For the Love of Physics / More Wile E. Coyote Roadrunner

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Human Footprints / Visual Geology

“Experiential geology” One of my favorite aspects of understanding geologic processes is the direct experience of “seeing” the same type of manifestations of physical “acts” today as were recorded in the rock record as fossil traces, impressions and patterns on specific days and times millions of years ago. Although these are my own refrozen boot prints from previous days, in principle they are no different than any track way made by any ancestral biped. I imagine some familiar, and yet alien creature, under the same sun, walking alone, or with another, and try to envision where they were going, and why, but I can’t assume that their thoughts were like mine: that their experience of the environment and each other was modern in any way. Geology sticks to physical facts, processes, and results. What I experience in these moments is mine; it is not the experience of a creature who “walked similarly to me” millions of years ago.

Perhaps they felt the sun warming their backs, the mud and water squishing between their toes, the effort it took to “not get stuck” and looked around for a less muddy path; maybe they didn’t. There were no “hiking trails”; no camp grounds with electricity and running water; no place to clean up; no home. We really can’t imagine a planet undivided by human landscape schemes; roads, fences, fields and grids; maps and satellite photos. We have a compulsion to “know where we are”.  We really can’t imagine a “human-like brain” that is not likewise divided, reduced and confined by ideas to one prescription for living. One perception of reality.

I get the best of both some days, thanks to having studied geology. A ‘snippet’ of a lost species, who walked like me, enters into my day, but it lived as a natural animal.

My question is always, Did its kind perceive beauty? Not some elaborate description of beauty, but the sensation of “rightness” – proportion, pattern, color, detail in their surroundings; the changes  made by light, by night, by dawn and the pleasure this creates? Or were they simply hungry, anxious, stressed; on guard, uncomfortable and slogging through a muddy stretch of ground toward a bit of shade, wary of ever-present predators?

In a way, I prefer not to know. I’m happy to have my big 4 WD truck parked nearby, equipped with a so-so heater and defroster. A warm house to return to with food waiting in the fridge, and a stove on which to cook it. A natural gas “campfire” and lights. And most of all, hot water on demand to unfreeze my fingers and toes.

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SEE: https://aspergerhuman.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/geologists-discover-5-7-myo-human-like-footprints-crete/

Charles Lyell (1797-1875), the famed Scottish geologist and paleontologist  befriended the young Charles Darwin and strongly influenced his thought. In particular, Darwin’s reading of Lyell’s Principles of Geology prompted him to think of evolution as a slow process in which small changes gradually accumulate over immense spans of time.

In this founding document of modern geology, Lyell emphasized natural law. It makes sense, he said, to assume that geological processes acting in the past were much the same as those we see today — forces such as sedimentation in rivers, erosion by wind, or deposition of ash and lava by volcanic eruptions. This is the principle of uniformitarianism, the reasonable assumption that the forces that acted in the past are of the same sort as those we see acting today.

In emphasizing these natural processes, he undermined the claims of earlier geologists many of whom had a distinct tendency to explain geological formations in terms of biblical floods. In the same way, Darwin, who took a copy of Lyell’s Principles around the world with him on the voyage of the Beagle, constructed an explanation of the origin of living things in terms of natural processes.

 

Human Adaptation to Cold Environments / Population Growth

I’ve been wondering lately whether or not our assumptions as to Neanderthal, Denisovan and early AMH – Homo sapiens adaptation to Eurasian climates is “logical” in that we assume that adaptation was “highly successful”. What if it wasn’t? 
Looking again at this guesstimate of human population growth, we see that between 100,000 ya (at which time HS pop. is set at “0”) and the “mythic” date 1492, (when supposedly HS pop. was 500 million), the rate of increase was actually pretty dismal. Although HS had migrated to much of the planet, most human population was concentrated in low, hot, coastal environments (and still is). It was only with the fabulous amount of energy supplied by fossil fuels that we succeeded in “invading” both extremely hot and cold environments in any significant and permanent way. “Artificial thermoregulation” has actually resulted in a runaway rate of increase in population growth AND the unforeseen consequence of heating the entire planet. Human artificially cooled and heated environments are not “closed systems” – they are wide open to the surrounding environment. 
 
An analogy might be: Hauling alligators to Siberia, and expecting them to adapt to the cold; a ridiculous expectation: You’d have to change Siberia into Florida. Isn’t that what we’ve begun…? 
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Temperature (Austin)Published online 2016 Feb 22. doi:  10.1080/23328940.2015.1135688

Human whole body cold adaptation

Introduction

The most widely accepted view of geographic origin and early migration of humans is that they originate from tropical Africa and started to disperse over the world only about 40,000 y ago.1

Since high temperatures dominate in that area, one can assume that at that time humans possessed optimal behavioral and physiological mechanisms to cope with heat and less developed physiological and behavioral mechanisms to cope with cold as encountered in temperate and arctic regions. Even though it is well documented that climatic changes occurred in tropical regions, seasonal variation in ambient temperature is blunted compared to temperate climates and heat stress dominates.2 40,000 y is a relatively short time span in evolutionary terms and it is therefore interesting to investigate if current modern humans are still tropical animals. What mechanisms do we have to cope with cold and do they differ from mechanisms that we supposed to have had 40,000 y ago?

