April 19, 2006

"Older" Women Play More Computer Games?

Via Shiny Shiny, I found a link to this bit of news from Bit-Tech:

A recent study conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association discovered that older women play far more computer games than older men.

The survey suggests that only 35% of men aged 25-34 play computer games whilst a staggering 65% of women of the same age play games. Women are more likely to play free games such as Solitaire and Minesweeper than a man and so despite having minimal representation in the worlds of PC and console gaming, in the world of the freebie game, woman is King (or rather, Queen).

Alas, if you'd like to know more, looks like you'll have to fork over $499 for the privilege. Studies don't grow on trees, you know.

March 31, 2006

Slashdot's April Fool "Humor"

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day, when many websites do something prankish. Techie news site Slashdot has joined in the fun... a day early, and, in my opinion, a dollar short.

Call me a humorless feminist if you like, but if their readership is really 98% male and 110% heterosexual, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

(A Goatse theme would have been kind of funny, though)

January 2, 2006

Gender gap: still growing?

I'm a couple weeks behind on this, but a recent article in the Boston Globe says that female college student are increasingly less likely to major in computer science.

Born in contemporary times, free of the male-dominated legacy common to other sciences and engineering, computer science could have become a model for gender equality. In the early 1980s, it had one of the highest proportions of female undergraduates in science and engineering. And yet with remarkable speed, it has become one of the least gender-balanced fields in American society.

In a year of heated debate about why there aren't more women in science, the conversation has focused largely on discrimination, the conflicts between the time demands of the scientific career track and family life, and what Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers famously dubbed ''intrinsic aptitude."

But the history of computer science demonstrates that more elusive cultural factors can have a major impact on a field's ability to attract women.

As the popularity of computer science soared in the first half of the 1980s, many university departments became overburdened and more competitive, some professors argue. Introductory classes were taught in a way that emphasized technical minutiae over a broader sense of what was important and exciting about the field, a style catering to the diehard -- and overwhelmingly male -- techies rather than curious new recruits. The last thing educators, besieged by students, worried about was attracting more, so they didn't see the need to combat the image that took root in popular culture of the male computer geek with poor hygiene and glazed eyes.

The article suggests that if schools don't start trying to explain the "big picture" behind computer science and make it sound more appealing soon, the United States will be in trouble:

Though the enormous impact of computers on society makes the development of computer science at the college level unique in some ways, some scientists believe it offers a warning to other sciences as well. In fact, something similar happened in physics after World War II, when the atomic bomb catapulted the subject to preeminence in society, according to David Kaiser, a physicist and historian of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Facing a sudden and dramatic rise in enrollments, physics departments grew less intimate and coped with the crowds by teaching the subject in a more routinized and less creative way.

The percentage of women studying physics, already low, dropped dramatically and stayed in the single digits for decades. Eventually the physics bubble burst for men as well, and today a high percentage of the country's physicists are foreign-born.

Some computer scientists fear that they may be going in the same direction. They view the dearth of women as symptomatic of a larger failure in their field, which has recently become less attractive to promising young men, as well. Women are ''the canaries in the mine," said Harvard computer science professor Barbara J. Grosz.

In the wake of the dot-com bust, the number of new computer science majors in 2004 was 40 percent lower than in 2000, according to the Computing Research Association. The field has seen ups and downs before, and some think the numbers for men will soon improve at least a bit. But the percentage of undergraduate majors who are female has barely budged in a dozen years.

The shortage of new computer scientists threatens American leadership in technological innovation just as countries such as China and India are gearing up for the kind of competition the United States has never before faced.

Some schools are organizations are trying to come up with creative solutions.

Introductory classes zeroed in on programming and other technical aspects of the field, rather than explaining big ideas or talking about how computing can impact society, many professors say. That approach led to a misconception among students that computer science is the same thing as computer programming. Computer scientists say that view shortchanges the field, which is far broader and more intellectually rich. It is applied math and design, they say; it is about modeling human behavior and thinking about the simplest way to accomplish a complex task.

When [Diane] Souvaine joined the Tufts faculty in 1998, she was dismayed that there were few female students in the introductory course. So she and a colleague designed a new freshman seminar focused on problem-solving and real-life applications.

On a recent afternoon, Soha Hassoun, who is now teaching that class, lit up a drab cinder-block classroom with her boisterous questions. The topic of the day was how to get a computer to determine whether a particular point is inside or outside a geometric shape.

