On STEM Women, we did a series of posts on women who are pioneers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math). I wrote a piece about Evelyn Boyd Granville, who was only the second African American woman to gain a PhD in Mathematics in the USA, in the early 1940s. I especially loved reading all her personal recollections of the sacrifices that her mother and aunt made to put her through university. It seems a moot point to say that parents play a pivotal role in their children’s success. This is not so simple when we understand the empirical evidence of how institutional and social forces can limit parents and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Parents don’t always know how to support girls into STEM careers, and more importantly, they don’t always have the resources or knowledge about where to seek additional help. This is especially pertinent for the careers of minority women in STEM.
Granville was raised in a single parent home by Julia Boyd, her poor working mother who wholeheartedly supported her daughter’s education. This was a very brave move given that in the 1940s, there were few educational or work opportunities for women in science, let alone for minority women. Granville recalls:

I saw black women - attractive, well dressed women - teaching school, and I wanted to be a teacher because that’s all I saw. I was not aware of any other profession… I did not receive a scholarship the first year at (Smith College), and I was told later that they didn’t see how in the world a poor child as I could afford to go there. 

Granville faced much discrimination along the way, not just in finding work despite her obvious brilliance, but in other ways that should have impeded her progress. For example, she was not able to find accommodation in New York when she moved there to undertake her postdoctoral work. 
Learn more about this phenomenal woman from our STEM Women page on Google+! High-res

On STEM Women, we did a series of posts on women who are pioneers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math). I wrote a piece about Evelyn Boyd Granville, who was only the second African American woman to gain a PhD in Mathematics in the USA, in the early 1940s. I especially loved reading all her personal recollections of the sacrifices that her mother and aunt made to put her through university. It seems a moot point to say that parents play a pivotal role in their children’s success. This is not so simple when we understand the empirical evidence of how institutional and social forces can limit parents and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Parents don’t always know how to support girls into STEM careers, and more importantly, they don’t always have the resources or knowledge about where to seek additional help. This is especially pertinent for the careers of minority women in STEM.

Granville was raised in a single parent home by Julia Boyd, her poor working mother who wholeheartedly supported her daughter’s education. This was a very brave move given that in the 1940s, there were few educational or work opportunities for women in science, let alone for minority women. Granville recalls:

I saw black women - attractive, well dressed women - teaching school, and I wanted to be a teacher because that’s all I saw. I was not aware of any other profession… I did not receive a scholarship the first year at (Smith College), and I was told later that they didn’t see how in the world a poor child as I could afford to go there. 

Granville faced much discrimination along the way, not just in finding work despite her obvious brilliance, but in other ways that should have impeded her progress. For example, she was not able to find accommodation in New York when she moved there to undertake her postdoctoral work. 

Learn more about this phenomenal woman from our STEM Women page on Google+!

Recently I joined Women in STEM, a group of women researchers committed to addressing gender inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Earlier today Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe and I co-hosted the first of our new fortnightly interview series. We’ll be talking with STEM professionals who want to advance gender diversity in the sciences. 

Today’s chat was with Professor Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist and editor-in-chief of the open-access journal PLoS Biology. Jonathan was a fantastic guest who spoke candidly about the need for male academics to be more proactive in addressing inequality. He gave some practical examples of how women’s participation in science can be bolstered by simple measures, such as by: offering childcare as part of academic conference services; through diversity training for hiring panels; and providing better mentorship for young women in science. 

I gave a shout out to sociology during the Hangout. I noted that while sociologists still face career barriers regarding race, gender, sexuality and other minority relations, we have a shared language to discuss inequality. Sociology is centrally concerned with addressing disadvantage, so we have the vocabulary and training to start conversations about these issues. Most other disciplines don’t talk about inequality at all. This means that women are expected to suffer in silence and navigate career barriers alone. As Buddhini points out, academia represents a “leaky pipe” where the further up you go in an academic faculty, the less women and minorities there are.

Gender and diversity matters should be central to all academic training, at every level, and for all disciplines.

