back to article Astronomer slams sexists trying to tear down black hole researcher's rep

In response to the scientific community's celebration of the publication on Wednesday of the first picture of a black hole, internet trolls painted an even darker portrait of misogyny through an effort to discredit the female postdoctoral researcher, Katie Bouman, who led the development of the imaging algorithm. Bouman, a …

  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. notamole

      Why am I not surprised the first comment is from a drooling neanderthal who makes no salient criticism of the substance of the article (and doesn't know which punctuation marks to use)?

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Oh, muhfugen had a post on El Reg with, I quote, “Saint B. T. of Christchurch”*. That sentence was pretty much his whole post, so I am _not_ taking it out of context.

        * Edited out the name from his post, but yes, the guy who killed 50 people. That’s muhfugen’s hero.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Michael Hoffmann

            And...

            ... I normally never bother with the Report Abuse button. Let mouthbreathers out themselves.

            I made an exception for you!

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: And...

              ElReg,

              Could you darken the separation background a little please ?

              It's really difficult to tell which 'report abuse' button belongs to which posting.

              And no, I didn't intend to report Michael Hoffman's post.

              1. Rol Silver badge

                Re: And...

                I started a crowd funding page to fund legal action against muhfugen's parents, but there is no longer any need as several agencies have stepped forward offering their services for free.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: And...

                  Planned Parenthood? A bit late.

              2. Michael Hoffmann

                Re: And...

                Thanks, because I was going “me?! What did I do/write?!”

                1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                  Re: And...

                  We love you anyway. Oops...sorry...hugs are infra dig these days.

          2. AndyFl

            You trying to get ElReg in trouble down under?

            This really doesn't help things

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              No, we’re just trying to keep our social club clean and tidy and free from small-minded (and probably small-penised) idiots who would attempt to glorify unjustified hatred.

          3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Delete from history. And you can follow, as far as I'm concerned.

        2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        3. JLV Silver badge

          Btw, for the 3 downvoters besides Mufu. You may think that this is a totally unacceptable accusation, saying someone supports terrorists. And you would be right, this would be unacceptable. Worse than the usual “you’re a Nazi” name-calling some engage in online.

          Except that the “deleted by moderator” reply was Mufu, again expressing support for B. T.

          In a way I wish El Reg had let that post stand to show what vile person we are dealing with. He is _not_ some guy taking an anti-SJW position, being politically incorrect or even misogynistic.

          Nope, you’re dealing with a bona fide supporter of terrorism.

      2. CrispyD

        Hear, hear. Although I suspect you are being a tad unfair to Neanderthals.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          And he's just proved it.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Right. I'm frankly surprised, as well as disappointed, that neanderthals are still considered an OK target for racism.

          Most of us have neanderthals among our ancestry. They were human, and there's no - as in, zero - reason to believe that they were any nastier, personality-wise, than Cro-Magnon or any other contemporaneous humans. All we know is that they were individually bigger and lived in smaller groups.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            And as I correctly pointed out last week

            By the definition of "Species" , there is no such thing as Denisovan/Neanderthal/Sapiens

            They all interbred for thousands and thousands of years. This runs counter to the definition of species. At such time that they want to make all three a (Denisovan, Neanderthal, Sapiens) subspecies of a larger Species definition, then we can talk . Until then, when you say "neaderthall", you are talking about most populations in the world save for a few populations in Africa and SE Asia.

    2. IainT

      Single source arguments

      The journalist in question has been doing coding and tech writing since 1995; we're fine with his experience thanks, but you did provide a lovely example of the kind of simplistic thinking that caused the story to be written in the first place.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Single source arguments

        Yesss! Pls don’t delete it, for just that reason.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Single source arguments

        I'd have said an unlovely example.

    3. Trollslayer Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      OK, I admit it

      Evolution doesn't always work.

      1. A.P. Veening

        Re: OK, I admit it

        Evolution does work ... on species and over long time, not on individuals. However, some more misogynists have outed themselves and so reduced their chances of procreation, proving Darwin right once more.

      2. Tac Eht Xilef

        Re: OK, I admit it

        Evolution does always work. People confuse it wIth 'advancement' though, or assume it produces an 'optimum result'.

        Take the peacock's tail. Excellent for a male peacock to signal its virtue to others; in every other respect, a total waste of space and effort. Their need to show off is completely detrimental to their being, but without backing off they're stuck, dumb as a bag of rocks, and capable only of reproducing, squawking, and shitting everywhere...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: OK, I admit it

          Somebody I can't remember said; evolution is mostly driven by female's taste in sexual partners.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: OK, I admit it

            Either 'somebody' doesn't understand evolution or 'somebody' was grossly oversimplifying.

            The breadth and diversity of inputs to the evolutionary process are difficult to overstate.

            Some of those inputs are random.

            Some are obvious. Blatant display features like a peacock's tail, or the bright colouring of some poisonous frogs are intended to stand out.

            At least as important are invisible factors - changes in immune system function, adaptation to ecological niches or dietary opportunities can be major drivers - as evidenced by an incidence of adult lactose tolerance of as much as 98% in populations with a history of herding, and the multiple independent evolutions of the trait, using different genes compared to a 2% incidence in populations with no history of herding.

            For that matter, successful reproduction can depend on factors that are not about sexual attractiveness competitions - look up the effect on reproduction caused by the hunting of Colobus monkeys by chimpanzees - and why they eat the brains first.

        2. BlartVersenwaldIII
          Joke

          Re: OK, I admit it

          > Their need to show off is completely detrimental to their being, but without backing off they're stuck, dumb as a bag of rocks, and capable only of reproducing, squawking, and shitting everywhere...

          ...but enough about Boris Johnson...

    4. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      Regarding "SJW drivel like this article"

      Your complete incapacity to refute any part of this article combined with your puerile slandering of the author demonstrates one thing very clearly. Your intellectual manhood is seriously stunted.

      1. Sitaram Chamarty

        Re: Regarding "SJW drivel like this article"

        s/intellectual// ???

    5. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Why am I not surprised SQW drivel like this is the first comment. Not very clever or funny drivel either. I've done better while still passed out from too many drugs. Baby troll better go back to his mummy before the really nasty usenet trolls under the bridge get hungry. BOO!

      1. STOP_FORTH
        Happy

        SQW

        I never heard of this term before today.

        I assume their uniform is double denim, or is it whatever they want?

        1. StuartK

          Re: SQW

          SQuare Wheel? Bad idea, makes the ride unnecessarily bumpy, and serves to slow everyone else down?

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SQW

          Shouldn't that be

          FORTH STOP .

          ?

          1. STOP_FORTH
            Happy

            Re: SQW

            You are probably right. You do realise that it is just a handle or nym and not actually compilable, interpretable or executable code?

            It's all in caps because I like shouting at everyone else on the Internet, on television, on the radio, at bus stops etc.

            I disguise this tendency by trying to write reasonable, thoughtful posts (or just jokes).

            I did have a gander at Forth in the early Eighties, but I don't think I ever wrote anything in it.

