this episode has been brought to you by
our super generous supporters on patreon not too long ago computers were people.
they were math wizards and savants. People with a natural talent for numbers. not
only did they do the calculations and computations that machines do for us now
but their work directly led to the invention of the computer as we know it
today but much of their contributions to the field of computer science went
unnoticed during their lifetime because they were women.
Good Stuff producer Matt Weber tells the story of Jean Bartik one of the first
human computers that made the first fully functional digital computer
possible. Take it away Matt. Don’t take my computer just continue on with this
video thank you. Early on Jean Jennings Bartik had shown a remarkable aptitude
for mathematics. but instead of becoming a teacher like her mother and
grandmother before her Bartik had loftier goals. She wanted to be a human
computer although most math oriented positions at the time we’re the
exclusive domain of men, world war two had opened up opportunities for women that
only a few years before seemed unattainable and so Bartik joined a
squad of human computers at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Since this type of work was considered clerical work, most of our six colleagues
were women and more than ever these female computers were integral to the
war effort. To accurately shoot in artillery shell depended on a number of
factors, including angle of fire range to target wind speed and weather conditions
without a personal computer on hand to calculate these ballistic trajectories a
soldier couldn’t be expected to do the correct math off the top of his head in
the heat of battle so they depended on firing tables. Firing
tables were essentially sets of pre calculated trajectories that soldiers
can reference so they could quickly fire upon their target given almost any
circumstance. Each table comprised around a thousand trajectories, each one hand
calculated by a human computer. But even with a mathematical strength displayed
by Bartik and her colleagues the US military wanted a way to calculate these
trajectories even faster. That’s when John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert
came up with the idea of building an electronic digital computer.
Theoretically it would be able to calculate firing tables at an order of
magnitude faster than any human computer This machine was called ENIAC. Weighing
close to 50 tons and taking up as much space as an entire house ENIAC was
one of the very earliest fully functional digital computers even though
it operated with over 17,000 vacuum tubes and not
transistors like today’s computers ENIAC is still one of the direct ancestors of
all the computers we see today. When it first debuted ENIAC revolutionized
the kind of calculations we could feasibly do and drastically reduce the
time it took to do them. In just 30 seconds ENIAC could complete more
calculation than Jean Bartik could in 30 hours. But that didn’t mean she was out
of a job ENIAC was designed to be programmable.
Instead of focusing on just one task Eenie at could be modified to calculate
a whole host of different numerical problems. But programming a computer back
then wasn’t like programming today. The program had to be drafted on paper by
hand before the electromechanical innards of the machine were physically
manipulated to integrate the problem and make the proper computations possible
and the people best suited to program a digital computer where the human
computers. Mauchly and Eckert recruited Bartik and five other women to
program ENIAK, essentially making them some of the earliest digital computer
programmers. They gained an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a
ENIAC because they often had to physically crawl inside of the machine
to work out bugs and replace blown tooth as primitive as this might seem, Bartik
and her colleagues basically invented the discipline of computer programming.
The techniques they developed laid the foundation for almost all computer
programming that came afterward. By the time ENIAC was built and ready to go,
World War two was over but that didn’t mean it was obsolete because a whole new
war was just beginning. In the desert of New Mexico
researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory soon seized upon the
potential of ENIAC. It was reprogrammed to compute the parameters necessary to
make the most powerful weapon in all of human history: the hydrogen bomb. After
the ENIAC project was over Jean Bartik went on to help develop the next
generation of digital computers but soon her career as a computer programmer hit
an impasse. As the field of computer programming grew and the pay became more
lucrative more men became interested in it pushing the early women pioneers out
of the field. Not only was Bartik replaced by the machines she helped
develop she was being denied entry into a field she largely helped establish. Her
team’s role in the creation of ENIAC was largely ignored. Even photos showing them
working on the machine were disregarded since they were women many assumed they
were just models posing in front of the machine not the team responsible for
programming it. In the past 30 years the computer industry has exploded. Despite
the dramatic increase in computer science related jobs women graduating
with a degree in computer science has plummeted 18 percent from a high of 37
percent in 1984. Much of this gender gap can be attributed to the popular
depiction of computer programming as a profession almost exclusively held by
men. A 2015 study from Accenture research has shown that girls are much more
likely to show an interest in computer science
if introduced to the subject by a female role model. And it hasn’t helped that for
decades role models like Jean Bartik have gone unrecognized. This gender gap
has negative consequences on the US economy as well because the supply of
computer science majors graduating each year cannot keep up with a staggering
growth of computer related jobs in the US companies are left with a personnel
shortfall that they can never completely make up for. Cutting out half the
population from an entire field of expertise only compounds the problem.
Jean Bartik spent much of her later years advocating for the inclusion of
women in computer science and technology but you didn’t gain wide recognition for
a work on the first digital computers until shortly before her death in 2011.
Today our computers are largely invisible hidden within our cars TVs and
our pockets and a lot of the devices we use we don’t even think of as computers.
We take them for granted. But behind every device is software using principles
developed by a group of human computers who themselves were largely invisible
and taken for granted but like the firing tables Jean Bartik worked on in
the beginning of her career the downward trajectory of women in computer science
is a numerical problem but in this case the quickest solution will be achieved
not by machines but by who the next generation of human computers turns out
to be. So what do you think? How can we close the gender gap in computer science
or for that matter the gender gap in STEM careers in general let us know in
the comments don’t forget to Like and subscribe and share this video special
thank you to our patreon subscribers for making this episode of the good stuff
possible without patreon the good stuff just wouldn’t happen so if you’d like to
help out head on over to our patreon page and support the show thanks for
watching