There is a plethora of studies showing inequality is a fact in science. STEM Women starts off from this position and so we ask: what are going to do to move forward and address this disadvantage? 

Join us on Google+ or Twitter and check out our website.

awkwardsituationist:

"the suburb of agbogbloshie in ghana’s capital, accra, has in recent years become a dumping ground for computers and electronic waste from europe and the united states. hundreds of tons of e-waste end up here every month as countries in the west attempt to unload their ever increasing stockpiles of toxic junk. of the 20 to 50 million tons of electronics discarded each year, 70% will end up in poor nations.

"increasingly, this e-waste is finding it’s way to west africa and countries like ghana. traders bypass international laws by labeling the equipment as second hand goods or charity donations, but in reality as much as 80% of the computers sent to ghana are broken or obsolete. their final resting place is the agbogbloshie dump where they are broken apart, mostly by children, to salvage the cooper, hard drives and other components that can be sold on.

"the disposal of electronic goods in the west is a costly affair and must be done in an environmentally responsible manner. however, in places like ghana there are no such regulations, and toxic metals like lead, beryllium, cadmium and mercury are continuously being released, causing untold damage to human health and the environment."

photos and text by andrew mcconnell

(via pamalamela)

#Sociology of #Work: #Research by Australian Sociologist Barbara Pocock shows how #management can improve work/life balance. This includes being flexible with hours and the structure of #work, the type of work different employees do, and the ways that employees can deliver work outputs. With new #technology, there are a range of cloud based solutions for collaboration and submission of work. Another important way of managing work/life balance is to foster an environment of #trust where employees can let you know about their out-of-hours responsibilities and preferences should they wish to have you better accommodate their needs. Managers should also seek to support working  #parents and #workers who provide care for dependants who are sick, elderly or disabled. This includes access to affordable childcare, good parental and care leave arrangements that won’t impact on career progression, and giving employees the capacity to take holidays and other time off to manage family and health appointments. Society talks about work/ life balance as an issue that individuals and families should negotiate on their own. Pocock puts emphasis on “Supportive workplace cultures, practices and #leadership” as the means to improve work. Making work/ life balance a responsibility of workplaces as well as employees is a pivotal way that managers & CEOs can ensure that work is fulfilling, meaningful and energising, rather than a drain on the #creativity and #productivity of their #company. Pocock’s latest research is found in “Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today.” #socialscience #worklifebalance #business #management #humanresources #corporate #training #life #career #visualsociology High-res

#Sociology of #Work: #Research by Australian Sociologist Barbara Pocock shows how #management can improve work/life balance. This includes being flexible with hours and the structure of #work, the type of work different employees do, and the ways that employees can deliver work outputs. With new #technology, there are a range of cloud based solutions for collaboration and submission of work. Another important way of managing work/life balance is to foster an environment of #trust where employees can let you know about their out-of-hours responsibilities and preferences should they wish to have you better accommodate their needs. Managers should also seek to support working #parents and #workers who provide care for dependants who are sick, elderly or disabled. This includes access to affordable childcare, good parental and care leave arrangements that won’t impact on career progression, and giving employees the capacity to take holidays and other time off to manage family and health appointments. Society talks about work/ life balance as an issue that individuals and families should negotiate on their own. Pocock puts emphasis on “Supportive workplace cultures, practices and #leadership” as the means to improve work. Making work/ life balance a responsibility of workplaces as well as employees is a pivotal way that managers & CEOs can ensure that work is fulfilling, meaningful and energising, rather than a drain on the #creativity and #productivity of their #company. Pocock’s latest research is found in “Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today.” #socialscience #worklifebalance #business #management #humanresources #corporate #training #life #career #visualsociology

united-nations:

“The mobile phone is like a teacher to me, and now I can write names and sentences on the board. This programme isn’t just helping me it’s also helping make my country safer.”Read a story from United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) News Centre and see how mobile phones in Afghanistan are not only teaching the women police officers to read but turning them into more effective law enforcement officers.

united-nations:

“The mobile phone is like a teacher to me, and now I can write names and sentences on the board. This programme isn’t just helping me it’s also helping make my country safer.”