            Yours, shoutily but incorrectly,

            STOP_FORTH

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. notamole

        Socially Questionable Wanker?

    6. Mike 125

      >the author's LinkedIn profile list no prior professional IT

      Wow. You really took the trouble? I'm guessing you've never been part of a team. Dude - seek help. We're here for you.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        "We're here for you."

        We're not. We're really not.

        1. Mike 125
          Facepalm

          I forget that irony must be flagged these days...

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Pirate

            Irony

            In some cases, irony[0] is best applied directly to the troll initiating threads such as these. Either in the shape of an anvil, a dull red glowing poker, or several other items more commonly used in ages past to make people see[1] the error of their ways.

            [0] like bronzy, but cheaper

            [1] figuratively

            1. Swarthy Silver badge

              Re: Irony

              Retrophrenology as a cure for Internet Trolldom? I can see a lot of people getting behind that one.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        And why would you think a linkedin profile is of any importance, accuracy or value whatsoever ?

        LinkedIn is just a spam machine.

    7. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      muhfugen, are you running for most thumb downs? Well done, little boy. And now, with all due respect, sod off!

    8. aks Bronze badge

      I type but have no qualifications an have never been employed as a typist.

      I write programs but have had minimal training in any of the languages I use and have rarely been employed as a programmer.

      I design software but have no certification from any outside body but when asking what to put on my business card, my manager simply said "What do you want it to say?".

      I wish I were an astronomer but didn't go down that path. The team who did this work are amazing, every one of them.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        I type but have no qualifications an have never been employed as a typist.

        I write programs but have had minimal training in any of the languages I use and have rarely been employed as a programmer.

        I design software but have no certification from any outside body but when asking what to put on my business card, my manager simply said "What do you want it to say?".

        I wish I were an astronomer but didn't go down that path. The team who did this work are amazing, every one of them.

        Yeah me too , hence i get paid as a dogsbody , not a developer.

    9. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      typical '-ist' accusations

      unless someone deliberately tried to discredit someone for being (in this case) "a woman", it's hardly ACCURATE to call such online behavior as "sexist".

      I'm surprised the SJWs didnt use the 'm' word 'misogynist'. I guess they didn't get the memo...

      Seriously, though, this is just typical online behavior by trolls and the like. Why add to their effectiveness by starting an SJW-motivated rant claiming "sexism" ?

    10. Paul 195

      Idiots like muhfugen give idiots a bad name.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        > Idiots like muhfugen give idiots a bad name.

        Sadly (*sniffle!*) the message has been removed. It had a rather glorious amount of down-votes, about 150 if I recall correctly.

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Megaphone

          Deleted post idea

          I believe most of The Reg website is written in-house, including the comments section. It would presumably be possible to leave the up and down votes showing even on a deleted post?

          You could even have a short text explaining why post was deleted, although I guess that could cause more problems than it solves. This thread will be rather perplexing for anyone reading it after all of the offending comments have been removed.

  2. DubyaG
    Pint

    Let's hoist one

    Here's Ms Bouman and team (I'm a Yank, so perhaps I shouldn't use the term "Boffins"). Great science and a god awful amount of work. Icon, because.

    1. Michael Hoffmann
      Thumb Up

      Re: Let's hoist one

      Ms Bouman and the Boffins would be an awesome 60s revival band name.

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Let's hoist one

      I'll see your beer, and raise you a malt whisky.* Excellent work by Katie Bouman and everyone else who contributed. It is great to see that in our computer science department the number of female faculty members is steadily rising (still quite a way to go), and in our group we already have as many female as male PhD students.

      *By all means feel free to have a bourbon or other dram of your choice, no need to be snobbish about whisk(e)y, after all, as Gordon Muir put it at one of his whisky tasting session: "It's just brown stuff that tastes good!"

    3. ibmalone Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Let's hoist one

      Minor correction, Here's to Dr Bouman and the rest of the black hole spelunkers.

    4. Chronos Silver badge

      Re: Let's hoist one

      I'm a Yank, so perhaps I shouldn't use the term "Boffins"

      We're all humans, adaptable and willing to learn. Use whatever term you wish.

      /me looks at first post

      Perhaps I should qualify that...

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Let's hoist one

      agreed - beer all around for the science team! but if they want one particular young female scientist to be the face of their effort, no problem here.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Let's hoist one

        An another from here. I just look forward to the day when the presence of a woman is no longer considered newsworthy.

  3. CrashMarik

    From His Twitter Thread

    "I don't care how many of those I personally authored."

    That was a post by a guy desperately afraid of being targeted by the mob. You could just see him sweating bullets worried he was going to be unemployable if he said the wrong thing.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: From His Twitter Thread

      muhfugen, is that you?

    2. JimBlueMK

      Re: From His Twitter Thread

      As he also admitted to being gay and liking musicals, don't think he is worried about the mob at all. My take is that he is a professional, understands the importance of team work and was giving credit to the person who lead a team of individuals to create a unique achievement.

      The upside is that it gives most of us a nice warm feeling, the downside is it brings numpties like you out of the cupboard.

      1. Kimo

        Re: From His Twitter Thread

        If he even THINKS about suggesting an Ursula K LeGuinn story as a musical, I will lose all respect.

        1. My Coat

          Re: Hunt to blame for NHS attack

          Earthsea sharp?

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: Hunt to blame for NHS attack

            I would absolutely go watch that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: From His Twitter Thread

        Bull, merely expressing the wrong political views, or even just wearing the "wrong" shirt is enough to get one perma-banished and you damn well know it. Being gay is no protection if you meet a higher ranked victim who takes against you.

      3. CrashMarik

        Re: From His Twitter Thread

        I am almost curious what a numptie, it's the most interesting part of your post. Anyway onto the parts that need lampshading.

        "As he also admitted to being gay and liking musicals, don't think he is worried about the mob at all. "

        That is appealing to the MOB, he is saying "God help me I am not one of them put down the torches and pitchforks".

        "My take is that he is a professional, understands the importance of team work and was giving credit to the person who lead a team of individuals to create a unique achievement."

        What a funny way to rephrase what I said. He is a person that doesn't dare take credit for his work, lest he be rendered unemployed and unemployable.

        P.S. If you think he was acting like a professional just how is bringing up his sexuality professional or even relevant ?

        1. sed gawk Bronze badge

          Numptie

          Numptie was the name of one of the dimmer vultures, in the 1973 Disney animated version of the Robin Hood story.

          It almost overnight became a byword for stupidly lacking in malice.

          A buffoon in other words.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: From His Twitter Thread

      "going to be unemployable if he said the wrong thing."

      Therein lies the problem, among the SJWs and political correctness mafia. They seem to *FEEL* as if having "wrong thinking" (or worse, wrong speaking) according to THEIR rules means PERMA-BAN to society, career, everything.

      Do we really want to empower people like this? I say NO. Give them the big middle finger whenever possible, those SJWs and Political Correctness MOB thugs... [they're really bullies]

      but if someone is truly sexist, I think a better response is more like "seriously? You actually believe that?"

