Category Archives: Uncategorized

Linkspam, Will Robinson! Linkspam! (19 May 2015)

  • Where Does Your Pipeline Lead? | Life as I Know It: “If you’re thinking about getting into the tech industry or wondering how to stay in the tech industry in the face of pervasive toxic environments, I encourage you to broaden your horizons about what ‘being in tech’ can look like. What is your goal? If you want to use technology to make a better life for yourself, think carefully about the pipeline you enter and where you want it to lead.”
  • Marvel replaces Black Widow with Captain America for its toy line | BoingBoing: “In other words, not only is Black Widow ridiculously underrepresented in Avengers merchandise—she’s also actively erased from her own scenes. Well done Marvel.”
  • Happy Birthday to Inge Lehmann, the Woman Who Discovered Earth’s Inner Core | Smart News | Smithsonian: “Her idea was revolutionary. When Lehmann published her findings in 1936, her solid core model was quickly adopted by the scientific community. Lehmann’s theory was finally proven right in 1970, when new, more sensitive seismographs picked up seismic waves bouncing off the Earth’s solid core.”
  • Interview: ‘Nimona’ Creator Noelle Stevenson | NPR: “Like a lot of young women, I went through an entire period where I hated female characters — I didn’t want to read about them! I thought I was going to be the cool girl who was not like other girls. And that’s so harmful.”
  • ATP Shownote Data | Kieran Healy: “When doing this kind of thing it can be helpful to look back on what your past practice has been. For example, it can be useful to audit one’s own habits of linking and engagement. Often exclusion is less a matter of explicit boundary policing (though God knows there’s enough of that in the tech sector) and more a matter of passive homophily.”
  • Project Update: The Electric Blanket is DONE! | Tech Musings: “Mrs. Parenteau and her merry band of 3rd grade scientists/sewers have finally finished their electric blanket project! The final result is a quilt containing approximately 45 squares that light up. Currently hanging in the Science hallway, it’s fun to watch students interact with it by pressing the different switches to light up the quilt. This was a challenging project for the kids and we are proud of their hard work and perseverance with the e-textile materials – especially the conductive thread.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Quick Hit: The Word “Girl” in “Supergirl”

CBS has just released a “first look” teaser for the new Supergirl TV show, coming this fall. I’ve always frowned at the name “Supergirl” for an adult woman, finding it infantilizing. The teaser tries to address this:

News announcer on television: “Media Magnate Cat Grant, of National City’s new female hero: Supergirl.” (news channel displays “#Supergirl”)

Kara Danvers: “We can’t name her that.”

Cat Grant: “We … didn’t.”

Danvers: “Shouldn’t she be called Super…. woman?”

Grant: “What do you think is so bad about ‘girl’? I’m a girl. And your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart. So if you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?”

Calista Flockhart plays an authoritative Cat Grant, a casting choice which itself implies (to me) a defense of the type of femininity Flockhart performed as Ally McBeal in her best-known role to date.

I don’t find Grant’s argument convincing, since my particular beef with the “girl” suffix is around connotations of immaturity, and particularly because we do not tend to call men of similar ages “boys”. That’s unequal. But I appreciate that at least this teaser attempts a defense. And overall I loved the teaser, and it made me cry. Stories of women discovering and claiming our power, in ourselves and to help others, will always get me.


In The Hall Of The Mountain Linkspam (15 May 2015)

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Land of Geeks and Linkspam (13 May 2015)

Note: We’re having trouble pulling links from Delicious, so if you’d like to submit links, please use one of the other options at the bottom of the post. We’ve almost certainly missed some good links in the interim, feel free to resubmit them!

