that they're gone from our brains. If you haven't, check out The Mating Mind by Geoffrey Miller or similar books.

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Please don't refer to the Mating Mind here. It's borderline-crank material, and not regarded as serious by the vast majority in the field.

Referring people to almost any book by Steven Pinker is much better. E.g. "How the Mind Works."

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Curious why you think it's crank material (and why my comment warrants a downvote btw). I've read most Steven Pinker's books as well. Miller's is mostly a rehash of other people's research along with some speculation and opinion on his part, but he clearly states so. In any case, the reference does not invalidate my rebuttal of the parent comment.

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Women tend to focus on those jobs where the need for the job seems solid.

If we focus, for a moment, on those jobs that are available to those who have college degrees, many women become teachers, but teaching is not high prestige.

There is little risk that the USA will outsource all the hospitals to China, so women go into medicine. There is little risk that the USA will outsource all the lawyers to China, so women become lawyers. There is little risk that the USA will outsource all the teachers to China, so women become teachers.

But there is a possibility that most of the engineering jobs will move to China. And I think women are wary of investing 10 years of their life learning a skill that might get sent overseas.

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>many women become teachers, but teaching is not high prestige

If you give weight to the McKinsey study, almost half of US public school teachers come from the bottom one-third of their college classes. This suggests that the best and brightest women are not opting to be teachers instead of engineers, they are choosing other jobs.

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Interesting. I'd love to know what professions are chosen by the women in the top third of their college class.

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> Women tend to focus on those jobs where the need for the job seems solid.

I find the use of lawyers as an example odd unless people are just downright ignorant of what is happening in that industry. For quite a while now now, there has been a glut of law school grads that are unable to find jobs. Furthermore, more and more legal work is being outsourced to India (and this trend keeps rising) or automated (like discovery).

If your assertion is true, then several years ago, when both of these characteristics of the legal profession started to occur (few job prospects after graduation and outsourcing/automation), then we should be able to observe a significant decrease in the number of women choosing to pursue a law degree versus men choosing to pursue a law degree.

Has such a discrepancy between the genders been observed in the quantity of law school applicants?

What I've observed is that women tend to go into careers that are "high-touch" and that factors like prestige and job security are lesser considerations. Teaching and nursing are the two canonical examples. The only parallel I can draw to job security, is that high touch jobs are far harder to automate and outsource. Japan has been trying with some of its robot experiments, but the uncanny valley is a high barrier to cross to automate high-touch jobs.

Interestingly this is why we see engineering/automation making doctors less relevant, while we see nursing becoming more important. Technology to aid with the low-touch aspects of medicine (the tasks doctors typically perform, such as pattern detection and pattern matching) are getting good enough that those interested in the high-touch aspects (nursing), can do most of the work required without the need to share responsibilities with a doctor.

(FWIW while society considers doctors to be higher prestige than nurses, I feel they are both equally important. IMHO, being a doctor as a profession having higher prestige is a historical anomaly since there are statistically fewer people in society who are good at the analytical work that computers now excel at. For thousands of years, sexual selection favored neurotypical minds. It has only been in the past ~100 years or so since the industrial revolution where sexual selection has started to favor sexual selection in favor of those on the aspie/autistic side of the spectrum).

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So why do women become elementary school teachers rather than high school teachers?

Although in general it's probably true that women tend to be more risk averse.

I've always said that women are probably simply too smart to go into IT. Sitting in front of a glowing rectangle in a gloomy basement is probably not the best recipe for happiness. Cliched as it sounds, but a job that involves talking to people might be much more likely to make a person happy.

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Women do tend to pick jobs where the job satisfaction is clearly defined. We understand the lifestyle it will bring, how it will make us happy & what we will get out if it. Lots of people are encouraging women to go into IT, very few are explaining why. I work in IT because I enjoy seeing people's lives improved by technology, not for the hours with the glowing rectangle.

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I'm glad you question the why, it drives me crazy that this rarely gets mentioned. Nothing against IT - I work in it, too. But I also struggle with "finding meaning" a lot. I don't think I ever saved anybody's life. I suspect for example physicians struggle a lot less with the question if what they do is any use at all (apart from the fighting bureaucracy part). Of course you can do great things with IT, but it's certainly not a given, probably not even the norm.