Hassoun's focus was on logical thinking, and she set aside only a few minutes for students to write their answers in computer code.

''Here's the big question. Why do we care about this?" she asked rhetorically, then went on to explain that that same method could help determine which diabetes tests are the best predictors of the disease. The class would later work on just that task.

The first time Souvaine taught the freshman seminar, there were 14 men and 14 women, and seven of each gender went on to major in the field. The number of female undergraduate majors remains low, but Souvaine sees reason for hope. About 30 percent of students now in lower-level classes are women.

On a broader level, the National Science Foundation will soon announce a new set of grants to universities, high schools, and industry groups with creative ideas for attracting women to computer science. A two-year-old organization called the National Center for Women & Information Technology has designated several schools and groups, including the Girl Scouts, to identify solutions.

"In computer science, a growing gender gap", Marcella Bombardieri, Boston Globe, December 18, 2005

December 14, 2005

Oakland's Techbridge program introduces girls to things techie

From the Oakland Tribune:

In Erin Zane's science classroom at Bret Harte Middle School after classes Tuesday, 18 girls made lists of fun uses for everyday items.

A paper clip could be used as a bending toy, one group concluded. A penny could be tossed or hidden. A Post-It note could be folded into a miniature paper airplane.

The point of the exercise was to get the girls to think differently about common objects and to learn a bit about play. It will help them as they develop new toys, acting as mechanical engineers for the after-school Techbridge program sponsored by Chabot Space & Science Center.

Techbridge was developed by Chabot in 2000 to get girls interested in science. They are introduced to scientific concepts through dialogue and hands-on activities in girls-only classrooms.

--> "Girls show off technical skills; Techbridge program introduces students to scientific concepts through a hands-on approach", Laura Casey, Oakland Tribune, December 14, 2005

November 16, 2005

Teenage girl solves paper-folding puzzle

Remember learning that a piece of paper cannot be folded more than 8 times? Well, a sixteen-year-old girl has proven that this isn't true.

For extra credit in a math class Britney was given the challenge to fold anything in half 12 times.  After extensive experimentation, she folded a sheet of gold foil 12 times, breaking the record. This was using alternate directions of folding.  But, the challenge was then redefined to fold a piece of paper. She studied the problem and was the first person to realize the basic cause for the limits.  She then derived the folding limit equation for any given dimension. Limiting equations were derived for the case of folding in alternate directions and for the case of folding in a single direction using a long strip of paper. The merits of both folding  approaches are discussed, but for high numbers of folds, single direction folding requires less paper.

--> _archives/2005/11/16/1408517.html

Podcasting: Where Are the Women?

A recent Wired article focuses on the seeming absence of women in podcasting. At the Portable Media Expo, 85% of the 2,000 attendees were male.

It turns out even the president of Women in Technology International, which had a booth at the show, is a man. David Leighton said his mother founded the group, and he has since taken over.

Leighton said he believes the male skew is largely due to the newness of the medium and the fact that many of the most popular podcasts focus on, uh, podcasting.

"Any of these new, cool mediums tend to attract guys at first," he said. "Right now, it's technology for technology's sake. Once we see more practical uses, we'll start seeing more women. It was that way with the internet and e-mail usage, too."

Safety concerns may also play a role, since podcasting is less anonymous than a website can be. One female-run podcast stopped production after receiving threats from a male stalker.

--> "Women Warm the Podcast Bench", Steve Frieiss, Wired, November 16, 2005, 0,1284,69583,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

November 2, 2005

Pamela Samuelson honored by the Anita Borg Institute

From the School of Information Management and Systems comes this news of one of my professors...

Pamela Samuelson honored by the Anita Borg Institute

Pamela Samuelson was recently honored by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. She is the first Women of Vision winner in the Social Impact category.

The Women of Vision Award winners were selected from a field of more than 60 nominees, all of who are engaged in technology in industry, academia or government. The Women of Vision Award for Social Impact recognizes a woman who has significantly influenced the ways in which technology impacts society and/or the community, creating positive change in our world.

Pamela Samuelson is a McArthur Prize Winner and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley with a joint appointment in the School of Information Management & Systems and the School of Law. She teaches courses on intellectual property, cyber law and information policy. Pam received the University of Hawaii 's distinguished alumni award, has been named one of the nation's 50 most influential lawyers, one of the 100 most influential people in the digital age, and one of the 25 most intriguing minds of the new economy.

For more information on Professor Samuelson or to read her acceptance speech, please go to

 Congratulations, Professor Samuelson!

