I saw Looper the other day and really enjoyed it. However, like many people I couldn’t help but feel a bit irritated by the film’s many plot-holes relating to time travel. Looper is by no means alone in this, books and films for years have strived to put together a reasonable picture of how time travel might work, and they always end up frying your brain a bit because of all the paradoxes involved.

However. Is it too much to ask for movie makers to at least be consistent in their choice of paradox? I’m aware that asking for a consistent paradox is somewhat of a paradox itself. But I don’t care if the formulation doesn’t make any real scientific sense, I just want some kind of coherent internal consistency. There are many approaches to time travel, but only a couple that I think really can satisfy this, which I discuss below.

So please, sci-fi writers, go ahead and write fantastical tales of time travel, extra dimensions, multi-verses and other mind-boggling phenomena. But please also try think about ways to maintain an illusion of logic – and don’t keep switching between them!

Fixed past and future

You could take the Harry Potter approach. If someone goes back in time, whatever effect they have on the past must have always been part of history. For example, Harry catches sight of someone who he thinks is his father. A bit later on, he goes back in time and realises that the figure he saw was actually his future self – so he races to be in the right place at the right time to satisfy this historical precondition and become the figure that his past self saw.

The difficulty here is that it makes his future actions inevitable – once Harry twigs that the figure is actually himself, you might think he could decide to go somewhere else and hide so that his past self wouldn’t see him, but actually he can’t because then his past self wouldn’t have seen the figure – the entire future is predetermined by the events that occurred in the past.

I’m happy for sci-fi writers to use this approach as long as they make sure all their characters behave and do what they were inevitably going to do – so there are no inconsistencies and we can just kind of ignore the paradox for the price of accepting inevitability. This is sometimes known as the Novikov self-consistency principle.

Many worlds

There is a way to avoid this awkward lack-of-free-will conundrum. To do this, we employ the ‘many worlds‘ approach. Here, anyone is free to go back in time and do anything they like, but if they do something that ‘changes’ the future, we simply branch off into another reality – another world where history includes whatever change they made. So, I can go back and kill my grandfather, but we will suddenly branch off into a world where I never existed. Here, time travel is instead more like crossing into another dimension.

This is a bit like what happens in It’s a wonderful life – George Bailey essentially crosses into another reality where he never existed. This is a neat way of solving the paradox, but I will admit it may be tricky for sci-fi writers to keep documenting the happenings in each newly created reality that occurs every time something in the past changes.

Silly Looper

Spoiler alert: Skip this bit if you don’t want to know plot details of Looper…

I will now explain how Looper seems to pick and mix these approaches. There are many examples in the film to choose from, but I’ve decided to focus on the climax of the film – the ending – to illustrate my point.

Basic principle of the film: Future criminals (Mafia) send their targets back in time to be killed by assassins known as ‘loopers’  (the criminals can’t kill the targets in their own time because technology has advanced so much that it is impossible to kill someone without being caught). Once retired loopers reach a certain age, the criminals also send them back to be killed by their younger selves – to close the ‘loop’.

We enter a reality where the Rainmaker has taken over the Mafia and is closing all the loops. He is the reason why older Joe is sent back in time to be killed – and as he is being captured his wife is killed in the cross fire. As Joe is sent back in time he decides he can’t let this future happen so escapes his younger self’s attempts to assassinate him and sets about finding the child that will grow up to be the Rainmaker so that he can kill him and change the future.

The plot unfolds with older Joe trying to find the child and younger Joe trying to find older Joe. We come to point where older Joe must kill the mother of the Rainmaker because she is in the way trying to protect her son. It is then made clear to the audience that it is the very act of losing his mother that provokes the child to become this criminal mastermind. So, had older Joe not come back in time, the child’s mother would not have been killed and he would not have become the Rainmaker.

So far so good. The film makers have clearly taken the ‘fixed past and future’ route, right? It’s perfectly possible for this to be self consistent as long as older Joe behaves in his inevitable way and kills the mother.

Except, he doesn’t.

He is prevented from doing so by his younger self who has caught up with them and twigged that older Joe killing the mother is what leads the child to become the Rainmaker. So he does the only thing he can think of to stop this – younger Joe shoots himself. This causes older Joe to disappear and mother and child are safe. Child doesn’t become evil criminal mastermind.