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I think The Big Bang Theory is pretty awful too, but I think how you describe what you do makes a difference:

- "I'm a programmer" (people think about typing)

- "I make apps" (people think about the amazing things you create...by typing)

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That works well for customer-facing software, but I'm not so sure about the general case.

"I make a quality control system for a large factory" (people think about all sorts of boring things)

"I make payroll software" (people feign interest for a moment, then change the topic)

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> "I make a quality control system for a large factory" (people think about all sorts of boring things)

Sure. But making a quality control system is (for most people in most cases) actually boring. The same skills could be applied elsewhere for something far more compelling. But if you framed them how you achieved them - "I'm a programmer" - they'd sound like the same jobs, which they're not.

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I mean, most jobs are boring. Some are boring in the broad view, and actually interesting in the particulars (many software jobs fall into this category); a few are the inverse (some science jobs sound fascinating but actually involve lots of tedious, repetitive work). The majority of jobs are boring in both the big picture and the details.

If you want a job that will interest/impress people at a cocktail party, that is an extremely short list of careers.

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Social ineptitude is not restricted by gender.

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HN's casual nerd misogyny showing up again...

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How is this misogyny? I didn't say that it was skill or talent that was keeping women from our fields.

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A sweeping statement like "women only care about social validation, and that's why there aren't many in tech" is sexist.

First, that's like saying "men only care about money": it's not backed by any real evidence and it is disparaging to an entire gender.

Second, that's sweeping under the rug the constant discrimination against women that is keeping them out of our industry. You are making women responsible for not choosing tech as a career, whereas they are being excluded from tech by the sort of casual sexism on display on HN (and most SV tech companies).

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"A sweeping statement like "women only care about social validation, and that's why there aren't many in tech" is sexist."

I feel that you're making really strong and incorrect assumptions about my posts. I never said that "women only care about social validation". Is it wrong to say that more women frown upon occupations that are seen to be held by social pariahs and outcasts by society at large? Why would an ambitious woman be interested in becoming what's seen as an educated plumber or janitor when she can aspire to become a respected high level, finance executive or powerful lawyer instead? imo it's more common sense rather than misogyny.

Also some sweeping gender statements are actually true, such as men being more prone to violence than women.

"Second, that's sweeping under the rug the constant discrimination against women that is keeping them out of our industry."

I agree that there's a ton of discrimination against women in the tech industry. But really how of this discrimination keeps women from actually joining our fields? Your argument would make more sense if there were a lot of women entering AND then leaving, but that doesn't happen. Few actually even try entering our field. Look at the military. While things are slowly changing, there are few environments more toxic to women than the military's male dominated, authoritarian atmosphere (gender discrimination is horrible, but rape that isn't prosecuted and punished is much worse); the tech industry isn't even close to being as bad. This is pretty well known to society at large, yet there are more women joining the military (and then leaving) than there are women joining the tech industry; which leads me to believe that the general social perception of our field is just horrible when the even armed forces are beating us at female recruitment. Now let's look at finance. The average wage gap in the financial industry for genders is the worst compared to other industries (about $0.70 to a $1), investment banks have the reputation of being 'frat houses', and yet more women enter finance than our industry. imo gender discrimination isn't as strong of a force for deterring women from entering a field. Gender discrimination is much stronger at affecting how long women stay active and how far they can rise within a field.

Historically there's been a ton of discrimination against women in pretty much every field. I feel that the sectors that already got 'fixed' (i.e. somewhat better than before) were the ones where large numbers of women have entered due to interest (i.e. politics, healthcare, business, legal). Those women were well aware of the toxic environment, but the interest level was so high they joined anyway. I feel that while education and company policies regarding discrimination helped those sectors, the larger female presence was a stronger force. I just don't see that in technical fields.

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> Also some sweeping gender statements are actually true, such as men being more prone to violence than women.

Well, the alternative explanation is that men are simply better at violence than women (because we're stronger). E.g. men commit more suicides than women despite women attempting more. Also, domestic violence is roughly equal (60-40), but I imagine women are hurt worse more often.

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Do all men care about money? No. But are there are set of men who seemed to be consumed by money more than any set of women, oh yes.