Both tropical and (Ant)Arctic climates are challenging climates for humans due to extreme heat and cold respectively. It is assumed that moderate climates with ambient temperatures of around 21°C need minimal human energy investment in comparison to heat and cold exposure.3 However, it is good to realize that human protection from adverse performance and health outcomes is required already in temperate climates due to daily and seasonal variations in temperature, and not only for temperature extremes.

Since we are not able to compare the population living 40,000 y ago with the current population, we have to make some assumptions in an attempt to make comparisons. One assumption is that humans of the current population of central Africa possess comparable thermoregulatory mechanisms as humans 40,000 y ago. This assumption is defendable since at least part of the African population continued to live under similar climatological circumstances. Therefore we can compare the heat and cold coping mechanisms of the current population of tropical Africa with people living in cold areas for millennia, in order to learn about the adaptivea mechanisms that have occurred. Another way to investigate adaptations is to compare Caucasians to the population originating from Africa that is currently living in colder areas, such as the black Americans.

Finally, experimental studies on repeated exposure to cold may elucidate the mechanisms to acclimatize. It is the purpose of this review to contribute to the discussion if and how humans adapt to cold, including population studies ánd dedicated cold acclimation studies. In this review exposure to cold is categorized as severe, moderate and mild according to the thermal stressor that includes both the medium (at a given temperature cold water exposure is more severe that cold air exposure) and the temperature of the medium. Thermal strain is the reaction of the body to the cold exposure often quantified by core body temperature.

The human thermoregulatory system relies on behavior and on physiological responses for thermal homeostasis.10 Our physiological mechanisms are limited: basically, thermal balance in humans is maintained by vasodilation/vasoconstriction of the skin and peripheral tissues within the so-called thermo-neutral zone.11 We have one extra physiological mechanism in the heat (sweat evaporation) and 2 extra mechanisms in the cold (shivering- [ST] and nonshivering-thermogenesis [NST]). Humans are good sweaters with maximal values observed exceeding 3.5 l/hour.12 Since the heat of vaporization of water is high, this leads to a cooling power of over 2500 W! Moreover, the sweating capacity adapts very well to the demand: 10 weeks of heat acclimation can double sweat production.13 This acquired additional cooling power is maintained for several weeks, even when not exposed to heat anymore.14 In conclusion, our thermal response to heat and our adaptation capabilities to heat are well developed. This review will focus on our capabilities to counteract cold exposure, which are less effective, at least on the long term.

Human adaptation to thermal extremes is not only an academic question, but important to assess the impact of climate change on mortality and morbidity.4 It is predicted that we will face more thermal extremes in the future, and the role of adaptation is essential to understand its impact. Some studies even predict the extinction of human populations that live in extremely hot climates in a few decades,5 but they hardly take human adaptation into account. On the other side, it is not unlikely that Northern Europe may experience cooling due to the thermohaline circulation6 and then it is good to know if and to what extent we can adapt to cold. Another important question is if workers are better protected against cold after repeated cold exposure. Occupational work is expected to increase in cold areas due to the exploration of natural gas (over 30% of world gas reserve is located in the Arctic area) and the opening of the waterway north of Russia. Similar questions arise in the area of sports, where running, skiing or skating in extreme cold is increasingly popular: does it have any benefits to expose oneself to cold prior to the sports event in order to be optimally prepared? Therefore, this review focuses on the capability of humans to adapt to cold.

First the basic mechanisms to cope with cold will be discussed, followed by differences between populations living in hot and in cold areas. In most reviews on cold adaptation7-10 studies regarding population differences are intertwined with acclimation studies (in line with the definition in the Glossary of terms11). This may lead to confusion and therefore this review starts with discussing the results of population studies followed by studies on acclimation to cold. When required, small excursions will be made to the effect of heat exposure on humans. A recent review on heat adaptation provides extended information on adaptation to heat.12

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Of course, this “physics” problem is very complicated….

The big investment opportunity…in autism? / CNBC (Money)

The leading autism nonprofit (Autism Speaks) and Google have teamed in an attempt to link private investors like venture capital, private equity and even hedge funds to inject innovative autism-related business development.

Thanks to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, it’s now known that one in every 88 American children is born with some level of the disorder. That’s more than those affected by diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome—combined. (Wow! A great big “THANKS” and share of the profits, to human behavior “experts” for this amazing “gift” to corporate greed!!!) 

But products and services for autism are woefully inadequate, according to advocates. $$$$$

The big money is starting to take notice of investment opportunities that both could generate profits and help the autism fight. (Should we not then call this “war-profiteering”?)

Private equity and venture capital firms TPG Biotech, Shore Capital Partners, Bay City Capital, Great Point Partners and Google Ventures, plus hedge fund Scopia Capital Management are among the investors slated to attend the 2014 Autism Investment Conference next week in San Francisco.

The event is organized by Autism Speaks in partnership with Google, which is offering a separate workshop for entrepreneurs doing autism-related work.

 

“While autism has always been part of our population, as our economy has shifted from agrarian work, where everyone could contribute, to urban, social workplaces, this group has moved backward due their social disability. As an investor, I see the opportunity to capitalize on the talents and availability of this group of workers,” said Brian Jacobs, co-founder of venture capital firm Emergence Capital Partners.

Translation: “There have always been retarded, dumb, and low-quality riff-raff around to do shit-work for us, but now that there’s less shit work to do, we have to figure out how to exploit these people in a modern high-tech environment.”

