Activity


  • By Paul Voosen

    Sometimes, change starts with a single sentence.

    In December 2016, NASA began accepting bids for its next New Frontiers competition, a chance to mount a $1 billion mission to solar system […]

    • I watched film “Hidden figures” few days ago. Treatment of those women! Sad. They had to battle two battles. One, discrimination because they were black, and second, because they were women. Today is a birthday of my good friend Karl Marx 😉 and as he putted – Proletarians of all countries unite! … I would like to say – Women of all countries unite!! hahaha

      Women please stop allowing your boyfriends and husbands to play. They have passed border of childhood years ago, and you are still allowing them to play war, to play with their shiny cars or motorcycles, to play sports games, or to play with their mates in bar, etc., leaving you at home to take responsiblility for cooking, rasing children, washing, cleaning… . Stop allowing them to play while denying yourself your right to play. 🙂 Stop treating them as children that have to be allowd to play with their little spades and little buckets in sand. What about you? You could be rockets (and many more of you in NASA) if you just stop allowing your husbands or boyfriends to play. 😉

    • I wonder how good was your friend Karl at household chores. Seems he spent all his time in libraries ‘studying’ economics and politics. But ended up creating a religion instead.

      Hidden figures was a great movie. But that was mainly racism. Problem with sex diversity is more fundamental. Creative females tend to be more oriented towards aesthetics. Males more towards ideas. It’s basic evolutionary psychology. There’s obviously some nale/female overlap. But not so much at the extremes of creativity (and intelligence), where it really does matter. The stupidist people are usually men. And the smartest also. A very wide variance. Women tend to be more narrowly dispersed. Any institutional selection process, formal or informal, for an engineering vs artistic enterprise would tend to favour ideas rather than aesthetics. Hence mostly males.

      Interplanetary space travel doesn’t have much of an aesthetic aspect. It would be a massive job just to keep the planetary systems clean for a start, let alone redocorating the entire solar system. Combine these difficulties with with the female preference for family and child-rearing and there are inevitably fewer career opportunities for females.

      Maybe if space rockets looked a little less phallic then things might change? Perhaps spend more time of interior decoration of space ships instead of propulsion and life support technology?

      NASA might be better off focusing on G-factor diversity. Provide a more equal opportunity for diversity in various forms of intelligence. Perhaps more emphasis on emotional or political intelligence, and less of the maths and physics.

      Full diversity implies they need to add in plenty of low IQ’s to balance out the high IQs. Wisdom doesn’t correlate with IQ anyway. And NASA needs to act wisely. Obviously they are acting wisely, politically wise that is, by moving in the equality and diversity direction already. They’re already taking into account unconscious discrimination biases in evaluating mission proposals, but not yet mandatory – whatever that means.

      They also need to work on supply, not just demand. Possibly a way forwards is to identify female dominated professions and institutions and mandate a minimum acceptable male/female ratio. This would require large numbers of males to displace the prevailing excess of female employees. Allowing the hordes of displaced females to become immediately available for projects such as NASA’s New Frontiers.

    • But ended up creating a religion instead.

      Perhaps only in your eyes. And if you are American I am not surprised you think so hahaha 😉 (welll, anyway every capitalist by default think so, hahaha…) 🙂

      Creative females tend to be more oriented towards aesthetics. Males
      more towards ideas. … > Any institutional selection process, formal or informal, for an
      engineering vs artistic enterprise would tend to favour ideas rather
      than aesthetics.

      I wouldn’t say so. I would say females are raised that way, as well as men. We are taught to behave in a certain way since childhood. Male and female roles are thought, and strengtened through years. (like in senses… when one sense is not used, other gets strenghtened). I know so many women engineers not less capable or creative than men. But we live in patriarchal society, so…

      … And yet those women in NASA discovered what no man in that institution discovered!

    • Modesti #4
      May 6, 2017 at 3:39 am

      I would say females are raised that way, as well as men. We are taught to behave in a certain way since childhood. Male and female roles are thought, and strengtened through years. (like in senses… when one sense is not used, other gets strenghtened).

      It is true that many aspects of gender roles are learned through childhood, but there is also evidence from early embryology, and through childhood and adolescence, that genetics and hormones affect the nature and aptitudes in brain development.
      However, male/female brain types do not necessarily match phenotypical body forms. Some females can have male type brains, and males can have female brain features – even before we look at intersex issues.