Who works on Wall Street? Hell the movie Wall Street, Boiler Room, etc aimed at?

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As opposed to the special snowflake club ignoring the politically inconvenient research done in the last 20 years on gender equality? Differences in in-group bias, differences in headline coverage as victims, differences in court judgments, ...

Let's keep rewriting history so that white men are to blame. It's not like they do things like land probes on comets or anything.

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Yes that's mainly possible because there's a massive imbalance between the poor and the rich i.e. there's barely a middle class unlike what we have in the US (for now). I'm also going to guess that manufacturing is almost non-existent as well for that to happen

I'm not totally sure what this has to do with Philz Coffee though

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The Indian middle class was estimated to be 250 million people in 2007, by McKinsey & Company.

Source: http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/MGI/In_the_news/Next_big_sp...

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What's your point? That's only 22% of the population. In the US the middle class forms about 60% of the population.

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> The original link cites corruption at the hospital level, which does seem like the weakest link in the system.

If corruption stopped at the hospital there, then this wouldn't happen at the FDA:

> As David Ross, the FDA official in charge of reviewing Ketek’s safety, put it, “In January 2003, over reviewers’ protests, FDA managers hid the evidence of fraud and misconduct from the advisory committee, which was fooled into voting for approval.”

Corruption goes beyond the hospital level and it extends into the FDA itself.

> As part of the new drug application process, or, more rarely, when the agency gets a tipoff of wrongdoing, the FDA sends a bunch of inspectors out to clinical sites to make sure that everything is done by the book. When there are problems, the FDA generates a lot of paperwork—what are called form 483s, Establishment Inspection Reports, and in the worst cases, what are known as Warning Letters. If you manage to get your hands on these documents, you’ll see that, most of the time, key portions are redacted: information that describes what drug the researcher was studying, the name of the study, and precisely how the misconduct affected the quality of the data are all blacked out. These redactions make it all but impossible to figure out which study is tainted.

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Here's a New England Journal of Medicine article by Dr. Ross about the affair: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp078032

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"FDA managers hid the evidence of fraud and misconduct from the advisory committee, which was fooled into voting for approval" -> Yes, that sounds super sketchy. The actual testimony doesn't, though it's one sided (below).

The redactions are not surprising to me. The FDA is a regulatory agency that deals with very sensitive and confidential information. They are not a criminal agency, and this isn't some district attorney asking for the information.

The testimony: """ After considering the fact that the investigation results were preliminary and we had not received formal recommendations about how to take the results into account in review of the application, and the fact that only in very rare cases do inspection results from individual sites lead to the exclusion of an entire large clinical trial, FDA decided to hold the Advisory Committee meeting as planned. The Agency made this decision, knowing that any advice from the Committee would have to be later taken into account in the context of additional information about the integrity of data from Study 3014. It is not unusual for more information to come to FDA for review after an Advisory Committee meeting is held about an application. The Advisory Committee voted that the safety and efficacy of the requested indications had been demonstrated, based on the information it was provided, including Study 3014, and limited international post-marketing data provided at the meeting. Although the Advisory Committee recommended approval, on January 23, 2003, (two weeks after the Advisory Committee meeting) FDA issued another approvable letter to the sponsor because of the remaining questions about the safety of Ketek. The letter specifically noted the unresolved data integrity issues associated with Study 3014 (issues confirmed in the final clinical inspection summary of the Agency's audits of the first three clinical trial sites) and the incomplete post- marketing safety data from foreign countries. FDA noted that the final decision regarding approval of each indication would be made after a review of the information and analyses requested in this letter. On March 3, 2003, during a closed session of the Advisory Committee convened to discuss other matters, FDA briefly explained that an approvable letter was issued because the Agency wanted to see more information about data from Europe and Latin America. With regard to Study 3014, FDA explained that there were unresolved inspectional issues. Third Cycle. The sponsor submitted a complete response to the approvable letter in October 2003. The October 2003 submission addressed issues of Study 3014 and included post- marketing reports for spontaneous adverse events for approximately four million prescriptions for patients in other countries where Ketek had already been approved. Upon completing the review of the sponsor's October submission, including the findings from the additional audits of clinical trial sites summarized in a March 2004 memorandum from the Division of Scientific Investigations, the Agency decided that it could not rely on Study 3014 to support approval of Ketek because of the systemic failure of the sponsor's monitoring of the clinical trial to detect clearly existing data integrity problems. Accordingly, Study 3014 was dropped for consideration in making the decision whether to approve Ketek. The Agency considered data from other clinical trials and the international post-marketing experience to conclude there was adequate evidence of safety. """

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> The redactions are not surprising to me. The FDA is a regulatory agency that deals with very sensitive and confidential information. They are not a criminal agency, and this isn't some district attorney asking for the information.