“And the stupid American public will believe that we’re ‘really caring people; just like family’ instead of being ruthless corporate assholes.” 

One area where autistic individuals excel, Jacobs says, is software testing. He expects to back start-ups in the sector as an angel investor. Jacobs’ initial interest comes from his son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism that allows relatively high function. (Oh yes; drag out the “I have an autistic child” prop to “counter” the disgusting notion of exploiting disabled people.) 

“I am attending the conference in hopes of learning about additional entrepreneurial endeavors in this area,” Jacobs said. $$$$$

Business opportunities range from drug development $$$$ to educational iPad applications (and sales $$$) to employment and residential services. $$$$

Finding products and services to benefit (or exploit) those with autism fits into a rapidly expanding segment of the health-care industry: human behavior.

 

Aspie Women Who are Employed / Actual Jobs, Careers

From an ASPIE chat site:

Good news; there are Aspie women who are successfully employed in jobs and professions that suit them. A big criterion for happiness is, Little to no public contact, or required socialization with co-workers.

Taxi Driver: Limited conversation with clients; independent contractor; if the client is rude or “aggressive” I can kick him or her out.

PhD student: I get paid to sit around my lab, play music and run experiments. Only occasional contact with supervisor. 

Aerospace Engineer for 20 years. Quote: The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”

Insurance fraud detective: I see through the BS”

Pricing Analyst for large company. No public contact or phone work; just pages and pages of spreadsheets. I like it.

Night shift as shelf stocker: no people.

Library archives: Office in basement. No people. Lots of SciFi books to read.

Library researcher: no people. 

Computer Industry: Aspie friendly.

Proofreader.

Freelance translator.

Exploration Geologist: dropped off in the field 8 AM by helicopter. Alone all day until picked up at 6 PM.

Long haul truck driver.

Business analyst in IT.

Chemical Engineer.

Engineering Co. Creating accurate billings for construction projects.

Lab Tech: little human contact.

Computer Programmer: few “social females” to deal with.

Electrical and Chemical Engineer: Top management.

Court Reporter.

Gender Lessons from the Islamic World / THE ENGINEER MAG. U.K.

From The Engineer / U.K. 

https://www.theengineer.co.uk/eastern-promise-gender-lessons-from-the-islamic-world/

Many predominantly Muslim countries boast an enviably high proportion of female engineers. Are there lessons here for the UK?

Andrew Wade reports. 

The very fact this magazine regularly publishes a Women in Engineering supplement is symptomatic of a problem that stubbornly persists.

Despite the best efforts of many figures both inside and outside the engineering industry, female participation in the sector as a whole remains at embarrassingly low levels in the UK.

A recent report, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering, ranked the UK 58th of 99 for gender parity, behind countries including Brazil and Greece. Statistics from EngineeringUK show that the UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers across the whole of Europe, with just 9 per cent. According to UNESCO data from 2013, women make up just 22 per cent of engineering graduates. The statistics are simultaneously unsurprising and depressing, and the underlying issues are familiar.

“The UK has a disproportionately low share of women who study STEM subjects to 18,” Dr Hayaatun Sillem, deputy CEO and director of strategy at RAEng, told The Engineer. “Only around 20 per cent of A-level physics students are girls, for example, a percentage that has not changed significantly over the last 25 years.”

The problem is by no means confined to the UK. Failings here are mirrored in the US, where, despite widespread programmes to involve more women in engineering, participation rates have been virtually static for more than two decades.

“In the US since 1993, it has only increased the share of women undergraduates in engineering by 3 per cent,” said Dr Julie A Kmec, a sociology professor at Washington State University (WSU).

Rather than resorting to the introspection that so often accompanies this issue, Kmec and her colleagues are now looking outwards. In an effort to find solutions to the gender imbalance at home, new research is under way to examine how other countries are getting it right. And many of those countries have predominantly Muslim populations. Specifically, the study is looking at Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

“The high GDP countries in the Gulf tend to have female representation up to 60 per cent in fields such as electrical engineering, computer engineering, chemical engineering and bioengineering,” said Dr Ashley Ater Kranov, a professor at WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

A prominent member of the research team, Ater Kranov also has an academic role at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and has been studying the phenomenon of high participation in predominantly Muslim countries
(PMCs) for several years.

“Saudi only recently offered engineering as a degree option to women at one public university a few years ago,” she said. “However, it has had for years extremely high female representation in computer science, information science and IT. What is interesting as well, is that in my informal conversations with faculty and students all over the Gulf, female students tend to significantly outperform men in these particular fields.”

women-at-university

So not only are women participating in STEM subjects in much higher numbers than in the West, they are also excelling. But what are the factors drawing them in and, conversely, driving their Western counterparts away? According to Kmec, there are a variety of interlocking socio-political elements at play.

“We have this sort of ‘be happy, follow your dreams’ mentality, coupled with a macro-cultural value system… a system of gender centralism, which essentially is this notion that men are good at this, and women are good at something different,” she said.

“When I say the word ‘engineer’ in the US, I think of a man,” Kmec admitted, a trace of guilt inflecting her voice. “When you say ‘engineer’ in some of these countries, the first thought that comes to mind – especially if you say a chemical engineer – it’s not a man.

Gender equality has long been a pillar of Islamic doctrine, and the religion has a rich history of empowering women through education.