      I didn't see one example of a truly sexist meme or comment, but I suppose there might have been. In certain ares of the internet, people go out of their way to behave like that. To characterize ALL of it as sexism, or any other '-ism' for that matter, does an injustice to identifying and stopping actual bigotry.

    4. anonanonanon

      Re: From His Twitter Thread

      He didn't have to say anything at all, he'd already been targeted by a mob of asshats looking to give him credit because it's impossible for a woman accomplished anything, and they're definitely not sexist, just pointing out that if a woman get's credit for anything, it's because of a SJW agenda, because while they said asshats are definetly not sexist, women never make the news in science so all existing evidence suggests women can't do science, not sexism, facts.

  4. C. P. Cosgrove
    WTF?

    ? ? ?

    Is it any wonder I don't use any form of 'social' media ?

    One word out of place, one remark that is outside currently 'correct' thinking or just one slightly inaccurate statement and you get rubbished - at best. I am fed up of hearing of people getting trolled for no good reason at all.

    I am a moderator on a forum which is regarded as being well moderated. Two things which get very short shrift are trolling and spamming, both will get you banned in very short order.

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

      Re: ? ? ?

      Trouble is "current correct thinking" is different from town to town, let alone country to country so anything people post is offensive to someone. As is this post probably.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ? ? ?

      I use social media for that exact reason, if you don't you leave it to become an echo chamber where no one will tell them they are wrong (not saying I'm right but I err on the side of logic and common sense)

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: ? ? ?

        Thanks!

        Because of you I can stay out of that fucking hollow hell hole...

        Keep it up! Will a beer help?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ? ? ?

          Thanks, sometimes beer is all you need and the ability to piss take these people into oblivion.

    3. lidgaca

      Re: ? ? ?

      'Social Media' ...

      "One word out of place, one remark that is outside currently 'correct' thinking or just one slightly inaccurate statement and you get rubbished - at best. I am fed up of hearing of people getting trolled for no good reason at all."

      Amen to that. Anyone else remember Dr Matt Taylor at the Philae Lander conference ? There were more twits about his shirt than about the achievement..

      I also refuse to drink the kool-aid.

      -- Chris

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ? ? ?

      "I am a moderator on a forum which is regarded as being well moderated."

      I bet the members don't agree. (I moderate a couple of forums... )

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: ? ? ?

        That's the problem with moderated forums. The moderator gets to choose the opinions, so it's pretty easy to ensure they're regarded as well-moderated by the majority of the remaining contributors.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: ? ? ?

          yeah, UNmoderated is usually better, leaving filtering and killfiles up to the consumer. USENET is a good example. I can understand why El Reg moderates their stuff, though. <suckup>they seem to be doing an excellent job</suckup>. It's because not everyone that they want participating has a thick skin and can just roll off the punches, then dare everyone to do it again. heh.

          Long ago I read someplace how many people on 'teh intarwebs' couldn't get away with saying the things they do to/about other people IRL to their faces. So they do it online, with anonymity.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is so sad on so many levels, the least of which is that there are so many men out there that somehow believe this tripe of relating to 50% of the world is correct. -

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been following this on Reddit and I think I understand why and how this has happened. It's a classic candidate for fake news and faux outrage.

    Initially there were posts about Dr Bouman (though they never used the correct term) creating the algorithm that allowed this to happen.

    Then there were posts showing her with some disk arrays and "this is the 9pb used to capture the picture"

    Next up we got posts showing everyone that worked on the project.

    After that the coder that wrote 850,000 of the 900,000 lines of code (fake ofc as per his response). I loved that one btw, I could probably write you an interface and a model to do what you want but if you asked me to understand astrophysics and the equations then I'm sorry but I ain't got a fucking clue. I'm still trying to work out x from gcse algebra.

    Therefore all the people that don't understand how algorithms and complex equations (myself included only in that part) wrongly assume she wasn't important and decided to launch attacks. It was an opportunity for incels and misogynistic clowns to vent.

    People just need to fucking grow up. Fair play to Chael, he knows what's what.

    1. JLV Silver badge
      Pint

      Too add to it, that according to the BBC, she was the lead on the project.

      Edit, from the MIT horse's mouth:

      https://twitter.com/MIT_CSAIL/status/1115965269392920576

      If she was ALSO the team lead, what kinda muppet moron* would expect her to write a majority of the code? The fact that she wrote a significant amount of code, and (some of **) the algorithms for the project is pretty impressive if she also lead the team or project manager. This was a big team. Which she was also gracious about pointing out. When's the last time _your_ project manager wrote any code? In a way, being chosen so young to lead an academic team is the most impressive bit. You see young people coding at top level quite a bit, but they are not usually in leadership position unless it's a startup.

      Poor Chael. Now he has to downplay his own achievements to avoid being tarnished with people who say a woman couldn't possibly do tech.

      Beers to both.

      * actually, we kinda know that one, don't we, eh muhfugen?

      ** I really doubt she'd claim to write all the algos, so I'll go with the idea that she wrote the core algos and concept but not all.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        "If she was ALSO the team lead, what kinda muppet moron* would expect her to write a majority of the code?"

        You make a good point: the best managers hardly seem to work at all. And yet, without them 'being there', things never go right...

        There are 3 basic management styles [ok others exist and there are variations between, but this is an illustration]:

        1. The delegator: This manager does very little of the work himself. His #2 guy is probably one of the busiest people, and does must of the low-level detail kinds of management. Delegators step back to see the big picture, and solve those problems that 'big picture' people need to solve. There will typically be a hierarchy underneath, with delegated authority at each level, even if it's an informal one. Working for this manager is typically good, as long as you don't mind a good level of accountability. But it will usually be clear as to what you're accountable for, and to what extent.

        2. The authoritarian: This person tends to micro-manage everything, getting into the detail, even doing the work himself. Working for someone like this can sometimes be good, as one person 'uber alles' might actually get things done faster. But it seems that most of the time its's like working for a dictator who hasn't got a clue. Authoritarians will try and punish people into compliance, EVERYONE staying late until things are done, yelling at people in meetings, breathing down your neck while you complete some bottleneck task until it's done, and so on.

        3. The affiliator: This person is everyone's friend, wants to get along, wants to make everyone happy, doesn't want to upset the apple cart, doesn't want anyone quitting or have to fire anyone. Although with competent people working for him, his projects may be successful, usually it's a dismal failure in which the manager gets called on the carpet for being ineffective. His people, however, LOVE working for this guy, because there's no real accountability, and he takes all the heat.

        So after "all that", if the project manager or 'team leader' only writes a small amount of code, even THAT might be "too much". In my case, the best "let's get it done" session with me at the helm involved asking the guy most familiar with the code "where's the part that does this", letting hm find it, taking a look and offering suggestions and "let's try this" to fix it, get feedback, etc. and let him do the editing. Project got back on track, too. It just needed some steering, that's all.

    2. Michael Hoffmann
      Gimp

      Oh Chael...

