Ermm, well, sorta

It’s disappointing to see Indigenous people underrepresented in engineering. Our ancestors are the original engineers. They have a deep knowledge and understanding of the land and the sky. They used their knowledge to form a lifestyle, innovating to solve everyday problems and live comfortably. The boomerang is a piece of aerodynamic engineering that has inspired many designs today.

Actually, in terms of engineering, the Abos (especially the Tasmans) are known for the connection between population size and the loss of technology. That population gets small enough and dispersed enough and then cultural transmission of things already known (fish hooks for example) falls down over the generations. Tasmania had technological regression after the seas rose….

It’s entirely great that the bird likes engineering, good on her, and she does seem to have found her metier, lucky thing. But the history’s a bit off there.

49 comments on “Ermm, well, sorta

  1. The boomerang is a piece of aerodynamic engineering that has inspired many designs today.

    OK. Any others?

    Our ancestors are the original engineers.

    Whose ancestors? It’s a bit difficult for me to be an engineer before my ancestors, so by definition they are the “original engineers”. The point isn’t that they invented stuff before my generation, but what they invented and at what rate.

    Guardian writers and readers. Their brains are just wired differently to normal people.

  2. The British found it easy to conquer Australia because of the extensive road network and bridges over all the major rivers.

    If she identified as a human being instead of as a member of a racial group, she would not be in the least bit lonely.

  3. It’s disappointing to see Indigenous people underrepresented on the BBC, but then I’m an evil racist and this bint is a wonderful human being.

  4. Hats off to Tim for that nugget.
    Tamina why all this concentration on origin stories, and dodgy ones at that? Engineering doesn’t involve itself with that. You right it is about a passion for problem solving. Go out and problem solve away, and help your fellow humans.Then in your dotage you can tell stories about how you helped them.

    So why Tamina spend time on the indigenous decidedly non engineering related angle?

    “the number of Indigenous engineering students at my uni is barely in the double digits, out of over 10,000 total students that study engineering”

    “This summer, she is a software engineering intern at Google’s Sydney office.”

    .Oh, i see.

  5. Of course, the way to solve this problem is to discriminate against the white people, like the Met Police do.

    You do get a two tier police force, naturally. But the good thing is that would be policemen who get told “No, you’re white so we’re not recruiting you.” can’t sue. Well, they can, as some poor sod did ages ago and was awarded 40p for his trouble.

  6. The Abos were in Australia for 50,000 years and invented nothing more complicated than the stick.

  7. MC,

    My wife is a mental health social worker and is of the opinion that all engineers are on the spectrum, me included. Most are not at or near the mass murdering, eat your victims end, rather close to the able to function in normal society end.

    One of our friends was confused, she understood my wife to mean we were on the spectrum because we were engineers, not we became engineers because we were on the spectrum.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=60P1xG32Feo

  8. Anyone can get to be an engineer. You just have to study like mad for a few years and be able to do difficult math, that’s all. Alternatively you can whine that you are underrepresented and get your ticket that way. Then when the building you erected falls down you can blame it on climate change or Trumpism.

  9. SS2:SotP,

    It would be tough for the Aborigines to be geologists given that in the 21st Century they still revere a sandstone monolith as sacred. Lectures would be very tedious if they had to shake a stick or whatever at every rock specimen they were presented with. Plus they’d fail all practical exams. Q1. This rock is: A. Sacred. Q2. This rock is: A. Sacred, etc. etc. Though they probably wouldn’t fail as the university would feel compelled to accept their culturally correct answers.

  10. I don’t quite understand why the Aussies gave into them over Ayers Rock. It’s not sacred, and it can’t tell you stories of your ancestors, because it’s a fucking rock. But it doesn’t surprise me that people who believe rocks have magical qualities do not become engineers.

  11. Doc, Interested – The Aussies are, for some reason, remarkably supine towards the petrol-huffing primitives. Seems to be a wild overcorrection for the olden days when they hunted them for sport, or something.

    Like the Yanks, they’re spending a significant proportion of their wealth on trying to bring about racial equality. And like the Yanks, they might as well pile those billions in a bonfire for all the good it does:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/8688531/Billions-spent-on-Australias-Aborigines-yield-dismal-results.html

    The main effect of Abo-favouritism is that all sorts of light-skinned people with little or no Abo heritage hop aboard the racial preferences train.

    There was a particularly amusing episode of Border Security: Australia where a pasty-faced Jew claimed, in apparent seriousness, that it was racist for customs officers to check his baggage, because he was Aboriginal.