Read a story from United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) News Centre and see how mobile phones in Afghanistan are not only teaching the women police officers to read but turning them into more effective law enforcement officers.


This comic by xkcd is a great conversation starter for the sociology of moral panics. In 1871, Sunday Magazine lamented the lost art of letter writing. They bemoan the fact that as it becomes cheaper to write and send letters, people value “quality” letter writing less. This is seen to be to the detriment of society. The proliferation of letter writing evolves as new technologies make paper, ink and postal services more available to the masses.
The rest of the comic charts excellent examples from prestigious books, journals and professionals fretting about how technology changes the quality of human communication. We see these arguments continue today as some traditional media owners and some intellectuals decry the advent of social media and blogging, as well as how the internet in general supposedly ruins our collective intelligence. A couple of years a go, I wrote about how philosopher Edward De Bono said social media causes laziness.
What is at play behind these arguments is actually a moral panic about the control of cultural capital: technologies shift power over who controls information (in Marxist terms, the owners of the means of production). Technology doesn’t drive social change as it’s not some overpowering social force that we accept mindlessly. Instead, social relations change in response to people finding new uses for technology, and this is a feed back loop that pushes innovation in communications.
Take a look at the expanded comic and see what you think. 
Credit: Link via Brian Glick on Google+.

This comic by xkcd is a great conversation starter for the sociology of moral panics. In 1871, Sunday Magazine lamented the lost art of letter writing. They bemoan the fact that as it becomes cheaper to write and send letters, people value “quality” letter writing less. This is seen to be to the detriment of society. The proliferation of letter writing evolves as new technologies make paper, ink and postal services more available to the masses.

The rest of the comic charts excellent examples from prestigious books, journals and professionals fretting about how technology changes the quality of human communication. We see these arguments continue today as some traditional media owners and some intellectuals decry the advent of social media and blogging, as well as how the internet in general supposedly ruins our collective intelligence. A couple of years a go, I wrote about how philosopher Edward De Bono said social media causes laziness.

What is at play behind these arguments is actually a moral panic about the control of cultural capital: technologies shift power over who controls information (in Marxist terms, the owners of the means of production). Technology doesn’t drive social change as it’s not some overpowering social force that we accept mindlessly. Instead, social relations change in response to people finding new uses for technology, and this is a feed back loop that pushes innovation in communications.

Take a look at the expanded comic and see what you think. 

Credit: Link via Brian Glick on Google+.

censu:

Leo Caillard

ART GAME

This recent work is a reflection on the problem of our new digital world.Currently, at any stage of its creation, any idea or concept is digitally adapted.What will be retained in the future? What will happen to all of these billions of megabytes we stock on computers? In 10 years? In 500 years? Colliding the esthetic of modern minimalist Apple products with the classical architecture of the Louvre Museum, the viewer is forced to assess the question of new creation in our modern society.

(via thenextweb)

David Karp, Sequoia partner Roelof Botha talk with TechCrunch founder (and Tumblr investor) Michael Arrington.

Via TechCrunch.

Good article on the historical and social influences on technology adoption. Science Professor Bernard Carlson, (University of Virginia, USA) tells engineering students: “they are going to produce sociotechnical systems,” meaning they need to understand how people “interact with technology.” MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER writes:

Society shapes the development and use of technology (this is a function of social determinism; for example, cars didn’t really become ubiquitous until they became easy to operate and cheap to buy), but technology also shapes society (technological determinism; think of the way cars then essentially created the suburbs). Over time, the two interact with and change each other, an idea known as technological momentum, which was introduced in 1969 by Thomas P. Hughes, a historian of technology. According to Hughes’s theory, the technologies we end up using aren’t determined by any objective measure of quality. In fact, the tools we choose are often deeply flawed. They just happened to meet our particular social needs at a particular time and then became embedded in our culture.