Have you spotted the problem? As soon as older Joe is prevented from killing the mother, we can no longer use the ‘fixed past and future’ approach – both past and future have changed. So maybe they’ve gone for the ‘many worlds’ route? This doesn’t work either, as younger Joe killing himself would simply branch into a new reality where his older self doesn’t exist – but in the current reality this would have no effect – older Joe would still exist and still be able to kill the mother.

I think this would have been a better ending: younger Joe kills himself believing he is preventing the horrors of the future by causing his older self to disappear; but actually this just leaves older Joe obstacle-free to kill the mother as he tries to kill the child, believing he is preventing the horrors of the future. How ironic. And the moral of the story is that both Joes had a fundamental misunderstanding of the complexities of time travel. A much more valuable message I’m sure you’ll agree.

Is there an alternative?

I love science fiction, but I can’t help feeling let down when writers don’t think things through properly. I can totally lose myself in their fictional world, but when I spot a blatent inconsistency the enchantment brutally shatters.

I do have another solution – Huggins Displacement Theory provides a lovely paradox-free approach to time travel. Unfortunately for sci-fi writers, it involves a spatial displacement of an equal number of light years – so that you end up somewhere outside your own light cone and are therefore unable to effect a change in your past, and by extension the past of anyone who’s past depends on yours. So we avoid a paradox, but we also avoid drama or any kind of interesting story at all. Sorry.

 

In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day I wanted to share (in no particular order) a few of the women that I admire, not only for their involvement in science and technology but also for their other admirable characteristics. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Although the women I’ve listed here are at the more publicly visible end of the scale, I would also like to pay tribute to the many less well-known women in the technology industry doing brilliant work every day.  Many of whom I already look to as role models, and many of whom I don’t even know about yet, but I hope I will have the good fortune to meet at some point in my career.

Rebecca Watson

File:Rebecca Watson NECSS 2011.jpg

Skeptical activist Rebecca Watson travels the world speaking, blogging and podcasting about the importance of science and critical thinking. She posts funny and relevant videos on YouTube addressing a wide range of topics, and is founder of skepchick.org, dedicating to debunking pseudoscience and promoting social justice. She has also spoken out against the sexism she has encountered in the skeptical community, and has become a voice for the many women and men that are victims of this in a community that really should know better. Despite many vitriolic attacks she remains always eloquent; and whether addressing quacks or bullies, uses wit, satire and solid reasoning to demonstrate her point.

Plus she shares my penchant for ridiculous hair colours.

Ruchi Sanghvi

Ruchi Sanghvi was the first female engineer at Facebook, joining when the company was just over a year old. She launched some of the most influential aspects of Facebook, including News Feed, which revolutionised how users interacted with the site. She was also responsible for Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect, helping to make the company even more ubiquitous on the web. Not only a talented engineer but also a shrewd business woman, Ruchi co-founded Cove which was later bought by Dropbox, where she is now Head of Operations.

She has spoken about the difficulties of being a woman in such a macho environment, and I admire her honesty about how she felt this affected her professional behaviour. However she has also praised the tech industry for being one of the more meritocratic, which is great news for women in the industry. She particularly inspires me because like me she got into computers relatively late, and it can sometimes be disheartening competing with people who’ve been coding since they were children. However, her success proves that it is never too late!

Tracy King

Games developer, producer, business woman, writer; Tracy King, who runs a games and animation company, has many facets. She is also a rationalist and science advocate, speaking and writing on a range of topics and injecting some British humour into skepchick.org. She is keen to use her talents to promote critical thinking and has worked on multiple pro-science projects, including Tim Minchin’s Storm movie (which won a BAFTA), and hugely successful viral campaign ‘the colour changing card trick‘ – a must watch – I was completely taken in!

It’s well known that the gaming community can be a challenging environment for women, and Tracy has spoken about the differences between how women are treated on and offline. Nevertheless she continues to go from strength to strength in her career and is an inspiration to women in the industry.

I always think it’s such a shame that children are so often pigeon-holed as ‘sciency’ or ‘arty’, when there is no reason why you can’t be both. In fact, the digital industry is crying out for these cross-disciplined people. Tracy combines her creative side with her love of technology beautifully and is a brilliant role model for others who might want to do the same.

Victoria Coren

Ok, so technically Victoria Coren is a bit of an anomaly on my list as she isn’t really in the science and technology industry, but she is one of the top poker players in the world and as a hugely successful woman in a very macho world, she is undoubtedly inspiring.

