Dependency Analysis, Female Capabilities, And Our Last Shot

CodeFX Weekly #26 — 14th of July 2017

Hi everyone,

what a week! On Monday I finally went back to really working on my book, on Tuesday I was in my hometown of Dortmund, first giving my Java 9 talk at the local Java User Group, then meeting friends to have some drinks and, by now its Wednesday, celebrate my birthday. Thursday was more writing and today I fought some intense battles with JAXB. I lost but the war’s not over! Somewhere in between I found time to continue the abating discussion on sexism that I wrote about last time and read some interesting science.

This weekly is a collection of the things I wrote throughout the week, so settle in for Java dependency analysis with JDeps, some studies on female capabilities, and a dire view into our collective future.

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Dependency analysis with JDeps

JDeps is the Java Dependency Analysis Tool, a command line tool that processes Java bytecode, meaning .class files or the JARs that contain them, and analyzes the statically declared dependencies between classes. The results can be filtered in various ways and can be aggregated to package or JAR level. JDeps can also tell you which JDK-internal APIs your project is using and is fully aware of the module system. All in all it is a very useful tool to examine various forms of dependency graphs.

The JDeps primer the email newsletter contains was since beefed up and turned into a blog post:

Female capabilities

Men dominate chess and programming, so their logical reasoning skills are clearly superior. Ever heard that before? Here are some thoughts and facts on that.

One way to debunk that argument is to look at the development of female majors in STEM fields. Have a look at these numbers NPR collected from the National Science Foundation, American Bar Association, and American Association of Medical Colleges:

Credit: Quoctrung Bui/NPR

If women’s representation reflect their innate capabilities, then what the hell happened to their genes in the last 50 years? And can we get that, too?

If you’re more into peak performances, I took a look at female Nobel laureates in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Economics. Here are the years: 1903, 1911, 1935, 1947, 1963, 1964, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1995, 2004, 2008, 2009 (4x), 2014, 2015. 19 in total; 11 in the last, 8 in this century. It’s the same picture.

Then I went looking for some studies on individual claims. Chess was a corner stone of the argument and I indeed found a study on the gender gap there (published in The Royal Society). It concludes that 96% of the ELO difference in the 120.000 observed players can be explained by the sheer number of male over female players (about 16:1).

Looking for logic skills I landed at math and a study comparing math skills in different countries (published in Science). It finds that the difference all but disappears in more egalitarian societies. (Also note the last paragraph explaining how girls excel at language skills, including text comprehension. Now, if that’s not a skill that’s relevant for programmers, I don’t know what is.)

As a bonus, I also found studies debunking the “boys are stronger than girls” theory, at lest in single-digit ages. See here and here.

I also brought skin color into the discussion by asking whether the same line of reasoning (underrepresented, hence less qualified) applies to African Americans or Hispanics. Just in case anybody doubts they’re underrepresented in silicon Valley: In California about 6% are African American, about 37% are Hispanic or Latino but Silicon Valley giants like Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook consistently report ratios of at most 2% and 4%. See also this Fortune article, although their diagrams make the precise amount of black techies too hard to read; clearly holds for Hispanics, though.

Our last shot

There are no shots this week. I spent most of the fleeting minutes in between work reading a dystopian nightmare, in which the earth became devoid of life over the course of just a few decades. Thing is, it’s likely to become reality. In The Uninhabitable Earth David Wallace-Wells takes his time (7k words) to walk us through a vision of the climate change apocalypse, based on but going “beyond scientific reticence”:

  • heat deaths by the millions
  • quickly declining food production
  • plagues that hid for centuries in permafrost and ice sheets and with which neither living immune systems nor medicine ever had contact
  • rising oceans too acidic for any fish to live in, spewing hydrogen sulfide (“the planet’s preferred gas for a natural holocaust”)
  • air so interspersed with carbon dioxide, it makes us stupider (no kidding)
  • and then of course economic collapse and perpetual war due to billions of people loosing their homes

Reading that in a time where isolationist and ignorant narcissists like Putin, Trump, Erdoğan, and May populate the political world stage makes me fear for my kid’s well-being. How the fuck are we going to turn this around if we can’t even get these guys to agree on whether anthropomorphic global warming is a thing?


so long … Nicolai

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