      I know so many women engineers not less capable or creative than men.

      I know of many university women engineering students like the ones in the engineering exam I was supervising yesterday.
      However in reality male students far outnumber females on university science and engineering courses, while females far outnumber males on language courses!

      As I point out at #3, while there should be equality of OPPORTUNITY, ideological quotas which try to pretend that all people are equally adept at particular skills, ridiculously seek to force less able candidates into unsuitable jobs or courses in the name of fanciful political correctness!

    • @OP – Many scientists hope the language will help NASA get out of a rut.

      . . . or – maybe social crusaders wishfully hope that scientists will swallow ideological semantic babble about imagined ruts, rather than using scientific evidence of aptitudes and capabilities!
      (We have just seen in US elections the effects of people believing that wishful “language Trumps science”!)

      Over the past 15 years, women have made up just 15% [?] of planetary mission science teams, even though at least a quarter of planetary scientists are women.

      @#6 – In most subjects, the gender segregation is less marked at postgraduate level.
      In Engineering & Technology, for example, 23% of postgraduate degrees were obtained by women, compared to 14% at undergraduate level in 2014.

      So those figures seem to be in line with the range of figures where high skills levels, aptitude, and competitive entry are qualifications at various ability levels, after less able and less competitive candidates drop out!

      The disparity is even worse for ethnic minorities:
      Blacks and Hispanics make up 13% and 16% of the country, respectively,
      but each group makes up just 1% of the nation’s planetary scientists.

      Perhaps this is a reflection of the standards of depravation and poorer education of those ethnic groups, leaving many of them less capable and less well prepared for doing high level demanding expert technical jobs where accuracy and error free work is required!

      Perhaps the selection of candidates with scientific and engineering expertise, can be better carried out by specialist scientists, rather than by ideological social crusaders, fumbling with figures and biology they don’t understand!

    • Alan4discussion,

      Thank you for the statistics. Behind them are real life stories that you have noticed, 🙂 And I do not have doubt in my mind that women are less represented in planetary missions. (or in general) We should ask them why is that. One of the reasons could be because the way they are raised and biases of patriarchal society, and not mere learning. Perhaps if the conditions are the same for men and women, I have no doubt that women could learn the same thing. 🙂 But reality gets in the way by the fact that one gender was given better stimulus and different behavior towards them from the start. And I have no doubt that black people, hispanics, or any other “minority” (being so because politics and society have imposed them obstacles) would have scored same results as white males. 🙂

      Perhaps the selection of candidates with scientific and engineering
      expertise, can be better carried out by specialist scientists, rather
      than by ideological…

      I agree, completely.

    • There is this nice video from Ted. Although this person is an artist, paralels can be drawn.

    • Modesti #8
      May 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

      One of the reasons could be because the way they are raised and biases of patriarchal society, and not mere learning.

      Biases, social cultures and learning can make significant differences, but the key difference in a large percentage of cases, is biological.

      Perhaps if the conditions are the same for men and women, I have no doubt that women could learn the same thing.

      Of course the biological conditions during the development of the brain (and other organs), from embryonic states and onward, are not the same.

      But reality gets in the way by the fact that one gender was given better stimulus and different behavior towards them from the start.

      I would not make “better” as a general statement.
      A typical individual from one gender has different aptitudes and abilities to the other, but there is considerable variation in both sexes, so these are proportional differences rather than absolute differences. – hence lower sex-related percentages of particular individual aptitudes occur.

      There can also be hormonal influences on foetal development, from irregular hormones in the mother during gestation, or from hormones from an opposite sex twin!

      We see clear physical differences in sports events where the sexes are separated, and occasionally women athletes have their gender questioned because of male type physical attributes giving them an advantage over other female competitors.

      You are unlikely to see a female football team capable competing in the Premier League!

    • Hiring people on criteria other than qualifications and demonstrated competence (i.e. relevant criteria) is just recipe for a less effective organisation than you could otherwise have. I nominate the insanity that is identity politics to the list of things that “poisons everything”.

    • Olgun #12
      May 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      (mainly) Female chimps playing with rock dolls – interesting!

      It does seem to suggest that the “politically correct” ideological notion of “interchangeable standardised unipeople” is a fairly recent invention!