I first encountered Victoria when I accidentally tuned in to the first episode of Only Connect, which I immediately fell in love with as it prioritises lateral thinking over general knowledge. On top of this, Victoria’s marginally inappropriate jokes about drinking too much made to a silent studio (no audience, just somewhat bemused expressions on the faces of the incredibly intelligent contestants) make for an endearingly surreal half hour of quizzing.

As well as being a brilliant poker player and a witty quiz show host, Victoria is an accomplished and astute writer. Intelligent, a sense of humour, and an expert in probability – I reckon she thoroughly deserves a place on this list.

Helen Arney

Geek songstress Helen Arney is a physics graduate with the voice of an angle. She is also a brilliant comedian; seamlessly combining physics, songs and jokes. She is one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd, an anarchic show that humorously celebrates science and technology. In a society that is reluctant to believe that women can be funny, and where female physicists are still an unusual phenomenon, I love the fact that this multi-talented lady is happily both.

Liv Boeree

File:Liv boeree snowfest 2011.JPG

Two poker players on my list… I wonder what that says about me?! Liv Boeree is an astrophysics graduate, professional poker player, model and presenter. She is passionate about promoting science and was featured in a recent IoP publication to show how physics can be instrumental in enabling a range of exciting careers. I have always loved card games and puzzles and feel they embody much of what I enjoy about science and engineering – maths, logic and problem-solving – so it’s great to see how these skills can be applied to all sorts of novel career paths.

Marissa Mayer

File:Marissa Mayer.jpg

A bit of a legend now, Marissa Mayer is an obvious role model for women in technology. Not only is she CEO of Yahoo!, she was Google’s first female engineer and is widely regarded as being instrumental in many of Google’s most successful products. She is also a tech investor and has interests in a range of non-profit, arty organisations. Some people worry about the career progression of techy roles – that managerial routes have better prospects – Marissa demonstrates that being technical doesn’t have to mean giving up high-flying ambitions.

The next generation?

Aspirational role models are key to encouraging more women, particularly young girls, to see science and technology as desirable career options. We also need to be sure that young people are aware of the variety of careers available – by getting real people to talk about what they do. Organisations like STEMNet provide a great way to raise awareness in schools, and celebrating events like Ada Lovelace Day help educate the public about the many inspiring female role models working in science, technology and engineering.

Who inspires you?

I have a confession. My colleagues in the broadcast industry would probably call this blasphemy, but when, as a fresh-faced school girl, I first saw high-definition television (HDTV), I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. I had never particularly noticed the inadequacy of standard-definition (SDTV), probably because I was engrossed in the content and not too bothered about the quality.

Now I view it with technical eyes, of course I can see the benefit. However, it does mean that when NHK (the Japanese public broadcasting organisation) announced Super Hi-Vision (SHV), I couldn’t help feeling a little sceptical about whether the improvement would be dramatic enough to make the public take notice.

Intrigued by the technology, I volunteered to work on the Super Hi-Vision Olympic screenings run by BBC R&D in conjunction with NHK. So that’s how I came to spend my summer immersed in all things Super Hi-Vision at the National Media Museum in Bradford, one of the three UK venues (the others being in London and Glasgow) trialling the technology.

So the question is, does it live up to the hype?

The Technology

Strictly, the technology is termed Ultra High Definition (UHDTV); Super Hi-Vision is the name of NHK’s implementation of it.

To put it in perspective, SDTV is 720×576, which gives 414720 pixels in total. The most common version of HDTV is 1920×1080 giving a total of 2073600 pixels, five times that of SDTV. Super Hi-Vision is 7680×4320, a total of 33177600 pixels, sixteen times that of HDTV and a huge eighty times that of SDTV. The image below depicts this:

UHD compared to HD and SV

UHD compared to HD and SV

The current technology has a progressive frame rate of 59.94Hz, limited by cost and huge data rates. The UHDTV specification has recently added a frame rate of 120 Hz progressive, which future versions of SHV will implement.

The other major aspect of UHDTV is the audio component. This comprises 22 full bandwidth channels and 2 low-frequency effects channels – giving it the name 22.2 surround sound. The speakers are arranged in a three dimensional cube that encompasses the audience in the hope of giving a truly immersive audio experience that matches the realism of the visual display.

The Screenings

There are only six of these Super Hi-Vision screenings in the world, three of which are in the UK, two in Japan and one in the USA, so attending one of them is a chance to see something really quite special. Every hour between 12pm and 6pm, each public viewing site receives a feed from TC0 in Television Centre. The feed is an amalgamation of Olympic highlights, which currently includes extracts from the opening ceremony and swimming events, but will be adapted to include more content as the games continue.