The First Computers Were Human (and Mostly Women)
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54 thoughts on “The First Computers Were Human (and Mostly Women)

  • June 16, 2017 at 3:34 pm
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    It would be great to have more women in STEM fields, it sucks having to deal with mainly guys.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 3:36 pm
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    Ah yes of course the only reason they went unnoticed is because they were women..

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  • June 16, 2017 at 3:43 pm
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    Somebody watched hidden figures

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  • June 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm
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    How can we, as a society, work on a problem that is largely ignored? Firstly, it needs to be recognized nationally and the deniers of gender, race, religious, sexuality etc discrimination shut down with reliable, peer tested, reproducible stats. As a retired woman of color, I've been there, dealt with that.
    Our world heroes, such as those highlighted here, Turing, Katherine Johnson and so many others should be names as familiar to our population as George Washington along with their stories told honestly, including the parts we are ashamed of now.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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    "Female computers were integral"
    I see what you did there.
    Or maybe, I +C what you did there.
    I'll +C myself out.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm
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    the issue does not lie within the STEM field itself, I dont think atleast, since college enrollment for software engineering is already predominantly male. We need parents and schools to introduce their kids (including girls) to these fields.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 5:35 pm
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    NO! MATT YOUR BEARD!!

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  • June 16, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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    Back then, bugs meant bugs in the most literal sense. Bugs would often get caught in the machine, causing it to malfunction.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 6:02 pm
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    The reason computers were forgotten is because they were the "peons" – people who just did the heavy lifting but weren't in leadership positions. Obviously, like everything in history, the architect gets the credit, not the person who lays the bricks.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm
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    Thanks for shining a light onto a part of history that most people don't hear about. It's great to see the women who pioneered the field of computer programing get recognition for it.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm
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    May I just say you guys are the good stuff indeed. 1000 thanks for all you do.
    (you should have 10x more subscribers…I hope you will soon!)

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  • June 16, 2017 at 7:27 pm
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    I'm a software developer and I'll completely in favor of getting more women in the field. This would make my work place more beautiful! 😁

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  • June 16, 2017 at 7:47 pm
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    I think it's more of a "how should we treat people" kind of solution. If we as a society stop discouraging others when they express minor interest in something, but encourage them instead, then the problem will fix itself.
    Also, maybe even having educators suggest more challenging career fields when potential talent is seen.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm
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    Someone's standing behind you Craig

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  • June 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm
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    As a programmer, I really want there to be more women working in computing and programming as I simply work better with them personally, however, I read through the sources here and it stinks of social constructionism and equality of outcome which are ideologically motivated. This one https://www.accenture.com/t20161018T094638__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/Accenture/next-gen-3/girls-who-code/Accenture-Cracking-The-Gender-Code-Report.pdf is pretty disturbing as bad piece of social "science" which has an extremely flawed methodology from a science perspective and reads more like a manifesto or action plan than anything. I have no doubt there are ways to encourage a greater number of females to enter a coding profession but I would rather do it honestly (and actually controlling for variables in god damn research) than pushing it ideologically. It will just cause push back, and none of us want that.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm
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    I'm a male pursuing a stem degree and I hate how male dominant it all is. The females in my classes are usually the top students too.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 8:51 pm
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    SO WOMEN WEREN'T NECESSARILY PIONEERS but thrusted into these positions due to the circumstances of the times.
    With millions of men off fighting in wars the government had no choice but to recruit these groups of women who could calculate these complex problems. It was the same in many professions at the time such as in major league baseball.
    Not to take anything away from these women but let's call it what it really is, if the war hadn't happen men would have still eventually solved these issues.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm
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    Figure out why women aren't following these education paths and resulting careers. What careers are women gravitating to instead? Is the appeal of those other careers greater then STEM based options?
    Truth is, that some of the best programers i know are women; and on the flip side, some of the worst and sloppiest programers i know are men. Perhaps because there are so many men in the field that the odds favor that gender being the worst?
    I do think it is important that women be recognized for their contribution, no matter the field. No one deserves to be swept under the rug because of their race or gender.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 10:02 pm
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    Thank you for illuminating this little-known fact in our history! I think what you have done is something that can close the gender gap in computer science: show that women have always played a role in the history of computers. Such a shame that gender stereotypes are still such a harmful part of society, but hopefully with more representation, the stereotypes will be gone and we will see the gender gap disappear.