“Some fields of engineering are actually gender-typed female in these countries, at least more so than here, because they don’t involve interaction in public… I know for a fact that in Saudi Arabia, women are highly discouraged from majoring in communications, for example, because that puts them too much in the public space.”

While there are undoubtedly social restrictions in some Muslim countries that could push women towards ‘backroom’ engineering roles, it’s important to acknowledge that these do not apply across the entirety of Islam. In fact, gender equality has long been a pillar of Islamic doctrine, and the religion has a rich history of empowering women through education.

“Although there is a perception that Islam represses women and does not give them the freedom to pursue education, this is far from the truth,” said Fatumina Abukar, a biochemical engineering PhD student at UCL who was recently shortlisted for a WISE (women in science, technology and engineering) Rising Star Award.

“Science and education have always been very encouraged in Islam. For example, Mariam Al-Ijliya, who lived during the 10th century in Syria, was employed by the ruler of the city as an astrolabe builder. In addition, one of the oldest universities in the world, University of Qarawiyyin [Morocco] was founded by a Muslim woman, Fatima al-Fihri, before women in the West were even allowed to go to university.”

In relation to the high rates of female engineers in PMCs today, Abukar believes there are two key factors at play. First, significant numbers of Muslim countries are either still developing, or are in politically unstable parts of the world. Studying engineering makes sense from a practical standpoint, as it is likely to provide a steady income.

“Second, in Islam, one is encouraged to pursue careers that will ultimately benefit society, so the population will tend to gravitate more towards professionally designated careers,” said Abukar.

These points are echoed somewhat by Kmec. In the US and the UK, physical infrastructure is not as visibly in need of improvement when compared to most developing nations. (Hah! U.S. infrastructure is notoriously out of date, in disrepair and dangerous)  It makes sense that if you grow up in a country where there is a clear and obvious requirement for engineers, it’s a career path you’re more likely to follow, both for practical and moral reasons.

Dr Julie A Kmec
Dr Julie A Kmec

“We have a developed economy,” said Kmec. “We have infrastructure, we have roads. In developing countries, the economy does not necessarily allow people to have a choice. In Pakistan, for example, there are limited roads and bridges, and they get washed out every time there’s a storm. And so the infrastructure of countries that are developing… means people go to study what’s important for their country.”

The four countries in the US study were chosen for a variety of reasons, not least due to existing social connections the researchers already have. As mentioned, Ater Kranov has an academic role at a Saudi university, where she spends a substantial part of her time. Kmec’s co-lead on the project, Purdue University’s Dr Jennifer DeBoer, worked across Malaysia and Tunisia for her dissertation. And Dr Nehal Abu-Lail, another WSU engineering professor involved in the research, is a Jordanian national. Incidentally, she comes from a family of six, where all five daughters have become engineers.

A common thread across the four nations is the extent to which their populations practise Islam, with Malaysia being the one outlier at just 63 per cent. Jordan is 97 per cent Muslim, Saudi Arabia 93 per cent, and Tunisia almost entirely homogeneous at 99.5 per cent. By contrast, Muslims make up just 0.9 per cent of the population in the US, and 4.5 per cent in the UK. According to Kmec, however, there are socio-economic and political variations across the different countries that should enrich the research.

“We didn’t realise until we looked at the information,” she said, “but there’s great variation within these countries in terms of their GDP, in terms of labour force participation of women, their scores on individualism, women’s rights even. Women had the right to vote as early as 1957 in Tunisia, but only in 2015 in Saudi Arabia.

Gender imbalance has been the standard in Western engineering for so long that many now view it as a cultural norm.

“The women who participate in the focus groups will answer a quantitative survey, just giving basic demographic background characteristics of themselves. But the whole point is to be able to figure out what women are talking about, and how we can use the information we gather to craft a better quantitative tool that we can apply elsewhere in a survey.”

Ultimately, Kmec and her colleagues aim to shed light on the fundamental issues that are keeping female participation so low in countries such as the US and the UK. By exploring the gender balance of the PMCs in their study, the researchers will hopefully gain some insight into imbalance in the West – an imbalance that persists in the face of significant effort and resource.

Dr Ashley Ater Kranov
Dr Ashley Ater Kranov

“Not much at all has been done to study what we are studying in these target countries,” explained Ater Kranov. “That said, there’s been a ton on what may be the factors to such low representation in the US. However, in spite of investing billions, the US hasn’t been able to make representation any higher, save for at a few schools that have made it a priority.”

Gender imbalance has been the standard in Western engineering for so long that many now view it as a cultural norm. Readers of The Engineer occasionally express their exasperation at the amount of coverage the topic receives, believing we should simply accept the status quo and move on. (Because the readers are overwhelmingly male?) But encouraging more women into the industry is absolutely vital, and should not be dismissed as an exercise in optics. The long-term health of the industry and even the wider economy are at stake.

“We know that engineering makes a significant contribution to society, so increasing the number of women in engineering is therefore critical to maintaining and improving the prosperity of the UK,” said RAEng’s Dr Sillem.

drhayaatunsillem
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, deputy CEO and director of strategy at the Royal Academy of Engineering

“Addressing gender diversity will not only help to bridge the skills gap, but could also improve business performance: evidence shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median.”

In an industry already struggling to generate enough skilled professionals to meet demand, it would be madness to willingly accept the shockingly low rates of female participation that currently exist. Shrugging of shoulders and essentially writing off 50 per cent of the population is not an option. On top of this, the economic upshot of gender parity is potentially massive, as Sillem points out.