  • Completely Truthful Answers to Lady Engineer Questions | Medium (May 4): “To save tech journalists some time, I put together a comprehensive FAQ on behalf of all women in tech. You’re welcome.”
  • Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing | AAUW (March 26): “Women engineers who were most satisfied with their jobs, in contrast, worked for organizations that provided clear paths for advancement, gave employees challenging assignments that helped develop and strengthen new skills, and valued and recognized employees’ contributions. In other words, workplaces with good management practices were more likely to retain women employees. … Harvey Mudd College has dramatically increased the number of women computer science graduates at the school with three simple interventions designed to welcome beginning students into the curriculum rather than weed them out.”
  • Business of Art Fix: Keeping The Indie Dream Alive When Talking Pay and Other Stories | Autostraddle (May 6): “What’s tough for me about the initiative is its predication on the assumption that business owners are paying their workers as little as they can and themselves as much as they can get away with. If we expose these practices, #talkpay suggests, we can fix the inequality that results from them. Voswinkel says as much in her post, asserting that “The fact is, companies are doing everything they can to increase their bottom line, and as such, they are actively trying to pay you as little as possible, with the understanding that if they underpay you too much, they will lose talent.” Obviously, every initiative can’t be everything to everyone, and #talkpay succeeded at its specific angle. I guess I’d like to add to that conversation, though, by asking, “What happens when pay inequality starts at the top?” What happens when, because a business is owned by women and aimed at women with no connections in the business sector or access to “angel investors,” there’s no choice but to underpay?”
  • Introducing the #NASADatanauts | open.NASA (May 8): “In keeping with NASA’s focus on Women in Data this year, the first class of #NASADatanauts will be women.”
  • Being “out” as a #scimom | Dynamic Ecology (May 11): “Something that is very important to me is to be open about being a scientist – a woman scientist, in particular – who has children. The data don’t paint a rosy picture for scientist mothers, and this is in part because of the biases we all have related to women in science (and especially regarding women in science with children). My hope is that, by being open about being a scientist mother, I can do my small part to normalize the idea of women scientists having children.”
  • Sources: You Can Play As A Woman In Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate | Kotaku (May 11): “Almost a year after publisher Ubisoft made headlines for not including female protagonists in Assassin’s Creed Unity, today we’ve got news that there will be a playable woman assassin in the next entry of Ubisoft’s mega-series”
  • Finding Sharla Boehm | The Edtech Curmudgeon (May 12): A follow-up to the article on Sharla Boehm that appeared in the April 24 Linkspam
  • CTO Megan Smith explains how women in tech are erased from history | Boing Boing (May 8): “Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, stopped by the Charlie Rose show recently and revealed a starting fact: Although four women worked on the Macintosh team in the 1980s, not a single one was cast in the 2013 biopic Jobs with Ashton Kutcher. Even worse, all seven men who worked on the project had speaking roles in the film.”
  • A note to my fellow white feminists about the renewal of Agent Carter | Teh Awesome Sauce (May 8): “We’re SO EXCITED about Season 2, and we can’t wait to see a lot more diversity. Where’s Jim Morita? Where’s Gabe Jones? Where are plots dealing with racial issues in the era? Where are all the women of color? It’s NEW YORK CITY, FFS. By both actual reality and comics canon, the show is about 8000% too white.”
  • A Post About The Hugos | Unintended Consequences (May 11): “The con gained over 2,600 supporting memberships since March 31st of this year and about 350 attending memberships.”
  • Hi Maro ! I recently noticed some people who were… | Blogatog (May 10): “I think people who are used to being represented in various media and games don’t always understand the importance of it because they’ve never experienced not having it.” (This is the blog of the head designer of Magic the Gathering.)
  • Web developers heat up SJ tech scene | Courier-Post (April 28): Profile of South Jersey techie Pamela Bey.

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

I’ve Wrestled With Linkspam For 35 Years (5 May 2015)