Continue reading "Pamela Samuelson honored by the Anita Borg Institute" »

March 1, 2005

Gender Brain Differences: A Big Deal, But Not the Way You'd Think

This week's Time magazine issues a magnificant slapdown to Harvard president Larry Summers (whose ill-conceived remarks were mentioned here and here previously) as well as a roundup of coverage on the issue of attracting and retaining women in the sciences. The main article is subscribers-only, alas, but you can read some of the other articles.

The main article begins thusly:

The rest of us were left with a nagging question: What is the latest science on the differences between men's and women's aptitudes, anyway? Is it true, even a little bit, that men are better equipped for scientific genius? Or is it ridiculous—even pernicious—to ask such a question in the year 2005?

It's always perilous to use science to resolve festering public debates. Everyone sees something different—like 100 people finding shapes in clouds. By the time they make up their minds, the clouds have drifted beyond the horizon. But scientists who have spent their lives studying sex differences in the brain (some of whom defend Summers and some of whom dismiss him as an ignoramus) generally concede that he was not entirely wrong. Thanks to new brain-imaging technology, we know there are indeed real differences between the male and the female brain, more differences than we would have imagined a decade ago. "The brain is a sex organ," says Sandra Witelson, a neuroscientist who became famous in the 1990s for her study of Albert Einstein's brain. "In the last dozen years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of studies that have found differences in the brain. It's very exciting."

But that's just the beginning of the conversation. It turns out that many of those differences don't seem to change our behavior. Others do—in ways we might not expect. Some of the most dramatic differences are not just in our brains but also in our eyes, noses and ears—which feed information to our brains. Still, almost none of those differences are static. The brain is constantly changing in response to hormones, encouragement, practice, diet and drugs. Brain patterns fluctuate within the same person, in fact, depending on age and time of day. So while Summers was also right that more men than women make up the extreme high—and low—scorers in science and math tests, it's absurd to conclude that the difference is primarily because of biology—or environment. The two interact from the time of conception, which only makes life more interesting.


February 9, 2005

HP's Carly Fiorina forced out

The business world and the internets are abuzz with the news that HP CEO Carl Fiorina has been sent packing by the board of directors after six years, due to disagreements over company strategy and the recent acquisition of Compaq.
Fiorina topped Fortune magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" list every year from the list's introduction in 1988 through to 2004, when eBay's Meg Whitman displaced her. After majoring in college in medieval history and philosophy, Fiorina went on to a business career that began with a position as a sales representative at AT&T Corp. and led to Lucent Technologies, where she guided its 1996 initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T. That put the ambitious Fiorina on the business world's radar, and soon after, HP wooed her to be its CEO.
"HP board dismisses Fiorina", Infoworld, February 9, 2005, 05/02/09/HNdismissfiorina_1.html

January 28, 2005

Long Winter for Lawrence Summers

Poor Harvard President Summers. He has apologized for his remarks suggesting that women were intrinsically predisposed to not do as well as men in math and science, but the fur keeps flying. As well it should. While he is certainly entitled to his opinions, they aren't backed up by the facts.

In a paper scheduled to appear in the journal Intelligence... scientists in Germany report that only women with relatively low testosterone exposure scored worse than men on tests of spatial and numerical ability. Women with relatively high exposure compared with other women -- half the sample -- scored as well as men. However testosterone boosts the brain's spatial and numerical ability, an awful lot of women are getting enough of it to benefit, even when they're getting less than men.

In general, for every finding that boy brains have an edge (they're bigger) there's a finding that girl brains do. For instance, scientists reported in Nature Neuroscience last year that women's cortexes are more complex, with more of the intricate folds that underlie higher brain function such as that needed for science.

More important, if scientists have learned one thing about the brain it is that our gray matter is highly malleable, responding to signals from the outside world...

There's too much to quote, so it's worth reading the whole article, as well as two accompanying opinion pieces.

January 18, 2005

Big flap at Harvard over university president's comments

The president of Harvard University prompted criticism for suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could help explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Lawrence H. Summers, speaking Friday at an economic conference, also questioned how great a role discrimination plays in keeping female scientists and engineers from advancing at elite universities. The remarks prompted Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Nancy Hopkins — a Harvard graduate — to walk out on Summers' talk, the Boston Globe reported. "It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women (at Harvard) are being led by a man who views them this way," Hopkins said later. In a statement released Monday night, Summers said his remarks were misconstrued as suggesting that women lack the ability to succeed at the highest levels of math and science. "I did not say that, nor do I believe it," he said. Summers said he is deeply committed "to the advancement of women in science."

