Thursday, July 13, 2006

There's a big convention at Moscone Center now. I walked through two and a half blocks solid with convention goers before I saw her--the woman, the only woman I saw amid hundreds of men.

She really looked like a convention goer. Every thing about her--her clothes, bag, posture, attitude, confidence, said she was a convention goer and not present as a servant.

How does a woman dress for such an event? Thoughtfully, I bet. Maybe like the famous writer who once said he'd done seven drafts of what he was writing and now he was going to put in the careless ease. "I always put the careless ease in last."

She looked confident, which can't be easy to either be or fake in such a situation, but presumably she has lots of practice.

Conventions at Moscone Center in San Francisco are frequently techie. This one is Semicon, the convention of people who manufacture chips, semiconductors.

Conventions at Moscone tend to be majority male, though the only other one I noticed being this male wasn't techie in that way--it was a surgeon's convention.

The convention at Moscone lately that I noticed being about half and half in gender was the convention of educational researchers. That is, the convention of people who study how to make our excellent wetware function function optimally without surgery.

Education is at once too easy and too difficult to get the kind of attention manufacturing chips does.

One time I read a book of interviews with women scientists--not famous ones, but lots of what you might call line scientists, out there being mid-level scientists day to day.

Several of them remarked that the whole male set-up and history of the sciences determined what kind of questions are asked, and that some kinds of questions just won't be asked becaus of that.

And, they implied, who has time to think about what those missing kinds of questions are? Not them, in a work all the time subculture and sometimes also raising kids. Staring off into the distance wondering precisely what categories are missing and how those categories could be brought in is not what they are going to do.

In many case, the ability to feel in detail what is missing has been trained out of them. Learning to be a high level smart person means being trained to know a lot of preexisting knowledge. It also means being trained to think this way and not that way.