  • The Trouble with Imposters by Cate Huston | Model View Culture (April 28): “What we call imposter syndrome often reflects the reality of an environment that tells marginalized groups that we shouldn’t be confident, that our skills aren’t enough, that we won’t succeed—and when we do, our accomplishments won’t even be attributed to us.”
  • Imagining a Safer Space: Building Community & Ending Harassment in Punk | Store Brand Soda (April 28): [CW: assault, harassment] “People have difficulty believing that women and trans individuals pursuing traditionally male activities are doing it authentically, for our own reasons. Our motives are cast as disingenuous; we’re called groupies, posers, and hangers-on. Male dominance is established by questioning our right to be there at all.”
  • Conduct Becoming | Anil Dash (April 30): “But what was perhaps most exciting was that it was no big deal to make [a code of conduct] happen. That’s not to diminish the work that Sean and his team put into pulling the code together, but it didn’t take a ton of persuasion, and it wasn’t too big an effort on the part of the event organizers for it to happen.”
  • On the diversity-readiness of STEM environments | Mel Chua (April 28): “I have been “the full-time community person who is ridiculously good at tech stuff that she no longer gets to do,” instead of “the technical person who understands and listens to and cares about inclusion and community.” Because I cannot not patch a leaky roof. But I have always wondered what I might have grown up into, if I had learned STEM in an environment that was ready for me — without me having to fix it first.”
  • Girl Develop It heats up South Jersey tech scene | Courier Post (April 28): “Bey — owner of Be Brilliant Media, a company that provides a wide range of website services — is spreading her web development wisdom through the South Jersey chapter of Girl Develop It.Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn web and software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction.”
  • A centerfold does not belong in the classroom | The Washington Post (April 24): “I first saw a picture of Playboy magazine’s Miss November 1972 a year ago as a junior at [Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology]. My artificial intelligence teacher told our class to search Google for Lena Soderberg (not the full image, though!) and use her picture to test our latest coding assignment. “
  • The Big Lie of science | Galileo’s Pendulum (April 30): “Science at its heart is about evidence; the practice of science, however, is about humans. A sexist reviewer can waste a female researcher’s time for reasons completely unrelated to her research, and a journal can abet the practice — making scientific publication an accomplice to academic sexism.”
  • Many organizers at the forefront of Baltimore police-brutality protests are women, despite men taking center stage – (April 28): “Many organizers at the forefront of the protests are women, and many members of the Gilmor Homes community with key involvement in the protests are very young people. On Saturday, women marshaled the march along, maintaining energy, leading chants from megaphones, and even ensuring that a female member of Freddie Gray’s family, who joined the march in her wheelchair, was able to stay on the front lines.”
  • Sexist peer review elicits furious Twitter response, PLOS apology: (May 1): ‘Evolutionary geneticist Fiona Ingleby was shocked when she read the review accompanying the rejection for her latest manuscript, which investigates gender differences in the Ph.D.-to-postdoc transition, so she took the issue to Twitter. Earlier today, Ingleby, a postdoc at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, posted two excerpts of the anonymous review. “It would probably … be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors)” to prevent the manuscript from “drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions,” the reviewer wrote in one portion.“Perhaps it is not so surprising that on average male doctoral students co-author one more paper than female doctoral students, just as, on average, male doctoral students can probably run a mile a bit faster than female doctoral students,” added the reviewer (whose gender is not known).’
  • PLOS ONE Update on Peer Review Process | EveryOne (May 1): Official PLOS ONE statement regarding Fiona Ingleby’s complaint.
  • Queen of Carbon Becomes First Woman to Receive IEEE Medal of Honor | Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network (April 30): ‘Dresselhaus is famous for her work in carbon-based materials including buckminsterfullerenes (buckyballs), nanotubes and graphene. In the energy sector, carbon-based materials are frequently discussed in terms of their ability to increase energy storage capacities in battery technologies and supercapacitors. According to the IEEE, “the era of carbon electronics can be traced back to [Dresselhaus’s] tireless research efforts.” ‘


We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

The Recompiler: An Interview with Audrey Eschright

Audrey Eschright is a well-known figure in the Portland, Oregon tech scene, and for good reason: her open source project, Calagator, has been connecting Portland techies with local tech and user group events since 2008.  She also co-founded Open Source Bridge, a tech conference that has raised the bar for inclusiveness, diversity, and volunteerism in technical conferences.

Audrey’s newest project is The Recompiler, a feminist hacker magazine that will be launching in summer of 2015.  Given Audrey’s successful track record, The Recompiler promises bring something wonderful and valuable to the lives of many technically-minded people. I wanted to learn more about this project and what she hopes to make of it.  Our conversation follows; if you’re interested in helping make The Recompiler a success, don’t forget to become a subscriber – a subscription drive is currently underway.