      With that name I can't stop imagining this guy in an orange jumpsuit, fall boots and a portal gun.

      And I can't get that aria out of my head now, either.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And now for something completely different

    I find those who discourage and denigrate women in STEM disturbingly odd and obnoxious.

    Usually they seem to be people who just plain don't like women and don't give a shit how badly they treat them.

    Eg the discovery of DNA, and Rosalind Franklin.

    If you get the chance, watch the 2016 film, Hidden Figures, it's a beautiful film.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: And now for something completely different

      "I find those who discourage and denigrate women in STEM disturbingly odd and obnoxious"

      I find those who discourage and denigrate women disturbingly odd and obnoxious.

      Is that what you meant to say?

    2. swm Bronze badge

      Re: And now for something completely different

      The book is better without all of the hype.

    3. John Gamble

      Re: And now for something completely different

      There's no forum or social network that's free of it.

      Stanford boffin is first woman to bag 'math Nobel Prize'.

      One of the attackers (posts since deleted) simply couldn't get his head around a successful woman mathematician.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And now for something completely different

        ...or, I imagine, something else into one. (Omit the "successful" and "mathematician" for the full force of the statement.)

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: And now for something completely different

        Probably couldn’t get his head around her maths either.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn, this is sad to read

    It's not unusual for the team lead to get the public recognition on a project (especially if there are more than a dozen contributors) - and if they have anything about them they usually make sure to acknowledge the contributions of their colleagues. Having been a team lead and contributor, I think that's fair enough. As team lead you are not only a focal point for the accolades, but also any brick bats if things go wrong. No-one with any sense thinks it was just Katie, and no-one with any graciousness, begrudges her being the main public face of the team's work.

    1. HildyJ
      Pint

      Re: Damn, this is sad to read

      I'd just like to add that Dr Bouman acknowledged her colleagues as soon as her Facebook photo (not press release) went viral. My congratulations to her and the team she led. Beers all around.

  9. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    ... and musicals.

    Now that's a troll!

    1. A.P. Veening

      Re: ... and musicals.

      Now that's a troll!

      A very good one, one deserving a whole box of cookies ;)

  10. Dr Scrum Master

    Being a gay astronomer...

    subjects I am passionate about – including space, being a gay astronomer, Ursula K. Le Guin, architecture, and musicals

    I'm almost at a loss for words. Dare I even ask what it means to be a gay astronomer?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Being a gay astronomer...

      What it means is not only "Fuck You Troll", but also "I think I'll just poke you with a big stick and press all your buttons too".

    2. Kimo

      Re: Being a gay astronomer...

      Must not make Uranus puns....

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Dare I even ask what it means to be a gay astronomer?

      He's extremely happy to be one.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Being a gay astronomer...

      "Dare I even ask what it means to be a gay astronomer?"

      Lots of lovely cushions to sit on whilst looking at the big throbbing telescope.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Being a gay astronomer...

        Something about your post ("throbbing telescope") suggests a lack of acquaintance with practical astronomy.

  11. Tom Kelsall
    Boffin

    I don't even get why we have to call out someone's gender/sexual preference/sex at all; what's wrong with "Here's Katie Bouman, the scientist who was responsible for..." or "Here's Dave Smith, the astronomer who..."

    Why is it relevant to the story whether the person is male, female, gay or straight, presenting as male or female? Similarly unimportant whether the person is Sikh, Muslim, Christian or Hindu. White, brown or black. What's important to the story is their job and the role they played in the thing being reported. Astronomer. Scientist. Team Leader. Project Manager. Whatever.

    Oh - except of course when we're trying to redress a ridiculous balance in favour of old white men with no redeeming features.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree that the world should be like that, but it has been relatively recent that anyone not a white, straight, christian, and male got the opportunities and recognition that would be normal for the aforementioned. So, those many humans who do not fall into that first category have few reference for success let alone acceptance. So, it is still important that those who don't fall into the historically successful category point that out if they are comfortable in so doing.

      1. Juillen 1

        What planet?

        Incorrect. It's only recently been the population expansion of that segment that has produced the statistically necessary saturation in the UK/US to gain commensurate representation. Or are you assuming that there were no universities in Middle East, India, Africa etc. that did science until very recently? Hell, a few hundred years ago, you had to be in the middle east to do real science (until they got a wing of political nutjobs that forced a theocracy and denounced science as being heretical unless it agreed with their ideology). Until a few generations ago, you had to be very rich to do science and academia; most people had a struggle just staying alive.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What planet?

          (until they got a wing of political nutjobs that forced a theocracy and denounced science as being heretical unless it agreed with their ideology).

          It's sort of the opposite ... the golden age of the Middle East was actually *under* a theological rule (starting from the Umayyads, through Abbasids, and until the Ottomans, all rulers used the title "caliph" and whose political power came from the people as set forth the laws of religion, hence theocracy). It all went well until civil wars tore the unified Islamic world into mini-states, starting from around the period Andalusia returned to Spanish rule, and ending with the so-called "Arab Revolt" that divided the Arab countries into twenty-two land islets under secular/Communist/nationalist banners.

          N.B. : Care to cite anything to back up the italicised claim? It seems to be the other way round - when the theological state was completely doomed, funds and focus were transferred from less-worthy areas (scholarship, science, etc) to more worthy ones (worship of the Dear Leader and their ideology-du-jour)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What planet?

          Isaac Newton was the equivalent of those Harvard scholars who have to work to earn their keep.

          His family were small landowners, they would be far too poor to send someone to Cambridge without financial help.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: What planet?

            Newton got into Cambridge because of a connected relative and then worked his keep to begin with, then achieved a scholarship.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The BBC tries to look progressive and instead looks like they've wheeled out the "demonstration dolly bird" to wave her hands towards the "confusing technical stuff"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Problem is now everyone else has gotten a leg up via various "positive discrimination" and "affirmative actions" apart from white males from poor i.e. deprived backgrounds / lowest socio economic categories - no connections to call on, don't qualify for any "balancing quotas" so unless they are of genius level intellect they will always be at a disadvantage and sadly never reach their potential as they all too often find every door slammed in their face (terrible schools, teachers who view them as "problems waiting to happen" due to who their parents are or the streets they live on and ergo don't help them in anyway while lavishing attention on the more affluent kids and those who come from "under represented groups" and because of that they give up trying.

      It has been mentioned in various studies but gets no govt attention, because hey they're white and male so the study must be junk eh? While ignoring the truth of the matter, that they are a group being left behind, discriminated against at every step of the way and its leading to resentment - look at the makeup of various far right groups - young white men from extremely deprived and poor backgrounds - traditional roles have all been offshored, closed down etc and they've been left with no options or help. Cut someone off from opportunity to better themselves and you create a group without hope and that often leads to hatred, you'd think we'd have learned from Germany in the 1930s

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agreed, bigots are the devil and people are stupid

        Any sort of bias +ve or -ve always damages far more people than it helps, with the only real winners being polititians and others those who want what they are unwilling to work for.