“If gender parity in engineering graduates was achieved – which would equate to around 36,000 female graduates per year – the UK would climb from 14th to seventh in the Engineering Index, putting it above countries such as the Republic of Korea, Belgium, Finland, and Hong Kong. This would boost UK GDP per capita by 7 per cent, according to the Cebr study.”

Shifting the gender imbalance would have a very tangible impact, not least on the women driving the growth themselves. By looking to the example of the East, let’s hope the West can start finding some answers.

I’ve included some comments on the article:

By the time girls are ready to take on A levels it is far far too late to draw them to engineering. Their perceptions of what is and what isn’t women’s roles have long been formed even if they haven’t already settled on a profession to shoot for. Perhaps we should be speaking less to teenagers about engineering and speaking more to kids about science & technology in general.

Female#2 / I would just like to comment on this article about the Muslim countries who have more female engineers than the UK. I am a female engineer who has a degree and MSc in Mechanical Engineering and wears a head scarf, with over four years experience within engineering (post-graduate) and been out of employment for the last four months, is the reason for not many female’s in engineering to do with the lack of them or that they cannot find a job? Also, in order to encourage more females to study engineering, should the companies not send female engineers to schools to give talk’s rather than males? I have seen with my own eyes when companies have talk’s at local schools and they send in male’s (even though I working for the company at that time) to give the talk, how can we change the perception of females minds when they see men on the stage, talking to them about engineering which before the talk they had no interest and no interest after.Also, with countries like Saudi Arabia they give money for students to study at the universities, where in the UK, the students have to pay for tuition fees plus all the other fees that come with university study.

Reply to Female#2 by Female #1:

Sadly in my experience companies and universities often visit schools for talks at a point when the majority of pupils have already decided whether engineering is for them. My university would often visit local schools to give science & engineering demonstrations and we were fortunate enough to have over 50% of the visiting engineers be female but we were giving the majority of our talks to 13 & 14 year olds. Here many of the girls, even if they loved the activities, had already decided they had no place or interest doing something similar as a job (I recall an all girls school where we did get 1 pupil saying she wanted to be an engineer). Contact with women doing engineering helps but it felt like we should have been interacting with pupils 3-5 years younger to make a lasting impression.

Male #1 / I am saddened to read of these issues. My neighbours daughter -now 17- has for some years (following my introduction) been interested in ‘our’ blog and indeed in learning of my former work. She recognises that ‘textile’ Engineering is only one aspect of a very diverse topic: but her understanding of the processes (and the machinery to perform such) has an immediate link to the topic which probably more than any other excites her. Clothing, fashion, etc. I am delighted to report that she has now proudly announced her intention to study Mechanical Engineering. As she says: she wants to prove herself in the company of her peers -primarily young men.

I am looking forward to being her mentor/support.

My comment: In the U.S. many people still think that “engineers” drive trains! LOL. Engineers design and build the world we live in, and have been since the first building or bridge fell down and someone had to figure out why – and how to “make it work”.  Since then, the need for engineers and their ability to solve a vast array of real-world applications has expanded exponentially. If a “female” has a burning hormonal desire to pursue a career that “helps” other human beings, engineering offers an incredible opportunity to do just that! And yes, having a mentor is critical!

Male #2 / (more to this comment, but I LOVE this argument: Women are smarter than men, so they REJECT engineering; there are so many other “high-paying, high status jobs” to choose from! What BS!) 

….  I would argue, inequalities arise today because women are CHOOSING other career paths on the basis of an informed cost benefit analysisthat does not find engineering sufficiently compelling. If industry wants to improve the gender balance then its going to have to address the inherent cost / benefit analysis from a more female perspective – personally I don’t think it will. Given the high entry costs to an engineering career, the slow career progression in most companies and the often unfavourable working hours required – Women will wisely continue to choose different paths that better remunerate them for the commitments they give. Perhaps if males had to balance the time demands, family commitments and the financial burdens women make daily; they would choose different careers as well. (Lucky men! They don’t have to do any of these irksome tasks! I wonder why? This is a prime example of using the barriers that men have erected to “keep women out” as the REASON women are choosingnot to seek entry into “all male” occupations!

It’s THEIR FAULT for not having a penis

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Male #3 / Good and thought provoking article. I have travelled in Middle east quite a lot and only very occasionally met female engineers in the Islamic countries, of course cultural issues do get in the way of such experiences. The subject of getting more females into engineering always gets a good response from engineers and clearly has no quick fix. However, the issue of getting girls to study physics is at the root of the problem followed by encouragement of girls to move into technical studies by preferential financing probably (i.e. positive discrimination). (Yeah, we’re for it as some abstract concept that we may deal with in future, but right now, we’re not going to lift a finger to help) 

I also believe that conversion courses for females who have studied other sciences could be developed and financed. (I studied geology because I love geology; I wouldn’t be any more interested in “converting” to engineering than being converted to Mormonism. At the end of our field course, in which we had to do a lot of mapping, our prof told us: If you need a map or survey, hire an engineer: that’s what they do. You guys are terrible…) 

Previous articles have a also considered developing engineering as a normal curriculum topic in secondary schools. However, this has a similar problem to physics in lack of teachers, it is still well-worth considering further.