The challenges with this are firstly the fact that there are only three cameras available for shooting the SHV footage, so the number of different events that can be filmed are limited. There is also the issue of setting up the SHV camera rig and dismantling it to move to another location, which is no trivial matter. Finally, the process of editing the footage into hour-long highlights packages takes an extremely long time, due to the huge amount of data involved. For these reasons, the highlights package is only updated every few days.

I was lucky enough to watch the opening ceremony live in SHV, and it was pretty incredible. It was such an elaborate performance that many details would no doubt be lost even in HDTV, but SHV gives the best chance of catching all the little intricacies. Even after seeing the highlights package countless times I still pick up on elements I haven’t noticed before. Then of course there was the audio. The speaker set up really did justice to the emotive soundtrack of the opening ceremony, and more than once did I think that someone behind me in the auditorium was clapping, only to find that it was actually coming through the speakers.

Part of the Bradford Super Hi-Vision team

Part of the Bradford Super Hi-Vision team

Audience Reaction

So was my scepticism about public interest founded? Absolutely not. Of course, the techies love it, and when they reveal themselves by looking mildly interested we eagerly shoo them into the projection room and show off the gloriously geeky equipment. But what is particularly great is the reaction of the general public – many people have, without any prompting, expressed how impressive the experience was, commenting that it really did feel like they were at the event and asking when they can get it in their own homes. Many have told us they will return for another showing, and some already have.

There have been plenty of kids at the screenings, and they seem to find it endlessly amusing when they spot us peeking out of our little windows in the projection room. We’ve taken some of them backstage to show them how it works, and they’re clearly fascinated. One small girl was so excited about using the controls to change what appears on the cinema screen (‘WOW! Mum it’s AMAZING!!!’) I’m sure she has a career in technology ahead of her!

The verdict

Super Hi-Vision is undeniably impressive, and in my opinion, a bigger improvement from HDTV than HDTV was to SDTV.

At the current frame rate of just 59.94Hz, there are issues with panning and fast moving objects. While this may be relatively inconspicuous at lower resolutions, at the resolution of SHV the blurriness this causes is very noticeable. The technology therefore works best when it is used for static, wide shots of arenas, which is actually fine considering the intention is to give the impression you’re sitting in the audience at the event.

The plans to increase the frame rate to 120Hz should go some way to addressing this issue, which may extend the range of shots capable, making it appropriate for more situations. It has been argued that further increases of spatial resolution beyond UHDTV would be negligible, so I think concentrating on improving temporal resolution is the way to go (there is a demo at R&D of 300Hz and it really is strikingly good).

The consequences of increased frame rate, of course, is the increase in the already massive amounts of data involved in the system. We locally recorded the live stream of the opening ceremony, and it takes up hundreds of gigabytes on our fifteen terabyte hard-drive, and that’s only at 59.94Hz. This could be one of the limiting factors in how soon this technology will be commercially available.

Speaking of which, you may be wondering when you’ll be able to have this technology at home. Originally, it was thought that we would be waiting until something like 2020, but NHK have recently developed a prototype light-weight SHV camera which has brought estimates of the first UHDTV broadcasts down to 2016. I’m afraid you’ll also need to invest in an 8K monitor and 22.2 surround sound speakers, so you might want to start saving now…

I really recommend getting to a screening if you can, it’s worth seeing and so far the audiences have loved it. You can get your free tickets for Bradford from the National Media Museum, or from BBC shows and tours for London and Glasgow.

I’ve learnt a lot and it’s great to be a part of bringing such novel technology to the public. I’ve really enjoyed working alongside both NHK and the National Media Museum. If only the projection room didn’t have to be so cold!

Freezing in the projection room

Freezing!

 

 

Persuading someone to change their views about something is a delicate art. It’s like coaxing an animal out of a cage – you need the right balance of encouragement and restraint to make progress without scaring them back inside. I find it so frustrating when I see people promoting a worthy cause so militantly that it only ends up alienating people.

I am particularly passionate about the dangers of science denial, and I therefore feel compelled to intervene when people say irrational things that I strongly believe are wrong. How do I try and change their mind without causing offence and with the best chance of success?

