I'll leave overshot gates as an exercise for the reader.
...Dana Perino on women in defense:
Some of the terms I just don’t know, I haven’t grown up knowing. The type of missiles that are out there: patriots and scuds and cruise missiles and tomahawk missiles. And I think that men just by osmosis understand all of these things, and they’re things that I really have to work at — to know the difference between a carrier and a destroyer, and what it means when one of those is being launched to a certain area.
because men do have an inborn understanding of the difference between a Tu-95 "Bear" and a Tu-160 "Blackjack".
Dude. It took me forever to learn what everything meant in irrigation. It was so hard. I didn't know. I didn't know what was a category and what was a specific name, so that if you misspoke you were actually conveying something else. I wasn't sure what was a brand name and what was a model type. People weren't consistent! Different growers would call the same thing different things. People would say the same thing, but mean different things. "Foot" could be a volume of water (the implied area is an acre or maybe the field we were standing in, whatever), or a flow (short for cubic foot per second), or the pressure (vertical height unimpeded water would rise to for that lbs/square inch). I couldn't always tell what the speaker meant.
It always seemed like the men in my class knew. How did they know? I'd be confused and puzzling it out, but they were just moving on. Should I ask? Would everyone know that I didn't understand a thing about it?
Few things saved me. First, my irrigation professor would ask those kinds of questions. Front of a whole group of students, my professor who'd been in the field for decades, one of the top four or five people in the world at water projects, would ask the speaker what he meant. If there were a couple different interpretations, my professor would openly and immediately interrupt and ask. Oh thank god. If he could ask, so could I.
Second, I knew my problem wasn't 'cause I was a girl. My problem was that I was from L.A.. I didn't know how irrigation systems worked because I didn't work with them my whole life. There wasn't boy-magic to knowing this. You don't absorb the names of sprinkler systems through your cock. There wasn't any reason I couldn't know them, once they were taught to me.
Finally, it took me a little while to catch on*, but at least in water, things are often called things for a reason. Side-arm gates are radial gates, because they swing out from a radius or side-arm. Undershot gates are gates that water goes under. I wasn't always right, but the names could get me started.
In the end, I learned it. That was all it took, learning and repetition. The other thing I learned is that I don't fuck around with self-doubt and confusion any more. Those boys that just understood and nodded and moved on with the speaker? A couple of them were competition for the highest grade in our classes. Sometimes. Now, though, I ask. All the time. Soon as I don't understand something, I ask right away. If my professor could ask the most basic questions, so can I. I know it startles people when I ask like a four-year-old "what does that word mean?" "I don't understand, how does that work?" "I still don't understand. Could you please sketch what you're saying?" I occasionally get patronized for that. But never for long.
*Until I finally caught on, I was using brute force memorization. That's a pretty good technique for me, but it all got easier once I understood the family relations. Oh, those gates are all cousins because they rotate the same. Oh, anything that water flows over is a weir, and can also be other things too.