Or we could start in pre-school like we do for boys, who are presented with, and urged to play with, engineering / science toys instead of pink and purple unicorns…

Female # 3/ How to get more people (of all sexes) to seriously consider and hopefully study engineering? Subsidise tuition fees. Simple!

Male #4 / I used to work in aerospace in the U.S.A with loads of female embedded software engineers. Of course, they were paid lots and they could work flexible hours to suit their family needs. Perhaps UK industries’ factory management by suited skin-head thugs may be an issue?

Female #4 / I think there are many factors for the reason there are more girls wanting to be engineers in the middle east than girls in US or UK. For a true analysis, you might have to explore the biological aspect of it, and its influence on gender norms.(Here we go – another female “pimping” for the outrageous myths and distortions that keep women in poverty) It is more typical for women to enter job fields requiring more socialising and nurturing, (social-workers, nurses, teachers, even hairdressers) and you have to realise the biological difference in a man and in a woman and how it would affect their behaviour. I used to think that gender-differentiated behaviour was a social construct, and that men and women could have similar interests but due to society enforcing the gender’s preferred interest, we were limited in choice. (You were correct)That may be true, but after considering the biological factor (What biological factor? That men have penises and therefore “smart brains” which ironically and conveniently disable them from “doing” family commitments, and other “female stuff”? Sure women do the “growing a baby” biological thing, but once the baby arrives, does it matter who is caring, nurturing and “present” in his or her life? What happened to the human advantage of having both parents involved in child development, which is supposedly one reason why humans are so superior to other species? When it comes to raising homo sapiens, the more “caregivers” from both sexes…the better! 

…the 2 different sexes have different functions and that may influence (typically, most) of our behaviours and interests. (Wow! Cliches are not facts!)

The usual Blah, Blah, Blah… excuses…

In an environment where women have more opportunities and more choice (in the “western” countries), (like low-pay part-time service jobs, cleaning up after other people, putting up with x#4c^ rude people at “customer service” frontline positions or on the phone, stripping for cash, prostitution, teaching (baby-sitting) other people’s out-of-control kids, waitressing at “Hooter’s) perhaps they are able to cultivate their interests more freely, thus taking jobs they have interests in. Whereas, in countries, some in the middle-east, where women have/had fewer opportunities and less choice, they would want to create more gender equality, thus wanting to get the jobs more male dominated to perhaps show their capability (which they no doubt have). what I think I’m saying is that in countries in the Middle East, some young women feel they need to prove their capability due to the oppression they’ve felt in times of their life, whereas, most girls in the western countries do not. (Women in the West are so stupid that they don’t even know that gender inequality exists!)

(SO HEY, girls may not like the more systematic jobs or jobs that require labour (the train thing again?)(intellectual effort?) and that might possibly because of our biology? but it’s okay cause equal doesn’t mean same, and we don’t need to be the ‘same’ for our job/role-in-society or BODY to be valued) (OMG! The social indoctrination is complete! Biology makes women dumb and lazy – ergo, our only value to society is our bodies, and this is how it’s supposed to be!)

Women in the U.S. have so many excellent choices!

Past tense? Wrong – this is the same today as it ever was…

© 2017. All rights reserved.

Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)Wells Point, 79 Wells Street, London W1T 3QN. Registered in England No: 1595235

 

Modern Human Superiority Complex / Skeptical Paper – Neanderthal Extinction

PLoS One. 2014; 9(4): e96424.
Published online 2014 Apr 30. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0096424
PMCID: PMC4005592

Neandertal Demise: An Archaeological Analysis of the Modern Human Superiority Complex

Michael D. Petraglia, Editor

 

Abstract

Neandertals are the best-studied of all extinct hominins, with a rich fossil record sampling hundreds of individuals, roughly dating from between 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. Their distinct fossil remains have been retrieved from Portugal in the west to the Altai area in central Asia in the east and from below the waters of the North Sea in the north to a series of caves in Israel in the south. Having thrived in Eurasia for more than 300,000 years, Neandertals vanished from the record around 40,000 years ago, when modern humans entered Europe. Modern humans (this word usage again! Modern humans that coexisted with Neanderthal weren’t “modern humans” – they were Archaic Homo sapiens! Neanderthals were “human” – Homo neanderthalensis – to call archaic Homo sapiens “modern” but their contemporary Neanderthals “archaic” is so awkward, misleading, archaic and evidence for a “superiority complex” LOL) are usually seen as superior in a wide range of domains, including weaponry and subsistence strategies, which would have led to the demise of Neandertals. This systematic review of the archaeological records of Neandertals and their modern human contemporaries finds no support for such interpretations, as the Neandertal archaeological record is not different enough to explain the demise in terms of inferiority in archaeologically visible domains. Instead, current genetic data suggest that complex processes of interbreeding and assimilation may have been responsible for the disappearance of the specific Neandertal morphology from the fossil record.

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The problem with modern social humans is that they assume that archaic species were as dumb as modern social humans.

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And: Who writes this stuff? 

http://www.medicaldaily.com/artifacts-suggest-neanderthals-were-worlds-first-leather-makers-gucci-or-ugh-ugh-250513

Artifacts Suggest Neanderthals Were The World’s First Leather Makers: Is That Gucci Or ‘Ugh-Ugh’?