What’s your vision for The Recompiler?

I want to create a community of learning and inclusion for people working with technology, via a print and online magazine, and other media projects. I’m very interested in exploring the diversity that already exists in tech, and connecting the dots to show people pathways into areas of tech beyond the webdev bootcamp –> tech startup job model that seems to be the primary way we’re talking about creating a “pipeline” for under-represented groups to engage in technical work.

I’m at a point in my career, the pipeline isn’t the thing I think about the most anymore. I’m thinking about creating a platform for people to continue to live and work in this space, especially as we find ourselves to be no longer raw beginners, but people who have experience, competence, and yet still need to continue to learn more, keep building our skills.

I’ve also been asking myself: what am I even doing diversity work for? What is geek feminism for? The work of promoting and explaining diversity needs can completely swamp you, take up all your time and energy. If there isn’t still a space to do tech, to build technology that we need, by us and for us, there’s no point.

What sort of content are you envisioning for The Recompiler? Who’s your ideal audience, and what value should subscribing / reading expect to get?  How about those who might not normally consider themselves in the readership of a feminist hacker magazine?

I’m looking for a range of content on technical topics: tutorials, articles, personal stories, and also art and illustrations. I’ve been really inspired by zine culture, as well as newer magazines like Lucky Peach that take a topic (in their case, food) and explore it from a variety of angles: factual, creative, work, play, at home, and traveling all over the world.

My ideal audience is people who are working with technology and just starting to be aware of the bigger range of unknown unknowns (I don’t know what I don’t know). And also people who are in other places in their learning progression, but want to continue to expand their knowledge in a fun, playful way. I think that by combining tutorials and technical articles with personal narratives and art, we can build a map of possibilities together.

I hope that for people who see themselves as being outside that audience, it will give them a greater awareness of the real breadth of activities and kinds of participation that are possible in technology. Part of my process as I started working on The Recompiler was to ask myself, what inspired me when I first started to learn to program? What encouraged me to want to be involved in computing? So much of that was about exploring possibilities, building things that hadn’t existed before, and connecting with other people through new kinds of communication tools. I hope that everyone who reads The Recompiler will feel a little of that spark.

Tell me about the history of this project. What inspired you, and what led you to the point where you decided to make The Recompiler happen?

Well, one of the most direct inspirations was Amelia Greenhall’s “Start Your Own B(r)and” post. Around December, January, I was looking at my job and career options, and trying to decide whether to stay where I was, move to another startup, or do something else. I made a list of what I thought I was looking for, and talked to a lot of people, and then Amelia’s post really hit me at the right time.

After that, I talked to a lot of friends about maybe doing a “feminist hacker magazine”, and everyone from Women Who Hack, and people were really into the idea. So I spent some time writing down every idea that came to mind, working out a budget, figuring out what I would need to make it work, then I quit my job to focus on this at the end of March. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about starting a business and going to work for myself, but having so much information about what I needed to learn, and friends who could give me referrals and business advice, that made a huge difference.

The promotional video for your subscription campaign includes cameos by your three cats and a blue puppet I’m familiar with from your 2010 Open Source Bridge talk, “The Fine Line Between Creepy and Fun.” Tell me more about them!

My cats Sputnik, Kirk, and Yuri were all very obliging participants in the video. Sputnik (with the tuxedo) is getting to be a “senior”, but he’s still the most athletic: if he can see where he’s going, he can jump on top. Kirk (the tabby) is a snuggle bunny, sometimes he gets a little *too* enthusiastic and starts to head butt people. And Yuri is the baby, and the softest cat I’ve ever met.

It’s hard to keep Creepius from inviting himself to things like this. The weird little blue monster thinks he’s the star of everything.

Thanks for telling us more about The Recompiler, Audrey! The subscription drive continues for a couple more weeks.