Yes the FDA is a regulatory agency. In my mind, it's similar to the IRS, SEC, or FBI. It ensures that specific people and organizations are complying with rules and regulations; in other words they enforce the law. Also I'm not sure how the agency has to hide whole bogus studies to protect confidential information. It's not like they can't redact sensitive portions (things like drug names and misconduct don't count) of it instead of just hiding the whole thing. Am I wrong?

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Maybe... Technically it's not their study, it's the study of the company running the trial. That isn't public information.

Now, one could argue that all clinical and pre-clinical data used for the drug approval process should be public information. That is a very complicated argument (and I actually come down on the "public" side, but it would take a long time to explain).

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It's not complicated. Elements within the FDA redacted key data from the FDA's own Advisory Committee.

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> YC promotes launching fast and copying / plagiarism facilitates that.

You don't copy someone's unique look, when they don't want you to copy them. There are so many inexpensive ($12 - $49) CSS templates that look good enough or even cool, that what happened is both inexcusable and just stupid. Most of them are already built to use either bootstrap or foundation as well, so it makes the launching fast part trivial.

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Rape is a problem. However false rape accusations are also a real problem and not just an imaginary one.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/09/false...

It varies by country but in the US, it's estimated that 8% of rape cases are false accusations.

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The article you link to does not support your claim of 8%. It mentions data "averaging 8 percent to 10 percent" but then goes on to point out that:

> Not all reports classified as unfounded are necessarily false. In some cases, women who were victims of rape were disbelieved, pressured into recanting, and charged with false reporting only to be vindicated later on—the kind of awful story that adds to people’s skittishness about discussing false accusations. Some police departments have been criticized for having an anomalously high percentage of supposedly unfounded rape charges: Baltimore’s “unfounded” rate used to be the highest in the nation, at about 30 percent, due partly to questionable and sometimes downright abusive police procedures, such as badgering a woman about why she waited two hours to report a street assault. By 2013, an effort to provide better training and encourage full investigation of all complaints reduced that rate to less than 2 percent.

The problem is that you cannot rely on a police officer's opinion that a rape accusation is false. It could too easily be based on a sexist perception of the woman reporting the crime. The rape of sex workers, women who use drugs and alcohol, and women who have many sexual partners has never been taken as seriously by law enforcement.

On the other hand, we have actual scientific data from the CDC showing that 20% of women have been raped: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm?s_cid=...

What we need is an equivalent study that asks men if they have ever been falsely charged with rape. My guess is that the number is quite small.

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I was citing the FBI for the 8% estimate.

> On the other hand, we have actual scientific data from the CDC showing that 20% of women have been raped: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm?s_cid=.... What we need is an equivalent study that asks men if they have ever been falsely charged with rape. My guess is that the number is quite small.

What are you arguing? Since false rape accusations can't be measured well, they shouldn't be considered a problem and they should be ignored?

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> Nobody gives enough thought to depression. You have to understand that we know that we will never not feel tired. We will never feel hopeful. We will never get a vacation.

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The fact that you answered me with this quote confirms something that I suspected but wasn't sure enough to put down in my first post: The author is being unclear about whether the statements she's making are things she claims are true, or things she claims poor people (incorrectly) think are true.

These are two very different things, and mixing them together leads to confusion and error.

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I feel like she was pretty clear on that point; the whole first post was her explanation of what she was thinking/feeling when she made 'poor' decisions. The second portion, in response to criticism, was her justification of that mindset.

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I didn't see much clarity on this issue in either part. Furthermore, the responses to my post are evenly split too: bdcravens, mrow84, chaostheory and twisties vs monk_e_boy, rayiner and x0x0.

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Why is the author going to school?

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To better her situation. I agree with you.