It’s OK to be diplomatic

We are ingrained with the notion that it is noble to argue valiantly and passionately for what you believe in, whatever the circumstances. While I do have a kind of respect for people who are prepared to do this (I am far too unconfrontational for this approach) I have to wonder if it’s really always the best way. I’m pretty convinced that being militant about anything is more likely to hurt your cause than to help it. Any kind of aggressive reaction is likely to make your opponent defensive and cling even more tightly to their misguided belief. An initial diplomatic attitude may be more constructive than militancy, no matter how admirable the intention.

Know your audience

What kind of person are they – are they likely to listen to reason? If so, excellent! You can have a civilised debate with sensible arguments and maybe they will be won over. This blog describes a step-by-step method of refuting arguments one by one and voila! How could your opponent fail to change their mind?!

Sadly, this is not the way it usually works.  I once wasted my breath trying to reason with a stoned neo-Nazi at a bus stop before realising it was pointless as none of his views were based on anything like actual sense. People so entrenched in irrational views are not likely to be argued out of them by rationality.

While you might be prepared to write off a random stranger as a hopeless case, it gets more complicated when it’s someone you’re close to or respect. This is when you may want to try the other techniques.

Convince them you’re not an enemy

Louis Theroux is very good at this. His demeanour is so non-threatening that people are happy to open up to him, which is key to understanding their mentality and therefore how to change it.

Ask gentle questions. Sound interested rather than accusatory. Try and highlight a point on which you both agree, and then ask a question that they would be hard-pressed to disagree with.  For example, in response to an advocate of homeopathy, you might point out ‘I agree, it’s clear that a lot of people feel better after undergoing homeopathy, but don’t you think it seems a bit weird that diluting something can make it more potent?’  You can then suggest an alternative, more rational explanation, like ‘isn’t it more likely that the process of having a consultation, along with the act of taking a pill regularly (as opposed to what’s claimed to be in it) could be what’s making them feel better?’

Instead of just lecturing someone on why they are wrong, a more effective technique is to employ gentle Socratic questioning, encouraging them to examine and reassess their own assertions.

Avoid smugness

It’s true that often ignorance is the cause of irrational beliefs, but you’re not going to get anywhere by offending people or making them feel stupid.

Skeptics, a community with whom I identify, are often guilty of smugness. It’s easy to start feeling superior because you’re oh-so-enlightened and rational, but as we know, pride comes before a fall. I know people who instinctively take opposing views to skeptics just because they resent their smugness, and this is not helping the cause.

Essentially, arguments are not about winning points. While you may have instigated a debate as a response to a statement you disagreed with, keep your mind open, stay humble and you might both come away wiser.

How come maths, despite being widely regarding as a masculine subject, is studied by an almost equal proportion of men and women, yet computing has such a disproportionate gender balance?

I recently came across this paper by Professor Paul De Palma of Gonzaga university in which he analyses why this is and what it can teach us about how to make computing more accessible to women. I think he hits the nail on the head.

Get rid of the ‘messiness’

Prof De Palma deduces that women are drawn to the precision and logical nature of maths, but are put off by the messiness of computing.

I still get frustrated at how complicated it can be just to get a work environment up and running; to ensure everything is properly configured, dependencies are installed and paths correctly set – when all I want to do is start coding! All this with bloated software tools and clumsy IDEs creates a barrier to entry which puts off all but the most confident students.

It doesn’t need to be this way. The first course of my MSc was ‘Programming in C’ by Neill Campbell and was an excellent way to be introduced to programming. All we needed was a text editor, a command line terminal and a compiler. The problems were short and algorithmic and made me feel like I was solving little puzzles. I was hooked.

So what’s the problem?

Firstly, that instead of this simple, low-level approach, students are often taught high-level, object-oriented languages which are a whole lot more hassle to get up and running, and are required to use tools that are overly-complicated for the task. The words ‘nut’ and ‘sledgehammer’ come to mind…

Secondly, by the time students get to university, it’s too late. The girls are already disengaged and the boys have already taught themselves how to programme. The elegance and logic of coding needs to be promoted at school in a simple, accessible way.

As usual, the key difference seems to be confidence. As Prof de Palma points out:

‘The key to successful mastery in this environment is… the confidence to press forward with a set of tools that one only partially understands’

And as many studies have shown, girls tend to underrate their abilities and are therefore less likely to have the confidence to persevere through the entry barriers.

It’s not all about tinkering

Prof De Palma also asserts that many boys spend their childhoods tinkering with gadgets, and often this is what leads them into engineering and computing.