        The truth is that there can never be true equality whilst access is unequal and anyone who says different is naive or has their own axe to grind at everyone elses expense.

        That bias activists only ever snipe rather than promote a general improvement of access for everyone is why they never deserved your time, again anyone who says different is naive or on the take.

        The original story was of scientists who got in the news through hard work, I don't care what gender or orientation they are these issues are irrelevant to the reason for their fame.

        This article is not about the science team's worthy success but rather so the bigots who love the sound of their own voices can spew out their worthless opinions at science's expense and frankly not the reason that I read thereg.

    4. CheesyTheClown

      Thank you!!!

      I had not considered her gender to be relevant. I have a friend who is a physicist, he pees sitting down because his mother would have beaten him to death for dripping on her floor. I don’t think it’s ever been relevant to his research which way he pees, why would it matter to Katie’s research how she pees?

      She is a Ph.D from MIT and a researcher and professor at CIT... she’s way beyond gender issues when it comes to her profession. Even if for some reason she was at the lowest possible level of accomplishment for someone in her position, she would still be a frigging brilliant scientist. And from what I can tell, she is definitely not at the bottom.

      As someone who respects the hell out of her life accomplishments, I will make some comments that border on sexist. Her presentation of her work includes a level of giddiness and bubbliness (if that is a word) that if a guy did it would be creepy, but her case is endearing to the point of bordering on adorable. She seems to love her work as much as I love mine. I can almost imagine my next presentation of my research having cute little squeaks in it like she has done in her presentations. I just started writing a brief postulate on applying Lagrangians to the Finite Element Method to attempt a P solution to an NP problem in structural analysis by defining desired results and calculating idealized mesh coefficients by working in reverse. I am so going to roll forward on my toes and yip like Katie does so I will can show my excitement. I’ll probably have rotten eggs thrown at me, but I don’t care... I love what I do and I want to show it like she does.

      I have no idea how old she is, but I would love to adopt her and make her my daughter and we can do math together and be bubbly together :)

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Thank you!!!

        In one aspect her gender is not relevant, and in a fair and equitable world, nor should it. Its just a pity that we don't live in this world and despite a general acknowledgement that this is the direction where we should be heading, there will always be conservative voices who decry their perceived loss of privilege who will try and drag us backwards.

        In another aspect it does matter. As someone who has tried for many years to encourage women to go into software, I know that many women have a low opinion of the software industry and feel it is a misogynistic, male dominated world where women either need to conform to a male nerd stereotype or be belittled and marginalized. Dr Katie Bouman (I do wish people would use her entire title) is the kind of role model that helps address the balance. She is articulate, photogenic and has an infectious enthusiasm that makes her an effective communicator. While I would prefer that her work and the group she led would stand by itself, we live in a world where perceptions are important.

        Of course the trolls who feel threatened by her existence or by her brilliance because they conflict with there world view that intelligence can only exist in those with the correct number of chromosomes. They will therefore try everything be belittle her contribution. This must be be defended against by anyone who believes that all science should be a meritocracy

  12. Mike 125

    Great work by all.

    "Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow with the Event Horizon Telescope and an assistant professor in the computing and mathematical sciences department at Caltech, was one of more than 200 scientists who participated in the project..."

    This is real science. It's still being done! And that's the best news I've heard since the Referendum.

    Beers to ALL involved.

    1. Shooter

      Fellow?

      As always, a relevant Dilbert comic...

      https://dilbert.com/strip/1991-09-07

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Fellow?

        Sorry Dilbert is no longer relevant ever since Scott Adams declared he was for the dark side

        1. John 62

          Re: Fellow?

          Scott Adams has always been for the dark side (I read The Dilbert Principle back in the day and used to subscribe to his mailing list, e.g. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdb/msg00573.html), but reading the odd Dilbert strip won't kill you and might even make you laugh.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fellow?

            Scott Adams is an economist by profession. Of course he's for the Dark Side. Why else is it called the Dismal Science?

            Economics Rule 0:

            In the long run we use up our resources and we're all dead.

            1. STOP_FORTH
              Joke

              Re: Fellow?

              Tim Worstall, is that you?

  13. STOP_FORTH
    Facepalm

    Heroes and heroines

    Any major announcement to do with "Big Science" (CERN, LIGO, EHT etc) usually has a published paper with hundreds of contributers. That is just the nature of large, collaborative projects.

    Couple that with PR people dealing with a media machine that wants stories that people can understand (here is the boffin wot dun it) and you get simplistic, relatable press stories.

    Add in a dash of group-think from the nutter-magnets of social media and all this kind of tripe happens.

    (I acknowledge that I nicked "nutter magnet" from another Commentard's description of BBC's HYS. It is an expression that needs wider circulation.)

    Nutter magnet output should not determine the future of scientific progress.

    Just sayin'

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Heroes and heroines

      "Couple that with PR people"

      That's the real problem here. PR hangers-on.

      PR is always liable to reduce science to a level that overlaps with the under-stone crawlers.

      1. STOP_FORTH
        Mushroom

        Re: Heroes and heroines

        Big Science is publicly funded, mostly. However much we may not like it, politicians control the purse-strings and the general public have nominal control over politicians' agendas. So, I'm guessing savvy science bureaucrats actively seek good press.

        The modern equivalent of letters to the editor is self-published and unmoderated. I think this is the real problem, we now have inexpensive vanity publishing for the hard of thinking. I blame Tim Berners-Lee, he should have stuck to creating black holes to destroy the Earth.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Heroes and heroines

          "So, I'm guessing savvy science bureaucrats actively seek good press."

          They need to get better PR people on the job. There were a lot of people involved in a lot of ways and plenty of stories.

          An observatory at the S. Pole would be a good story that wouldn't strain the brain power of the Daily Mirror. Imaging S/W would, however but here's a story with a picture that will hit the Daily Mirror's buttons guaranteeing that a lot of irrelevant issues will be raised. If there was ever an angle that would ensure the outstanding achievement would be overshadowed this was it.

          Yes, of course it's wrong that we have to consider this but it wasn't at all savvy not to realise what the media would pick up on (some segments of the media being what they are) and what the political wannabes on both extremes would then do with it.

          1. STOP_FORTH

            Re: Heroes and heroines

            When I first saw the map showing the telescopes I wondered why there wasn't one at the North Pole. I guess the foundations would have to go down quite a way!

            1. harmjschoonhoven

              Re: Heroes and heroines

              @STOP_FORTH

              The South Pole Telescope did contribute to the EHT project. The Black Hole at the center of M87 can not be simultaneously visible above the horizon at South Pole and the North Pole.

              1. STOP_FORTH
                Thumb Up

                Re: Heroes and heroines

                I understand that! I hadn't realised EHT was an ad hoc, two object telescope, I assumed it could be used for other targets. There isn't a site in Canada either, for that matter, I presume they don't have any radio telescopes suitable for the task?