One blogger comments:
Girls and young women in North America seem to do pretty darn well until they encounter the bullshit that is the culture of old-boy scientific and technical education. Then, amazingly, the genetic difference seems to kick in, somewhere between first year of undergrad and getting tenure and senior management positions. It must be a sort of delayed thing. As evidence, Summers cited his young daughter who played with trucks and named them mummy and daddy trucks. I had trucks too and I lost them in the sandbox, which clearly demonstrates my XX-dependent lack of spatial skills.
--> "Harvard Boss Under Fire For Comments On Women, Science",, January 18, 2005,

December 20, 2004

The woman behind the joystick

Dropping out of high school doesn't normally put you on the path to success, but Jeri Ellsworth is an exception. This enthusiastic hobbyist left school to pursue her successful side gig designing custom race cars, and went on to found and run a small chain of computer stores in her 20s. Today, her C64  — which contains 30 Commodore 64 games in one joystick (remember those?) — is a big seller on the QVC channel. (After you finish playing, hit the books, kids!)

--> "A Toy With a Story", John Markoff, New York Times, December 20, 2004, technology/20joystick.html?pagewanted=1

December 2, 2004

"Her So-Called Digital Life"

"Survivalists live off the grid, but Hodder hates being without it -- even for a few minutes. She's more of an interface grrl. 'I will go far out of my way to get my next connection to the internet, via phone or my laptop,' she said. 'It's everything.'" According to Wired Magazine, Internet consultant Mary Hodder is our future, as more and more of us depend on the Internet and always-on communication tools.

--> "Her So-Called Digital Life", Adam L. Penenberg, Wired, December 2, 2004, culture/0,1284,65890,00.html

November 21, 2004

"UA student controls Mars rover cameras from a downtown warehouse"

From a warehouse in downtown Tucson, a University of Arizona student shows scientists and the world what lies on the surface of Mars.

Nicole Spanovich controls the cameras on Opportunity, one of NASA's twin rovers that has collected data for nearly a year from about 50 million miles away. "I love the work," said the 22-year-old senior astronomy major. "This has become my life. I get up in the morning, and I go to work where I point the cameras on Mars." UA's only undergraduate working on the Mars Exploration Rover program, Spanovich is one of four women and six undergraduates around the world working on it. Her work highlights the prospects for women in science and the major role UA plays in the nation's exploration of the solar system... Full story here

--> Tucson Citizen, November 20, 2004,

August 27, 2004

MIT names first woman president

Yale University Provost Susan Hockfield, a professor and administrator with a background in biology, anatomy, and neuroscience, will head up the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

--> 08/26/mit.president.ap/index.html

--> president-announcement.html

August 12, 2004

"A few good women: Tech firms want more female computer whizzes"

The number of women in computer science programs is falling, despite the increasing female presence in a number of other career fields. Businesses and universities in the United States are reacting by stepping up their efforts to entice them into the computing industry, trying everything from mentoring networks to computer science camps.

How well those initiatives succeed may determine whether the half of the U.S. population that is female ever boasts 50 percent of the nation's computer science degrees, as women do now in professions such as medicine and law. But even if the industry falls short of that goal, some companies now see a compelling business case for boosting the number of women in IT ranks. "If you've got a bunch of nerdy white guys creating the technology, you get stuff that appeals to nerdy white guys," says Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer for Sun Microsystems. "If you want to turn out more usable products, you'd better get more women involved."

In some instances, not having a woman on a design team can prove costly, not only in profits. At one California communications firm, engineers couldn't understand why a hospital emergency-messaging device--triggered by voice recognition--wasn't working. Then somebody noticed that most of the nursing staff was female. The voice-recognition software had been tested mostly on men.

This article is also the subject of a heated debate on Slashdot.

--> "A few good women: Tech firms want more female computer whizzes", U.S. News & World Report, Marci Mcdonald, August 16, 2004, 040816/biztech/16eegeeks.htm

May 25, 2004

I bet she gets tired of being called the "High-Tech Nun"

In an era when it seems that religion and technology cause more problems than they solve, it's inspiring to read about a woman who embodies the best possibilities of both. This San Francisco Chronicle story profiles Sister Patsy Harvey, a nun who works with inner-city kids in San Francisco and helps them learn computer skills. Harvey says that her order "didn't want us to be in a monastery but wanted us to be out on the streets. I feel like my work really mirrors that, being on the streets, working in housing, going out to the alleys, providing places for neighborhood kids to have access. ... I guess all of Creation is of God, and men and women created technology."