    Ali G was just ahead of his time.

  12. If indigenous people produced the original engineers, and have a deep knowledge and understanding of the land and the sky, then why does she need to go to uni to study engineering?

  13. SS2: SotP,

    These pasty faced, one 32th aborigines steal scholarships and prizes from the (self) disadvantaged aborigines in the bush. They themselves cannot be disadvantaged because nobody looking at them would think for one second that they were aborigines.

  14. I’m pretty sure that when the white men got to Tasmania they found the Abos had no idea how to create fire and had to light fires via a flaming stick carried from an existing fire.

    No sources for this sadly.

  15. Our ancestors are the original engineers. They have a deep knowledge and understanding of the land and the sky. They used their knowledge to form a lifestyle, innovating to solve everyday problems and live comfortably.

    And what the fuck does any of that drivel have to do with recruiting, teaching, and graduating students from colleges and university with degrees in engineering?

    My ancestors developed the .45 caliber Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol, which appears to have been a bit more successful as a weapon than the boomerang. Maybe that’s why a lot of engineers are white WASPy kind of guys.

  16. @ DocBud
    That misapprehension is quite common but not all engineers are on the spectrum and not all those on the spectrum are engineers.

  17. “the number of Indigenous engineering students at my uni is barely in the double digits, out of over 10,000 total students that study engineering”

    Err, cos the 9,990+ others are mostly studying engineering as a vocation or career path, or as a way to make a lateral step into something else, and not as some kind of History of Primitive Engineering liberal arts BS.

  18. So Tamina’s good enough to get in her course, like the other 10,000 bsc students. Good for you Tamina. So what’s this, you got an an internship at Google? That is pretty much the holly grail of a software engineering undergrad. We’re dealing with a very special individual clearly. And the trouble is Tamina you’ve just written a guardian article telling everyone what is so special about you and it’s not the love of problem solving,, those 10,000 have that too.

  19. “They have a deep knowledge and understanding of the … sky.”

    Fuck off, lassie, just fuck off.

    “software engineering intern”: so she’s only marginally an engineer, at best.

  20. From the comments:

    ” If you bothered to find out about Aboriginal people, particularly by reading “The Biggest Estate on Earth” by Bill Gammage, you find that the entire landscape, indeed the entire continent had been engineered by Aboriginal people using fire. They changed the whole continent, excepting some too dense rainforest, and even made inroads into that. It was a feat unmatched by anyone anytime anywhere.”

    Is setting fire to things really engineering? The aborigines don’t sound as if they cared much about the environment do they – imagine all that CO2.
    Didn’t they also, like the Maoris, exterminate the local mega fauna?

  21. The boomerang is a piece of aerodynamic engineering that has inspired many designs today.

    Mere trial-and-error is not engineering. If it doesn’t involve some mathematics, it’s not engineering. Or am I defining engineering too tightly?

  22. By the time the Euros turned up, the aborigines were at the sort of technological level of Cro-Magnon man (except the Cro-Magnon cave art was more sophisticated). They had no metalworking technologies and barely even rudimentary ceramics. They were engineers in the same way that The Egregious Tuber is an economist. If the most important technological innovation you’ve made in forty thousand years is a stick you can’t even throw away then it’s probably best to wind your fucking neck in.

  23. @Theo
    “Mere trial-and-error is not engineering. If it doesn’t involve some mathematics, it’s not engineering. Or am I defining engineering too tightly?”

    It’s like claiming that catching a ball enables you to solve complex differential equations.

  24. Hallowed Be: Hardly- I doubt there’s anything special about this woman apart from the fact that her university, and Google wanted to pick a half-caste Abo.

    “I have always been a bit of a technology geek. My first programming languages were HTML and CSS.” – you see this a lot from ‘lady programmers’ – putting words on a web page is pretty taxing work involving a lot of logical thinking.

    One could assume that the dumb stuff in the article is the result of the article being dumbed down for Guardian readers, but it’s more likely that she’s just dumb.

    Prepare to read more from the Guardian from her in future. But it won’t be from Tamina Pitt, full stack developer, Tamina Pitt, theoretrical computer scientist. Or even Tamina Pitt, entrepreneur behind some new useless dating app or photo filtering thing.

    It’ll be from Tamina Pitt, publically-funded science communicator, or Tamina Pitt, outreach coordinator.