                1. tony2heads

                  Re: Heroes and heroines

                  Observations at 1mm wavelength can have problems with the troposphere, so you want to build your radio telescope at high enough altitude to reduce the effects (preferably more than 2km above sea level)

                  Mount Asgard might be a good place for the Canadians to build one as it has

                  1) a cool name (VITAL!)

                  2) a flat top for construction

                  1. STOP_FORTH
                    Trollface

                    Re: Heroes and heroines

                    Idris Elba would never allow it.

                    (Troll icon is closest thing to Norse God. This one lives under Rainbow Bridge.)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Heroes and heroines

      ""nutter magnet" It is an expression that needs wider circulation."

      Agreed, wholeheartedly. But we need a scale and unit of measurement before it can be added to El Reg's alternative measurements table.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Heroes and heroines

        Tricky.

        The usual unit choice is to name the unit after an important example, as per the milliHelen. But we wouldn't want to give the initial poster the oxygen of publicity, would we ? And in any case, they're not a magnet but merely a clinger.

        I guess we could choose some nm who's already got plenty of publicity and won't be affected by a little more. The word 'Boris' comes to mind, defined as 'the level of nuttermagnetism which attracts one nutter's support post per day'.

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Facepalm

          Nutter magnet

          Oh dear, I appear to have opened a can of worms. The original post (which I can't find) was describing BBC Have Your Say as a nutter magnet. I assumed the expression would only apply to comment sites and forums on the Internet, such as The Daily Mail. But I can quite see how personalities, politicians, political parties, religious sects, social movements of almost any kind, etc - could all be described as nutter magnets.

          Would one unit be adequate for measuring such things? What are we measuring, the strength of the magnet, the number of nutters attracted, the nuttiness of the nutters using some form of weighted average?

          If we are not very careful we could end up with a large number of confusing units. (See measurements of radiation and distance/height/velocity units in aeronautics.)

          Just found it. It was "werdsmith" in the article on SABRE jet/rockets. Looks like it is a fairly well-known phrase, but it was new to me.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Nutter magnet

            "Would one unit be adequate for measuring such things? What are we measuring, the strength of the magnet, the number of nutters attracted, the nuttiness of the nutters using some form of weighted average?"

            Having read Dabbsys columns for some years now, he does appear to attract more than his fair share of nutters. In light of this, I would nominate "The Dabbsy" as the unit of measurement for "Nutter Magnets".

            I suspect it will most commonly be used in a similar way the the Farad, ie the base unit is too big for most everyday uses. 1 Dabbsy attracts large number of nutters whereas most of us rarely attract multiple nutters even over a long period of time so we'll most likely use milliDabbsy or even microDabbsy

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heroes and heroines

        Nutter magnet field strength must surely be measured in Teslas, like ordinary magnetic fields. Because any article about Tesla the company also brings out the nutters.

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Thumb Up

          Re: Heroes and heroines

          Well, that's a good start.

          Any article about Tesla, the person, also brings out the nutters!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Heroes and heroines

            The nutter-magnet effect.

            Social media and generic comment websites like the BBC and Guardian pages are exposed to millions and millions of people. Of those millions there are guaranteed to be a fair amount of nutters. Nutters, by their nature, are more likely to have an opinion and want to impose it, so they are attracted to these websites more often than a normal human, who might have an opinion but sees no point in typing onto a website.

            Therefore social media and the like gives a false impression of the the thoughts of the population, as it tends to be weighted toward the thoughts of the nutters. Unfortunately these nut forums can also have a slightly influential effect too.

            Imagine you had a ton of flour and in that ton of flour you know you have a gram of iron filings. Run the flour over a powerful magnet to separate out the filings. The magnet is the metaphor for social media and the iron filings are the nutters and looneys. There will be a bit of flour trapped between the filings and the magnet.

            I don't know a single person in my life who would consider women to be anything other than equal to men. There are actually relatively few people who do but if you want to find one, then go to where they gather.

            1. Chris G Silver badge

              Re: Heroes and heroines

              @werdsmith.

              Great analogy, however I think you underestimate at 1 part per million for nutter density in the population at large. Talking, listening and following various media, I would guess it to be more like 10% or higher.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Why have women in science become such a contentious issue?

    In my experience - nearly 60 years- they've just been there, starting with a couple of University lecturers and some classmates including a then girl-friend. Subsequently there've been SWMBO, our daughter, her friends, SWMBO's sister, my god-daughter, her friends, another cousin's daughter and numerous colleagues and friends over the course of 20 years in science. Fair enough, a couple of those veered out of science into finance ("that's where they keep the money") but otherwise it's just normal to expect some of the people in science to be women.

    I can only assume that those on either side who make a fuss aren't themselves scientists. Not being scientists; now that really is weird.

    1. A.P. Veening

      Not being scientists; now that really is weird.

      Who removes the waste from your household? Would you say that garbage collector is useful to society? But he isn't a scientist, so he is weird?

      I have some disturbing news for you: Most people aren't scientists and a large bunch of those classified as scientists aren't really either, just glorified button sorters with delusions of grandeur.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    2. STOP_FORTH
      Joke

      Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Mister

      Not being engineers - now that's really weird.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Mister

        Fair enough. I should have written "women in STEM" in the first place as one of my list is actually an aeronautical engineer. But there's no corresponding occupational noun.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this becoming a permanent thing now?

    Some kind of technological or research breakthrough and the thing people latch on to will be "The chick didn't write a lot of code but takes a lot of credit" or "The bloke wore a shirt with scantily clad women on it in front of a camera" ?

    I'd like to get off this planet.

    1. Juillen 1

      It'll stop..

      When the title is "Woman does (x) which is part of a process that's been going on for years".

      The group in question did a remarkable thing, and the lady that led them seems to be a spectacular mind. Hurrah all round.

      They're scientists. The bit that matters is between their ears, not their legs.

      Making it "a woman does this", "a woman does that" is starting to irk. If you listed all the things that men did and put "a man did this" for all the nice stuff, implying that women are excluded, you'd be accused of sexism.

      Making "a scientist did this" with a pic of the woman that led it all, looking dead happy, would be great. I'm suspecting it's the level of not-so-subtle misandry that's going around these days is just irritating people to such a degree that they're railing against publications like this.

      Personally, I wish the misandrists and the reactive crowd would both go away. Neither side is actually fixing anything, and they're both part of a problem that wouldn't be there if both sides packed up and vanished.

  16. Pete4000uk

    Lots of virgins

    Who would struggle to get near any kind of hole.

    Ignore them, then they will go and play... with themselves.

  17. The Cowboy Online

    Interesting comments that seem to be more concerned with being 'on message' than the facts

    The thing is Katie Bourman is a victim of the media's desire to 'promote women in STEM' and turn her in to a poster child, and it would seem El Reg are fully on board with this agenda, certainly the author of the article is.

    For information on how the team was made up, and there were a **lot** of people involved, see here;

    https://bhi.fas.harvard.edu/our-people

    She was one of many people but, for some reason, the media were obsessed with turning her in to a totem figurehead for 'women in STEM'. The sooner the media lose their 'identity politics' obsession the better for everyone.

