Across America, women are making strides in politics, media and the academy. But few women are leaders in the burgeoning technology industries. The latest research suggests that close to 90 percent of tech start-ups in Silicon Valley are launched by men.
So why are women the exception in top tech jobs, and what’s being done to challenge that?
Throughout the month of March, Tell Me More host Michel Martin will explore these questions, on the radio and across social media. She’ll host on-air discussions with women who are tech innovators; and on Twitter, Martin and the show’s senior producer, Davar Ardalan, will moderate a digital conversation with more game-changing tech leaders around #NPRWIT.
“Conversations in the digital space are as important to Tell Me More as the ones we have on the radio. Looking forward to meeting innovative women engaging 140 characters at a time and adding yet one more layer to our storytelling. Also, can’t wait to see the kinds of connections result,” says Martin.
Find the entire schedule here. Follow along all month at @TellMeMoreNPR, and add your voice to the conversation at #NPRWIT.
Here’s an update on the Adafruit Kegomatic! We now have two kegerators, one with birch beer and one with alcoholic beer. Each keg has its own flow meter, both of which are connected to a single Raspberry Pi. The HDMI display shows you how much liquid has been/is being dispensed, and Adabot appears to show you the outgoing tweet after you’ve poured a drink. Follow @AdafruitKegBot to see what we’re drinking, and when!
Hello! My name is Stella Striegel, and I’ve recently joined the Adafruit team as Communications Manager. I’ve been following the maker community for years, so I’m excited to be joining a DIY-driven company.
I’m joining Adafruit just as my two kids are beginning to explore electronics and programming, and hacking with Adafruit kits is one of the fun things we’re able to do as a family. The kids tell me that I’ve got a pretty cool job, and of course I’m in complete agreement.
My family and I moved to New York from the midwest almost three years ago. I still consider ourselves newbies to the city, so when we go exploring, I like to bring a camera along. Here’s one of my recent favorites I took at the Delancey Street station.
I’ll mostly be working behind the scenes over here at Adafruit, but I will be posting on our blog from time to time. See you on the site!
Elle has a great interview with Aminatou Sow, one of the founders of Tech LadyMafia.
Meet Aminatou Sow, one of Forbes.com’s 30 under 30 in the technology sector along with her BFF and business partner Erie Meyer. The two founded the popular members only listserv, Tech LadyMafia, which allows women across the world (yes, the world!) to discuss anything and everything about what it means to be a woman working in technology. From how to negotiate your salary, to the best programming language to use for your newest project, TLM has the answer.
We chatted with one half of TLM to learn about why the listserv was born, what’s been the biggest surprise since starting, and what she thinks about female competitiveness.
A lot of people do talk about how there’s such a small percentage of women graduating with computer science degrees, and how there’s so much room to close that gap. Is there value in that conversation?
There is a ton of value to having that conversation, but when you have that conversation, you’re also making the women that are already there invisible.
What is something that surprised you when you started TLM with Erie?
I remember when we sent out our first query, like “Hey, join us!” My favorite thing that happened was that I ended up being the most unimpressive, least smart person on the listserv. And that was the best! There were these two women that were applying to be NASA astronauts! I think that it proves the power of networks. The whole point is to not be intimidated by other people. It’s to build a team and learn from each other.
Themla Estrin was a great role model for all women in STEM fields. Her obituary in the LA Times reflects all the wonderful contributions that she made to biomedical engineering, computer science, and more.
February 21, 1924 – February 15, 2014 Dr. Thelma Estrin, a trailblazer in bio-medical engineering and a role model for all women in science, UCLA Professor Emerita, and a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, died on Saturday February 15th in her home in Santa Monica, California at the age of 89. Thelma Austern was born in New York City, where she met and married her beloved Gerald (Jerry) Estrin, Ph.D. in 1941. They had been married for 70 years when Jerry passed away in March, 2012. After training as an engineering assistant at the Stevens Institute of Technology and working at Radio Receptor Company during WWII, Thelma studied electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin where she earned her B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1948, 1949 and 1951. She held a research position in the Electroencephalography Department of the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, thus beginning her career in bio-medical engineering. In 1954, Thelma and Jerry traveled to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where they worked on the development of WEIZAC, the first large-scale electronic computer outside of the United States or Western Europe. In 1955, they returned to Los Angeles and in 1961 Thelma inaugurated the UCLA Brain Research Institute’s Data Processing Laboratory – one of the first interdisciplinary laboratories dedicated to creating and applying computing to neurological research. She served as director of the laboratory from 1970 until 1980 when she became a full professor at UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. In the late 1970′s, Thelma was the first woman to join the board of trustees of the Aerospace Corporation. She took a two-year leave from UCLA in 1982 to serve as the director of the National Science Foundation’s division of Electrical, Computing and System Engineering. She also served as director of UCLA’s Engineering Science Extension. In 1991, Thelma retired and became a Professor Emerita. Thelma was a Fellow of the IEEE, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a recipient of numerous awards including the Pioneer in Computing Award from the Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing and induction into the WITI hall of fame. She loved to travel and was happiest when engaged in interesting conversation with Jerry, other family members and friends. Throughout her career and into retirement, she was actively involved in promoting women’s careers in engineering and science and served as a role model for girls and women throughout the world. She will always be remembered for her passion, directness, and drive to challenge the status quo. Thelma is survived and will be greatly missed by her three daughters, Margo (Marnin), Judy, and Deborah (Ache), four grandchildren, Rachel, Joshua, Leah, and David, as well as an extended family of colleagues and friends.
Astronaut Mae Jemison is a true inspiration for women everywhere and her message from the MAKERS Conference on women leadership is one that is powerful and resounding. Via the next web.
At the MAKERS Conference on women leadership this week, Google[x] VP Megan Smith, astronauts Cady Coleman and Mae Jemison and Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe took the stage to discuss the importance of increasing the number of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Jemison, who is the first African-American woman to go to space, emphasized that, as women become a greater part of STEM education and industries, it’s important for women to be in the room “helping to make the choices.”
She talked about her involvement with the 100 Year Starship project, which aims to send humans on an interstellar journey in the next 100 years, and how an endeavor of that magnitude must be a team effort.
“We can’t do this with just half the population,” she said.
Jemison continued with a quote from authors Will and Ariel Durant: “The future never just happened. It was created.”
“We have an opportunity to create the future and decide what that’s like,” Jemison added.
The Hindu has the exciting story on a new class of solid shapes.
The work of the Greek polymath Plato has kept millions of people busy for millennia. A few among them have been mathematicians who have obsessed about Platonic solids, a class of geometric forms that are highly regular and are commonly found in nature.
Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. Also, they believe that their rules show that an infinite number of such classes could exist.
The new discovery comes from researchers who were inspired by finding such interesting polyhedra in their own work that involved the human eye. Stan Schein at the University of California in Los Angeles was studying the retina of the eye when he became interested in the structure of protein called clathrin. Clathrin is involved in moving resources inside and outside cells, and in that process it forms only a handful number of shapes. These shapes intrigued Schein, who ended up coming up with a mathematical explanation for the phenomenon.
During this work, Schein came across the work of 20th century mathematician Michael Goldberg who described a set of new shapes, which have been named after him, as Goldberg polyhedra. The easiest Goldberg polyhedron to imagine looks like a blown-up football, as the shape is made of many pentagons and hexagons connected to each other in a symmetrical manner (see image to the left).
However, Schein believes that Goldberg’s shapes – or cages, as geometers call them – are not polyhedra. “It may be confusing because Goldberg called them polyhedra, a perfectly sensible name to a graph theorist, but to a geometer, polyhedra require planar faces,” Schein said.
A crude way to describe Schein and Gayed’s work, according to David Craven at the University of Birmingham, “is to take a cube and blow it up like a balloon” – which would make its faces bulge. The point at which the new shapes breaks the third rule – which is, any point on a line that connects two points in that shape falls outside the shape – is what Schein and Gayed care about most.
Craven said, “There are two problems: the bulging of the faces, whether it creates a shape like a saddle, and how you turn those bulging faces into multi-faceted shapes. The first is relatively easy to solve. The second is the main problem. Here one can draw hexagons on the side of the bulge, but these hexagons won’t be flat. The question is whether you can push and pull all these hexagons around to make each and everyone of them flat.”
During the imagined bulging process, even one that involves replacing the bulge with multiple hexagons, as Craven points out, there will be formation of internal angles. These angles formed between lines of the same faces – referred to as dihedral angle discrepancies – means that, according to Schein and Gayed, the shape is no longer a polyhedron. Instead they claimed to have found a way of making those angles zero, which makes all the faces flat, and what is left is a true convex polyhedron.
From grappling with runaway crocodiles to avoiding electrocution, a new mobile phone app aims to teach children across the Asia-Pacific region how to stay safe when floods strike.
Following the deluge in Thailand in 2011, which killed more than 800 people, the UN agency Unesco’s Bangkok office has teamed up with software developers OpenDream to create Sai Fah: The Flood Fighter. Players can follow the cartoon hero Sai Fah as he battles a flood on his way to meet his mother, with each level of the game offering a lesson in flood safety.
Gaming is hugely popular among Thai youth. A recent study found that 72% of youngsters own a mobile phone and 49% use their device for gaming. “In Thailand, people love mobiles, particularly iPhones and Android, so this was the target audience,” explains Ichiro Miyazawa, the Unesco Bangkok programme specialist for literacy and lifelong learning. “We wanted to make characters in the game cute so people feel an attachment to them.”
Sai Fah: The Flood Fighter was launched in Thai language last month; this week the game was released in English on iOS and Android platforms.
OpenDream’s project manager, Nathalie Sajda, says the biggest challenge while designing the game was balancing entertainment with education: “To integrate learning lessons in a fun interactive way with the player – this is what makes the game interesting.”
Earlier last month we announced the Shorty Awards Nominating Board. We’re excited to announce that the Board has chosen several finalists for the 6th Annual Shorty Awards. Just a reminder, this year we’ve increased our total number of finalists per category to 7: 3 of those finalists are chosen by the Shorty Awards Nominating Board, and the other 4 will be nominated by you (you can nominate anyone right now with a tweet).
Although I am nominated individually in the same category, I’m really rooting for Adafruit. =D
Thanks for the feedback, I tried to fit a lot in but I know I missed a bit
My final project I made for my video productions class “Cutaway Productions” (Search them for their channel) at my high school. I don’t own the rights to the song or the pictures and I am not trying to claim them, I just did this video for fun and i spent many a hour on it.
Since 1825 we have welcomed some of the world’s greatest scientific minds, including 50 Nobel Prize winners, to our lecture theatre to share their latest research with the public.
In 2014 we are pleased to celebrate the achievements of women in science today with our first ever all women line-up for a year of Friday Evening Discourses.
Over the course of the year, leading scientists from across the UK and the Republic of Ireland will give a Friday Evening Discourse – a traditional monthly lecture open to both Ri members and non-members – on cutting-edge science in areas as diverse as crystallography, molecular evolution, the neuroscience of memory, genetics and obesity, geometry and electrochemistry.
Our 2014 speakers include Lesley Yellowlees, the first woman president of the Royal Society of Chemistry; Pratibha Gai who was named the 2013 European Laureate in the 15th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards; and Sophie Scott, well-known neuroscientist, columnist and stand up comedian.
Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education, said: “I am delighted that in 2014 we will showcase some of the world-class scientific research being carried out by women.
“My favourite aspect of the Discourses is that our members and the general public are able to hear from the scientists in person and learn about such a diverse range of intellectually fascinating areas of science in the intimate setting of our historic lecture theatre.
She added: “Our mission is to encourage everyone to think further about the wonders of science and so I am very pleased that a selection of these 2014 Discourses will be made available online on our video platform, the Ri Channel, so that anyone anywhere in the world will be able to benefit too.”
The Institute for the Future is doing a series on “extreme learners” and Lenore Edman from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has been selected as one of them.
This video is from the Institute for the Future’s workshop with Extreme Learners in 2013. Visit learning.iftf.org to watch more and share your extreme learning story!
Are you an #extremelearner?
An extreme learner is a trailblazer of the new learning landscape. For them, it’s not about an exam score or degree—the process is the product.
Extreme learners are powered by technology. They harness a fast-expanding world of knowledge that is increasingly at their fingertips. They know that learning now can be done anywhere at anytime.
Extreme learners are renegades who take charge of their own education. They apply novel feedback mechanisms and optimize their learning experiences. They have learned how to learn. And you can, too.
Extreme learners defy traditional definitions of teacher and student. They design their own curricula from online courses, get their hands dirty at community laboratories and hackerspaces, and seek out mentors. They help others learn, participating in an active learning exchange. They are teachers as much as they are learners.
That’s why the Institute for the Future initiated a project to examine the stories of extreme learners, to gain insight into their motivations, challenges, methodologies, and secrets to success. We created learning.iftf.org to share their experiences and to expand our knowledge by collecting stories from extreme learners of all ages and types. We also want it website to be a resource for you in your learning journey.
The New York Times has an interesting post about Genevieve Bell, a social scientist at Intel.
Dr. Bell’s title at Intel, the world’s largest producer of semiconductors, is director of user experience research at Intel Labs, the company’s research arm. She runs a skunk works of some 100 social scientists and designers who travel the globe, observing how people use technology in their homes and in public. The team’s findings help inform the company’s product development process, and are also often shared with the laptop makers, automakers and other companies that embed Intel processors in their goods.
Some years ago, for instance, Dr. Bell’s team interviewed parents in China who regarded home computers as distractions from their children’s school work. Intel developed a prototype “China Home Learning PC,” eventually manufactured by an Intel customer, with a key that parents could activate to prevent their children from playing online games during homework time.
“My mandate at Intel has always been to bring the stories of everyone outside the building inside the building — and make them count,” says Dr. Bell, who considers herself among the outsiders. “You have to understand people to build the next generation of technology.”
…In a corporate culture engendered by male engineers, and still dominated by them, Dr. Bell sees flaunting her otherness as part of the job description.
“Some things I do quite deliberately,” she told me. “I wear French perfume. I wear heels. I dress like I am actually female.”
Sixteen years after Dr. Bell, now 46, arrived at Intel, she continues to nudge, contradict and challenge perceptions. But now she leads her own research enterprise. Still, it can be hard to describe precisely what Dr. Bell herself does, because she tends to favor open-ended research questions that don’t have an immediately obvious practical payoff. Newspaper articles — with headlines like “Technology’s Foremost Fortune Teller” — have portrayed her as an oracle with magical predictive powers.
But over several months of conversations, I came to think of her more as Intel’s in-house foil, the company contrarian, an irritant in an industrial oyster shell.