I have fewer than 99 problems, but the internet is one (more reading)

20 May

I’ve been working on a fun little math post and a fun little baking post, but I’m having some vacation-related internet problems so no picture-filled posts will appear today.  I’ll just do another list of articles I’ve read lately.

  • Comments are so baiting, article is so good: The “confidence gap” article from the Atlantic awhile back, in case you missed it.  This was a great read- I’ve talked before about the monster, which maybe I’ll call a confidence gap from here on out.  I loved what the authors said about confidence:

Confidence is a belief in one’s ability to succeed, a belief that stimulates action. In turn, taking action bolsters one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed. So confidence accumulates—through hard work, through success, and even through failure.

I don’t spend a lot of time reading internet comments, but I was curious this time, and simply astounded by what I found.  Trolling is one of those internet things I don’t get (like doge). Productive conversations are SO GREAT and I love hearing different viewpoints that agree/disagree with my own and interesting logical turns, but lots of people seem to think that they are not so great.  Here’s an example that I copied down when I read this last month:

Then men should forego their natural urge to bullshit their way into employment for the sake of advancing others, namely women? That is, give em a break? […] Then people doing the hiring must assume men are bullshitting and proceed with them accordingly. Lets pass a law. Government knows how to deal with this.

Rereading this now this doesn’t make any sense.  I think it’s sarcastic.

  • Ghost from the past, a.k.a. “the trouble with bright girls.”  This is a shorter read and a thematic precursor (2011) to the article above.  Quick, interesting, maybe will change your life, probably won’t.  Quick quote that I have difficulty acknowledging that I identify with (too many prepositions in that sentence):

When learning something new is truly difficult, girls take it as sign that they aren’t “good” and “smart”, and boys take it as a sign to pay attention and try harder.

Lately (just the past few weeks) I’ve been feeling a bit down on myself for not getting a lot done this past year (my second year in my Ph.D. program).  Granted I got really sick a few times and got married, but those excuses didn’t change how I felt.  And reminding myself to “swim in my own lane” wasn’t great either, because I feel like my muscles aren’t sore- I haven’ t been pulling hard enough and thus haven’t grown as fast as I’d like to.  I stumbled across this blog post from gradhacker last year, and realized that everyone feels this way sometimes.  That’s just how grad school is.  Nothing really to add to that, just that it’s a fact of (grad school) life.

This is normally where I’d put a cute animal photo, but see title.

EDITED: I had two more articles I wanted to post, but didn’t think they were relevant.  Just reread them.  YES, relevant.  This post is now all about confidence.

  • Technical entitlement: not math, but we’ve all known that annoying person in math class who acts like they know everything.  And it’s even more annoying when they do know everything, and then you feel crappy for not knowing the things!  This article is about that entitlement, in CS-land.  I loved this bit in it:

One of my friends working in finance put it this way: “If I told people I started shorting stocks when I was nine—not that I was, by the way—people wouldn’t be impressed. They’d only say, ‘Who was stupid enough to give you their money?’”

  • On hope, fighting all this crap from above: this article is uplifting.  It’s by a CS professor who talks about how he was not technically entitled, as the article above defines, but people thought he was because he looks the part, and how frickkin unfair that is.  Ends on a high note.

I hope to live in a future where people who already have the interest to pursue CS or programming don’t self-select themselves out of the field. I want those people to experience what I was privileged enough to have gotten in college and beyond – unimpeded opportunities to develop expertise in something that they find beautiful, practical, and fulfilling.


One Response to “I have fewer than 99 problems, but the internet is one (more reading)”


  1. International Day of the Girl was October 11th- late is better than never? | Baking and Math - October 27, 2015

    […] Related old post. […]

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