Neanderthals in the south of France may have been sporting soft leather ‘coats’ up to 50,000 years before the likes of Zara and Armani. Archaeologists have uncovered the earliest evidence suggesting the pre-human species made specialized tools out of bone, which — based on the shape — they may have used to smooth leather hides.

Neanderthals, our closest extinct relatives, were the dominant human-like species in Europe for nearly 170,0000 years. Their supremacy was marked by marginally sophisticated behavior like ceremonial burials and potentially made ritual ornaments. It is argued that their existence was pushed out by the arrival of modern humans about 40,000 years ago, although the details of this upheaval remain murky.

One item of contention involves the development of specialized tools made of animal bones.

Did modern humans introduce these tools to Neanderthals after migrating to Europe from the Middle East and Africa?

or…

Did Neanderthals create these tools on their own?

The new discovery argues for Neanderthals being ahead of the game when it comes to bone tools. Uncovered about 350 miles due south of Paris from two famous Neanderthal archeological sites, Pech de l’Azé and Abri Peyrony, the findings suggest that these pre-humans used the ribs from ungulates, most likely red deer or reindeer, to make the original “lissoirs”. Nearly 50,000 years later, lissoirs — also known as smoothers — are still used by leather makers today.

“Lissoirs like these are a great tool for working leather, so much so that 50 thousand years after Neandertals made these, I was able to purchase a new one on the Internet from a site selling tools for traditional crafts,” said co-author Marie Soressi of Leiden University in The Netherlands. “It shows that this tool was so efficient that it had been maintained through time with almost no change. It might be one or perhaps even the only heritage from Neandertal times that our society is still using today.” (Physics doesn’t “die out” or become obsolete like last season’s “fashion” fads…a hammer is a hammer..)

Each of the prehistoric lissoirs have an arched and polished tip, similar to modern versions, which is used to push against a hide to create burnished, softer, and more water-resistant leather. The artifacts were discovered in a pit that contained stone tools and the bones of hunted animals, like horses, reindeer, and bison.

“For now the bone tools from these two sites are one of the better pieces of evidence we have for Neandertals developing on their own a technology previously associated only with modern humans,” explained co-author Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. (Which modern humans? Archaic modern humans or “modern” modern humans?)

These aren’t the first examples of tools being made by Neanderthals, but older artifacts resembled stone-based devices. (?)

“Neandertals sometimes made scrapers, notched tools and even handaxes from bone. They also used bone as hammers to resharpen their stone tools,” said McPherron. “But here we have an example of Neandertals taking advantage of the pliability and flexibility of bone to shape it in new ways to do things stone could not do.” (Are we sure that there has never been, nor ever could be, a stone lissoir?)

Modern Neanderthal

Source: Soressia M, McPherron SP, Lenoire M, et al. Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. PNAS. 2013.

 

Ape Evo / Graecopithecus freybergi / Azmaka Bulgaria Hominids

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177347

An excellent example of the geosciences applied to controversial questions concerning evolution of hominids. Awe-inspiring!  

Messinian age and savannah environment of the possible hominin Graecopithecus from Europe

Abstract

Dating fossil hominids and reconstructing their environments is critically important for understanding human evolution. Here we date the potentially oldest hominin, Graecopithecus freybergi from Europe and constrain the environmental conditions under which it thrived. For the Graecopithecus-bearing Pikermi Formation of Attica/Greece, a saline aeolian dust deposit of North African (Sahara) provenance, we obtain an age of 7.37–7.11 Ma, which is coeval with a dramatic cooling in the Mediterranean region at the Tortonian-Messinian transition. Palaeobotanic proxies demonstrate C4-grass dominated wooded grassland-to-woodland habitats of a savannah biome for the Pikermi Formation. Faunal turnover at the Tortonian-Messinian transition led to the spread of new mammalian taxa along with Graecopithecus into Europe. The type mandible of G. freybergi from Pyrgos (7.175 Ma) and the single tooth (7.24 Ma) from Azmaka (Bulgaria) represent the first hominids of Messinian age from continental Europe. Our results suggest that major splits in the hominid family occurred outside Africa.

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For “objections to” the notion that the origin of “humankind” could have taken place outside Africa: 

http://www.businessinsider.com/did-humans-come-from-europe-2017-5

Note: The insistence of an “either Europe (or Asia) or Africa” as the “home” of humankind is so social typically irrational. Silly! It’s not like archaic apes had a map of the continents with political-geographic boundaries printed on it, with instructions like, “Evolution is forbidden to occur on both sides of this body of water; no fair “living in the vicinity of” (in the region surrounding this feature). Not recognizing “socially designated” boundaries will confound and disturb future neurotypicals and cause bizarre arguments.”

 

Sperm and Healthy Fetus Production / Not just “magic bullets”

How Men’s Sperm Can (Does) Affect Pregnancy

https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_smfdnnqq

Transcript from: TheScopeRadio.com / University of Utah Health Sciences Radio.

My comments in green 

In the past 20 years, we’ve been learning about changes to genes that happen very early in development, very early. As early as the first week after fertilization of the human egg. Before a woman even knows that she’s pregnant, the environment that the developing embryo sees turns genes on, or off, or modifies the way they work. This continues through pregnancy and early childhood development and it’s a process that’s called epigenetic. It means that the genes of the developing baby and child are not changed in their basic DNA, but the way the genes work.

