A native of Haifa, Israel, where “my grandmother’s garden was the world,” Neri Oxman, assistant professor of media arts and sciences, grew up fascinated by nature. She even considered becoming a doctor, but after three years of medical school, she took up architecture. “There is a productive synthesis between my love of medical science and nature, and the world of synthetic design. I definitely see design as a field where those two brains interact,” says Oxman, whose multidisciplinary background has enabled her to launch a new research area at MIT — material ecology — that merges architecture with engineering, computation, and ecology.
Sarah Allen has been the only woman on a team of computer programmers a few times over the more than two decades she’s worked in the field. Most notably, she led the team — as the lone female programmer — that created Flash video, the dominant technology for streaming video on the Web.
Since only about 20 percent of all programmers are women, her experience isn’t uncommon, and now she’s trying to bring more women into the field.
Donkey Kong: Pauline Edition – Girl saves Mario via Waxy -
My three year old daughter and I play a lot of old games together. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario. She’s played as Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Bros. 2 and naturally just assumed she could do the same in Donkey Kong. I told her we couldn’t in that particular Mario game, she seemed really bummed out by that. So what else am I supposed to do? Now I’m up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline. I’m using the 2010 NES Donkey Kong ROM. I’ve redrawn Mario’s frames and I swapped the palettes in the ROM. I replaced the M at the top with a P for Pauline. Thanks to Kevin Wilson for giving me the lead on the tools and advice.
Women in tech have come a long way in the past 20 years; they are pioneers, running their own companies, starting hackerspaces, and further paving the way for the next generation. Still, there are not as many women in tech as men, but the list of exceptional women is so long, there’s no way I can include them all here. With that said, I salute the ladies who are out there making amazing things happen in the tech world.
Many women are deterred from pursuing a career in science at the highest levels. Much more must be done to address the reasons behind this potential waste of human talent. Despite some progress, women scientists are still paid less, promoted less frequently, win fewer grants and are more likely to leave research than similarly qualified men. This special issue of Nature takes a hard look at the gender gap — from bench to boardroom — and at what is being done to close it.
I woke up to my niece’s phone call today. She had called to tell me that she finally had an answer to that fateful forever question of “what do you want to be when you grow up”. She wanted to make video games. This didn’t really surprise me – she always had a knack for summarizing complex game play in a few words. What did surprise me, however, was my inability to go back to sleep after that call. I lay awake, thinking about her future career choice, about how things are now, and how much I wish I could change them for her. I got up, and I wrote her this letter.
Kellan Elliott-McCrea (@kellan), a former architect at Flickr and co-author of the OAuth spec, is now the CTO at Etsy, the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace. During his tenure, he’s played a critical role in the company’s restructuring of its engineering organization; now, Etsy hires for diversity, particularly gender diversity. After witnessing first-hand how challenging it can be to attract women engineers, Kellan shares lessons in building a process and culture to attract female engineers. All the good stuff above belongs to him.
Working for months at a time just penciling a comic book I started these portraits to get a bit of inking and colouring out of my system. I shouldn’t say ‘portraits’, I’m not going for much of a likeness. Usually I’ll glance at a couple of photographs and then go off and draw a vague impression. Margaret Seddon is blonde, Judith Resnik is a bit barmy looking, that sort of thing.
I started with Valentina Tereshkova in January 2009 thinking if I drew one every week I’d finish the series around the end of the year. See how well that worked out.
When Hacker School made a big splash in the news last spring, it was due to their new grants for women. Sponsored by Etsy, GitHub and Palantir, the grants were aimed to help make Hacker School more affordable and inviting for women interested in attending the three-month student-led educational program. Hacker School is actually free for the accepted few, but living in their New York locale for three months can get pretty pricey.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron and now commonly known as Ada Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Because of this, she is sometimes considered the world’s first computer programmer.
Ada was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron (with Anne Isabella Byron). She had no relationship with her father, who died when she was eight. As a young adult, she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular Babbage’s work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843, she translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with a set of notes of her own. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program — that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Ada’s notes are important in the early history of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities.
Google has a doddle in France right now, let’s see if it hits the USA.
Ada Lovelace, large, oval black and white – Sticker! Celebrate Lady Ada Lovelace, one of the world’s first computer programmers. Adafruit offers a fun and exciting stickers to celebrate achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share.
Here are some more items for young girls, from books and electronic LEGOs to free iPad games, created by engineers who want to help change the ratio in math, science and computer classes everywhere. And hopefully soon, this ratio will change in company boardrooms, engineering departments and science laboratories everywhere.
Why did small business owner and gamer dad Mike Hoye spend the last few weeks hand-tweaking the text in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker so that the main character was referred to as a girl instead of a boy? As he put it, “I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero.”
Hoye and his three-and-a-half year old daughter Maya have recently been playing Wind Wakertogether, but Hoye was bothered by the fact that even players who change the protagonist’s name to something other than “Link”—which the game allows—always get addressed as though they are male. The main character is always referred to with words like “master,” “my lad,” and “swordsman.” Because Hoye’s daughter can’t yet read, Hoye has been reading the on-screen dialogue aloud to her and diligently transliterating the gendered language from male to female on the fly as they traverse the game’s Great Sea together.
To make this process smoother, Hoye eventually decided to hack away at the actual text of the story, producing a female-oriented version by altering the game’s data files. According to his blog post on the project, Hoye took a GameCube disk image (.GCM) of Wind Waker and dug into it with a hex editor. He changed all story text and dialogue by hand, then tested his work by playing the game file in the Dolphin GameCube emulator.
Cool Dad and cool way to show a kid hacking makes things better