This can lead to a misconception that computing is all about hardware tinkering and can result in the more theoretical, algorithmic side being overlooked, which makes girls who are more mathematically inclined lose interest.

While the tinkering approach is important for certain aspects of computing, it’s perfectly possible to be an excellent programmer without wishing to delve into hardware.

Only a small proportion of females choose engineering because they enjoy tinkering. So perhaps it’s time to emphasise the other aspects of the subject, and maybe catch the attention of more women.

The solution?

Many people acknowledge the elegance and beauty of maths, and I think the same applies to coding. Because I was fortunate enough to see this, I was stubborn enough to push through the messiness. But what about the girls who aren’t so lucky? We could be losing out on a wealth of talent for no good reason.

Prof De Palma provides five ways to tackle the problem, which you can read about here. If they had been implemented at school, I think I would have been attracted to computer science much earlier.

Are your experiences coherent with Prof De Palma’s observations? Mine certainly are. Or are you a girl who got into computing through a love of tinkering? Do you think that a more mathematical approach to teaching computing could help address the gender imbalance? Lend me your thoughts.

 

There’s no doubt that great programmers can come from all walks of life, any background and be of either sex. However, changes in the world of software engineering mean that skills traditionally thought of as feminine are arguably becoming more important, and I think it’s time to celebrate what girl coders can bring to the table.

I hope it’s obvious that I’m not trying to say that all girls have these skills and no boys do. I’m simply trying to highlight what I believe are commonly held notions about masculine and feminine traits, and why both are important in good programming.

Maintainability Over Speed

In the past, hardware limitations meant that every line of code needed to be optimised for performance, and this need for speed created a somewhat macho culture in which programmers would compete to produce the fastest running code. These days, processing power and disk space advances along with the shift from low-level, procedural to higher-level, object-oriented languages mean that for most software, with the exception of intensive graphics applications and other special cases, this isn’t so much of a priority.

What is a priority is code that is readable, maintainable and extensible. As software becomes increasingly complex, more people are going to be working on each other’s code, and it is more likely to need to be extended. And in my experience, this is something that seems to come more naturally to girls than boys. Boys tend to be more focussed on getting something working and spend time optimizing performance, whereas girls instinctively put more effort into ensuring the code is elegant and understandable.

User Experience

As technology infiltrates the lives of the general public, bad user interfaces will not be tolerated. The importance of user-friendly, attractive products is clearly demonstrated by Apple’s recent success, where arguably aesthetic design has won out over specs (but that’s a debate for another day…)

I would assert that in general, girls tend to place higher importance on a pleasant user experience.

This takes two forms:

  • How aesthetically pleasing a product is

Products aimed at women are available in a wide range of styles and colours (do my straighteners need to be pink? No, but I love them for it), while it is assumed men are happy enough with just a few variations.

At school, I remember the boys would scribble their work down as fast as possible while the girls would make sure everything was laid out neatly and highlighted in the appropriate colours (although I must confess I was too lazy to keep swapping pens).

So it would seem that women just tend to care more about what a product looks like. If that means they put more effort into making prettier user-interfaces, it could be a very commercially valuable trait.

  • How easy the product is to use

Studies show that women tend to be more empathetic than men, so perhaps this gives them an advantage when considering user-friendliness as they can empathise with a non-technical user. With such high commercial importance placed on intuitive user-interfaces, this could be very advantageous.

Code Like a Girl

I don’t know why these traits are considered feminine. Perhaps girls are just inherently tidier or care more about the appearance of things (or at least, are socially conditioned that way). Or perhaps it’s just a big misconception and actually there are no typically ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ traits. Whatever the reason, people are now starting to take being told that you ‘code like a girl’ as a compliment, and I think they’re right.

Of course, I’m not saying that girls make better programmers, in fact there are plenty of qualities that guys tend to have (e.g. single-mindedness) which are invaluable for programming. In particular there’s one key thing I think we could learn from the guys: confidence in our coding ability. I know it’s something I struggle with!

I’ll leave you with this rather appropriate video. I particularly enjoyed the line:

“It ain’t hard to like how she writes with a pretty interface but the source is tight”

I think it pretty much sums up my point!

Welcome

Hi there. I’m Rosie, welcome to my blog. I plan to focus on tech-related subjects but may explore one or two other avenues when the mood feels right.

Please feel free to leave comments and/or requests for post topics. To find out more about me and what I’m hoping to achieve, please see about me. I hope you enjoy your visit and consider subscribing to my RSS feed!

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