    1. smartroad

      Re: Interesting comments that seem to be more concerned with being 'on message' than the facts

      I was thinking the same thing. It is a shame that the media can't just show a woman as having done something amazing and leave it at that to inspire. They have to also get in the "now for more women in XYZ field". It takes away from the actual accomplishment and turns it into an adgenda.

      I truly hope it inspires girls and women to take up science and technology, but they shouldn't be brow beaten into doing it. Let the work be the message, you don't have to also explain it on top.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting comments that seem to be more concerned with being 'on message' than the facts

      >The thing is Katie Bourman is a victim of the media's desire to 'promote women in STEM'

      I'm inclined to agree and this approach doesn't do anybody any favours, it's the Science that counts and not the fact that somebody wears a bra or not. A few noisy people trying to change the agenda.

      FWIW, I encourage my daughter in science not because she's a girl but because science is fascinating.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting comments that seem to be more concerned with being 'on message' than the facts

        Our A level maths statistics teacher didn't wear a bra. Is that relevant? I was pretty good at statistics, and even at remembering to make eye contact.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting comments that seem to be more concerned with being 'on message' than the facts

      Having a daughter who has twice been a "poster child" for women in STEM, I can tell you that in the wider world there are a lot of girls who need a nice big poster to tell them to stand up to teachers and parents.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And here lies the problem.

        The teachers and parents?

        So it's not really about just helping those in the fields, it's about getting others to accept it. Will a poster help those teachers and parents change? Or is there a way we can help the individuals change the views of their teachers and parents, or at least manage the expectations of them?

  18. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Obligatory xkcd

    Ink's still fresh on this one

    https://xkcd.com/2135/

  19. Trigun
    FAIL

    Culture war

    The culture war appears to have arrived at the register. And no, I'm not backing either side in this instance. Just sick of it and was hoping it'd stay away from this forum.

    How about we not turn oursleves into culteral zealots and just talk about tech stuff instead.

    1. STOP_FORTH

      Re: Culture war

      Well, I'm not too keen on the Idiran Empire myself.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want to understand and know some of the science behind this I recommend this from 2017,

    https://www.ted.com/talks/katie_bouman_what_does_a_black_hole_look_like?language=en

    The juries out with me, I just think it's not foolproof and seems to fall back on a machine learning model. I also disagree with Einstein, quantum entanglement is not constrained by e=mc2 so where does that leave us?

    Having said that fair play to Dr Bouman, she's on the right track with big ideas that become a reality.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well maybe these so-called 'scientists' can explain this...

    If it's a black hole then why isn't it black? There's orange in that photo, it looks like a donut. I mean if I invented the donut, I'd want to be remembered for the doughy ring, not the hole in the middle. You can't own a hole can you? It just goes to show that when you throw money at 'scientists' they come up with this sort of nonsense.

    That money could've been used to give out free vouchers for amazon; something actually useful. And seriously - what's with this stem idiocy anyway? Does that get the potholes filled? It does not. I n my day, the 3 R's sufficed: reading, writing and religion.

    Kids.

    1. MCMLXV
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well maybe these so-called 'scientists' can explain this...

      Utterly brilliant - my favourite post in this entire thread (and the humour seems to have been lost on one sad downvoting soul). Wish I could upvote you more.

  22. creature.shock

    I honestly feel bad for Dr Bouman. She was made the face of this project when she really wanted the science to be the face of it. Journalists and people desperate for a win for women have made her the face of something awesome to see, but are also ignoring the other people on the project as well including people that contributed the vast majority of the code and techniques used to do this. Dr Bouman deserves credit but not all the credit she is getting.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Yes science. Where 100s of people get together and work toward a common goal and achieve.

      The antithesis of politics.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Posted AC for obvious reasons

    I don't really have a stance on this (I don't care much; this answers no questions in theoretical physics ;) But I don't want to post a CV or something) but I want to point out something:

    Credit feuds are not new. You don't have to be misogynistic to tear someone down (I read the subheading :P), if the venom involved in the feuds between "academics" (I dunno what term to use, but I include practitioners too) was a fuel the venom from the feuds around those who made the device that uses it for fuel would ensure our energy supply for their life-times at least.

    She has accidentally (as in "unintentionally", not to say either rightly or wrongly) become the face of something we look at for a moment then carry on with our lives the same as before. As a lot of programmers know there's no real way to make non-practitioners appreciate the amazingness of something you did or how lovely a design is. It's the same sort of problem. I learned this watching a maths "documentary" on BBC iplayer a few years ago, "pi also appears here" (normal distribution CDF shown, pi circled) - host asks fisherman for biggest fish after calculating the 99.9%th percentile, gets it basically right. Does the public appreciate pi now?

    It sucks that this has become polarised and politicised as now world+dog has an opinion - let the group come up with a statement or a group from within the project decide on this tedious issue.

    It sucks also because a line must be drawn, "I'd like also to thank the cleaning staff (I would but they're quite far removed from it), and someone who loaned me a book in year 9, and ... and ... and ...." but conversely we're all "building on the shoulder's of giants" I've not looked but I'd bet that what she/someone/whatever wrote involved Fresnel's work on light. As we all do, she/someone/some-people/whatever combined stuff - this is what we all do.

    If we're going down that road, the real MVP is floating-point standards, very forgiving to users and anyone who knows about them and cares about their code worries the fuck out of accuracy (you could cut a cigar with my ass hole I clench so hard when I see (1+x)^n for small x) :P

    In the picture she posted on twitter you can see she is happy, I feel the same way when I see my terminal show "it works" from an if statement checking the results of something - usually no one else gives a fuck (I've come to accept it, this is why I like conferences, people who will give *some* fucks!) I am sure many in the house know this feeling well. Let her have her moment. Secretaries and assistants (on any level) can feel personal joy at seeing happiness about some work coming to fruition.

    Please refrain from digging and trying to measure it - if we could measure "credit" there'd be no feuds. If you really have to maybe say "don't forget her team, she's accidentally become the face of it" or something (I'd avoid it as ... well I branded "misogynistic" and the wroth of twitter is a career ender)

    Putting the C into AC. Keep it cool guys.

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Facepalm

      Re: Posted AC for obvious reasons

      Um.....Secretaries and assistants?

      Really?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Posted AC for obvious reasons

        Yeah people you work with who do... that side see everything remember; it's in a very real way their success too. I used secretary and assistant to describe a bit of both, rather than both of them. I don't mean "tea-slave" and nor do I mean the person you walk past in the mornings. I mean someone who has spent a long time sitting at the table opposite you coordinating things with others and keeping you informed.

        I admit I'm not great at describing it, maybe they do do little and I'm just nice to work with ;) But at the end of a project that's taken a good few months at least there is a strong sense of "we did it".

        Having said that don't ever underestimate what assistants and secretaries do.

        There's also a case to be made that my inability to list just what they've done for me and for projects over the years is a strength but I don't know what separates me from someone "proudly ignorant" of it.

