Bruce Momjian


Technology Women in Tech

Friday, March 7, 2014

I often hear laments about the lack of women in technology fields, even though I believe much of this is caused by women finding technology-heavy work environments unattractive. This blog post explains the issue better than I ever could, focussing on two issues:

  • equality and interchangeability are not the same
  • economic needs often overshadow family needs

The last item bears more exploration. There is an unspoken feeling in the USA that whatever is good for the economy is also good for society, and by extension the family. Even when presented with demonstratable cases where this is false, the assumption remains that, at some macro level, this balances out. See this post for more details.


Technology The Nsa and Too Much Safety

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Edward Snowden initially revealed the nsa is spying on Internet traffic and forcing cloud service providers like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to divulge private communications between users. New revelations indicate that hardware providers are also targets, with hardware shipments being intercepted to install spyware. It has been known that other governments routinely do this, particularly China, but it was thought the usa was mostly immune. This gave non-US purchasers confidence in US products — that confidence is gone, and with it, lots of money; spying revelations are expected to cost IT firms billions.

What is odd is that there seems to be little concern among the US public. This is probably because the spying is pitched as "making America safer," targets only foreigners, and there is little evidence the information obtained by spying was misused. Contrast that with spying on anti-war protesters in the 1970's that was misused, and once exposed, led to increased intelligence oversight. It seems a similar shocking example of abuse must happen before the public will demand reform.

We don't know if US government spying ever prevented an attack, but we do know that such spying will cost the US economy billions of dollars in the coming years, and the US public seems to be fine with that tradeoff.

Update: A summary of the costs of spying 2014-01-18

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