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  • June 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm
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    Sooo… what exactly is stopping women from choosing to study computer science today?

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  • June 16, 2017 at 11:06 pm
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    Sorry, but most geniuses are men.
    Using the "unified war effort" of ww2 as an example is disingenuous your audience.

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  • June 17, 2017 at 1:00 am
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    Why did you skip Ada Lovelace?

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  • June 17, 2017 at 1:30 am
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    I think it doesn't help that women studying computer science are often depicted as ugly antisocial weirdos, I am studying computer science and I think it's really cool! My career is Computer Science and Multimedia Technology, and the biggest emphasis for it is video-game making. It is basically a mix between Computer Science and design, and that is how we have managed to have more women in computer science than any other computer science specialization in my country. Many girls enter with the mindset that they are gonna like the design aspect of the career better but often they choose the computer science side.

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  • June 17, 2017 at 3:19 am
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    There's an easy solution. I'm gonna encourage every student I have to go into stem fields!

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  • June 17, 2017 at 4:40 am
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    It starts with Wonder Woman. We need to show little girls that they too can be SuperHeros.Then continue to instill in them that they can are just as smart as boys if not smarter as they grow older. We need to change the the attitude, that we hold about women and their place being in the home. Last time I checked , more women graduating college than men. This is the case , then why are there so few women in these fields?

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  • June 17, 2017 at 5:19 am
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    hey who's this new glasses guy?

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  • June 17, 2017 at 7:35 am
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    So when women exercise their personal freedom to choose one job over another according to their natural inclinations and desires that is somehow a "problem" but of course it's not THEIR fault. It's some OTHER PEOPLES faults somehow, of course it is. Lol white knights are such sad creatures.

    Reply
  • June 17, 2017 at 9:05 am
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    Great video, gosh SERIOUSLY!! YOU GUYS NEED MORE VIEWS!!! I wish everyone appreciated you as much as I do.

    Reply
  • June 17, 2017 at 2:22 pm
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    there are several things that need to be done. STEAM education for girls is fortunately on the rise, but needs to be done more. the fire needs to be stoked early. secondly, sexist crap needs to be called out, by everyone, but especially by guys. if you hear someone saying something sexist, call them on it. if you hear it and you don't, you're passively accepting it. thirdly, the message of this needs to get out, about the problem, of needing female role models, all of that. so props to you, good stuff, for making this video!

    Reply
  • June 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm
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    http://robohub.org/25-women-in-robotics-you-need-to-know-about/
    http://robohub.org/25-women-in-robotics-you-need-to-know-about-2014/
    http://robohub.org/25-women-in-robotics-you-need-to-know-about-2015/
    http://robohub.org/25-women-in-robotics-you-need-to-know-about-2016/

    Reply
  • June 18, 2017 at 2:14 am
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    I love that you guys make such important videos like this!

    Reply
  • June 18, 2017 at 10:29 am
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    The thing is, engineers are almost never credited for their breakthroughs. At least not nearly enough. All the credits, fame and money goes to enterpreneurs. Thats the nature of capitalism

    Reply
  • June 18, 2017 at 2:26 pm
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    Does anyone else get shocked by how loud the "Time Horse Productions" sound is at the end? Gets me every time. Maybe just lower it by a tiny bit?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2017 at 4:08 am
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    Misleading click baiting title. Mathematicians are not computers, at all.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2017 at 10:50 am
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    0:48 Huaaaah! Who is th…oh.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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    Crash Course: Computer Science is an excellent example of an introduction to the field of programming by a female role model.

    Reply
  • June 20, 2017 at 3:54 am
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    Great video!