        I cannot fathom how'd you see them unworthy of being credited/thanked/acknowledge or whatever, but maybe you've got a 1-man-band kinda thing going on and you're thinking of like front-desk secretary who handles the mail?

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Facepalm

          Re: Posted AC for obvious reasons

          Well, I have worked with lots of secretaries and assistants. I have also worked with quite a few Doctors. I was merely surprised that you seemed to think that Dr Kate Bouman could be described as such.

          Don't get me wrong, some of the Doctors I have worked with have been completely hatstand, but percentage-wise they are usually cleverer than run-of-the-mill engineers or code-monkeys.

  24. Aynon Yuser

    Incels need to get out more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Frankly, in 2019 and with the resources of the Internet at hand, it is difficult to believe that anybody with a modicum of money and without an underlying medical condition is involuntarily celibate.

  25. Glen Turner 666

    Bryan Cantrill tweets

    There was an excellent response by Bryan Cantrill on Twitter:

    "This photo of Dr. Katie Bouman seeing the first image of a black hole upon reconstruction is perhaps the most evocative photo of intellectual breakthrough that I have seen -- of anyone, ever. It captures the moment of breakthrough just perfectly: the delighted grin; the eyes that show equal part elation and relief; the clasped hands that still reflect the intense anxiety of just seconds prior. It is a look that says, in short: "IT WORKED!" Anyone who has had such a moment in their life -- of prolonged intellectual struggle followed by breakthrough -- recognizes something of themselves in this picture of Dr. Bouman. That is why this photo resonates; not just because of Dr. Bouman's team's work (though that is obviously incredible!) but because her moment of joy inspires us -- all of us -- to strive for our own breakthroughs. There are regrettably some -- few, but noisy -- who have tried to discredit or minimize Dr. Bouman's role, largely because they have misunderstood what makes it so compelling. My observation would be that anyone minimizing Dr. Bouman upon seeing this photo must not have had that feeling themselves; for these embittered few, the feeling of breakthrough must be as foreign as the specifics of interferometry used to achieve it. Let us choose to collectively ignore these detractors -- and choose instead to be inspired by not just the achievement of Dr. Bouman's team, but by the incomparable elation of breakthrough, as epitomized by Dr. Bouman herself."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bryan Cantrill tweets

      Ewww. That reads like he’s tugging one off into a hanky whilst he types.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bryan Cantrill tweets

        A "hanky" - there's a word I've not heard in a long long time. Get a toilet-paper and a dog like a normal person you sick fuck.

        You also did nothing with "glaze her black hole with a hot light halo" and there's something there if you're going for the ejaculation angle!

        In all seriousness it's a bit meandering (calm down, it's not an award ceremony where you have to fill the time) and there's something about "let's ignore the detractors" I don't quite like but I'm not sure why (I don't do tweeting, but it's a bit echo-chamber-ey, like Ars Technica comments or something) [Nb 1]

        Just let her be happy is basically the gist. And I agree with him when he's like "we've all had that feeling" - I recently waited 15 minutes watching a terminal cursor flash waiting to see "Ok", "Fail" or an error report from something I'v been working on for a while finally have enough code to run a few principle problems, yeah it wasn't hand over my mouth joy (I'm saving that for when it is announced that the reboot/re-release/"super""hero" phase of EVERYTHING is over) but I recognise it.

        Lastly and seriously, if this guy does have that fantasy and it is "clearly" bubbling so close to the surface (not saying it is, but without references to candlewax, ice-cubes, M&Ms, a hose-pipe, handcuffs, some wellies, honey, butter or jam, or velcro-gloves, we can't be sure) ... oh wait I forgot it's 2019, fantasies are bad (and in this case mild) and to be surprised.

        [Note 1:]

        Typically "ignoring a certain group of idiots" is an in-jest dig at well-known and tolerate fault-lines in a discipline, think at one extreme, not retards and people who are not saying "the Earth is flat" for a laugh, at another emacs vs .... well the world.

  26. STOP_FORTH
    Thumb Down

    Decline and fall

    I remember when the Reg commentards all seemed to be fanbois arguing about iOS and Android, or freetards and copyright defenders.

    There was also that shouty Septic (not the bombastic feller, the one before him).

    I am so glad the place is now an Incel-magnet.

    We don't even have a Reg headstone icon any more!

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Decline and fall

      Oh come on, it is not that bad. a lot of us are still around,

      Idiots have previously stirred up shit about stuff, this time they saw that it stuck, now, el reg reports on it, idiot have come ... no worries, they come and go ...

      I do miss Matt Bryant ;-) Reg headstone icon for Halloween, pretty please.

      1. STOP_FORTH

        Re: Decline and fall

        I hope you are right, Hans 1. The comments section here used to be a good place for technical information, wit and good humour.

        It would be shame if it became indistinguishable from the rest of the World Wide Web.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Decline and fall

        Oh, I think Matt Bryant is still around. Posts less, downvotes more.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It never ends

    I'm fed up of:

    1. STEM - I understand why its here but I hate that acronym. Its cheesy.

    2. How sexism is boosted and allowed to exist by constantly feeding the concept that there are distinctions between scientists based on gender. Can we just call them scientists? Is that not the idea?

    I constantly see the fires stoked with articles/tv programmes/memes that try to highlight some invisible war between the sexes. They claim to be reporting in the wins for the female side and losses for the male side when in fact the truth is nobody really cares, because we already did this in the 80's and the 90's and so on. I have never met anyone who thinks a womens place is in blah blah, or girls cant do blah blah. The only exception being when a boy/girl man/woman are arguing and trying to win, thats just childish name calling etc and not a sickness in society at large. At least not this one, there are plenty that are sick, but I'm talking about ours.

    This just keeps adding fuel to the fire that very few, yet loud people sit around. Perhaps we need to move on, extinguish the fire and let these remnants of a bygone age learn that they truly are a minority and a dying one. Stop reminding them the fire is there, ignore them, let them fade into obscurity or even better take away their weapons (their words) and use them in different ways. Just like the word "gay" for example. Within a very short time that word took on a very different meaning with the original meaning obscure and usually used as part of a joke.

    But no. Stoking the fire is good for clicks.

    /me is playing Billy Joel We Didnt Start the Fire

  28. Glen Turner 666

    Boyer explains Dr Bouman's role

    There's an excellent essay on Facebook by Misty S. Boyer explaining Dr Bouman's role in the project, with copious references. You'll need to go and find it as I can't paste it here as the text is too large for a Reg comment.

    https://www.facebook.com/paganmist/posts/10156249525816313

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Her github contributions are public and anyone can go see precisely how little code she wrote across 6 months, which was her entire contribution to the project (which lasted over 10 years).

    When the BBC then run articles claiming 'this amazing woman took the black hole photo' while completely disregarding & disrespecting the team of >200 who worked together to create the image, THIS is the sexism on display. She is being propped up purely because of her gender, not on the merit of her work.

    I don't give 2 fucks about her gender. When I work on some component of a team project, I don't expect (or want) media running articles claiming I am the person responsible for the entire finished project.

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