The physical layer, the network layer, the linkspam layer (1 May 2015)

  • Why some men pretend to work 80 hours a week | Harvard Business Review: “Many of these men acted on their feelings, finding different ways to resist the firm’s expectations that they be ideal workers. How they resisted shaped their futures at the firm in important ways: some men made small, under-the-radar changes to their work that allowed them to pull back, while still “passing” as the work-devoted superheroes the firm valued. Others were more transparent about their difficulties, and asked the firm for help in pulling back. Their efforts resulted in harsh penalties and marginalization.
  • Interactive exhibit features two decades of female game developers | Kill Screen – Videogame Arts & Culture.: ““Women created this industry,” Alex Handy, founder and director of a California digital art museum, told me via email. “From the imagination and creativity of Roberta Williams, to the technical skill of Carol Shaw, to the leadership skills of Amy Henning, women are an integral part of the history of video games.” Now, a new exhibit in Oakland, California, honors the legacy of Williams, Shaw, Henning and five other female developers. “Women in Game Development” opened April 12 at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment and is expected to run through the summer, said MADE founder Handy.”
  • The Police State is already here. | mathbabe: “Take a look at this incredible Guardian article written by Rose Hackman. Her title is, Is the online surveillance of black teenagers the new stop-and-frisk? but honestly that’s a pretty tame comparison if you think about the kinds of permanent electronic information that the police are collecting about black boys in Harlem as young as 10 years old.”
  • Online Troll Urges Game Developer Rachel Bryk To Commit Suicide: [CW: Suicide, harassment, abuse, transphobia] “Over the past two years, Bryk had become one of the most prominent game developers on a software project called Dolphin. She was well-known for her work on Gamecube and Wii emulators—her favorite being Pucca’s Kisses. Despite her beloved status in online gaming communities, Bryk commented on a popular 4chan forum that she was withdrawing from various sites because she suffered constant, trans-phobic harassment. After her death, word quickly spread throughout these communities, and forums were flooded with memorial posts in her honor, and tributes to her work and collaborative nature.”
  • It’s a man’s world – for one peer reviewer, at least | Retraction Watch: “Fiona Ingleby, a postdoc in evolutionary genetics at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, co-wrote an article on gender differences in the transition from PhD-dom to postdoc land and submitted it to a journal for consideration. What she heard back was lamentably ironic — and grossly sexist.”
  • Minecraft, Temple Run: Video game characters don’t have to default to male | Slate: “Fans of Minecraft—especially girls—have long felt frustrated that the only default character available in the popular building game is a man. Now, the game’s programmers have announced that players will get a lady option.”
  • How to Attract Female Engineers | “Women seem to be drawn to engineering projects that attempt to achieve societal good. Curious to learn whether that was true at other universities, my colleagues and I contacted the dozens of universities that have programs aimed at reducing global poverty and inequality. What we found was consistent and remarkable.”
  • Crash Course: An apology to the transgender community | Slate.: “But what you don’t get to decide is what offends others, especially in a group you’re not a part of.”
  • Game of Fear: The Story Behind GamerGate | Boston Magazine : [Strong CW: Gamergate, Stalking, Abuse, Harassment] “What if a stalker had an army? Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend was obsessed with destroying her reputation—and thousands of online strangers were eager to help.”
  • Boots or Heels: My Wardrobe Paradox as a Woman in STEM | Scientific American Blogs: “I feel like I have found a balance again, partly as a result of being surrounded by so many STEM women in my daily life who are so different. Some love to bake, some love makeup and fancy shoes, some raise their own chickens, some are avid rock climbers, some sew their own clothes, and some have a collection of super hero costumes. But when we are together, no one questions our intellectual ability or commitment to science.”
  • The Recompiler: a magazine about technology | Indiegogo: “The Recompiler will invite writers and artists who work and play with technology to share what they know: how do things work? who builds what? how much can we take apart, and what will it look like to rebuild our technology and make it better? We’ll do this through a quarterly print and online magazine. As a subscriber, you will be a part of our learning community.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Like they say, if it quacks like a linkspam… (28 April 2015)

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

(edited on May 1st to change the title, as the original title contained a pop-culture reference that was inappropriate given the content of the links)

cover of TRADE ME by Courtney Milan

Book club: “Trade Me” by Courtney Milan

Hello! I’m helping relaunch the Geek Feminism Book Club, with a bit of a tweak in the interests of getting us going again swiftly (details at end). The book is Trade Me, a new contemporary romance novel by Courtney Milan, and we’ll talk about it in a comment thread here on May 28th.