-->"The High Tech Nun", Leslie Guttman, San Francisco Chronicle, May 23, 2004, f=/chronicle/a/2004/05/23/CMGON6BADJ1.DTL

December 14, 2003

A Tale of Two Women

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles two grandmothers; one just gave up her ditto machine and got online to stay in touch with her extended family... the other is a professional spammer who uses her home network of antiquated PCs to send out tons of ads every day and keep herself out of poverty.

--> "Spam wars play out across Internet", Bill Husted and Ann Hardie, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, business/1203/14spammain.html

December 3, 2003

"Grant helps fund CMU women in tech initiative"

Carnegie Mellon just got a three-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for their new initiative to get more women to enter graduate computer science programs. "The new program -- Women@IT -- will emphasize attracting women who have done their undergraduate work in fields outside of computer science, such as mathematics, biology, physics or psychology." Carnegie Mellon has already had great success with their Women@SCS program, aimed at undergraduate students.

--> "Grant helps fund CMU women in tech initiative", Pittsburgh Business Times, November 24, 2003, stories/2003/11/24/daily1.html

November 12, 2003

New study finds glass ceiling is still there in tech

An article in today's Mercury News discusses a recent report from an organization called Catalyst on how women are doing at tech-related companies. Perhaps this isn't a surprise for female employees at these companies, but not only are they getting no further there than in the corporate world in general, there are actually fewer women in positions of power in the tech world than across all industries. "The study revealed that nearly a third of male and female participants agreed that women have a difficult time getting ahead. Among Fortune 500 high-tech companies, women make up 11.1 percent of corporate officers. That's lower than the 15.7 percent of corporate officers women account for in Fortune 500 firms overall, according to Catalyst."

--> "Study: Tech has glass ceiling / Barriers belie industry's image", Michelle Guido, San Jose Mercury News, November 12, 2003,

October 1, 2003

Female IT professionals cope in a male-dominated industry

A look at women's working lives in the IT industry. The reporter interviews a number of attendees at the September 2003 Executive Women's Forum in Florida. As usual, there's a mixture of good and bad: there's one woman who hands out business cards in Japan that list her title as "engineering secretary" instead of her usual "chief technology officer and executive vice president". On the other hand, many women talked about helpful mentors in college and family-friendly workplaces. Still, a salary and hiring gap persists...

--> "Female IT professionals cope in a male-dominated industry", Ellen Messmer Network World, September 29, 2003,

August 20, 2003

Georgy Russell, programmer and California gubernatorial candidate (join the club!)

OK, this one may seem a little off-topic, but Georgy Russell is relevant because of her current gig — software engineer at VERITAS Software — and noteworthy for the job she's applying for — governor of California. She admits it's a long shot, but worth trying for anyway. Her geek credentials are solid, in any case, since today she's on the front page of Slashdot.Read more about Georgy at the links below.

--> Georgy Tells Why She Should Be California Gov
--> Georgy for Governor

August 12, 2003

"Starting over as a DBA"

It's no secret that times are tough for people in the tech field, but some might take comfort from this profile of one Debi Lorraine, who went back to school in her late 30s, and switched careers from telecommunications to database administration at 40. Of course, her group is in the middle of a hiring freeze, but she still believes there's more room in this field. Hmm...

--> "Starting over as a DBA", May 1, 2003,, 0,289142,sid13_gci896891,00.html

April 25, 2003

Patriot Act II: An Interview with Electronic Frontier Foundation's Cindy Cohn

An interview with Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, focusing on the impending debate and strong possibility of enactment of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, or 'Patriot Act II.' Thanks to SlashDot for pointing this one out.

(story will possibly move to

April 11, 2003

Afghan women go high-tech

The UN and Cisco Systems are cooperating on a computer academy initiative for Afghans. 17 people just graduated with industry standard certificates in computer networking; 6 of the graduates are women. A small piece of the puzzle, admittedly, but a hopeful first step in bringing the country into the Internet era and integrating women into their society again. ("On the Internet, nobody can see that you're wearing a burka?")

--> afghan.women.reut/index.html

April 8, 2003

Anita Borg, visionary computer scientist, dies at 54

Forwarded via the San Francisco Women on the Web list. This is a loss to the world.