I'm just pointing that people aren't (always) rational and I was referencing a quote that may give you a clue as to why. Look at bdcravens comment as well.

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> The closest Planned Parenthood [family planning clinic] to me is three hours.

> Nobody likes poor people procreating, but they judge abortion even harder.

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Nobody likes poor people procreating, but...

Don't go by what they say or how they act: from the decisions they make, it's clear that TPTB derive a great deal of value from the existence of vast and increasing numbers of poor people. Sure, they'd probably prefer to just impoverish more of the middle class, but the procreation of the poor works as well.

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To better understand her writing, you have to think of it as "how poor people feel", and not whether or not it fully reflects reality. Also depending in what part of the country you live, you will be judged harshly for abortion (and not just by the lower class); even in many parts of California. People tend to forget that the only liberal parts of CA are the SF Bay Area and the LA metro.

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To anyone that doesn't already know (I had to look it up). TPTB stands for "The Powers That Be".

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I disagree with Debbie Chachra, the author of the article. She is a maker. She writes articles. She probably creates lectures as well as white papers, since she's a professor of Materials Science at Olin.

Making stuff doesn't necessarily begin and end with just physical things.

> The cultural primacy of making, especially in tech culture—that it is intrinsically superior to not-making, to repair, analysis, and especially caregiving

I can't say much for 'not-making' but I can imagine arguments that support people who repair, analyze, and even those who provide 'caregiving' (think plants and animals that eventually turn into a sandwich).

If Chachra's article is right about Maker culture both now in and in the past, it doesn't mean that we can't change it.

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From the article:

"People have happily informed me that I am a maker because I use phrases like 'design learning experiences,' which is mistaking what I do (teaching) for what I’m actually trying to help elicit (learning). To characterize what I do as 'making' is to mistake the methods—courses, workshops, editorials—for the effects. Or, worse, if you say that I 'make' other people, you are diminishing their agency and role in sense-making, as if their learning is something I do to them."

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She doesn't actually rationalize why you can't say that she creates / produces courses, workshops, or editorials. She just says it's wrong. (I don't disagree with the last sentence you quoted about 'making' people though.) Am I wrong?

To paraphrase my other response, so if I don't consider myself a writer, yet I produce articles and stories; is it wrong for people to consider me a writer?

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She is disingenuously trying to say hat what you do is irrelevant, the focus should be on the results you obtain. And she feels that "creating" is distinct from "cultivating" (which shares agency with the object of your work). Language lawyering is fun, and sometimes edifying to tease apart nuance, but she's trying too hard to be a smartass here.

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Exactly. The whole point of her article is to make the claim that she is better than you.

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It's missing the forest for the trees though. It's a superficial statement to say that the 'creation' in education is the course notes. What an educator creates is understanding. It's not a physical object, but it's still something that was not there before. The course notes may not differ from year to year, but the same can be said of the blueprints for common models in 3d printing - the blueprints are not the created item.

Taylor Mali has a great rebuttal on "what teachers make". In context, 'make' means 'salary', but the rebuttal works just as well against the idea that day-to-day education isn't a creative endeavour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU

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> What an educator creates is understanding.

I don't disagree with you here.

> It's a superficial statement to say that the 'creation' in education is the course notes.

I'm not saying that the only end product for educators are course notes. My main argument is that more people, like educators, can and should be considered 'people who create stuff'. I'm only arguing that 'makers' are not some exclusive, elitist club of people who only make certain physical things that make money.

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From your first sentence, you missed the point completely. She's not a maker because she doesn't consider herself a maker. You're trying to project your own ideas of what a maker is onto her, and it makes her uncomfortable:

>* I’m uncomfortable with any culture that encourages you take on an entire identity, rather than to express a facet of your own identity

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So if I don't consider myself a programmer, even though other people consider me one because I create software; there's something wrong with that?

Did we encourage her to write? Is this article not an expression of herself? Is she not a materials engineer?

Also I don't see why 'maker' can't be 'someone who makes things'.

Maybe I'm not all too familiar with 'maker culture'. I didn't realize that there were so many formal rules for a non-centralized movement. I just felt it was a bunch of people with the same idea that it's better to create something for fun at least once in a while instead of just consuming 24/7.

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