In January, I snarfled up Trade Me. It stars a Chinese-American woman studying computer science at UC Berkeley. It’s about class and classism, deconstructing the Prince Charming/billionaire trope in romantic fiction, a product launch, Bay Area tech, ally fails, how to deal with cops, authenticity and adaptation, safety and freedom, trust, parents, and work. And one of the main secondary characters is trans, and all the physicality in the relationship is super consensual, and there is a kind-of reference to Cake Wrecks, and (maybe only I see it) to Randall Munroe’s “What If?” blog. I link it thematically to Jo Walton’s The Just City, Ellen Ullman’s The Bug, and the good parts of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. It’s pretty great, and you can read the first chapter for free at Milan’s site. (ROT13’d content warnings that are spoilers: qvfbeqrerq rngvat naq gur arne-qrngu bs n cnerag.)

Overall, Milan’s work is funny and loving and moving and smart. I like how she sets up and calls back to other books within series, I love that The Heiress Effect included an Indian guy, and I’m happy that she depicts queer characters and characters with disabilities. As a woman of color (“half-Chinese” in her words) she’s also especially aware of the importance of writing fictional representations of women of color in STEM, and of fixing broken standards that lead to unequal representation.

And she’s not just a geek, but a geek of my persuasion — specifically, an open source software maker. She wrote and wants people to reuse a chunk of GPL’d software to autogenerate links to a particular book at multiple online bookstores. Also she used to use Gentoo Linux. Of course she gives her readers permission to strip DRM from their copies of her books. Basically I would not be surprised if there is super flirty pair programming or a double entendre in a bash script in a future Milan book.

So this is the book for the next book club; usually we vote on what book to discuss next, but in the interests of getting momentum going again, I figured I’d choose this one by fiat and we’ll vote on the next one. Trade Me costs about USD$5 via any of several ebook retailers, and may be available via your local library‘s ebook lending program as well. Read it sometime in the next month and then come back here and we’ll talk about it!

The Linkspam Agenda (24 April 2015)

There are several pieces on the documentary Code: Debugging the Gender Gap today:

  • When Women Code | The Atlantic: “Whatever the case, the film’s director, Robin Hauser Reynolds, traces how American culture has shaped the perception—perpetuated by men and women—that coding is just for men. She offers a history of the technology industry, and conducts interviews with subjects ranging from the White House chief technology officer to teenage girls who are taking after-school coding classes. I spoke to Reynolds earlier this week about how she approached this sensitive—and sprawling—subject, and what she learned along the way.”
  • “Code” and the Quest for Inclusive Software | The New Yorker: “The result of Reynolds’s inquiries was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, with the première of “Code: Debugging the Gender Gap,” a documentary that aims to make sense of the dearth of women in computer science. “Code” has already received disproportionate amount of attention for a documentary by a relatively unknown filmmaker; Reynolds and her film, which was financed partly through a crowdfunding campaign, had been profiled in a number of major publications well before the première, reflecting the broad interest in the tech industry’s diversity problem.”
  • A New Documentary Nails How Terrible It Is for Women in Tech — and How to Fix It | Arts.Mic: “A documentary like Code can only do so much. Its power, however, is in the incredible women who have found success in tech despite overwhelming odds who speak during the film. Seeing them and seeing their work is a clear sign that no matter how difficult it is to effect change, it’s worth it.”