"Dr. Anita Borg tenaciously envisioned and set about to change the world for women and for technology. Believing technology will affect everything: our economic, political, social and personal lives, she fought tirelessly for the development technology with positive social and human impact. She died yesterday at her mother's home in Sonoma, California. She was 54."


March 28, 2003

A New War Brings New Role for Women

From the New York Times March 28 edition, an article looking at women's integration into another technical arena — the battlefront.
"Lt. Lisa Horton, a computer network specialist who expects to be sent to the Persian Gulf soon, also felt an instant connection to Specialist Johnson [the female POW] — and kept watching. "'I don't want to say that I was proud to see her there, but it was almost like saying, "You go, girl," ' said Lieutenant Horton, 28. 'I was rooting for her as a female, in a personal way. You can get through this, show them what you've got.'"

--> international/worldspecial/28WOME.html?pagewanted=1

February 19, 2003

Women lose ground in the tech field

The Mercury News has been running a series of articles, I guess. Again, the story is that while women did well in the boom in Silicon Valley, they are losing ground again, and it's still not a level playing field. Not surprisingly, companies that make more of an effort to address the reality that women have lives and families attract more women. ("It's the daycare, stupid?")

--> business/technology/5184884.htm

February 16, 2003

Diversity in the High-Tech Workplace

A study of the employment picture in Silicon Valley reveals some disturbing trends, as described in this San Jose Mercury News story from February 16. Think the percentage of women in the SV workforce has increased in the last decade? Think again.

--> mercurynews/news/local/5194863.htm

February 1, 2003

Kalpana Chawla & Laurel Blair Salton Clark

I am locking this entry because people keep posting here and asking me for pictures of Kalpana Chawla, even though I don't have any and this isn't a site about her. I just did one story. Folks, if you found this site, you're already on the web! The web has neat stuff like Google where you can search for files that you can download on the spot! No need to torture a webmaster into madness! (Also, no offense, but isn't obsessively emailing people you don't know for pix of a dead woman a little morbid?) I have done some of your homework for you though: should get you what you're looking for. Have a nice day.

Indian-Born American Astronaut Was Heroine in India
NEW DELHI, India — Front pages of Indian newspapers Saturday carried pictures of Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-born woman in space, to celebrate her expected return to earth on the space shuttle Columbia.

The return never happened after the space shuttle Columbia broke apart about 203,000 feet over Texas minutes before it was to land in Florida...

--> wp-dyn/articles/ A10745-2003Feb1.html

Racine Native, UW Graduate Laurel Clark On Shuttle

Racine's Laurel Clark was one of the astronauts on board the space shuttle Columbia.

The 41-year-old Clark is a Navy physician who has worked undersea as a diving medical officer aboard submarines. She also has been a naval flight surgeon...

--> news/1950576/detail.html

Up-to-the-minute shuttle news updates

January 23, 2003

BBC Stories

From the Beeb's news website, Recruiting the new IT girls and Women spurning tech jobs .

Schools are coming up with new ways of interesting girls in computing, but apparently retaining women in the profession is as much an issue as attracting them in the first place.

(Question: are women really spurning tech jobs, or are the tech jobs spurning them? There's been an awful lot of layoffs.)

January 21, 2003

Q&A With Shari Steele

From the February 2003 issue of CPU Magazine comes this interesting interview with the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

--> (you need to be a CPU subscriber to get the whole story; this is just an excerpt, alas)

Continue reading "Q&A With Shari Steele" »

January 12, 2003

Where the Girls Aren't

An item on Slashdot pointed me to this article in today's Times, on the same old question: why aren't more girls interested in computer science? "One camp says that girls see computers as a communications tool, and the best way to engage them is to exploit that and offer classes that stress using programs -- say, designing Web sites or online magazines -- over creating them. The other side says that such preferences exist only because no one has tried to expand girls' technological horizons." (Side note: the author is an advocate of single-sex education for girls.)

Update: a comment on this article from the Singapore Business Times at,2276,69330,00.html


November 26, 2002

International Children's Digital Library

A project by education professor Alison Druin at the University of Maryland to make children's books from all over the world available online. While it remains to be seen how widely this will actually be used, it is a cool idea, and it sounds like they have thought about the way their intended audience looks for books. "One of our most interesting findings was how kids wanted to look for books based on how they made them feel... No library in the world has shelf labels that say 'happy books,' so the kids are rating the books on how they make them feel."

--> Online children's library makes searches easier (SF Chronicle)