  25. She’s got it the wrong way around. Our ancestors weren’t the original engineers, The Engineers were our original ancestors.

  26. ‘They have a deep knowledge and understanding of the land and the sky. They used their knowledge to form a lifestyle, innovating to solve everyday problems and live comfortably.’

    And died at 28.

    Their big engineering breakthrough came when Grock discovered you could sharpen sticks.

  27. Hancock, the “average” age is meaningless.

    If a man made it to four, he probably made it to forty in stone age society. Women if they survived childbirth.

    Not that forty is anything to write home about, but most would have lived to see grandchildren.

  28. Gunker,

    But luckily, I’m not very good at listening to people who tell me things that I don’t want to hear.

    The progressive lefty force is strong in this one.

  29. @DocBud, December 14, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    My wife is a mental health social worker and is of the opinion that all engineers are on the spectrum, me included. Most are … rather close to the able to function in normal society end.

    I agree, we think logically and differently to most, often seem emotionless to others.

    .
    @john77, December 14, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    “Not all” – Good point. Most in engineering, IT, Motorsport… are.

  30. Australian Aborigines were still in the Paleolithic Age when Europeans arrived, they had no agriculture, no pottery, no metal, and never invented the wheel or the bow and arrow. The Tasmanians were the only people known to have been unable to make fire.

  31. PCar,

    I agree with everything my wife says. She was being somewhat tongue in cheek, being sat at a table largely made up of engineers and their partners (well okay, all the men were engineers and their partners were wives), but I do believe there is a kernel of truth in the claim.

    Martin Sewell,

    Blimey, must have been uncomfortable, temperatures can get below freezing during winter. Though it may have been warmer before Europeans arrived, the temperature records from before this event have mysteriously disappeared.

  32. As Martin Sewell points out, the Australian Aborigines were markedly under developed. Yet Ms Pitt calls them ‘the original engineers.’

    And they had no maths.

    ‘It can be lonely to be a minority in a large industry like engineering.’

    It’s all in your head.

    Engineering is not an industry.

    This article is a kid, apparently with a lot of potential, talking kids’ stuff. Teen Magazine material.

  33. “White skin and red hair doesn’t mean I’m not a proud Aboriginal man”

    Because a victim is the thing to be….

  34. Paul Rain – well yes, but google still might take her on. If you’re employed at all it’s to solve a problem for your employer. If you’re employed to solve the diversity problem in an engineering company it’s not something to brag about, quite the opposite. On the other hand If your metier is to encourage your co-ethnicists to do a similar job to you well then shrug .. go for it but it ain’t that interesting you know compared to actually building stuff and solving problems.

  35. I often wonder how thick groups managed to be quite so thick. Did bright kids leap into a canoe at the first opportunity and paddle like fuck? Did they toss the smart ones off a cliff? They’ve selected for it somehow.

  36. Don’t need people to start fires – lightning does it ok especially in arid bush.
    I was one of the blue eyes, red haired invaders arriving in Tasmania in 1961. There were some locals -mostly whitish- already present and brewing had definitely been discovered.

  37. @docbud
    “My wife is a mental health social worker and is of the opinion that all engineers are on the spectrum, me included. Most are not at or near the mass murdering, eat your victims end, rather close to the able to function in normal society end.”

    FFS man, psychopath spectrum != autistic spectrum

    They are different spectra, orthogonal to each other.

    Psychopaths may be charming, funny, charismatic, manipulative ….

    Far end auts count bricks in the wall, not murder people.

  38. ‘organising committee of Indigitek, a community for Indigenous people with a passion for tech’

    Racists.

    Can white Australians have a community for white people with a passion for tech?

  39. I agree, we think logically and differently to most, often seem emotionless to others.

    It’s why engineers often make poor managers. You’d have thought by now that engineering companies would have figured out that you keep the nerds with no personnel skills as engineers and let the crappy engineers who scraped their degree do the running around talking to people stuff, i.e. management. But no, they insist on putting complete sociopaths in management positions. Maybe in another century or two they’ll have figured this out.

  40. johnnybonk,

    I showed the thread to my wife. She thinks your lack of humour and some understanding of the two spectra suggests you are a psychologist, but she’d need more information to know how far along the psychopath spectrum you are.

  41. @docbud – fame at last 🙂

    I am but an ‘umble physicist by training, programmer by trade, no training in ‘mind’ sciences.

    But my point was real, that one should not conflate psychos with auts.

    All the best for xmas to you and you wife.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.