Over at The Recompiler, I have a new essay out: “Toward A !!Con Aesthetic”. I talk about (what I consider to be) the countercultural tech conference !!Con, which focuses on “the joy, excitement, and surprise of programming”. If you’re interested in hospitality and inclusion in tech conferences — not just in event management but in talks, structure, and themes — check it out. (Christie Koehler also interviews me about this and about activist role models, my new consulting business, different learning approaches, and more in the latest Recompiler podcast.)
We’re very excited to release Ellen Kooijman’s Female Minifigure set, featuring 3 scientists, now entitled “Research Institute” as our next LEGO Ideas set. This awesome model is an inspiring set that offers a lot for kids as well as adults. The final design, pricing and availability are still being worked out, but it’s on track to be released August 2014. For more information, see the LEGO Ideas Blog.
Here’s a link to the LEGO ideas project. But what I found even more interesting is designer Ellen Kooijman’s blog post about the design of the set:
I had been building with LEGO bricks for 10 years since coming out of my Dark Age (LEGO-devoid period), but I had never shared any of my creations online. This project was going to be the first creation I ever shared with people other than my husband. The idea for the project came very naturally and the question how I came up with it always makes me smile. As a female scientist I had noticed two things about the available LEGO sets: a skewed male/female minifigure ratio and a rather stereotypical representation of the available female figures. It seemed logical that I would suggest a small set of female minifigures in interesting professions to make our LEGO city communities more diverse.
As a geochemist I started with designs close to my own profession, a geologist and a chemist, and then expanded the series to include other sciences and other professions. Support rates in the first weeks after posting were slow, but at some point it started to pick up speed and many people left positive comments on the project, which encouraged me to expand and develop the project. I designed 12 little vignettes in total that consist of a minifigure with a 6×4 base plate and a corresponding setting to enhance the building experience and stimulate creativity. When designing the vignettes I tried to add things that would also make them attractive to people not necessarily interested in female figures. Especially the dinosaur skeleton turned out to be a real winner that is popular with a variety of people ranging from teenage boys, to parents, to AFOLs, etc. It is easy to imagine a different setting where the skeleton may come alive chasing the minifig or it could stimulate more building, for example a museum where it can be displayed.
Her other career women vignettes are also pretty awesome. I hope that some someday LEGO will consider producing those as well. Here’s a second science-y set to whet your appetites:
Despite the fact that I grew up to earn a degree in mathematics, I remember math classes in my elementary school as pretty much the dullest subject on earth. Which is probably one of the reasons I love Vi’s doodles so much. Experiencing mathematics through doodling while bored seems way more fun than paying attention did. Here’s a video of binary tree and fractal doodles:
Check out the other neat stuff (including more in the doodle series) at vihart.com.
- A few more posts in response to Michael Arrington’s Too Few Women In Tech? Stop Blaming The Men.:
- Aliza Sherman’s We Aren’t Blaming Men;
- Sasha Pasulka’s Stop Telling People How They Should Feel About It;
- Ivan Boothe’s Blame Sexism; and
- Caroline Simard’s Saying High-Tech Is a Meritocracy Doesn’t Make it So.
- Vivek Wadhwa’s Silicon Valley: You and Some of Your VC’s have a Gender Problem (maybe not a direct response, but includes many relevant statistics on gender imbalance in Silicon Valley)
- Open source mapping tech goes global:
A group in Egypt has got so tired of women not being able to go about their daily lives without being harassed on the street that they’ve introduced a text message reporting service. If a woman experiences unwanted attention from a man in a public place she simply picks up her mobile and sends a text to HarassMap where it’s reported on a centralised computer.
- Dear Google: Can We Have Some Accessibility With Our Email Please?:
In order to tell Google about their problems with accessibility [specifically, captchas], you need to be able to pass through the inaccessible Challenge.
- Nathan Torkington: Changing the Demographics of Innovation:
But there are some interesting signs that the things you have to do to get women into computing is how you get more *people* into computing. That is, the things that drive away women are driving away shiploads of men too.
- How to make a uterus piÃ±ata: Liz Henry shows you how.
- Aqueduct Press has announced 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, to be released on Le Guin’s 81st birthday. Pre-orders are discounted. (Via wild_irises.)
If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).
Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.
The narratives will come. Tomorrow, gentle readers. Till then, a picspam:
Angie Byron playing with Sridhar’s OLPC at the networking event at the Opera House.
New Zealand Wool, maybe with some possum in it:
My Mac talks to an Aiko/Arduino/Pebble thing:
Nic’s beer cozy mod, for a camera holder on wheelchair:
Nancy who gave the genderchanger/etc talk:
Girl Geek Dinner:
Miskatonic U. Alumn, with small Ada:
Susanne Ruthven and Andrew Ruthven and kids, conference organizers:
We are invited to do the Ka Mate Haka:
Last but not least, the Linuxchix Gentlemen’s Auxiliary: