Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Male And Female Scientists Say About Women In Science

Portrait of Monsieur Lavoisier and His Wife (Wikimedia)
  • “morphological differences and biological differences [make men better at] hardcore math and physics.” — male assistant professor, genetics
  • "[There are] some brain differences between men and women that explain it." — male grad student, biology
  • “On balance [women are] just less interested in math.” — male professor, biology
  • “Physics is more difficult for girls and you need a lot of thinking, and the calculation, and the logic. So that’s maybe hard for girls.” — male grad student, physics
  • “Science has been a male-dominated field for a substantially long period of time, and it’s going to take a while for that shift to change.” — male grad student, biology
  • "Women have to make a choice [because] the woman ends up being the primary caregiver if they have children.” — male postdoctoral fellow, biology

  • “I think women ... want to have more of a sense that what they are doing is helping somebody. ... Maybe there are more women in ... biology [because] you can be like ‘Oh, I am going to go cure cancer.’” — postdoctoral fellow, biology
  • "Physics is more abstract and biology is more concrete. Women are less likely to like abstract things.” — female associate professor, physics
  • “[A friend of mine] was always told, ‘Oh, you’re not good at math,’ until she found herself getting As in a multivariable calculus class. You know, she was scared of math all through high school.” — female grad student, physics
  • “Male-dominated departments are really unpleasant for women. [...] Men can be huge jerks in those situations.” — female associate professor, biology
  • “I know a lot of women who are in chemistry and physics who are excellent at what they’re doing, but are often sidelined or ignored by their colleagues because there’s just not very many of them.” — female assistant professor, biology
  • “It’s not going to be solved until we figure out how to help mothers figure out how to do the career and the kid thing.” — female associate professor, physics

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Geek print skirts for that feminine touch

One of the annoying things about the lesser number of nerd girls is the lack of gender specific merchandise - there's a lot more Batman boxers than Knickers that's for sure. Some companies have led the way like XKCD's regex skirt but there's growing realisation that girls are nerds too and like to dress that way! Etsy has some great geek crafts out there and one of my favourites for the ladies recently has to be these custom printed geek skirts from Etsy user GoChaseRabbits

There's more designs ranging from lolita Alice in Wonderland styles to Mario adventures and at under $50 each these would make unique and affordable additions to anyone's convention wardrobe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This is my world: Inside Google's Datacenters

I am lucky enough to work in Infrastructure at Google and know first hand the beauty of our fleet, for the first time Google is making video, photos and information on our data center design public.

You can view gorgeous photos, take a video tour or even self guide yourself using StreetView.

I for one have been waiting excitedly for this all to be made public so you can share in the nerdgasmic photos. For added kudos noted technical history writer Steven Levy was invited to speak to our infrastructure leads, you can see his story on Wired

More at where you can find all the newly released media as well as a historical look at our approach to ecological design and innovative platforms.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

An illustration inspired by the A. E. Chalonportrait created for the Ada Initiative, which supports open technology and women.
Ada Lovelace is touted as the first computer programmer, and a female one at that. On Ada Lovelace Day we aim to raise the profile of women in science and technology.

How can you get involved?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grooveshark knows what music gamers listen to

Grooveshark the massive music streaming site has developed Beluga which is to music trending what the OK Trend Blog is to social data. Great for music nerds, data nerds and apparently gamers as shown by this infographic they've developed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A primer on Sexism in the Tech Industry

Net Magazine have printed a great primer covering concepts for sexism in the tech industry including common terms used by geek feminists and a link to a number of efforts to combat this issue (including our friends over at the Ada Initiative)

Not everyone is always on the same page when it comes to the terms we use in these debates, so let's start there:
  • Feminism: the simple belief that women deserve to have the same social, economical and political rights as men, be treated equally and fairly, and given equal opportunities. Modern (third-wave) feminists make it even simpler: fair and actual equality for all, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, age, and sexuality.
  • Privilege: Receiving benefits in life, however subtle or invisible they may seem to you, simply for belonging to a group you didn't work hard for to get in. In today's Western society, being male, white and straight gives you three huge privileges over everyone else. More on that in a bit.
  • Positive action: Often incorrectly labelled 'positive discrimination', positive action is a measure imposed (usually by government) to enforce a change in the ratio of certain groups in systems. This act is the acknowledgment of the scientific and historical evidence that natural social progress moves too slowly, requiring overseeing entities to intervene (temporarily) as a way of speeding up this progress – so that we may actually enjoy the improvements in our lifetimes.
  • Discrimination: Prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
  • Prejudice: Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Since positive action is based on both reason and actual experience, the label 'positive discrimination' (and the subsequent cries of "it's still discrimination!") is inaccurate and deceitful.
  • Meritocracy: A culture or society in which power is given to people based on their proven abilities, as opposed to wealth, background, privilege, and so forth.
  • Rape culture: The assessment of how today's society makes light of rape – a physically and emotionally painful, and often traumatic and violent crime – which significantly contributes to the mistreatment of women by making their mistreatment a seemingly accepted practice. Rape jokes and their ilk contribute heavily to this

    More at