"Why Your Car Isn’t Electric." Source: The New York Times.
Link via +Gaythia Weis  High-res

Good article on the historical and social influences on technology adoption. Science Professor Bernard Carlson, (University of Virginia, USA) tells engineering students: “they are going to produce sociotechnical systems,” meaning they need to understand how people “interact with technology.” MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER writes:

Society shapes the development and use of technology (this is a function of social determinism; for example, cars didn’t really become ubiquitous until they became easy to operate and cheap to buy), but technology also shapes society (technological determinism; think of the way cars then essentially created the suburbs). Over time, the two interact with and change each other, an idea known as technological momentum, which was introduced in 1969 by Thomas P. Hughes, a historian of technology. According to Hughes’s theory, the technologies we end up using aren’t determined by any objective measure of quality. In fact, the tools we choose are often deeply flawed. They just happened to meet our particular social needs at a particular time and then became embedded in our culture.

"Why Your Car Isn’t Electric." Source: The New York Times.

Link via +Gaythia Weis 

Just as coaching requires individual attention, education, at its core, requires one mind engaging with another, in real time: listening, understanding, correcting, modeling, suggesting, prodding, denying, affirming, and critiquing thoughts and their expression. A set of podcasts is the 21st-century equivalent of a textbook, not the 21st-century equivalent of a teacher. Every age has its autodidacts, gifted people able to teach themselves with only their books. Woe unto us if we require all citizens to manifest that ability.

Don’t Confuse Technology With Teaching - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education

(via nothingman)

In Humanity 2.0, Professor Steve Fuller outlines how he would have once been referred to as a ‘humanist’, but now he sees himself as a transhumanist. The Humanity+ Organisation describes transhumanism (or ‘H+’) as ‘the ethical use of technology to transcend limits of the human body’.

In this video, Fuller talks about how humans have experienced a dichotomised view of our humanity: on the one hand we feel embedded to our animal nature (the legacy of Darwanism on how we think of ourselves), and on the other hand, we use concepts like consciousness, rationality, the mind and the soul to signify those qualities which we feel transcend other animal species. These are the elements of human imagination and human experience which societies feel deserve to be explored and preserved.

From Marx, Durkehim and Weber’s analyses of how industrialisation changed social structures; to the rise of sociobiology in the 1960s and 1970s (such as The Naked Ape); and to the sociology of post-Fordist technologies (Guns Germs and Steel and I Cyborg), sociology has wrestled with the idea that technology somehow fundamentally transforms our humanity.

Here’s more about Fulller’s Book:

Social thinkers in all fields are faced with one unavoidable question: what does it mean to be ‘human’ in the 21st century? As definitions between what is ‘animal’ and what is ‘human’ break down, and as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and nano- and bio- technologies develop, accepted notions of humanity are rapidly evolving. Humanity 2.0 is an ambitious and ground-breaking book, offering a sweeping overview of key historical, philosophical and theological moments that have shaped our understandings of humanity. Tackling head on the twin taboos that have always hovered over the scientific study of humanity - race and religion - Steve Fuller argues thar far from disappearing, they are being reinvented. 

Fuller argues that these new developments will force us to decide which features of our current way of life - not least our bodies - are truly needed to remain human, and concludes with a consideration of these changes for ethical and social values more broadly. 

Watch the rest of Fuller’s videos here. Book here.

Via University of Warwick

Interpol arrests 25 people suspected to be members of Anonymous

image

The Huffington Post reports that Interpol has arrested 25 people alleged to be members of the Anonymous hacker group. The arrests took place around Europe and South America.

The international police agency said in a statement that the arrests in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain were carried out by national law enforcement officers working under the support of Interpol’s Latin American Working Group of Experts on Information Technology Crime. The suspects, aged between 17 and 40, are suspected of planning coordinated cyberattacks against institutions including Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential websites, Chile’s Endesa electricity company and national library, as well as other targets.

Source: Huffington Post.