Thursday, February 14, 2013

"We'd love to have more women!"

I attended a developer event on Tuesday. I wasn't planning to go there - I am fairly new to iOS and didn't expect to understand much of the presentations - but went on impulse and understood enough to make it worthwhile.

Before the event I read their Twitter feed, and noticed a journalist asking how many female developers are attending the event. My first thought was "oh no, poor organizers, now they will feel the need to apologize". And sure enough, afterwards I told the journalist that I was the only woman there (out of about 30 people), and the organizers felt the need to inform us that they'd love to have more women and don't want to be a male-only club.

(For a second there I considered lying and telling the journalist that 25 out of 30 attendees were women to see how she'd react, but it's not really all that funny if you don't get to do that in person.)

This is by no means criticism of the organizers. They just said what was expected of them. More to the point, I knew that they would say it at some point as soon as I saw the original question. And that, people, is really something. I am not the kind of person who easily notices such generalized social pressure; usually subtle social clues have to be beaten into my head with a two-by-four at a considerable personal risk to the beater. If even I notice things like that, the pressure on everyone to explain why they don't have more women must be enormous.

But seriously, why? It makes sense to discuss why there are fewer women in the CS/IT field than could be, what can be done to attract them, should anything be done, and how, but what can realistically be expected from the organizers of any specific professional event? They announce the event, they choose the speakers, they invite people to come, and some of these people might or might not be women. It should go without saying that women are welcome there, but it obviously does not in fact go without saying. Makes me wonder who needs it to be said explicitly, and why.

Monday, February 04, 2013

The pilots are doing what?


"(a) An applicant for or holder of a Class 1 medical certificate shall have no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of any sexually transmitted disease or other infection which is likely to interfere with the safe exercise of the privileges of the applicable licence(s).

(b) Particular attention (see Appendix 7 to this Subpart) shall be paid to a history of or clinical signs indicating:

(1) HIV positivity,
(2) Immune system impairment,
(3) Infectious hepatitis,
(4) Syphilis."

Now maybe I understood something wrong, but wouldn't the activities likely to transmit syphilis be a bit of a potential hazard in-flight? Regardless of whether or not the person in question actually has syphilis?

Rurouni Kenshin (the manga, not the movie)

Finished Rurouni Kenshin (the manga). Liked it well enough.

The one thing I don't quite understand: when the story is in the present (in 1878) Battosai is treated very much like Kenshin's alter (evil merciless murderer) ego that is very-very different from actual Kenshin, and can wake up under sufficient stress, and has to be controlled - basically the whole thing is treated as some split-personality disorder.

However, when we see actual Battosai in the flashbacks, he is very much teenage Kenshin: very nice when he is not doing his job as an assassin, not particularly bloodthirsty, and quite idealistic. He certainly doesn't seem any more different from Kenshin than a person at 18 would normally be different from themselves at 28.

If this is some general allegory of people's relationship with their teenage selves, I don't quite get it.

France: Amiens, Rouen

I guess the fine art of vacation blogging still eludes me. I'll try though.

In October I started blogging about my trip to Paris and the the north of France, in November I got as far as Beauvais.

In real life everything was a bit faster.

Amiens had a beautiful cathedral, a nice riverfront, and hortillonnages, which are sort of gardens on a swamp. It also had gardens that were not on a swamp. At night the town was dead-dead-dead.

Rouen was quite a lot livelier than Amiens. Bigger, too. Full of half-timbered buildings. Or maybe half-full of fully-timbered buildings? Whatever.  Beautiful. Cathedral, churches, clock tower, pederstrian area. I am so totally gonna visit there again.

They were really proud of Jeanne d'Arc, which was a bit tasteless since their only connection with her was that they burned the poor kid at the stake. But their is Jeanne d'Arc this and Jeanne d'Arc that everywhere, the actual place of burning is marked, and there is a Jeanne d'Arc church next to it, which is shaped like a flame on the inside (how tasteless is that?) and has hanging eaves for some reason.


Haven't updated this blog for a while. Part of it is a lot of work and a lot of travel last year, part of it is that some of the things I used to say in the blog I say on FB and/or G+, part of it is that I don't feel like writing about politics now - I am at a "I think I have already said everything I had to say" stage. It will pass, though.

In the meanwhile, gonna try to be better. Don't I promise that in almost every post nowadays?