How awkward; the embryo doesn’t “see” anything – it’s a part of the woman’s body, not a “separate” living entity. This may seem minor, but all the stressful (idiotic) arguments over the ‘facts’ of human reproduction, that is, the neurotypical version, remain mythological. Basically: babies, or at least their “human substance, content or souls” are “gifts” from God.  

God says to the man, “Good job! You weren’t shooting blanks. You can now leave the room.”

Part of the NT debate is over timing – When exactly does God insert the “magic part of the new human” into the woman’s body? At “conception” (it’s in the sperm and delivered to the egg), or at some other “magical” moment in the pregnancy, and what happens to the “magic part” if the pregnancy fails? Well, it’s the woman’s fault, of course!

transcript cont., How they are transcribed to make proteins, that’s how they’re working, and that’s changed. But we always thought that men just provided genetic material with sperm. A sperm was a sperm, and all it did was deliver a man’s DNA to the egg. Now, in research that has been building up over the past several years, we are beginning to see the genes encoded in sperm can be modified by the environment in which they were developing, meaning, in the guy. And those modifications may affect the developing child.

So let’s start with mice. (Of course) In 2013, in the “Journal of Neuroscience,” researchers reported that stressed mouse dads (this cute label makes it seem that mouse “test results” apply to human males) had changes in their sperm and their offspring had abnormal stress responses when compared to offspring of non-stressed mouse dads. It takes about 42 days to make a mouse sperm. During that time, the researchers exposed the mouse dads to (experience) be in one stressful thing each day. The smell of foxes, wet bedding, restriction in a tube for 15 minutes, new noises, that kind of stressful stuff. The sperm from the stressed mouse dads had the same DNA as the non-stressed dads, but the way the DNA was processed (?) was different. And the mouse babies had abnormal stress responses as adult mice.

Well, what about human dads-to-be? The cord blood of babies (whose fathers were obese) of obese men was studied and they had changes in the way one of the genes that controls growth and calorie use was regulated. These changes were seen less in babies of normal weight men. These changes are associated with a tendency toward obesity in adulthood. Now, here’s the cool part, this year researchers published a study of the sperm of obese men before and after they had weight loss surgery. They found different epigenetic patterns in the sperm in the men before they lost weight, compared to after they lost weight. Losing weight made a difference in the epigenetic programming of the sperm.

This research sounds more than a bit misleading, given the current trend in American “science” for low number of sample subjects in studies (these are not scientific experiments); reliance on non-proven assumptions to “point the way” of study direction – and conclusions; that “beliefs” are a substitute for unbiased hypothesis;  and the “unconscious” intrusion of magical thinking, as evident in the “before-and-after” false advertising so popular in American media, aided and abetted by “weasel words” that purposefully “lead on” non-logical thinkers to false conclusions. The focus on weight-loss surgery, which is a massively profitable industry that benefits directly from the “positive outcome” of the study, is blatant propaganda.

The sad effect is that real concern for “dad’s health and contribution” to healthy babies and children, is as usual, mixed up with unwarranted conclusions presented as “earth-shaking” new information gleaned from minimally productive studies; results that are immediately distorted toward profitable “new arenas” of diagnosis, medical intervention, treatments, drug development, and “solutions” being promoted in the U.S. mass market. “Studies” have become industry-funded staging platforms for “problems that must be solved by profit-seeking entities; corporations and the massive numbers of their “employees” that facilitate profit.

transcript cont., So what do we think we know? We know that we don’t know about how large the effect of stress and obesity in a dad is on the baby and growing child and adult. We do know that there’s evidence (but of what quality in correspondence to reality?) that a man’s environment and behavior can change his sperm, and in the case of the mouse dad, not for the good of the mouse baby.

So what should we do? We should tell men that are thinking of making a baby the same things we tell women. Clean up your act, eat well, maintain a healthy weight, try to manage your stress and response to stress. Consider yourself an equal partner in the health of your future child, literally. It takes 90 days to make a sperm so let’s get cracking, plan ahead, it’ll be good for you anyway, and thanks for joining us on The Scope. (“Puritan-lite” instruction…) You guys can now leave the room. 

Thanks coach, we’ll work on that! (NOT!)

Announcer: TheScopeRadio.com is University of Utah Health Sciences Radio. If you like what you heard, be sure to get our latest content by following us on Facebook. Just click in the Facebook icon at TheScopeRadio.com.

Caveat: This is the University of Utah, and nothing in Utah is not touched by Mormonism. Mormonism is highly magical in it’s foundational belief system, and there’s is simply no possibility that this underlying thinking is “magically turned off” within the Health Sciences division, even if individual employees have nonMormon personal histories and “science” loyalties. 

The overriding “goal” (as a radical branch of the Puritans who founded “America”) for Mormons today is business success = massive profits=expansion of the Mormon Empire, “funded by” the very modern pursuits of medicine and high-tech research and development. We need to recognize their commitment to these fields, but also to be wary of the “messages” being attached to their applications in “the real world” – which defend and promote the social status quo of control by elites over American thought and policy – these “elites” have always been dominated by religious groups.

Oh Look! It’s a USB sperm drive! 

20 Top Military Nations Ranked / Business Insider

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-worlds-20-strongest-militaries-ranked-2015-9/#20-canada-1

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-powerful-militaries-in-the-middle-east-2014-8?op=1

https://girisubiramaniam.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/top-14-countries-without-armed-forces-in-this-world/

in lavender…