Other links:

  • LGBTQ – Queer Women In Tech Share Experiences: “‘I’m having a lot of second thoughts about the tech industry being progressive in the last five years,’ Joire says. With the tech boom, she’s seeing a lot more opportunists descending on the scene — some of whom are frustratingly narrow-minded.”
  • Now What? How to Create Fair Companies after the Ellen Pao Verdict | Medium: “Innovation in people practices has lagged behind every other dimension of business. Even in Silicon Valley, tech has been leveraged less when applied to people ops than to product development, financial operations, manufacturing, and sales. It makes no sense, in a world where the purpose of a startup is to upend an established business or an entire industry, that every company has the same boilerplate policy. For an industry built on innovation, tech has shown a remarkable lack of creativity when it comes to tackling issues of culture and people.”
  • Who is Sharla P. Boehm? | The Edtech Curmudgeon: “So there it is – Sharla Boehm wrote the code that demonstrated the feasibility of packed-switched networks. You can look up the original paper that she and Baran wrote, and read every line of code that she wrote and see the actual output from her program.” [that is to say, the code that originally demonstrated the feasibility of the Internet was written by a woman]
  • Lindi Emoungu | Women of Silicon Valley: “The exciting thing about tech is that you can use very powerful tools to solve any problem you can imagine. Technology places an immense amount of power in your hands and in your mind. My advice to girls pursuing a future in tech is not to squander that power in exchange for acceptance. The higher you go, the more you will encounter people who will say all of the right things and never advance you. Don’t slow down for those people. Go fast, work hard, be yourself, trust yourself and you will find the people you are supposed to do great things with.”
  • To Promote Diversity, Apple Increases The Number Of WWDC Scholarships | TechCrunch: “To encourage greater diversity amongst its developer community, Apple announced it’s increasing the number of WWDC scholarships this year which provide students and developers the opportunity to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference taking place this June in San Francisco. Last year, Apple offered 200 scholarships by working with the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT). But this year, the company says it has expanded its list of partner STEM organizations to more than 20 and will also increase the number of scholarships offers to 350.”
  • How to Fail at Coming Out Stories in Comics | Bisexual Books: “On April 22, 2015, comics retailers far and wide will be selling copies of All-New X-Men #40, which, spoiler, features the coming out of a major character from Marvel Comics’ original five X-Men (sort of): Bobby Drake, AKA Ice Man. On the one hand, I want to be loud and supportive, and to celebrate this wider diversity. But on the other hand, they do a really, really offensive crap job of it.”
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Scapegoated: Why We Must Speak Out on ‘Call-Out Culture’ | Feministing: “The publication of Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is the culmination of a recent trend: people of means and privilege engaged in well-remunerated shallow handwringing about “public shaming,” particularly through social media.”
  • Women Startup Competition and TeleSummit | Women Who Tech: “We’re excited to announce the first annual Women Startup Challenge, a crowdfunding competition in partnership with Craig Newmark of craigslist and craigconnects and investors Fred and Joanne Wilson.”
  • What Happens When There Are No Boys in the Room: A Report from Robyn’s Tekla Conference | Pitchfork: “For Robyn, making Tekla girls-only was about seeing ‘what happens when there are no boys in the room—maybe a girl decides that she wants to play the drums, and she wouldn’t if there was a boy there. A different dynamic happens, it frees the situation from some restrictive behaviors for girls. We’re rarely in a girl group when we just allow each other to play around and try stuff.’ She didn’t have a gateway to this arena as a kid, but ‘my parents used to have a theater group and they were on stage a lot, so that became something un-dramatic for me. I think that’s what it’s about—when you develop an interest, it usually comes from an environment that de-dramatizes things. Because then you’re able to find your own entrance into it.'”
  • Houston, We Have A Problem. | RUBY-WAN KENOOBIE: “I’m now at the point where ‘diversity in tech’ has become synonymous with white women. And I’m here to raise the red flag.”
  • Quantifying Silicon Valley’s Diversity Issue | WIRED: “At 27, Tracy Chou has become a leading voice for women in the tech industry by using data to call attention to how few of them are employed as engineers. She is an accomplished coder who had already worked at Facebook, Google, and the question-and-answer site Quora before arriving at Pinterest. And nearly two years ago, she took the simple but provocative step of uploading a spreadsheet—to the code-sharing platform Github, naturally—that companies could use to make public the number of female engineers in their ranks. The goal: to identify the scope of the problem as a first step toward making a stronger commitment to address it.”

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