Thursday Throughput: Leap Year Edition

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck
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    says:

    [ThTh9] the explanation I’ve seen is that countries with less gender equality don’t treat STEM as a prestigious occupation; the Men do Important Man Jobs like Lawyer and Doctor and Banker and Politician. Countries with enlightened and inventive populations recognize the value of STEM, and therefore treat it as an Important Job, which of course must be done by Men…Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to DensityDuck
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      says:

      That seems as plausible to me as any other explanation. People like to point out that most computer programmers were women when it was regarded as secretarial work. Once it started to pay well, men took over.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        People like to point out that most computer programmers were women when it was regarded as secretarial work.

        Men have been the majority of programmers since long before programming started paying really well. I’d be interested in seeing the statistics for earlier, but this has never been true in the microcomputer era.

        It’s possible that in the very early years of mainframe computing, women were overrepresented among programmers while men worked on the hardware, but this would have been a very small number of people.

        Journalists have been waging a smear campaign against the tech industry for about a decade now, one prong of which is trying to push a narrative about white men (because Asians don’t exist) driving women out of the tech industry.

        All the evidence points to the low representation of women being driven by lack of interest rather than sexism. Notably, in the US, women peaked as a share of CS majors (37%) back in 1983; the idea that either society in general or CS departments or the software industry in particular has become more sexist since then is dubious, to say the least. Female (and black and Hispanic) representation in the software industry is about what you’d expect given the demographics of the pipeline.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg
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          says:

          Oh, I could see it getting more sexist, but not as a driver, rather as a result.

          If you have women exiting the field for reasons not related to the various sexist cultures (changing careers, starting a family, etc.), you can get a critical mass of sexist thinkers that move the culture.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    ThTh1: Nothing about leap seconds? Those are turning out to be problematic for soft real-time applications, since they occur irregularly and can be either positive or negative in sign.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      We haven’t had one since 2016. If we get one in the future, I’ll write about it.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      Leap seconds strike me as something that’s important for astronomers and nobody else.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Road Scholar
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        says:

        A surprising amount of software behaves badly if there aren’t 60 seconds in every minute. There were a number of unexpected software glitches when the 2016 leap second occurred. At least one large-ish service shut down for an hour before that one, just in case. It’s enough of a problem that Google (and others) don’t implement it as a single second, but “smear” it out over 24 hours with their time servers running very slightly fast or slow (depending on whether a second is being dropped or added).Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      I think the problem with leap seconds is the software engineering community just kind of decided to treat UTC as the single default time system, as it is pretty good for that most of the time, but ignored the fact that it actually isn’t ideal for timestamps, because of leap seconds.Report

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