    Reply
  • June 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm
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    I am a woman in IT and what I think helps a lot is exposure from a very young age. My father was a programmer and I believe that definitely contributed to me going into IT. Programming is a very useful skill, that will help you analyze and fix problems in any field. I believe that we should introduce children to programming, teach it in schools. But I will not lie, it is often hard to be seen as equal in the field. I will often give a good answer to a customer's question, but they will sometimes not believe it until it is confirmed by a (male) colleague. I've had customers calling and asking for a 'more technical person', even though I'm just as skilled. But we have to keep fighting and proving we're just as smart as our male colleagues. What I also think would help is to have more female CEOs in tech companies, also for the sake of exposure. We are definitely out there and delivering excellent work… we are just not very visible.

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  • June 25, 2017 at 10:41 pm
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    I am good with calculation

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  • July 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm
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    Great video.

    Reply
  • July 1, 2017 at 10:30 pm
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    Anyone else shudder when he pronounces it EE-knee-ack instead of EN-knee-ack?
    No?
    I'm the only pretentious guy here?
    ok…

    Reply
  • July 4, 2017 at 2:28 am
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    this video took a weird sjw turn about two-thirds of the way through. Thumbs down

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  • July 4, 2017 at 2:29 am
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    want to know how to close the gender gap in stem Fields? Have women go into stem fields and not stupid sjw degrees like feminist Theory or anything with the word studies in it

    Reply
  • July 6, 2017 at 6:04 pm
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    Man i forgot how well put together and easy to digest your content is, shitty youtube not showing your videos to me. Iv clicked the notification button now

    Reply
  • July 11, 2017 at 2:11 am
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    It's so weird how much of the technology I love was created as a way to wage war.

    Reply
  • September 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm
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    Usually, I like the videos on this channel. I had to dislike this video because of the SJW bull at the end. The idea that we 'need' (more like want to in order to feel virtuous) to fix the gender gap is a petty and pathetic goal. The answer to all of the equality problems is "merit" and leave skin color, sex and sexual orientation out, which I think happens more than the left will give credit for. If you are still on this leftist band wagon of bitching and moaning about things that are not problems then consider a few things. Why haven't we heard people complaining about the gender gap in occupations like coal mining, king crab fishing, lineman jobs? It is because it's only the prestigious jobs like programming, CEO positions and USA officer and chief that people want and they want to get there by complaining about it. How about we start complaining that there aren't enough men doing pedicures!!! Because men the majority of the time do not like getting nor giving pedicures. And it is ok that there is a gap, there is nothing to fix. I love this channel but let's keep the SJW stuff out!

    Reply
  • September 21, 2017 at 9:19 am
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    No one is stopping women from going into STEM.

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  • September 22, 2017 at 4:47 am
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    holy shit its ww2 lets see how good computers are!

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  • October 27, 2017 at 11:59 am
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    How to reduce gender gap,
    /gendergap 0
    /hairloss 0

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  • December 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm
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    The answer to your last question, just make awesome videos like this!

    Reply
  • August 12, 2018 at 2:05 am
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    Long, long, long ago, back when I did my CS degree there was a blind woman also doing a CS degree. As far as I knew no one in any of my classes ever thought she shouldn't be there – she was just a part of the group, like any of the other women or men. But now the message from feminism is that they won't get a fair shake if they go into a STEM field, and there's always the option of taking gender studies. Who would want to get into a field if they believe they will be discriminated against when they can do something else?

    As for role models? Were you trying to make a joke? Really, you were, right? I mean come on, girls need even more female role models? Just how many do they need? Numerous tv shows have men as buffoons, women as strong and independent. There are numerous single-mother households where children have no contact with men. In school they see only women teachers in the earlier grades. A child's life is often nothing but women, and female role models, until they get to high school.

    People deciding on their own which jobs they wish to pursue is a first-world problem, and is pretty low on the things I think society should care about. But the one sure way to fix the problem is to make a country less free.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/

    Personally, the more women who skip both the STEM fields and the gender studies option, the more writers there might be like Janet Evanovich. Ever read her Stephanie Plum series? The woman is a genius at writing, which to me suggests that perhaps feminists should get out of the way of women, and let those women choose what they want to do. The results might surprise the feminists. Many will choose a path that they have a passion for, and will be great at what they have chosen.

    Reply
  • October 21, 2018 at 5:36 am
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    when eckert and mauchly RIPPED OFF the idea from John Atanasoff maybe …?

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  • March 12, 2019 at 8:24 am
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    Keep on highlighting the work until the World notices.

    Reply
  • August 9, 2019 at 5:20 pm
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    This video was useful

    Reply

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